Here’s a list of things nobody told me before I got my bird. You’re welcome to fact check and add your own experiences! I hope this helps someone!
Possibly disturbing images of animal neglect below.
NEVER get a pet bird who lives alone a mirror for their cage. They can choose their own reflection as a mate, which needless to say isn’t healthy and can be extremely sexually frustrating. It’s much healthier to get even small birds foraging toys to entertain them.
ALL birds need lots of social interaction if they’re going to remain mentally healthy! This is especially important for birds that live in large groups in the wild like cockatoos, finches, and parakeets, but also true for “loner” birds like Senegals and African Greys. Without the proper social interactions (hours a day with people or other birds) birds can get bored and pick up destructive habits like feather pulling, biting, and screaming, and even develop mental illnesses like depression or anxiety. Yes, even parakeets.
Feather pulling removes a bird’s main way of staying warm, which can lead to life threatening things like hypothermia.
Parrot’s body temperatures are around 103 degrees Fahrenheit, much higher than humans, and largely thermoregulate through their feet. Because of that and their small body size, they can get hyper or hypothermia fairly easily when compared to humans. In hot months it’s important to provide them with a shallow dish of water they can cool off in, and in cold months, a heating pad or perch they can sit on to keep warm. Parrots do best in a stable, relatively warm environment; while they can take slight changes, drastic changes in temperature can be very detrimental. Non-tropical/arid birds are a bit different from what I hear, so can’t really talk about them.
Parrot beaks constantly grow, so it’s important to provide lots of chewing fodder (I like to call them sacrifices) for your parrot to chew on or get their beaks trimmed by a professional.
These can be hard calcium treats, wood, and other natural materials. Some can be plastic but I wouldn’t recommend those as they can be swallowed and impede digestion or become a choking hazard.
Birds are prey animals! They’re typically very nervous because they’ve been hardwired for centuries to be on the lookout for things that want to eat them. They’ll get nervous around new things, strange noises, and new people. They can learn to overcome some fears by careful desensitization, lots of social interaction, and a calm, careful owner. It’s VERY important to keep them away from predatory animals (dogs, cats, etc.), as it can cause unnecessary stress on the animals. If they absolutely have to interact, do so in a controlled environment and with one or both in separate carriers, cages, or pens. Know your animals, pay careful attention to their body language, and be prepared to step in if either looks stressed or aggressive.
My parrot Apollo meeting my friend’s cat, the right way.
Just like humans, birds have dietary needs that must be met if they’re to remain healthy. A few of the most important are Vitamin D (sunlight!), calcium (especially important in hens), and protein (required to grow healthy beaks, claws, and feathers). The easiest ways to take care of the first two is to provide your bird with lots of sunlight (direct or indirect depends on the bird) and a constant supply of cuttlebones or calcium treats. There are several different diet plans out there for all kinds of birds, but all agree that birds CANNOT live off nothing but seeds. This can cause fatty liver disease and early death, even in otherwise healthy birds. All parrots are usually fed a diet of pellets, fruits, and vegetables, but the ratios really depend on who you ask.
Here’s a few food pyramids for parrots:
Birds absolutely CANNOT be fed:
Any greasy, salty chips/popcorn or any processed “human food”
Alcohol (I shouldn’t have to say this)
Feel free to add on
Before you feed your bird ANYTHING, please look it up and make sure it’s safe!
Do you see any difference between these two gifs, other than the colors and the pixels ? Well, one is made with Flipnote Studio on my Nintendo DSi, and the other one is made with TVPaint.
I just wanted to post the same animation but with two different programs, to show you guys that an idea can be expressed and understandable through many mediums ! I could draw this in traditional too if I wanted.
But why am I posting this ?
A few days ago, I received a message from a professional animator, telling me that I was wasting my time animating on “that sh*tty program” and that I will “never find a job or earn money” if I continued working like this. It was brutal, and awfully judgemental, especially coming from someone who shares (or is supposed to, at least) the same passion for animation as me.
He also told me that he will never follow me or like any of my animations because of the program I use. So, well … I just replied that his behavior was beyond childish, and absolutely unprofessional. I said, “You don’t see the potential of the animations I share there with many people, I put all of my love on them, I work hard and I enjoy making them. Yeah I’m not gaining any money from that hard work, so what? Do you think everybody on the internet shares their work only for profit?”
I took some time to think about it. It hurt me a little but then I remembered that so many of you follow me, give me great feedback, and heartwarming comments, even if I don’t draw on the BEST programs ever!
I mean, just because someone draws on Paint Tool SAI instead of Photoshop, it doesn’t mean that their art sucks!
I learned a lot with Flipnote Studio and thats why I still use it to animate, and you can see that I can animate with many colors too (I wanted to show you later as a surprise but well, now you know) and I will be able to teach you things about TVPaint if you want now.
Remember, my friends: an artist is someone who has the capacity to share emotions and messages through the art they are creating; no matter what medium or program you use for it, if it’s understandable you’re doing it right!
I hope this will help some of you who are working on less well-known programs and had some jerk telling them that it was bad. I’m glad to see that young animators, artists & people who are not creators at all saw the hard work in my animations, and pushed me up ! I love you all, and I will continue to work hard for you, to share my huge passion of animation with you and make you smile as always ! Merci tout le monde !
People want to get a single parrot because if they get two then the parrot won’t like them as much.
But then they don’t want the parrot to view them as a mate.
What did you expect? You got a pet in which most species mate for life. Their lives revolve around their mate, preening their mate, feeding their mate, having sex with their mate, raising babies with their mate, driving away competitors from their mate, and yes, spending their entire life with their mate.
You prime them for this situation by you or a housemate being the only ones available, and then freak out when they want to do this to you. It’s natural. It’s not bad. Your parrot isn’t misbehaving, it isn’t a bad bird just because you are keeping a wild animal in a captive situation where it just wants to do what every feather on its body is telling it to do. Stop treating it like such, stop punishing them for displaying mating behaviors.
Do what you signed up for by getting a single bird or work to get your bird a feathered mate. That doesn’t mean buying the first bird at the pet store you see and throwing them in a cage together and wondering why they don’t like each other. That means becoming a match maker and setting up play dates, or even consider rehoming your bird to someone who can.
Stop buying parrots and expecting these wild animals to be pets. They’re not. We’re on the way to domesticating birds like budgies, cockatiels, love birds, Indian ring necks…but we’re still so far from being able to keep them happy and healthily easily like we are with chickens and pigeons who thrive with us. Hell, starlings make better pets than parrots since at least they often choose to be with us.
And please, when you’re researching any animal don’t do a quick google search. Talk to as many people as possible, both new owners and experienced owners.