Feeding and Exercising Your Pionus Parrot
Feeding Your Pionus Parrot
Why are most of you feeding your Pionus parrot food that he does not need?
Most pet shop owners and Pionus parrot fanciers who run websites will tell you that it is vital that your bird is fed a commercial pellet feed. I am no fan of processed food, and a Pionus or any other parrot will do just as well if you feed him naturally. After sharing my granola in the morning, my Pionus gets a slice of papaya or other fresh fruit, a banana, and a few tablespoons of passion fruit on top of his Lovebird seed mix. Later in the morning, he will get a tiny slice of cheese, perhaps a piece of chicken, raw vegetables (carrots and squash on a string), and on some days, a tiny chunk of scrambled eggs. After lunch, I will break open a fresh coconut for him and the other birds.
Is so much fresh fruit natural? Yes, it is, and it is the way that Pionus parrots survive in the wild. All of the fruits you provide should be free of pesticides. Your bird is small and will not able to resist the buildup of toxins over his long life.
Parrots do not need to be fed a commercial diet. The “100% complete” pellets that you buy are cooked to extend shelf life, and many of the vitamins are destroyed by that cooking process. Parrots do, however, need access to all types of fresh food. All of the vitamins he needs can be provided naturally.
How to Correctly Feed Your Pionus Parrot
Organic Fresh Fruit (papaya, passion fruit, coconut, etc)
Seeds, Nuts and Vegetables
Cheese, chicken, and other protein sources
Less than 5%
What About Minerals?
The only advantage of commercial pelleted food is that it can provide the minerals that are missing in your bird´s fresh fruit based diet. I allow my Pionus to sit outside most days. He likes to forage through the dirt or eat the mud and dried clay around an old stump that I had pulled out.
If you cannot take your bird outside often, leave a tray of clay and soil that he can forage through each day.
Exercising Your Pionus
I have provided my parrots with several activities so that they can keep themselves busy when I am not at home. Besides the window swing, they have a rope ladder, a wooden ladder that allows them to get around my house, and a small tray with some balls and other toys. (Although my Pionus usually leaves these things alone until I am home to interact with him.)
If the weather is nice, however, the best thing for your bird is to get him outside a little. If you are considering a Pionus or other parrot read the article about exercising your parrot.
If there is any possibility that your parrot will escape and get lost, look into having his wings clipped. Some bird owners provide a large enclosure outdoors so if you do not want to clip your bird´s wings this is another option.
Exercises for Your Pionus
Good exercise for the legs, the neck,and often the wings too.
Almost as good as flying to exercise the pectoral muscles.
Depending on the type of activity,this can be great for the whole body.
Taking a walk
Great for bonding, mental stimulation, and mild climbing exercise.
- 4 Best Ways To Exercise Your Parrot
Keep your bird active both mentally and physically. Here are some good suggestions on how to exercise your Pionus every day.
I bought this perch because it has lots of dangling toys hanging from the sides, and when I am not in the house this gives my Pionus an alternative exercise that I do not have to be involved in. When you are not home, provide your bird with plenty of mental and physical stimulation, and let her keep herself in shape.
My bird loves to stand in the window when the rain is coming down, open his wings, and get soaked down to the skin. If you live in a colder area where a daily natural bath is not possible, please buy one of these sink perches and bathe your Pionus often. Remember that your Pionus is a tropical animal, and showers will control his natural dander, diminish any musky smell, and keep him happy and healthy.
Still Haven't Found a Pionus Parrot?
If you have not yet shared your house with a Pionus parrot, I would like to suggest this great little bird. He is not too large nor too small, neither dull nor flashy, not too loud or too quiet, and, although he can be alone when he needs to, he loves company so makes a great companion for any family or a good first bird for a young person with an interest in parrots.
One of the great advantages is that he does not bite often, certainly not like other parrots. The only hard bite I have suffered was when I left my bird alone all day, forgot to leave a light on, and did not return until late at night. I think his bite was out of anger.
Special Characteristics of the Pionus Parrot
Are you still unsure about buying a Pionus?
All Parrots are beautiful, but in my opinion, Pionus are some of the best looking birds around, despite what some other parrot owners will claim. The many species of Macaw are definitely more flashy, but the Pionus´s colors are impressive. I have the blue-headed variety, which I think is the most attractive, but there are several others available in the pet trade.
Is the color not enough? These birds are not too large, standing only about 25 cm and weighing only about 250 grams. He is much too large for a parakeet cage but small enough to slip between the bars of a cage made for an Amazon or Macaw. If you are still looking, buy the largest enclosure you can afford and check on cages used to house a breeding pair of Cockatiels.
And make sure you always have plenty of space. They live about 40 years, but a lot of Pionus are known to be around even longer. If you do decide to bring a bird home, remember that this is a long-term commitment. If purchased for a young person, they will do okay if another bird is added later, but the new owner needs to give all of his birds some attention and free time away from the cage.
When taking your bird out to socialize, you can teach your Pionus a lot of tricks but may not be able to teach him to talk. Some people find this very important.
In the wild, Pionus breed in dead coconut trees, high and out of the reach of other animals. In the home, they are bred but they are not as easy as some other parrot species, which is probably one of the reasons that they are an expensive pet.
Life at Home
After owning several vicious parrots, I was amazed at the mellow personality my Pionus displayed as soon as he was introduced to my home. He did not care for my dogs and other exotics much but did not mind them when walking to my home office to socialize.
From the first day, he was willing to sit and watch me work but was always interested in a little socializing when I had time for him. When reclining in my easy chair after lunch, he likes to climb up and sit by me while I read or check the internet. In the evenings, he will abandon the other birds so that he can sit on my shoulder as I am typing.
Their great love of socializing is one of the reasons that Pionus fanciers recommend you let your bird out of the cage for at least 4 hours a day. (If you are not willing to interact that much, do not get a Pionus. I do know of one bird that is caged 24/7. He is angry and does not act like a normal gentle Pionus.)
My sweet bird´s special behavior is apparent every morning. After going to the window and calling out the other animals out on the farm, he comes over and sets on my knee while I am having breakfast. He likes granola—especially the cashew nuts.
If you are considering getting a parrot, take the time to look into this great bird. There are some websites that will help you find a bird close to you. Just type in “Where can I find a Pionus parrot in (the name of your closest town or city)” and several sites will pop up.
I recommend the Blue Headed Pionus, of course, but look around and do not purchase the first Pionus you find. They are not the cheapest bird out there, but several species are available for less and a Pionus will definitely be your best choice.
Are you feeding your Pionus a natural diet?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Are walnuts good for parrots?
The biggest problem with nuts is that they are high in fat. Birds love them and sometimes will eat nothing else. My Pionus will three or four cashew nuts when he is having breakfast with me, but after that, he gets fruit and some seeds. So, the fleshy part of the nut is fine. They are not toxic, but like all rich foods, they should be given in moderation. (Your parrot should still be hungry after eating his walnut snack.)