How to Care for Your Quaker Parrots
Quaker Parrot as a Pet
Quaker Parrots are fun-loving and known for their silly antics, personality, and their ability to mimic. Proper care is necessary with this type of bird, and what you provide can keep him happy and healthy for many years. This article will give you tips for caring for your pet, along with things to avoid so that you can enjoy your pet for a long time.
Bringing Your Pet Home
So you have decided to get a pet bird. While a Quaker parrot is a great bird, there are things you need to get ready if you want to bring one home.
Transport Cage - A transport cage will be required to bring your pet home and is handy for trips to the vet or other transportation needs. Mine is a cat transport container equipped with a perch.
Cage - Quakers are an active bird and need a relatively large cage at least 18" x 18" x18" in size. It would not allow the movement and flapping motions if it was any smaller.
Safe Area for the Cage - Consider the placement of the cage it should be free of drafts, have natural light, and a safe area from traffic or other animals.
Toys -These pets are naturally inquisitive and need a variety of toys - they will often take them apart - Levi, my pet, has demolished several toys. A variety of colorful toys with extras to rotate in and out of the cage will keep your pet intellectually stimulated.
Food Containers - Preferably three - one for fresh water, one for the primary food and one for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Food - Your Breeder should be able to recommend a healthy food. What I feed my Quaker is linked in this article.
Feeding Your Quaker
In the wild, a Quaker Parrot eats a variety of foods – seeds, nuts, berries, and vegetation such as leaf buds and blossoms. With that being said, a parrot needs a well-balanced and varied diet, both for their health and their instinctive foraging. I feed my pet Tropimix - it contains pellets, seeds, dried fruits, and vegetables. This type of food provides the varied diet and allows my Quaker, Levi, to have the foraging experience. Small Bird Food
Wild birds do forage for seeds as they are in season. However, commercially prepared seed packages contain seeds that are high in fat - such as peanuts and sunflower seeds. A pet bird will often pick a couple of favorite seeds, and these tend to be the ones that are particularly high in fat and low in needed nutrients – kind of like a child with candy. A Quaker should never be on a seed only diet – this type of diet could lead to severe malnutrition.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of your Quakers diet. When picking fruits and vegetables wash them thoroughly to remove chemicals then cut them into small, manageable pieces – there is no need to peel them as the skins also contain nutrients.
When you are picking vegetables take note that pale vegetables such as iceberg lettuce, head lettuce, or celery, have a high water content and low nutrient level. Also please be aware that Avocado is potentially toxic to your Quaker.
Pellets have been developed to meet all of your parrot’s nutritional needs. Therefore, if your pet is on a seed eating diet, it is important to work toward weaning them off of the seeds onto a pellet diet. It is important to do this slowly, so your bird does not just quit eating. You should never withdraw seeds entirely without first introducing the pellets and making sure your pet is eating them - this can be a slow process. It can take from several days to months.
My pet Levi enjoys eating with the family. We will set him on his play gym and have a bowl set aside just for this purpose. Just be careful of food temperature. Also, avoid sweet foods or caffeine containing foods such as chocolate – as these can be toxic to your pet. It is common sense that alcoholic beverages are not to be given to your pet. Dairy products should be consumed in moderation, although, Levi enjoys small pieces of egg. A rule of thumb should be the food should be wholesome and high in nutrition – a good rule for both you and your pet.
Fresh, clean water should be available at all times. Also, depending on your tap water source you might want to consider using bottled water. Make sure your pet's dishes are cleaned thoroughly every day.
Healthy Treats for Your Quaker
Fresh Fruit or Vegtable Pieces
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Beans -cooked and cooled
Pieces of Pasta
Cheerious or non-sugary cereal
Corn on the Cob
Whole Grain Bread
Foods to Avoid
- Avocado - this plant contains persin, a fungicidal that can be cardiac toxic to birds primarily smaller birds but it has been found in many birds
- Chocolate - can cause hyperactivity, increased heart rate and potential seizures in your pet.
- Sunflower seeds - only in moderation as these are high-fat content for your pet and cause fatty disease - a common problem for Quakers.
- Apple Seeds and fruit pits contain cyanide - it is okay to feed your pet pieces of apple or other fruits, just do not give them the seeds or pits.
For a more Comprehensive List of Foods to Avoid Refer to this Article
- Foods Toxic To Pet Birds | Pet Birds by Lafeber Co.
Foods On Your Avian Vet’s Do Not Feed List include Chocolate, Avocado, Onion, High-Fat and High-Sugar foods.
Some items pose a serious risk to your bird's health, while this list is not conclusive it does give some things to watch out for to keep your pets safe.
Window, Doors, and Mirrors – A bird will not recognize this as a barrier and will fly right into them causing serious injury or death. I had a friend lose a beloved pet due to this - the bird flew into a small mirror which then fell onto the bird instantly killing him – a devastating accident. Open doors and windows are an obvious danger.
Sitting Water – sinks, toilets, and pots of water pose a risk if your bird is allowed to be free – make sure these are covered so your pet does not drown.
Other pets in the household – dogs, cats or other birds. Even though they seem harmless, they could severely injure your bird. My pet has gone after our beloved Golden Retriever in the attempt of biting his nose.
Plants – there are many poisonous household plants that your bird's natural curiosity and chewing can lead to accidental poisoning.
Ceiling Fans pose a risk to a flying bird. It is safer to keep your pet's wings clipped.
Loud noises can lead to stress in a bird – causing reduced resistance to infections
Fumes from everyday cooking, burning foods, household cleaners, candles, painting or other gases can be dangerous.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon) - This species respiratory system is particularly sensitive due to a normal double breathing of a parrot. Teflon products when inhaled can cause serious health risks or even kill your pet - makes me wonder what this product does to us. Several items can emit these fumes– a few examples are:
- Pots and Pans coated with Teflon
- Heat Lamps
- Sole Plates on Irons
- Coffee Makers
- Many Cooking Utensils
- Hot Air Popcorn Makers
- Pizza Pans
- Portable Heaters
- Non-Stick Cookware –any type
If you think something is wrong with your bird, there probably is something wrong! Birds hide the symptoms of illness instinctively – in the wild it wards of predators.
- Learn to be a medical detective and examine your bird regularly
- Any sudden change requires a thorough investigation and a trip to the Avian Vet
- Any cough, discharge from eyes, favoring a leg or wing, changes in droppings, blood in droppings, or plucking feathers without natural molting, can be signs of illness.
- A bird fluffing out, sitting on the bottom of the cage, the stopping of normal activities-singing, chattering, playing, eating, pooping - any unusual change in your bird. These can be symptoms of illness, and a trip to the vet is necessary.
In spite of our best-laid plans, Parrots can develop behaviors that can be difficult. This book will help you solve some of the problems that you can encounter. This Book Helped me as I raised my Quaker - Levi. He is a fun loving, amazing pet!
Chopsticks the Quaker Parrot
Interesting Facts about the Quaker
- They are considered a small to a medium-sized parrot which makes them excellent for smaller homes or apartments; though the noise factor can be troublesome in an apartment.
- The green Quaker grows to be roughly 12 inches long and weighs about 3 – 4 ½ ounces. The blue Quakers tend to be a little smaller.
- They have a long lifespan if properly taken care of and can live 30-35 years. So buying a companion parrot is a commitment.
- The Quaker is on the Top Ten list of talking parrots. Mine has a vocabulary of about twenty appropriate conversational words – along with several - what’d he say – funny words.
- According to scientists birds can display emotion - a skill found only in the brain of higher vertebrates.
The Monk Parrot (Myiopsitta monachus), also known as the Quaker Parrot, originated from the subtropical areas of Argentina and surrounding areas of South America. It can be found feral (wild) in many parts of the United States and Europe. They were brought to these areas by travelers as pets, then released. These birds are extremely hardy and can often survive if let loose. The quality of hardiness has caused them to be illegal to own in some states. They are naturally found in a green color, but through breeding, they can be found in Blue, Cinnamon and a rare yellow color.
Feral Quakers in Spain
My Quaker Levi
With proper care, attention, and intellectual stimulation, you will have a happy, healthy pet. My husband and I regularly laugh with our pet - and yes he does laugh! Enjoy your Quaker.
Questions & Answers
What does it mean when a parrot twists their head all around and opens their mouth?
It can mean many things. If they squawk loudly while doing it, it can mean that they are territorial. It could also be an inquisitive look or an invitation to play a game by mimicking back. My parrot likes when I tilt my head back and forth with him, and will jibber in delight once we start our game.
© 2017 Susan Sears