Frequently Asked Questions


What is the recommended amount of Tropican for my bird?

For Most Passerines & Small Species
For most passerines and other small species such as finches, canaries and budgies, a proper daily diet should consist of approximately 40-50% Tropican Egg granules, 25% Tropimix Egg Food mix, 25% Staple seed mix, 5-10% PRIME one to two times per week, sprinkled on fresh veggies such as lettuce or kale or other moistened enrichment foods. Give daily when moulting. Treats should never be more than 3-5% of their daily food intake.

For Most Companion Parrots
For most companion parrots, a proper daily diet should consist of †70% Tropican extruded formula and 30% enrichment foods such as fresh veggies and fruits, sprouts*, and leafy greens. Treats should never be more than 3-5% of their daily food intake. Tropican extruded morsels ensure that fussy eaters get a full balanced diet – no selective eating. Since Tropican formulas already incorporate the proper levels of vitamins and minerals, a vitamin supplement is not needed when fed at the recommended percentages.

Important: Ensure your bird has access to fresh water at all times. Place the water source away from areas where it can get contaminated by seeds or droppings.

Note: The percentages listed can vary depending on your birds’ lifestyle, life stage, species, weight and particular predispositions. This is only a recommendation. Always speak with your Avian Veterinarian for any health concerns. Breeder and Juvenile parrots might require a little more Tropican.

*Take precautions when feeding sprouts as they may cause mould in the crop when mishandled.
†70% of the diet is equal to 5% of the birds’ weight. (g). Ex: 200 g bird = 10 g of Tropican per day.

Should PRIME be used with Tropican?

Using PRIME with Tropican, or any formulated diet for that matter is a tough one. Many considerations need to be evaluated when it comes to using a vitamin supplement with a bird that eats a formulated diet. The first consideration is “How much of their diet is truly Tropican (or other formulated diet)?” Your bird can overdose, and irreversible damage can be caused by adding too many vitamins and minerals to a bird’s diet, yet sometimes caretakers are unaware of gaps in their bird’s diet because they are unaware of the true amount of pellets their bird is actually consuming. When in doubt, it’s recommended to consult with your Avian Veterinarian.

Learn more about PRIME and dosage.

Does your food contain menadione sodium bisulfite?

Rest assured, there is no Menadione Sodium Bisulfite present in our food. We have not included Menadione Bisulfite Complex, a source of vitamin K activity, in our products for several years now. Recent studies have demonstrated that birds naturally produce their own Vitamin K in their gut systems, rendering the additive unnecessary. In fact, it is advisable to avoid it altogether.

Can Tropican be used for a multi-species household?

Tropican is a great choice for households with multiple bird species! Whether you have juveniles, breeders, or birds that require a maintenance diet, Tropican has you covered. For optimal nutrition, we recommend the Tropican Lifetime formula for maintenance and the Tropican High Performance formula for birds that require a higher calorie and protein-based diet. Unless any of your birds fall into the High Performance category, we suggest sticking with the Lifetime formula. Most of your birds will thrive on the 2mm granule size. You can easily purchase Tropican from your preferred pet product dealer or online retailer. For additional support, check out our Avian Care Feeding & Nutrition resources for helpful tips on diet conversion.

What is the best way to go about switching my bird over to Tropican?

If you’re looking to switch your bird to Tropican, we suggest starting with the Lifetime Tropican formula, which can be purchased at your local pet store or online retailer. To make the transition easier, try offering only Tropican in your bird’s dish in the morning, while providing their usual diet and/or healthy fruits and veggies in a separate dish in the evening. Consistency is key, so keep an eye on your bird’s consumption and stool volume. If you notice a significant decrease in stool volume, resume their regular diet for a while. However, if the volume remains similar and has a slightly tan colour due to Tropican, it means your bird is adjusting well to the new food.

For more tips on diet conversion, check out our resources Diet Conversion and our Smart.Play Toys, which offers strategies for using a bird’s natural instinct to forage.

If you have any concerns or questions, be sure to consult with your Avian Veterinarian.

How do I wean my Parrot?

Weaning a young parrot can be a bit of a challenge. While it can be challenging, there are some essential steps to follow to ensure success and build a strong bond with your feathered friend.

Firstly, it’s crucial to monitor your bird’s weight every morning using a scale. This will provide a record of their weight over time and ensure they don’t lose more than 10% of their plateau weight. Losing more can cause hunger pains and hinder their progress in exploring and eating on their own.

Secondly, focus on providing a solid nutritional foundation before introducing fruits and veggies. These foods don’t offer enough calories for proper growth during this critical time. Once they’re eating well, you can introduce fun enrichment foods like Tropimix, fruits, and veggies.

Lastly, encourage your fledgling to explore their surroundings for food. At HARI, we use Tropican High Performance Granules and Biscuits in different ways to help our fledglings build confidence and maintain a nutritious diet. Don’t hesitate to speak with your Avian veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.

What would be a good daily diet for small birds like finches, canaries, and budgies?

For a well-balanced diet, pet passerines and other small species should consume around 40-50% Tropican Egg granules, 25% Tropimix Egg Food mix, 25% Staple seed mix, and 5-10% PRIME once or twice a week, sprinkled on fresh veggies like kale or lettuce or other moistened enrichment foods. During moulting, it’s recommended to give PRIME every day. Treats should not exceed 3-5% of their daily food intake.

Tropimix Egg Food Mix is an excellent solution for encouraging your budgie to eat the extruded Tropican Egg Granules. It’s also advisable to offer your budgie a larger portion of the enrichment diet using a high-quality seed mix such as VME or Gourmet seeds. This blend should incorporate enough of the extruded diet (the very small morsels found within the Tropimix mix) to provide your bird with a balanced diet without requiring additional supplements.

When introducing this new diet, you could offer PRIME 3-4 times a week on a small piece of kale that can be hung on your bird’s cage using a millet clamp. Budgies tend to enjoy eating this healthy green foliage, and PRIME can be easily sprinkled on it when it’s wet and then powdered.

Don’t forget to seek advice or ask questions from your Avian Veterinarian if you have any concerns.


How much PRIME should I feed to my bird?

Each package of PRIME includes a 1 cc measuring scoop that can be used for either a half dose (0.5cc/0.275g) or a full dose (0.55g/1 scoop), depending on your bird’s needs. The correct PRIME dosage will vary based on your bird’s overall diet, size, and weight.

If your bird primarily eats seeds (less than the recommended 70% extruded Tropican), the following guidelines should be followed:

  • Large parrots (such as scarlet macaws, blue & gold macaws, and cockatoos) should be given 1.5 cc (1.5 level scoops) per day, sprinkled over fruits and veggies.
  • Medium parrots (like African greys and most Amazon species) should be given 1 cc (1 level scoop) daily, sprinkled over fruits or veggies.
  • Smaller birds (such as budgerigars, lovebirds, cockatiels, parrotlets, linolated parakeets, and finches) only need half a scoop daily, sprinkled over fruits and veggies or moistened enrichment foods.

A supplement may not be needed when feeding a primarily extruded diet (over a seed-based/raw food diet) as a formulated diet can ensure complete nutrition. For birds who consume primarily extruded formulas, feed no more than 3 to 4 times a week. Feed daily when moulting. As always, please consult with your Avian Veterinarian before administering PRIME or any supplement, and do not overdose.

How much PRIME should I feed to a large flock?

It’s essential to seek advice from your Avian Veterinarian before administering PRIME or any supplement.

Determining the appropriate PRIME dosage for multiple birds in a flight can be challenging due to unknown serving distribution. Several factors must be considered, including bird species (size and weight), diet (seed-based or over 70% formulated extruded), season (moulting), age, and reproductive activity.

For example, a flight of 15 cockatiels on a seed-based diet would require a recommended dose of ¼ cc per bird, equivalent to 4 level scoops (4 cc) four times a week. However, scarlet macaws would require a suggested dose of 12 cc.

If the birds primarily consume extruded formulas, they should be fed no more than 3 to 4 times a week, and during moulting, they should be fed daily. It’s crucial to periodically consult with an Avian Veterinarian to evaluate how well the birds are assimilating the supplements provided.

Can we overdo supplementing PRIME?

Yes, it is important to exercise caution when supplementing your birds, particularly if they are already receiving a well-balanced extruded diet without any enrichment foods. It is crucial to seek guidance from your Avian Veterinarian prior to introducing PRIME to your bird’s diet. Additionally, it is important to note that supplementing may not be necessary if your bird is already consuming a primarily extruded diet that offers complete nutrition. To learn more, please refer to the Tropican feeding guide.

What is the best way to give PRIME to a bird that doesn’t eat many fruits and vegetables, like a budgie or a finch?

For smaller birds like budgies, cockatiels, finches, and canaries, as well as those that are picky eaters, there are a few ways to offer PRIME. You can sprinkle it on top of wet lettuce or kale, mix it with millet, or add it to canned or dried mealworms. To find more fun and creative techniques for encouraging your bird to consume PRIME, check out the Foraging Enrichment: Using Prime Supplement Efficiently guide.

Should I give my bird grit?

Yes, there are two types of grit available for birds: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble grit, also known as gravel, is made up of small stones and often contains silicate and sandstone. It passes through the bird’s digestive system and helps to grind down seeds with hulls or larger pieces of food. Soluble grit, such as cuttlebone or oyster shells, is organic and mostly made up of gypsum or limestone (calcium carbonate). It dissolves easily and is digested by the acids in the digestive system, so it does not remain in the gizzard or cause impaction.

Doves, pigeons, and small softbills need to eat insoluble grit to help them digest seeds with hulls. These birds usually eat seeds whole and need the grit to grind them down.

Companion birds have a different diet than their wild counterparts and usually require little to no insoluble grit. However, some experts suggest that offering a small amount occasionally may fulfill an instinctive need. It’s important to note that overconsumption of insoluble grit can cause digestive issues, especially in birds with a poor diet or existing digestive problems. If you notice your bird exhibiting pica* behaviour, seek advice from an Avian Veterinarian.

Calcium is essential for birds, as it makes up approximately 1.5% of their body weight and is needed for bone growth and eggshell production. Soluble grit, such as finely crushed Oyster Shells or Clay-Cal Bentonite Clay, can provide birds with the necessary calcium. However, it’s important to ensure that the proper amount of vitamin D3 is also provided for the calcium to be absorbed. Sunlight or an avian full spectrum UVB light are good sources of vitamin D3.

If you choose to offer grit to your parrot, make sure it’s soluble and replace it every few days with a clean, fresh amount in a separate treat cup. Speak with your Avian Veterinarian about your bird’s nutritional needs and digestive health. If your bird is sick, remove the grit until your vet provides care instructions.

*Pica syndrome, pica-overconsumption or craving food or non-food items as a result of deficiency or undesirable internal condition.

Does PRIME have animal meat/poultry in the ingredients?

While PRIME doesn’t contain animal meat or poultry, it’s important to note that the Vitamin D3 in PRIME is derived from lanolin, which is a highly purified animal product. Additionally, PRIME is manufactured in a facility that also packages products containing known priority allergens like eggs and nuts. PRIME ingredients are listed here

My bird has gout, should I be concerned about the amount of acidification in PRIME?

Rest assured that there is no cause for concern regarding your bird’s gout and the acidity level in PRIME. The acidity level in PRIME is less than 5%, with a minimal impact of less than 1 ppm on the pH factor. This acidity level is derived from citric acid, which has little effect on avian species, as they naturally have acidic gizzards. The acidifiers mentioned in the pamphlet are related to the overall condition of the bird’s digestive system, not the acidity level. In fact, the slightly acidic environment created by PRIME’s beneficial bacteria promotes digestion, making it beneficial for your bird.

Can PRIME be given to game birds?

Our research has mainly concentrated on psittacines in the companion bird sector. However, we have received inquiries from poultry farmers and hobbyists about using PRIME for game birds and chickens. While we cannot give particular guidance on the use of PRIME for game birds, our research has shown that the calcium and other components in PRIME seem to have benefits for this purpose.

What is the best way to store PRIME?

To preserve the nutrients, probiotics, flavor, and composition of PRIME, it should be kept in a cool and dry place, with temperatures — no colder than 10C (340F) and no hotter than 260C (800F).

Housing & Environment

What is the difference between a night cage (sleeping cage) and a day cage?

Providing your bird with separate day and night cages is a proven strategy to prevent aggressive behaviour caused by hormones during different stages of their life. When a bird is confined to one cage, they may see it as a nest that needs to be protected. By incorporating versatility into their daily routine, you can discourage nesting behaviours.

A night cage, also known as a sleep cage, is a smaller retreat placed in a quiet room. This cage should only contain essential items such as a formulated diet, water, a comfortable perch, and a safe foraging toy if provided. It’s important for the bird to have 10-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep, and using a cover or a night light can be beneficial for certain species, like cockatiels, who are prone to night fright.

On the other hand, a day cage is typically located in the busiest part of the household to facilitate socialization with the family. This is where the bird can have their favourite toys and a wider range of enrichment food options.

Where is the best place to put my bird’s cage?

Cage location can greatly affect your bird’s comfort level. If placed too low, sudden movements overhead can easily scare it. Place the cage at eye level, usually about five feet above the ground. An overhead lamp or nearby light fixture is often desirable and is beneficial to the health of your bird.

Find a well-ventilated location that is free of cigarette smoke, kitchen fumes or air fresheners. Avoid areas near heaters, fans, air conditioners and wherever there are frequent temperature variations. Never place a cage in the kitchen, as non-stick cookware and smoke can be hazardous.

Most new or young birds enjoy warmth and humidity. Adult birds can tolerate average room temperature much better. Moderate sunlight is good, but also provide a shady area for cooling down. When conditions permit, you can place the cage in a warm but shaded outdoor location, under supervision, protected from predators, accidents, or theft.

Your bird’s cage should be covered at night to ensure the maximum hours of undisturbed sleep necessary for optimum health and behaviour. Often, bird owners will opt for a secondary cage, to be used as a sleeping cage.

Is it OK for birds to share a cage?

Certain bird species can coexist peacefully in the same room but prefer to have their own personal space without other birds nearby. On the other hand, some birds may show signs of jealousy or fear when introduced to new animals in their environment. It is generally recommended to keep different bird species in separate cages, providing them with their own feeding stations, perches, and toys, unless you are introducing small birds of a similar species. While birds of similar sizes may be able to be out in the same room on separate perches or play stands, close supervision is necessary to prevent potential injuries. It is important to note that allowing larger birds to be around smaller birds is not advisable, as larger birds have the capability to attack and even kill smaller ones if they perceive them as a threat. Even birds that have been living together harmoniously for years can engage in conflicts and harm each other when left unsupervised outside their cages. Additionally, if there are other predatory pets like cats and dogs in the household, all birds must be supervised at all times to ensure their safety.

How often should I clean my bird’s cage and what should I use to do it?

As parrot owners know, birds can be a bit messy, and it does not take long for optimal cage hygiene to get out of hand. So, for the sake of your bird’s well-being, keep these tips in mind. First, cage cleaning should be done on a regular basis. Use a non-toxic detergent and warm water to remove organic debris (droppings, feather dander, dust, food particles). This task might be easier outside if the weather permits. There is very little need for a disinfectant unless the bird has been ill or possibly harbours a disease. Be sure to rinse off all soap and let air dry. The challenge with many cages that are not cleaned regularly, is that they become increasingly difficult to clean. So, do keep to a schedule to make this essential task quick and easy! You’ll have more time to spend with your feathered friend!

Do you have recommendations for cage substrate or liners?

While there are many options available, here are some pros and cons of commonly used cage substrates.

Firstly, consider if your cage has a grid to prevent your bird from accessing the tray. If not, we strongly recommend using a wire grid. Birds often attempt to retrieve fallen toys or spoiled food from the bottom, which can lead to illness if they ingest any pieces of substrate. 

Different substrate options:

Newspaper or plain paper: PROS – Inexpensive and enables easy monitoring of your bird’s droppings. Can be rolled up and discarded or composted daily (in areas that accept composting of animal feces). CONS – Lacks aesthetic appeal to humans.

Corn cob bedding: PROS – Visually appealing. CONS – Can harbour mould spores and produce dust particles that may be harmful to your bird’s health. It also incurs a cost, and it may be challenging to observe droppings that indicate health.

Walnut or pellets: PROS – Looks attractive. CONS – Expensive, often leading to delayed substrate changes. This can result in poor husbandry, as mould and dust accumulate in the tray. Additionally, monitoring the bird’s droppings becomes nearly impossible, making it difficult to identify signs of illness. Disposal of some types of this substrate may also be problematic, as they are not easily recyclable.


Are shredding toys the right option for a bird that feather plucks?

For the benefit of your bird, always consult your Avian Veterinarian to determine and rule out physical causes for the feather-damaging behaviour. You should also discuss your bird’s diet with the veterinarian. Once you’ve determined that your bird does not have diseases or parasites, you can make changes in their lifestyle to discourage the plucking. First, provide your bird with a day cage and give them a lot of misting showers each morning to encourage feather growth and beneficial preening. While shredding toys are great to offer birds with feather-damaging behaviour, it’s very important that these types of toys only be offered to companion birds on either their play gym or in a day cage. When birds have a shredding toy in the same cage they sleep in, they often shred excessively as this is a nesting behavior.

How can I introduce and encourage foraging behaviours in my birds?

Purchasing or creating two foraging devices or activities of simple skills (one for yourself and the other for your parrot) that easily reveal hidden morsels and require almost no dexterity, agility and ingenuity is the best way to introduce foraging. Ensure the parrot is familiar with the materials, textures, shapes, and colours. Learn more about introductory foraging.

What foods can I use in foraging activities?

Despite good intentions, many bird owners are under the impression that their birds will not engage in foraging unless fatty seeds and nuts are used to entice them. Formulated diets such as Tropican make excellent enrichment “treats” for foraging. It is also a terrific way to convert birds to formulated diets as birds are more likely to eat the extruded kibble they perceive as a rewarding treat when found. Learn more here.

How to choose the right foot toy for my bird?

When choosing a foot toy, you need to ensure it is species-appropriate (design, size, texture material and weight). The size and weight of the foot toy need to be species-specific so that larger species can’t swallow or break off pieces; and so that smaller species won’t get stuck in devices that are too large or lose interest quickly if there is a lack of smaller fun parts. Clean toys regularly. Discard any toys that are broken or have become unsafe.  Always supervise your pet whenever they get a new toy. Learn more here.

What is the ideal set-up for parrot playtime?

Younger or unseasoned parrots won’t have the dexterity, balance and stability needed to tackle awkward surfaces that don’t remain steadfast. Therefore, in order to successfully play with foot toys, your bird requires a stable flat surface. A tabletop surface activity center preferably one with a surrounding raised edge to keep the toys contained makes an excellent playground for foot toys.  Learn more here.

I was told pet birds need toys that encourage preening, can you offer suggestions?

Preening toys should be offered in a variety of sizes, textures and colours. Be sure to desensitize your bird to new items that will be placed in their living quarters. Rotating a vast selection of toys from time to time can keep their interest peeked. Birds have an incredible memory and will easily recognize a favourite toy even weeks later. Clean toys regularly. Discard any toys that are broken or have become unsafe.  Always supervise your pet whenever they get a new toy.   Learn more here.

What are the best exercise toys for less active birds?

Design, colours, and textures will attract your bird’s inquisitive nature. Combining stimulating activities such as misting and foraging along with the exercise toy (bouncing perch) will provide additional stimulation. Clean toys regularly. Discard any toys that are broken or have become unsafe.  Always supervise your pet whenever they get a new toy. Learn more here.

 What is the right size and type of perch for my bird?

Bird perches are not only fun accessories but are also an essential tool for all companion birds. Beyond standing, your bird will use a perch as an accessory for playing games, as a grooming aid (beak rubbing and removing food), and to sleep comfortably at night.

The size, dimensions, materials, texture, diameter variations and number of perches provided within your bird’s cage are extremely important. This is an often neglected and underrated consideration, but it’s of critical importance to promote healthy foot care by relieving pressure points as well as helping to prevent bumblefoot (pododermatitis). The bird’s feet should wrap 2/3 around the perch and should not meet or overlap. A minimum of 3 different perching materials and varied dimensions should be offered to your bird in their cage, and perches should be placed at different heights and angles.

Bird Lifestyle

My bird has their wings clipped; how can I make sure they’re getting enough exercise?

If you choose to trim your bird’s flight feathers, you can still provide exercise that targets the same muscles used in flight. One way to do this is by misting your bird while they are perched on an exercise toy or bungee rope that you can hold and move around or hang from the ceiling. As your bird flaps their wings to stay balanced, they will exercise their pectoral muscles and improve their grip on the perch. Another great exercise is to have your bird perch on your hand while you move it up and down for about 2-3 minutes. This is similar to jumping jacks for humans and provides excellent cardio activity. Not only are these exercises great for your bird’s physical health but misting them will also help keep their feathers in tip-top shape!

What is the best way to get my parrot used to travelling in a car?

Travelling with your parrot can be a fun experience for both you and your feathered friend. However, it’s important to desensitize your bird to car trips well in advance to avoid any unwanted surprises. A three-hour trip can seem like an eternity when it includes a screaming parrot! Here are a few steps to help your parrot get used to car travel:

Introduce your pet to a pet carrier and encourage them to investigate it on their own. Try including some of their favourite enrichment foods and toys in the carrier to make it more inviting. Once they enter the carrier, close the door for a few seconds and then open it. Gradually increase the amount of time your bird spends in the carrier each day. Once your bird is comfortable in the carrier, take them on short car rides. Speak softly to reassure them and bring a towel to cover the carrier for added comfort. Avoid leaving your bird alone in the car and be mindful of the temperature, it’s best not to practice when it’s too hot or too cold. With consistent practice, your parrot will become comfortable with car travel and may even look forward to it.

What do I need to know about clipping my bird’s nails and wings?

Even if they are partially clipped, birds still use their wings to maintain balance and their nails to firmly and securely grip their perch. When both wings and nails are done at the same time, they lose their ability to remain stable, which results in excessive biting.

We recommend that wings and nails be clipped on separate occasions. You or your groomer can work out a plan for flight trimming based on your bird’s feather growth and alternate the nail trimming in between the growth of the flight feathers.

Nails should be trimmed regularly. Some caretakers opt for strategically placing a grooming perch in their bird’s cage to encourage self-grooming of the nails and beak, and some very tame birds will even allow their owners to slightly “sand” off the sharp points with an emery board or nail file.

My parrot is jealous and lunging at other family members. What should I do?

Parrots that bond strongly with their primary caregiver can sometimes exhibit jealousy towards other family members. This is because the bird sees their caregiver as their sole companion and may view others as a threat to their bond. But don’t worry, there are some strategies you can try. Firstly, it’s essential to establish trust between your bird and other family members, which requires both time and patience. Start by having your family member place your bird’s favourite treat in their food dish while the bird is in their cage. Then, over time, gradually move towards a neutral area, like a play stand. It might be helpful to remove yourself from the area, so your bird isn’t distracted by your presence. With positive reinforcement and time, your bird will learn to see your family members as “friends” and a source of treats, resulting in less aggressive behaviour.

What is the difference between a play gym and a training perch? Do I need both?

A play gym for a parrot usually features an assortment of toys to help promote foraging and physical activity whereas a training perch or stand is bare in comparison. Without distractions, the bird can concentrate on learning behaviours with their human mentor. The need for both depends greatly on the individual bird. If a bird is well-behaved and performs well for the owner, a play gym should suffice.

How do I begin to start training my bird for free flight?

Free flying our birds is a great exercise for many parrot species and it can be a lot of fun for you and your parrot as well! But this activity takes dedicated training on a continual basis. We suggest that you align yourself with accomplished free or managed flight groups for essential training.

Bird Life Stage

My 12-week-old parrot won’t wean, what can I do?

First, you should ensure that your bird has been examined by a veterinarian to make sure they do not have an infection, such as candida which can be problematic with fledglings. Once you know your bird is healthy, then we recommend that you offer your fledgling moistened Tropican High Performance formula, while at the same time offering a syringe or spoon of Tropican Hand-Feeding formula. By playing into a bird’s instinct to eat what they know is food, they will quickly recognize the same flavour in the baby food as in the moistened morsels of Tropican. We also recommend that when offering “Assisted feeding”, your fledgling be fed near their food dish — that way they will also learn this is where to go when they’re hungry!

I have an older parrot, what changes should I make accommodate their senior lifestyle?

As your bird ages, making changes in their diet or to their cage may be necessary for their overall health condition. Your Avian Veterinarian can help you with a health evaluation. Your bird’s key physical attributes that need to be considered would include posture, eyesight, and overall flexibility. You might consider changing the perches to include rope or sisal to ease any possible discomfort in their feet. As for diet, you will need to keep track of your bird’s consumption. We do recommend the regular weighing of pet birds to monitor trends in weight gain and loss. Many geriatric birds respond well to a diet that’s a bit lower in fats and proteins and that is easier to digest.

I am new to aviculture and my birds are showing signs of wanting to breed, can you provide some advice?

First, make sure you have a true male/female pair, that they are in good health and of appropriate age to reproduce.  Your Avian Veterinarian can evaluate them. Second, provide a good environment where your birds will feel safe and secure to raise a family. You’ll need an appropriate nest box with an appropriate substrate, a suitable cage with ample room and sturdy perches. Diet is also a major consideration as your birds’ hormones are triggered by a needed increase in nutritional value — especially with regards to proteins and calorie content – which is why we recommend Tropican High Performance formula. Don’t be discouraged if the birds do not go to nest right away, this might take time and eggs and/or babies are not always guaranteed. However, should your pair become parents, expect them to be defensive of their eggs and babies. For more information, read our Early Parrot Education series which will help guide you through many of the next steps.

My parrot keeps picking at her feet. Is there a chance that she could be ovulating?

Sometimes parrots will pick at their feet when something internal is irritating them, and it can also develop into a habit. Since you referred to your parrot as a “she”, there is always a chance that she might be ovulating and the internal pressure of egg development, whether an egg is laid or not, can be a little irritating to nerves that run down her legs. We suggest that you monitor your bird’s weight and encourage her to climb to exercise her muscles near her abdomen to relieve any discomfort. We also recommend that you consult your Avian Veterinarian to ensure there are no underlying health problems, and/or if you notice a continuing pattern of this behaviour.

What is a parrot necropsy and why should I consider having it done?

The loss of your beloved pet or the unexplained loss of several birds of a breeding stock representing a lifetime’s achievement can be an emotionally painful experience, but when the time comes to suggest a necropsy, it can make a sad and painful situation even more unpleasant. A necropsy is a generally complete study of a body after death. It’s one of the oldest medical procedures, but nonetheless still unknown to most people. A necropsy is an important clinical diagnostic tool, as very often this procedure will help determine the cause of death or the cause of a multifaceted disease.  It’s also an essential tool in evaluating the quality of care, as the post-mortem examination allows the veterinarian to verify if their diagnostic hypothesis and treatment plan were appropriate. As disagreeable as a necropsy may sound, it can provide a last crucial piece of a complex puzzle and provide a vital diagnostic tool for the future health and survival of an entire stock. Read more about the reasons here. You can also learn about the steps to take here.


How to modify parrot behavior through clicker training

Clicker training is a well-established training method whereby your bird is trained to recognize that the sound of the clicker is a sign that their good behaviour is going to be reinforced with a reward. The clicker’s sound tells your bird that whatever they were doing at the exact moment they heard the clicker has earned them a treat – usually a food item. Over time, a clicking sound whenever your bird has performed correctly, followed by a reward, will prompt your pet to repeat that behaviour whenever the clicker is used.
Clicker training your parrot has several key advantages. Because the method uses positive reinforcement instead of force or punishment, the training itself builds trust and often feels like play and is overwhelmingly successful when it comes to building a “bond” between you and your pet. Learn more here.

How to hand-train your Budgie

The easiest way to hand-train your new pet budgie is to start when they are a baby. Any budgie under 16 weeks of age is a baby and will be a good candidate for finger training and teaching them to talk. Ask that the bird’s flight feathers be trimmed so they can’t fly off and hurt themself while you are getting to know each other. Budgies need to feel comfortable in their surroundings, so when you bring your bird home let them settle in for a day or two first. You can sit quietly by their cage and talk to them and just observe their behaviour.  You’ll know when your bird’s settled in once you see them eating, drinking, and exploring their cage. Pick a quiet time of day, where you won’t be rushed or interrupted for at least 30 minutes. Calmly use a small hand towel to gently restrain and remove the bird from the cage, and take them to a small, confined space such as the bathroom.  Your budgie will associate the towel with being grabbed, not your hand. When it comes to hand training, you can choose to use either the finger-training or perch-training method. If you’re nervous about being bitten, you might want to start with perch-training. Remember, repetition is key to successful budgie training. The goal is to reach the point where you can open the cage, put your finger in and ask your budgie to step onto your finger without hesitation. For more information on how to train your budgie, click here.

Should I use punishment when it comes to training my parrot?

The simple answer is “No”. Punishment can range from mild (the removal of attention, time outs) to more severe forms (screaming, hitting, cage-rattling, feather pulling, squirting with water, etc.) but many of these techniques, while designed to curb negative behaviour, actually work against the basic psychology of learning and cognition, while doing nothing to teach the bird about the value of good behaviour. Unfortunately, these methods usually have the opposite effect they were seeking to gain.  Using positive reinforcement training (PRT) or clicker training are much more gentle and effective ways to train your bird. For more information about the negative effects of punishing your parrot, click here.

Is it important for me to learn how to towel restraint my bird?

Yes. Mastering the art of safe and non-invasive restraint techniques for your bird is essential for proper grooming and emergency first aid procedures. For more information on how to safely towel restraint your bird, click here.

How do I begin to start training my bird for free flight?

Free flying our birds is a great exercise for many parrot species and it can be a lot of fun for you and your parrot as well! But this activity takes dedicated training on a continual basis. We suggest that you align yourself with accomplished free or managed flight groups for essential training.

What is the best way to teach my parrot to step up?

One of the best ways to teach a bird a simple task such as “step up” is to build trust with positive reinforcement and to set aside a small amount of time every day to help accomplish this. Break down the training sessions to no longer than 5-10 minutes and offer a reward for even the smallest attempt towards the end goal of step up. A positive reinforcement can be a treat or something that you know they really like. Be advised to only offer small, tiny bits of food reward, as you want them to finish their treat very quickly and want more. Always use a soothing voice when you say “step up”, and make this time all about trust and positivity. Be satisfied with small steps. Before long they will reach their foot out to you. Be sure to “reward” and vocalize the command simultaneously as you want them to associate this reward and the command together. Be prepared to have more rewards available for them as you reach the end goal. To not reward their desirable behaviour can be a step back.


I have to rehome my parrot. What can I do to make sure he will be okay?

Rehoming a parrot can be a difficult and emotional decision, but it is sometimes necessary to ensure the bird’s well-being. Look for a parrot rescue or sanctuary that has experience in rehoming birds. They will have the knowledge and resources to give your parrot the best chance of finding a new forever home. Do not be surprised that many facilities will expect you to provide a clean health certificate to ensure the bird is healthy. Provide as much information as possible about your parrot, including their age, sex, personality, diet, and any special needs or behaviours. Include clear photos of your bird as well. Filling in his health booklet is a good place to start. Ask for references and conduct interviews to ensure that potential adopters are knowledgeable about parrot care and have the time and resources to care for your bird. Once you have found a suitable adopter, provide them with all the necessary information about your parrot, including their diet, routine, and any quirks or preferences. Arrange a visit to your home so your parrot can get to know their new owner.

I adopted a new parrot with chronic feather damage. He’s afraid of my hands and screams all the time. What should I do?

Your new friend might have some issues that stem from their previous “human experience”.  Assuming your Avian Veterinarian has checked the bird thoroughly, you can start by working on his diet. Your bird’s feather-damaging behaviour might possibly stem from his previous environment or possibly be a diet issue. To learn more about diet conversion, click here

Whatever you do, ensure that you institute all changes slowly, especially toys and environment, and always strive to be positive.  As for the screaming and fear of your hands, this is a trust issue. Trust, especially with a parrot that might have had a past negative experience, is an earned condition. Be prepared for this to take some time. Your bird will soon learn that with you caring for him, they have regular food and minimal stress, and that will help lead them to a more trusting relationship with you.

After a friend passed away, his 20-year-old-parrot was left in my care, but I have been told that he is rather rare and might be better off in a breeding facility. How do I know what makes a good facility?

It is understandable how challenging it can be to take care of a beloved pet after a friend’s passing. It’s important to consider what is best for the bird. Breeding facilities may be a good option, but it’s crucial to find a reputable one. Get in touch with an avian veterinarian or bird club to find a trusted breeder who can help you place the parrot in a suitable environment. A good facility should maintain studbooks and keep track of bloodlines to ensure the survival of the species, and they should also work in collaboration with veterinarians for optimal care.

A few years ago, I took in a bare-eyed cockatoo who has had several previous homes. Unfortunately, things aren’t working out as planned, and I’m wondering what to do next?

While it’s disappointing, just because we love them doesn’t mean they’ll love us in return. Parrots that have lived in multiple homes over their lifespan may not have their health records and behaviour notes properly kept. This means that new owners are often left with little information about their new pet, making the transition difficult. In such situations, it’s important to approach the matter with care and patience. Here are a few suggestions to consider:

  • Start by completing a Mind and Body Chart for the bird, which will give you a better understanding of his likes and dislikes. Keep records of his behaviour and other relevant information, as it may be useful in managing his care or finding a new home.
  • Speak with other bird owners, bird clubs and your Avian Veterinarian to gain a better understanding of his personality and the challenges you are facing.
  • If you’re thinking of rehoming the bird, take the time to find the right caretaker. Share the records you’ve kept with any potential adopters, as they will appreciate the information.
I am considering becoming a foster caregiver for parrots that need a home. What do I need to know?

Fostering a parrot can be an incredibly fulfilling experience for both you and your household, as well as the bird in need. However, there are some potential challenges, even with the best of intentions. One of which is that foster homes can sometimes feel overwhelmed with unknown information about their new feathered friend. To address this, it’s recommended to work with experienced mentors who can provide valuable support during the transition process.

When fostering a parrot, it’s important to obtain the bird’s previous health and behaviour records from the previous owner. If these are not available, it’s crucial to establish them for the bird’s future owner. This includes health checkups, necessary medication, diet assessment and correction, and notes on the bird’s behaviour. If you are new to the species or have not encountered it before, researching their characteristics can be very helpful. And if you have other birds at home, remember to quarantine your new foster for the safety of all birds.

Our family is concerned that our aging mother is no longer able to provide adequate care for her budgie. We are thinking it might be time to find the bird a new home. Can you provide advice?

It can be a difficult subject, but if you’re worried about your aging mother’s ability to care for her budgie, it’s important to address it. Your family may need to consider finding a new home for her beloved pet bird if you’re not able to manage the budgie’s care yourselves. First, consider creating a daily log of care for your mother to use. This way, she can still be involved in the bird’s care, and you can be sure that they are receiving proper attention. This may also help you and your family determine when it’s appropriate to consider rehoming the bird.

Choosing the perfect formula for your pet bird.

Companion parrots require a balanced diet that contains a nutritious blend of grains, seeds, nuts, vegetables, fruits, vitamins and minerals. Pet parents also need to consider the species, life stage and lifestyle of their pet bird.