FAQs About Parrots

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  • Sugar in parrot food? Is that allowed?

    Did you know that most Vitakraft products for birds are manufactured using sugar-free recipes?

    To be able to consider sugar and its importance objectively, however, it is first important to be aware that there are many different types of sugar. Those generally known include fructose, dextrose and lactose. In addition to having different origins, they also have different chemical structures.

    Sugar is naturally present in virtually all foods; it is the natural product of the photosynthesis of plants and is required as a source of energy by all living creatures. The sugar is either consumed directly or released by other carbohydrates during metabolism. The parrot's natural food also contains a certain proportion of sugar, for example in herbs, vegetables and fruits.

    If, for reasons of principle, you would like to use only food with a sugar-free recipe, Vitakraft offers an enormous selection! No sugar is added to most Vitakraft products, particularly those fed in larger quantities; the main foods in other words. 

    If sugar is used – which may sometimes be necessary, for example for technical reasons – we pay very close attention to ensuring that the sugar content/overall amount consumed is kept low and appropriate. In addition, our recipes and the raw materials and types of sugar we use guarantee easy digestibility.

  • Why does the information on the packaging sometimes differ to that given on the website?

    We may occasionally change the recipe of our products for example, to comply with legally prescribed changes, or to make the food even more tasty for the animals. Such changes in composition naturally mean that the packaging in question needs to be revised. It can also be the case that new provisions in the laws governing pet food apply only to the food declaration, while the recipe remains unchanged. The product packaging will be changed in this case too.

    While we are able to update online information very quickly, including changing pictures where necessary, it takes longer with retail stores, and for a time, you will often find both the old and new recipes, as well as the old and new packaging, available in stores.

  • How big should a parrot cage be?

    As big as possible! After all, larger parrots also want to move in the way they expect to. The bigger the space available to do this in, the better.

    Some owners even have large outdoor aviaries or set aside an entire room for the bird, but a large and suitable cage can also offer the animal a secure and fine home. The size of the cage should ideally allow the bird to fly short distances and contain suitable equipment. What's important, for example, is a number of perches with different diameters. But don't forget: parrots need to fly freely on a regular basis!

  • How do I set up a bird room?

    A bird room available to the parrot all day or temporarily is a great thing to have. 

    When setting up your bird room, however, do remember that safety, hygiene and suitable equipment should always be provided! Experienced bird owners will not have a problem with that: secured windows and doors, a cleanable floor covering and suitable landing places provide these, and an unused or little-used room can quickly be turned into a great bird room. Suitable landing places include horizontally hung twigs or a thick climbing branch with side branches, placed in a flowerpot filled with sand.

    A cage also deserves its place in the bird room and serves an important function. It should be used as the place where the bird sleeps and feeds, meaning it is associated with something positive and can, as needed, easily be used as a quarantine station or transport option.

  • What greens and fresh food can I offer?

    Besides seeds and grains, parrots will also happily eat succulent food. Feeding them fruit and vegetables, or even wild plants and grass, will thus introduce appropriate variety into the bird's diet. Each parrot has its own particular preferences however, as at the end of the day, each of these birds is its own little personality. Generally popular are, for example, apples, bananas, pears, strawberries, rose hips, currants, dandelion, carrots, orange, spinach, gooseberries, rowan berries and chickweed. You'll notice very quickly what the individual bird likes best and then be able to use its favourite snacks for taming it and attracting it.

    Particularly popular as treats are also raisins, dates and figs as these are really sweet; however, you should only give the bird a few. Sprouting seed or grain, for example, is also wholesome and nutritious.

  • How much activity does my bird need?

    Virtually all parrot species are excellent flyers as, in the wild, this ability is necessary for them to live – whether to look for food or escape enemies. When kept as pets, therefore, these birds also require plenty of activity, because only then can they strengthen their muscles and circulation. Free flying on a daily basis, alongside a balanced and appropriate diet, is therefore an important factor when keeping birds. The cage can also be designed in such a way as to allow for short flights. For this, the perches should be placed far apart from each other that the bird cannot simply hop from one to the other, but needs to flap its wings to do so.

    With larger parrot species, in particular, climbing is also very important however. Birds will therefore respond very well to objects inside and outside of the cage, such as a climbing tree for example, which give them an opportunity to climb.

  • Can I shorten my parrot's beak by myself?

    Excessive beak growth can occasionally occur with all parrots. Cutting the beak is best left to a vet or an experienced breeder. With some animals, however, this procedure needs to be repeated regularly. If you trust yourself to do this you should seek precise instructions as to how to go about it, thus saving the bird from frequent visits to the vet and associated stress.

    Besides this, you can naturally take further measures that enable the bird to wear away and look after its beak on its own – for example, using Vita Fit® MineralMaxi natural cuttlefish, or with fresh twigs, for example from fruit trees, at which the bird can pick.  Another way to wear down the beak naturally is to let your bird nibble on delicious, crunchy Kräcker®  sticks.

  • Can I clip the claws myself?

    A pet bird's claws may occasionally grow too long. However, you should do everything you can to prevent this from happening in the first place. Through climbing on perches, branches and twigs, the claws will wear down by themselves. What's important is that the branches have different diameters.

    A practiced bird owner can clip the claws of their pet themselves. Beginners, however, should leave this task to the pet supplies retailer, breeder or vet.

    When clipping the claws, it is especially important not to damage the delicate blood vessels in the claws. Only the tips of the claws contain no blood. You should therefore never cut too deeply.

    Cut the claws diagonally using claw nippers to create a new point, which will help the bird with climbing.

  • How do I keep the cage clean and hygienic?

    In a modern bird cage, keeping your parrot clean is easy with the many Vitakraft products available.

    The basic rules: the cage should have a plastic or metal floor tray, as wood absorbs droppings and can become a feeding ground for bacteria. Bird cages with a tray system are particularly practical when it comes to cleaning, enabling the cage of birds which are still timid to be cleaned, without unsettling them.

    Depending on the size of the cage and the number of birds, you should clean at least once a week. When doing so, you should change the bird sand and, if needed, also clean the floor tray and perches thoroughly.  

    In any case, the water and food bowls need to be cleaned more frequently because, in the water dish in particular, algae and bacteria might otherwise become established.

  • How can I tell a male apart from a female?

    Differentiating between the sexes is not always easy with parrots and, with some varieties, only possible by way of an endoscopic examination or genetic analysis.

    With some types, however, the colour of the plumage can help: the males of white-fronted Amazons, for example, have red feathers on their primary coverts, which enables them to be easily recognised. With the various types of cockatoo, you can tell the sex by looking at the colour of their eyes: the iris of the female is red-brown, while that of the male is either dark brown or black.

  • Can parrots be kept alone?

    All parrot species are social animals. In the wild, they live in a flock or as a pair and have highly developed social skills.

    When kept as pets, therefore, these birds also require company. We generally therefore recommend keeping at least two birds together. What's more, birds kept together as a pair suffer less from boredom and behavioural disorders.

    In exceptional cases, it may be necessary to keep a parrot alone temporarily. Such birds often get very close to their owners, seek their company and need a lot of activity and attention. The time and love you invest in enabling your bird to live a pleasant and appropriate life will be repaid with particular intimacy and loyalty. Parrots should only be kept alone, however, in exceptional circumstances.

  • What causes parrots to pluck their feathers?

    Feather plucking can be due to quite different causes. The subject is so complex that we can only touch on it here.

    In the first instance, you should call on your vet to examine the bird for physical illnesses. After that, it's important to review the bird's diet, to exclude symptoms of deficiency. In doing so, you should ensure that it is eating sufficient quantities of minerals, amino acids and vitamins. You can use Vitakraft products to put together a balanced diet. To support the regrowth of feathers, you can also give the bird, for example, Vita Fit® Pro-Feda® moulting aid.

    If the bird has no physical illness, then the problem is probably a behavioural disorder. The cause of this is sometimes very difficult to determine, if at all. Often, however, it will be loneliness and boredom. Having a bird of the same type as company is often the best medicine, as birds that are kept alone are most likely to pluck out their feathers.

  • How can I get my new bird used to me?

    Each parrot has its own character, so getting used to people will differ from animal to animal. What's important is not to pressurise the new bird, but – in particular in its settling-in period – to give it a little peace. After that, you should pay a little more attention to the bird from day to day. To do this, however, you'll need to take things step by step, as some birds don't like it when you obtrude on them. You'll therefore need to exercise a little restraint.

    It can also be helpful, for example, to entice them with a treat, such as Kräcker® sticks, which you can offer them by hand. If this "gift" is accepted, the ice is usually broken.

  • How do you build a climbing tree?

    A climbing tree outside the bird's cage can quickly turn into the favourite place of any parrot. Plus, when it's flying, the tree serves as an ideal landing place.

    Depending on the space available and the size of the bird, you should use a large branch with some side branches – ideally, made out of hardwood (such as beech or oak), because soft wood would be nibbled away too quickly. Then, simply fix the branch to a stable base plate, to prevent it from tipping over. With larger branches, a Christmas tree stand is ideal. You will be expecting the bird to stay on the climbing tree for a long time, so it's worth placing something under it to catch the droppings – for example, a plastic board or floor tray that you would use for a bird cage, onto which you should put some bird sand.

    Above all, to get the bird used to it initially, you should place its favourite toy and some treats, such as Kräcker® or VITA NATURE® natural millet on the new climbing tree