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Parrot Health

Published on Friday, 31st March 2017

With their intelligence and character it’s no wonder that Parrots, like so many other pets, quickly become members of the family. This probably explains why your customers are willing to go that extra mile to help them stay healthy.
Being the go-to-place for advice on keeping their feathered family member fit and healthy is a great way to retain custom and grow your business. So what kind of advice can you give to help serve your customer’s needs, whilst promoting your pet bird offering?
Choosing A Cage
This is usually the second biggest investment any Parrot owner makes (after the bird itself). Your customers will be taking a lot into consideration when making their decision on which cage to buy, including size, style and price.
Always advise your customers to buy the biggest cage they can afford. This is not a ploy to make them spend more, but a cage should (at a minimum) allow their bird to fully stretch their wings, move freely and have room for enrichment. So, the more space the better, especially as their bird is likely to spend a fair amount of time in their cage and space is quickly taken up with toys and accessories.

Cage bars should be strong enough and spaced out to prevent damage, escapes or a bird getting stuck in between the bars.
Most cages come with straight dowel wood perches, these aren’t ideal as they don’t exercise the Parrot’s feet. Suggest replacing them with ones made from natural branches, or that have a diameter that varies.
Cages with removable or swing out feeder doors, mean your customers can easily change their bird’s food and water without the need to enter the cage which can cause unnecessary stress.
There are a variety of styles available. If space is at a premium suggest a cage with a gym style top so their Parrot has somewhere to exercise and play when they are out of their cage.
Some cages have a removable seed catcher, which helps keep mess confined to the cage. Most have wheels (or castors) fitted for easy moving. Pull out trays, grilles and large front doors all help make cleaning easier.
Which Diet?
Diet is vitally important to a Parrot’s health. Long gone are the days where a mix full of sunflower seeds and peanuts suffices. Your customers should be looking to provide a nutrient rich and varied diet. Over the years vets have put many health problems simply down to a poor diet.
Complete (or pelleted) diets have been around a lot longer than you may think. And the concept is no different to the foods we sell for most other pets. It is now widely accepted to use a complete diet as a base with vegetables, fruits, sprouted seeds, nuts and seeds making up the rest. Variety is the key.

Complete foods provide the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients required daily for a bird’s overall wellbeing.
There are some foods that are known to be very unhealthy, even toxic to Parrots such as chocolate and avocado. It’s definitely worth learning more about what’s safe and not safe.
Enriching Their Environment
The importance of foraging has been mentioned previously. Parrots have a strong natural desire to spend their time and energy searching for and retrieving food (there’s no bowls of food in the wild). Advise your customers to provide foraging toys, providing essential mental and physical stimulation.
Parrots can be very playful. Toys that promote exercise through play such as those for climbing on and swinging about from are a great way to help keep birds to keep active and healthy.
Activity and trick toys teach Parrot new skills, provide mental stimulation, exercise and strengthen the bond between the bird and your customer. Bored birds show negative unwanted behaviours and can be hard to manage.

Why Use UV Bird Lights?
Having regular amounts of UV light is vital to a Parrot. It not only allows them to see in full colour (birds see in ultra violet), it helps them to synthesise Vitamin D3, which they use in turn to produce calcium for strong bones and beak.
Placing a Parrot’s cage by a window unfortunately isn’t going to help, as glass actually blocks most of the beneficial UV light. Allowing the Parrot time outside to soak up those rays would be the most ideal solution. However, special UV bird lights are available to use in the home and are becoming increasingly popular.

The coating on the bulbs does degrade over time, and you should be advising your customers to replace them at least every 12 months or sooner depending on their usage.
Make sure you’re not missing out on improving the health of your store. Customers that trust you to provide the right advice are going to return time and time again for the products they need.
Please note: Always suggest your customers speak to their avian vet first if you suspect a Parrot is unwell.

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