Vet Hansel answers your questions about pet care in this weekly advice column, created in partnership with the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA). We will also be highlighting each week some of the animals in the BSPCA sanctuary, in the hope of finding each of them a loving home.
Question: What requirements should I consider before adopting a parrot as a pet in my apartment?
Answer: Every bird enthusiast should consider the following when thinking of adopting a bird:
Long-term commitment: Bird ownership should never be considered as a short-term commitment. Most parrots live for about 20 to 50 years - with larger parrots (such as macaws) living longer. Parrots form strong bonds with their owners and hence will have difficulty adjusting to a new owner.
Vocalisation: Most birds (especially parrots) are vocal. In the wild, these birds will scream, screech, call, trill and routinely make a great deal of noise. Hence, these birds may not be very suitable for apartment complexes which are in close proximity to each other.
This is one of the reasons why many birds end up being abandoned, as their owners have to choose between keeping the apartment or keeping the birds.
Therefore, it is important to properly research the vocal habits of the bird you are considering. For example, canaries and budgies are quieter compared to big parrots such as macaws.
Size of the bird: Small birds may not be suitable for households with small children as children can easily injure birds unintentionally. Larger birds can injure children who place their hands or faces in or near the cage.
Cage location: You must locate an ideal place for your bird cage. They can rapidly overheat if exposed to periods of direct sunlight. They must also be kept away from the path of chilling air condition ducts and hot air ducts. Never keep your bird in the kitchen, as toxic fumes, aerosols and smoke from cooking can be extremely dangerous or even lethal for birds. Cigarette and other tobacco smoke must also be avoided.
Neatness: If neatness is important to you, then you must rethink your decision to adopt a parrot. Most parrots throw food all over the cage and defecate anywhere and everywhere. Make sure that you have truly made up your mind to tolerate their messiness, clean up and re-furnish their bowls with fresh water and feed daily.
Attention: Parrots need a lot of attention. These birds are intelligible and hence require some form of mental stimulation (such as human contact) to keep them occupied. Boredom in these birds can often lead to destructive behaviours. Therefore it is important to spend time training and socialising your bird.
Hope these guidelines will help you govern the suitability of adopting a parrot.
l Dr Hansel Geo is a veterinary consultant and surgeon for the BSPCA. Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The BSPCA Shelter dogs are taken into air conditioned buildings between 11.30am and 3.30pm daily. If you would like to see the dogs, please come before 11.30am and after 3.30pm during normal working hours.
BSPCA's Cat of the Week is Minstrel
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Colour: Black with tortoise-shell patches
Age: Approximately 10 weeks
Minstrel took time to adjust to her new surroundings but once she was comfortable she became extremely fun to be around. She is still very young and can be playful and a little bit mischievous, but she is also loving and displays lots of affection. She can be beautifully vocal and loves to talk to anyone who will listen. Minstrel is a beautiful and pretty girl and will grow up to be a very sweet and loving companion. Minstrel is fully vaccinated.
BSPCA's Dog of the Week is Freckles
Colour: White and black
Age: Approximately three years
Freckles arrived at the shelter a few weeks ago with her friend Speckles, a chocolate brown spotted Dalmatian. Both Dalmatians are happy and enthusiastic and, although they have high energy levels, contrary to popular belief they are not hyper-active or highly strung. They are entertaining, enjoy being the centre of attention and love to have fun. Dalmatians are a breed of natural watchdogs and have a high level of intelligence and loyalty to their owners. We would like Freckles and Speckles to be adopted as a pair as they are best friends and have grown up together. Freckles is neutered, vaccinated and frontlined.
If you are interested in adopting Minstrel, Freckles or any of our other cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, please visit the sanctuary in Saar, near St Christopher's School, or log onto our website www.bspca.org for directions.
- By BSPCA Pet Reporter Louise Edwards