Who Is the Real Expert?

With the advent of FB many people have come “experts” regarding all things parrot. You will find groups on about every topic imaginable in relation to parrots. Groups for food advice, first aid groups, behavior groups, groups that “specialize” in certain species, etc. Please always keep in mind that the people on the other side of your computer screen are most often simply people like yourself who live with parrots. Some will spit out “facts” or bits and pieces of “knowledge” without knowing the whole truth or the entirety of the picture. You may find some really good advice in some groups but fact check everything prior to applying this advice to your bird. Speak with your vet any time there is a medical concern or diet or behavioral concern, they are trained professionals who have the ability to “see the whole picture”. We all see the fad diets offered for plucking, mutilating or “hormonal” issues, sadly these fad diets could make your bird very sick or even cause death in some instances. I frequently see apple cider vinegar offered up as a cure for many “ailments”, just add it to the water they say. Never add anything to your birds water without consulting your vet! Water is mandatory for life and if it tastes off or smells off to your bird he may not drink it. Bodies without water dehydrate very quickly which can lead to death. Because birds drink small amounts of water from the large bowls we offer, you may not even notice your bird is not drinking.

Another area of often seen advice is for plucking. Some will say they know exactly why your bird is plucking and how to “cure” it. Do you really believe for a minute that of there was a cure for plucking that your avian vet would not know about it? Some will advise that you use a spray on your bird to moisturize it’s feathers, others will tell you to use products like bitter apple so it tastes bad if they try to pluck. Yet, others will tell you to use essential oils on your bird or to diffuse them around your bird. Did you know that foreign substances o your birds feathers can actually cause them to pluck more? Did you know some of these products are actually harmful to your bird. Ask any vet and most will tell you that plucking is the number one thing they see birds for an the most frustrating issue for them as vets because there is no hard set of rules or treatments or causes. There are some practical things to try but in the end we must learn to love our birds as they are and not take it personal. Did you know that essential oils can harm your bird? Most vets will tell you not to diffuse them around your bird and certainly never to allow your bird to ingest them. Did you know that trying to feed your bird an all fresh diet can actually lead to malnourishment? Without a degree in avian nutrition it is next to impossible to provide everything your bird need nutritionally and in the proper amounts. As with everything, moderation is key. Avian specialists and scientist have worked for decades to discover the nutritional needs of our companions and how best to provide it. A diet of good pellet supplemented with fresh veggies and small amounts of fresh fruit along with tree nuts is still the best recommendation.

I have only mentioned a few of the topics found in discussions on FB about parrot care but in the end, your avian vet is the expert with the education, knowledge and expertise to best advise you in all things parrot!