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The Care of Parrots - Harper's


Parrots are among the most intelligent of household pets, and much attention should be bestowed upon them. So large a bird suffers if kept constantly confined in a cage, but a parrot is so destructive that it is impossible to allow it the liberty of a house, as chairs, carpets, in short, every article of furniture, will soon show the marks of its strong beak. If there is a garden, the parrot should be given a daily promenade during warm weather. It is a necessity to this bird to exercise its beak, and if kept in a cage, it should often be given a chip of wood to tear to pieces. A parrot will amuse itself for hours biting a chip into small fragments. The cage and feed dishes should be thoroughly cleaned every day, and fresh gravel kept in the bottom of the cage.

Parrots are fond of canary and hemp seed, and should always have fresh water, in which a little cracker may be soaked. A little sweetened weak coffee and milk, with bread crumbed in it, may be given about once a week. Apples, pears, and oranges are healthy food, and should always have the seeds left in, as a parrot will eat those first, carefully peeling them, and devour the meat afterward. A slice of lemon and a small red pepper should be given occasionally, also English walnuts.

Cleanliness is essential to the health of a parrot, and as it will not bathe itself like most other birds, it should occasionally be stood in a pan containing an inch or two of tepid water, and its back sprinkled gently. The bird will scream and rebel, but will feel better after it. It should be left in its bath for a few moments only (as it easily gets chilled), and then placed on its perch, where it can not feel any wind, to dry and plume itself. During a warm summer shower it is well to stand the cage out-of-doors for a short time. The parrot will usually spread its wings to receive the drops, and scream with delight, as that is its natural way of bathing. Parrots have very tender feet, and they often suffer if their claws are not kept perfectly clean. The perch should on this account be wiped dry every day. Meat, or anything greasy, is harmful to a parrot, and parsley will kill it, although lettuce, and especially green peas in the pod, are healthy diet.

Parrots are almost always savage to strangers, but so affectionate to the person who tends them that they fully repay for the care bestowed upon them.