ZIGGY (the emperor parrot) & GEORGE (his companion human)



(Posting as ParrotSlave)

QUESTION:  My parrot is regurgitating for me. How do I make him stop?My 3 1/2 year old, male green cheeked conure tries to feed me by regurgitation. He and I are very close, and I'm certain that he is flirting with me as if I'm his mate. How do I make him stop offering me food? I don't want to punish him because he means well, but I also don't want him to get sick on me.

GEORGE'S ANSWER:  I had the same issue when I first got Ziggy, but I had an inspiration: when he started, I put a finger in his beak and gently rocked his head in the same motion that birds do when they are feeding each other. The result is that he swallows his own regurgitate as though I were feeding him. I don't get regurgitated on, and he gets "psychological" satisfaction. He will yell for me to come and "burp" him now. This behavior is strongest during mating season. (He thinks I am his wife.)
QUESTION:  Where can I find the least expensive full spectrum lights for my Parrots?
I just read I should be giving them 4-6 hours of light per day with one of these lamps. Where is a good place to buy one? And how many hours of sleep maximum should my Parrot be getting a night?
GEORGE'S ANSWER:  Yes, as a result of Dr. Jonathan Ott's work, we now know that birds need light that emulates natural sunlight. Birds and reptiles need the ultraviolet part of the spectrum in order to make vitamin D3 There is evidence that natural light is better for humans also, so the best thing to do is make all the light in your bird's room full spectrum. Do not be fooled by words like "natural color" or "reveal" on the packaging. Such bulbs are NOT full spectrum. If you are not paying more than about $15 per bulb, then you are NOT getting full spectrum bulbs. The best known name brand is Ott Light; Vita-Lite Spiralux is also good. Just type those phrases into yahoo search and look for a supplier. I've been getting mine recently at naturallighting.com, which carries Vita-Lite Spiralux compact fluorescent plug-in bulbs. Note: the emission spectra of these bulbs changes with time, so there is less uv as the bulbs age. After a year, get a new bulb for your bird and put the old bulb (which will still look good to your naked eye) somewhere else.
QUESTION:  Why does my orange wing parrot streech out her feet and screech as if in lots of pain?
she was very neglected when i got her in november 2007
GEORGE'S ANSWER:  Yahoo! Answers are wonderful, but are no substitute for what you need, which is immediate professional help, preferably from a certified avian veterinarian.
MORE (not in my original answer):  I cannot imagine why anyone would go asking something like that on Yahoo! answers, which could take days and might or might not get a relevant answer, all while their bird is suffering.  Perhaps the lady who posed the question should have sought help from more than one kind of professional.  Fortunately in this case, she did finally go to a vet.  Certain conditions cannot be ignored; I know a lady who lost her 35 year old parrot after she ignored blood in the bird's droppings.  When she finally got the bird to a vet weeks later, it was too late, and a last-minute vitamin K injection did not save the bird.  Obviously, no one can say whether prompt treatment could have saved it, but at least the bird could have been humanely euthanized instead of having to suffer.
QUESTION:  My Parrot screams for food . people food . How do I make her stop?
My family gives her whatever they have ( with the exception of avocados ) to shut her up .
Also she loves to eat chicken , bacon and eggs , is that kinda cannibalistic?
GEORGE'S ANSWER:  Birds are, by nature, social animals, so unless you have other birds for them to socialize with, then YOU have to do the socializing. For most of us, this is not a burden but a pleasure. After all, why else would you have a bird? If you just want something pretty to look at, then buy a picture or a statue.

To me it would be criminal to cover the bird up and isolate it from what community it has--i.e., you and your family--as some would suggest. If humans are going to accept that it is ethical to have birds as pets, we owe it to them to try and make them happy "psychologically." Parrots are sentient animals, not feathered dolls to be casually stroked. Possessing sentience, they are endowed by their creator with certain rights.

There's a very simple solution to the food problem: make your people food into healthy food and give the healthiest part to your bird. You and your bird will both live longer. I put frozen peas, for instance, into most things I cook, even omelets, specifically so I can fish them out for my Ziggy (or let him fish it out for himself.) Our diet is low salt and low fat, with lots of spices. The more spices you have, the less salt you need. And, contrary to the expectations of a previous answerer, hot sauce would probably make the parrot like the food even more. I put serranos or jalapeños into almost everything I cook, as well as into Ziggy's produce bowl regularly.

I have extended discussions on the human/parrot food issue on one of my PWPs (link below.)

By the way, parrots are well known aficionados of cooked eggs. I have to admit that I try not to crack eggs in front of Ziggy, not because of the cannibalism aspect, but because I have the occasional pang of worry that he might think it's a parrot egg. As far as eating chicken, meat is meat, and they don't know or care where it came from. There do exist parrots that kill for meat, and they are all omnivorous. Although the term cannibalistic denotes a specific behavior, the use of the term has a moral connotation apart from the behavior, but in the case of parrots, there is no morality to be involved, so don't worry about "kinda cannibalistic."
QUESTION: Any tips on potty training a 4 month old male Eclectus parrot?
GEORGE'S ANSWER:  Praise the bird when he defecates where he is supposed to, but don't criticize or scold him when he doesn't: use positive reinforcement. He will get the idea when he's ready to. Parrots are naturally potty-trained to a certain extent: they don't go inside their own nests.

On the other hand, I don't think it's a good idea to train them to hold it in too long, which could be done if you use negative reinforcement also. Unnatural straining might contribute to bowel problems as it does in humans.

Don't consider those potty suits some places sell. Diapers on a bird would seem to be the epitome of all perversions; there ought to be a law against them.
QUESTION:  I want to get a Blue Fronted Amazon but want other peoples opinion on this parrot?
Ok I was told that a blur fronted amazon are very versatile parrots and enjoy their toys and can intertain themselves if needed to. Basically not so demanding for attention like a cockatoo or african grey. I was told they are great talkers and are a milder parrot as faw as they are more shy and not as an aggressive parrot is this true? I just want to make sure before i spend 1,099.99 for one. Can you Help?
I wanted to state that i also have 13 cocatiels and that i am also breeding.
GEORGE'S ANSWER: Like us, they are individuals: some are docile, some are hot-tempered. You cannot predict the behavior of a particular individual. I got my BFA after he came close to killing my mother, but he is as gentle as he could be: I even let him preen my eyelids. Treat the bird with respect, treat him as a sentient, individual being, and get out of the way if the tail starts spreading and the pupils start pinning.

These days, they have a reputation for being one of the so-called "hot" Amazons, but long ago, they had the opposite reputation. In a widely distributed 1983 book by a Dr. Edward Mulawka, "Blue-Fronted Amazon Parrots," there is no mention of such behavior. In fact, the book states, "The main reason why they [blue-fronts] are preferred above all others is their gentleness....Its docility is legend....Because of this docility they can be trusted not to bite."

In your case, I would not recommend a BFA because you seem to want a bird that will not require attention; a new bird will want--and deserve--attention.
QUESTION:  Diet question! answer quick!?
okay if i say i am starting my diet tomorrow..does that mean it starts at midnight...or does it start when i wake up in the morning.

like i am probably not going to bed until 2...so is it okay if i eat something at like 12:30? i know its bad to eat that late..but you get the point..hopefully?
jeeeze im not going on a binge..at midnight me and my boyfriend just go out and have breakfast. i was just wondering.
GEORGE'S ANSWER:  Sounds to me like you're cheating before you even begin the diet if you're trying to rationalize going on an eating binge, then mentally arranging the starting time of your diet to coincide with the last bite of your binge. Sounds to me like you need to turn the willpower knob all the way up. If you are serious about dieting, stop the eating NOW.
QUESTION:  System Restore?
I want to restore my computer like if it was new without anything on it.
Does anyone know how to do that?
GEORGE'S ANSWER:  System restore was introduced in WinMe and varies a little depending on your o.s. It does not make your pc "like new." It takes "snapshots" of all your system's critical files at regular intervals and before certain installations and can only go back so far in time, depending on how much disk space you have allocated to it. For help in using System Restore, visit Microsoft's web site (first link below); they have excellent information.

If you want your pc like new, then you need to either reinstall Windows (and all your other programs) or use the recovery method that your pc manufacturer chose (either a recovery cd or a recovery to an image on a hidden part of your hard drive called a hidden partition.) If you don't have a recovery cd, contact your pc's manufacturer.

The problem with either of these methods is that you will have all the junkware (demoware, ads, etc.) that was on your pc when you first got it. PCWorld had an excellent article in their November issue discussing how to get rid of the junkware (once you have your computer back to the way it was at first); see the third link below.
QUESTION:  My African Grey parrot never like to go inside the cage?
I ben had my african grey for two months his only six months old since I got him he never go inside the cage he goes only when he want to eat he didn't even sleep inside the cage.
GEORGE'S ANSWER:  A cage is a prison; would you like to go into a prison? African Greys are smart: he doesn't want to into a prison cell. He was created free: Born Free, like the movie.

I understand that a companion bird has to be in the cage for his own protection sometimes. But you have to make it unprisonlike. And it has to have enough room; it has to be substantially wider than his wingspan. I like the answer from Phoenix.

The only time my Ziggy is in a cage is for travel or when someone is visiting (he protects me from people!). He sleeps on his portable perch outside the cage, and he has the entire bedroom when I'm not there. There are no exposed electric cords or any other hazards; the tv and his cd player are placed in such a manner that he could not possible get to the electrical components. I have pictures of him on my pwp, link below.
QUESTION:  Can parrots safely eat grape seeds?
GEORGE'S ANSWER: I give Ziggy grape seeds all the time; they are extremely healthy, containing resveratrol. I cut the grapes open and just give him the seeds one by one, and eat the unhealthy part of the grape--the sugary part--myself.
About 2 years age, there were numerous reports about a fungal infection that seemed to be correlated to grapes from Chile; there were reports of a number of parrot deaths. This was from something on the outside of the grapes. The causative agent in that case has never been isolated, so if you do feed grapes, make sure they are washed thoroughly and rinsed in a bleach solution.
QUESTION:  What are the ways to control anger... is it possible to give up getting angry?
GEORGE'S ANSWER:  Better living through chemistry: use a tranquilizer, especially if your anger should not exist, such as if it is the result of a chemical imbalance. But there is such a thing as righteous anger. Early Americans had righteous anger at the British in the 1700's...the British had righteous anger at the Germans during WWII...and so on. Anger is a wonderful energy source that can be used to accomplish great deeds. Given the present state of humanity, it would be senseless to give up anger.
QUESTION:  I have a parrot 4 years old,my parrot is eating ice-cream,cool  drink,coffee,tea,pappads,choca...
is it good for her health.
when i eat those eatable specified , my parrot come nearby me and make noise / telling her name [i have taught my parrot to talk little ] ..it implies that she needs it..my parrot is independent at my home..i dnt put it in cage
GEORGE'S ANSWER:  This question is obviously a put-on. It is impossible for me to imagine anyone these days actually giving a bird stimulants such as coffee, tea and chocolate. Contrary to what most of today's bird owners think, a sip (mind you, just a sip) of such beverages--or even of whiskey, as in pirate days--would be unlikely to cause lasting harm, although parrot tolerance to such things undoubtedly varies by species, and some beverages are worse than others (the more caffeine, the worse the beverage.) Several decades ago, before they found out it was "bad," my parents would let their parrots have occasional snacks of chocolate ice cream. One bird lived to be 36; its death was unrelated to any consumption of chocolate ice cream.

I go along with conventional wisdom that parrots should not be given human stimulants. The methylxanthines (caffeine, etc.) are toxic to the pets we love. Judging by parrot behavior, their brains seem to be stimulated enough without adding to it. There are recent reports (see link below) of a wild kea dying of a chocolate overdosage; the 20 gm of dark chocolate found in his crop at necropsy is a huge amount, but he was dead before it had all metabolized.

We now know that chocolate contains healthy antioxidants, so it MIGHT be that, if you removed the theobromine in chocolate, a little chocolate would be good for birds. Cocoa antioxidants have demonstrated health benefits in laboratory animals.

However, most chocolate (and, obviously, ice cream) contains too much fat also, which is deleterious in the sense that it provides "empty calories" as well as being saturated. The saturated fat in chocolate and ice cream is "bad" for a separate reason, in that it may contribute to atherosclerosis in parrots and humans.

I never heard of pappads before, but a Yahoo! search suggests that they are not particularly healthy because they are made with oil (bad calorie wise, and perhaps otherwise, depending on the oil), rice flour (most likely not whole grain, therefore deficient in nutrients), and salt (parrots cannot excrete sodium as efficiently as humans, so salt is even worse for them than for us.)

The other side of feeding birds foods that are, at best, only a little harmful, is that the birds are not getting the micronutrients they need. Only if you want your bird to have a nightmare old age, if your bird is to have an "old age" at all, then feed your bird the way you suggest in your question.

As I said at the beginning, the question is obviously a joke. If anyone were actually feeding his or her bird that way, I would suggest contacting the animal welfare authorities.
QUESTION:   Does anyone now [sic] how I can retrain a parrot that has been taught to swear in Hebrew?  Unless you speak or understand Hebrew, the cuss words the parrot says won't make any sense to you, but low and behold, if your a Rabbi, this can get especially embarassing. We use to have the Rabbi over for Sunday dinner, but lately we have been trying to avoid this since the parrot loves to 'voice' his opinion and we do not want to get rid of the little guy as we have grown attached to him so can anyone suggest a way that we can retrin this feathered friend to not swear so much?
GEORGE'S ANSWER: Don't complain about fowl language! Remember the parrot that the Winston Churchill family denied had actually been Churchill's? Although evidence seems to indicate that it was never really his, there is no doubt that, more than five decades after the war, Charlie the parrot was still cursing the Nazis. Another swearing parrot was in the news longer ago: President Andrew Jackson's pet parrot, Poll, had to be removed from Jackson's funeral services because it was using foul language. Parrots, like elephants, never forget.

If you are not the original owner of the parrot, then I'm sure a rabbi would understand. If you or others in your household are the source of the swearing, however, then the bird is going to constantly be re-exposed to the vocabulary you are trying to eliminate, so in addition to modifying the bird's vocabulary, you would have to modify that of whoever has been doing the cursing,

The bird is more likely to remember words and phrases that are associated with excitement, so you might try teaching him innocuous phrases in an excited manner. Expand his vocabulary, and reward him for using new words or phrases. Since birds are social animals, if you leave the room temporarily every time he curses, he will not curse as much (assuming he wants your company!) Do not punish him for the cursing: he is only being a bird. Instead, punish whoever was doing the cursing!

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All content on this site, including pictures, is copyrighted, ©2006 through 2016, by George A. Butel.  All rights are reserved; text may be quoted freely with attribution, but critical commentary must give me the opportunity to reply.

Visit our hints for cancer patients Google page, which tells you some of the things I learned during cancer treatment, including a few things that "they" forget to tell you, such as having to be a little bit "anal" about trying to prevent opportunistic infections. I never had any during my treatment, so I think my obsession paid off.


This site has tips and observations about dealing with parrots, and a few of my own views about human and parrot health concerns. I have a degree in biochemistry, so I am qualified to make some statements about foods, medicines and supplements, but I am neither a veterinarian nor a physician, and I do not practice human or veterinary medicine. You should certainly double-check any ideas you might get from me, or anything that you might construe as advice, by consulting with an appropriate legally licensed professional.  All content on this site ©2006 through 2014 by George A. Butel.  If you see any typos or any information that you feel is inaccurate or ambiguous, please contact me by clicking here.
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