Friday, May 14, 2010

Question on "Turquoise" Mutation Parrotlets

Hi Sandee I don't remember if I asked you already but is the Turquoise Parrotlet mutation Dominant or recessive also can blue parrotlets be split for Turquoise?

Thanks Mark. Good to hear from you.

“Turquoise” is actually an inaccurate name because it is not really a color. It is really a blue mutation where only part of the allele is altered. It is recessive and blue parrotlets can be split for ‘turquoise’ because technically it is a blue mutation.

Hope this helps.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Parrotlet Stress Seeing Wild Birds Out of Doors

Is it ok to put my parrotlet's cage in a place that has views out of
a window, including a view of a bird feeder? I typically get mourning
doves and house finches on my feeder. Part of the cage would be out of
sight of the feeder, but I want to make sure the sights and sounds would
not cause the parrotlet undue stress.

I don't imagine that would be an issue. Parrotlets can be aggressive and territorial with other birds but so long as they can't have physical contact, I don't think it would be an issue.

Appropriate Indoor Temperatures For Parrotlets, Drafts

I live in San Mateo, CA, and my apartment typically ranges from 60F
to 80F all year round. The upper and lower ends of this range are
slightly outside the parrotlet's recommended environment- is that dangerous?

Not sure where the parameters came from - I know people that keep parrotlets out of doors in places as diverse as Florida where it is very hot and humid to CO where it can snow. Certainly any environment you are comfortable in will be fine for a pet parrotlet, particularly if it is indoors. They can withstand a wide variety of temperature ranges if they are healthy and acclimated to them.

Is it safe to put my parrotlet's cage near an open (but screened)
window, or are potential drafts too dangerous?

I have no idea what kind of 'draft' your bird would be subjected to as I don't live where you do. I do know that air conditioning vents can have detrimental effects if they blow directly on the bird and if you are close to the ocean with damp, cold fog, that could be a problem but this are birds designed by nature to live out of doors. A breeze isn't going to be a problem for an otherwise healthy parrotlet.

Cooking Fumes, Cleaning Products, Bird Feeders & Parrotlets

I have only a small apartment. My main living area is a combined
living room / kitchen that is about 20' x 15'. If I keep the
parrotlet's cage on the opposite side of the room as the stove (as far
away as possible), are cooking fumes still a risk? I typically run
apartment fans and leave the windows open while I cook.

Cooking fumes themselves are not generally harmful - overheated nonstick pans are as well as smoke. I am not in your home and don't know how it is when you cook but if the area is well-ventilated and you're not overheating pans or making things that generate smoke, I would imagine it would be ok. Many people keep parrotlets in apartments and manage to keep them safe and healthy; you will have to monitor the situation and make adjustments as necessary.

I anticipate cleaning my parrotlet's cage with Clorox "Green Works
Natural Glass and Surface Cleaner." Once a week, I plan to remove my
parrotlet, spray the cage with the cleaner, wipe off any obvious stains,
and then give the whole cage a shower. Would this cleaning procedure be
safe for the parrotlet?

I do not use any chemicals on my birds' cages. I am old school and good old soap and water that is well rinsed is perfectly fine for most cleaning procedures. Chemicals not only produce dangerous fumes but if not completely rinsed can kill the bird. Soap and water is just as effective for cleaning and doesn't involve the risks of chemicals.

I clean my apartment once a week, and I use the same Clorox cleaner
mentioned above to clean all my surfaces. I use a harsher cleaner for
my shower, but I keep the bathroom door closed and fan on while doing
that cleaning. If the apartment windows are open and fans are on while
I clean, will the parrotlet be safe from fumes?

You should check with the manufacturer. I would imagine these chemicals would be very dangerous for birds but I don't use them so I don't know.

I maintain a few bird feeders outdoors, and I bring them in to clean
them each week. If I wash my hands several times after cleaning the
feeders, should I be concerned about transferring germs from the feeders
to my parrotlet?

I would think if you washed everything thoroughly and changed your clothes and shoes after cleaning the bird feeders, you would be safe in preventing disease transmission.

Will My Parrotlet Disturb My Neighbors?

I live in a small apartment, where the neighbors' apartments share
walls with my own. My apartment's rental office does not tolerate pets
that cause a lot of noise, so I can't afford to get a loud pet for fear
of having to give it up (which would be unfair and cruel to the pet).
Would I be safe with a parrotlet? Do they chirp all day? Can they be
heard through walls? I would plan to get a female parrotlet (they
presumably make less noise than their male counterparts, no?). Can you
think of other precautions I might take?

As I've written, parrotlets are the quietest hookbills you can get. Even my canary is louder. However, 'noise' is in the ear of the beholder. Only you can determine if the volume of a parrotlet would be annoying to your neighbors. They do chirp and chatter and they do that all day - both males and females btw - but only you know how thick your walls are and if the volume of their voices would be disturbing to your neighbors.

I Work All Day - Will My Parrotlet Be Lonely?

Will my parrotlet become lonely or stressed out, given my 8am-6pm
work schedule and the fact that I live alone? Is it ok to leave my
parrotlet alone during the day?

As I stated most people have to work all day. So long as the bird has appropriate food, a good-sized cage, lots of enrichment items and one on one time with their owners each day, they are generally pretty content. Parrotlets are not birds that require constant attention and so long as these environmental parameters are met, they generally do pretty well all day while their owners are at work. Ironically, birds that receive constant attention from their owners and are never left alone tend to have more issues with aggression, feather picking and other undesirable behaviors than birds whose owners set limits and stick to a regular schedule.

Covering The Parrotlet's Cage

I wake up at 7am, go to work at 8am, and I don't get back from work
until about 6pm. I'd like to play with my parrotlet after dinner,
sometime between the hours of 8pm and 11pm or 12pm. This leaves me in a
pickle, since I'm not home during the day to uncover the parrotlet. I
can either uncover the cage at 8am (which means the parrotlet would be
uncovered for more than 12 hours), or I can leave the parrotlet covered
all day until I return home at 6pm. Which is better, and what are the
possible side effects?

How thick does a cage cover need to be to prevent parrotlets from
being exposed to too much daylight (i.e. days longer than 12 hours)?
Does the cage cover need to be heavy to block out all light, or will a
light white bed sheet suffice?

I cannot imagine keeping a bird covered all day unless you were awake with it all night. Keeping a bird in the dark for almost a 24 hour period of time I think would be detrimental to its general health and also be inheritantly cruel. Most people work or go to school all day and spend time with their bird when they arrive home. If you uncover the bird at 7 AM and put it to bed at 7 or even 8, while it would be more than 12 hours, I don't think it would be as harmful to a bird as keeping it covered all day and all night and still allow you a couple of hours of time to spend with it. If that doesn't work with your schedule, I would not get a parrotlet or really any bird for that matter. The only birds I know that can spend all day and all night in darkness are owls.

The birds need darkness that blocks the light shining on the eyes. Anything that keeps out the light would be appropriate. A dark towel or blanket would work.

How Much to Feed Your Parrotlet?

Am I correct in understanding that a parrotlet eats about an ice
cube's volume of food each day?

I have never measured the amount of food I feed my birds. I would think an 'ice cube' amount would not be enough. Parrotlets eat like hummingbirds and as I have written, for their size, eat more than macaws due to their high metabolisms. I do give mine at least a 1/2 cup of fresh foods of day and at least that amount in seeds (or pellets). If they don't eat it all, so be it but with parrotlets they will starve to death or possibly kill their cage mates if not provided with enough food. Also, as true parrots they have been designed by evolution to waste food.