The Quaker parrot is a short member of the parrot family with a long life span of 25 to 30 years. As you consider pet parenthood, getting acquainted with the proper care of this playful, social bird will help to ensure a mutually rewarding experience for the many years ahead.
Choosing Your Quaker
When it escapes from captivity, the Quaker parrot can become a destructive bird, often causing crop and garden damage. Because of this, they are outlawed in a handful of states, so check state or local laws before getting one. If Quakers are street legal in your community, the first thing to do is try to find a reputable local breeder and see if there are babies available. If possible, have her let you come over and help with hand feeding, so that the baby can bond to you. If you can't find a breeder, then check out a pet store with a selection of avian pets and a knowledgeable staff. Play and talk with the birds outside the cage, and allow one to choose you. If she likes you it will be evident right from the start. If you do not feel a bond with any of the birds available go elsewhere, as 30 years can be a long time.
Feeding Your Quaker
Along with plenty of clean water, Quakers need a daily supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, which provide an extensive array of vitamins and minerals, and are low in fats. Always wash the produce thoroughly, and consider purchasing organic fruits and veggies when possible. A conure or cockatiel seed mixture and commercial pellets also are an important part of your bird's daily meal. There are many commercial seed and pellet mixes out there, and it is wise to ask your avian veterinarian to recommend a mix that is high in nutritional value and low in fillers. Finally, grains, beans, and unsalted nuts offering proteins, fiber, vitamins and fats should be included in your Quaker's diet.
Housing Your Quaker
Your Quaker girl will need enough room to spread and flap her wings without hitting anything. A rectangular cage that is a minimum of 18 by 24 by 18 inches should work fine. Her cage should include several perches, preferably natural looking tree branches for her feet, something to chew on, like a cuttlebone or mineral block, and an established play area for exercise and amusement. Elaborate toys are not necessary for most Quakers, but your baby girl likely will appreciate brightly colored wood and plastic play things. Because Quakers are prone to making a bit of a mess, you may want to consider a cage with a removable tray and a water bottle for drinking (she'll bathe in a water dish). An appropriately-sized removable bathing tub for her daily beauty baths will complete her well-appointed happy home.
The ASPCA recommends an annual exam with an aviary veterinarian to conduct necessary testing, and monitor your Quaker's weight loss or gain and check for any early signs of illness. Birds, including Quaker parrots, have a tendency to hide any signs of illness and may appear sick only when she is at an advanced stage of that illness. So, don't hesitate to take your bird to the vet if you notice signs of poor health, such as heavy breathing, sneezing or unusual behavior, like hanging out for extended periods at the bottom of her cage with her feathers fluffed out.