Ask Lafeber

Question:

August 3, 2020

New Home Acclimation


I am seeking advice on how to safely acclimate our family’s 26 year old double yellow headed Amazon, Jasper, to my home. He has lived with my parents since they first adopted him in 1993 (I was 19 at the time). My mother, Jasper’s primary caregiver, passed away 5 years ago. My dad has cared for him since, but at 71 years old, he’s ready to pass on that responsibility. Having had a parrot myself in the past and loving Jasper as a family member, I gladly agreed to adopt him into my family! That said, I want to make this a smooth transition for Jasper. He is a pretty carefree and resilient parrot, having made many moves in his life thus far and has even survived my parents’ home burning to the ground! Obviously, I want to give him the best care possible. My questions are these: 1) He desperately needs to be groomed before coming to my home. My plan is to pick him up from my dad’s home, drive an hour and a half to the avian vet for a grooming, then onto my home, 10 minutes away. Would this be too stressful to begin with? Or should I delay the vet visit until he is used to my home? His wings aren’t clipped and I will not be able to let him out of his cage (getting him out of the cage to get him to the vet is gonna be a struggle already!) because….2) Jasper hasn’t been handled in over a decade, is rarely let out of his cage and bites at fingers when approached. How soon can I begin the step up training? I want him to get used to being handled by me. 3) I am excited to provide new toys and food. How soon is too soon? I suppose my overarching question is how do I acclimate him to my home in the most peaceful way. I am excited to begin training him, providing him with new toys and new food experiences, but I don’t want to stress him out by beginning these things too soon. Could you provide advice on this, please?


Answer:

Hi Heather,

Jasper has certainly been through some adventures! I am so glad to hear that you are going to keep him in the family. I once knew a Yellow-Naped Amazon who remained in the same family his entire life, moving to the next generation when age or death made it necessary – he died at 110 years old while living with the great-granddaughter of the first owner. His life span was extraordinary, but Jasper still has many, many good years ahead of him with good care.

Amazons are typically very resilient and easy going. While not typically cuddly, they still make great pets, are very entertaining and tend to take changes in stride as long as they have food they enjoy – they tend to be very food oriented! I think because he is an Amazon, your plan should be fine as long as he will be handled by an Avian Vet. They will know the least stressful way of handling him. I would try to get an early start so he has the rest of the day to settle into your home. You should plan to have his cage for him, even if you need to get a better or newer cage later. This will be one less change for him. Find a place to put it where he has a wall behind him – parrots do not like to feel exposed. You may even need to cover part of the cage at first. But most likely he will be happy as long as he has the food he is used to eating. You can work on diet and training later, once he has fully settled in. Give him a couple of weeks at least before you start any training or diet changes. Make sure he is eating well and alert and vocalizing – these are all good signs that he is settling in well.

For training, treat him like a brand new bird. I will give you a link to our bird care guide where you can find articles on training and behavior to help you out. “Teaching & Learning” will be the best to begin with along with “Bird Behavior”. There are other good topics on that page that will help you decide about his cage & toys, how to keep him active & healthy and nutrition and health advice. Additionally our Bird Food Guide will detail the ideal diet and what foods are great supplements. You will get a lot of advice to feed pellets, but those are not the only way to offer complete nutrition. We also make foraging diets which are nutritionally balanced the same as a pellet, but they are not ground up. The foraging diets are a more natural diet since they provide foraging exercise as well as different tastes and textures that are more natural for a parrot. Our Nutri-Berries, Avi-Cakes and Pellet-Berries can be fed alone, combined, as well as along with pellets.

I am sure that Jasper will settle in quickly for you. We are here to help when you have more questions. I know you are looking forward to Jasper joining your home!

Caring For Your Bird

Bird Food Guide

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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