replied 3 years ago.
Photo-periods mean periods of light and darkness. Unless you sleep 12 to 14 hours per night every night, Buddy may very well be sleep-deprived. Birds need quiet and close to complete darkness under a darkly covered cage to get the kind of sleep they need to help them discharge stress. Stress as well as a diet high in fat contributes to the production of sexual hormones as well as causing them to be cranky.
Short of clipping his wings and supervising him when he's out of his cage with the other pets, I don't know of any way to keep him from flying to the rafters. Trimming the flight feathers on both winds allows them to fly with some effort, but when properly trimmed, they are less likely to head for the high spots, while still retaining the ability to get themselves out of trouble. You can learn to trim his wings ourself, there are videos and written articles online showing this simple procedure. It is no harder than trimming your bangs in you hair, and painless when properly done. A bird breeder or veterinarian can do this for you if you don't want to try it yourself.
I'm a fanatic about diet as you'll soon see. Almost nothing in a bird's environment is as important to their well-being.
Avian experts have actually determined that 90-95% of pet bird health issues are dietary in origin. Pelleted food has been a real blessing for pet birds, forcing them to eat a balanced basic diet which can then be supplemented with fresh vegetables and just a few seeds and nuts. Birds fed diets not perfectly balanced can eventually succumb to infections and deficiencies that they should be able to easily "shake off.
Not only is what they eat important, but the proper proportions are every bit as important. To give some idea of how important, consider the following facts: Normally on an all-seed diet, budgies live an average of 5-7 years; with seeds and some other foods about 10-12 years; with pellets alone about 15-20 years, and with properly balanced proportions of pellets, seeds and other fresh foods, particularly dark leafy vegetables, about 25 years and even longer. The statistics for bigger parrots like Buddy would be even more remarkable.
Compare what you're feeding Buddy to what professional aviary keepers feed their Amazons: 70% high quality size appropriate pellets, such as those made by Zupreem, Harrison's, Lafeber, or other reputable manufacturers. (these may be purchased from better pet stores or online), Pelleted food is the basic building block of a balanced diet and should comprise 70%-80% of the total food consumed; 20% dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, cilantro, collard, turnip or beet greens, cooked sweet potato, squash, or pumpkin, carrots with the tops attached, dried chili peppers, yellow, green and red fresh peppers, and only 10% or less, seeds and nut foods. Sunflower seeds are very high in fat, not balanced in regard to calcium and phosphorus, and should be avoided as birds, like small children, tend to pick out and eat what they like, rather than what is good for them. Although it is green, lettuce is practically all water, of no food value whatsoever in the diet, and shouldn't be fed to birds. Fruit is okay as an occasional treat, but unless fed in a dried state, fruit contains 90% water, and quickly fills the bird up without providing many nutrients by weight. As I wrote earlier, grit is no longer considered necessary to the healthy upkeep of pet birds, and to make matters worse, grit impactions can actually be fatal.
Besides behavioral problems, fresh nutrients in balance with one another help prevent feather and skin diseases and conditions, respiratory, nerve, organ problems including diabetes, as well as other behavioral problems like over-zealous preening, self-mutilation, excessive or changed vocalization, excessive egg laying in females, and will actually eliminate the need for vitamin supplements or tonics in most cases.
I fully understand that it may not be easy to get older birds (as opposed to starting out with a baby at weaning time) like Buddy, to eat the proper amounts of the different foods, but you can read an excellent article about how to teach him to eat more properly online here: http://www.cockatielcottage.net/finicky.html The article is written for cockatiels, but works as well, or better, in larger parrots like Buddy.
Prepackaged commercial diets like Hartz, and other pet store or supermarket brands of seed-based foods, must be baked to kill insect eggs and larvae before shipping. This process also kills the germ in the seeds, destroying many of the heat-sensitive components in the food. In addition, these foods are rarely shelf-dated, and may be months or even years old when actually fed. The result is often that the bird fills itself up on foods that contain mostly empty calories and the digested material from seeds is very similar to the ingredients for paste, and the bacterial population that develops in the bird's GI tract tends to cause loose or sticky droppings which, by themselves, can instigate intensive feather picking around their vent, and initiate the beginnings of over-zealous preening and feather plucking on themselves.
Proper rest, proper diet and wing clipping should bring out the very best in Buddy, but if you should have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
Kind regards, *****
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