Plumhead Parakeet


Letter

We recently purchased a plumhead parakeet, which we are told is very rare. She is very friendly and being that this is our first bird, we would appreciate any info you have on this kind of bird. For example, what are the best things to feed it, does she have any habits or special needs, how is the best way to teach her to talk, and most of all, should we take her to the vet to get her examined? Any info you can give us would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Reply

Congrats on your new bird! I want to commend you for seeking out information on your new pet. Few people do so.

Plumheads can be found from time to time but I rarely see them offered for sale any more. They belong to the genus Psittacula which includes all the ringnecked parakeets. Any information you find on other members of the genus will most likely also apply to plumheads. The Indian ringneck is the most commonly found and there is plenty of information available on these guys.

A basic bird diet would be fine. You can feed pellets or seed, just keep in mind that a seed diet MUST be supplemented with other foods like fruits and veggies. You can find a more detailed description of the bird diet on my page. I've found that Psittacula birds are very partial to carrots. None of my other species like them.

Indian ringnecks are known to be good talkers so chances are that plumheads can too. There is a huge difference between a bird that can talk and one that just mimics sound. If you want your bird to talk ditch the tape recordings and repetition sessions. A bird that talks actually understands what it is saying. To teach a bird to talk just talk to it and use the same phrases in the same situations (like hello, good bye, good night, etc.). Birds that are an active member of the household and are spoken to will often try to learn to communicate using the same language as their owners. However, not all birds learn how to talk so don't get your hopes too high. I never take my birds to the vet unless I suspect something is wrong with them. But then, I've had lots of experience and I know how to pick out healthy stock. In your case a vet check is a good idea. Not only will it help you locate and form a relationship with a GOOD AVIAN vet before the bird is actually sick but it will make sure your bird starts out healthy. A physical exam, bloodwork and psittacosis test are all procedures you'll want your vet to perform this first time. The physical is just standard procedure. The bloodwork can tell you if there is anything wrong with the bird. For instance, a high level of white blood cells might indicate that the bird has been trying to fight off an infection. Psittacosis is a fairly common bird disease and also happens to be transmittable to humans. Testing a bird for this not only helps protect them but you as well.

Feisty Feathers
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