Your Parrot Place Newsletter - August 2004
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In this issue:

What's New
Vet Check - Well Bird Check Up
Pionus Parrots
Reader Stories

Newsletter Editors

Would you like to reprint an article from the YPP Newsletter?

I have had a couple of reprint requests lately. I just wanted to let you know that you are welcome to print any articles that I have written as long you include the following:
Taylor Knight

You don't have to ask permission for each article - although I'd love to know if you are using it! Thank you very much for your support!

Taylor Knight




Yahoo Group Topic
Do you have any stories about Pionus Parrots you would like to share?
Go to our Yahoo Group
What's New

Moving day is almost here!  I will be leaving my current place on August 25th and be business as usual again the following Monday, August 29th. The last order that gets shipped out of the old place will be the morning of the 25th. Feel free to place your orders at www.yourparrotplace.com as usual. I will only have my internet access cut off for two days, but the website will be unaffected.

Our phone numbers will be changing.  I believe the toll-free number will be the same, but I will post it on the website when I know for sure. Our fax number 1-877-430-2189 and my email address will stay the same for sure.

Next Issue:
Any ideas out there? If you have any cute stories or advise to share with other parrot owners, be sure to drop me a line. Don't forget the pictures!

Vet Check - Well-Bird Check Up
by Taylor Knight

I know there are differing opinions on the subject of well-bird check ups. Some people believe in having your apparently healthy parrot checked out once a year by a qualified avian vet, while others claim that taking a health bird into a vet office exposes them to "germies" they might not otherwise be exposed to. I am not going to lecture you on either. That is your choice. I am lucky enough to have a mobile avian vet that visits my house and I do have my parrots checked out once a year. But, you do what you think is right.

If you do take your bird in for a well bird check-up, here are some things that should be included:

  • Visual check: Looking at the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, etc. and making sure things appear as they should.

  • The touchy feely test – feeling the bird to see if there are any lumps or other abnormalities the vet can feel.

  • Weight: Weight should be taken, in grams, every time.

  • Grooming: Wing and Nail trims, if needed.

  • Gram stain: The poop test – to make sure there are no bad things in the poopie.

  • Blood Work: Maybe. Possibly a chlamydia blood test and a complete blood panel. You don’t have to have these done every time. Ask your vet their opinion. Sometimes the vet may recommend more specific tests. And, just for the record, the bird does not have to be given anesthesia or “put under” to take a simple blood sample.

  • Ask Questions: Be sure to discuss any changes in behavior, health or diet related issues.

If your bird is not acting right, is tired a lot, lethargic, isn’t eating like normal, has a nasal or eye discharge, or just sits there all “poofed” out, you need to get to an avian vet as fast as you can. I mean today – not tomorrow. Better to be safe than sorry. So, repeat after me, “If my bird looks or acts sick, I will RUN not walk to my avian veterinarian.” Birds generally do not look or act sick until they are REALLY sick. They can take a turn for the worst very quickly.

Finding a vet
If you do not already have an avian vet, look in your local phone directory. Give them a call and see how many birds they treat. I know of several that advertise that they treat birds but only see a few per year.

You can also use these site to find an avian vet in your area.

The Association of Avian Veterinarians - Searchable

The Association of Avian Veterinarians – more complete listing


The directory at Birds n Ways
American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, Certified in Avian Practice:

Species Profile

Pionus Parrots
by Taylor Knight
The photo is of Stinky Pi, a white capped Pionus.
Photos are courtesy of Margaret Madison
Click here to see more!



Species: Blue-headed (P. menstruus), Bronz-Winged (Pionus chalcopterus), Dusky (P. fuscus), White-capped (P. senils), Maximilian's (P. maxmiliani), Coral-billed (P. sordidus), Plum-crowned (P. tumultuosus), White-headed (P. t. seniloides).

Species commonly kept as pets are the blue-headed, Maximilian’s, white-capped and bronze-winged Pionus.


Coloring / Size: Pionus do not have any overtly bright coloring like Macaws, but are beautiful. Each species has their own "color scheme" and some of their feathers have an iridescent quality. They are a medium size - between a Caique and an African Grey. About 23–30 cm (9 - 12 inches)

Originating Country: Central and South America

Possible life span: 30 to 45 years

Overall Personality: A bit on the quieter side (for a parrot), but produce both soft and loud sounds. Can be a little cautious of new new environments and may need time to adjust. Pionus can mimic sounds and learn to speak. These little guys can also become intensely loyal. They are not known to have extreme behavioral problems. Pionus can be affected, briefly, by hormones - but it soon passes.

Pionus are generally not overly cuddly. Meaning you can pet them and love them, but they have a more "independent" nature and are content to be around the family without having to be picked up and held all the time (unlike cockatoos!). Pionus parrots love to climb, hang, and play. I would seriously consider getting them a separate parrot playstand to keep them busy outside their cage.  

Unusual characteristics: Pionus make an unusual wheezing sound when stressed or occasionally when they feel good. They can also make a purring sound when getting a head scratch. They give off a musky odor, it's normal.

Cages: A 20”x20”x28” cage or larger with ¾-inch bar spacing.

Sexing: Both male and female look identical and need to sexed by a professional.

Other issues: Pionus are known for sometimes having a weight problem. Just make sure they eat right, get enough exercise and regular vet checks and it won't be an issue.

Pionus Parrot http://www.pionusparrot.com/
Avian Network http://www.aviannetwork.com/pionus/
Impeckable Aviaries http://home1.gte.net/impekabl/Pionus.htm
Bird Talk Magazine http://www.birdtalkmagazine.com/bt

Reader Stories

Hi Taylor,

I have some beautiful Pionus parrot photos on my website. They are photos taken by me of my two pet white capped Pionus – Stinky Pi (male) on the left and Sweety Pi (female) on the right.
Click here to see more!

These two are the first to ask to be put to bed (of my 23 parrots) and the last ones to rise in the morning. They are the snoozers of the bunch, that’s for sure. I put perches on their cage doors and a hanging toy inside the door and they will pull their doors shut behind them as they head to their sleep perches at bedtime.

These Pionus love to bathe and I’ve never seen them turn away a shower. I try to give them showers several times a week. I use a mister indoors and spray their large cages down letting them get a free “bath” in the process. This is a preliminary to my cleaning routine, wiping the cage bars, etc… I also bring them in the shower to the perch in there. They love their baths.

These guys are also good eaters and their favorites (what I could use for bribery, if I ever needed to) is Brownberry’s 12 Grain bread (made with molasses, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, millet and all sorts of wonderful grains, and they also love sugar snap peas. They will peel open that pea pod and eat the peas and discard the pod. LOL! The pods are delicious, don’t they know? Another bribery food is dried papaya. They blow kisses every time I give them one of these goodies.

They are very good about eating their pellets and make parrot soup in their bowls all the time. I think I change their water cups at least 3 times every day. I know that the water helps them eat their food and digest it and I don’t mind changing it frequently.

They are not terribly demanding and are not very loud, although they can get loud at times. Stinky Pi sounds like a donkey braying when he gets going. He also loves to beat the mess out of his toys. He can be very hormonal and exhibits all the hormonal postures… slightly open beak with the fanned out tail and the head and neck feathers sticking straight out. Yes, he definitely means business in that posture and you’d better heed his warnings. Making sure he gets 12 hours of sleep helps his mood, but hormones are hormones.

Sweety Pi loves her human Daddy and will sometimes even fan her tail at me while she makes a very sharp high-pitched piercing whistle (I guess you’d call it). So even the females can be hormonal at times. You just need to watch for the postures and get to know your birds. The only way you can do that is by observing them and spending time with them. Each one has their own personalities. I love my Pionus.

Margaret Madison
NCS Online Editor – www.cockatiels.org


From the Editor
  • Any tips, recipes, burning questions, cute stories, product ideas, or cool websites, etc. to share?
  • We would love to hear what you think of this newsletter. And of course, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions that you'd like to share with us, please send those too!
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Notice of Liability: All information presented in this newsletter is provided on an 'As Is' basis, without warranty or the implication thereof. You are responsible for consulting with your vet before taking any actions based on any advice / information. No one associated with this website has any liability to any person or entity with respect to loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by advice / information provided to him or her.


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