A Parrots Bill of rights….

Get to know about parrots before you bring me home. I am not a domesticated dog or cat.I still have the spirit of the jungle in me.I have special needs that you find hard to learn. Please don’t learn these too late,for my well being. And please don’t acquire one of my cousins wild from the jungle. It will jeopardize my survival and well being. And that wont be a party for you either.

Give me the largest home possible. I am used to flying through the rain forests and savannas. I have given up this great gift for your pleasure.At the very least give me enough space to flap my wings and exercize. And I need toys for my amusement and wood to chew, otherwise I might confuse your home with the forests and the trees.

Give me a nutritious diet. I need a variety of fresh and nutritious food, even if they take time to prepare. I cannot survive on seed alone. Take times to learn what my needs are and what I like best.

Let me have a social life. I am a gregarious flock animal, I am not one of you. I need quality time with you everyday no matter what your schedule or other needs are. I am a living feeling creature. Above all I need to have complete trust in you. I count on your predictability in looking after me every day.

Let me be clean.I might like to drop food or even throw it but I need meticulous cleanliness to be healthy. My skin itches without frequent showers. The barbs on my feathers won’t seal if they become oily, and worst of all, I may become ill if my food and water is not always sanitary.

I need my own doctor, you may not understand my physiology and therefore you might not recognize it early on when I am sick. And it may be too late when you do, because I hide my illness. Remember what I said about being an animal of the jungle where there are a lot of predators. Avian vets are the best vets for me,but a vet that knows a lot about birds might work too.

Please don’t punish me. Just as I don’t always understand your peculiarities, you might not understand all of mine. I don’t TRY to get into trouble….remember your house is not a jungle. If I do screw up, don’t yell at me, and don’t hit me either. I have sensitive ears and I might not trust you again if you strike me. Hands are sometimes scary things to us. Even more importantly we don’t learn by punishment. We are gentle creatures and only strike back to protect our selves. We learn through patience and love.

Speak my language. I know you get upset when I spill my water dish,throw food or pluck feathers.I don’t do this to annoy you. I am probably trying to tell you something… perhaps that I am hurting, lonely, or sad. Learn to speak my body language. Remember that I, alone of all the creatures, have learnt to speak yours.

See me as an individual.I am a unique and feeling being.No 2 of us are alike. Please don’t be disappointed in me if I don’t talk like you wanted me to talk, or do things that your friends parrots can do. But if you pay close attention to me I will show you a unique being who will give you so much more by talking and playing. Give me a chance to show you who I am. I think you will find the effort worth it. And remember I am not an ornament.I do not enhance any living room decor. And I am not a status symbol…if you use me as such, I might nip your up turned nose.

Share your love with me. Above all please remember that you are my special person. I put all my trust and faith in you. We parrots are monogamous { no hopping around for us } we are one owner birds.Please don’t leave me for long periods and try please never to have to give me away.

Your rights…. You have lots of rights, but I can only ensure one and that is if you treat me well, in a way that I have described above,I will reward you with unwavering love, humour, knowledge, beauty, dedication, and a sense of wonder and awe you have not felt since you were a child. When you took me home, you became my flock leader, indeed my entire universe, for life ! I would hang the moon and stars for you,if I could. We are one in hart and soul….

This Bill Of Rights was written by Stewart Metz M.D. and it was published in in the March 2007 Parrots magazine.