Here are a few essentials in providing a warm and cozy home for your parrotlets.
Before we discuss the types of cages and furnishings for the parrotlets, here are some questions that some of you might have.
Can I keep more than one together?
Parrotlets are naturally fiesty and territorial from our experience. If the group has been living together since they were chicks, you should have no problems continuing to house them together.
Trying to house more than one parrotlet together suddenly is not recommended, due to fights which may lead to injury. If you really have to do so, try to introduce them to each other slowly. Starting with putting their cages near each other, then moving to the same cage with a divider. Do check on them often in the initial stages and be ready to separate them if the fighting gets bad.
How should I house pairs?
Parrotlets are known to only begin breeding if there are more than 1 pair in the area. They need to hear the calls of another pair to stimulate themselves into a breeding mode. However, it is crucial that the pairs can only HEAR but NOT SEE each other. Males tend to attack their mates and cause injury if they get overly excited by the sight of other males. This recommendation goes for pairs and single males too.
Now let’s move on to the rest of this article!
The most important component for your parrotlets is obviously the bird cage.
Cages come in all forms and sizes, and it’s largely up to your preference, though it will be good to keep the following in mind:
As parrotlets are pretty tiny, you need to make sure that the bar spacing is not bigger than 1cm apart. If not, there might be a chance of them getting their heads stuck in between the bars.
For our birds, we try to provide about 2 x 1 square feet per bird. We feel that width and depth is more important than height, to give them more roaming floor space and horizontal flight space.
Breeding nest box access
If you intend to keep a pair for breeding, you can start off with a larger cage that comes with side doors to hang a nest box.
The most economical and safest lining to use are newspapers, as they usually contain non-toxic ink, and are abundant. Pet litter such as corn cob, shavings and pellet are not recommended as there are some parrots who may ingest them, causing problems in the intestinal tract.
Natural perches are definitely better than perfect cylindrical plastic perches. Natural perches with varying diameters allow the parrotlets to exercise their grip and toes. They also have a rough surface for better grip.
We typically get these natural perches with nuts and bolts attached from pet shops, for convenience sake, and they last pretty long.
There are two ways you can provide water for them, each with their pros and cons.
Some people choose to use plastic or ceramic water bowls to provide water to their parrotlets. This has the advantage of being more natural for the birds, and also gives them the opportunity to bathe in the bowls or soak their pellets in if they so wish to. The disadvantage of using bowls is the fact that they tend to get dirty within a day, and the splashing might create a mess. You will need to diligently change and wash the bowls daily, if not several times a day.
These are the kinds used for hamsters, and has the advantage of being able to provide your parrotlets with a cleaner source of water over the day, and also requiring to be changed less often. The disadvantage being that not all parrotlets are accustomed to using such a bottle, and care must be taken to ensure that they are able to get water from the bottles. All our babies are trained to use these bottles with great ease. Another important point to take note of is the danger of clogging when using water bottles. If left unnoticed, your parrotlets might suffer from thirst. To prevent this, our cages are given at least 2 water bottles, and the bottle are checked daily.
The parrotlets are then given occasional out-of-cage water baths to allow them to soak themselves. You can even try a mister if they are comfortable with that!
Plastic or ceramic food bowls will work well, and your parrotlets should adapt to them easily. Remember to wash the food bowls regularly as you top off their food, as they might have accidentally pooped in them.
Parrotlets love their toys! Be it a swing, a jingling bell, a shiny mirror, or just a plain cardboard tube. Try to change things out every once in a while to keep things exciting for them. For shy birds, you may need to slowly introduce the toys to them to avoid scaring them.
Some toys such as cardboard rolls are perfect for them as the parrotlets love to tear them part, or just simply crawl into them to take a nap.
As with all furnishings in the cage, all toys do pose a danger to your parrotlets, so please exercise caution in putting toys in, and always supervise your parrotlets in case they get stuck in their toys, or accidentally ingest a component.