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Preventative Health Measures 

Molly Rogerson RVN

Preventative Measures

Preventative Care

Preventative care for companion parrots tends to look different from the preventative healthcare that we are used to in other companion mammal species. There are no UK vaccines available and they should not need to be wormed or treated for mites routinely. So what does preventative healthcare look like for companion parrots?

It’s about all the ways in which we can help our parrots be in good health and be prepared in case veterinary care is required.

It is worth noting that when you bring any companion animal into your home you are required under the Animal Welfare act to provide adequately for the core five needs, these are:

  1. A suitable and safe environment

  2. A suitable and enriching diet

  3. Health care that protects against pain, suffering, injury, and disease.

  4. Ability to exhibit normal behaviours; in parrots this looks like flying, destroying toys and vocalising.

  5. Appropriate companionship - Parrots should have ideally both human and other bonded parrots.

Where You get the Individual From

When choosing an individual, there are a number of factors to consider. In places where many birds are kept in the same airspace, there is a much greater risk of transmissible diseases. There are some diseases that are unfortunately relatively prevalent in the companion parrot population. Reputable breeders will keep chick clutches isolated from other birds and will have disease tested the parents in order to provide the best quality of life for the chicks.

Reputable rescue organisations can also be a good place to look for parrots. Although the parrots may have been in shared airspace with other birds previously, reputable rescues will often be able to pick up on signs of illness and test for these; this allows you to have a really clear health picture of the individual you are bringing home.

It’s important to make sure that any parrots that you might be bringing into your home are able to maintain a good quality of life in your home environment. If you are limited for space, smaller parrots may be more suitable as they will be able to fly and get good amount of exercise in smaller spaces where a larger parrot will struggle.

If you have noise sensitive neighbours or are noise sensitive yourself, certain parrot species may be completely inappropriate like large cockatoo's, macaws and certain conure species.

Home Set Up

You can read more about Appropriate housing in Alan’s article 



A good quality, varied diet ensures that your parrot is less likely to sufferer from any nutritional deficiencies. The primary cause of disease in companion parrots is inadequate nutrition. You should provide a variety of foods like fruits and vegetables, pulses, pellets and good quality seeds. You can find a very detailed article on this here!

It is worth noting that a lot of cultivated fruit that we can find in supermarkets are much denser in sugar than their wild cousins. Therefore, sugary fruits like bananas and apples should be used in smaller quantities to ensure that the diet remains appropriate.



Parrots can be fairly messy animals due to their constantly foraging and eating nature, and the fact they pass their faeces and urates are constantly throughout the day. When they groom themselves, dander can often be released as well as feathers when they are moulting.  They frequently like to dip food stuffs in their water bowls as well as bathe in them. All of these factors mean that maintaining good hygiene in our companion parrot's environments is tantamount for not just the health of our companions but also our health.


Cages should have a big clean once a week, as well as spot cleans once a day for areas that are particularly prone to getting dirty. These should be performed with an avian safe cleaner like F10. Be wary of cleaners that claim to be ‘pet safe’ with no specifics to parrots, as these are often formulated with cats and dogs in mind and may not be appropriate. When in doubt you can use hot water to clean. 

It is a good idea to have an air purifier of adequate size in the room where your parrots live if they live inside. This can help keep the dust and dander under control between vacuuming and ensures good air quality for parrots and humans alike. A lot of air purifiers have an ion setting that whilst it is working produces the gas ozone, which can be harmful to respiratory tracts. Thankfully on most air purifiers this can be switched off, but it is worth making sure that is the case for the air purifier you purchase.



Pet insurance is an important part of responsible pet ownership. Having adequate insurance means that in an emergency or in cases of ill health, you have security that vet bills can be covered without causing pressure on your personal bank account. 

There are many providers of pet insurance but only some of them will cover companion parrots. It’s important to read through the fine print when considering insurance policies, to choose the plan that is best for you and your companion parrot. For a more detailed run down have a look here!


Vet visits 

You can find out more about locating an avian veterinarian here!  

It’s really important to ensure you are registered with an avian vet or a vet with an avian interest before you need them. They will be able to perform a through exam of your parrot to look for any suspected health issues. 


Parrots are prey species which unfortunately means that they are very good at hiding signs of disease until it has got very severe. Some things you can do to keep a closer eye on your companion parrots health are to weigh them regularly, monitor their routines so you know when something has changed and check their body condition score if you are able. For more information on how to perform this you can check out the UK Pet Food website


As well as looking after our companion parrot’s physical health, we mustn’t forget their mental health. Poor mental health in parrots can lead to some severe health issues. 

Read more about enrichment and companionship Reb’s Article and Tariq’s Article

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