Abuse/neglect of parrots by Marianka Thomas

Parrot abuse refers to the physical and mental mistreatment of parrots by humans. The most common form of bird abuse is hoarding, and the majority of cases are reported from breeding facilities, pet stores, and laboratories, as well as the parrot lover who just can’t stop adding to a full-time flock. Parrots can be abused both physically and mentally by bad owners.

Abandoning your parrot at a pet shop or “free to good home” will likely end up as an abused & neglected parrot.

Physical abuse can include beating, strangulation, drowning, mutilation, torture, neglect, poisoning, theft, throwing your parrot, and other forms of violence.

Mental abuse can include neglect, isolation, and verbal abuse. Parrots can self-harm in the same situations as people, usually from depression and sometimes through sheer, agonizing, prolonged, torturous boredom. Failure to provide proper enrichment and perches classifies as abuse.

Parrots in foster care often mimic the language of abusive humans, which can be an indication of past abuse the parrot had to endure.

It is important to treat parrots with kindness and respect and to report any suspected abuse to the appropriate authorities.

Neglect of parrots refers to the failure to provide the basic necessities of life to parrots, which can be considered abuse according to the Animal Protection Act.

Neglect can cause parrots to suffer in ways that are not readily recognized as mistreatment or neglect.

The following are some signs of neglect in parrots:

• Birds unable to roost without physical contact or harassment from other birds

• Inappropriately sized perches, or no perches at all

• Perches, cage bars, and grates encrusted with feces, mold, and debris

• Rotting food or lack of food appropriate to the species

• Contaminated water, or no water at all

• Unsanitary cages; excessive moisture or dust

• Overgrown nails and beaks

• Extensive feather loss, unhealed wounds, eye damage – all signs of long-term neglect

• Darkened bars on feathers, often a sign of malnutrition or prolonged stress.
• No enrichment (toys, branches, foraging objects) to combat against boredom

Parrots are natural flock animals, which means they need the company of other birds or at least the attention of their owner. If no one is around to provide them with attention, they can become depressed and self-harm.

Neglecting a parrot’s basic needs, such as food, water, enrichment, and social interaction, can lead to physical and mental health problems, including malnutrition, dehydration, feather plucking, and depression.

Neglect of parrots can be prevented by taking the following steps:

• Provide a suitable environment: Parrots need a clean, spacious, and stimulating environment to thrive. Make sure their cage is large enough for them to move around and play, and that it is cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of feces, mold, and debris.

• Provide fresh food and water: Parrots need a balanced diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables, pellets, sprouts, and healthy seeds. Make sure their food and water are changed daily, and that they have access to clean water at all times.

• Provide social interaction: Parrots are social animals and need regular interaction with their owners or other birds to stay healthy and happy. Spend time with your parrot every day: 2 – 4 hours a day are needed for a healthy bond.

• Provide mental stimulation: Parrots are intelligent animals and need mental stimulation to prevent boredom and depression. Provide toys, puzzles, foraging materials, and other forms of enrichment to keep your parrot engaged and entertained for when you are not around.

• Report suspected neglect: If you suspect that a parrot is being neglected or abused, report it to the appropriate authorities. Neglect and abuse are illegal and can result in fines, imprisonment, and the removal of the bird from the owner’s care.

• Lack of proper grooming: Neglecting to groom a parrot can lead to overgrown nails and beaks, dull or matted plumage, bald spots, missing toes or toenails, and other physical health problems.

• Lack of knowledge or education: Some cases of neglect may be due to a lack of knowledge or education about proper parrot care. It is important for parrot owners to educate themselves about the needs of their birds and to seek help if they are unsure about how to provide proper care.

By being aware of these common causes of parrot neglect, parrot owners can take steps to prevent neglect and ensure that their birds live happy and healthy lives.

By taking these steps, you can help prevent neglect and ensure that your parrot lives a happy and healthy life.

What to do when you see a parrot being neglected or abused:
It is important to report any suspected neglect or abuse to the appropriate authorities: NSPCA
Email: nspca@nspca.co.za or contact: +27 11 907 3590

As much as we would like to save all, unfortunately, As a Non-Profit Organisation, we do not have the legal authorities to intervene in abuse and neglect cases.
Parrots in the care of Cheeky Beaks are voluntary owner surrenders due to a number of reasons: Financial commitments, relocation, loss of owner, etc.

Should you ever feel that the burden of taking care of any parrot in your care is getting too heavy, PLEASE get in contact with us.

No parrot should be dropped off at a local pet store or even just be left to fly free as they do not know how to fend for themselves.

There is always HELP.