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29-06-2008 - Problems with parrots

Problems with parrots


Nigel Harcourt-Brown

THE introduction to this book says that it is intended for pet/companion parrot owners and suggests that responsible and sympathetic parrot care can prevent or remedy problems. A tall order for any book! In many areas this book succeeds in fulfilling this remit. It is aimed at the pet keeper and could be sold or recommended to parrot owners who wish to learn about training their parrot, or when they need to cope with behavioural problems. However, it is my recommendation that you tear out p 96 before handing the book over!Go

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128 pages, hardback, £9.99. Dorking, Interpet. 2008. ISBN 978 1 84286 165 3

The book is divided into chapters that describe nearly everything from how to select and purchase a parrot, to how to catch it when it escapes! The chapters describe parrots in the wild and in captivity, their biology, how to decide which parrot to keep, where and how to keep it, how to train it and, as the title of the book suggests, how to solve and prevent behavioural problems. Every page is profusely illustrated with excellent photographs, each being used to make a relevant point. There are many series of pictures that are used to show how to train the bird to various commands. These pictures are well produced and make the steps in training clear. It is obvious that the author and photographer have given a great deal of thought to how to present each topic.

Sadly, the book contains no quick-fix for feather-plucking grey parrots, although the author makes useful suggestions. Thankfully, he suggests a full examination by an avian vet before behavioural therapy.

My real criticism of this book is where it digresses into nutrition. The suggestion that 'if your bird is eating a varied diet of fresh fruit, vegetables and pulses along with some seeds, there is little need for any other supplements' is incorrect given the work that has been done on calcium and vitamin D deficiency in parrots in the UK, and I would take issue with several other statements on page 96. This section of the book would have benefited from being overseen by one of the author's suggested avian specialist vets.

However, in spite of this, the book is useful to recommend to people with parrots that are causing problems for their owners (as well as their vets). Its modest price means that all parrot owners can afford to buy it.

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