I Want My Bird to Have as Happy and Healthy a Life as Possible

I Want My Bird to Have as Happy and Healthy a Life as Possible

Last Updated on by Catherine Tobsing

Hello, Mitch

I’ve followed your blog for quite a while and always appreciate your perspectives and insights. I was pretty much gutted when I read your article on Sunday … “Birds in cages suffer all their lives.” 

I want my bird to have as happy and healthy a life as possible, but I read and hear so much contradictory information that I’m really not sure if I am providing what she needs— and I do try. 

I apologize in advance for the length of this message but I would appreciate getting your input on my bird’s living conditions and your suggestions for improving her life.

We have had Julianne, a blue-fronted Amazon female (DNA tested) for 9-1/2 years — she is 10 years old now.

She is strongly bonded to me but dislikes my husband. (Actually any men). Although we have made many attempts to change this, none of the recommendations that we tried have helped and sometimes they even made the situation worse. 

Although he can not handle or feed her, he can be near her and she no longer flies into a rage or screams.

We’re okay with this. Right now, she is not excessively noisy throughout the day, some good noise usually in the morning and before bedtime, but she otherwise mumbles and whistles and talks, but no awful screaming. If she does get a bit carried away, I just have to say her name and she quiets right down.

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Her diet consists of a range of pelleted food (Tops Pellets; HagenTropican Lifetime; Zupreem Naturals; Zupreem Fruit Blend; Kaytee Rainbow Blend). I give her a different type of pellet each day.

She also has either Roudybush or Harrisons on alternate days. 

She also has a variety of fresh food each day, including: 

Vegetables: snap peas; green, red, yellow & hot peppers; cucumber; cooked beans, edamame, beets, broccoli; carrots & carrot tops; pumpkin; quinoa, brown rice, spinach; sweet potato; cabbage; corn fruit: apples, cherries, blueberries, grapes, strawberries, almonds.

And probably other things that I can’t think of right now.

I do hide food around her cage and play stand.

Her weight has been consistent and she is not overweight. She goes for annual checkups with a certified avian vet — Dr. Brian Speer and his associates.

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In the past, she has tended to be hormonal, but I have followed several recommendations which have been helpful and it now seems to be under control.

I have always kept her on a 12-hour sleep cycle. She has a smaller cage in her own bedroom. It has blackout curtains on the window and I use a heavy curtain over the door frame — closing the door makes the room too stuffy so I don’t like to do that. 

She is away from the noise of the house, but she may occasionally get a small amount of light from an adjacent hallway under the curtain. I don’t cover the night-time cage anymore — she had begun to treat it like a nesting box so it was suggested that I not cover her.

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If I am home, her cage door is always open and since I work at home, that is probably 90% of her week. She usually plays on top of her cage or on her play stand. Her wings have not been clipped and she can fly, but usually doesn’t. 

Once in a while, she will fly up to the high windows (vaulted ceiling), but not very often. If she drops a toy on the floor, she usually climbs down to get it, then climbs up again. 

I know that I’ve read in your blog that having the cage near a window can be stressful, but I don’t get that impression from her. I have put her in a room away from windows, but she doesn’t seem to be as active or engaged as she is when near a window. 

She always calls ‘hello’ whenever someone walks by, and “laughs” when there are children playing in the yards across the street. I always know if someone is coming to our front door because she makes a specific sound for it. Unless I’m misreading her behavior (which is what I worry about), she seems very happy.

She does have a “Full Spectrum 100-watt Spiral Compact Lamp.” It’s situated in a lamp near the side of her cage so I’m concerned about how effective it really is. I can’t figure out a way to mount one on top where she wouldn’t be able to touch it and hurt herself though.

I do take her outside in a travel cage and we take her for car rides every weekend. As soon as I bring her travel cage out, she’s ready to climb inside. 

Thank you so much. I genuinely appreciate any suggestions you may have.


Nan N,


Don’t fix what’s not broken. You’re writing the book on how to properly keep a parrot. If I were to get granular, I’d say add a few more toys in the upper third of the cage.

I see a large toy in the center of the cage and low. Is Julian able to access it?

Other than that I’m taking the liberty of making you an example of how captive bird keepers do things right!




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