When you see a parrot, one of the most distinct characteristics to notice is its beak. Parrots are often called hookbills. It is due to their hook-like beaks. With this physical trait, it is easy to distinguish a parrot from any other birds. They can do a lot of things with it, such as playing with objects, eating, drinking, and even climbing. There is no doubt about its importance in a parrot’s life.
What do you think will happen to a parrot without its beak? Surely, it would suffer as most of its daily activities need the bills. As responsible pet owners, it is our duty to ensure that our little pets are healthy. Not only with the food they eat, but also with the health conditions of the birds.
Understand your parrot
One of the most common problems you can encounter when taking care of a parrot is its beak condition. There are times when you can notice some deformities and beak peeling. The different circumstances can affect their condition. You have to have a good understanding of the needs of your feathered friend.
Consider the kind of environment they are in and their food. Sometimes pet owners tend to be oblivious. They think they are already giving enough food. It is not the case. You have to be observant as your little bird could already be showing symptoms of health problems.
The parrot’s beak is unique. Not all birds can move the upper and lower part of their bills. This characteristic is extremely helpful in their daily activities. It makes things easy for them as they can crack a nutshell without issue.
How can parrots do that? You need to know the component of the beak. It is made of solid keratin. If you want a perfect example, take a look at a fingernail. Since it is made of keratin components, there is continuous growth for a parrot’s beak.
Time to time peeling on the beak is normal. It should not be a source of worry for pet owners. But, it is better to observe this progress. Frequent peeling can mean that there is an underlying cause.
How to tell if the beak is in perfect shape?
The beak is an integral part of a bird’s anatomy. Hence, owners should check that it is in good condition. Unhealthy bills can disrupt day to day activities of your birds. Check out the signs on how you can tell that beaks are in top shape.
- Discoloration – There should be no discoloration on your bird’s beak at any point. It is always in one shade. If you notice any color changes, do not panic. Before setting up an appointment with your veterinarian, check them first. These birds are playful. It can be a paint that it got from a toy or some dust.
- Alignment – Teeth are to humans, and beaks are to birds. Like people, the beaks should fit perfectly. If you notice misalignment, have the bird checked out. It is an abnormality that needs a doctor’s attention.
- Symmetry – It doesn’t matter how young or old the parrot is. The beak is healthy if there are no changes in its shape. There are cases when you can see it crooked and not proportion. Don’t worry because most of the time, your little pets just need some beak trimming. But you have to be mindful if it is happening often. It could be a symptom of a health issue.
- Smoothness – At no point in time that the beaks should have any lumps or grooves. A healthy beak is smooth apart from the usual peeling. If you notice any abnormality on the beak’s surface, take the bird for a check-up.
Dangers of beak peeling
The peeling of beaks is not unusual. Due to the component that makes up the beak, there will be occasional peeling. Pet owners should not be complacent. Frequent peeling accompanied by deformation means your bird needs immediate medical attention.
There is a virus that attacks parrots called Beak and Feather Disease Virus (BFDV). If your parrot is experiencing symptoms of habitual beak peeling and beak deformity, it can be infected by BFDV. It has a domino effect as it can target the bird’s immune system. After that, they are susceptible to other infections.
Aside from peeling, there are other things to watch out. The bird can lose its appetite. Remember that their bills are sensitive, and if it is too painful, they will opt not to eat. Vomiting is another sign that you need to be careful of. Birds can easily be dehydrated. Diarrhea can also be a threat. Frequent droppings, along with loss of appetite, can be fatal.
If the veterinarian suspects that your bird is infected with the virus, some tests can be done. They can suggest standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or a quantitative PCR. It can catch even small traces of the virus.
Unfortunately, the treatment for this virus is still on an experimental stage. The vaccines they can give are still on a trial phase. There is no assurance of cure and thus not yet available to the public.
Be vigilant on the condition of your birds. It is always best to prevent illness than curing it. Here are some of the things that you can do to ensure that the beaks are in perfect condition.
One can easily tell the kind of nutrition a parrot is getting. It will show on its looks if it is on a healthy diet. Mostly, it is visible on the bird’s feathers, skin, and beak.
Make sure that you can give them fruits and vegetables daily. This is the best way for them to get the vitamins and nutrients they need. Also, check with a veterinarian for the best pellet or seed mix. These are packed with essential minerals good for your pets.
Let Them Chew
Parrots are playful by nature that they love to bite and chew. It is a helpful habit that takes care of old flakes on their beaks and provides adequate exercise.
Cuttlebones is the best example as it is equipped with calcium that is good for your pets. Also, these have rough edges that can maintain the sharpness of their bills. Since beaks are made of keratin, chewing on cuttlebones lessens excessive keratin growth.
Wooden toys are also an option if you want to give the birds something to chew. Using these can help trim their beaks naturally.
Unfortunate things happen when we least expect it. Ensure the safety of your pets through their surroundings. Parrots have an innate curiosity that can lead them to dangerous situations.
There is no problem if you want to give some toys for pets. It is advisable, but you have to check it from time to time as these toys become worn out. If this happens, it can lead to some lesions on their beaks.
Also, be careful when you put some things that have small metal parts. Parrots tend to stick their nose into something they are not supposed to. They can either have scratches or worse they can end up having a clipped beak.
Whether you think the feathered pets are fine, it’s crucial to have them checked regularly. Veterinarians don’t just cure pets but prevent serious conditions from occurring. Doctors can give you advice if their current diet is still applicable or if they need any other supplements. We care about our parrot pets, and the best way to show it is ensuring they are living a healthy life. Be a responsible pet owner. Their beaks are like a lifeline for these birds. Remember that without these bills, you are leaving the bird immobilized. Keep in mind that we took our pets under our wings, and we have to keep them safe.