Last Updated on: 1st October 2023, 07:14 am
Quarantining a parrot involves keeping a bird in isolation for a defined period when you first bring it home. As exotic pets, parrots can harbor contagious illnesses and diseases that go undetected.
Never allow a parrot to mix with other birds during a quarantine period. Ideally, it should temporarily live in a different room away from other birds.
A quarantine period should last at least 30 days, although 45 days is safer. Some avian experts recommend quarantining a new bird for as long as 60 days.
If a quarantined parrot falls ill, extend the period of isolation by an additional 45 days.
Visit the parrot regularly during quarantine to manage its stress and monitor its health, but take safety precautions. Wear gloves and a face mask, and change your clothes after each visit.
Once the parrot concludes its quarantine, it can safely become a family member. You can introduce the new parrot to other birds and house it elsewhere in the home.
Why Do Parrots Need To Be Quarantined?
Birds can carry various bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Unfortunately, you can never be 100% sure that a new parrot isn’t infected with a virus, illness, or disease.
A quarantine period ensures a new parrot can’t infect other pet birds when precautions are taken. Many avian diseases are highly contagious and will spread rapidly.
If you bought a parrot from a reputable breeder, you might be given a clean health certificate certified by a vet. This isn’t a reason to skip quarantine, but a vet will perform some basic checks:
- The parrot is a healthy weight for its age.
- The parrot’s feathers have no mites, fleas, ticks, lice, or other parasites.
- No intestinal parasites, like worms, have infested the parrot’s digestive system.
Blood tests for more advanced diseases may also be undertaken. The only way to be sure is to talk directly to the veterinarian, but this won’t always be possible.
Do All New Parrots Need To Be Quarantined?
Exotic pets should be quarantined, especially if you have other birds or pets.
It remains advisable to quarantine a parrot that’ll only live with humans, as they can carry zoonotic diseases that infect humans.
How Long Should You Quarantine A New Parrot?
“Quarantine” is a translation of the Roman word “quarantena,” which means “40 days.”
Until the Middle Ages, 40 days of isolation was believed to be sufficient to purge the body of an infectious disease. In modern science, opinions vary on how long avian quarantine should last.
Some experts claim that 30 days is sufficient, while others believe a new bird should be quarantined for 45-60 days. If you have other birds in your home, quarantine a new parrot for 2 months.
What To Look for When You Quarantine a Parrot
You must observe the parrot and conduct basic daily health checks.
The stress of moving to a new home may make a parrot behave erratically at first, especially if you leave it alone for a long time. Parrots are social birds and grow agitated if denied company.
While checking in with a parrot, note any signs of ill health:
- Loose droppings that contain excessive urine (polyuria.)
- Reluctance to eat or hydrate.
- Excessive drinking of water (polydipsia.)
- Fluffing the feathers as though cold, even though the temperature is optimal. Parrots prefer an ambient temperature of 65–80°F.
- General lethargy, including sitting at the bottom of the cage rather than perching.
Aggression, including pecking and biting, could also be a warning sign of sickness.
However, this could also result from attempting to handle a frightened parrot before it has settled into its new home, especially if the bird isn’t yet tame.
Can You Quarantine A New Parrot in the Same Room as Other Birds?
The purpose of quarantine is to keep a parrot away from other birds.
Keep the quarantined parrot in a different room. Ideally, this will be on another floor. The room must have a closable door in case the parrot escapes its cage.
If you have air conditioning, disable this to ensure that airborne viruses can’t be passed between birds.
Safety Protocols During Parrot Quarantine
Quarantining a parrot will only work if you take safety protocols seriously.
You must visit the bird several times daily to enable it to adapt to its new living environment and monitor its health. While you do so, adhere to these conventions:
Wear Protective Clothing
Always wear protective clothing during interactions to protect yourself and the parrot.
Consider wearing the following before handling:
- Rubber gloves.
- A face mask.
- Covers over the feet.
- A protective smock or apron.
Have a change of clothes handy and wear the same outfit whenever you enter the quarantine zone with the parrot, changing out of these clothes when you leave the room.
Wash your hands, arms, neck, and face after handling, even when wearing gloves and a mask.
The cage of a quarantined parrot should be spot-cleaned several times per day. The feces and urine of birds can cause bacterial or fungal infections, so don’t allow waste to rot in the cage.
As some infections are airborne, regularly disinfect the area around the cage.
Don’t use a spray disinfectant. According to Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice, sprays can adversely affect the respiratory system of parrots.
Always clean the cages of resident birds before approaching a quarantining parrot.
If you have other birds, you may want to familiarize them with a new parrot’s scent before introducing them. This is unsafe. Never exchange food bowls, water bottles, or toys without sanitizing them.
The risks of pathogens clinging to external objects outweigh the rewards of creating a sense of familiarity. Only introduce your pets once the quarantine period has ended.