Frequently Asked Questions
We ship birds on the airlines. They are shipped in either
wooden carriers or plastic pet kennels. They ride in a special
climate controlled and pressurized compartment on the plane.
They are not in the same compartment as the passenger luggage.
We use the airlines because it is the fastest way to transport
the birds from our place to yours. Although traveling is not
that hard on them, we do not like to make them spend any more
time than absolutely necessary in transit. For this reason
we also look for the shortest route and always schedule direct
flights if possible.
2) Is shipping hard on the birds?
It has been our experience that shipping is not hard on the
birds. Being babies, the birds are used to new experiences
and sounds almost daily. They are exposed to a wide variety
of things while being raised in our nursery and home. As far
as they are concerned, it is perfectly normal for them to
get on an airplane on the 100th day of their life and go for
a trip. About the only sign of any stress is sometimes on
the post ship veterinarian exam, there is a slightly elevated
growth of gram negative bacteria but this is a fairly normal
reaction to being shipped. When they get to their new homes,
sometimes it takes them a day or two to settle in. Most of our customers tell us that
their new pet bird steps
out of the shipping container and acts right at home.
Some even fall asleep in their new owners arms on the way
home from the airport.
3) How much does it cost to ship a bird?
Arizona Parrots in Tucson do not want to make any money on shipping. We simply pass
along what it costs us to ship a bird. There are three main costs
associated with shipping birds. The largest cost is what the
airlines charge. Other costs include a pet carrier $25-$65
and our certified delivery guy who takes the bird shipment to Tucson
International Airport (TUS) for $50.
In addition a Vet Health Certificate may be require by some airlines ($35).
It would be wise to call these airlines for more details: Delta Pet First
Continental Pets Safe 1-800-575-3335 and Alaska Airlines 1-800-225-2752.
These are the airlines we try to use. If you want
to know how much shipping will cost, check to see which of
these airlines ships from Tucson International Airport (TUS) in Arizona
to an airport near you. You can tell them that the shipment crate will
weigh 8 pounds and the dimensions will be 22x12x15 ... this will get a price
very close to what it will finally be.
4) Can I save some money on shipping and
can you ship by UPS or US mail, or...?
Sorry, we have no experience with UPS or US Mail on live
shipments, as far as we know they do not do this. In the
past the only way your bird leaves our bird Ranch is in your car, or
in the delivery truck that we contract to take birds to Tucson International airport to be placed
on an airline of your choosing. Several airlines have experience
shipping animals including birds.
5) Have you ever had a bird die or get lost
No. The worst that has happened is one time the bird missed
a connecting flight, but the airline was able to get the
bird on the next scheduled flight, and the bird arrived safely and in good health
with only a three hour delay.
6) Don't the birds get hungry or thirsty?
We put lots of seeds and plenty of fruits and vegetables
in the shipping container. The fruits and vegetables provide
all the moisture the bird needs during transit. We also only
ship babies that are old enough to survive the trip. We supply enough food and
water for the unlikely event that they get delayed at an airport
overnight (because of connecting flight trouble). We do not
want to worry about them not having enough to eat or drink.
7) Do you ship out of the country?
We do NOT ship our birds out of the country. We have this policy
for 3 reasons:
- Paperwork hassles
- Long flight/transportation times.
- Long quarantine times - sometimes up to 6 months. We
feel this is just too hard on a baby bird.
- Few people are willing to pay for the extra costs involved.
With most species of parrots, sex of the bird can not
be determined accurately by visual inspection because they
have no external sex organs. To determine the sex of the bird,
there are two common methods. One is surgical sexing which
requires putting the bird under anesthesia, making an incision
in the abdomen of the bird, and then inserting a small laparoscope
and visually identify the sex of the bird. The other method
is much less intrusive and involves taking a drop of
blood from the birds cut toenail and sending it to a lab for DNA analysis.
This is the method we use. We charge $35 for this service.
Most of our parrots at Arizona Parrots in Tucson can not be sexed by visual means. However
Cockatoo adults sex can be determined by eye color at about sixteen months of
age, a coal black color indicates a male and reddish brown color indicates
Some Cockatiels can be sexed visually by looking underneath the wings
at the 8 longest flight feathers. The female will have yellow dots and the
male will not have yellow dots.
Interesting note: Cockatiels in Tucson
are generally very happy with the outdoor climate and
some seem to be living freely around our ranch.
9) Which talk better - male or female parrots?
We do not believe that talking ability differs between the sexes
- regardless of the species. We have some outstanding male and
female talking birds, however, Cockatiels are an exception, Males are more
likely to talk, but we do know of several female
Cockatiels that talk.
We get this question a lot. We believe that both sexes of all
the species we raise make equally great pets. What kind of pet, a bird will make, has far more to do with how
it is raised than what sex it is. For instance we have had as
personal pets both male and female Macaws and Amazon Parrots, and they
all became great pets. Arizona Parrots keeps in touch with the people who buy
our birds, and we have happy customers with both male and female of each
everyone loves their birds and has found that gender was not
The young babies that are being handfed receive a special diet
that we mix ourselves. As the babies start to wean,
they are provided the same diet our breeder birds get which
is a mix of 25% pellets (Polly Treasure Parrot Paradise pellets (many colors)),
40% seeds and 35% fruits and vegetables (we mix it ourselves).
We try to introduce the babies to many different
foods, in an effort to get them to start eating on their
own and for the nutritional balance this provides. We believe
that parrots are very intelligent creatures with a highly developed
taste. Parrots in Arizona enjoy and benefit from having a
varied diet. We have found from personal experience that the
more variety you can provide the healthier your bird will be.
It is for this reason that we do not feed only pellets. Below is
a list of some of the fruits and vegetables your bird will most likely have
tried before you get it from Arizona Parrots:
grapes, pears, kiwi
corn, beans, peas,
carrots (cooked slightly in microwave. soft but crunchy)
yams (cooked the same as carrots)
broccoli, spinach (fresh), kale, mustard greens
bell peppers, potatoes (cooked or mashed)
Rice, Pastas, Grains
long grain rice, noodles, 12 bean soup (we just cook it up
and then drain it)
bread (they like this, we just give them small pieces now
Our four favorite vegetables to feed our birds are:
Yams, Carrots, Broccoli and Spinach
Harmful Plants (first source)
Amaryllis - bulbs
Azalea - leaves
Balsam Pear - seeds, outer rind of fruit
Baneberry - berries, root
Bird of Paradise - seeds
Black Locust - bark, sprouts, foliage
Blue-green Algae - some forms toxic
Boxwood - leaves, stems
Buckthorn - fruit, bark
Buttercup - sap, bulbs
Caladium - leaves
Calla Lily - leaves
Castor Bean - also castor oil, leaves
Chalice Vine/Trumpet vine
Christmas Candle - sap
Coral Plant - seeds
Daffodil - bulbs
Daphne - berries
Datura - berries
Deffenbachia/Dumb Cane - leaves
Eggplant - fruit okay
Elephants Ear/Taro - leaves, stem
English Ivy berries, leaves
Fly Agaric Mushroom - Deadly Amanita
Foxglove - leaves, seeds
Hemlock - also water the plant is in
Henbane - seeds
Holly - berries
Horse Chestnut/Buckeye - nuts, twigs
Hyacinth - bulbs
Hydrangea - flower bud
Iris/Blue Flag - bulbs
Japanese Yew - needles, seeds
Java Bean - Lima bean - uncooked
Juniper - needles, stems, berries
Lantana - immature berries
Lily of the Valley - also water the plant is in
Lords and Ladies/Cuckoopint
Marijuana/Hemp - leaves
Mayapple - fruit is safe
Mescal Beans - seeds
Mistletoe - berries
Mock Orange - fruit
Monkshood/Aconite - leaves, root
Narcissus - bulbs
Nightshade - all varieties
Oleander - leaves, branches, nectar
Philodendron - leaves and stem
Poinsettia - leaves, roots, immature
Poison Ivy - sap
Poison Oak - sap
Pokeweed/Inkberry - leaf, root, young berries
Potato - eyes, new shoots
Rhubarb - leaves
Rosary Peas/Indian Licorice - seeds
Snow on the Mountain/Ghostweed
Sweet Pea - seeds, fruit
Tobacco - leaves
Virginia Creeper - sap
Yam bean - roots, immature roots
Harmful Plants (other sources)
Autumn Crocus/Meadow Saffron
Beans - all types if uncooked
Bleeding Heart/Dutchman's Breeches
Cherry Tree - bark, twigs, leaves, pits
Crown of Thorns
Indian Licorice Bean
Jerusalem Cherry - berries
Kentucky Coffee Tree
Mango Tree - wood, leaves, rind-fruit safe
Mushrooms - several varieties
Oak - acorns, foliage
Peanuts - raw
Pine needles - berries
Scarlet Runner Beans
Yew (Amer, Engl, Japan) - needles, thistles
Sources: American Medical Association Handbook of Poisonous
and Injurious Plants ; R. Dean Axelson, Caring for Your Pet
Bird; Gallerstein, Gary A., DVM, The Complete Bird Owner's
Handbook; Garry Gallerstein, Bird Owner's Home Health and
Care Handbook; Greg and Linda Harrison, eds, Clinical Avian
Medicine and Surgery; Gillian Willis; Wade and Carol Olyer
Parrot Pleasures, Safe Wood Products and more .
House and Outdoor Plants
Bamboo (Our parrots in Arizona love Bamboo)
Ferns (asparagus, birdnest, boston, maidenhair)
Figs (creeping, rubber, fiddle leaf)
Figs (laurel leaf)
Hen's and Chickens
Herbs (e.g. oregano, rosemary, thyme)
Purple Passion/Velvet Nettle
Trees and Bushes
Source: Gillian Willis
Norfolk Island Pine
Nuts (except chestnut and oak)
Palms (areca, date, fan, lady, parlour)
Palms (howeia, kentia, phoenix, sago)
Sources: Birds USA Magazine; Gillian Willis; Wade and
Carol Olyer, Parrot Pleasures, Safe wood products
Following are excerpts taken from the paper:
TeflonTM poisoning: The silent killer
by Darrel K. Styles, DVM
Hill Country Aviaries, L.L.C.
Teflon poisoning, or more correctly polytetrafluoroethlyene
(PTFE) intoxication, is a rapid and lethal gaseous intoxication
and can affect all species of birds, especially smaller species of birds.
The only clinical signs of illness are birds starting to
drop off their perches or displaying severe respiratory distress
such as open-mouthed breathing, tail-bobbing, or even audible
respiratory rales (raspy breathing sounds) followed quickly
The cause of PTFE toxicity is gaseous emission of the material
from nonstick cookware. The brand of cookware does not have
to be Teflon. Any brand of Teflon-type non-stick cookware,
such as Silverstone™, can result in intoxication. Also, cookware
is not an exclusive culprit; this toxicosis has been caused
by heat lamps coated with Teflon backing as well as range-burner
or eye backings that are coated with the substance.
PTFE toxicity occurs because the coating is overheated.
This usually is a result of forgetting that the cookware is
on the stove and leaving it empty or letting the contents
overheat and dry. The excessive heat causes Teflon coating
to enter a gaseous state. For humans and other mammals, the
PTFE gas is innocuous in the concentrations reached. However,
birds are exquisitely sensitive to the gas and are quickly
overcome by the vapor.
All types of birds are affected, from finches and canaries
to macaws and Amazons. The smaller the bird, the less gas
required to manifest the effect, so small birds are at greatest
risk. The best course is prevention. To avoid this catastrophe,
be careful of your Teflon coated surfaces. Some vets and aviculturists
advocate eliminating the cookware from the home. I think this
is a bit extreme, but I advise using some common sense and
First, I recommend not keeping birds in the kitchen for
several reasons. (Arizona Parrots also agrees that it is best to not keep
birds in the Kitchen). Not only are they subject to PTFE toxicity,
but I have seen some severely burned birds who were much too
curious around mealtime and investigated the fried chicken
too closely while it was still in the pan. Secondly, watch
your Teflon; don't leave the cookware unattended. As long
as the material is not overheated, it is generally safe to
use. When the cookware begins to age or is damaged, dispose
of it. We all have those pans in which the non-stick surface
now sticks. Just get rid of it (Besides, it's a pain to have
to scrub those pans, which just damages the surface more.)
Do not use Teflon-coated heat lamps for any reason; it just
isn't worth the risk. These lamps generally will state that
they are coated with Teflon on the label. They cannot be relied
upon to maintain a nongaseous state.
Finally, if you suspect a pan has overheated, but your birds
show no immediate signs, remove them from the area and monitor
them over the next 4 hours. If no signs appear, then you can
feel relatively comfortable about averting disaster, and a
vet may not be necessary.
Weaning time varies by parrot species and also depends on how much experience
the person has that is doing the hand feeding. For
most cockatoos expect 4 months, this also applies to the large
macaws. We wean our Greys, and Eclectus around 100
days. One of the biggest mistakes we can make is weaning a baby
too early, so we take our time and allow the babies to tell us
when they are ready.
Note: If you
already own a parrot and are trying to get help to
understand your pet better give us a call. We
here at ArizonaParrots.com are Bird Behaviorist
Specialists. We can teach you how to modify
you parrots behavior and help you teach your parrot
to become a better family pet. We charge $40
per hour for this service and we can do it over the
phone, if you are not able to travel here to our
AZ PH# 520-298-0379