The Turquoise Parrot (Neophema pulchella) is a parrot which attracts the attention of numerous bird lovers. It is a very popular pet, and it is also very popular among the aviculturists for its beauty and mild character. The first data of the existence of this species is from 1788, and the first person who described it was George Shaw in 1792.
At present, it is native to southeastern Australia, from the eastern part of the southeastern Queensland, through New South Wales all the way to Victoria. It can also be found in the urban suburbs of the big cities like Sydney and Melbourne.
Their natural habitats are woodlands, the trees surrounding seasonal streams, savanna woodlands and cultivated areas. It is estimated that the population of the Turquoise Parrot consists of about 20,000 birds, while in the aviaries (considering both normal colour and mutations) around the world there is a significantly greater number of birds. Along with the natural enemies, cutting old trees containing hollows which can be used as nesting sites, and fires can represent a big problem and affect the decrease of birds in nature.
In nature their diet consists of the various grass and shrub seeds. Sometimes they eat crop seeds.
The adequate diet is very important in the aviaries. Food must be: 1. Fresh, 2. Diverse, 3. Of good quality, 4. Clean, 5. Well dried, 6. Always having the same composition.
Since I have a considerable number of birds, there is a need to provide a larger amount of food in time. I have to store the bought food properly in order to preserve the high quality of the seeds. It must be kept in a cold and dark place with no humidity.
My Turquoise Parrots get an exactly measured quantity of food every day; and the quantity is determined by my long experience. This is why they always have enough of quality food. There are no weight changes.
Turquoise Parrot's dish consists of: white millet - 30%, light seeds - 24.5%, red millet - 11 %, peeled oats - 9%, foxtail millet - 6%, hemp - 5%, buckwheat - 4.5%, niger seeds - 4%, flax - 4%, cardamom - 2%.
They are regularly given various fruits and vegetables, especially carrot and apple and greenfood: chickweed, dandelion, wild chamomile, chicory. Eggfood and soft insect food as well as some sprouted sunflower for rearing is also offered.
The integral part of every day diet is a solid mineral mixture. It can be bought in each of the well supplied pet shops. For some years now, I make mineral-vitamin cake based on my own recipe and which is very similar to ready-made products. If minerals and vitamins are provided only together with water, the organism of the Turquoise Parrot would experience the deficiency disease. The reason is a very low intake of fluids daily.
Housing in the aviary
Taking into consideration that they live in warm and dry climate conditions, it is necessary to provide similar microclimate conditions in the aviary. However, smaller exceptions are possible because their ancestors lived and bred very successfully in the aviaries. The Turquoise Parrot can be successfully kept in the cages of I 00 x 60 x 50 cm. In my personal opinion, they will have more quality of life if they are placed into the aviaries that are 2 m high, I m wide and 3 m long. The aviary must be placed on the spot where adverse weather conditions cannot affect the birds that live in it. The winter temperature must not be too low. We must not allow water to freeze.
During the day, they must be provided with lots oflight because it is an important factor for healthy life. During the night I leave a dim light on, as in the full moon night. There were situations where one bird gets scared and then all the others start flying uncontrollably. The dim light will enable them to find the roost and to continue sleeping.
The construction of the aviary can be wooden. For outer aviaries I use double finer wire. It must be dimensioned not to allow the nails of the birds of prey to enter. When birds of prey are hungry, they will attack a parrot standing on a wire. Likewise, it is necessary to include it because of the neighbouring birds from the next aviary. I use sand for the floor of the aviary and I bring it from the sands. I always clean the sand, and then I sterilize it at 180°C for I hour. The sand has multiple uses, and one of them is sand-bathing that affects the quality of feathers. Hygiene is very important in keeping these parrots, so I change the sand once a week.
I put a lot of roosts in the aviary, but they must not obstruct the flight. The roosts are different in diameter which influences beneficial development of the locomotor organs. The roosts must be bigger in diameter during winter. The bird covers the roost with toes, but only the upper parts. When it sleeps, it covers all the toes with the body and the feathers. Even if you do not put the bird in the warmer space in time, this will save them from frostbite, which can be fatal.