Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few Question & Answer Facts on the Pionus.

Diet? Fruit, Veggies, seeds, pellets, nuts, beans.  A good general well rounded diet will do them good.
Breeding Age?  Pionus can start breeding as young as 2 years old.
Talking Ability? Pionus can talk, but is a little raspy and not usually a large vocabulary.
Loud? The Pionus is one of the most quiet type of parrot that you will find.
Affectionate? The Pionus is not considered a real cuddle bug like a Cockatoo is.
Attention? The Pionus likes attention but does not require it constant like some parrots.
Availability?  The Pionus is still not found in most pet shops, they are found more through breeders.
Price? Pionus' are moderately priced, a pet depending on Pionus specie range between $300 to $700.
Life Span? Because the majority of the Pionus species have not been in kept in captivity for much more than
20 years, we are led to believe that they may have a life span of 25-40 years.  It is not known exactly of how long they really do live.

Pionus Fact: When a Pionus eats, they dunk their food in the water often making it appear that they are drinking a lot of water. They are not always drinking the water, they are usually wetting the food. Do not get this confused with them drinking 'excessive' water.  Many parrot species do this, the Pionus seems to do it a lot more and this is normal.  The water usually has to be changed frequently, I consider it "Bacteria Soup" if you don't change it when it gets saturated with moist foods, pellets or seed in the water.  It can get very smelly especially on warm days.  Please don't let your bird suffer with drinking the "Bacteria Soup" all day long.

Pionus Fact: The Pionus makes a wheezing like sound
 when they get nervous or stress and this is normal.
Pionus Fact:  The smell of a Pionus is known as a sweet
 Musky type smell, some people like the way they smell.
Pionus Fact:  Pionus Babies that have red on the forehead
 or chest is only a baby trait and will be gone after first molt. 
 It can be present up to around five months old.
Pionus Fact:  The Blue Headed Pionus does not completely
 have a blue head until they are about year old or slightly older.
Pionus Fact:  The White Cap Pionus does not fully have its
 white cap on the head until 8 months or older.
Pionus Fact:  The Maximilian's beak can darken considerably.
 Some remain lighter in color.
Pionus Fact:  All Pionus species have the red under the tail.



Here are some common questions that people often ask me.

  1. How long does it take for a baby parrot to hatch?

  2. At what age is a baby parrot weaned?

  3. When do the eyes and ears open on a new chick?

  4. What is the temperature kept at to stay warm?

  5. How often does a baby parrot have to be fed?

  6. What kind of formula is used to feed the baby parrot?

  7. Does the baby parrot have to be fed through the night?

  8. What do you use to feed the baby chicks with?

  9. What heating source do you use to keep chicks warm?

  10. Is it best to buy from a breeder or a store?

  11. What kind of health guarantee comes with the baby?

  12. Can I come and see the baby parrot that I am buying while it is being hand fed?

  13. Can I take home the baby to finish hand feeding it?

  14. When will my baby parrot learn to talk?

  15. At what age does a baby parrot learn to eat on their own?

  16. What is fed to a weaning parrot?

  17. How do I know what sex the parrot is?

  18. How big should the cage be for a parrot?

  19. How large should the perch be?

  20. Will that Parrot Bite?

  21. When should I take a parrot to the vet?

  22. Can you get a parrot vaccinated?

  23. Are plants toxic to parrots?

  24. What foods are toxic to parrots?

  25. Which is better to feed, seed or pellets?

  26. Why do you breed and raise parrots?

  27. Is it a lot of up keep on breeding parrots?

  28. Why don't you sell all your breeding parrots, so you can take vacations?

  29. If I buy my parrot from you and I don't want it anymore, will you buy it Back?

  30. What do you do if people ask too many questions?


How long does it take for a baby parrot to hatch?

Most parrots take 26 days after incubation starts. Cockatiels and some smaller birds take from 18-21 days to hatch. Sometimes the mother hen will wait until all her eggs are laid, the she will start sitting. Some will start sitting from the time they lay their first egg. Its best to try to date the egg lightly in pencil at the wide end of the egg, but you must be very careful and not press too hard, you don't want to break through the shell.

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At what age is a baby parrot weaned?

This can vary quite a bit, and depends on the species of birds. Cockatiels and such small birds take up to six weeks. Pionus, Amazons, Greys and such medium size parrots are at least 3 months. Large parrots such as Cockatoos, macaws take at least 4 months. Hyacinth Macaws take longer up to 8 months to wean.

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When do the eyes and ears open on a new chick?

Usually 11-14 days. The eyes start slitting open and the ear holes will also start opening as well.

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What is the temperature kept at to stay warm?

Newly hatched chicks start out at about 98.5 degrees. Proper temperature is important for food to properly digest. The temperature is lowered as a few days go by and then it should be between 85-90 until pin feathers start coming in and then it can be lowed to around 80 degrees. The chick must be kept comfortable and away from drafts. For humidity, you can saturate a cotton ball with water and put it in a container out of harms way. You wouldn't want to put just water in a container because the chick could get in it and drown.

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How often does a baby parrot have to be fed?

A newly hatched chick must be fed every 2 hours for 7 days. Then to every three hours at about 2-3 weeks old, for about a week or more. So on and so on. Always watch the crop as it should not empty out except through the night.  New hatchlings must be fed a very watery thin formula for the first couple of days.  You can read more on our Hand Feeding page.

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What kind of formula is used to feed the baby parrot?

I use Roudybush or Kaytee hand feeding formula. There are several different hand feeding formulas on the market.

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Does the baby parrot have to be fed through the night

As for myself, I do not feed a baby chick through the night. The only times I do if the chick had recently hatched out in late evening, then I may get up to check on it or give him a couple of drops of real thin formula. Also, if a chick seems sickly then I will feed or do what is necessary though out the night. Parent birds don't feed their chicks through the night.

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What do you use to feed the baby chicks with?

I use syringes. I use different sizes depending on the chicks age. You can also spoon feed.

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What heating source do you use to keep chicks warm?

I use heating pads to put the containers or tubs on.  It has to be watched a little closer than other types.  I just never invested in temperature controlled brooders.


Is it best to buy from a breeder or store?

That is a matter of opinion. Most typical stores are just dealers and some of their employees may or may not have the proper experience with parrots. Sometimes a parrot goes through too many changes of hands by the time it reaches its new owner, for some parrots it doesn't seem to bother and others have a hard time adjusting. Sometimes more exposure of people may make the parrot  well socialized. Stores now a days only buy hand fed babies to sell.  They sell with a guarantee and it differs from store to store, just as it does with a breeder.  The true "Bird Farm" type stores are good type of stores to buy from.

The breeder that you may buy from has a direct relationship with that parrot.  Breeders also sell mostly hand fed babies. Breeders also sell breeding pairs, in which you won't find that in typical  store. Breeders will put together unrelated birds together to make up breeding pairs. The breeder will usually know more in depth about the species that they raise and sell. Most breeders sell also with some sort of guarantee. 

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What kind of health guarantee  comes with the baby parrot?

This is one of the common health guarantees that you may run across:You have three days (excluding week-end) to have your bird vet checked after you have purchased it from us, if you take it in after the 3 day period is up, I will not reimburse you if there is a health problem.  Therefore, if it is the week-end when you take the bird home, then starting on Monday you should get the bird in to the vet.  The vet should do a basic Well Bird Exam. You pay at your own expense, with proof  from the vet if your bird should have a health problem, we will take back the bird and reimburse you in full for what you paid us for the bird, or replace with another bird. This does not include blood work, cultures or any other extensive tests that you have the vet do. We sell healthy babies. There should be no problem with a baby when you buy it from us.We sell babies with a 3 day health guarantee, see our Policies page.

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Can I come and see the baby parrot that I am buying while it is being hand fed?

Yes, Yes! It is recommended if you can take the time to come and visit the baby as it grows. This gives you and the baby a chance to know each other before he/she goes home with you.

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Can I take home the baby parrot to finish hand feeding it?

No! Not with us. Some will let you. Most breeders state that if they release an unweaned baby to you and if something should happen to it, they are not held responsible. Usually there is no guarantee with an unweaned baby. In some cases breeders will let a well experienced hand feeder take an unweaned baby, but if you are not experienced, its best that you not try it. Ones that say, that we can teach you how to hand feed in just minutes, is not what its cracked up to be. There's a little more to it than meets the eye. If a person wants to spend quality time teaching you after several secessions, that would be advisable. When a baby parrot is use to just one hand feeders techniques and then it changes, then they aren't too happy.

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When will my baby parrot learn to talk?

Practice, practice. Repeat, repeat. As a breeder I talk to the babies a lot, that is how they learn from an early age. It takes time and patience. Some may not start talking right away and you think they are not learning, but they are and its a matter of time. They will practice to themselves. Parrots love to mimic sounds as well.  So keep talk to them until you are blue in the face!

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At what age does a baby parrot learn to eat on their own?

That depends on the species type.  Pionus will start nibbling or eating on soft food items when they are close to 3 months old, larger parrots may be a bit older before they begin to learn how to eat.  Cockatiels learn to pick up and start eating at about 4-5 weeks old as they are usually weaned at 6-7 weeks old normally.

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What is fed to a weaning  parrot?

As the babies are starting their weaning process, I introduce them to cereal such as cherrios or another type that doesn't have sugar in it. The weaning stage can last up to a month until it can eat fully on its own.  Along the way they are given soft veggies, soak-n-cook bean mixture, fruit. Then they are introduced to pellets and maybe seeds.  Some pick up eating faster than others. Babies will also learn from each other. If there is just one bird by its self it has a little harder time learning. I don't hurry the weaning process, it is a stressful time for them.

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How do I know what sex the parrot is?

Usually you can't tell in most parrots, they are unlike the wild birds being that the male is more colorful than the female, not so in the parrots.  You can have the parrot sexed by DNA or surgical. Some breeders can guess the sex by certain traits, sometimes they are right and sometimes they are wrong. The best way is to have them DNA or surgical. Unless you are going to breed the parrots, its probably not really a concern.

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How big should a cage be for a parrot?

A cage should be large enough so that when the wings are spread out that they don't hit the cage bars in any directions.  Try mounting perches so that they are not over food and water. 

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How large should the perch be?

The parrots foot should wrap around without the front toes and back toes touching each other.  For medium size parrot, the perch should not be smaller than 1".  It is a good idea to offer different size perches and different texture types.

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Will that parrot bite?

YES! Because you don't know.  A parrot may not bite one person, but might turn around and bite someone else. Always assume that a parrot will bite. Would you stick your hand in a lion's mouth? No! Because you know you're know taking a chance on getting bit, think the same way when it comes to parrots of any kind.  This is the second question that people ask me, the first question that is asked is 'can the bird talk'?!

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When should I take a parrot to the vet?

When you first purchase a parrot, if you want to have it vet checked. Or if you think there might be something wrong, then don't hesitate to take it in. Parrots can hide their sickness. You can also take your bird in for an annual check up if you would like, it never hurts to be sure that everything is okay.

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Can you get a parrot vaccinated?

Yes, there are different vaccinations available for parrot. There is a vaccination against the Polyoma Virus.  It's a good idea especially if your parrot travels around a lot. Its much more costly than dogs are to get vaccinated. Other diseases to be aware of is: Psittacosis, Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), Pacheco's Parrot Disease (PPD), Parrot Pox, Exotic New Castle Disease, Proventricular Dilatation Syndrome (PDD). You can check other resources on the web, you should be able to find numerous articles on each of these diseases.  This is just a short list of the many diseases and problems that can arise in keeping parrots.

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Are plants toxic to parrots?

There are many, many plants that are and are not toxic or poisonous to parrots. Go to this link listed here there is so much informative info.

Harmful Plants

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What foods are toxic to parrots?

There are some to list a few, avocado, chocolate, alcohol, apple seed. There are many, to find out further go to the above linked site or also check at:

Toxic Foods, Metals and Compounds

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Which is better to feed seed or pellets?

Feed both. Seed should not contain sunflower seed, if any, very little of it should be give. Mostly it's a preference. Birds need a well balanced diet which also includes a lot fruits and vegetables, it is very important that they get that along with seed or pellets. If the bird is not a picky eater it will like most anything you like, go to our nutrition page to read more.

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Why do you raise and breed parrots?

It's a big interest of mine. It started out like many, just having a parrot as a pet. Then turns into breeding. It take tremendous amount of patience and time. Most breeders do it for the love of parrots. There is no money in it for me, at this time I do not make any profit. Sales that I make from my baby parrots are put back in for feeding the breeders and other supplies that they need.  My expense is greater than what my out put is on babies.  Most breeders work hard at what they do. 

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Is it a lot of up keep on breeding parrots?

Absolutely, yes! Feeding, watering, cleaning, buildings for more aviaries. Getting supplies.  Cleaning up after these messy creatures it an on going, endless chore.

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Why don't you sell your breeding parrots, so you can go on vacations?

I have so many people ask me this question.  I think they get more frustrated than I do that I don't get to go away on vacations. I always worry about all my birds when I am away from them.  There has been more than once that I've said, Okay I'll sell them all so I won't be tied down.  But I just keep doing what I do best!

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If I buy a parrot from you and I don't want it anymore, will you buy it back?

No! If you don't want it, you will have to resale it to someone else.  I'm not in this to buy back babies that I sell.

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What do you do if people ask too many questions?

I just keep on answering the questions!  Many things I know are from experience that I have learned from just being around the parrots. There are things I learn from reading and listening to others. I can give advice or my own opinion on topic. If you are not sure about something, especially concerning the health a parrot, then seek a professional opinion, such as from a veterinarian.
Thank you for reading my questions and answers. I hope it has been somewhat helpful. If any other questions come to mind, email me and I will answer your questions.

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Revised: Oct. 5, 2013