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Blue-headed Pionus care

JellyRolls

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I am just starting to get interested in owning a parrot, and I’m interested in getting a blue-headed pionus. I am brand new to the forum, and I am not planning on getting a parrot for a while. I want to learn as much as possible about pionus parrots before I get one. My question is where should I start? Where can I learn about their care such as diet, exercise, cage size, toys, free flying, And where I can adopt/buy one etc. If you could help answer these questions in this thread it would be much appreciated.
 

zoo mom

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Check out the Good, Bad, and Ugly about Pionus thread. Lots of info there.
 

JellyRolls

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I will, thank you! I still would like some more information though is there any that you’d be willing to give me on their care?
 

zoo mom

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I can't make long posts due to my phone not liking Avian Avenue but I will try.
 

zoo mom

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Pionus are considered quieter than other parrots. However they are not quiet. Their alarm call is deafening. They like to be near you but may not want to be on you. My Andre rarely wants to sit on me but likes to sit on a perch near my desk. He talks some but not many phrases.
 

zoo mom

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He eats a diet that is composed mostly of pellets, a couple of nuts daily. And 2 or 3 nutriberries daily. He eats some veggies and fruit. I use mostly freeze dried or frozen vevegetables.
 

zoo mom

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His cage needs to be fairly large a 24 x 36 cage would be good. Larger would be even better. Bar spacing 3/4 inch. to 1 inch is good. It depends on the size of the Pionus. MY BH is in a 1 inch.
 

zoo mom

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Sorry this is in 3 posts. My phone hates AA and adds letters or spaces randomly.
 

JellyRolls

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Thank you so much! I really appreciate the information. How much chop should I give a pionus, as I read a little bit about chop on this forum.
 

tka

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Pionus have a reputation for being quiet, gentle, easy birds but this is only in comparison to other parrots. They are capable of making calls that make your ears ring and their bites will draw blood if they mean it! They are closely related to Amazon parrots and need to be treated with respect. They generally prefer to be around people and to watch what's going on, but don't necessarily want to be in the middle of the action.

A well-raised Pionus will give you a series of escalating warnings before biting: they will lean away from you, shuffle away, lunge at you with their beak open, give you a hard beaking and, if you've somehow failed to get the message, only then will they bite with intent. They are intelligent birds and like to be given the time and space to make their own minds up about something. If you try to force a Pionus to do something they want to do, you get what you deserve!

They tend to be soft-beaked and prefer softer materials to chew: balsa, basswood, cork, palm leaves, cardboard, paper, lolly sticks, loofah, wicker and thin slices of cross-cut pine. Toys that are made on hardwood or bamboo tend not to hold their interest. Some Pionus like shiny stainless steel toys to rattle and bang about.

Cage size information: Wingspan Info | Natural Inspirations Parrot cages
For a Pionus, you're looking at a cage of around 100x80 cm/40x30 inches. Bigger is better but make sure that the bar spacing is small enough.

When you say "free-flying", do you mean outside? Pionus are not big enough to do that safely: at around 200-260g (depending on species), they are around 2/3 of the size of a feral pigeon, and therefore ideal prey for many species of falcon and hawk. I live in London and we have sparrowhawks, buzzards and peregrine falcons so don't assume that your area is free of predators.

However, Pionus are skilled flyers and will enjoy being able to fly around your home. Set up multiple stands, perches and play areas and teach your bird to station. Like other parrots, inactive Pionus are prone to heart disease so encourage them to be active and move around. I target train my girls and ask them to fly across the room to touch the target.

I have no idea what country you're in so cannot tell you where to get one.
 

JellyRolls

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how long should I let the pionus fly around my house for? Thank you so much for the information by the way, everyone on this forum is so helpful! (Saying hi from New York) p.s. Where would I be able to adopt/buy a pionus in the future?
 

tka

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I get mine up at 8:15 am, they're out for about an hour then go back in their cages.

I then let them out at 6 pm when I get back from work. They go back in their cages at 9 pm, I give them a treat each (slice of almond for Leia, a piece of cashew for Kira), cover them, and they sleep until I wake them the next morning. While out of the cage they play with toys, I set up foraging activities and we train.

The key thing is to establish from the outset what sort of routine you can commit to and sustain. We've had this routine for over five years, since I got Leia. Many people make the mistake of getting the bird during the holidays or when working from home, having them out for 12 hours a day, then realise that they can't do this when they have to go back to work.

Pionus are rare in aviculture and don't come up for adoption frequently. I don't know who breeds them in the US.
 

zoo mom

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@tka great info. I wish my phone liked AA. It is so frustrating to only be able to type 2 ir 3 lines before it acts up.
 

Dartman

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Nerd was out free ranging any time one of us were home. He didn't fly well and preferred to walk or get rides where he wanted to go. He was happy and didn't want to escape. Lurch was mad at the world and bit without warning when I first got him. A mere 5 years later he and I came to a understanding and he'd fly after me any time I left his sight. He was very happy at the end but flew out of the door one day when sister saw he was sleeping and tried to sneak in with groceries. He woke up and went to see her and out he went. I climbed two trees and watched him under the last one for two days and he was scared away. I was given Dobby right afterwards when his mom, Momazon, couldn't keep him any longer and knew what I went through with Lurch and thought I'd be the perfect dad for him. He is the most social Maxi I've ever known, he refuses to bite though he certainly has, and loves to hang out, get treats, and chase sister Sandy, his chosen one, all over the house. He also loves to chew forbidden things, talks, and whistles, so did Lurch.
He flies like a green fighter jet and even knows how to fly down, most parrots don't.
They are all their own souls with similar traits. You don't know what you'll get but it's worth it as you earn their trust and love.
I definitely wouldn't free fly them outside but they love zipping around the house and snoozing or getting into mischief. They also tend to claim their house and be cage aggressive, and never touch them when they are doing the Pionus strut unless you're really fast or like to bleed. They can give a nasty grinding bite when they mean it.
 

JellyRolls

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Thank you all! I will continue to do research and come back with more questions! lol
 

JellyRolls

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Do pionus parrots(or parrots in general) need a cuttlebone?
 

Birds4evr

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thx for the posts everyone, I've also been thinking about getting a pi. Do you think they would work with a school schedule? I'm willing to put in the necessary work while I'm at home, but I want to know if they are ok to be home alone for 7+ hrs
 

expressmailtome

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thx for the posts everyone, I've also been thinking about getting a pi. Do you think they would work with a school schedule? I'm willing to put in the necessary work while I'm at home, but I want to know if they are ok to be home alone for 7+ hrs
It is possible.
 

Fuzzy

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@JellyRolls and @Birds4evr, as well as the fabulous advice above, you might also be interested in an article I wrote about Pet Pionus for Parrots Magazine some years ago, but recently updated. I have a Blue-headed Pionus called Kobe who will be 15 next month:


The best book about Pionus is Russ Shade's:

 
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