Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Orlando, FL Weighing in: Goffins Cockatoo "Theo"
There are different weights you can get on your parrot that are all important. Some owners only go for one weight, which is normally an "empty" weight right before the bird is fed.
I like to know all the weights I can. Here are the weights we chart:
- Full weight (after eating)
- AM/empty weight (before eating)
- Average weight (free feeding, usually on pellets, all day and taken in the middle of the day)
I like to know my bird's full weight because it tells me how much it's eating. That way I know how much food it will consume for a training session. And I also know how much to feed without unnecessary mess or waste.
Usually my cockatoo Bandit will weigh around 305 grams in the morning and consume around 15 grams of food for training until he's up to 320-325 grams which is his normally full weight.
However, my birds also have "stuffed full weights" which are always different based on what they have stuffed themselves on. 320-325 grams is a full weight for Bandit, but if he eats mostly carbs like rice, pastas or things he loves like nuts and seeds... then his weight goes up even more because he will stuff himself to the brink! I know I think there's room in my stomach for a sundae but not that broccoli... birds can be the same. They WILL make room for the stuff they love even if they're already full.
This is why I like the average weight. I like to know how much they weigh when they are able to fill themselves up whenever they want. And they don't ever get to that "over stuffed" weight when free feeding, it's only when they get something real heavy in food or something they don't usually get (like nuts and seeds, since those are normally ONLY for training and training may not happen every single day).
Over stuffed weights are not anything I go by because they are SO off. I had a parakeet that was only 6 months old who came home from the pet shop and flew around all day. He didn't like people yet so he stayed far, far away and flew where we couldn't get to him. So we waited. And by the end of the day he finally came to our others who were perched on us eating a piece of spray millet. When he joined he ate so much he weighed 40 grams! His crop was BULGING and he only ate so much because he hadn't eaten all day and had been flying around refusing to come down. So when he did eat, he ate like a mad man. However, 40 grams isn't his "full weight" because when I let him free feed on pellets and veggies he was only around 32 grams and never got himself up to 40 grams again.
I remember watching him all day the next day and he hardly touched his food because he had to wait for all the previous food to digest first. His crop was bulging for a long time!
That is why it's so important not to let your birds splurge on unhealthy foods. However, it's good to know that it will fill them up more than usual so you can use those unhealthy foods to put weight on an underweight bird if necessary and in an emergency (ie: metal toxicity)
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.