Quakers are one of the most interesting pet bird. They will be more of a friend then a pet. They tune in to their owners so strongly. They really have the personality of the larger parrots in a smaller less expensive body. They are the smallest hookbill that holds it's food in it's claw like the larger parrots. They have a lifespan of 25 -30 years. It is completely dependent upon you for all its needs. Since you are responsible for its health and welfare, the following tips will be helpful in maintaining a healthy, happy bird which could give you up to 25-30 years of pleasure.
Removal to a strange new place is a traumatic and stressful experience to a baby Quaker. Because of this, place your bird in a quiet place for at least a day before you start handling or training it. This gives it time to adjust to its new surroundings. Watch it carefully to make sure it has found its food and water dishes and is eating and drinking. If you have a scale appropriate for weighing your bird, try to weigh it every day and make sure it's total weight does not drop more than 10%. If you have other birds your baby should be placed in a separate room from other birds for 30 - 45 days quarantine.
Quakers are very inquisitive, playful, intelligent and social birds that bond well to their owners. They will think of you as their flock and call to you when you aren't in site. Spend as much time as you can with your bird but not any more time then you'll be spending with in a year from now. It's hard on any bird to be showered with attention when it's new and then receive only a facton of that attention when older. The more you have him out of the cage and with you the more he'll want to be with you.
Cage Size: Birds should have a cage large enough to spread and flap their wings without hitting anything, including toys, at least 18 X18X18 inches. It is also important that the width in between each horizontal bar of the cage is 1" or less so that your bird can't stick its head through the bars and get hurt. Black and white newspaper is the best covering for the bottom of the cage. Colored newsprint has lead in the ink, which is toxic to your bird. You can check with your local newpaper company, many have switched to soy based inks which are not toxic to your birds. I recommend a water bottle for drinking, different size perches for its feet, and a terra cotta perch for its nails and beak. Clean the cage and change water as often as your sense of good housekeeping dictates but at least once a week. Provide a cuttlebone, mineral block and toys for your bird to chew on. Quakers love to chew so watch your windowsills.
Food: Birds diets should consist of Pellets, Fruits, Veges, Greens, Pastas, Beans, Rices, and seed alternated daily. If you use a pellet as a base, meaning they eat 80% pellets, then they don't need supplemental vitamins or minerials. If seed is used as a base then they need the vitamins. Foritified seeds is not adequate. Usually the vitamins are on the shells and what does the birds do with them? Drops them, so they don't get any of the vitamins. Cereals are good for your birds. I feed oatmeal, grits, cream of wheat both cooked and uncooked. Cheerioes, rice krispies, corn flakes, bran flakes and which ever ones my son has open that is not high in sugar or salt. Spinach, parsley and chard are very high in oxalic acid. This will block the absorbtion of calcium. In very moderated amounts it is ok to feed it. Quakers are hookbills so they do *not* need gravel/grit. Oyster grit is ok because this is a mineral but rock gravel does them no good and can kill them by causing crop impaction. For freshness I suggest that you store seed and pellets in the freezer. Storage in the freezer will also cut down on the moths that love to nest in bird seed! Quakers can be prone to Fatty Liver Disease. To help protect the bird do not let it become overweight and avoid an all-seed diet and high fat foods.
Talking: Quakers become good talkers with large vocabularies. Just keep repeating the same word or small phase to the bird until he repeats it. Keep in mind that birds will repeat words that are interesting to them. Many birds don't say hello because it is one tone, but love to say Hi! Because it is high pitch and fun. Always offer a favorite food as a reward for any attempt at the beginning and then once he has started only when he does it right. Bird Talk magazine recently rated them in the top ten best talkers list. Most start talking around the age of 6 months but some start while being weaned.
Tricks: Your bird can learn to do many tricks. Work with the bird for short periods of time a few times each day. Teach the trick in stages and always offer a treat for each phase. Commands for tricks should include verbal and visual commands. For example, one of the first things your bird should of learned is to "Step up." The verbal command can be "step up," and the visual command an extended finger near the breast of your bird.
Potty Training: You can also potty train your bird. In this case, the verbal command is very important. Choose a word or phrase for the action like, "go stinky" or "potty" or whatever you feel comfortable with. The first step is to watch your bird and learn its body movements before it goes. Then, take it to where you want it to go, holding its tail down. Give the verbal command and a lot of praise if your bird does go. Allow the bird to resume its previous activity. If your bird makes a mistake, pick him up, saying firmly "no" and take him to where he is supposed to go, giving the verbal command. Then, some sort of discipline is necessary, for example cage time for five minutes. The initial punishment should not be severe at all. Five minutes is adequate. As the training progresses however, a mistake should be punished with increasingly more time out.
Toxins: Chocolate, avocado and Teflon cookware are very toxic to your bird. Cooking with Teflon can kill your bird within minutes even if the bird is on the other side of the house so please be careful, and try not to use any type of non-stick cookware. Fruit seeds are also toxins, they contain arsenic. Anything with an odor could be a toxin. Your bird has a very small respiratory system. Miners use canaries to go down into the minds because they will die before a human will even smell the first fume.
I suggest you subscribe to a bird magazine to learn more about your bird. Several quality bird magazines can be found at pet stores like Bird Talk or Birds USA. Find a bird club in your area. They are usually a wealth of infomation. They can usually point you in the right direction for a vet also.
Your bird's wings should be clipped for it's own safety . It should still be able to fly enough to stop itself from falling but not enough to gain any height. One flight feather will allow your bird to gain height so keep it's wings clipped. Also a bird with clipped wings is a calmer and sweeter bird.
Your baby should always be taken in to an Avian vet for a well baby check up. This will give the vet a good base line to go by if the bird should become sick.
Some states do not allow Quakers or they have laws governing ownership. Check with your Fish and wildlife department to find out the regulations in your state.