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This is the current Standard of Care bill proposed by Legislative Rights for Parrots after considerable discussion with experts and parrot rescues across the United States. First, we provide necessary definitions to clarify the content of the bill. Below, the entirety of the proposed bill is provided for those who wish to understand the minimum standards for keeping parrots healthy and happy, or if you prefer, you may print a copy for ease of reading. If you are interested in helping LRP educate local and federal legislators on why these standards should be enacted into law, consider volunteering with us.

Definitions for adding pet and commercial birds to the Standard of Care Bill:

AVIARY:   An outdoor place designed with non-toxic metals that provides proper spacing of openings to prevent entrapment of the pet or commercial bird and protects the bird from predators.  An outdoor aviary shall be designed to protect the bird from adverse weather conditions and provide both shade and access to sun and is only in use when temperatures support safe housing of birds outside.  Also known as a cage.

DUTY OF CARE:  Action whereby or written guidelines that individuals, rescues, for-profit and non-profit organizations follow to ensure that basic care is minimally administered to ensure the mental, psychological, and physical needs of the bird is met.

FLIPPERS:  Also known as dealers. Any dealer or person who is not a registered non-profit, a business not registered, or government entity that takes in birds and resells them.  This does not include registered pet stores or registered 501(c)3 rescues, nor individuals who are rehoming a single bird due to circumstances.

PREDATORY ANIMAL:  Any mammal, amphibian, reptile or raptor that may harm a pet bird causing mental or physical distress or death.

RESCUE:  An organization, profit or not, that takes in displaced animals including birds at a local facility or through foster homes with a dedication to adopt out the animal.  Most rescues are registered with the Federal and State agencies and are non-profit.  Their mission is to re-home animals including pet and commercial birds while following a Duty of Care to meet a standard of care.  See DUTY OF CARE.


TOXIC ITEMS:  Items such as fragrance candles, plug-ins, sprays, aerosols, therapeutic or essential oils that are harmful to birds, incense, cigarette, e-cigarretes or pipe smoke, cookware with a non-stick coating, small appliances with non-stick or other toxic coatings, turkey cooking bags, newly installed cooking appliances that have not been vented while the pet bird was present in the home.

TOXIC FOODS:  Avocado, mushrooms, onion, certain tomatoes, chocolate, xylitol, uncooked garlic, caffeinated foods or drink, alcohol, salt, high fat and high sugar foods or drink, dairy, fruit pits/seeds, or any food that is harmful to a specific species.

TOXIC TOYS:  Toys that are made with nickel, zinc or lead.

Standard of Care

Last Revised: 11/13/2021

Standard of Care:  An established level of minimal requirements whereby any rescues, breeders, pet stores, flippers and any captive bird owner or caregiver shall meet. The Standard of Care is set forth under environmental conditions, diet, mental and physical health, quarantine procedures, disease testing and maintenance of records. 

1. A person shall:

(a) In the environment, keep a captive bird in an appropriate environment

(i)  free of toxic fumes or surfaces or any toxic materials

         (ii)  providing proper lighting during the day and darkness at night

                  (iii)  protected from adverse weather conditions and excessive heat and cold

(iv)  protected from predatory animals such as mammals, reptiles, amphibians and raptors that can cause harm.

(v)  providing fresh potable water and a varied diet meeting the needs of the species

(vi)  providing adequate cage space allowing ease for the bird to spread its wings and free movement of the tail with non-toxic toys, perches of various sizes and materials, and other items located inside the cage space

(vii)  providing an area with surfaces clean from filth such as fecal matter and a build-up of food remnants

(b)  keep a captive bird in a nontoxic cage and shall be minimally sized to one and a half times the wingspan of the bird and allows free movement of the tail in a space including non-toxic toys, perches, water, and food bowls.
(c)  meet the same requirements as stated in 1 (a) through (c) for more than one bird sheltered in the same cage or enclosure

(i)  ensure enough space for each captive bird moves around freely without hindrance of other birds in the same enclosure and
(ii)  protects birds sensitive to the dander of other species are kept in an area that does not affect their health adversely 

(d)  meet the dietary requirements of a captive bird:

(i)  providing non-toxic fruits and vegetables as well as a balanced pellet diet
(ii)  providing    any other nutritional requirements specific for that species 
(iii)  ensuring all nutritional values required for the bird’s health is incorporated in the diet and is not a seed-based diet unless required under a certified veterinarian based on species and health concern.

(e)  provide all necessary physical health care for preventative, emergency or other needs of care for captive birds including

(i)  any rescue, breeder, flipper or pet store shall be required to disease test and quarantine birds for at least 30 days in a separate ventilated area while following the quarantine procedures as outlined in Section 2.

2.  A person or entity shall meet the minimum initial disease testing requirements:

(a)  Perform disease tests specific to that species such as but not limited to psittacosis, beak and feather disease (PBFD), New Castle’s Disease, herpes and avian influenza, on each of the birds in the quarantine area required for a rescue, pet shop, breeder a flippers facility,

(i)  A quarantine period of 30 days shall be based on the last bird brought into the quarantine area. No birds are to be released into the general pet or commercial bird area until all tests are reported negative either during the initial testing of the birds in quarantine or during the follow up testing due to positive test results.  
(ii)  Any bird tested positive for a disease and for birds in the same quarantine area shall remain in the quarantine area and follow-up disease testing done with 75% of the birds in the same quarantine area.  All birds in quarantine must remain in quarantine during this time.
(iii)  Any positive test results from disease testing must be called into their         veterinarian, animal control, a State accredited lab or another approved State Authority within 7 days of the results. 
(iv)  Once bird disease testing shows negative test results for diseases of concern for those species, the pet or commercial birds may be released to the pet or commercial bird area for resale or adoption.
(v)  Birds in the same quarantine period must be identified with the last date of the last bird entering quarantine.  Each bird’s name, origin, State lab testing results and a form of identification must be provided for each bird.

(b)  Any breeder of captive birds shall be required to disease test a sample of their birds prior to rehoming of any birds once a year for those birds kept in the general population after initial quarantine and disease testing.
(c)  Any birds testing positive for an untreatable viral disease requires the breeder, rescue, flipper or pet store to educate the new bird owner on following veterinary care and exclusion of other birds into their home, unless a future bird is deemed a carrier of the same disease, such as but not excluding beak and feather disease (PBFD).
(c)  Any captive bird attending a bird expo or event shall have disease testing done within the last year and records provided to the proper activity coordinators and kept on person during the event.
(d)  Any captive bird entering the U.S. must follow the quarantine and disease testing requirements as outlined in Federal Law   9 CFR 93.106 - Quarantine requirements.

(i)  Exclusions of bird disease testing include:

(1)  Private bird owners moving their domicile from one state to another and
(2)  Do not participate with their birds at bird events or purchase bird supplies at events and
(3)  Have records on file with their bird disease test results from the previous owner or breeder or pet store or flipper showing negative test results of disease of concern particular to that species in the last five years.

3.  Any captive bred bird shall meet the basic weaning guidelines which is not harmful to parent pet or commercial bird or their offspring

(a)  Breeding of adult pet birds to produce progeny shall be done in a manner that is not considered over breeding and meets Federal and state laws.
(b)  Progeny of bred pet birds shall be kept with the parent until an age of proper weaning is met as specified by a licensed veterinarian
(c)  Frequency of breeding to produce progeny that does not cause harm to the parent birds or their offspring
(d)  baby pet or commercial birds that are considered psittacines shall not be rehomed or sold prior to three months of age or longer as required by species
(e)  Baby pet or commercial birds of smaller species such as but not limited to finches, canaries, or budgies may be rehomed or sold sooner than three months so long as they are completely weaned from their parent

4.  Provide mental stimulation for any pet or commercial bird

(a)  providing non-toxic handmade or commercial toys, and/or non-toxic wood for chewing and/or foraging materials, and musical or visual entertainment
(b)  providing interaction safely with the outside environment, other birds or humans
(c)  prevent due stress from predatory animals such as mammals, amphibians, reptiles or birds of prey moving about in their space.

5.  Maintain updated record keeping:

(a)  Any person or entity such as a breeder, rescue, pet store or flipper shall provide due diligence in good faith to maintain a chain of custody record on each bird with previous vet records and a form of identification of that bird.
(b)  Document the origin of that bird providing the date and location, and records updated to maintain ownership and vet records on each bird, and keep on record onsite for at least five years, and
(c)  provide chain of custody documents with the bird during time of travel within and outside of the state of origin.

6.  Feather Plucking and Self-mutilation

(a)    Captive birds may exhibit behavioral conditions of feather plucking or self-mutilation.  However, as captive birds the owner, rescue, pet store or breeder or flipper shall

(i)    Provide immediate veterinarian care to the pet or commercial bird for the condition
(ii)    Follow up with the veterinarian as recommended
(iii)    Document the improvement, stationary condition or decline of condition showing that a duty of care was performed to meet the Standard of Care up request.

(b)    Meets all Standards of Care requirements as outlined 

7. Protection of the respiratory system of other parrots and humans  

(a)    Cockatoos, African Greys, Amazons or other pet and commercial birds producing high levels of dander shall be kept in an area separate from

(i)    Macaws and other species with respiratory systems sensitive to dander that can cause illness or respiratory ailments
(ii)     Shall provide proper ventilation or air treatment to prevent adverse health conditions with sufficient space separating their cages to prevent exposure harmful to other bird species and humans and
(iii)    Shall separate sleeping quarters of humans which will allow adverse sensitivity conditions to dander or illness of respiratory ailments.  Parrot enclosures must be kept separate from sleeping or caging quarters from sensitive birds or human individuals or have air treatment in place to protect sensitive parrot species and humans.

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