PART I: Code of Practice

1 Introduction:

In achieving its goal as set out in the Constitution of the Parrot Breeders Association of South Africa (PASA) in protecting the rights of its members to breed and market their parrots, to provide guidelines in keeping, taking care of, housing and dealing in parrots and to work in association with National and International Organizations that affects the rights of its members the following Code of Practice is hereby implemented for all its members.

In addition to the Code of Practice a recommended Good Code of Conduct is also introduced as set out in Part II hereof.

2 Purpose of the Code of Practice:

The aim of this code of practice is:

2.1 To set minimum standards for Parrot Breeders in providing in the needs of parrots in respect of the following fields:

  • Main needs associated with domestication
  • Facility needs
  • Environmental needs
  • Activity needs

2.2 To set standards that will be Internationally acceptable for providing healthy parrots to domestic and international markets.

3 Main needs associated with domestication:

3.1 Humans

Parrot behavior will be considered in the interaction between humans and parrots and when parrots are sold to persons with little knowledge in this field all reasonable steps will be taken to inform the person of the behavior of parrots and all needs of the parrot. This will ensure a successful relation between owner and animal and the safety and quality of life for the parrot.

3.2 Selection

With due regard to the Cites list of Endangered Species the public will be discouraged from keeping parrots that are endangered as pets. All members will, as far as practically possible, refrain from crossbreeding parrot species and special effort will be taken to successfully breed endangered species. Members will refrain from breeding with animals that are related to each other.

3.3 Nutrition

Nutritional requirements of species will be taken into account when formulating the diet of parrots. A varied diet will be provided that can include seeds but will not consist of a seed only diet. Fresh fruit and vegetables will be provided on a regular basis. Water and food bowls will be kept clean and water will be replaced daily or made use of water nipples.

4 Facility needs:

4.1 Housing

Parrots will be housed in clean and suitable aviaries that are protected against draughts, extremes of weather, predators and rodents. Aviaries will be constructed of impervious material that can be washed and sterilized. At least two wooden perches will be provided that will be placed as not to interfere with free flight. Aviaries will be a minimum of 600mm wide but not less than twice the wingspan of the parrots housed in it. The length will be sufficient for the specie to fly freely and exercise in the aviary. Overcrowding of aviaries will be avoided and breeding parrots will be kept separate to avoid fighting accept where parrots breed in flocks in nature. Suitable divisions will be placed between breeding parrots in close proximity to avoid fighting. Sufficient bait stations must be places around aviaries for rodents.

4.2 Handling

Equipment to safely catch and handle parrots will be kept. The frequency and duration of handling of parrots that are not pets will be reduced to the minimum to avoid stress. Staff should have access to disinfectants and hand washing facilities before and after handling of parrots. Pinioning of wings is to be avoided at all cost. Wings are to be cut with the same number of flight feathers on each wing only when necessary.

4.3 Breeding

Suitable nesting boxes must be provided. The size and construction of the box must be suitable for the specie. If parrots are aggressive more that one exit should be provided for the female to escape from an aggressive male. If more than one pair of birds can safely be kept in an aviary more nest boxes will be provided than the number of pairs. Closed identification rings should be placed on young offspring of the diameter as prescribed by PASA, the year, breeders code and a unique number must appear on the rings. Parrots to be exported may have the code: “ZA-0” on the ring.

A certificate by PASA should be used to reflect the sex of parrots that was determined by DNS samples.

5 Environmental needs:

5.1 Hygiene

Birds will be monitored on a daily basis for signs of disease and a sick bird will immediately be isolated and treated for the ailment. Possible symptoms of ill health to be observed include:

  • Changes in appearance and consistency of droppings.
  • Changes in food or water consumption.
  • Changes in attitude or behaviour.
  • Changes in appearance or posture.
  • Changes in weight.
  • Enlargements or swelling.
  • Vomiting, injury or bleeding.
  • Discharge from nostrils, eyes or beak.
  • Excessive loss of feathers.
  • Overgrown beak or nails.

Preventing disease:

In preventing disease outbreaks the following steps are to be taken:

5.1.1. Keep the Aviaries and equipment clean:

  • Remove all litter and weeds regularly from the aviaries and surrounding area.
  • Thoroughly clean concrete floors, aviary wire and walls with disinfectant.
  • Clean and disinfect water and food bowls regularly.
  • Reduce shelter for vermin and rats in the area around the aviaries.
  • Keep bird rooms under quarantine conditions.
  • Keep bird rooms well ventilated.

5.1.2 Avoid contact between aviary birds and wild birds:

  • Prevent contact by restricting access to open ponds.
  • Water bowls should be situated under roofs where the droppings of birds flying overhead cannot reach it.
  • Discourage wild birds from nesting or perching near the aviaries.
  • Limit wild birds sitting on aviaries.

5.1.3 Provide clean water and food:

  • Store all feed in airtight containers and prevent vermin contamination
  • Ensure water supplies are chlorinated or from a microbiological clean borehole.
  • Provide fresh food and discard all unused food daily.

5.1.4 Limit visitors to the aviaries:

  • Restrict access to aviaries and bird rooms.
  • Provide disinfectant for hands at entrance.
  • If quarantine facilities are used restrict access to workers and Veterinary Officials
  • Designated workers should have access to the aviaries and other designated workers should have access to the bird rooms.
  • Visitors will only be allowed in the aviaries through an appointment.

5.1.5 Quarantine new birds:

  • Separate and quarantine new birds for at least 30 days .
  • Source birds from reputable dealers or breeders.
  • Inspect new birds and make sure all birds are healthy.
  • Birds in Quarantine should be fed last and workers should disinfect themselves before entering the aviaries.

5.1.6 Post mortems on birds:

All birds that die under unknown circumstances to be subjected to post mortem.

5.1.7 Monitoring of wild birds:

All wild birds in and around area of aviaries to be monitored for unnatural deaths. All unnatural deaths in large numbers to be reported to the Director, Animal Health, Department of Agriculture, as a matter of urgency.

All members will adhere to and comply with all provisions of the Animal Diseases Act, no 35 of 1984. In particular Section 11 of the Act that provide that any owner of animals will with due observance of the provisions of the Act, take all reasonable steps to prevent the infection of an animal with any disease or parasite and the spreading thereof from the relevant land or animals. All controlled diseases will immediately be reported to the secretary of PASA and to the Director, Animal Health in terms of the Act.

All members must, as far as possible, make use of a qualified veterinarian for treating sick parrots and must have a program for treatment and prevention of disease and parasites.

5.2 Transport

Parrots will be transported in suitable new or disinfected boxes. Parrots that are known for aggression will be transported separately. The size of the boxes will be so as to allow the parrot free room to turn but small enough to avoid attempted flight and injury. The boxes will have adequate ventilation and one side will have wire mesh. The ventilation holes will be small enough so that the head of the parrot cannot protrude. Birds will be protected from extremes of cold and heat during transportation. Birds that are transported for more than 3 hours will be provided with water or water carrying fruit or vegetables. Parrots will not be booked in for a flight longer than 4 hours before the flight. Containers that are transported by public transport must be marked “live birds” on at least two sides of the container.

If permits are required for transport or keeping of parrots same will be obtained.

5.3 Enrichment

Parrots must have access to sunshine. Parrots that are kept in shade such as African Greys for breeding will have access to sunny aviaries for at least 6 weeks per year. Water for bathing or sprayers must be provided. A variety of food will be provided. Parrots that are kept separately as pets will be provided with toys to avoid boredom. Parrots will be kept in as natural surroundings as possible. The environment of the parrots will be enriched where possible.

6 Activity needs:

6.1 Exercise

Parrots in aviaries will have free flight. The perches will be placed as far forward and back so that the flight area is as long as possible. Parrots will not be kept in show cages or auction cages for more than 48 hours.

6.2 Training

Parrots as pets will be taught basic training like the step up or down command.
Breeding parrots will be subject to a fixed schedule of feeding and daily routine.

6.3 Social

Parrots are social animals and should have interaction with humans where possible as well as other members of their specie. Parrots that are hand reared must be sold after they are weaned and must be socialized with other parrots.

PART II: Good Code of Conduct

The following Good Code of Conduct is strongly recommended to members:

Keeping of records:

An accurate record should be kept of the following:

  • Visitors to the aviaries
  • Date and origin of birds bought.
  • Eggs and offspring including ring numbers.
  • Symptoms off any disease and medicine administered.
  • Detail of buyers of birds.
  • Health records of breeding stock and offspring to be safeguarded for 10 years.
  • Post mortems.
  • Unnatural deaths of wild birds in large numbers.


  • Provide clean disinfected over coats and boots to visitors.
  • Provide footbaths for visitors