Owners Mark and Vanessa Barratt have been running The Parrot Place in Kerikeri for over a decade now. While they’ve seen a lot of change over the years Topflite has always stayed on the menu – the consistent quality of the feed ensuring these beautiful birds enjoy a nutritional diet.
We want good feed. Everything starts with that,” says Vanessa Barratt. “You can’t get by with just seeds.”
The centre feeds Soak & Sprout five days a week, dry seed is provided for the other two days and there’s a daily helping of fresh fruit and vegetables. Topflite also supplies Vetafarm pellets, which the bigger birds eat a little more of.
“Soak & Sprout is great. Topflite have a good name in breeder circles for a reason,” Vanessa says.
In the past visitors may have been forgiven for thinking the birds would only “want a cracker”. Nowadays however the public is far more aware of the nutritious diet a parrot needs on a daily basis. Customers can buy a small container of nuts to hand-feed the parrots, covering this aspect of their dietary requirements while ensuring visitors can get up close with the birds.
This interactivity is a major drawcard for The Parrot Place, as is the range of species to see. With 300 birds throughout the complex, and a large number inside the walk-in aviaries, visitors can enjoy a truly unique experience of bird watching and feeding.
“There’s nothing like seeing the red-tailed black (cockatoo) up close. Along with the macaws these birds are a major highlight for visitors,” says Vanessa. “It never gets old watching the faces of our visitors as a bird swoops down to land on their shoulder.”
These visitors will have even more chances to enjoy such sights with the centre’s development of a new custom-built aviary over winter. The 64 square metre walkthrough aviary will be opened in spring, and is sure to attract even more visitors to the popular wildlife destination. The couple is noticing a rise in awareness and engagement with bird feeding outside their acre of parrot paradise.
“Back in the UK we had a pet shop and wild bird feed was massive,” says Vanessa. “Here it’s not nearly as big – but it is certainly growing.”
With Kerikeri also growing at an incredible pace the wildlife attraction is getting busier by the day. If you’re visiting the area we definitely recommend stopping by for a coffee and a feed.