Thousands of birds are given up to shelters each year. One factor contributing to this issue is that many people purchase a bird without fully realizing the implications. Before long they find out that their bird is messy, demanding and noisy. They simply aren’t up to the challenge of caring for a bird. Another contributing factor is breeders who fail to properly tame their babies before selling them. This causes increased behavioral problems that many owners are unwilling to deal with. The website www.birdadoption.org offers an interesting article on the homeless bird crises.
If you are a bird lover with a tender heart, your natural instinct is to launch a rescue mission and pick out one or two needy birds to call your own.
This is a noble goal. But rescuing a needy bird is not for the faint of heart. Take a few moments to consider what you may be getting yourself into.
Pro’s & Cons of Adopting a Second Hand Bird
1. A second-hand bird may have behavioral issues that are difficult to deal with.
Many birds were given up by their owners because they are aggressive or have a tendency to bite. These problems are then passed on to the next owner.
But not all birds who are up for adoption are juvenile delinquents. Many birds are abandoned simply because their previous owners were not aware of the commitment required to care for a bird. Some people think birds are cute and purchase them on impulse, without realizing the time, commitment & dedication needed to care for their new pet.
It is important to keep in mind that rescue birds can be sly and deceiving. During your first meeting, they may seem like a delightful well-behaved parrot. But once you bring your new friend home, it may turn into a biting, screaming or aggressive monster.
When adopting a second-hand parrot, walk in with both eyes open. Be sure you are thoroughly committed to working through any behavioral problems you may encounter. The good news is that with patient training and lots of loving care, you can help your bird overcome his difficulties.
Before purchasing a problem bird read all you can on bird training. Invest in courses and seminars. Talk to bird trainers and avian veterinarians.
2. You have no idea about the bird’s history or past handling.
Oftentimes, when you adopt a bird from a shelter, or rescue, you know very little about its past history and experiences. This can make working through your parrot’s issues even harder.
3. The bird will need a lot of patient care and handling.
Some birds that are available for adoption are well-adjusted with no behavioral problems. Others are scared, insecure and may have destructive habits. Keep in mind that a bird who has been abandoned by its previous family has experienced a tremendous amount of loss and trauma. You will need to be extra patient as you help your bird adjust to yet another environment.
With a lot of patience and care, you can transform a forlorn bird into a wonderful, happy pet.
One of the first things you will want to do, before bringing your little orphan home, is to invest in a large bird cage. This should be a place where your bird can feel safe, secure and at peace. More and more veterinarians and pet bird behaviorists are teaching that an outdoor environment is very healthy for birds—in fact it can eliminate certain bad behaviors such as screaming or excessive feather picking.
Custom Cages offers a variety of convenient outdoor bird cages that can sit on a deck or patio. The peaceful environment and fresh air can do much to calm a bird’s unsettled nerves, helping it feel at peace once again. This can be the first step in the healing process for a bird that has suffered trauma. You can spruce up your cage with an aesthetically pleasing background that will make your troubled bird feel at home. The best type of backgrounds contains images of a bird’s natural habitat including forests, trees, rivers, lakes and deserts. The pictures should be laminated and covered with a protective coating to prevent scratching and fading.
If your bird needs to be constantly close to you to feel secure, look for an indoor cage that can fit in with the rest of your household furniture. The Majestic Cages offered by Custom Cages come in solid oak with various stains to match any décor, including a natural oak stain, dark walnut and autumn cheery. Attractive hoods and stands are also available to give your cage a look of elegance.
Adoption gives you the opportunity to transform the life of a needy bird. You can provide a lonely, abandoned parrot with the companionship, love, security and training they need.
If you are an experienced bird owner who is deeply committed to enhancing the life of needy birds, adoption may be the route you want to go. There are many animal sanctuaries and adoption organizations that offer birds for adoption. You can check out petfinder.com or visit the Avian Welfare Resource Center for a listing of bird-specific rescues by geographical location.
Purchasing a Bird From a Breeder
If you would rather purchase a bird from a breeder, you are less likely, but not guaranteed to receive a bird without existing behavioral problems. Breeders should be responsible individuals who are concerned about providing quality care for their birds.
A conscientious breeder should never breed a pair of birds more than 2-3 times a year. They should feed a healthy diet, provide routine veterinary care, and request that you wash your hands before handling any babies. Hand washing will help prevent the baby birds from getting sick or exposed to bacteria.
The breeder should seem eager to determine whether or not you are a good fit for the specific type of birds they are selling. The birds should be alert, active, well-fed and in good health. The bird cages should be clean and spacious.
The great thing about buying from a breeder is that you are able to see how the bird was raised, meet its parents and get to now everything possible about its background and genetics.
Questions to Ask the Breeder
How much time do you spend interacting with the birds?
The owner/breeder should spend a substantial amount of time interacting with their parrots. A parrot who is well-socialized and use to human contact will make a much better pet than one who is not. If a baby parrot has been well-handled & trusts humans, it is much more likely to bond with you.
Do you tube feed your babies?
Breeders should never tube feed their babies. This is usually a sign that they have more babies or birds than they can properly care for. Tube feeding is when a person inserts a tube down the bird’s throat and pumps milk into their crop. This method does not teach a baby bird how to bond with humans and should never be used. It is much better to use a syringe or bottle feed a baby bird.
Can you provide me with detailed information about my new parrot?
A breeder should be able to provide you with substantial information on your new bird’s personality, likes and dislikes. They should also be able to provide information on this particular bird species. A responsible breeder will also want to know a little bit about you and your ability and willingness to are for the bird. So be open and honest with them too.
Do you sell un-weaned babies?
Most responsible breeders will not sell un-weaned babies. Hand feeding a baby parrot is a special skill and should be left to professionals. Someone who is not familiar with how to properly feed a chick may injure the bird’s crop or throat. They could even accidentally starve the baby to death.
Also, be sure breeders do not wean the babies too young. A bird should never be forced to be weaned before he is ready. This can inflict serious physiological trauma, causing a bird to become aggressive or withdrawn. Weaning is a step-by-step process that should be completed in accordance with the bird’s individual needs.
The Second Hand Parrot—By Mattie Su Athan & Dianalee Deter, published by Barron Books
The Avian Welfare Society—offers many enlightening articles on bird adoption & the issue of homeless parrots http://www.avianwelfare.org/issues/problem_solution.htm
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