Tell me about birds!!

Discussion in 'Cat and Pet Forum' started by SaraB, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    Specifically species of smaller parrots like caiques, conures or quakers.

    I go through these phases of heavily researching a type of animal to see if one would be a good fit for our household. As much as I love my dogs and cat, it always feels like something is missing (if anyone suggests a baby you are going to get punched in the baby maker, just saying :p ). Anyways, that's what this is!

    When I was 16, I worked at Petsmart and fell in love with this little black-capped conure. He would hang out with me my entire shift, sitting on my shoulder while I walked the store, or on my register when I checked people out. My manager eventually bought him, so I know he went to a great home, but I still miss him terribly. I did own a pair of parakeets when I was younger, so I do have some/little experience with birds.

    My husband isn't very fond of birds, but I really think that is just from lack of exposure. So he's the main reason why I'm thinking a small parrot would be our best bet. A green cheeked conure or a little black capped would be awesome, but I'm open to suggestions for other species! Also, I realize any bird can be loud, but I don't really want a species known for screaming (sun conures) as we do live in a twinhome.

    Also, advantages of an older rehome versus purchasing from a breeder? I would love to avoid the maturing phase but I'd also like to avoid behavior problems that are already established.

    Any other advice? Anything to deter me from wanting one? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    Breed wise.. quakers can be cage territorial, sun conures are really loud, and that's all I know about that size range

    As for birds in general, we have a cockatoo (which is NOT a good beginner bird. For anyone) but here are a few general bird things :)

    Downsides..

    - Bird dust. It comes off their wings and gives some people asthma issues.
    - They are messy in general. Poop, food, feathers, dust haha they make a mess. There are ways to kind of deal with that (food catcher around the cage, frequent cleaning etc..)
    - They are LOUD. All of them. In general, the larger the bird.. the louder the bird. (although sun conures, the prettiest of the conures, have a screech that will make you want to kill people) especially at sun-up (GOOD MORNING!!!!! HELLOOO IT'S 5 AM AND IT'S TIME TO SCREAM!!)
    - They are flock animals. (other than canaries and a few other solitary ones), so they (like dogs) want to be a part of what you are doing. That means things like perching close during dinner time, shower perch etc...
    - Boredom is a serious problem. A bored bird/an uninvolved bird is a bird that self-harms. Moving cage around, involvement, new toys, baths etc... are important.
    - They do learn tricks, and they are very smart.. but behaviorally, I found found that nixing bad habits is MUCH more difficult than dogs. The common consensus when your bird doesn't like someone is "well..there's some stuff you can try but... yea."
    - Cages are huge. They are. Our bird barely lives in his cage (he prefers his play top and just walking around the house) and it's still huge. It's a big monetary and time commitment
    - Exotic vets are expensive, even just maintenance (wing clippings etc.)
    - GET RID OF ALL TEFLON PANS IN YOUR HOUSE. Deadly to birds.
    - They can be jerks. Innapropriate hormonal jerk. It just happens lol
    - Meal preparation. Pellets (not seeds) and a variety of other things.. most of anything that is good for a person, is good for a parrot.

    Older rehomes through HONEST rescues, I have found to be the perfect solution :) Foster homes KNOW their birds and are honest about any quirks..
    the only issue I've noticed with private rehomes is that some people aren't very honest about WHY they are getting rid of the bird.

    And *CAUTION* find a rescue you trust. I KNOW OF MANY MANY Birds who are PERFECT with strangers (my cockatoo is one of those) he is a doll with strangers, a cuddly sweet baby.. but is a HEATHEN with people he sees more frequently and can be territorial around people he knows that aren't his "person".
    So a lot of times people visit and the bird is perfect, then once the honeymoon period is over and the bird has attached itself to one person.. it starts to turn on the rest of the family.

    UPSIDES
    - There isn't a pet quite like them, many can speak.
    - they enjoy you being "their flock"
    - They are funny and odd
    - They are pretty


    LOL exotics aren't for everyone. Personally, knowing what I now do.. I wouldn't get anything bigger than a parakeet.

    There is a special kind of guilt that comes with owning a large bird, seeing how smart they are, bored they are, frustrated they get with how busy you are.. that makes me (personally) feel bad about having one. They aren't domesticated... If I could do it, Napo would be born in the wild with other cockatoos. We all love him in our own way but agree on that, they just aren't..pets...
    For people that are devoted, they are amazing pets. I just personally won't own a large exotic bird again.

    Birds around that size I would suggest:
    - Green cheeks conure
    - Cockatiels
    - Parrotlet
    - Budgies
    - Love bird
    - Caiques (very playful, like puppies!) Stubborn though.
     
  3. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    I've had a handful of various birds over the years, but currently have just a Senegal parrot who is now about 24 years old. I've had her since she was a few months old. At that time it was a big deal to have a captive-bred, hand-raised baby parrot (ETA: which she is) but I would think you'd be hard pressed to find a wild caught parrot these days in this country. If for some reason you are presented with a choice, definitely go for a hand-raised baby if possible.

    Honestly I usually discourage people from getting birds unless they know they LOVE birds. They are messy and noisy and they can be real a-holes. They have no problem snuggling with you one second and biting the crap out of you the next second for some imagined slight and can be jealous of other people in the household. The larger parrots in particular are so smart that their potential behavior problems can be heartbreaking. They poop on stuff and CHEW CHEW CHEW. Holy shmoley if you think dogs can wreck some stuff chewing, just wait until you have a parrot (even a small one).

    Having said that... there is a level of bonding and intelligence there, and a completely different type of relationship from a dog or a cat, that can be incredibly rewarding and satisfying. They can be the sweetest, funniest, smartest little d-bags you ever saw. They adore their people and once they trust you, you are friends for life. I cannot stress enough how clever and hilarious they can be. They are busy and like to be involved with stuff.

    For someone totally new to birds the smaller parrots like Pionus, Conures, or the Senegal/Meyer's group are a good start. They are fairly low-key compared to some other species/groups and pretty resilient physically and mentally - more tolerant of changes in routine and other everyday stresses IME. Cockatoos, even the smaller ones, can be a bit emotionally needy and fragile IMO. I like cockatiels quite a bit myself but it seems like a lot of people find their vocalizations particularly grating for some reason.

    I will probably not have another bird after Magic passes away. Partially because I am getting to the age where a bird might outlive me and partially because I am just kind of done with the mess, noise, chewing etc.

    Obligatory picture:

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    Everyone I *personally* know with a large parrot regrets having gotten them and wishes they could have been wild born and living. Mostly cockatoos. They are an enormous resource commitment, especially social.

    I've gone through a couple bird phases but have never gotten one simply because I don't think I can meet their social needs. Especially looking out into the unknown of the next 10-25 years (for a smaller bird). If I ever take the plunge, I'd likely go with a pair or small group of a more social species and accept that they'll likely be less bonded to me. But really I think my hens are a better solution...useful, less needy, hardy in my climate so they can have ample outdoor time, plus I can have my very own at-home Chicken Camps ;)
     
  5. HayleyMarie

    HayleyMarie Like a bat outa' hell

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    Tyler and I had a lovebird when a few years back, unfortunatly he got really sick very fast and passed away before we could get to a vet. Unlikely they would be able to do anything for him anyways.

    He was a great bird. Tons of fun. He had loads of personality and sass. He was not really a one person bird he was pretty equally attached to Tyler and I. He spent time living with Tyler at university, then he took him to fort Mac for 8 months. He would travel back and forth from my place, university, his parents place and my place. He was a great little traveler.

    He was a little A-hole and he would bite when he was mad at you, fortunately for us he did not bite us that hard. His name was Mushu and he would come to his name when we called it or when we clapped. He was slightly territorial of his cage, but we easily worked around it. He spent a lot of time outside of his cage. When he was staying at my parents place my mom would take him out of his cage early in the morning when she would be making lunches and he would just ride around on the back of her house coat all morning.

    He was also very, very cuddly. He would always would give you cheek little kisses and hugs. He loved spending time with his family. He was actually not that noisy, which was surprising. Every story I hear of a lovebird is that they are very loud. I think we just got lucky.

    I miss him lots and although Tyler and I would love another bird our lifestyle is just not compatible with having a bird. We are gone pretty much every weekend and it is just not fair to keep a bird home alone during the weekend.
     
  6. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

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    Something missing from your household......




    [​IMG]
     
  7. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    I decided against these guys because there just isn't enough people interaction. Everything I hear is that they tolerate people but won't seek them out for attention. Also, I don't think I could keep them at a reliable temperature in this house. :(
     
  8. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

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    Thats no fun then:(

    I am not a big bird person but the two that I have really, really liked and that made me consider are a Goffin Cockatoo and a Sun Conure. (Though I did love my budgies I had growing up)
     
  9. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

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    My experience is that parrots are one of the most demanding pets, but also one of the most rewarding.

    If this is your first bird, I would go check out pet stores to get an idea of what appeals to you simply because they are accessible and easy to view. Watch youtube videos of the species you like and make a list of the things that are important to you. For example, do you want a bird that is more interested in hanging out with you and cuddling, or do you want a bird that seeks out adventure and wants to play all day? What size and what price range are you considering? Are you prepared to spend hours a day giving your parrot high levels of social interaction or would you prefer a parrot who can play independently and is less emotionally "needy"?

    There seems to be very little inbetween when it comes to parrots -- people either love them or hate them. For this reason, I really, REALLY recommend you spend time hanging out with the parrots that interest you so you know for sure what you are getting into. Lots of people promote getting a "starter bird" (usually a budgie or cockatiel) and while that may seem reasonable, pet birds often have lifespans of 20+ years, so in my opinion it is better to do TONS of research and just pick the parrot that you really want. And by tons of research, I mean online, going to a bird show, meeting the breeder's birds, etc.

    I am in the process of picking out my next bird (in fact, could be a couple days away...) and would be more than happy to suggest some species for you if you give me more details on what you want. At the moment I am going back and forth between Crimson Bellied Conures and Fiery Shouldered Conures.
     
  10. PalmettoPaws

    PalmettoPaws Member

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    I have a Quaker and he's a great bird. I've also had African Greys in the past and a Quaker before the one I currently have. If noise is a concern then you might want to consider another species. I don't consider him necessarily loud, but when he really gets going he can be heard all over the house lol. Not Sun Conure or Cockatoo volume of course, but it can be irritating.

    Since Quakers are nest builders they are more likely to be cage territorial than they are to not be. I raised Orrin since he was around a month old and surprisingly we haven't run into that issue. But it's not really that hard to deal with, you just let the bird come out of the cage on its own.

    I don't have any personal experience with Conures. I did consider and almost get a Green Cheek before I ended up with Orrin. He was a plucker though and I was put off by the woman who was more concerned with making a monetary profit than with the welfare of the bird. I have always thought they seem like great birds and would consider owning pretty much any of the Pyrrhura species.
     
  11. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    Thanks for all of the posts!!

    I'm hoping to drag the husband to a pet store specializing in birds today. He's never been up close to a parrot before, so we'll see what he thinks.
     
  12. HayleyMarie

    HayleyMarie Like a bat outa' hell

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    Oh have fun, let us know how it goes. :)
     
  13. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

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    Can't wait to hear how the "encounter" goes :popcorn: Definitely keep us in the loop. Stores are great to get exposure but if possible go with a good breeder and definitely get a handfed baby. Worth the extra time and money when you have to live with the animal for 20 years.

    Hey, we may become bird parents at the same time! I'll be curious to hear what you guys get.
     
  14. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    So we went to this highly reviewed parrot specialty store in Minneapolis. Preeetty sure it was just a front for a mafia ring, seriously. The birds were all in tiny cages with no toys, the guy was super creepy and really didn't want to answer a lot of my questions. No handle-able birds either. So that was a waste.

    We swung by Petsmart on the way home just to see if they had any green cheek conures. I was not disappointed!! They had the cutest little boy, super sweet too, named Burger. The husband held him and thought he was pretty cool until he got a little cranky and started nipping a bit. I think it was because he was getting passed around a lot and didn't have anything to occupy him.

    This encounter just refueled my bird want. They are so freaking cool!! So smart, so inquisitive. We'll have to see what happens. I would love to get a rehome and skip the whole maturing phase.

    Here's a picture! He's some kind of color morph, they just had him labeled as "Fancy Green Cheek Conure". ETA: Here he is mimicking the bird in my tattoo, hopefully he doesn't take that image seriously and go and free all the other birds.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    Oh and I did ask the mafia guy if there were any breeders in the area and he said no. Apparently he used to breed them and had a pair in a tiny cage behind the desk but he isn't anymore. Not that I'd go with him anyways, all the birds are probably stuffed with cocaine.
     
  16. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

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    Those poor birds, what a jerk. I'm glad you guys at least got to hold one at petsmart. They are pretty amazing animals and believe me when I say it's easy to get hooked... Just wait until you go to a breeders place and get to hold some babies right before they are ready to be weaned.... There is nothing cuter, all they want to do is cuddle on you :D

    Just a note on getting an older bird -- if you go that route, just be really careful. There are lots of great older birds looking for homes and there are also a ton with baggage and behavioral issues. Especially since this will be your first bird experience, I would go through a very reputable rescue and ask for a bird that has been fostered and has no (or minimal and safe) bad habits. That, or I would go through a good breeder and get a handfed baby. While parrots are very intelligent, they are also much more wild than dogs and in my experience, it is much easier to modify the bad behavior of a dog than it is a parrot. In many cases, if a bird doesn't like someone and is willing to attack them, they will not like that person for the rest of their life no matter what you do (in fact, I believe there is a member here with an amazon who hates her husband). It is much easier to mold a baby with the right start in life and a savvy owner than it is to try and correct years worth of learning to distrust humans and hate hands.

    That's not to say these parrots don't deserve a great home and love too, but just be really cautious and aware of what you may be getting with an older bird. I went rescue for my second bird and while I cared for and loved her, I won't ever do it again. Too frustrating and upsetting. Some people don't mind this of course, but just make sure that you are one of them before jumping on that bandwagon.

    That man is an idiot and probably money hungry. I did a google search and came up with a few in MN:

    http://www.summersbirdsandchins.com/

    http://www.sunnyhollowaviaries.com/nursery.htm

    But there were dozens more on this website that just didn't have websites and asked for emails instead:

    http://www.birdsnways.com/birds/bradm.htm

    I have no doubt that if you google you will find even more. That, or you could also consider having a bird shipped to you from a good breeder that is out of driving distance. Lots of people ship birds nowadays -- my next bird is getting shipped to me :)
     
  17. JustaLilBitaLuck

    JustaLilBitaLuck New Member

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    Was it the one off Lyndale? I've never personally been there but I've heard mixed reviews.

    Anyhow...I have two parakeets now, which is probably a bit smaller than what you're looking for. A friend of mine in high school had three Cockatoos (her parents were animal behavior/zoology people), and they were the awesomest birds ever, just very, very cool to interact with. Pretty much everything Fran said :lol-sign:.

    My two were privately rehomed, and the biggest thing was that they were so intensely bonded to each other, they had problems bonding to me, which made the hand taming process so much harder. I had to separate them to work with them at all.
     
  18. PalmettoPaws

    PalmettoPaws Member

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    Good luck on your search. I've had both rehomes and raised/handfed a baby on my own. Both situation have been equally rewarding, just in different ways.

    That little guy is adorable and looks like a Pineapple Green Cheek to me.
     
  19. Gypsydals

    Gypsydals New Member

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    Parrots can be great pets, but they can also be a disaster for some. I currently have a 14ish yr old Senegal. Your best bet if you really really want a bird is to google bird breeders, check rescues and find a avian club in your area. And research.
    I wouldn't recommend any of the conures for a first time bird owner, especially if the partner isn't sure about birds. They are very very loud. I personally would rather have a large parrot screaming than a conure.

    All birds can be messy, alot of it depends on what you feed them. If you feed primarily a seed diet you are going to have big messes vs. a pellet diet. They are alot of work, think of a perminat toddler in your house. They WILL learn things you don't want them to learn, they will test you on all levels. But on the flip side, I can't imagine not having Cleo here. I cant imagine not hearing hello Danielle when I come home from work. Or Good morning. Whatcha doing and can I have some.
     
  20. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    Thanks! I didn't even think about shipping because everything I read something about visiting the baby multiple times before bringing them home. Is that important or not really?

    Ya. It was upsetting.

    Everything I've read says that the green cheeks really aren't that loud as compared to the sun conures. What I remember about the black capped I had at work was that he was very quiet. He would screech every now and then but nothing awful. Also, I do have a little experience, I owned a pair of parakeets for years growing up so am not completely new to this bird thing.

    Thanks for all the great advice!! This won't be happening anytime soon as I don't really have the money to set aside for a bird and cage yet. And I, of course, have to research things into the ground before actually acting on anything.
     

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