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Old 08-20-2015, 10:05 AM
BluePaint BluePaint is offline
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Help me find the right bird, but tell it to me straight

I am having a hard time figuring out which species is right for us/which one would be happy in our family.

My bird experience: I grew up owning budgies and loved them, but have been waiting to get a bird until my youngest was school age (he just started 1st grade), and developmentally ready to be calm around a bird. So I'm aware of things like step-up training, seed messes, nipping, etc.

I'm kind of leaning towards a bird that's more touchy-feely, more personality than a budgie, but I don't want to get in over my head. My oldest has asthma, so a cockatiel probably wouldn't be a good idea because of their dustiness. I'm thinking about a hand raised green cheeked conure, but willing to get an English budgie if our lifestyle wouldn't be right for a GCC. Any other suggestions are welcome, too!

I have everything ready and set up for a feathered friend:
- a cage in our living room (inside dimensions 32''L x 20''W x 35''H with 3/8" bar spacing)
-natural tree branch perches (no sand covered ones)
-a few bird-safe toys (chewing wood, bells and a ball)
-a table top play gym, etc.
-many, many hours of internet research on balanced diets, gentle training methods, bird safety (no avocados, no teflon, etc),

Here's a rundown of our lifestyle:

-I have school age two boys, both relatively calm and gentle with animals, even small animals. (We had two dumbo rats that just passed away that they were very sweet with, the rats loved them back, too.)

-We homeschool, so we're home for more than 6 hours most days, and often are home all day. However, our schedule is different each weekday: We're gone Tues and Mon mornings for P.E. and group classes, and Friday afternoons for "recess" playdates with other homeschoolers. Every other week we have an all day field trip on Fridays. Every summer we go visit family across the country for up to two weeks. (I have a volunteer bird sitter I trust locally already lined up.)

-We have a single family home, though that could change to an apartment as my husband's job may make him move next year.

-Ready to do training sessions for 10-15 min every morning once we've established a trusting relationship (step up, potty training, etc.)

-We'd love to bring the bird over to the table top birdy gym at our school table while we do morning school work. (We did this with our rats, and although the rats chewed the corners of their papers, it was a good time for them to get out of the cage and have some casual interaction with us.)

-We'd also have a set time around lunch every day (except field trip days) that we devote more solely to playing with the bird for 30 min-60 min.

-We'd also often have time to play in the evenings before and after dinner, but it will depend on the day.

However, I don't know if our schedule would be more stressful, or better suited to a bird than say someone who works a more predictable full or part time job. I already know something as needy or loud as a large parrot would not be a good fit. I need it to be OK with kids as well. But, I also want a sweet, interactive pet, not just a "decoration", not something that will be terrified of us like finches or canaries.

Thanks SO much for your help!
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