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Old 01-21-2019, 09:14 AM
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Looking for advice

Hello,

I'm hoping to get advice from experienced amazon owners. I have done my fair share of online research into this breed. However, I'm looking people with hands on knowledge that can guide me.

I have had birds my entire life although I have never had a large parrot. My experience travels to parakeets, cockatiels, and a conure. We are considering adopting an Amazon from a shelter but want to make sure we are fully prepared for such a commitment. I know these birds are highly intelligent and require time out of their cage to decompress and socialize. I understand they are messy, live 50+ years, loud, and I read they can be a bit particular with who they like.

The shelter was given this information from the previous owner of the bird. He is 38 years old, loves to fly, is an escape artist, and got along with men, women, children, and dogs in his previous home. They said he gives warning bites if he needs space. If you don't respect him after that he will bite much harder.

When we visited with him he wasn't able to come out of his cage. He did however come over to us to show off, dance, and talk. He did take snacks from our daughter gently. With that being said, if you could give advice or recommendations to someone looking into adopting these species of bird what would you give? What are things people should really consider, look into , be prepared for. I want the good the bad and the ugly. I understand every animal is different but I want to make sure we don't take him home just to have us not be a good fit for him.
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Old 01-21-2019, 09:33 AM
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Re: Looking for advice

As a long time Amazon Snob, I can find it difficult to not be 100% pro-Amazons! But also, Amazons are not for everyone.

Please read the two Sticky's at the top of the Amazon Forum! The Understanding Amazon Body Language is required reading for anyone that is considering an Amazon. Amazons use their Body Language to Communicate and they expect that you know it as if it is your first language. What is provided is the foundation of the language and each Amazon then adds its own twist. The other is: I Love Amazons - ... This huge Thread covers the Loving and Living with Amazons.

I strongly recommend that someone that is just getting into the Wonderful World of Amazons 'Allow' the Amazon to Choose You! They are just better at this process than we Humans are! We are busy with how pretty and nice the Amazon is, where they are into an emotional connection. And, Yes, Amazons connect into our emotions quickly.

We have spent a life time living and love Amazons!

You really want to interact with the Amazon outside of the Cage! And, it is best to let them have the time to get to know you over several visits. You will quickly see if the Amazon has an interest in you or not!

FYI: Amazon's are Species as are all Parrots.
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In each Morning's early light; there is a promise, an Amazon makes!

Last edited by SailBoat; 01-21-2019 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 01-21-2019, 09:51 AM
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Re: Looking for advice

Sailboat-

Thank you for this advice. I work for a Humane Society so I am definitely considering the commitment/needs I am considering taking. I read elsewhere on here someone saying "Let them choose you" I believe with Parrots this statement couldn't be any truer. We plan to visit with him many more times to see if any bond is developing. I think this will be the deciding factor in the end.

We have been considering a large bird for years now. However, we have never taken the leap because we 1- want to adopt from a rescue (slim pickings in our area) and 2- weren't knowledgeable enough on what bird would be the "best" fit for our family. We have been looking into personality traits, dietary needs, habitat needs, etc...

As much as we have researched as a family, explored in person, I still lack hands on experience with such an intelligent and unique animal.

I do have a question of how much cage time is to much? How much should they spend outside their cage? I read somewhere that an hour a day is sufficient for outside play. This to me didn't seem appropriate. I assumed more play time would be necessary to maintain a healthy and happy bird.
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Old 01-21-2019, 10:34 AM
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Re: Looking for advice

Thank you for suggesting the stickys in amazon. I've started to read the chapters and its a complete insight on what to expect. I had a basic knowledge of most of these topics but not to this extent! I also ordered Sally's book to continue learning more.

I'm hoping I can come across something on cages soon. I read about the cage placement/perches and so on. The cage that this particular amazon is currently in is probably suitable for a smaller sized parrot. The bars are thick and sturdy and it has a play area on top but size wise its pretty sad. Our cockatiel at home has a cage 3x the size of his. When we put things into perspective for him...hes due for an upgrade.

I know you can never go to big when finding a suitable home for a bird...but are their any trusted companies out there that are recommended?
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Old 01-21-2019, 11:12 AM
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Re: Looking for advice

Larger Parrot Cages are made by not more than three companies and all three (possible two by now) are located in China. We have decades of experience with BirdCages4Less.com The vast majority of what they sell is specific to Bird Cages and support products. This is very helpful as their warehouse staff ships nearly all Bird Cages. This means that the likelihood of you not getting all the boxes or the wrong boxes is greatly reduced.
Pricing and Cages: Watch for sales, everyone has them and I have found over the decades that BirdCages4Less.com are at or very near the "We Sell Everything" places like Amazon.

Cages are a huge subject with Large Parrots and just more than size.

- My very First requirement is: Will this cage fit (intact) through the front door!!! If I have to get my Amazon and his cage outside rapidly, all I want to do is to pull-off the seed catchers! Measure the door you will need to rapidly get that cage out of!
- I want a full height front (main) door! As above; If I need to get my Amazon out of the cage rapidly, I want all the room I can get. They are also very helpful everyday as one cleans, adds, removes stuff and food from the cage.
- Cage Size. Clearly the first require applies here, but only regarding the width of the cage. It can be as long as you have the room for. We have a cage 24+" wide and 36+" Long, with an overall height with Play Area on top of 6'. Remove the upper seed shelve and place it in long term shortage as it only darkens the cage's living area. This size cage allows our Amazon room to fully stretch his wings. The upper play stand allows him to full work his Wings (also another reason for not used the upper shelve as full on Wings would send everything in it out into the room. Been there, Done that!

- Last cage from BirdCages4Less.com came with a natural wood perch not a dowel for both the inside of the cage and the upper play stand.

The more time outside of the cage the greater and faster the development of the Trust Bond relationship! Cage location is in the most active room of the home!

Amazons as you so well stated are very smart!!! Our Double Yellow-Headed Amazon (Julio) knew he was trusted and that he was ready to interact with 'his' family (yes, they will come to own you and you will love it!). So, he simply disassembled the cage and after a week of this, we simply left on his cage open! I assure you that didn't happen day one and there was tons of Trust built prior to his choice to join the family. I do not recommend this for everyone, only those in which a solid trust has been built and ones home as been Amazon proofed, not unlike Toddler Proofing.

In my World, if you are home, the Amazon is out of the cage! Consider what you would get if you chose to in cage a child and only allowing it out for a few hours each day. Not much of a relationship.

Tons more, but first read the two Threads.

Always remember that Amazon's Rule!
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In each Morning's early light; there is a promise, an Amazon makes!

Last edited by SailBoat; 01-21-2019 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:23 PM
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Re: Looking for advice

Well, I can add a bit here. I had a baby Amazon pick me 36 years ago. I had never even had a pet before, let alone a large parrot. My Sam has been with me since he was 11 weeks old. It has been a learning experience for both of us.

Amazons are almost like having a little person in your house. They are unbelievably intelligent, can be manipulative and require an immense amount of attention and work. That being said, I wouldn't trade the last 36 years for anything. Once you are owned by an Amazon, you cannot ever imagine what it would be like without them.

I agree that allowing this bird to get used to having you around is a good idea before you bring him home. It is also good that he is past puberty and has lived in a home with people and other pets before. I know that if it were me, I would have given in long ago to bring him home. You are showing remarkable restraint and intelligence.

Think long and hard. You will be making a commitment to a creature that can be very needy, but also very loving. He can be wily, an escape artist, a messy bird, a loud bird or any combination of the above. If you do choose to bring him home, he will add so much to your life. I still can't believe that this wonderful creature lives in my house with me, and enjoys it. Good luck.

Last edited by SailBoat; 01-21-2019 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 01-21-2019, 01:55 PM
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Re: Looking for advice

Quote: Originally Posted by Anita1250 View Post
Well, I can add a bit here. I had a baby Amazon pick me 36 years ago. I had never even had a pet before, let alone a large parrot. My Sam has been with me since he was 11 weeks old. It has been a learning experience for both of us.

Amazons are almost like having a little person in your house. They are unbelievably intelligent, can be manipulative and require an immense amount of attention and work. Than being said, I wouldn't trade the last 36 years for anything. Once you are owned by an Amazon, you cannot ever imagine what it would be like without them.

I agree that allowing this bird to get used to having you around is a good idea before you bring him home. It is also good that he is past puberty and has lived in a home with people and other pets before. I know that if it were me, I would have given in long ago to bring him home. You are showing remarkable restraint and intelligence.

Think long and hard. You will be making a commitment to a creature that can be very needy, but also very loving. He can be wily, an escape artist, a messy bird, a loud bird or any combination of the above. If you do choose to bring him home, he will add so much to your life. I still can't believe that this wonderful creature lives in my house with me, and enjoys it. Good luck.
Anita,

Thanks for that input! This amazon is currently at the Humane Society I work for.(I'm a forever fill in for them but its not my regular job) We plan to schedule more visits to see if a bond can be established with the family. (mom, dad, 7 year old, and 2 dogs/2 birds) Birds come off as tricky though when it comes to choosing their person. A dog will choose a whole family to love...a bird may choose just one and tolerate the rest.

I like to think he enjoyed our presence by how he interacted with us. He came over to the side of the cage and was saying hello. He also started head bobbing and throwing his head back like he was doing a show. When a worker came over though he did hiss at her and get irritable. After that interaction it was obvious he was much more receptive of us... at least he wasn't showing signs of aggression or irritation. We were told hes been attempting to escape. Apparently he has all his doors and food doors figured out and opens them. They have since tightened up everything so he can't escape. Its rather depressing...but given hes in a shelter its the only safe thing to do to protect him from a loose dogs or irresponsible visitor.

Ultimately we would love to take him home today. But we are very much a house that a pet is family and ours until death...and I would hate to take any animal home unprepared and have it fail. This site has been an amazing source of knowledge though! I'm learning amazing things that we can apply to our current avian flock.
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Old 01-21-2019, 05:21 PM
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Re: Looking for advice

We got Sam in 1983 when I was married to my late husband. Sammy loved him! He passed away in 2003, and I remarried in 2006. It took Sam quiet a few years to accept my new husband, but now he loves him. I actually call him Judas, because he will turn his back on me and run to Roger for petting. They are incredibly versatile and able to adjust to new surroundings and people quite well. I think that as long as they feel loved by their new people, they will respond. It is a great sign that this bird is showing you acceptance. Go slowly, and perhaps you will have a new family member soon!
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Old 01-21-2019, 05:48 PM
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Re: Looking for advice

I don't have an Amazon (I have a 4x re-homed Umbrella Cockatoo), but it's a lot like adopting a very needy + loud child with a very fragile immune system, a beak and wings lol...lovingly!!

You said you have had birds, but just in case you weren't aware (since you mentioned the commitment required- if you know already, ignore this):
Teflon/PFOA/PTFE is found all over the place (in and outside of kitchens--in things you would never think of, like ironing board covers, irons, tape, electric blankets,humidifiers, space heaters, curling irons, blow-dryers, rain coats, Scotch-Guard etc---in the kitchen= rice cookers, griddles, waffle irons, slow cookers, air fryers, egg poachers, cookie sheets, coffee pots, hot pots, tea-makers, hot plates, microwaves, drip trays, cake pans, roasters, popcorn bags (!!!), some disposable microwave meal containers--the cardboard ones with plastic covers can be coated in it, self-cleaning ovens...and so on). It poses a threat when heated (even on a different floor of the house), so that is a lifestyle change that is rough for many....sucks to have to call about every single new appliance (and usually takes 5-10 days to get a reply, but is essential!).

Teflon can be applied as a transparent clear-coat to fabrics,metals, paper etc (It's even in water-proof mascara). It may also be mixed into metal during the molding process, or it may have the characteristic dark coating associated with pots/pans. It can be internal or external on appliances that heat. I am telling you this because a visual inspection is not enough...

No cleaners (unless avian safe--few and far between)---no bleach, windex, lysol, pinsol, air fresheners of any kind...the list goes on . I recommend the yellow/clear variety of f10 SC for disinfecting or white vinegar (as long as you don't heat it up) for less germy tasks.

No candles (scented or non), no oil plug-ins (natural/non), no carpet cleaner, no aerosols, no paints/markers/polishes, no perfumes, no hairspray, no smoke of any kind, no vaping, no bug spray, no burning oil/food, no hot glue guns, flea baths (dogs/cats) etc...Fumes that we can tolerate are not tolerated well by birds, and just because a past bird survived "this or that" doesn't mean the next one will or that there weren't ill effects.

Bedtimes are very important, so someone will have to be home to cover and uncover the cage every morning/eve around the same time. The bird will need 10-14 hours of quiet sleep.

Anticipate lots of expenditures on vet bills, toys, food etc. Find a certified avian vet (CAV) near you ahead of time (not one that just does exotics if you can help it.

Pet only on the head---touching other places of the body can and will lead to hormonal behavior (screaming, plucking, aggression, egg-binding). Similarly, no "cuddle huts", tents, or other dark spaces--- these can induce hormones as well. Your bird may pick a certain person in the house that they prefer---early socialization (once trust has been built will help, but it will not prevent this tendency entirely).

Anticipate allowing your bird lots of time out of its cage and plan on it taking a very long time to build initial trust. Even if your bird won't step up, you can't leave it locked in its cage, so consider how you plan to get it back in etc (without causing trauma or dangerous situations). Babies are easier than adolescents, but all babies will go through adolescents, so it is just a matter of time (honestly, at least you sort of know what you are getting when you get an adult). All birds have a weird adjustmemt period once in a new home, so you don't know what you are getting based on what you see in a shop, but you do start to figure it out further down the road. A baby still has a million hormonal issues to sort out.

The bird will have to have a very consistent behavioral routine followed by all in the house. If bitten, it is imperative that you do not react ---no yelling, no OUCH!...none of that. You will likely reinforce the behavior by doing so. That having been said, you will need to know why a bird is biting and then react in a way to ensure that your are not giving it what it wants.

Similarly, if your bird screams, the last thing you want is for people to yell, "shut up" or run in to the room to get the bird to stop.


As soon as you can, get your bird tested for PBFD, Polyoma, Pssitacosis and PDD/ABV--- PBFD, ABV, PDD and Polyoma can be shed easily by asymptomatic birds within pet shops, breeding facilities etc. You will want to make sure yours doesn't have these because the germs are very very hard to kill and can be spread within things like feather dust (among other things) which can get into air-ducts etc and infect other birds well in the future.

Last edited by noodles123; 01-21-2019 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 01-22-2019, 08:21 AM
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Re: Looking for advice

Noodles. I was unaware how affection in certain areas could cause hormonal behavior. This is excellent to know. I also had a basic knowledge of chemicals/scents are harmful to birds. I had no idea the extent of this though. Like ironing boards or heated blankets. We clearly have a lot to look at in this subject matter.

Luckily our current birds (cockatiel and parakeet) we have in a pretty bare room next to our dinning room & family room. This has in a way become our bird room. We have green plants some chairs and their cages. Of course now I am thinking we will have to check into these plants if a larger and more adventurous bird comes home.

Thanks again these are great things we need to learn more on.
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