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Old 06-19-2019, 09:26 PM
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Question Advice on buying caique

Hi everyone! I'm looking for some advice on choosing a healthy caique to help my partner understand this process.

A little background; we're in Sydney Australia and we've found some a local Sydney breeder has still got some baby white bellies (they were advertised in mid-May and the youngest then was only 7 weeks). We definitely weren't ready when they were first advertised but when they were readvertised I contacted the breeder to get some more information. The birds are DNA sexed, handraised, still being weaned but will ready to got home next month, & in the photos they look healthy and totally adorbs! We're still renting so can't have pets until we move into our bought home until start of October BUT the breeder has said that they'd be happy to bird sit for a bit until we move.

We haven't completely decided to put down a deposit on one of the babies yet for a few reasons; we don't know if the bird sitting incurs a cost (some breeders here do, some don't in this situation) and my partner is a little bit nervous about the change and doesn't know whether meeting the birds first before buying is necessary.
We have decided to got over to meet the babies first and make our decision after that. If we decide to wait until we've moved first that just means that we have to wait for next breeding season (Jan 2020) and we'd contact Ian Adcock for a bird because the Sydney breeder doesn't know if they'd get more white bellies.

My questions are:
1. What would we have to look for in the babies when we meet them to check if they're a healthy bird? (of course straight to the vet after bringing home!)
2. If we decide to wait for next season and go with Ian Adcock, this means we wouldn't have the opportunity to meet the babies first (the breeder is too far away from us for this). Is it ok to order from a breeder and not meet the baby until it is freighted home to us?
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:37 PM
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Re: Advice on buying caique

It’s always best to let the bird choose you.
This might not be obvious when dealing with really young birds.
Lucky the Cockatiel chose me by landing at my feet where I was working.
Baby the Cockatiel chose me. He was a baby at the time.
Bella the CAG chose me. She was a rescue but in theory young, less than 5 years old.
Luna was a rescue and more/less chose my Son & I.

Of all the birds that chose me only Bella has changed her..... favorite person. She has been going through puberty and has become my wife’s favorite person. I can still pick her up, let her ride my shoulder, take a shower. I just can’t scratch her,I’ll get bitten if I try.

When a young birds goes through puberty all bets are off.
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:29 AM
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Re: Advice on buying caique

1. I am not a fan of shipping birds. It is a bit risky because it is a huge stress on their systems, it potentially exposes them to disease (as the "health checks") are a joke and the temperature fluctuations can add further stress to an already-stressful situation.

That having been said, it sounds like you are first-time bird owners, so I am posting some information that people must know before they get any bird-it is really long, but really important! I apologize ahead of time for the novella that follows:

When you have a bird, any sort of heated mechanism (anything that heats or is intended to be heated) and contains PTFE/PFOA/PFCs/Teflon will be out of the question (and most things that heat up or are intended to be heated DO contain these chemicals)--This includes things like pots, pans, cupcake trays, cookie sheets, cake pans etc, but it will also things like include hair-dryers, straighteners, curling irons, curlers, rice-cookers, SLOW COOKERS, popcorn poppers, air fryers, microwave meals (including certain types of microwave popcorn), steamers, irons, ironing board covers, electric skillets, griddles, George Foreman Grills, drip trays, toasters, toaster ovens, poaching pans, electric blankets, humidifiers, heat lamps, SPACE HEATERS, Scotch Guard etc etc...Here 2 links about it: https://www.ewg.org/research/canarie...on-kills-birds
To find out what contains PTFE/PFOA/PFCs/Teflon, you have to call and be a bit insistent about it over the phone (and in some cases, you won't get far--but sometimes it is a matter of how you ask). Almost always, it will take a few days (and numerous holds) for them to get back to you and you must provide the full chemical names, abbreviations and brand-names. Shopping when you have a bird is super annoying because cannot visually ID these chemical coatings, as they can be colored, transparent, or mixed into metal/fabric during the manufacturing process. Teflon and chemically similar products have killed birds on separate floors with the doors shut. Similarly, while DuPont claims that off-gassing only occurs at higher heats, there have been myriad bird deaths (even within academic circles) at temperatures well within the 300 degree F range! There is a reason they used canaries in coal-mines and it is because they die very easily due to even low levels of fumes of any sort. Some specific accounts: https://www.ewg.org/research/canarie...-death-diaries
Here are the abbreviations and full spellings of the chemicals you need to ask about when inquiring about a product (give the name, spelling and abbreviation of each):

Teflon= common brand-name using the chemical types in question
PTFE= Polytetrafluoroethyline
PFOA= Perfluorooctanoic acid (sometimes known as C8)
PFCs= Perfluorinated chemicals

Sleep=essential to hormonal and immune function. Different species have different requirements, but 12 is pretty much the average. This means that someone must be there to cover and uncover the bird at the same time each night and that your home must be conducive to sleep.

Make sure you aren't using any unsafe products around the bird. This is pretty much everything with a scent (and some things without).
No perfume, carpet cleaner, flea shampoo, aerosols, solvents, air fresheners, paints, smoke of any kind, vaping, sunscreen, bugspray, candles of any kind (organic or non), insecticides, certain soaps/shampoos, fire-places, burning or heated oil/fat, self-cleaning ovens, gas and any household cleaners (e.g., bleach, windex, lysol, fabreeze, scrubbing bubbles, kaboom, pine-sol etc)...You will seriously have to re-think your entire home and your cleaning routine will change a ton.
NEVER use the self-cleaning oven function or try to season cast iron around birds.
The list goes on. Birds have VERY sensitive respiratory systems. Essential oils are also fairly unsafe due to their ability to be absorbed into the blood-stream and due to a bird's sensitive air sacs. In terms of safe alternatives: White vinegar + water (as long as you don't heat it), grapefruit seed extract + water, baking soda (for scrubbing), some (but not all) natural cleaning products sold in pre-mixed formulas, and then avian-safe veterinary disinfectants, such as F10 SC (the yellow/clear concentrate has to be mixed with water but it is super safe and more effective than vinegar at killing bacteria etc).

Fumes make traveling with a bird complicated, as it is very unsafe to bring your bird with you into a location where teflon or chemical cleaners are being used. Unless you are visiting close family and you can give them a 30 hour instructional course on eliminating respiratory dangers from their homes before you get there, it is going to be a bad idea to take your bird (and no one wants to be a pushy guest!).
I would recommend getting an air purifier (non-ozone producing/non-ionizing) to help with dust/mold etc (which can harm birds). Please note- a purifier will not protect birds from cigarette smoke, vaping fumes, teflon/ptfe/pfoa etc. It will only help increase the quality of the air to some extent. You cannot use unsafe chemicals around the bird just because you have a purifier.

Generally, you should only pet birds on the head/neck and you should not allow any shadowy spaces in the cage (boxes, bedding, crumbled paper, tents, blankets, low furniture, in clothing etc)...and so are tents/huts/hammocks etc. These things are hormonal triggers and they can cause health and behavior problems.

Birds hide illness like crazy, so there is nothing intuitive about their diseases. You have to be ready to study your birds poop and behavior daily, because even the slightest change can be a huge indicator. Blood work must be done yearly (at minimum) and should be done soon after you get a new bird. Birds can carry and spread deadly illnesses without showing any symptoms, so play-dates and exposure to boarding facilities etc come with risks of their own. PBFD, ABV and PDD are all very serious and very contagious diseases that can be spread by things like feather dust in the ventilation system. These diseases are also notorious for producing false negatives in infected but asymptomatic carriers (when tested). In Australia, PBFD is also a huge problem in wild parrots.
Bottom line: make sure that you have a certified avian vet (CAV) near you. Exotics vets who see birds are not the same thing. If you don't have a CAV near you, your life will be much more anxiety-ridden than if you do (and the difference between a CAV and an exotics vet can mean the difference between life and death for your bird in certain instances).

Birds are very sensitive to temperature changes and drafts. Any temperature change of 10 degrees or more puts significant stress on their systems. If you have to take your bird out in the cold, make sure you carefully cover the cage and pre-warm the car. Also, make sure you don't have any air-fresheners in the car. Extreme heat can also be harmful. Over time, birds can adjust to a wide ranger of temperatures, but this adjustment has to take place over a long period of time. Anything too quick is going to shock their systems.

Dowel perches that are smooth/even in texture lead to a disease called bumble-foot. Textured perches prevent this---look into dragonwood, manzanita and pummice perches.

Birds move in slow motion and especially and establishing real trust can take many months.

A baby bird will generally be friendly to all (much like a baby human), but teen and adult birds experience significant hormonal changes which impact their personality and preferences. Puberty is particularly bad in many cases. Although it passes, an adult bird will never be as nice as a baby and it will come with a whole new set of preferences, desires and rules.
It is very important not to engage in behaviors that will eventually be inappropriate for the bird as an adult, as this sets an unsustainable precedent. You must teach independence, refrain from allowing the bird to graft itself to you all day, do not spend excessive time with your bird due to the fact that they are a new and exciting new pet (because you will be expected to keep it up long-term), pet on head/neck only and do not provide your bird with access to fleece huts, huts in general, tents, boxes, blankets, pillows, bedding etc, ignore screams for attention and attend to the sounds you will be able to tolerate long-term, ignore biting when it happens and do not scold/react.

Last edited by noodles123; 06-20-2019 at 06:16 AM.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 06-20-2019, 03:25 PM
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Re: Advice on buying caique

Thanks for the information Noodles. We do know all this though and have already located a new pan set that is bird safe and checked with manufacturers that our heater, microwave and rice cooker doesn’t contain toxic stuff. Luckily I’m hypersensitive to smells so we literally don’t have any scents in our house including toxic cleaners, particularly as I tend to like using vinegar, bicarbonate, and lemon juices to clean surfaces. As for birdies things I’m staying away from cotton fibres and have already built a good collection of natural and pedi perches, heaps of forage toys & foot toys all made from bird safe plastics and naturals. And birdie will be home with heaps of foraging to do in a quiet space whilst we are at work, my partner works at Google so he’s already been tasked will rigging up auto lights, and our routine means birdie will get their quiet sleep time no problem. As for CAVs, I have 2 nearby me (Waterloo and at Sydney’s Uni’s Exotics Emergency Vet Hospital). So all good there!

I’m now wanting to know what we need to look for physically in the babies when we see them? Obviously we’ll take it to the vet for a check up once it comes home, but in ‘selecting” a baby what should they display (ie I know that a lethargic baby is a good indicator of an unhealthy bird to start, but what else?)
I want to let the bird choose us but I also want it to be a healthy bird to start as well!

Last edited by Ezekiell; 06-20-2019 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 06-20-2019, 04:57 PM
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Re: Advice on buying caique

You want your bird to be active and interested in the world around him.
clear eyes no nasal discharge.
steady on his feet. It's not unusual for a young bird to stumble a bit but he should not be wobbling around.

Don't expect a young bird to have a strong grip with there feet, this takes time for them to develop the strength to grip tightly for climbing and perching.

Good feather growth with no bare patches. Some parents will pluck there babies, if that's the case the breeder should be up front and explain what caused the bare patches.

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:24 PM
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Re: Advice on buying caique

Awesome-- glad to hear it! A lot of times pet sites mention Teflon in passing without explaining in details the extent. So happy you are planning!

Birds will often "pick you", so a baby who is interested in you is a good start (that having been said, a young baby may not care too much).
You want one who has been tested for certain diseases ahead of time (again, depending on age).
Bright eyes
FULLY WEANED...!!!
I don't know a ton about male vs female Caiques, but female parrots in general come with the risk of egg-binding...Then again, in some species, males can be more prone to aggression.
I think if I would do it over again, I would get a boy just because the prospect of eggs being laid (or getting stuck) is an added stress.
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Old 06-20-2019, 08:27 PM
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Re: Advice on buying caique

Any caique owner will tell you, they are "ON" 100% of the time, play play play and they love to show off and do tricks. Sounds like you are doing your homework.
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Old 06-20-2019, 09:02 PM
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Re: Advice on buying caique

I agree that the danger of Teflon is important to understand. It took some convincing for my partner to accept that his beloved non-stick frypan along with my favourite red one were going to be boxed up never to be used again until we could foist them on some future children going off to college. Thankfully, when our new ceramic PTFE+ free pan set arrived they met his exacting standards :P

Quote: Originally Posted by noodles123 View Post
I think if I would do it over again, I would get a boy just because the prospect of eggs being laid (or getting stuck) is an added stress.
I have read on breeder and caique info sites that egg binding can be prevented if the bird is supplied with good calcium sources and not have access to broody spots. is that accurate?

I would prefer a boy as I'd prefer to manage the 'naughty chicken' aggression around season time rather than a cuddly brooder. But right now I'm not too fussed, particularly since I'm planning to get a hanging calcium chew for the cage and provide calcium grit in mixed food.

Last edited by Ezekiell; 06-20-2019 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 06-21-2019, 05:32 AM
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Re: Advice on buying caique

i have two caique, believe me they are a full on parrot, if it's your very first parrot i would consider if this bird is the right one for you. there are lots of lovey parrots that are not as hard work, why i am saying this is because i think they are not a first time parrot. they are really hard work. they are on the go all the time they are awake, they will scream and shout for lots of attention. they are also a nippy bird, but this does not bother me as they never do it hard, but they are what i call a beaky bird as they like to push thier luck so they do need lots of training about how hard they can bite, or push their luck. i love their character and their fiesty personalities. but they are not for everyone, that is for sure. good luck with what ever you choose to keep. They are a life long committment what ever bird you have.
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Old 06-29-2019, 02:21 AM
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Re: Advice on buying caique

Thank you everyone for your advice.

As an update, my partner and I visited the breeder today and one of the caiques chose us! This little guy came right up to us and just wanted to hang out on us the whole time, so we bought him. He's going to be bird-sat by the breeder until we move into our new home and in the meantime we will be visiting him. Can't wait to bring Maui home!
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