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Old 05-20-2013, 01:28 PM
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Questions to ask an RB2 seller?

Hello there,

For the past six months I've been researching parrots and caring for them and, in the course of this, I have been visiting a local pet store which has a large collection of birds. For the last four or five months one of those birds has been a Galah which I've gradually been getting to know and I've become very attached to this particular character. It's an 8 year old bird, the store manager thinks female although 'her' eyes are medium brown so I suspect it might be one of those where a DNA test is needed to be sure. She's pretty quiet amongst the other birds, but will come straight to the front of the cage if I talk to her and I've been able to take her out of the cage a couple of times. She has some ruffled looking feathers right where she would tuck her head in when asleep, but I can't see any obviously evidence of plucking - no bare patches, no feathers in the cage. The manager felt she didn't have any major issues but he thought she was a bit on the shy side and a bit of a cage potato. It seems like a decent store, and I've spoken to a couple of parrot owners who speak highly of them. All the birds look healthy and lively, seems to be mainly young birds but a few older rehomes.

So, I've been in to see her again today and am planning to to go back and speak to the manager at the end of the week with a view to making an offer - but wanted to canvas opinion with the experts to consolidate what I need to ask and if there's anything I've missed?

- She's been there a while now, and I don't know if this has implications, that perhaps she's not selling for a reason I can't see? I've no frame of reference as to how quickly a pet store would expect to turn over their stock but they don't seem to be turning over a large number of birds a month. Anything to worry about?

- What information should I expect from the retailer: obviously I'll be asking why they have an 8 year old bird and what family she came from, but should I expect vet's references in terms of previous health record? The shop has a regular avian vet who visits on a weekly basis - is this a good basis for a clean bill of health or should I insist on an independent assessment? Is it reasonable to request a DNA test if they can't tell me the gender beyond an educated guess?

-One particular worry - one of her wings has been partially clipped, leaving the first four primaries and last couple of secondaries intact - I know this is has health implications with a Galah and would not intend to clip her after her next moult, but if it turns out she has always been clipped is there any risk that damage has already been done - and therefore something I need to get assessed by a vet?

Well, congratulations if you've made it to the end of this post! Any advice would be greatly appreciated, I feel pretty confident I've done my research for once I get the bird home but must confess to being pretty nervous about taking the plunge with an individual bird: so talking it through with people who know what they're doing is a great help.
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:24 PM
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Re: Questions to ask an RB2 seller?

I'd ask about her vet history. Diet. How she is with other people. Other birds. And make sure to observe her from afar and observe how she behaves. Sometimes store owners lie so its great to observe too.
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Old 05-20-2013, 04:26 PM
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Re: Questions to ask an RB2 seller?

Thanks for your reply: I've spent a fair bit of time in the store - they're pretty 'hands off' in there, sometimes annoyingly so when you need help although the manager is very easy to deal with. She seems a little subdued compared to the other cockatoos, conures and macaws. The grays and amazons in there are a little more laid back and I guess she's closer in temprement to them.

When other people are in the room she doesn't fuss to get attention and I've never seen her interacting enthusiastically with anyone. She seems to respond best to someome coming up close to the cage and talking softly, which has always been my approach, and she quickly comes out of her shell with a little persistance but I've never seen anyone else put the time in. When we had her out of the cage the other week it was pretty busy and she didn't seem particularly nervous, just shot up my arm and busied herself trying to undo my ponytail!
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:10 PM
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Re: Questions to ask an RB2 seller?

she sounds so sweet! my galah is also quite and has a calm personality, she loves to trick train and dance.

Even if her wings are weakened, galahs have a good chance to relearn to fly as long as they are not obese. They have a huge tail, and huge wings compared to their body. They are also a light bodies parrot. All of this gives you a good chance to get her flying again because it's easier for them to fly. If they are obese it will just take longer.
In comparison I have a African gray who cannot fly, and I will never be able to teach him. He is a heavy bodies parrot with a tiny tail and short wings. I may try to teach him one day, but I don't believe he has any chance.

It took me around 6 months to get my galah fit enough to fly well

Main questions are
Her history(if known)
What she has been eating
Any known past injuries
If they have a warranty.
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Last edited by Featheredsamurai; 05-20-2013 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:05 PM
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Re: Questions to ask an RB2 seller?

She sounds super sweet! I'd snatch her up.
I wonder what they are asking for her? All the galahs I've seen in bird shops have been significantly more expensive than what breeders charge, which could be one reason she's still there if people are finding better "deals" elsewhere. I can't think of any more questions to ask that have not already been asked, but I think if you feel confident that she's not ill, the rest of the issues (diet, weight, being clipped) can all be worked on.
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:15 PM
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Re: Questions to ask an RB2 seller?

I do feel she should be considered a adoption, rather than a buy. A 8 year old bird should not be $1,000+. Realistically I could see them asking for $700-$800 for a older parrot, only because they are a pet store and they want to make money. Unless they are asking for $400- try to talk them down!
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:24 PM
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Re: Questions to ask an RB2 seller?

Unless she comes with a super amazing cage, I agree.
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Old 05-21-2013, 03:32 AM
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Re: Questions to ask an RB2 seller?

The price is comparible to the price I could find a newly weaned bird direct from a breeder, which I was thinking seemed optimistic to ask for an 8 year old. It's a difficult thing to consider: if it were a second hand car I might simply raise an eyebrow and move on to the next dealer, but then a second hand car wouldn't wrap its toes around your finger and look at you with big, hopeful eyes... at the end of the day I'm only planning to do this once and as long as they're prepared to work with me a little on the asking price I don't mind if it ends up a little more expensive than my head tells me it should be.

Good news on the wing clip - she seems if anything on the slender side but I don't have the experience to judge so I'll get a vet's opinion early on.
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:41 AM
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Re: Questions to ask an RB2 seller?

Sounds good.
I wouldn't worry too much about the clip -- you said it's a light one, right? Boris is a strong flier, because the breeder didn't clip him until she sent him off to his new home (me). She took off a few flights on each side, but it doesn't slow him down much. I didn't ask her to do it, but I guess she did it as a safety precaution since he was being shipped. Not that there was much point, considering he can still fly (he just has to flap harder).



As long as it isn't severe, she should be able to glide and won't hurt herself. And if you give her plenty of out of cage time and encourage her to flap her wings, then she should become fit again.

Last edited by aether-drifter; 05-21-2013 at 04:44 AM.
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:24 PM
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Re: Questions to ask an RB2 seller?

Just wanted to add I've spoken to the store again and it's a one owner bird - the store sold the bird originally and previous owner was a regular customer who has had to downsize a collection of pets. I guess you can read things into that, but at least it suggests the bird has not been moved from home to home because of a major behavioral issue.

I've also spoken to a local avian vet who can give her a 'well bird' checkup, and found a friend who grew up with a relative who bred parrots who's willing to come with me for a final meet with the bird before decisions need to be taken.

So, I'll keep you posted...
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