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Old 05-15-2013, 01:23 PM
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First Time Owner

Hello =)

I'm hoping to find some help with picking out the right type of bird for me. I have no experience raising birds (aside from a crow with a broken foot that I nursed back to health when I was younger), however I do have experience with exotic pets who have special needs and diets.

Please, please don't recommend a bird to me simply based on it being a "starter bird". A starter bird is fine, but I'm looking for a pet that fits my personality and lifestyle, not an animal to use for "practice". I'm also a research oriented person and I prefer to know everything I possibly can about an animal before taking it home, so I won't be unprepared if it requires more care than I'm used to.

I only have one deal breaker: this has to be a bird that I can handle. I am an affectionate person and I love to hug and snuggle and make embarrassing baby noises to my heart's content. I will never be able to form a bond with what equates to being a decorative pet.

Mid-sized birds are preferred-- I am so very afraid of having fragile pets, so the smaller they are, the more nervous I am. Noise is not an issue; I'm half deaf from my German Shepherd barking directly in my ear, anyway. Expense is an issue. I can't afford more than $500 for start-up costs, including bird, cage, and toys. Availability is also a bit of an issue because I live out in the middle of nowhere and the closest breeder is two hours away, and I just don't feel good about having a bird shipped to me. Lifespan is also a big deal for me...it breaks my heart when I lose one of my pets, so short lifespans equate to me being very, very depressed.

Here's a quick overview of my living situation:

I'm a college student who lives at home. I currently have two large dogs and two cats, all of which have lived with smaller animals before and respect their boundaries (my cats used to sleep on my sugarglider's cage before he passed away from old age, and my dogs used to lay near it and watch him play). Because of my classes I don't have a regular schedule, and the bird would have to be alone for hours at a time. However, I do spend the majority of my time at home in my office which has a perfectly free cage-shaped corner, and an unused room that can be easily converted into a playroom (with all the cables in my office, I would be afraid it would chew on them and get hurt if they were out of the cage in there).

It will be a few months before I actually make the purchase, so I have plenty of time to learn what I need to know. But first I need a starting point...I've looked into conures, parrotlets, ringneck parakeets (my favorite so far), and caiques-- not the best choice for a beginner, I know, but I just love their bossy little personalities...unfortunately they're out of my price range.

Any tips, suggestions and recommendations are greatly appreciated!
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:34 PM
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Re: First Time Owner

My biggest tip would be to find a rescue and spend some time there as a volunteer. I vol. at a zoo for years. That gives you the best idea of different birds and care. Then adopt the bird that picks you.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:35 PM
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Re: First Time Owner

Well--- for a more inexpensive bird, that is readily available I would have to go with green cheek conures -- although they are very small. I would also reccomend a single, handfed lovebird for a cuddly bird-- but again, even smaller than a green cheek.

Unfortunately you will not find many "medium" sized birds for less than $500 startup costs + bird, otherwise I would reccomend an older cockatoo--- possibly a goffin. Cockatoos in general love cuddling, and you will KNOW you are getting a wonderful cuddly pet if you purchase or adopt an adult who has already gone through it's troublesome and hormonal stages in life.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:47 PM
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Re: First Time Owner

Quote: Originally Posted by ShellyBorg View Post
My biggest tip would be to find a rescue and spend some time there as a volunteer. I vol. at a zoo for years. That gives you the best idea of different birds and care. Then adopt the bird that picks you.
Unfortunately that's not an option for me. There are no rescues within a reasonable driving distance.

Quote: Originally Posted by Nocturnal View Post
Well--- for a more inexpensive bird, that is readily available I would have to go with green cheek conures -- although they are very small. I would also reccomend a single, handfed lovebird for a cuddly bird-- but again, even smaller than a green cheek.

Unfortunately you will not find many "medium" sized birds for less than $500 startup costs + bird, otherwise I would reccomend an older cockatoo--- possibly a goffin. Cockatoos in general love cuddling, and you will KNOW you are getting a wonderful cuddly pet if you purchase or adopt an adult who has already gone through it's troublesome and hormonal stages in life.
Cockatoos are one of the few birds that I've actually spent some time with (a friend of mine has an aunt with a cockatoo). I just don't have enough space for a large bird...the rooms in my house are fairly small, I'm just afraid the poor thing will feel cramped. =(

There is a GCC at my local pet store, however! I spent some time with him before and fed him some seeds. He was incredibly quiet and he seemed excited that someone was paying him some attention-- there are signs up saying the birds bite so I doubt many people try to interact with him. He never bit me though, just nibbled very gently on my finger a few times. I always feel sorry for animals in pet stores...that's how I ended up with my first sugarglider. The poor guy looked so miserable that I had to take him home with me.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:55 PM
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Re: First Time Owner

GCC is a great bird. One that is a lot of personality and they do like to cuddle, for the most part. Every bird can be different. See if you can spend more time with it and see if they will take a deposit to hold it while you make up your mind.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:03 PM
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Re: First Time Owner

GCC is an amazing bird we just got one about a month ago and I couldn't be happier. We spent about $600 for the full start up but you can go cheaper we bought a big fancy cage to start with because the pet store discounted all the things we bought with our bird.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:23 PM
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Re: First Time Owner

I have a pineapple GCC and she is a joy. GCC's are quieter than the average conure, although I know you said that shrieking wasn't an issue for you.

Sunshine is very much a cuddly clown. She's a small bird with a big attitude. I have two cats, one of whom (Cream) will occasionally climb on top of the bird cage when Sunshine is taking a nap. She's rather noisy, so Sunshine wakes up and will casually bite Cream's paws until she jumps down, at which point Sunshine resumes her nap and Cream hides in a corner because her pride is hurt.

Sunshine loves spending time with me, and loves grooming my hair. When she's in her cage and I'm not in the room she'll amuse herself, even if I'm home, but if she's out of her cage or if the cage door is open she'll start heading my way. She wants to be with me.
She'll attempt to fly across a room to land on my shoulder, and last night she really enjoyed taking a bath in the kitchen sink while I finished putting away groceries. She's also jealous of my cell phone, and is trying to figure out where the voices come from. She also likes chirping at my Mom long-distance, after my mother came up for Mother's Day Weekend. (My Mom didn't feel comfortable holding her, but she did love talking to her, so Sunshine recognizes her voice. She also slept in the same room as Sunshine, and was always complimenting her for being such a good, pretty, quiet bird.)
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:15 PM
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Re: First Time Owner

Quote: Originally Posted by SolarCat View Post
I have a pineapple GCC and she is a joy. GCC's are quieter than the average conure, although I know you said that shrieking wasn't an issue for you.

Sunshine is very much a cuddly clown. She's a small bird with a big attitude. I have two cats, one of whom (Cream) will occasionally climb on top of the bird cage when Sunshine is taking a nap. She's rather noisy, so Sunshine wakes up and will casually bite Cream's paws until she jumps down, at which point Sunshine resumes her nap and Cream hides in a corner because her pride is hurt.

Sunshine loves spending time with me, and loves grooming my hair. When she's in her cage and I'm not in the room she'll amuse herself, even if I'm home, but if she's out of her cage or if the cage door is open she'll start heading my way. She wants to be with me.
She'll attempt to fly across a room to land on my shoulder, and last night she really enjoyed taking a bath in the kitchen sink while I finished putting away groceries. She's also jealous of my cell phone, and is trying to figure out where the voices come from. She also likes chirping at my Mom long-distance, after my mother came up for Mother's Day Weekend. (My Mom didn't feel comfortable holding her, but she did love talking to her, so Sunshine recognizes her voice. She also slept in the same room as Sunshine, and was always complimenting her for being such a good, pretty, quiet bird.)
That's adorable! I love quirky personalities.

Yeah, shrieking really isn't an issue at all. I live in a noisy house anyway and I'm pretty confident I can take even the worst of a Macaw scream-- so can my mother (she's so used to me blasting my music through the house that she doesn't even notice it anymore). Noise will only become a problem if they shriek during new episodes of The Walking Dead. Noise is not tolerated in my house when The Walking Dead is on, lol.

As for the size of the bird since a few have brought it up already-- when I say small, I'm really referring to tiny birds like finches. Conures are a decent enough size that I don't think I'll have to worry much about them getting lost in the house or (god forbid) crawling into my subwoofer or something. The size is what put me off of parrotlets or lovebirds even though they fit my requirements everywhere else.
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Old 05-15-2013, 04:59 PM
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Re: First Time Owner

I doubt you can find a medium bird and set up less then 500 dollars. I think a Green cheek conure would fit most of your requirements. They can be cuddly and have parrot like attitudes. I have one and she is the sweetest thing.

Last edited by Abigal7; 05-29-2013 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:05 PM
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Re: First Time Owner

Quote: Originally Posted by Abigal7 View Post
I doubt you can find a medium bird and set up let then 500 dollars. I think a Green cheek conure would fit most of your requirements. They can be cuddly and have parrot like attitudes. I have one and she is the sweetest thing.
Well, my budget is flexible given the right circumstances. Anything over $500 would probably delay my purchase because instead of buying everything at once, I'd have to buy bits at a time...maybe a cage one month, some toys and perches next month, and finally the bird on the third month. Normal people would just save their money and buy everything at once, but me...when it comes to cash I'm a bit of a butterfingers

Whoops, I just dropped $50 in your cash register, silly me. Well, at least I have these DDR3 memory cards to remember it by...

Well, the exception being if I wait until fall when I get my student refund, then my budget gets a lot more flexible. Though it's going to be hard to explain to my college how a parrot enriches my student career.

Last edited by Aelle; 05-15-2013 at 08:10 PM.
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