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Old 11-03-2017, 03:35 PM
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Exclamation 7 birds & It's out of control

So I joined this site because I'm determined to do something about my mother-in-law's (I'll just call her mom) birds. She has 7 birds: 5 green-cheeked conures (The oldest is Snaps, his mate is Shy, and their three kids, the only one I remember the name of is Shadow), one sunny conure (Oscar), and a zebra finch (Frisky).
Some backstory on me: I've never owned birds, I don't really like birds, but mom is old and she doesn't seem like she has the energy to take care of all of them so I feel like I need to start trying.

Each set have their own issues, so I'll start with Oscar:
Mom got Oscar I think a couple years ago, after rescuing from a breeder in her apartment complex. The breeder was a real awful person and was pretty casual when talking about killing Oscar because his feet were deformed (He has no claws and is missing toes, either from birth or neglect) so mom took Oscar and called the cops on the guy. Oscar really liked her then boyfriend but they've since broken up and she knew her ex couldn't take care of Oscar so she kept him.
After reading about sun conures, I see that they are really clingy and really noisy, so I guess his screaming can't be helped, but he's almost always screaming unless mom goes and yells back at him, scares him, or is in the same room as him or takes him out. Even if she's just across the hall, he'll scream incessantly. I can hardly blame him for being obsessed, given she rescued him.
The weird thing was I read that sunny's are family friendly. He was very cuddly with mom and her boyfriend but he doesn't like anyone else: He'll lunge his head and body back and forth and try to bite anyone else or run if you get too close to him. Sometimes he bites mom but usually not hard.
His cage is in her room and he hangs out with her pretty often. When she doesn't feel like having him out or she's at work, she puts him in a cage in the living room, where the other birds are, so he has company and knows that she's actually gone.
Out of all the birds, she spends the most time with him.

Snaps has been with mom for a really long time, but I don't know how long or how old he is. From what I heard, though, he's always been a jerk: He would bite and chase everyone except mom or my husband, but recently he's even bit him when Snaps came out. Snaps also cries sometimes (like a smoke alarm), usually at night or in the morning to have the cage cover moved, but sometimes in the middle of the day and for a while.
Shy she got from a pet store a year or two before Oscar to give Snaps company. Mom didn't like stressing out the birds but she didn't want babies so she'd take the eggs and get rid of them.
Years ago, she had a coworker that was working out a deal with her to get a baby for her son so mom let some eggs hatch, but the deal fell through and mom now had 3 baby birds.
Snaps is really protective and doesn't like anyone but mom coming around the cage (he taps his beat against the cage and tries to get anything that comes close). Shy is scared of everyone and flies away, sometimes even from mom. I'm worried that Snaps is abusing Shy because she often looses her head and chest feathers (Literally, her whole chest can be bare) in mating season. The babies are mostly timid like Shy and also don't like anyone getting near them.
All five of them live in a cage together (I suspect it's way to small for the 5 of them) in the living room. Mom lets them all out to fly around once and a while (I don't know how often) but she doesn't really spend as much time with Snaps anymore because of Oscar and the hassle of the babies.

Frisky is fine. Doesn't make a lot of noise, the little pecks don't hurt, and its cage is a lot cleaner than the other birds (probably because of the size) but I'm worried that all the noise the other birds make is bad for it. I read that a quiet corner is good for them but because of our apartments' size, it's cage is on top of (but safely separate from) the green-cheeks. Mom will take Frisky out once in a while to fly around for a bit or chill in her room, but its cage isn't wide like I've been reading that they're supposed to have. It's by no means small, though.

So here are the major issues:
The conures cages are filthy. I don't know mom's cleaning schedule but the cages often have built up droppings. She changes the bird food and water fairly often and they get lots of different treats like fruit, ice cream, mashed potatoes, turkey, I dunno, they eat all kinds of stuff. I know Shy likes whipped cream.
I think Snaps is really stressed and taking it out on his family. I know mom had other birds but Snaps was all she had when I married in. Then suddenly she had Shy, three babies, Frisky, Oscar, and a wild dove named Beep she rescued temporarily. I think he's upset because Oscar gets special treatment.
Mom's old and has some back disabilities, so it's hard for her to clean often or spend time with them all. As much as I don't care for the birds, I hate the noise more, and I'd spend time with some of them if I could get them to be friendly.

How can I get the conures to like me?
Is it safe to have 5 green-cheeks in one cage?
Should I suggest she get rid of Shy and the babies? She doesn't trust pet stores and we don't know anyone who would want them, so we wouldn't know how to find a nearby potential owner. A good home is more important to her than selling them.
I know mom loves her birds, and she's had birds for a long, long time, so me having almost zero knowledge, I feel like there's nothing I can do to help but I want to try.

Any help is appreciated. Feel free to ask me more questions.

Last edited by Terry57; 11-04-2017 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 11-04-2017, 01:50 PM
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Re: 7 birds & It's out of control

Wow, that's a difficult situation. Kudos to you for wanting to help. I'm not a conure person, but I'm sure someone who is will chime in.

Water dishes really need to be changed at least daily, maybe more often. Especially with that many birds. The accumulated droppings - not good. The cages should be pressure washed and sanitized. Some people put multiple layers of newspaper on the bottom and then just remove the top, soiled one every day. Makes the job easier.

If you decide to rehome some or all of them, don't take them to a pet store. One member here mentioned taking a bird to a nursing home. Not all of those places are set up for animals, but ones who are might really appreciate them. Hey, the old people might be deaf enough to barely hear the sun conure! And everyone will enjoy watching them.
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Old 11-05-2017, 01:34 AM
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Re: 7 birds & It's out of control

That is a tough situation.

Last edited by gracebowen; 11-05-2017 at 01:39 AM.
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Old 11-05-2017, 01:49 PM
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Re: 7 birds & It's out of control

Kentuckienne thanks for the advice. I don't have a pressure washer and because we're on a second floor apartment and the cage is so big, the best I can do is some elbow grease and a wire brush in the living room.

My husband told me that last time mom tried to separate the babies from Snaps and Shy, they all screamed non-stop until she put them back together. I think after all this time of being united and untrained, maybe they can't be sold. And they tend to bite, so I don't know how save a retiree would be.
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Old 11-05-2017, 02:36 PM
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Re: 7 birds & It's out of control

it is great that you have the heart to care.

the best thing you can do is keep reading this forum to figure out the best way to care for these birds.

You may find that it is you that cant live without them.
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Old 11-05-2017, 05:47 PM
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Re: 7 birds & It's out of control

How do you feel about a bird rescue?
I feel bad for your mother in law, but maybe just keep the one bird in her room and have the others rescued.
Good people adopted birds��
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Old 11-06-2017, 04:17 AM
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Re: 7 birds & It's out of control

I personally would want to get them rehomed. Your MiL cannot care for them and if her idea of caring for her sun conure is to walk over and scream at it until it shuts up makes her no better than the breeder she got arrested imo

the only problem is you can't just walk in and take them out as they're her property. As for separating them and their screaming, do you blame them? Removing flock members is terrifying for a bird, it means that someone is going to die in the wild and with a big monster that comes over and looks like it's going to eat you any second I'd scream too.

You're going to need to talk to her is the only option, though considering she's your MiL I don't think she would take it so well. All you can try and do is ask her if she thinks the birds are happy being scared whenever they make a noise which is what birds do
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Old 11-06-2017, 12:43 PM
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Re: 7 birds & It's out of control

This post just breaks me up. Sadder still I can't think of much of a solution. You may check around for bird rescue centers if u can't take them yourself. Around here there is a waiting list... can take over a year just to get them in. Its awesome you want to help. If u do end up with them.... caution... you might find your world has changed. Its more like adopting a child than having a 'pet'. An experience that I would not change for anything.
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