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Old 02-13-2020, 05:22 PM
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Looking for honest opinions

I just got home from our local pet shop (had to buy crickets for the geckos) and was surprised to see a couple of cockatiels there. I asked about them, how old are they, blah blah because they were in cages that are differently than the rest. Every once in a while they will babysit birds (similar to dog boarding) so I assumed that was the case. Nope. The owner had purchased them 16 years ago as babies for her 2 kids. The kids have since moved out, same sad story Iím sure a lot of birds go through. It breaks my heart that they have been tossed aside, and we have the means to care for them...BUT (and this is a big but) we have 4 budgies, which as you all know are new to us, plus these birds have NEVER been to a vet. They are both in separate cages, and have never been housed together or in the same room together. One of them seems to be cage aggressive or at least wants to bite while in the cage, but is fine when taken out. That one also seems to have a minor balance issue. He seems to open his wings to stabilize himself while perching, even in the cage. He actually fell once while I was there. The other is much more docile, and seemed to dance when we whistled to it. Their ďstuffĒ is included in the purchase price but itís all old and gross. The rope perches are worn and frayed, they have had the same toys for their entire lives! The whole cage and setup seriously looks like it should be chucked. Which is fine, because Iíd prefer larger cages anyways.

If we were to adopt them (and that is a bid IF) does anyone have a rough idea of life expectancy?

Can we train the cage aggressive behavior out at this point?

Should we expect behavior to get worse before it gets better?

I understand they are powder birds, how much powder do they produce? Will a quick daily dusting suffice or is it more involved? They would be staying in my bedroom, because...cats.


Obviously they would need a trip to the vet pronto which is a significant cost as well. Itís roughly $225 for a visit and gram stain per bird in my area. Thatís not including blood work. With blood work Iím looking at $300-$350. Each. If Iím going to do this Iíd like to go into it armed with as much info as possible.

I guess my real question is should I just walk away or not? Iím on the fence...Iím heartbroken for the family they lost, but Iím also afraid we may not be the family that is right for them.

Thought, opinions, and insight are all welcome. I know there would be nothing worse than taking them in if we cannot provide what they need.



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Old 02-13-2020, 08:01 PM
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Re: Looking for honest opinions

A few considerations:

Anytime you add a new bird to your flock, you should quarantine for at least 1 month. Quarantine should be done in absolute separate rooms, not just separate cages. The idea of quarantine is to act as if they might have an illness, and that could include PBFD which can be transmitted if dander gets on your clothes from an infected bird then you bring it over to an uninfected bird. I don't know how many rooms you have.

On top of that, finances. While your vet might charge a couple hundred for visit, gram stain, and blood work, what happens if worse comes to worst? What if one (or more) need to be hospitalised? Do you have the finance cushion to shelled out 1k for hospitalisation of one bird (or more)?

Most importantly, do you have the time? Your four budgies have joined your family all within the span of about 2 months only. It can take up to a year plus for birds to really settle into a new family situation. While some of your budgies may be sweet now, it might also just be a honeymoon phase. What happens when that ends?

Yes, some people have multiple budgies and cockatiels and lovebirds. A lot of times, those birds are kept in a more aviary-like situation, and the owner themselves don't expect each bird to be 'tame'. Multiple birds living together often means they choose each other and not the humans. If you want to keep them handleable, then you need to spend the individual (literally one-on-one) time with each. And we're not talking just 5 minutes here and there, we're talking closer to an hour with each little bird individually. Do you have that kind of time to commit to them?


Cockatiels can go up to 30 years if they are kept in good health. Budgies, up to 20. Yes, there is dander and if you're keeping that many birds in one room, you should have an air purifier to help, regardless of whether your bird is powder-based or oil-based.


I know MBS (multiple bird syndrome) is a thing, but do take each addition carefully. While their story is tragic, can you be sure you can provide the best care they need? It's a lifelong commitment, so if your entire family isn't sure about the 'for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health' (and the time commitment), then perhaps the cockatiels should take things slowly. If in a month's time, you're absolutely sure you can provide all the attention, time, space, and money, then ok.
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Old 02-13-2020, 08:20 PM
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Re: Looking for honest opinions

Another thing- both of your birds are still babies, right? You might want to consider that a sexually mature bird can change a lot. I would wait at least 2 years before getting another (on top of all of the other potential complications etc)
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:05 PM
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Re: Looking for honest opinions

It's terrible that someone had them for 16 years and just ditched them!!

The above advice you got us excellent.
But I know you can afford them,and you will take them to the vet. The likely hood of other adootors doing the same is low. That one has balance issues is concerning , but if these guys were living in one place for 16 years, then hopefully it's nutritional, or a treatable infection. But only the vet can help.

I had one GCC for ten years, added a second and both for five more years. Then my Burt The Bird passed. And within a few months I added two budgies and two Quakers!!!!!! Then this year I took in the re-home Quaker! I hardly know what happened!!! Lol. But I'm at my limit ( please no temptation!!)

So I understand. If your heart is in the right place, and you stand by your commitments. I'm on team go for it! But your name might change to crazy bird lady
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:53 AM
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Re: Looking for honest opinions

We are a single Amazon home! We commonly are exposed to extremely high medical care costs, plus the Hugh time commitment that comes with caring for a sick Parrot. Caring for older, commonly very ill Amazons is what we have chosen. We cannot save them all...

I can understand the want to save the World of mistreated Parrots, but we have found that few people have the resources to undertake and survive a large flock of Parrots. Very quickly it all changes from loving care to a storage facility.

I have no idea of what number that change occurs, likely different for each individual. But when it hits, the birds are the ones shipped out...

You have received truly great advise above...
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:06 PM
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Re: Looking for honest opinions

Thank you all, the advice and input is very much appreciated! I will take all of this to the table and see what our decision is. When I say our decision I mean my husband, and myself, with a bit of input from our children.





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Old 02-14-2020, 04:55 PM
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Re: Looking for honest opinions

I wonder if the balance issue could be an arthritic issue. If their set up wasn’t ideal were they living on the dreaded dowels that’s come standard with each cage? If so and they are 16 years old that could likely be a cause. The average lifespan of a tiel is said to be 15-25 years but have heard of several people who have had ones that have lived to 28-30. I agree with what @SailBoat said, that as you add more to the flock you can wake up and realize one day that you took in one or two too many and they become more stored on your home than true members of your family. So I like that you and your husband, with a little input from your kids, will weigh the pros and cons. Everyone has to be on board when you start adding that many feathered friends to your family as it is hard if it is only a one person job to take care of all of them. (I say all this as I added a new member to our flock today-LOL). Good luck and I can’t wait to hear what you guys decide and how you reached that decision.
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Old 02-15-2020, 08:50 AM
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Re: Looking for honest opinions

You are a very level-headed and compassionate person who wants the best for your birds and other animals you own. It sounds as though you've got quite a responsibility with all there is to take care of, and they all need your love and attention. Therefore, is there a friend or family member nearby who could take in the two Cockatiels? This way you could still see them and know they are taken care of, and not worry about being in over your head. Plus, you'd be giving the gift of companionship to someone who lost a loved pet or someone in their life.

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Old 02-15-2020, 10:34 AM
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Re: Looking for honest opinions

One of them has already been adopted! And not by us. It was the one with balance issues and biting in the cage. So that leaves the other one. We have decided that if he is still there next weekend we will revisit the idea. So far Iím the only one saying maybe not, everyone else is all in.


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Old 02-23-2020, 03:24 PM
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Re: Looking for honest opinions

What a whirlwind weekend! Soccer games (my sons team won!) 50 degree weather (yay!), play rehearsal, Girl Scouts...and a new cocktail named Precious. He comes with the name, and I donít think we will change it. He seems to respond to his name so we are keeping it.

We went to get crickets Friday and to our dismay found that the cockatiel was still there. So yesterday after soccer, and a much needed trip to the beach for some soul searching and quiet reflection with my (frozen!) toes in the sand we decided to go get the poor guy.

It was a very strange turn of events to say the least. We get there (all 4 of us) and see another family looking at the cockatiel. I say letís hang back, look at the fish, give them time. The fish are fairly close to the bird, within hearing distance. The family asks to take him out, and if it goes well they will take him. It did not go well. Precious refused to get out of his cage for the parents and he bit the poor guy that works there when he tried to get Precious out. The family left after that deciding thatís not the right bird for them. Of coarse we saw what happened and said oh no, maybe this is a bad idea. So we wait to see if the employee is okay. Heís fine, just shocked that Precious was so scared.

We go over to look and quietly talk amongst ourselves, because now Iím convinced this bird needs to not come home with us...

My fearless (crazy in a good way, beautiful, smart, amazing) daughter opens the cage and Precious flies out and LANDS ON MY SHOULDER. I freeze up a bit because just a moment ago this very same bird bit someone enough for them to need a bandaid. Precious decided that I made a very nice tree to preen himself on. So here we are...I will call tomorrow morning to schedule his vet visit for the next available, and hopefully he gets the all clear.

So far heís a very active goofball that loves attention both in and out of the cage. And we are his doting servants who live to fulfill his every whim. Which is usually a shoulder ride or a quick game of peekaboo.
His previous home must have taught him to play because he hides behind a toy and sticks his head out really quick, then says ďbooĒ before hiding and repeating it over and over.

And with all of the excitement the past few days this Momma is ready for a glass of wine before tomorrow starts the crazy work week and homework temper tantrums.


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