Intro, and need some advice

Cottonoid

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I love thinking about this and would be interested in knowing what bigger scale sanctuaries see among their parrots, since I would assume the birds would have more choice in partner.

Given Cotton's history and personality I still do absolutely believe he'd be happiest with another ARN. He gets so excited when he hears anything close to his speech which is quite different from IRN.

And then like I mentioned about the sanctuary where I volunteer, so many of their birds choose not to befriend the same species even though they have opportunity to do so over many years. It's so fascinating to me! Most of them have been there a very long time so I wouldn't think it's because of birds they'd previously lived with? I have no idea but I gobble up the stories the longtime volunteers tell about who the various partners have been over the years. It's small though, maybe 50 birds of varying species houses indoors due to our climate. I wonder how it goes in larger more true to habitat facilities.

Cotton has strong opinions about everything; I don't know what he would think about an arranged partnership - although his species is not monogamous so that may make him more likely to accept a random partner.

I currently have 3 parrots in my home for a few weeks (petsitting), each from different parts of the world, and it's been really interesting watching their interactions. To me housing different species is like housing a dog and cat together - they might become great companions to each other but they aren't the same.

It will be really interesting to see how any research on this topic evolves.

It reminds me of discussions in my area about the ethics of egg laying chickens - the local chicken rescue will only adopt to people who will continue egg suppression implant and will allow them to live seasonally appropriate hours. It was the first I'd heard of that type of implant (They aren't opposed to egg laying overall, but have a strict stance on rescues that have been bred and conditioned to lay year round).
 
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Botsari

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Wow, that is a fascinating, and helpful, way of looking at it, @Botsari. You have impacted my thinking, and I thank you.

I never had a pet, until I got my first parrot. I already wanted a same-species, opposite-sex companion for him the day I adopted him. It just seemed "right". The rescue owner was certain that was a bad idea. Soon after, I got this book:
View attachment 45690
In it, Dr. Perry asserts that a same-species, opposite-sex companion is a right. I agree; I also understand that most parrot keepers haven't thought about it that way. It's bad enough we have them in captivity, but to force them to be alone (at lease species wise) and celibate is quite radical, yet normal.

Rather than debating whether it is cruel to keep a lone parrot, I prefer to think of it as being loving to keep them in at least same-species pairs. Sure, it has challenges, but so does keeping them alone. They need more attention and interaction than I could ever give them, so, I give a parrot a parrot—or two, okay three. :] Four Senegals is not as bad as it may sound.

I had the pleasure of corresponding with Dr. Perry before he passed away. He has some very interesting content on YouTube, too. His "Poop" book is a must-have.

I guess I’m a hypocrite because I’d also say being wild is a birthright. I think because parrots are highly intelligent, and therefore adaptable, they can sometimes live relatively happy and stimulated lives WITH us. But as my birds illness showed me clearly, even when they are in intense pain they don’t show it directly. I wouldn’t anthropomorphize to say they are “stoic” but they can be inscrutable to humans about physical suffering. Then how much harder it must be for us to sense emotional and social deprivations in them directly. I think even while living with some of the inherent hypocrisies we at least owe it to them to always keep this in mind - that they are not little humans, and a part of them that must alway be respected is alien.
 
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LeeC

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Senegal: Ivy
I guess I’m a hypocrite because I’d also say being wild is a birthright.
I wondered this of myself. Three and a half years ago, I went to my local rescue to just see a parrot in real life. I felt for them, so I started volunteering there that very day. Going back each week, I was told, "Grady picked you.". I reasoned that I did not breed him into existence in captivity, nor did I buy him from a breeder who did, which would be supporting that directly. I was his fifth home, and he had been returned to the rescue several times.

Still, I don't feel all warm and fuzzy about having a parrot in captivity. Perhaps I am in the aforementioned chain of responsibility, just much further down. I actually researched returning Grady to the wild. I read that captive parrots have about a 1% survival rate in the wild. They simply missed out on too much education in their early lives. They probably lack necessary survival skills—and, they will likely be shunned from a flock, or worse, killed by one, because they present a hazard, given that they don't know how to behave in a flock, nor do they "speak" the dialect.
 

LeeC

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Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
I think because parrots are highly intelligent, and therefore adaptable, they can sometimes live relatively happy and stimulated lives WITH us.
I agree, so long as they have at least one same-species companion. At the risk of getting too philosophical, "happy" is an interesting adjective. I think a parrot's life in the wild is not so much filled with happiness as it is filled with purpose. We remove all of their purpose in captivity.

In the wild, they flock together for safety. In captivity, the dangers are much different and would not be helped much by being in a flock. For example, wing-clipped parrots get sat upon inadvertently. Flocking purpose removed.

In the wild, they pair-bond to procreate and continue the species. In captivity, "keepers" go to great lengths to prevent them from mating. Mating purpose removed.

Aside: I favor letting them mate in captivity, but not letting the eggs hatch (swapping with fake eggs).

In the wild, they spend much of their days seeking food, water, and minerals (salt)—as well as working hard to forage the food out of Nature's protective "coatings". In captivity, we provide an MRE (meal ready to eat) for them, available constantly, which is even chewed for them already (ground/processed pellets; fresh "chop"; etc.). Flight purpose removed. Foraging purpose removed. Chewing purpose removed.

In the wild, they work to create and build a nest, then spend time and energy protecting it, from other parrots, and from other animals. In captivity, they get a cage all for themselves. Nesting purpose removed. Territory purpose removed. We actually consider their innately being territorial to be a "behavior problem".

Take all that purpose away, but "keep" (in captivity) a parrot whose mind and body is purpose-built to fulfill those purposes every day for their entire, very-long lives, and you end up with... quite a dilemma for captive parrots.
 
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SailBoat

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I have long enjoyed the care and fellowship of Parrots with Amazons being my favorite species. My experience comes from over five-decades of interacting with national and international leaders in Avian Care, including Researchers, Educators, Avian Certified Vets and Leading Avian Authors. Individuals that all placed the 'Safe Care' of Parrots first and foremost in their work, studies, care of their own Parrots and their discussion with individuals new to Avian care.

It is from the position of 'Safe Care' that I find myself questioning your advice, especially to others new to the Avian World. One's personal opinion and methods are understandable as part of a conversation with those with experience in the Avian World, but never with an individual without the knowledge to refute or question your methods.

Today, the internet is filled with individuals that claim Avian knowledge and others that present studies that lack depth or field review. Although Parrots have been a part of Human history reaching back thousands of years, our efforts to understand their special needs, let alone, their diet are still far less than a half Century in the makings.

When providing one's opinion, it would be wise to remember not only the Thread's OP, Members of Parrot Forum, but also the unintended, non-member viewer. The 'Safe Care' of our Parrots should always be our underlining want as part of a Post.
 
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LeeC

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Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
I am delighted to report that I have not been unduly influenced by anyone—regardless of how long they have kept parrots (in solitary confinement) or what their "avian-world" credentials—to keep highly-intelligent, pair-bonding, highly-social parrots in solitary confinement for the sake of "safe care".

Of course, I care greatly about the physical health and safety of the parrots in my care. I am not so hyper-focused on it that I would deprive them of the emotional and social welfare that they also deserve and require, which can only come from "like-kind" (ideally same-species or at least same-genus if very similarly sized) companionship.

"According to the social complexity mismatch hypothesis, we know that many wild parrot species are highly social, and many species live in dynamic and complex parrot societies comprised of their families, relatives and friends. In contrast, most pet parrots live their entire lives in social isolation with little or no access to others of their kind. This situation could be very stressful, especially for highly social species, and could create serious mental health problems suffered by lonely parrots."


It can be a challenging dilemma, at times, even a tad scary, to balance safety and welfare; but, that does not absolve the responsibility. Safety measures are certainly in order. My accredited avian veterinarian and two credentialed avian behavior specialists have been supporting me in my efforts to develop a few same-species micro flocks. Each of the aforementioned practitioners has decades of avian-world experience.

When providing one's opinion, it would be wise to remember that many long-held beliefs and practices in the parrot-keeping world have been wrong from the start, for a very long time: tiny cages, ornamental birds, leg chains, "wild-caught", height-dominance "theory", wing clipping, etc.

Swift, diligent efforts to shut down modern or dissenting "opinions" and parrot-keeping practices runs contrary to the very purpose of a forum. This should be the ideal place to discuss parrot-keeping practices for the betterment of the parrots we keep, and all of you who care enough to spend time here and post are the very people I am looking to for help in providing a better captive life for the adopted and fostered parrots in my care.

It troubles me to see "safety-only" advice doled out so readily, with no acknowledgment of balancing welfare and well-being. If safety trumped all, would it not be best to keep a parrot in hamster ball?
 

Terry57

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I agree, so long as they have at least one same-species companion.
First, I'm speaking as a member, not a Mod.

I disagree about it having to be the same species. Thats what breeders do. Its also forcing two birds together who may not like each other. That is not what happens in the wild.
I've seen it not only in my flock but also from my friend who owns the rescue.
All of her smaller birds are out all the time, and other than one threesome of conures and a pair of Derbyans not a single bird chose their own species. When they were adopted they were adopted together. IRNS and cockatiels, conures and budgies, an Alex and a cockatiel. It was so cool to see them interact with each other.
At the risk of getting too philosophical, "happy" is an interesting adjective. I think a parrot's life in the wild is not so much filled with happiness as it is filled with purpose. We remove all of their purpose in captivity.
My birds have purpose. I give them toys and they destroy them. That is purpose.
I give them foraging opportunities. That gives them purpose.
Is it the same as in the wild? Of course not. But just as with many other things we do the best we can.
In the wild, they flock together for safety. In captivity, the dangers are much different and would not be helped much by being in a flock. For example, wing-clipped parrots get sat upon inadvertently. Flocking purpose removed.

In the wild, they pair-bond to procreate and continue the species. In captivity, "keepers" go to great lengths to prevent them from mating. Mating purpose removed.

Aside: I favor letting them mate in captivity, but not letting the eggs hatch (swapping with fake eggs).
I find this idea to be incredibly cruel.
So you would allow them to mate and lay eggs, only to find that they don't have babies after spending all that time and energy? As everyone knows, parrots are smart and have emotions. They aren't mindless breeders.

It is also a real possibility of the female getting egg bound.

In the wild, they spend much of their days seeking food, water, and minerals (salt)—as well as working hard to forage the food out of Nature's protective
Creating foraging opportunities is one thing we can do well. Do you give them to your flock?
There are a lot of Youtube videos showing how to make some, and I know many of us make them so if you need help just ask. Your birds will love it:)
In captivity, we provide an MRE (meal ready to eat) for them, available constantly, which is even chewed for them already (ground/processed pellets; fresh "chop"; etc.). Flight purpose removed. Foraging purpose removed. Chewing purpose removed.
My birds all have to chew their veggies, this confuses me.
What's up with the scare quotes on chop?
In the wild, they work to create and build a nest, then spend time and energy protecting it, from other parrots, and from other animals. In captivity, they get a cage all for themselves. Nesting purpose removed. Territory purpose removed. We actually consider their innately being territorial to be a "behavior problem".

I don't think that my birds being territorial is a behavior problem. I think they should be allowed to create boundaries that are reasonable. Several of mine are territorial over their cage. I don't see any difference between them being territorial over their cage and me being territorial over my house.
 

Terry57

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I am delighted to report that I have not been unduly influenced by anyone—regardless of how long they have kept parrots (in solitary confinement) or what their "avian-world" credentials—to keep highly-intelligent, pair-bonding, highly-social parrots in solitary confinement for the sake of "safe care".
Again, speaking as a member.
Solitary confinement? Seriously? You do realize that some birds don't want another bird around?
Just because you feel differently doesn't mean it's okay to insult people who disagree with you. Saying that their birds are living in solitary confinement is insulting. Please treat everyone with respect. It's not hard to do and is one of the rules.
I do think it's a shame that you brush off advice from people with years of experience. I'm glad you weren't unduly influenced by people with experience, and I'm glad there were dissenting opinions so that anyone who comes on that thread isn't unduly influenced by only one viewpoint.
It can be a challenging dilemma, at times, even a tad scary, to balance safety and welfare; but, that does not absolve the responsibility. Safety measures are certainly in order. My accredited avian veterinarian and two credentialed avian behavior specialists have been supporting me in my efforts to develop a few same-species micro flocks. Each of the aforementioned practitioners has decades of avian-world experience.
I thought you were going to pair up birds rather than have several in a flock.
I know that flock dynamics are much different than pairing up.
I think having a flock can be a good thing.
I have a small flock of conures (5) who are different species with the exception of a pair of Blue-throated.
I can have my Sun and GCC out at the same time, but the Jenday and Blue-throats are out on their own because they don't play nice.
When providing one's opinion, it would be wise to remember that many long-held beliefs and practices in the parrot-keeping world have been wrong from the start, for a very long time: tiny cages, ornamental birds, leg chains, "wild-caught", height-dominance "theory", wing clipping, etc.
Wing clipping is a personal choice. Because you believe it's wrong doesn't make it wrong.is it better for them to be flighted? Absolutely. Sometimes that isn't possible.
When providing one's opinion, it would be wise to remember that it is just an opinion.

Swift, diligent efforts to shut down modern or dissenting "opinions" and parrot-keeping practices runs contrary to the very purpose of a forum. This should be the ideal place to discuss parrot-keeping practices for the betterment of the parrots we keep, and all of you who care enough to spend time here and post are the very people I am looking to for help in providing a better captive life for the adopted and fostered parrots in my care.

It troubles me to see "safety-only" advice doled out so readily, with no acknowledgment of balancing welfare and well-being. If safety trumped all, would it not be best to keep a parrot in hamster ball?
No one shut you down as evidenced by your posts.
Again, people are allowed to disagree with you.
We have many members who have had birds for decades. I find experience to be much more helpful than articles from the internet. I also listen to those who have more experience than I do.

Thank you for your observation about the forum. Believe it or not, we do know the purpose of a forum. There was a discussion going on in this thread, what is it that you would have liked us to do?.

A hamster ball would be dangerous for them, their nails would get caught. 🤷‍♀️

Lee, I feel you have a lot to contribute here, and I'm sure there are things you can also learn.
No one is attacking you, in fact people are contributing to your threads and having a discussion, just like you said you wanted. Please don't take it personally when people disagree. But if anyone goes too far, please use the report button to bring it to our attention.
 

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