No time for my bird! Rehome him?

SilverSage

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I want start by saying this is a post meant to ENCOURAGE people, not to blame or hurt.

I am on several forums and facebok pages that are flooded with rehoming posts listing "I dont have time to give him the attention he deserves" and variations of this as the reason the poor pet is being let go. My first reaction is to scream "WHY DID YOU GET HIM THEN??? DIDNT YOU GOOGLE EVEN FOR A LITTLE WHILE???" And sometimes this reaction truly is justified (When you say it in your own head, not when you actually scream at people), but other times it is not. An unexpected move, job change, illness, pregnancy, a child who is struggling, ANY NUMBER of things can come into our lives that take away time we thought we would have to spend with our pets. Even the most responsible of us can get caught unaware and suffer a sever time famine.

That said, I want to encourage people to take a look at the long term before rehoming a pet. Parrots in particular form incredibly deep bonds with their humans, and rehoming can be very hard on them. If you are finding you have less time for your bird and wonder if you should rehome, consider this; what if your best friend had no time for you for a long time? Would you want to never see them again? Or would you rather be lonely for a while, and have that friend back in the end? I feel this is especially true considering the life span of birds compared to other small pets. A budgie can live 12 years, and a cockatiel 30 - and should we even mention the larger species who can live 70+ years? 6 months of loneliness IS a big deal, a year even more so, but I struggle to believe that is worse than being ripped out of the home entirely.

Does that mean if your bird is lonely you just toss up your hands and say "Oh well, we will work this out at the end of the school year when things calm down"? NOPE! There are things you can do to help your fid through the crazy time that are a lot less drastic than rehoming:

-Multi-task. Too much homework/office work t get done, not enough time for birdie? Put the bird on your shoulder, on a play stand, etc, and spend time with the bird without making them your focus. This may mean you have to put some time into teaching your bird to play on their own while near you, but that is a skill your bird needs anyway. Take Polly in the shower with you, put her on the towel rack to preen while you do your hair/shave/brush your teeth. sweep the floor with a bird on your head, make phone calls while giving scritches, etc. I have my husband do this, too! He is very busy, but he doesnt rehome me :) Instead, when I feel like he isnt spending time with me but he has work to do, he will sit by me on the couch and do his work, or invite me to eat lunch with him in the middle f the day, which brings me to my next point...

-Make meal time flock time. Everybody's got to eat! This may gross some people out, but eating is a flock activity for birds, and I find one of the easiest ways to break the ice with a new bird is to bring it to the table (Eeeeewwwww birds in the kitchen! lol, yep, all the time in this house!) If the only time you have for your bird is while you eat, eat with your bird! Be sure to do this safely by not sharing saliva and making sure to only feed bird safe foods. It isnt ideal, but a meal a day goes a long way when time is tight.

-Get up earlier. It really isn't that hard. I know it can SEEM that hard, but in the end it is a pretty simple way to make more time for birdie. I like to get up and get a bird out to help with the food prep! Again, you are busy, but you can have your bird with you at the same time.

-Have your bird harness trained ahead of time. Harness training takes a lot of time, but it's one of those things that would be wise to do while you have time time, just like teaching your bird to play near you, etc. my GCC Flick can go with me while I walk the dog, and she gets not only her "mommy time" but also some good physical activity, as she loves to fly to the end of the leash and back (the stretchy leash is important for safety!!). On crazy days being able to take both pets out at once is a life saver!

-Work where your bird is. Put the cage or play stand near where you spend most of your time at home. Even mumbling over your finances next to your bird is better than them sitting alone all day!

-Bird Sitter DVD or other stimulation for while you are gone. It can be as simple as leaving the TV or radio on, but I prefer something bird related. My friend just got a smart tv and she can choose from a number of live feeds of animals. While the baby goats are cute, the flock of budgies on tv could mean a world of difference for your little friend. No smart tv? Youtbe!

-MORE TOYS!!!! Especially foraging toys! Being alone AND bored is the worst! I know they can get expensive, but there are tons of cheap DIY ideas out there that are great. The more time your bird can spend DOING SOMETHING the better, whether you are hard up for time or not :)

-Move the cage to a higher traffic area where the bird gets more "exposure" to the human activity, and can be chatted with throughout the day, even if you are just running in to grab something and running back out again.

-Get the bird a friend - MAYBE!! I say this, but it does NOT apply to every bird! Read your bird and your situation. Over the years I have become pretty good at figuring out if a bird is going to get along with other birds or not. If your bird was hand raised in the most common way and then has been the only bird for a while, chances are this will just lead to you having two birds who you dont have time for instead of one bird you dont have time for. But in certain situations with birds who were flock weaned and properly socialized, a friend can be the best thing in the world for them, even when you DO have the time. So do a lot of research and observation of your own pet before considering this, but if your bird is lonely and likes other birds, than another bird that ALSO likes other birds may be a great way to ease the loneliness. again I state this is NOT FOR ALL BIRDS. I share my life with 23 birds right now, along with a dog, cat, and husband. I often hear things like "Wow, how do you spend time with them all?" Well, I work from home so that helps, but a huge part of it is that they have each other. Only three of my birds are caged alone (remember the part about not all birds accepting friends? Yeah, I dont think these three even recognize that the other birds are "their own kind"), and while time with me is important, when I am away they are not alone they are in a flock. This is actually why we got the cat - a buddy for our dog. Having a friend is important, even if it isnt your BEST friend :)

-Remember that "spending time" doesnt have to mean "focusing 100% on the bird." focusing on your bird is important just like with your human friends, but a well socialized and trained bird knows he isnt the only thing in your life. Give the bird the time you DO have, even if it isnt quite as special as you would like it to be. Is your bird not able to understand this? Training starts now :)


In the end it MAY BE that another home is the right move for your family, and I am NOT trying to put guilt on those people who have to make that hard choice. What I want to say is that this should be a last resort, and before surrendering a family member, please try to look beyond the stress of the moment and see if this is temporary. Even if temporary means a year or more, things CAN be done to help your feathered buddy through it. If you are going through a tough time, chances are your pets are not the only ones you dont have enough time for, but the rest of your family has no choice but to wait it out, perhaps your bird would choose to stay with you if given the option?

Best of luck everyone :)
 

Dopey

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Thank you so much for posting this. I do think that people need help in figuring out clever ways of spending more time with their animals or what they can do for their animals. You have given some great ideas. Thanks!
 

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
I want start by saying this is a post meant to ENCOURAGE people, not to blame or hurt.

I am on several forums and facebok pages that are flooded with rehoming posts listing "I dont have time to give him the attention he deserves..."

When you've done rehab long enough, you begin to realize that this is often a euphamism for "the novelty of scrubbing floors, cleaning cages and catering to the attention needs of a [insert species here]" has worn off.
 

Birdman666

New member
Sep 18, 2013
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San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
Parrots in particular form incredibly deep bonds with their humans, and rehoming can be very hard on them. If you are finding you have less time for your bird and wonder if you should rehome, consider this; what if your best friend had no time for you for a long time? Would you want to never see them again? Or would you rather be lonely for a while, and have that friend back in the end? I feel this is especially true considering the life span of birds compared to other small pets.

BINGO!!! Nailed it with that one.
 
OP
SilverSage

SilverSage

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I want start by saying this is a post meant to ENCOURAGE people, not to blame or hurt.

I am on several forums and facebok pages that are flooded with rehoming posts listing "I dont have time to give him the attention he deserves..."

When you've done rehab long enough, you begin to realize that this is often a euphamism for "the novelty of scrubbing floors, cleaning cages and catering to the attention needs of a [insert species here]" has worn off.

yup. Hence the "Didnt you google even a little?" translate "Were you completely unaware of the work involved here, or just completely uncommitted to doing it??" I dont think anything I can say or so will change that type, what breaks my heart are the people who WANT to do the best thing for their bird but are told that if they dont have time for it they should give it a new home.
 

Birdman666

New member
Sep 18, 2013
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San Antonio, TX
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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
-Multi-task. Too much homework/office work t get done, not enough time for birdie? Put the bird on your shoulder, on a play stand, etc, and spend time with the bird without making them your focus. This may mean you have to put some time into teaching your bird to play on their own while near you, but that is a skill your bird needs anyway. Take Polly in the shower with you, put her on the towel rack to preen while you do your hair/shave/brush your teeth. sweep the floor with a bird on your head, make phone calls while giving scritches, etc. I have my husband do this, too! He is very busy, but he doesnt rehome me :) Instead, when I feel like he isnt spending time with me but he has work to do, he will sit by me on the couch and do his work, or invite me to eat lunch with him in the middle f the day, which brings me to my next point...

A parrot that is out of his cage on a playstand in the same room you're in, and occasionally gets paid attention to, is getting "quality time." So, quit making excuses, or beating yourself up over it.

Example: Yesterday I watched a football game. Each quarter I changed the bird that was perched on my leg. (Didn't even NEED the playstand!) THAT counts as quality one on one lap time for them... and they were perfectly content to stay like that. (For one quarter, or the whole day if I'd let them.)
 

Kiwibird

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1 BFA- Kiwi. Hatch circa 98', forever home with us Dec. 08'
I want start by saying this is a post meant to ENCOURAGE people, not to blame or hurt.

I am on several forums and facebok pages that are flooded with rehoming posts listing "I dont have time to give him the attention he deserves..."

When you've done rehab long enough, you begin to realize that this is often a euphamism for "the novelty of scrubbing floors, cleaning cages and catering to the attention needs of a [insert species here]" has worn off.

yup. Hence the "Didnt you google even a little?" translate "Were you completely unaware of the work involved here, or just completely uncommitted to doing it??" I dont think anything I can say or so will change that type, what breaks my heart are the people who WANT to do the best thing for their bird but are told that if they dont have time for it they should give it a new home.

No, in most cases (in my experience) this translates to- "I totally knew all this up front, but ASSUMED all the cleaning, time, toys, specialist vet, special/messy/difficult diet ext... only applies to those 'crazy bird people' and would totally NOT apply to me. I purchased this intelligent, sensitive animal on the assumption it would sit in a stripped down, barren cage and sing all day and I could take it out every once in a while (of course it would automatically be perfectly trained/well behaved) to show off to my friends. As a bonus, it matches my drapes too!".
 

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
-Get the bird a friend - MAYBE!! I say this, but it does NOT apply to every bird!

This is the one thing I take issue with... and I saw it too many times.

Well, my bird was acting up, and I decided to get him a friend... but I didn't have time for that one either, so now they're both acting up...

Only now they cannot be separated.

Uh-oh!
 
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SilverSage

SilverSage

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I had a cockatiel on my shoulder/lap/screen while typing that up, and now I am getting Mel out while I do some reading.
 
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SilverSage

SilverSage

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-Get the bird a friend - MAYBE!! I say this, but it does NOT apply to every bird!

This is the one thing I take issue with... and I saw it too many times.

Well, my bird was acting up, and I decided to get him a friend... but I didn't have time for that one either, so now they're both acting up...

Only now they cannot be separated.

Which is why I posted it under "I have no time for my bird" and not "my bird is out of control" with multiple statements that this is not for every bird :)
 
OP
SilverSage

SilverSage

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When you've done rehab long enough, you begin to realize that this is often a euphamism for "the novelty of scrubbing floors, cleaning cages and catering to the attention needs of a [insert species here]" has worn off.

yup. Hence the "Didnt you google even a little?" translate "Were you completely unaware of the work involved here, or just completely uncommitted to doing it??" I dont think anything I can say or so will change that type, what breaks my heart are the people who WANT to do the best thing for their bird but are told that if they dont have time for it they should give it a new home.

No, in most cases (in my experience) this translates to- "I totally knew all this up front, but ASSUMED all the cleaning, time, toys, specialist vet, special/messy/difficult diet ext... only applies to those 'crazy bird people' and would totally NOT apply to me. I purchased this intelligent, sensitive animal on the assumption it would sit in a stripped down, barren cage and sing all day and I could take it out every once in a while (of course it would automatically be perfectly trained/well behaved) to show off to my friends. As a bonus, it matches my drapes too!".


RIGHT?? I have this conversation with people at the pet store all the time (I take my bird in with me, they see the "same bird" for sale, they want to take it home RIGHT NOW because it is so pretty and mine is "Soooooooooo taaaaaaaame!") It isnt a dog, it isnt a fish, and it ISNT A PLANT THAT MOVES!
 

Amanda_Bennett

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Zilla 29 Y.O. Orange Wing Amazon
Zilla spends a lot of time on my shoulder when I have office work and emails to get done. As long as I'm fairly sure it will be a low traffic day/afternoon/morning/evening in the office I just take her with me, if things get too busy she goes back to her cage. She also spends a lot of time on top of her cage just watching me or the cats or even the TV. Every time I walk by she gets a kiss or a scratch (or a treat) at the very least she gets a "How's my girly girl?" She hangs out on her play stand while I work on my quilt or make her new toys, or chop veggies or clean up the kitchen and load the dishwasher. She doesn't care what I'm doing or if my attention is focused "totally" on her and her alone, she just wants to be a part of or at least near what I'm doing.

The only thing she is NEVER allowed to help with again is folding laundry! I thought she was just playing with my socks, but she was chewing holes in them! :eek:
 

Dopey

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-Multi-task. Too much homework/office work t get done, not enough time for birdie? Put the bird on your shoulder, on a play stand, etc, and spend time with the bird without making them your focus. This may mean you have to put some time into teaching your bird to play on their own while near you, but that is a skill your bird needs anyway. Take Polly in the shower with you, put her on the towel rack to preen while you do your hair/shave/brush your teeth. sweep the floor with a bird on your head, make phone calls while giving scritches, etc. I have my husband do this, too! He is very busy, but he doesnt rehome me :) Instead, when I feel like he isnt spending time with me but he has work to do, he will sit by me on the couch and do his work, or invite me to eat lunch with him in the middle f the day, which brings me to my next point...

A parrot that is out of his cage on a playstand in the same room you're in, and occasionally gets paid attention to, is getting "quality time." So, quit making excuses, or beating yourself up over it.

Example: Yesterday I watched a football game. Each quarter I changed the bird that was perched on my leg. (Didn't even NEED the playstand!) THAT counts as quality one on one lap time for them... and they were perfectly content to stay like that. (For one quarter, or the whole day if I'd let them.)
But see - I don't think we on the forum emphasize that ... or at least not enough. I used to beat myself up over how little time I spent with my birds...or if I didn't give them fresh food everyday...or if I didn't get their cages cleaned like I should. I quit beating myself up (after my son got after me) and I realized that I was giving them a really good place to live. Not perfect but a good place to live.
 

Dopey

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Zilla spends a lot of time on my shoulder when I have office work and emails to get done. As long as I'm fairly sure it will be a low traffic day/afternoon/morning/evening in the office I just take her with me, if things get too busy she goes back to her cage. She also spends a lot of time on top of her cage just watching me or the cats or even the TV. Every time I walk by she gets a kiss or a scratch (or a treat) at the very least she gets a "How's my girly girl?" She hangs out on her play stand while I work on my quilt or make her new toys, or chop veggies or clean up the kitchen and load the dishwasher. She doesn't care what I'm doing or if my attention is focused "totally" on her and her alone, she just wants to be a part of or at least near what I'm doing.

The only thing she is NEVER allowed to help with again is folding laundry! I thought she was just playing with my socks, but she was chewing holes in them! :eek:
Sorry about your socks. Socks get enough holes in them without help from our animals. :D
 
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SilverSage

SilverSage

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I think we dont give our birds enough credit. When you spend time with a human being, do you think they need to be focused 100% on you? How about if they do that EVERY TIME you interact with them? Nope, we are smarter than that, and so are they unless they are spoiled (which doesnt mean they arent smarter, it means their owner isn't smarter...).
 

Birdman666

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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
A macaw on your lap getting his head scratched, and beaking your fingers while you watch the game... That IS Miller Time! :D

My zons (Well, Pecker was a velcro bird!) are fairly independent and don't really want to be held all the time. They want some attention and being held time. Then they want "their spot" back.

My CAG is more independent than my zons.

The macaws are the opposite... They won't even stay in the dang tree if there is a lap available... they get held more.
 

Birdman666

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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
When you spend time with a human being, do you think they need to be focused 100% on you?

Those are called stalkers.

And it's creepy...
 

Kiwibird

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Jul 12, 2012
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1 BFA- Kiwi. Hatch circa 98', forever home with us Dec. 08'
-Get the bird a friend - MAYBE!! I say this, but it does NOT apply to every bird!

This is the one thing I take issue with... and I saw it too many times.

Well, my bird was acting up, and I decided to get him a friend... but I didn't have time for that one either, so now they're both acting up...

Only now they cannot be separated.

Uh-oh!

This notion crossed my mind a few times in the first few years we had Kiwi (getting a second bird in hopes of Kiwi's behavior improving). Then I thought about the fact if I was struggling to get the one to behave, would I have any chance of getting 2 to behave? Most likely not, I would probably have 2 feathered terrors instead of one. I opted to just spend the time to work with him until he was a good bird and now I have a single, well behaved bird. I think getting a bird a buddy really only helps in some of the smaller, super social species like budgies or when the first bird is already a good bird and is just a bit lonely (and you have the time/money to handle 2 or more).
 

Birdman666

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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
I thought she was just playing with my socks, but she was chewing holes in them! :eek:

That would be my RFM. Except she wasn't in the laundry basket. She was perched on my foot. I was wearing those socks at the time...

It happened more than once.

I always assumed it was a macaw thing... :p chew a hole in your socks, and then puke on your toes!

I have bird shirts, but I also have bird socks...

Which, now that I think of it, resemble my "now slightly used" favorite pair of flip flops...
 

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