Questions to ask?

vokatsu

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May 14, 2021
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Budgerigars - William, Phillip, Cody, and Jimbo |Quaker - Voca| RIP Daxel - Jenday Conure | RIP Hawk - Cockatiel
Hi everyone.

I joined here recently and made some posts about looking for and wanting an eclectus. I have been continuing on my research and occasional searches of ads of ekkies for sale. I found a couple and it got me thinking about the types of questions to ask before finalizing anything. I wanted to get the forum's experience to weigh in about what kind of questions one should be asking about a bird that is coming from a previous owner/home rather than a breeder. I have a few that I wanted to list, please feel free to correct me or add any questions as I'm sure I'm missing some. Although I am wanting an ekkie, I tailored these questions to apply for any birds.

1) How did you get this bird?
1a) If from breeder - do you have the hatch certificate and/or DNA sexing paperwork? (guess this is more of my own preference and may not really matter to some people)
1b) If from another previous owner, how many owners has this bird been though? How did he/she come to you? (Again, more my preference for this questions but it may be helpful to help bring out certain issues the next owner needs to address or look out for?)
2) Why are you rehoming?
3) When was the last time the bird went the vet? For what?
3a) Are you willing to take this bird to the vet for a wellness examination and to provide the prospective buyer results of exam?
4) What is the bird's current diet? (I would be hoping for a diet that is tailored for the bird, or at least to know if the bird is on a poor diet so I can prep for a smooth transition into a better diet)
5) What is the bird's current home environment like? (I'm looking for stuff like other pets, children, noise level, etc.)
6) What supplies will you include with the bird? (Cage, food, toys, etc).
7) Are there any particular issues or quirks that I need to be aware of? (i.e. bird dislikes males, will bite if approached from side, doesn't like apples, etc.)
8) Is he/she tame? Able to step up?

Just some questions I think I may have, of course some or most of the answers may well be included in the ad, too. I understand that some ads are posted by people who may simply want to sell their bird and would not be interested in a long back and forth where the seller is asking a lot of questions, particularly #3a. But, I also know that many owners who are looking to rehome would welcome such questions and would want the best placement for their parrots. Please let me know if I'm being too detailed in my questions and if any of them are unnecessary.

Thank you everyone!
 

Scott

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
All fair questions, though many marginally dedicated folks may not give satisfactory answers. You'll need to assess the source and veracity of each answer.
 

wrench13

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Nov 22, 2015
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EXCELLENT questions! If only every prospective buyer would be as diligent.
Just be prepared to walk away if you don't like or get the answers to these questions, otherwise there is no point in asking them.

3a - if you do buy the parrot, I think you need to be prepared to reimburse the seller for the vet cost. Kind of like having a mechanic check out a car before buying.
 

Justrosie

New member
Nov 28, 2018
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All fair questions, though many marginally dedicated folks may not give satisfactory answers. You'll need to assess the source and veracity of each answer.

To add to this, most of your answers are going to be inferred, rather than verbalized. Always try to visit the home of the bird, as this will give you a look at them in their "natural" environment, where they are most comfortable to act as they usually do.

Stressed birds (as they will be when traveling) often hide a lot of their personality/health, so it is best to see them when they are lax. You will also be able to see the care provided for the bird, such as is there fresh food in bowl? Fresh water? Does the house smell like smoke or any other fumes? Is the bird bright eyed and active, or puffed up and still? How does the bird react when you walk up to it?

This will also show you where in the house the bird resides (is he/she in the living room, in the middle of all the action? In a quiet room in the back with the door shut? In a bird-dedicated room?) This can give insight to the bird's personality, and also how the owner interacts with them on a daily basis.

I'll be honest, I don't think you're going to receive a yes ever on question 3a unless purchased from a breeder, however, you can rephrase that question as "Can you provide me with documentation of the bird's last vet visit? Can you approve your vet to release medical information to me?" (Vets cannot release medical information about any animal without express consent from Client, but they can at least tell you whether that bird is in fact a patient at their facility.)

I think all of your questions are great; visiting the home will confirm some of the answers. It is not always practical, but whenever possible I recommend going to the home. Bringing a friend can make it a safer situation, while also giving insight on how the bird interacts with them, compared to you.
Questions I would add:

-Do you have any other birds in the house? Do they ever interact with this bird? How do they get along if they interact?

-Is he/she cage aggressive?

-(From breeders) Was he/she handfed? What age was he/she pulled from parents?

-What is his/her favorite activity (This will help give insight on the bird's daily routine, and will open more conversation points to get information about their general care)

=Do you clip his/her wings, or is he/she flighted? If clipping wings, do you do it yourself, or go somewhere? (Where?) How does he/she tolerate wing/nail clipping?

-How often does he/she get human food?* What types of human food does he/she get? (This may not be the best way to word this, but it is as essential of a question as the diet question. As a vet tech/bird owner, I find most people do not take their human food "snacks" in account when relaying the animal's diet, and yet it is often the imperative information needed to identify/diagnose certain ailments in pets) Sugary, fatty foods are the most concerning for birds, from my understanding.

-(from breeder) What sort of health guarantee do you offer? What does the guarantee cover? (Many breeders will offer some sort of health guarantee, usually something like if you take the bird to vet within 3-7 days, or congenital defects within the first year of ownership


Owners/breeders who truly care about their birds will be patient and happy to answer every question you ask. They want to make sure you feel comfortable with the bird, so the bird can stay with you forever. They will often volunteer this information without being prompted from potential buyers, because all of this is key info. Owners/breeders who are not willing to answer your questions, and are in a rush to sell the bird, do not have the bird's best interest in mind, and are trying to get rid of their "burden" or make some cash. While this doesn't mean the bird is a "bad" bird to buy, it can indicate that the bird may have issues, behavioral, medical, or otherwise, that the owner may not even be aware of. Keep this in mind.
 
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