So, you want to get a parrot for the first time?

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Von1983

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I have read so much about the wonders of living with a parrot.

From the majestic macaw, to the gentle african grey, to the cheeky amazon and the sweetness and joy that is a cuddly conure.

I can tell you - yes, it is all true. Those magical stories of bonding, love, cuddles and lifetime loyalty are real.

However, if you have come to the forum because you have decided you want a parrot, I urge you to consider the side we DON'T talk about as often - and that is the downside.

Plenty of people have posted problems on the forum with aggression/biting/unruly behaviour etc but in your quest for information gathering, have you actually read these posts? I bet you haven't, because if you do not know too much about parrot mentality, and behaviour, you will be forgiven for thinking that person is doing something wrong and they don't have a clue what they are doing.

That's where you are wrong ;).

Parrots are not like other pets. Their intelligence will not allow it.

If you want a parrot, then I really hope that before you have even started looking for that cute baby bird or even an adult, that you consider the following points.

Do you have your own home? Living with your parents or room mates isn't an ideal situation to have a parrot in. If you are still at home, can you take the bird with you when you move out - what about when you go to college? Work? HOW many hours will you work for? How many hours will the bird be alone? If you are with a room mate, is it fair to inflict upon them the noise, the mess, the fact their air fresheners and teflon pans/hair dryers/straighteners/ George Foreman grills will have to permanantly be resigned to the bin? That no, they cannot have parties because parrots require 8-12hrs of uninterupted sleep? Oh and SO sorry you're trying to study, but maybe you'd best go out if the parrot shouting is annoying you?

Do you have plenty of time to spend with your bird? By this I do not mean a few hours of an evening, I mean a LOT of time.....

Are you financially stable?

Are you aware that your bird must be taken to an AVIAN vet that will charge almost double to a regular vet to do something simple like shorten nails?

Does EVERYONE in your household support the idea of living with a parrot and are prepared to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in with training/care? Can everyone take a blood drawing bite or two? Because it WILL happen. Additionally, some birds will always dislike some human, even in it's own family. Are you ready for this?

Do your personal qualities include endless patience, love and respect?

Can you take the time to learn parrot mentality?

Have you considered what you will do if you find yourself with a bird that is aggressive/noisy/messy? We can't pick personality and for all the good sides, each parrot has a downside that may not be able to be corrected.

Can you offer a stable routine? Too many different times for feeding/out of cage/bed are not good for a bird and can distress them greatly.

Can you offer a LIFETIME's care to this bird?

You may be thinking: This girl is WAY over the top. She's a parrot NUT. She probably goes mental at people who eat meat and cries if you stamp on an ant.

No, I am not lol. That is the scary thing. I am just a normal person who happens to have a parrot and I can tell you that EVERY point above is essential. Any of the other wonderful guardian's on this forum would agree. I am not an expert or a spe******t. I do not have some sort of Parrot Degree behind me, I learn every day and I will continue to read everything I can get my hands on with relation to my bird because I want her to be as healthy and happy as possible.

Life with a parrot is fantastic, rewarding and there is never a dull moment but let me do what I intended to do and break the silence on the bad parts.

Parrots are:

Messy. They do not eat food. They throw food, mash it into furnishings, spray juice up the walls and onto the carpet. THEN they eat some food.
They can be toilet trained, but poop when they need to where they need to if something is too interesting to go back to the cage for.

Noisy. ALL parrots come with a certain amount of noise. The dawn and dusk chorus' are VERY important to them and although you can prevent screaming, it is something you will have to work at for a long LONG time. They are not like dogs, you cannot just call through to the other room "No shouting" and expect it to work.

Can get really uppity and show this via the channels of BITING. Some only in the beginning, others quite frequently - stock up on plasters.

Demanding. You must be able to have a parrot out of their cage for a few hours a day at least. They will not let you have any time off from this! They decide they want out? They want it YESTERDAY and they will not behave until you play ball.

Bossy. If you think you can curl up on the sofa with a book and your bird wants to play - forget the book. When you bring a new bird home, you cannot FORCE them to do ANYTHING. If you do, they will never trust you and therefore initially, things need to be on THEIR terms.

Destructive. Depending on the species and the personality of the bird, you may get one who is capable of ripping your sofa to shreds in the space of half an hour. Wallpaper, woodwork, curtains, cables....it ALL needs to be parrot proofed.

Specific health needs. All parrots need a good pellet mix as a base food. These are EXPENSIVE. They need seed and nuts - human grade. There's that £/$ again.....They need plenty of fruit and veg which really, need to be organic - unless you want to risk the pesticide issue.
The subject of care is a minefield with many, MANY dangers. No dried fruit, no peanuts, no chocolate, no onions, no caffeine...the list is not exhaustive. Non stick pans that release deadly fumes need to be binned - stainless steel is hard to clean. Checking your heating systems do not produce PTFE (teflon fumes). No air fresheners. No heavy duty cleaning products. Only stainless steel for your bird - metal poisoning is deadly. No open windows. Only natural cleaning of the cage. No exposed mirrors or windows until your bird is settled. No cables within beak range. No, no no no NO! There are so many I could not list them. Is the air humid enough? Prepare for higher leccy bills if your air is dry and you need a humidifyer. Bathing them every day.........on and on and on...

Not like other animals. Other domestic pets are different to parrots in the extreme. You can buy a cute puppy or kitten and within a few days, they will be acting like they can't remember where they came from. Not so with a parrot. BASIC trust takes weeks to get to. Deep trust takes months. Bonding can take YEARS. This is where your endless patience needs to kick in.

Talking. If you want a parrot just because they talk then you really shouldn't be getting one. Only happy, healthy, settled parrots will talk and then there are some that no matter how content in life, will never attempt to imitate a single noise.

Time consuming. Several clean ups a day, wiping away with warm water and lemon juice/vinegar/bi carb/natural products (anything else can be poisonous) - the cage, the bars, the floors, the walls, the toys, the bowls. Providing fresh water several times a day. Cooking and preparing mini dinners. Taking the time to buy lots of different safe toys so they can be rotated. TEACHING your bird HOW to play - it's not natural, you know. Teaching him you are trustworthy. Teaching your bird manners. Keeping him entertained.

Consider.....

Cages. RESEARCH what size and shape you need. This is a most important point. Too big for a small bird will result in fear. Too small will make for a miserable bird. The bar spacing needs to be correct for safety. No caught body parts or mashed feathers. The shape is important. A climbing bird will not thank you for a dome shaped cage. Good quality cages are a MUST. No rust.

Knowledge. You NEED to get the correct knowledge and be confident you know how to handle your future bird before you bring them home. Too many people take a bird home and then ask questions that they shouldn't need to ask. For example: How do I get my bird out of it's cage? How do I get my parrot to like me? How can I get my parrot to cuddle me? These people did no research beforehand. Get yourself Parrots for Dummies and a species specific book - you will need them. Anticipate every problem you can before you home your bird.

These are very basic needs of a parrot. This is them without the "Oh how cute, he said hello!" sugar coating.

Having a parrot in your home is not all roses and I'm sure everyone would admit to thinking: Just 10mins peace would be great.

I just hope that if you have not bought a bird and have read this, you have seriously considered what I've said.

Parrot rescue centres in the USA are packed out with birds whose owners were ignorant to the downsides. The UK's pet classifieds are full of birds who are "unmanagable" or "Don't have the time anymore." People who have all bought now and thought later - to the detriment of the bird. Because of people thinking having a parrot will be "cool", wild birds are STILL being caught in Africa and shipped like semi precious vases to people with more money than sense.

Please, make sure you are going into this with your eyes wide open to the downsides as well as the up. Make sure your new edition does not end up neglected, unhappy and wondering what it did to deserve such a scary, sad existence.

If you think you can provide a bird with all of these needs then I cannot wait until you bring your bird home, join the forum and make friends with us all! :D:D:D:D:D

Thankyou so much for taking the time to read this.
 
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suebee

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although i did not take on nut, from my brother on a whim, i agree with all thats above! she is MENTAL!! and very loving, she is slowly chewing her way around my home, fingers, clothing with zips or buttons, hair bands/clips basically what ever she can get her beak around :54::11:

in taking on a parrot its like adopting a small child! not something to be taken likely! but with all said an done, plasters for walls and fingers later, nut is another member of the family! i am lucky that my son has the patience of a saint for a boy his age, my hubs likes her more now cos he is her fav person! spending the most time with a parrot does not mean you are there fav person!:30:

there is never a dull day with a parrot! and your work/social life will evolve around them! :52:

but even if i knew what i know now before i accepted nut?? would i take her on??:20:
in a heart beat YES!! :10:
 

Spiritbird

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Von You could not have said it better! Now I only hope those people that need to read this do read this and take your words to heart.

With Von's permission I am adding: When you are the guardian of a companion bird/birds your vacations (if any) are few and far between unless you have someone you trust to stay with your birds. It is not in the bird's best interest to be boarded like a cat or dog. It is also not in the bird's best interest to have a pet sitter look in on them while one is on vacation. That is not enough time.
 
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mellykyitus

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well said von!! parrot guardians have to put up with the rain if they want the rainbow! xxxx
 

Beilana

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Bossy. If you think you can curl up on the sofa with a book and your bird wants to play - forget the book.


Absolutely forget the book, as long as you want the book to remain a book and not a shredded mess! LOL. Chia thinks its the greatest when I read.....pages are oh so fun to chew....hehehe
 
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Von1983

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I wrote so much it will not let me add to the post! *blushes*

I wanted to point out also that getting 2 birds instead of one in the hope that it will remedy you being out of the house for 12hrs will not work. It is double the time, work and cost. More often than not, seperate cages are needed. Even birds of the same species can clash and one will bully the other. If birds choose to settle together it is done naturally. If you want a self sufficient pet who you like to watch but not interact too much with - buy a fish tank!
 

HRH Di

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I wanted to point out also that getting 2 birds instead of one in the hope that it will remedy you being out of the house for 12hrs will not work. It is double the time, work and cost. More often than not, seperate cages are needed. Even birds of the same species can clash and one will bully the other. If birds choose to settle together it is done naturally. If you want a self sufficient pet who you like to watch but not interact too much with - buy a fish tank!

As the parront in a 3 parrot household, it's more than double the work...and I have people who help with them. We have also realized that we're at our bird limit.

I'm embarassed to say that we didn't do any research before we got our first parrot. However, we were in the lucky minority that it worked out.

Very good post, Von, thanks for writing it all out for us.
 

mtdoramike

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No truer words have ever been written Von. Thank you! It breaks my heart when I go on Craigslist looking around the pet section (I know, I know, it's a habit). It seems like there are parrot or bird listings for sale or re-homing they call it yeah right within ever 5 listings. It's always We are moving and can't take the bird with us, I think yeah, this tells me their bird is unsocialized and probably a screamer so they are moving to get away from their bird hahahahaha! My other favorite line is I don't have the time to devote to him ( a macaw, cockatoo or amazon) that can live 50-70 years, but just then had that revelation Duhhhhhhhh.

I wish parrot selling and ownership was more regulated (I aint believing I said that) I hate big government, but sometimes you have to lookout for those things that can't lookout for themselves.
 

Spiritbird

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So the forum members reading this that come upon a new member please refer them to this posting to read. I am going to bookmark it for that purpose on my computer so no search is needed. Thanks especially to Von
 

Boo

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Thanks for posting this Von!

Some people don't consider the bad side of things, and then they brng a bird home and it comes as a huge surprise. Especially if you're going to have a pet that will live with you for a few decades, it's important to know everything there is to be expected! Some people just buy on impulse, and then the bird goes up for sale because the owner didn't realize how much work or how loud it could get. And when they say they're moving, let's face it. They most likely just don't want to admit that their parrot is misbehaving for them and they want to sound like innocent people who have a great parrot so other people won't hesitate to rid them of their burden. This happened to one of my friends. She got a bird from her friend's neighbor, although the neighbor didn't know the girl was friends with her neighbor, and it turns out she never even left. She went off and bought a dog instead. So a lot of people who say they're moving or say they have allergies could just be making it up! And WHY? Because they bought a bird blindly and didn't know all of the drawbacks they would be facing. Stuff like this bothers me SO much. If you were truly interested in getting a parrot and you TRULY cared for its well-being, you would naturally just want to know more about them! You can't say you love something or you're passionate about something if you know nothing about it, and if you knew nothing about it, why would you buy it in the first place?? It just shows how ignorant some people are. They think they can buy a beautiful bird to show off to their friends, and then they realize they have a screamer and can't handle it. If you want a parrot just to look at, then buy some paintings! A neglected parrot will pluck itself and not look very beautiful anyway, so if you don't think you can handle it, just save yourself the money and stress, AND the parrot's stress, and don't buy it.

I could go on and on, but I don't want to write a super long post (I guess you could say I'm a rambler too lmao! I write such long posts on the other bird forum I'm a part of.). I just want to thank you for putting all of this together on one page!!
 

Ratzy

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Things like THIS Anyone wanna sell me an african grey parrot? i would LOVE one:)? - Yahoo! UK & Ireland Answers
http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/questio...rRzol.sAT31G;_ylv=3?qid=20110222210903AAWTqkJ

make me angry.
Great post! My parents bought me a budgie when I was 7-8. That didn't work out :( because they bought me another and I didn't quarantine. Then they got me another, and the cycle went on :( .
Then I finally got told about quarantine.
So now I have a healthy flock, apart from my new one :( , and they are happy.
 

antoinette

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Wow that was a mouth full, and glad to say...... so worth reading
Hopefully before purchasing a bird, they will read this post, be honest with themselves, and make the correct decision.

Von thanks so much for typing it all out................ You are an
 

Pionus

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Love your post Von! Most people think that "oh he/she's such a cute baby." Young birds will let you do almost anything to them without much fuss (normally because they are babies and don't realize they can say 'no'). This leads to impulse buying by people who don't always know what is best for the bird or if it will fit in with their lifestyle.

On a side note: Baby was the BEST impulse buy of my life. I was 13 when I got him (now I'm the wise old age of 22 :p ) and he was on an all seed diet. Now he eats pellets and sometimes carrots and broccoli. Loves apple juice and we are working on other stuff to broaden his diet. I did not know all the stuff on your post when I first got him and it would definitely have helped. Thank goodness Baby is really easy going and still lets me do anything to him! A VERY laid back birdie!

Anyway, thanks again. Your post was very good. Something every potential bird owner should read!
 
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Von1983

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I'm so glad that you lot are backing me up on all of this. If any potential parronts DO read this then they will see I am not some mad person and the only one to think of this!

Noone is perfect and those of you who DID impulse buy, it was fortunate it worked out - but then you clearly ARE wonderful parronts.

As Di said as an impulse buyer herself - it doesn't work out often. I would say 90% of the ad's I see that one could correctly presume these birds were impulse buys.

Parrots are a LOT of hard work. There are none of us on here that can hand on heart say it was a breeze.

I can however put my hand on my heart and say that my OTHER pets were and are a LOT easier to keep happy and healthy. This is not to say that ANY pet does not need a lot of looking after but with the parrot....it is another world entirely.
 

mtdoramike

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Amen brother, my wife laughs every evening since we got Tiki because this little bundle of TNT runs me ragged all day and by night fall, I'm in need of a break. But I'm loving ever minute of it.

I had contiplated getting a second bird, but I'm not sure I could handle another one right now. My hat is off to all of you multiple bird owners. I appluad you because with just one, I'm a whipped puppy by the end of the day and I'm retired with nothing better to do than to spoil my bird rotten.

Mike
 

Spiritbird

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I know what you mean. There is alot to be said about just having one bird to take care of and spoil. Right now I have a bird molting and a long haired cat shedding her winter coat. You can guess what I have been doing.
 
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Sonic Zippy

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I'm a brand newbie and I am still in the "research" stages of getting a parrot and this was a WONDERFULLY written post and it helps me tremendously.

I am one of those people who fell in love with parrots because they talk and they are comical. Yup. I fully admit my shortcomings.

I am also not stupid. I know the time and effort that needs to be put into these beautiful babies to make them happy, healthy and loving (most of the time) members of your family.

I have a family - I have kids. I have other pets. They are ALL part of the decision making process for me. I know for a fact that I cannot handle a Macaw. No way. And I wouldn't put a Macaw in my home. They would not thrive at all. :red1:

I also know that I could not handle any sort of "too" - no way. They would not be happy and thrive in my home.

So still being in the research stage - I made an appointment with a local Avian vet to chat about my concerns and some of the things she has experienced in her practice. Some of the things I should be looking out for and I will add this to my current folder of information I'm gathering.

I have also contacted 5 breeders so far. I have asked a zillion and one questions and not one time has any of those breeders ever pushed me to buy a bird. I love that. I am enjoying the research part of this.

If, at the end of all my endless research that I decide a parrot won't work for my family, I will be ok. I just can't take the chance of putting a living animal through that kind of stress because I wanted a bird that talked.:)

Ann
 

mellykyitus

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its wonderful that you're researching thouroughly Ann. if more people were like you rescue centres wouldn't be half as full.
good luck with your search, lots of members on here can answer questions you may have, keep us posted on how you do xxx
 

Sonic Zippy

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Thanks, Mellykyitus - I appreciate that.

I have been devouring the information on this forum. It's great! The members are so forthcoming with advice - which I thoroughly need and appreciate.

I did have the fortune of being able to handfeed Amazons and Macaws during my pet store days (gasp!) - but I also had the misfortune of being bitten for misreading their signals.

I don't think anyone can really prepare you for the bite of a Macaw. HOLY MOLY! I thought he had broken my forearm. I kid you not!

But nobody ever prepares you for the the awesome smell of an Amazon. *swoon* - it's like puppy breath. You either love it or you hate it. I adore it. :green:

Again I am so thankful for this forum and I look forward to gathering more information/advice and hopefully the results will end up in me posting about my new feathered family member

Ann :)
 

JawzX

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nobody ever prepares you for the the awesome smell of an Amazon. *swoon* - it's like puppy breath. You either love it or you hate it. I adore it. :green:

Again I am so thankful for this forum and I look forward to gathering more information/advice and hopefully the results will end up in me posting about my new feathered family member

Ann :)

Those amazons do smell lovely don't they? My girlfriend is always on about how my bird may be quieter and better trained, but her bird smells better ;) (she has a red lored Amazon :green1: ) I fully admit to huffing Cody's feathers when he sits on me, Like musky flowers... Somone once said it reminded them of chysanthemum.
 
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