Nature First, Inc. Parrot Rescue

Caring for Parrots and Exotic Birds

Parrot Adoption

 

 

Nature First, Inc. Parrot Rescue

Navarre, Florida

850-368-6685  [email protected]

 

When you choose to share your life with a parrot (or any species) you are making a commitment. Please accept this responsibility very seriously, take time to learn as much as possible about what is involved. If you are not willing to invest a little time before aquiring your bird, chances are one or both of you will be disappointed.  

Making the Decision – to buy or not to buy!

 

When making the decision of whether or not to own a parrot, consider your lifestyle. Do you lead a very busy life? Is your household active and loud? Do you have small children? Do you work long hours or travel a lot? If the answer to any or all of these is yes, then a parrot may not be the right choice for you. Birds need lots of attention and care, they are not happy just to sit in a cage 24 hrs. a day. Parrots require companionship, time spent out of their cage, lots of toys and a stimulating environment. Do you enjoy your quiet lifestyle? Remember all birds make noise of some type, don’t be fooled into believing that smaller birds or certain species are quiet. Parrot personalities are as individual as humans, you can make generalizations, but there is no guarantee that a Lovebird is going to be quieter than a Conure. This is not to say all birds will make noise continuously day and night however, there are certain times of day when they are more vocal.

Consider your budget, you will not only have the initial cost of the parrot, but also cage, toys, proper diet, perches, stands and vet costs (you should take your bird to see an avian specialist for a health check when you first get him and annually thereafter).

What are the reasons you would like to own a parrot? If you only answer to this is, “you want a pet that talks”, then a bird isn’t for you. Your decision should be based on the fact that you love birds and have taken the time to know what is involved in their care. In this way you will have an appreciation of the species for what they are, not what you want them to be.

Next, consider  where you live. Do you live in an apartment or townhouse? Then you probably don’t want a Macaw, Cockatoo, Conure or Amazon. Your neighbors may complain about the noise and then you will have to decide whether you will need to move or find a new home for the bird. Presented with this decision, most people opt  for the latter which is unfair to the parrot. You made a commitment to him and will now be letting him down. A lot of people will sell the bird to the first person who shows up on their doorstep with money in order to recoup some of their expenses. Let’s face it, you never really know who is taking your bird or what type of life he will have, many times parrots are sold, then re-sold and then given to another home. The bird is then confused and upset and this is where the emotional problems begin.

Consider what messes parrots make. They throw food, bathe in their drinking water and tear their toys to bits. They love to play games like watching you clean in and around their cage and then mess it up some more!!

If you have read this and still believe you want a bird, we can move onto the next step.

 

What Species to Buy & Cage Selection

 

One of the most important things to keep in mind when shopping for a parrot; is size.

The larger the bird, the larger and more expensive the cage, toys, bowls, perches and food. Always buy a cage which the bird can sit and turn around comfortably without the tail bending or touching the bottom. They should be able to flap their wings without touching the sides of the cage. This is for the bird’s safety as well as comfort.

Bar spacing is also important. The bars should be close enough together so that the bird cannot fit his head through them. When selecting the cage, it is a much better investment to buy the highest quality you can afford. This will save you money in the long run by not having to replace the cage after a few years (sometimes less), a Cockatoo or Macaw can be very hard on a cage. If you decide to buy a used cage, look it over carefully. Check to be sure that there are no broken welds, that the doors work properly and there are no rust spots anywhere (especially the bottom tray).

Always be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect each and every corner and bar before placing your bird in a used cage.

If you live in a house with room enough for a large cage and a stand (for bird’s out of cage time) and have no small children, don’t mind noise, are willing to make a lifelong commitment and your budget can support it, then a Macaw or Cockatoo may be for you. Before purchasing any parrot I recommend spending about $8.00 – $12.00 for a book on the species of your choice to learn in detail about their habits and requirements.

If you live in an apartment or have small children and would like a bird which can be affectionate and entertaining, I suggest one to the following:

 

Lovebird

Cockatiel

Parrotlet

Parakeet

Don’t disregard these little guys just because of their size. If given the proper training and attention, they can be just as lovable as a Cockatoo and as much fun as a Macaw. Many of them will talk as well. Always remember, if your bird talks, that is just an added bonus. If he doesn’t learn to talk, don’t be disappointed, love them for who and what they are, not what you expect them to be.

 Conures and Quakers (Monk Parakeets), can be very affectionate and sweet. They can also be very noisy, but they are definitely worth your time to investigate, they can be just as much fun as the big boys!

If your household is very active, a Macaw or Amazon usually do pretty well. They seem to thrive on all the activity. I wouldn’t recommend an Amazon, African Grey or Macaw around small children, generally they are not the “cuddly” type. They enjoy being near or on you and having their heads scratched however, they tend to be more independent than a Cockatoo.

Cockatoos are usually very affectionate and love to snuggle however, they can also become spoiled very easily and emotionally dependent on their owners. If not given what they feel is enough attention, they can suffer extreme emotional problems.

All of these are generalizations and there are always exceptions, there are Greys and Amazons which are very lovable just as there are Cockatoos which may be stand offish.

 

 

Where to Buy

 

Once the decision of which species you want has been made, your next step is to select the right bird. It may be more appropriate to say let the right bird select you! Always go to a reputable pet store or breeder to purchase your parrot. Take a good look around, are the cages clean? Is the area around the cages clean? Are there any unpleasant odors? Are the food and water bowls clean? Remember that parrots like to make messes and bathe in their water however, you should be able to distinguish the difference between a bird’s mess and filth which has built over time. Do the birds seem happy, are they playing and making “normal” noises? Do their eyes look bright? Are their feathers all ruffled? If they are sleeping, are they holding one foot up, or are they resting on both feet and shivering? If the birds are resting, I suggest you go back at a different time of the day and see how they behave when they are awake. Ask the staff many questions, even if you already know the answers, find out how knowledgeable they are. Remember if you need advice, these may be the people you ask and you don’t want someone giving you incorrect information or advice. This should help you to know if this is the place you feel comfortable purchasing from.

If you decide to purchase a pre-owned parrot, keep in mind that you will not have any guarantee as to the health of the bird, and if you need advice or have questions, the previous owner may not be so willing to offer to help you, they may not even have the information you need. I am not trying to discourage anyone who is experienced and ready to handle the possible problems that may come with pre-owned parrots to buy or adopt them however, if this is your first bird, I suggest you stick with purchasing a young bird from a breeder or pet shop.

 

Making you Final Decision

 

Now that you know what kind of bird, size of cage and where you will obtain him, your next step is to find just the right one! It is strongly suggested you do not buy an un-weaned baby unless you have plenty of experience with hand feeding. Many people say the best way to bond with your bird is by hand feeding, this is not true. A baby parrot which is being hand fed only sees humans as a big feeding machine, they don’t care who is going to feed them, only that they get fed! A baby bird which has already been weaned will bond with you if given the proper love and attention. Adult parrot will bond with you under the right circumstances, provided he has a trust of the human race. Never try to rush a parrot into accepting you before he is ready. I suggest you go and visit the bird as often as possible before you purchase him, this will give him time to begin to know you in his own environment and you the time to know if this is the right one for you. This is the best way to build trust between the two of you before taking him home and offers the bird a more comfortable transition.

Before taking you parrot home, have his cage set up with toys, perches, food and water. When you get him there, let him spend some time in his new cage, you can talk and visit with him while he gets accustomed to his new surroundings. Take things slow, remember this is all new to him and with the proper care, love and treatment he will be around many years, so there is no rush.

Now that you have the information you need to make the right decision, remember any pet is a commitment, it is not something you can just toss aside when the “newness” wears off. Parrots are living, breathing, beautiful creatures which we humans have taken out of their natural environment for our own amusement. We have an obligation to keep them healthy and happy. We also have an obligation to ensure the future of their species, so please whenever possible take the time to learn more about where your bird’s ancestors came from and take responsibility to help preserve their homelands.

 

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