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Old 08-13-2013, 08:53 AM
SaraB SaraB is offline
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Default Tell me about birds!!

Specifically species of smaller parrots like caiques, conures or quakers.

I go through these phases of heavily researching a type of animal to see if one would be a good fit for our household. As much as I love my dogs and cat, it always feels like something is missing (if anyone suggests a baby you are going to get punched in the baby maker, just saying ). Anyways, that's what this is!

When I was 16, I worked at Petsmart and fell in love with this little black-capped conure. He would hang out with me my entire shift, sitting on my shoulder while I walked the store, or on my register when I checked people out. My manager eventually bought him, so I know he went to a great home, but I still miss him terribly. I did own a pair of parakeets when I was younger, so I do have some/little experience with birds.

My husband isn't very fond of birds, but I really think that is just from lack of exposure. So he's the main reason why I'm thinking a small parrot would be our best bet. A green cheeked conure or a little black capped would be awesome, but I'm open to suggestions for other species! Also, I realize any bird can be loud, but I don't really want a species known for screaming (sun conures) as we do live in a twinhome.

Also, advantages of an older rehome versus purchasing from a breeder? I would love to avoid the maturing phase but I'd also like to avoid behavior problems that are already established.

Any other advice? Anything to deter me from wanting one? Thanks in advance!

Zinga, Edgar, Zip Tie, Skill, Taboo, Mighty Mouse, Famous, Zuma
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Old 08-13-2013, 09:28 AM
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Fran101 Fran101 is offline
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Breed wise.. quakers can be cage territorial, sun conures are really loud, and that's all I know about that size range

As for birds in general, we have a cockatoo (which is NOT a good beginner bird. For anyone) but here are a few general bird things


- Bird dust. It comes off their wings and gives some people asthma issues.
- They are messy in general. Poop, food, feathers, dust haha they make a mess. There are ways to kind of deal with that (food catcher around the cage, frequent cleaning etc..)
- They are LOUD. All of them. In general, the larger the bird.. the louder the bird. (although sun conures, the prettiest of the conures, have a screech that will make you want to kill people) especially at sun-up (GOOD MORNING!!!!! HELLOOO IT'S 5 AM AND IT'S TIME TO SCREAM!!)
- They are flock animals. (other than canaries and a few other solitary ones), so they (like dogs) want to be a part of what you are doing. That means things like perching close during dinner time, shower perch etc...
- Boredom is a serious problem. A bored bird/an uninvolved bird is a bird that self-harms. Moving cage around, involvement, new toys, baths etc... are important.
- They do learn tricks, and they are very smart.. but behaviorally, I found found that nixing bad habits is MUCH more difficult than dogs. The common consensus when your bird doesn't like someone is "well..there's some stuff you can try but... yea."
- Cages are huge. They are. Our bird barely lives in his cage (he prefers his play top and just walking around the house) and it's still huge. It's a big monetary and time commitment
- Exotic vets are expensive, even just maintenance (wing clippings etc.)
- They can be jerks. Innapropriate hormonal jerk. It just happens lol
- Meal preparation. Pellets (not seeds) and a variety of other things.. most of anything that is good for a person, is good for a parrot.

Older rehomes through HONEST rescues, I have found to be the perfect solution Foster homes KNOW their birds and are honest about any quirks..
the only issue I've noticed with private rehomes is that some people aren't very honest about WHY they are getting rid of the bird.

And *CAUTION* find a rescue you trust. I KNOW OF MANY MANY Birds who are PERFECT with strangers (my cockatoo is one of those) he is a doll with strangers, a cuddly sweet baby.. but is a HEATHEN with people he sees more frequently and can be territorial around people he knows that aren't his "person".
So a lot of times people visit and the bird is perfect, then once the honeymoon period is over and the bird has attached itself to one person.. it starts to turn on the rest of the family.

- There isn't a pet quite like them, many can speak.
- they enjoy you being "their flock"
- They are funny and odd
- They are pretty

LOL exotics aren't for everyone. Personally, knowing what I now do.. I wouldn't get anything bigger than a parakeet.

There is a special kind of guilt that comes with owning a large bird, seeing how smart they are, bored they are, frustrated they get with how busy you are.. that makes me (personally) feel bad about having one. They aren't domesticated... If I could do it, Napo would be born in the wild with other cockatoos. We all love him in our own way but agree on that, they just aren't..pets...
For people that are devoted, they are amazing pets. I just personally won't own a large exotic bird again.

Birds around that size I would suggest:
- Green cheeks conure
- Cockatiels
- Parrotlet
- Budgies
- Love bird
- Caiques (very playful, like puppies!) Stubborn though.

Disclaimer: I work for Trupanion and love it/our policy! But I do not speak for the company or as the company.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:20 AM
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sassafras sassafras is offline
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I've had a handful of various birds over the years, but currently have just a Senegal parrot who is now about 24 years old. I've had her since she was a few months old. At that time it was a big deal to have a captive-bred, hand-raised baby parrot (ETA: which she is) but I would think you'd be hard pressed to find a wild caught parrot these days in this country. If for some reason you are presented with a choice, definitely go for a hand-raised baby if possible.

Honestly I usually discourage people from getting birds unless they know they LOVE birds. They are messy and noisy and they can be real a-holes. They have no problem snuggling with you one second and biting the crap out of you the next second for some imagined slight and can be jealous of other people in the household. The larger parrots in particular are so smart that their potential behavior problems can be heartbreaking. They poop on stuff and CHEW CHEW CHEW. Holy shmoley if you think dogs can wreck some stuff chewing, just wait until you have a parrot (even a small one).

Having said that... there is a level of bonding and intelligence there, and a completely different type of relationship from a dog or a cat, that can be incredibly rewarding and satisfying. They can be the sweetest, funniest, smartest little d-bags you ever saw. They adore their people and once they trust you, you are friends for life. I cannot stress enough how clever and hilarious they can be. They are busy and like to be involved with stuff.

For someone totally new to birds the smaller parrots like Pionus, Conures, or the Senegal/Meyer's group are a good start. They are fairly low-key compared to some other species/groups and pretty resilient physically and mentally - more tolerant of changes in routine and other everyday stresses IME. Cockatoos, even the smaller ones, can be a bit emotionally needy and fragile IMO. I like cockatiels quite a bit myself but it seems like a lot of people find their vocalizations particularly grating for some reason.

I will probably not have another bird after Magic passes away. Partially because I am getting to the age where a bird might outlive me and partially because I am just kind of done with the mess, noise, chewing etc.

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Old 08-13-2013, 10:24 AM
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Shai Shai is offline
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Everyone I *personally* know with a large parrot regrets having gotten them and wishes they could have been wild born and living. Mostly cockatoos. They are an enormous resource commitment, especially social.

I've gone through a couple bird phases but have never gotten one simply because I don't think I can meet their social needs. Especially looking out into the unknown of the next 10-25 years (for a smaller bird). If I ever take the plunge, I'd likely go with a pair or small group of a more social species and accept that they'll likely be less bonded to me. But really I think my hens are a better solution...useful, less needy, hardy in my climate so they can have ample outdoor time, plus I can have my very own at-home Chicken Camps

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Old 08-13-2013, 05:03 PM
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HayleyMarie HayleyMarie is offline
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Tyler and I had a lovebird when a few years back, unfortunatly he got really sick very fast and passed away before we could get to a vet. Unlikely they would be able to do anything for him anyways.

He was a great bird. Tons of fun. He had loads of personality and sass. He was not really a one person bird he was pretty equally attached to Tyler and I. He spent time living with Tyler at university, then he took him to fort Mac for 8 months. He would travel back and forth from my place, university, his parents place and my place. He was a great little traveler.

He was a little A-hole and he would bite when he was mad at you, fortunately for us he did not bite us that hard. His name was Mushu and he would come to his name when we called it or when we clapped. He was slightly territorial of his cage, but we easily worked around it. He spent a lot of time outside of his cage. When he was staying at my parents place my mom would take him out of his cage early in the morning when she would be making lunches and he would just ride around on the back of her house coat all morning.

He was also very, very cuddly. He would always would give you cheek little kisses and hugs. He loved spending time with his family. He was actually not that noisy, which was surprising. Every story I hear of a lovebird is that they are very loud. I think we just got lucky.

I miss him lots and although Tyler and I would love another bird our lifestyle is just not compatible with having a bird. We are gone pretty much every weekend and it is just not fair to keep a bird home alone during the weekend.

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Old 08-13-2013, 05:33 PM
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Greenmagick Greenmagick is offline
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Something missing from your household......

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Old 08-13-2013, 06:54 PM
SaraB SaraB is offline
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Originally Posted by Greenmagick View Post
Something missing from your household......

I decided against these guys because there just isn't enough people interaction. Everything I hear is that they tolerate people but won't seek them out for attention. Also, I don't think I could keep them at a reliable temperature in this house.

Zinga, Edgar, Zip Tie, Skill, Taboo, Mighty Mouse, Famous, Zuma
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:06 PM
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Greenmagick Greenmagick is offline
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Originally Posted by SaraB View Post
I decided against these guys because there just isn't enough people interaction. Everything I hear is that they tolerate people but won't seek them out for attention. Also, I don't think I could keep them at a reliable temperature in this house.
Thats no fun then

I am not a big bird person but the two that I have really, really liked and that made me consider are a Goffin Cockatoo and a Sun Conure. (Though I did love my budgies I had growing up)
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Old 08-13-2013, 09:53 PM
~Tucker&Me~ ~Tucker&Me~ is offline
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My experience is that parrots are one of the most demanding pets, but also one of the most rewarding.

If this is your first bird, I would go check out pet stores to get an idea of what appeals to you simply because they are accessible and easy to view. Watch youtube videos of the species you like and make a list of the things that are important to you. For example, do you want a bird that is more interested in hanging out with you and cuddling, or do you want a bird that seeks out adventure and wants to play all day? What size and what price range are you considering? Are you prepared to spend hours a day giving your parrot high levels of social interaction or would you prefer a parrot who can play independently and is less emotionally "needy"?

There seems to be very little inbetween when it comes to parrots -- people either love them or hate them. For this reason, I really, REALLY recommend you spend time hanging out with the parrots that interest you so you know for sure what you are getting into. Lots of people promote getting a "starter bird" (usually a budgie or cockatiel) and while that may seem reasonable, pet birds often have lifespans of 20+ years, so in my opinion it is better to do TONS of research and just pick the parrot that you really want. And by tons of research, I mean online, going to a bird show, meeting the breeder's birds, etc.

I am in the process of picking out my next bird (in fact, could be a couple days away...) and would be more than happy to suggest some species for you if you give me more details on what you want. At the moment I am going back and forth between Crimson Bellied Conures and Fiery Shouldered Conures.

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Old 08-14-2013, 12:15 AM
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PalmettoPaws PalmettoPaws is offline
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I have a Quaker and he's a great bird. I've also had African Greys in the past and a Quaker before the one I currently have. If noise is a concern then you might want to consider another species. I don't consider him necessarily loud, but when he really gets going he can be heard all over the house lol. Not Sun Conure or Cockatoo volume of course, but it can be irritating.

Since Quakers are nest builders they are more likely to be cage territorial than they are to not be. I raised Orrin since he was around a month old and surprisingly we haven't run into that issue. But it's not really that hard to deal with, you just let the bird come out of the cage on its own.

I don't have any personal experience with Conures. I did consider and almost get a Green Cheek before I ended up with Orrin. He was a plucker though and I was put off by the woman who was more concerned with making a monetary profit than with the welfare of the bird. I have always thought they seem like great birds and would consider owning pretty much any of the Pyrrhura species.
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