Selecting a Good Home for Your Baby Birds

Every caring bird breeder and pet store wants to find the perfect homes for their birds. This is the hardest part, trying to find the best possible family for your cherished babies. I love each and everyone of my babies and selling them is the most difficult part. The emotional attachment makes the separation hard, but finding buyers who will love and care for them makes it an easier adjustment for myself and the baby bird.

How to identify a GOOD home for your baby is very subjective and varies with individual breeders and stores who all have their own opinions as to the perfect home.There are some basic guidelines, but for the most part this is my opinion of what I feel are the ideal homes for birds. I do evaluate each case individually as there are always exceptions with individual circumstances. Some of the questions may seem inappropriate but again, as a breeder looking for ideal homes for my birds I feel the questions are a necessary part of the process. I do not give formal interviews but listed below is the information that I seek when I am deciding whether to place a bird in the home or not.

BASIC

  • Why do you want to buy a bird?
  • Have you ever had a bird before? If so, tell me about the bird.
  • Do you have an Avian Vet?
  • What type of bird are you interested in and why?

These questions are needed to find out how much the prospective buyer knows about birds. I want to make sure they know what to expect, are not misinformed, and have realistic views of the time, effort, and care that a well cared for pet bird needs. I will know what areas that I need to further educate the buyers. It is not necessary that they know a lot about birds, but that they are willing to learn. I look for buyers that ask questions. I want to make sure they are not afraid to ask.

I try to make sure that they are choosing the right bird for their family.A very good friend of mine once said to me “You do a better job of talking people out of buying a bird, that you do selling them one”.

If the prospective buyer already has a bird then I want to make sure they understand quarantine procedures and are aware that there will be an adjustment period. The existing pet may feel left out and become jealous of the new bird. I also want to know how they care for and treat their current pet. If it is not happy and healthy, then they should not have another one.

PERSONAL

  • Are you employed? If yes, where and what hours do you work?
  • Do you have children? If yes, how many and how old are they?
  • Do you plan on having more children?
  • How old are you?

I look for caring, loving people who can make the long term emotional commitment and who can afford to make the financial commitment that is required for responsible bird ownership. I make sure that they are aware of the on-going financial costs and are more than willing to spend the funds needed to provide an ideal environment and medical care. I also want to make sure that they have time to spend with the bird and that they understand the importance of daily interaction on a continuing basis.

I meet the entire family before I sell a bird. I want to observe how the spouse, parents and/or children interact with the bird. I look for families that have taught their children to respect animals as well as people. I also make recommendations as to which species of bird, and the particular bird, that will fit into the families lifestyle. Couples with young children who have never owned a bird before are not ideal candidates for bird ownership. They are unaware of how much time, money, and commitment a bird requires and they do not have the time to share with a bird, due to the demands on their time from young children. As I stated earlier, there are always exceptions where families will share in the responsibility of caring for the bird.

Young couples who have not started their families yet are do not make the ideal environment for a pet bird. As a consequence, they end up looking for new homes for their bird a few months after the first baby arrives. They are surprised to learn that the bird is jealous of the new baby. They find that the bird will try to bite the baby, so the bird ends up spending all of his time in his cage. Then the bird becomes upset because he doesn’t understand why his favorite people aren’t paying any attention to him. Thus the bird becomes frustrated and begins screaming, biting, or feather picking to try and get some attention from his owners. The owners then have to look for a new home for their bird. Understandably, they can’t risk the safety of their child.

Age can play an important part in deciding whether to place a bird with the prospective customer. Young children who are expected to be the sole caretaker of the bird are not ideally suited to bird ownership. Some younger children and teenagers may not fully understand the responsiblity that comes with owning a bird. They may forget to clean the cage, or feed the bird, or give him/her fresh water. As young childern grow older their interests change and friends and outside activities may take precedence over the care of the bird. Parents must be willing to take an active part in the care and socialization of the bird to ensure the health and well being of the pet parrot.

Senior citizens can make wonderful bird parents providing that provisions have been made for the transfer of care for the bird, if the time comes when the owner is unable to care for the bird. Retired adults have a lot of time and love to give their pets.

PERSONALITY

  • Is the person calm and patient?
  • Is the person an animal lover?
  • Is the person a perfect housekeeper?
  • How do they view animals?
  • Are they aware of the continued cost of parrot ownership?

Patience, a sense of humor, and a willingness to learn, and to teach are a must for bird ownership in my book. I look for people with a sense of humor who are not serious all of the time. I do not want my birds going to type-A personality homes. I don’t want my birds to go to homes where the chance of abuse or neglect is present. I need to know that if the bird chews up an expensive piece of furniture the owners will not take it out on the bird using physical or verbal abuse but are able to laugh it off (after a reasonable period of anger of course) and chalk it up as a learning experience for them and the bird. I look for people who will not become aggravated with the noise and the mess and accept it as part of the reality of sharing your home with a parrot companion.

People who already own other animals may be good candidates for bird ownership. Animal lovers are already putting up with the noise, the expense, and the mess, and are aware of the responsibility of pet ownership. But they must also be aware of the dangers of allowing other pets near their birds.

If they want a picture perfect home, then owning a bird is not for them. Even small birds can make large messes. This will become a major problem for them and they will be looking for a new home for the bird in a very short time. I need to know that stepping on bird seed 10 minutes after they vacuumed will not be upsetting for them.

People with the attitude that it is *just* a bird, do not get one of my babies. I look for people who place value on life whether it is an animal, bird, or human. Birds are intelligent, social creatures who are in need of companionship and lifelong relationships.

People who quibble over price or who try to make deals to reduce the cost of the bird are not good candidates. If they can’t afford a bird or are unwilling to spend what it takes to keep a bird healthy and happy, then they shouldn’t have one. Someone who is hesitant to spend money may hesitate in seeking medical treatment which could be disastrous for the bird.

EXPERIENCE

  • Do you own other birds? If so, what species and how many?
  • What sources of books or magazines have you read?
  • Have you visited and talked to pet stores, breeders, and/or other bird owners?
  • Have you contacted an Avian Veterinarian?

People who own other birds are usually terrific candidates for another bird as long as they will have enough time to properly care for another addition to the family. They must also be aware of quarantine procedures and know they their existing birds may be jealous of the new arrival.

I love it when potential customers tell me that they subscribe to several bird magazines , e-mail lists, and have read many books about parrots. This show me that they have done their research and are willing to do whatever it takes to provide the ideal environment for their feathered friends. They will take advantage of new techniques, technology, and ideas after thoroughly investigating them.

Interviewing other breeders, pet stores, and veterinarians shows me that they want to make the best possible choice and have the best resources available to them. They are aware of the on going costs of keeping a parrot and they have found a qualified veterinarian to work with them and answer their questions. They have read about the proper nutritional requirements, signs of illness, what products are safest, household dangers, medical care, etc. I know that they are taking the responsibility of parrot ownership seriously and are not making a hasty decision.

If a perspective client believes that they already *know* everything, then I tend to shy away from them as potential bird owners. An unwillingness to learn may mean that they will not take advantage of all of the advances being made by the medical community, or in advances in safer new technology for our pets, or the other advances being made by bird behaviorists and breeders into the intelligence and behavior of parrots. As parrots become more popular as pets, more and more studies are being con- ducted and we are in a continual state of learning.

Deciding who should qualify as a prospective bird owner is an extremely difficult task. If I, or other breeders, and pet stores make the wrong choice, then it is the birds who will suffer the consequences. Unfortunately, there are far too many birds who are up for adoption for the second, third, fourth, or even the tenth time. Just pick up any paper and read the want ads. With the life expectancy of birds far exceeding that of any other pets, I urge everyone considering the purchase of a parrot to consider whether they can make a lifetime commitment. If you can’t, then PLEASE do not purchase a parrot.