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First Time Bird Owner Advice

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First Time Bird Owner Advice

Postby jmitch97 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:32 pm

Hey Everyone,

I’m new to the forum and wanted to get some help from you all. As someone who will be owning a parrot one day, I have been doing tremendous amounts of research. After wanting a bird now for more than six years, I finally feel like the time may be right within the next year to seriously pursue my long-term desire.

Nobody I know owns birds, so I apologize if any of this sounds dumb. That said, I was wondering how birds handle owners being away at work? I have read over and over that birds are for people who aren’t out of the house a lot, but surely there are people who work full time and also own birds, correct? Can I own a parrot in good concience while also being a full time worker if I’m able to give quality time when I’m home, combined with toys and stimulation while I’m gone? I’d give the parrot everything it needs and more, including time, space, toys, etc.

I’m particularly attracted to members of the Poicephalus genus due to their relatively quiet and friendly nature. I am especially interested in a Meyers Parrot as my first bird. I have taken primary care of a cockatiel in the past, and I feel I could handle a smaller sized Parrot without issue. Am I being over confident? I want a fun, calm parrot that I can build a great relationship with. Talking is not a big requirement of mine. I would prefer something sweet rather than a bird that may become too neurotic.

If anybody has any general advice, breed recommendations, or any tidbits of info that they think would be helpful, I would welcome any pointers.

Thanks!
jmitch97
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 0
Flight: No

Re: First Time Bird Owner Advice

Postby Pajarita » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:46 am

Welcome to the forum and thank you for doing research before you commit to a parrot. You are going to find that there are lots and lots and LOTS of people who work and own parrots and most of them will tell you that their parrots are happy and healthy but the truth of the matter is that, although they are not really fooling themselves because they do believe this to be true, it's pretty impossible. Let me explain. Everything we know about zoology tells us that animals need to live in the same social structures they evolved to have and in the same habitat they evolved to 'match'. We apply this knowledge to zoo animals and you find that keeping highly social animals alone is considered cruelty (elephants, dolphins, etc), that animals that roam are kept in large enclosures that resemble their natural habitat, etc. Parrots evolved to live in large, extended family groups because they are prey and find safety in numbers. They are born, live all their lives and die always surrounded by their family. Captivity puts a huge amount of stress on parrots... we are talking unnatural diet, deprivation of exercise, wrong habitat, etc. but the worst stress of all is being alone.
It's stressful for them, it makes them anxious and insecure. And no amount of toys, music or TV on is going to make any difference. It's like leaving a young child who still needs its mother all the time alone, it's going to do things to his head.

The other problem is the fact that all birds are photoperiodic - which means they need to follow the changing daylight period to mark the seasons. When you work full time, you leave your house at night and come back at night and parrots need to sleep at night after being exposed to twilight for 1.5 to 2 hours (because it's the different light of dawn and dusk that turns on or off their 'internal clock'). When you keep a bird at a human light schedule (with artificial lights on before the sun is up or after sunset), you screw up their endocrine system so, in 99% of the cases, you end up with an overly hormonal parrot (because their bodies never stop producing sexual hormones when they should) and that means a parrot that is not healthy (the immune system and the endocrine system work 'hand in hand') and that, after a few years of this, will be physically uncomfortable or even in chronic pain.

Now, you can still have parrots and work full time but you need to have a bonded pair that will not require daily interaction with you and still remain tame - and, for that, the only species that comes to mind is cockatiels because of their sweet temperament and the fact that they can be very happy on their own as long as they follow a solar light schedule, the cage is a large flight one and the diet is right.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 14666
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: First Time Bird Owner Advice

Postby jmitch97 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:28 pm

Thanks!

I’ll definitely keep this advice in mind. I love Cockatiels for sure. So you wouldn’t recommend any of the Poicephalus genus for a full time worker? I have heard Meyers Parrots would be a good fit, especially for an apartment dweller such as myself. I’d also love to get something slightly larger/more trainable than a cockatiel while also staying as friendly as possible. That said, I want whatever I get to be as happy and healthy as possible.

Secondly, do you have a particular brand of cage that you prefer? I’d love to get something as large as possible and stainless steel so there’s no coating that will eventually chip off and be dangerous.
jmitch97
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 0
Flight: No

Re: First Time Bird Owner Advice

Postby Pajarita » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:49 am

Well, powder coating doesn't chip unless it's not a good one (it has to do with the number of layers, the thickness and the coating itself they use). Stainless steel is great and I do wish I could afford it but I can't and, besides, it would be a waste of money on my birds because they spend almost all day long outside their cages.

Now, as to pois being good apartment birds... I assume you say this because they are supposed to be quiet but what you need to consider is that, when you talk about parrots, 'quiet' is a VERY relative term because it's compared to other parrots and when you consider that there a Moluccan too vocalization reaches the same decibels as 747 or something like that, quiet is anything that is not as loud as that :lol: One of the senegals I had came to me because she screamed all day long and the owner was afraid she was going to get evicted from her apartment so, yes, pois are not as loud as other parrots but that does not mean they are actually quiet or that they won't scream all day long if they are unhappy - and any parrot left alone all day long is going to be unhappy and there is no two ways about it. As to them being 'friendly'... well, all parrots can be friendly and pois can also be very aggressive. The most aggressive bird I've ever had is a poi and I would much rather deal with an aggressive macaw than with an aggressive poi.

Tiels can be trained and they can even learn how to whistle different tunes and even talk. People tend to underappreciate tiels and budgies thinking that because they are more common (they have been pets for much, much longer than other species of parrots) than the other species, they are not as 'parroty' but it's not true.

Taking into consideration your lifestyle and the fact that you have no true experience with parrots, I would suggest you start by adopting a pair of bonded tiels and see how you do with them because (and I am not saying this to offend you so please do not take it the wrong way) everybody thinks they will be willing and able to care for parrots but the greatest majority of people end up rehoming them after a few years.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 14666
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: First Time Bird Owner Advice

Postby jmitch97 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:19 pm

Thanks!

This is all good advice. When you are searching for a pair of Cockatiels, how do you really know the sex of the bird before you get it? For a first timer, would you recommend two males, two females, or mixed sex for a pair of birds? I’d like to avoid having a female if possible because they can run into egg issues...is this a legitimate worry?

Secondly, what cage size rules would you follow when selecting an enclosure for two cockatiels? I want them to have as much room as possible.
jmitch97
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 0
Flight: No

Re: First Time Bird Owner Advice

Postby Pajarita » Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:25 am

Cockatiels, with the exception of some of the more uncommon mutations, are dimorphic so if you learn about the differences, you should be able to tell if you have a male or a female. Now, as to genders... well, tiels like all other tiels so you would have no problem with two males or two females but, personally, I always try to give them what would make them happier and healthier so I strive to give all of mine mates (meaning, the opposite gender). Female tiels have a bad reputation with the chronic laying problem but it's not them, it's the people that keep them that don't know or care enough to do things the right way. The thing is that all small species (cockatiels, budgies, lovebired, parrotlets, beebees, etc) are very opportunistic breeders -that's the way Nature made them- so the key is to keep them at a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk every single day (which needs to be done with any species of parrot and not only the little ones), not to free-feed protein food, to make sure that they get enough vit D3 to absorb the calcium and, when breeding season comes along, make things easier on them by giving them a nest BUT switching every egg she lays with a plastic one (you get them in the internet) or hardboiling them. I've had a flock of more than 30 cockatiels and I've never had a single baby born from them. I've had babies that came with the parents when they were given up and I've had pairs that came with eggs that later hatched (I used to ran a rescue) but none of the ones I cared for ever reproduced - same thing with the budgies, the parrotlets, etc.

As to what cage, I would put them in a medium size flight if not a bigger cage (my budgies are in a very nice flight cage that is 6 ft tall and 3.5 ft deep and wide - something like that would be great for a pair of tiels).
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 14666
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: First Time Bird Owner Advice

Postby liz » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:01 am

I have 9 cockatiels and love every one. They each have their own personality and knows it's own name and most of the others. They are all rescues but one who managed to hatch last year. Mine are in a 10X12 room all their own.

I keep them in a smaller cage while quarantined and put the cage up to my face level. Being prey animals hands are scary but faces are not. Talking to them a lot and not touching them calms them down enough for them to start understanding you.
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liz
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Location: Hernando FL
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BF Amazon Myrtle
Cockatiels: Shadow Tammy Flutter Phoenix Jackie
Andy Impy Louise
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