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Can a bird get used to an inconsistent schedule??

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Can a bird get used to an inconsistent schedule??

Postby maxbarnes1 » Sun May 19, 2019 3:42 am


I've been doing a ton of research before committing on getting myself a parrot, and wether or not I'll be able to provide it with a good life or not.

I've looked into training, the good, the bad and the ugly of owning a bird. How they get hormonal, they bite(hard), require attention, a cage that has activities and toys, they're social creatures, they're fussy and picky about things down to the color of your shirt, and jewelry. Some birds are one person birds, others can become friendly with the whole family, so on and so forth. What their diet should be(Planning on using fresh veggies in the morning , and a good quality pellet dinner), how loud they can get, where the closest avian vet is(10 minutes woo-hoo!).

I'm also planning to volunteer at a bird sanctuary, the closest one to me is about an hour away , before getting my own bird. I've been reading, watching videos, calculating costs, and started my bird fund(I'm really hoping I can get a Bronze Wing Pionus, or any of the Pionus species, a Caique) or even a rescue that chooses me! (As long as it isn't too big)

However with that being said. I currently work in retail and my shifts vary between 9am~5pm, or 1pm-9pm. I only work the late shifts three days out of the week at the most.

Can a parrot get used to this, and still be happy? Granted all their other needs are taken care of. I'm worried it's not going to like the inconsistency of when it gets to "hangout" with me.
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Re: Can a bird get used to an inconsistent schedule??

Postby Pajarita » Sun May 19, 2019 9:30 am

Welcome to the forum and thank you so much for taking the time and effort into researching before you make your final decision!

Now, as to your question: No, a bird will not be happy with anything haphazard. It's not only that a never changing routine is desirable is that, in reality, it's the only way you can keep them healthy and happy. Why? Because these are all undomesticated species which are hard-wired to follow not only a specific light schedule (solar because they are photoperiodic) but also a never changing daily routine (they wake up with dawn and they go out foraging as soon as there is enough light, after eating together they interact, they rest around noon, they interact again and, at dusk, they eat, go to roost and sleep for the night). One can be flexible with a domesticated species (although I do not recommend that either!) but not with an undomesticated one. With them, one needs to follow the same guidelines that rule their lives in the wild - they evolved to fit exactly those parameters and the fact that they are born in captivity doesn't change their genes. It's as simple as that.

I also feel compelled to point out a couple of things that I don't agree with on your list of what you have already found out. For one thing, there is no such thing as a family parrot. All of them are one person birds so they will only bond with one and not with 'the family'. In truth, not even domesticated species are that flexible because even dogs have one owner - they might love everybody in the family but they will truly obey and belong to one person, the alpha. The big difference is that dogs and cats will easily switch their allegiance to another while it's harder for parrots. But, if it's a matter of the bird belonging to one human but not biting other people, that can be achieved with impeccable husbandry - a VERY difficult thing to achieve as the chosen human needs to not only be very knowledgeable (and this involves many subjects) and patient, it needs to BE THERE all the time.

They are also not that picky or fuzzy about anything. At least, this is not my experience and I've cared for hundreds of parrots of many different species. I can wear any color I want, any article of clothing, put a new toy in their cage, move their cage, exchange it for a completely different one, etc and none of my bird has every shown any sort of negative behavior from it. Now, birds that have been abused or severely neglected can have this problem (especially grays) but this is not a reflection on the bird's nature or personality, it's a reflection on the people who raised or kept the bird before. They were the ones that screwed the poor thing up! But even these birds can get better if kept under the right conditions and under impeccable husbandry.

As to the diet you chosen... well, if I were you, I would do more in-depth research because, for example, pellets are a complete no-no with caiques, eclectus, conures and parakeets. Personally and after over 25 years of research into their natural diets, I don't feed pellets to any of my parrots as I think they are not the healthiest option for them. I know that people recommend them but they do because they are following somebody else's advice and not because they reached the conclusion after doing thorough research (and yes, not even avian vets who do NOT stuty parrot nutrition or behavior). And, you can't just feed veggies in the morning... some species will not touch them or eat anywhere near enough of them. Mind you, I am not saying that raw veggies are not good for them! Mine get a different kind every day of the week but they also get a fruit and a leafy green AND gloop! If you feed budgies, tiels, caiques or IRN's just veggies and nothing else for all day long, you will end up with birds that are always hungry and very unhappy. Each species is different and each needs to have the diet that most closely resembles what they are supposed to eat in the wild - generalizations are OK but, when you are talking about good husbandry, you can't go by them.

Last but not least, the 'they get hormonal and bite' is simply not true. What it is true is that an overly hormonal bird will be an unhealthy and unhappy bird prone to aggression - but, again, that goes back to the solar schedule and right husbandry. A bird kept under a strict solar schedule and given the right diet, a goodly number of out-of-cage hours as well as one-on-one time, allowed to fly, etc will never become overly hormonal and will not display aggression during breeding season. Some of them get a bit more testy (like amazons, for example) but they will not be really aggressive.

Now, considering your work schedule, I am afraid that a single companion parrot is not going to work out. But you can have a bonded pair of an aviary species IF you have room for a large flight cage near a window, are super careful and work hard at your husbandry because all you would have to do whenever you need to work until late is feed them their dinner before you leave and put your lights on a timer so they turn off when the sun is halfway down to the horizon.
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