We have been successfully breeding and rearing parrots for over 20 years. During this time we have seen and experienced many changes and improvements. Not only in technology and welfare but also in the understanding of keeping parrots as pets. This includes all species of parrot including macaws, cockatoos, african and timneh grey parrots, amazon parrots, pionus parrots and conures.
These wonderful creatures can, not only be the joy of your life but in some cases, if the wrong decision is made, the bane of your life.
If we were to purchase a parrot today these are some of the things that we would want to know, and some of the questions we would be asking, before we committed ourselves to a purchase.
Initially we would look for a parrot breeder. These can be found through recommendations from friends or your local avian vet. You can also find advertisements in parrot and bird publications, and a lot of breeders now have their own websites.
As with all things there are good and bad parrot breeders around. So how do you try and make sure you have found a good one.
Here are a few of the questions that we would ask the parrot breeder if we were thinking of purchasing a parrot from them.
- Do you own the parents
- How long have you been breeding
- How do you raise your babies
- Individually or together
- How do you feed them
- What do you wean them on
- Do you let them go before they are weaned
- What backup service do you offer
- Are the baby parrots rung or micro chipped
- Can I contact any previous customers
- Do you have an avian vet
- Do you give a written health guarantee
- Do you have a waiting list for your babies
- Can we visit the baby
- Can we see the parents
- What information do they supply you with when you purchase the baby parrot
- How much research you have done into the species you are interested in buying.
- What is your criteria for selecting the species of parrot you are interested in buying.
- What your circumstances are, for example do you live in a flat or a house.
- Do you have near neighbours where the noise may be a potential problem.
- Do you have an area large enough to house a case of a suitable size.
- How much time you are able to spend with your bird.
- Do you intend your bird to live with you as part of the family.
- How much time will he spend in the cage on his own.
- What are you expecting from the parrot.
- Have you considered all the potential problems you may have with the species of parrot you have enquired about.
- Have you located you nearest avian vet.
This will tell you if they buy the chicks in, or hand rear birds for someone else. Either way, this can be a very dangerous thing to do. Birds reared together from multiple sources can run the risk of infection, from disease, bacteria or virus.
Preferable choose someone who has experience.
It is best to have a baby that has been reared with others as it will think of itself as a bird and have less potential for behavioural problems than a bird that has been reared alone.
Tube, gavage, syringe, spoon. It is a matter of choice, which you consider most suitable, but to put a tube or gavage directly into the babies crop is in our opinion not one of choice.
Fruit, vegetables, soaked seeds and pulses is the answer we would be looking for. However many people nowadays use a complete food, we prefer a more natural diet.
The answer to this should always be no. Especially to someone with no experience of parrots. I often hear people say it will bond better if you hand feed it. This is simply not the case and to wean one baby on it’s own is no easy task.
They should always be there to help you should you have a query or a problem. Avoid anyone who just wants to wash their hands of the baby when it leaves them.
All baby parrots should have some form of identification. We have had problems with ringing in the past so we no longer use this method. We use micro chipping as a means to identification for all our babies. We feel that this method is much safer and more accurate. If you do purchase a bird that has been rung pay very close attention to the ring. If it is too tight it can become embedded in the skin and if it is too loose it can get caught on toys. Sometimes if you have two or more parrots together they can play with each others rungs and squash them onto their legs cutting of blood supply.
Again this should be offered by any breeder to any potential customer.
This is a must for all parrot breeders, they are invaluable.
If the answer to this one is no walk away
Again the sign of a good, reputable breeder.
If the answer is no again walk away.
This is sometimes difficult as they may be in a breeding situation, or the breeder may be concerned about theft. The real reason you are asking this question is to try and find out if they have bred the babies themselves. Many people buy in eggs or babies from other sources and rear them to sell. These are not breeders. This practice can be fraught with problems, like disease, infection, viruses and bacteria, which can occur when birds are purchase from various sources and put together. it only takes one to be infected and this will infect all of the other birds in the nursery.
The least you should have is a certificate of hatch. Ideally you should have a sample of the food the parrot is used to eating, some notes on how to care for your new baby parrot. A recommendation about the size of cage the birds needs and something suitable for the bird to be transported in. A list of possible questions and answers for you to look at, especially if this is your first parrot and most importantly of all a written health guarantee and a full after sales service.
This may seem a lot of questions but remember this bird is for life, and life for a parrot should be a very long time. You really need to try and make sure that you get it right and make the correct decision the first time.
Obviously the answer to these questions will vary from breeder to breeder, but any breeder should be able to confidently answer all of them without hesitation.
The reputable breeder should also be asking you questions, things like…
A good breeder should always give you help and advice on your selection of species, and not just sell you what they have available. They should advise you on what species is best for your individual situation. If they do not breed that species they may be able to recommend a breeder that does.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to do plenty of research before you actually purchase a parrot.
Get the correct species for your situation.
Know, not only, how wonderful they are as pets, but also, the potential behavioural problems that can occur.
Know where you can get good advice from people who already have experience of that species as a pet.
We feel that it is very important, not only for you to find someone reputable and reliable to purchase your baby parrot from, but also that you should feel confident and comfortable with them when you do so.