Finding a Reputable Bird Breeder

October 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

You are looking to add a new baby bird to your family. You have chosen the best species for your family. You pick up the newspaper and find an ad for someone who breeds this species. But their advertisement seems a little suspicious. Still, you give them a call. But, once you talk to the breeder, you become even more concerned. They refuse to send photos, and they want you to send them a check before they give you the bird. This article will help you avoid this situation & help you find a reputable breeder you can trust.

First off- check this person’s website. Normally, but not always, a reputable breeder will have a website with contact information, prices, and photos of the babies and their parents. It’s also good if they give a little information about themselves and their birds. If a breeder is committed enough to put up an informative website with photos, they are likely experienced, well-informed breeders. If you find advertisements for breeders with only emails and no websites, it may mean that they are inexperienced or un-reputable breeders.

Try to find reviews for this breeder. Can you find any bird owners that have purchased birds from this breeder? Ask them some questions. Are their birds healthy, active, socialized, friendly birds? When they bought the bird, was it hand-tamed, or did they have to work with the bird for a while? Did the bird have any health problems when they purchased it? Does it have health problems now? Did they get to meet the parents of their bird? You may not always be able to find customers of the breeder, but if you do, be sure to get some information from them.

Ask your breeder what the name of their avian vet is. If they cannot seem to give you the name of the vet or the veterinary practice that they work at, this is a bad sign. Ask the breeder for the veterinary records of your potential new baby. If they are unable to provide them, you may want to consider getting a bird from another breeder. If they are able to give you the name of the veterinarian, ask the vet some questions. Make sure that your bird’s parents are healthy and in good condition.

Although this may not always be the case, if the breeder refuses to let you into their home or breeding facility, it is a reason to be suspicious. How do you know that the birds are kept in sanitary conditions? If the breeder wants you to meet him/her in a parking lot, at a store or gas station, or at any location other than where he keeps the bird, it is a little unusual, and you should be cautious. If the person has no website, doesn’t appear to have a vet, his/her reviews are negative, and asks you to meet them at an unusual location, you should probably go to another breeder. The person may have a ‘bird mill’ where his/her birds are kept in unsanitary conditions, are kept in tiny cages, and are not provided fresh food and clean water.

And remember- if you cannot find a reputable breeder in your area (which is highly unlikely), check out a shelter or parrot rescue. You may find that your best friend doesn’t have to come from a breeder after all.

Article submitted by: Eliza Kuklinski

Adopting a Rescue Parrot

October 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

Normally, if you are planning to add a new bird to your family, you have a specific species in mind, because, after all, a parakeet is quite different from a macaw. You might look for someone with a good reputation who breeds this species. This is one of the most popular ways to obtain a bird. However, there is another great way to find a feathered friend or friends- through a shelter or a parrot rescue.

Many people find themselves unable to care for a parrot once they buy one. Perhaps they are too messy, or too loud, or not social enough. Other times, the owner may have financial or health problems, and as much as they love their bird, they truly can no longer care for him or her. These parrots usually do not end up in a parrot rescue; instead, they are usually turned in to a local animal shelter. Generally, shelters are not good environments for parrots – they are very loud, the employees are generally not able to give the birds a lot of attention, and they are very rarely able to provide toys or treats. That is where a parrot rescue comes in. They take the animal from the shelter, and put them either in their own facility, or in a foster home. Either way, they are generally able to provide the level of care that the bird needs. Many potential parrot owners prefer to adopt from parrot rescues rather than animal shelters, because the rescues generally are able to spend time with their birds and are able to provide a better description of their behaviors and personalities.

If you decide to adopt from a shelter rather than a rescue, be careful. Although your bird may have been turned in for no fault of its own, and it could be a perfectly nice pet, he also could have been surrendered for various behavior problems. Ask an employee if they know what the reason for surrender was, or if they have noticed any behavior problems during the birds’ time at the shelter. Ask them if you can spend a little time with the bird; sometimes, a shelter will have a ‘visitation room,’ where you can spend some time alone with your potential new best friend. Remember, sometimes birds will act up in the shelter – they may be frightened and screech loudly, or they could be so scared that they shy away from human contact. The shelter environment is loud and frightening, especially to a small bird like a parakeet, cockatiel or parrotlet. However, even the biggest macaw may act unusually in this loud and scary place.

You may find that you don’t want to adopt from a shelter after all. You might want to adopt from a breeder, where they have truly known the bird its whole life, and can tell you practically everything about it. But remember- if you adopt a bird from a scary situation, you are their hero. Even though you might not realize it, your friend will feel grateful. If you are considering a new avian friend, please consider dropping by a shelter or parrot rescue before you buy from a breeder.

Article contributed by Eliza Kuklinski

Pet Birds: Green-Rumped Parrotlets

April 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Green-rumped parrotlets are the second most popular species of parrotlets. Green-rumps (Forpus passerinus) are a bright, beautiful emerald green. They are shy birds, a contrast to the Pacific parrotlets. However, if they are cared for properly and have time spent with them daily, they will eventually come out of their shell. Green-rumps are not known for talking but may pick up a few words and are capable of learning tricks. Green-rumps are available in several color mutations, such as Green-Gray and Turquoise.

Green-rumped parrotlets are not known for being aggressive or biting, and very rarely bite or nip. Green-rumps need at least three toys in their cage and a playgym, as they are very active birds and love to climb. Green-rumps need at least thirty minutes a day with you, as they will become lonely and develop anxiety and possibly pluck their feathers without one-on-one playtime daily.

Green-rumps also need at least 3 veggies and two fruits daily to keep them in top condition. They also need about four teaspoons of a ¾ seeds, ¼ pellet mix. Feed color mutations this except the pellets. Don’t feed pellets to color mutations. Parrotlets should also have a cuttlebone, mineral block, or both in the cage at all times.

Green-rumps aren’t for everyone, but are lovely birds and are loving, sweet, and friendly. If you’’re interested in a Green-rump parrotlet, check out a local parrot rescue society or contact a breeder. Green-rumps are a serious commitment as they live for 20 years or more, so think things over before you get a new bird. Parrotlets can’t just be given up, as they bond with their owner very strongly, so think things through before making serious decisions.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

Pet Birds: Yellow-Faced Parrotlets

April 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Yellow-faced parrotlets (Forpus xanthops) are beautiful birds. They are green with gray and bright, beautiful, sunny yellow faces. Although they are small, they are smart and may learn to do tricks or talk.

Yellow-faced parrotlets, like all parrots, need a quality seed mix and fruit and vegetables daily. They need at least 30 minutes to an hour of attention daily or they get very lonely. Yellow-faces are very active birds and need at least three to four toys in their cage. They also need a play-gym and love one-on-one snuggling. Yellow-Faces should not be kept in an aviary unless it is very large or they may attack other parrotlets.

Yellow-faces, as mentioned before, are good talkers. While it is not guaranteed that they will learn words, they can learn whistles, words, and short sentences. Yellow-faced parrotlets generally aren’t huge fans of petting, but may enjoy the occasional “scratchie.”However, they are still very social and love attention, especially having their owners talk to them. In general they are very sweet, loving birds.

These parrotlets have many different subspecies. There is also a Pacific parrotlet color mutation, Fallow, which makes those birds appear similar to Yellow-faces; however, they don’t have the dark spots on the beak like Yellow-faces. Yellow-faced parrotlets are rare in the U.S. and may be hard to find.

Yellow-faced parrotlets can live over 20 years, so they’re a lifelong commitment. These parrotlets aren’t easy and need a serious dedication. Don’t buy a bird on a whim; take your birds seriously.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

Pet Birds: Budgies

February 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Budgies are extremely popular little birds, having been around for decades. They come in many different colors; including green, white, blue, yellow, and mixtures of different colors. Although they are small, they should be fed at least two different kinds of fruits every day, three different kinds of vegetables, and a mixture of pellets and seeds. Budgies are relatively good talkers, and over a long period of time can learn a number of words.

Although many people do not know it, there are two different kinds of budgies. They are not different species; they are the first parrot to particularly have ‘breeds’. The more common of the two is the American budgie; more commonly known as a parakeet. These little birds are commonly seen in pet shops and are extremely popular, especially with breeders and first-time bird owners. They usually live around 15 to 20 years – not including birds with diseases or injuries.

English budgies are a bit larger than American budgies and are bred for bird shows, rather than as pets. However, this does not mean they make bad pets; they are still nice birds. However, they have a shorter lifespan, and usually live around seven years.

Although their names do not suggest it, budgies are actually from Australia. They are ground feeders and mainly eat grasses and seeds. However, this does not mean they need a seed-based diet in captivity – they do not fly for miles as wild budgies would, so the fat from the seeds would build up quickly.

They have complex emotions like larger parrots and need to be treated with respect. Budgies cannot be taught tricks with negative reinforcement and need to always be treated kindly. They are still capable of biting, as sweet as they may be, and cannot be squeezed.

Budgies are easy to find at shelters and pet shops, even breeders. If you take interest in one of these special pets, make sure you are able to take care of them properly. If you are, and you think they are the right pet for you, invest in a large cage, a good pelleted diet, perches and toys. If you have decided, good luck on your new bird!

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

Pet Birds: Cockatiels

February 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Cockatiels are well known little birds. They are popular with first-time bird owners and master aviculturists alike. They are fairly quiet little guys, but if they do not have enough time out-of-cage, they may begin a screaming habit. They are good in aviaries and can be kept with other cockatiels, doves, finches, and canaries.

Cockatiels are prone to Giardis infections, so take them to the vet yearly for a well-bird visit. They are small, but need a good diet – feed two different kinds of fruit and three different kinds of veggies every day, along with a teaspoon of seeds and a tablespoon of pellets.

Cockatiel males are good talkers, but females do not usually talk. They can be potty trained, taught step up, and can be taught many other tricks. They are friendly and are usually good with children, as long as the children are gentle enough.

Keep them in a fairly large cage with appropriate bar spacing- around ½ inch. Provide them with around three perches and four toys at minimum. While they enjoy toys, their favorite toy is you, so let them have time out-of-cage with you. If you cannot spend lots of time with your cockatiel everyday, get a larger cage and have it share it with a cagemate. They will not usually fight, but introduce them slowly so nothing happens. If you will let the cockatiel out of its cage, but won’t have time to interact (you should interact for at least around ten minutes a day), get a playstand, even a small one, so your cockatiel is not bored.

Now that you know all this, if you are interested in a ‘tiel, visit your local bird rescue or pet store. There are always birds in need of a home and love.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

Parrotlet Color Mutations

January 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Parrotlets are sweet, feisty little birds with a love for life. These little guys come in a range of colors. Hopefully after reading this you will have a better idea of these mutations and will appreciate them.

Blue
The blue mutation is one of the more popular and common color. As the name implies, these parrotlets are an attractive light blue. Sometimes referred to as ‘Mountain Blues’, these little guys are easy to find and beautiful.

Dilute Blue
These parrotlets are less common and are commonly mistaken for white parrotlets. They are mostly white; however, they have a tiny hint of extremely pale blue around their eyes, which you can use to differentiate between the two types. They are less common, so you may need to go to a breeder to get one.

White
As the name implies, these parrotlets are pure white. They are much like the Dilutes – but without the blue. They are uncommon, but can be found in some breeders’ aviaries. Males, when placed under ultraviolet light, have blue edges on their wings.

Albino
Albino parrotlets are almost exactly the same as the White, but they have red eyes due to lack of pigmentation. These parrotlets are semi-rare so you may need to do some searching for them.
Their wings do not turn blue under ultraviolet light.

American Yellow
These parrotlets are some of the few colors to be developed in the Americas and not in Europe. A bright yellow, they have black eyes. There is a variation of these with red eyes referred to as Lutinos. Both of these are somewhat uncommon.

Dilute
Dilute is a darker version of the normal green found on parrotlets. It has a gray hue and is actually a very attractive color on them. It is extremely rare and only found on Green-Rumped parrotlets.

Fallow
Fallow is a beautiful color mutation. These birds look much like normal parrotlets but with a yellow face and red eyes. These are extremely rare, and you may not be able to currently obtain one.

Dark Factor
Dark Factor parrotlets are the newest color mutation. These birds are a brown-green color with black flight feathers. Since these have just been discovered, they are still very rare and hard to find.

European Yellows
These birds are the cousin of the American Yellows, but look different – having spots of greenish feathering, not ha consistent yellow like the Americans. These are hard to find without a little searching.

Hopefully this article has cleared up your understanding of parrotlet colors. If you would like one, contact a breeder. Mutations are not commonly found at rescues or shelters.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

Parrotlet or Parakeet- What Is the Difference?

January 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

When you go to buy your first parrot at the pet store, you notice the tags on the cages: Parrotlet. Parakeet. You wrinkle your brow. Huh? They look similar to each other. What is the difference? A more experienced aviculturist will know immediately that you are dealing with two very different birds.

Parrotlets

Parrotlets are small, feisty birds. The ways they differ from parakeets can actually be quite obvious, if you look. For example, by general rule, parrotlets have short tails – while parakeets (also called budgies) lave long ones. Second, they have larger beaks (compared to body size) and they are usually a lighter color than a budgie. They also do not have the stripes that budgies do along their feathers. Parrotlets have a very large appetite, sometimes eating as much as a cockatiel daily.

Parakeets

Parakeets are the quieter, more calm of the two parrots, but that isn’t all. They also have different colored ceres (nostrils) from parrotlets. Females usually have a slightly deeper pink than parrotlets, or a light gray, and the males have a bright blue cere. While the two are both ground foragers, they forage in two different places. Budgies, or parakeets, live in Australia, whereas parrotlets usually live in South America. Parakeets can also be kept in flocks; however, parrotlets are not great aviary birds and tend to fight with cagemates. Parakeets are also much more common as they have been bred for a much longer period of time. Also, they are cheaper – Parrotlets can cost hundreds of dollars, while parakeets can be found at pet stores costing around twenty five dollars.

While these parrots may be similar, hopefully you have picked up some tips on telling them apart. Remember, both of these species can be found at local pet stores, so if you are interested in a bird, they are worth considering.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

Top Three Parrots for Kids

January 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Most people purchase their child a parrot without realizing the full responsibility of caring for these creatures. While this does not mean parrots make poor pets, they are a challenge to care for, especially the larger ones, who easily feel neglected, bite hard, and can scream loudly. There are a few birds that can be considered suitable as a first time bird, however.

Budgies

These little parrots have been pets for a long time, and great ones at that. The small birds easily learn to step up and will love spending time with you. However, they need to have their cage washed every two months, have the papers changed every day, and such. If you would like an easy-to-work-with little friend, these are the right birds for you. English budgies live for about 7 years, while American budgies usually live about 15/20 years.

Cockatiels

Cockatiels are another favorite with young bird owners. These friendly birds are not as colorful as other parrots, but they learn to talk more readily than budgies (well, males talk; a talking female is rare) and are very sweet. They are also good at tricks and can learn step up, wave, and can be potty trained. They usually live at least 15-17 years, but more commonly live about twenty years.

Parrotlets

Parrotlets are small – but they make it up with huge personalities. These little guys are feisty and can have a big bite, but are great pets – usually for slightly older kids. They are energetic little green machines and are sure to charm anyone. They are good at talking, especially males, but can learn tricks too. They are fine pets, and once you get to know them you are sure to adore them. They live 20+ years – the oldest on record was thirty years old.

Explore what would be right for you and your child’s lifestyle. Always be sure the parrot is getting adequate care from your child. If you would like a parrot for your child, go to a local parrot shelter or a breeder. There will always be a right one for you.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

Game Birds Losing Feathers

September 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

Winter is setting in, and you absolutely do not know what to do. Your quail and pheasants have lost feathers and you don’t want them to get chilled. What do you do?

A common problem in blue scale quail is fright. Similar to when a lizard drops its tail, it is a clever defense mechanism. When a predator grabs the bird, a bunch of feathers drop out, leaving a live quail and an annoyed predator. When someone picks up the blue scales the same happens. A good way to prevent this from happening is to only handle these birds for check-ups or emergencies. If you have extremely tame quail and this only happens rarely, it is okay to handle them.

Pheasants do not have large problems with picking. When it does happen, it is usually with ring-neck pheasants. These slightly aggressive birds will pick or attack other birds. This behavior is known for starting when they are still chicks and becoming more full-fledged (no pun intended) in juveniles and adults. They will even pick at pheasants of their own species. A good way to keep them from hurting flock members is keeping them separate from other pheasants (and other birds in general). If you have a flock of them, give them plenty of space, as well as something else to pick at, such as shoestrings or jingle balls made for cats or parrots.

If you keep your quail and pheasants with chickens, hang shoestrings from the wire or put toys or something inside to provide entertainment. On rare occasions chickens will severely maim their own species or other birds and have been known to engage in cannibalism. This is known to happen due to extreme boredom.

Mites are a very common problem. Remember to keep coops or cages clean at all times and put out dust baths occasionally for your birds.

Even if your birds do not pick it is a good idea to take them to the avian vet yearly. Make sure your birds stay healthy no matter what.

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