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

Enjoy a Day at Birdworld in Surrey

June 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Features

Located on 26 acres in Surrey’s Alice Holt Forest, Birdworld offers the perfect setting for a family outing. As one of the largest bird parks in England, Birdworld is home to an extensive collection of bird species, housed in conditions which keep the birds happy while allowing visitors to view them up close. In addition to viewing the birds, which include everything from the tiniest Sunbird to the impressive Maribou stork, the park offers a daily program of events and activities that will keep the family busy all day.

Birdworld includes the Jenny Wren Farm with a wide range of domestic animals such as goats, pigs, ponies, chickens and a cow which visitors can pet. The pet shop at the farm has rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, ferrets, chipmunks, finches, rats and poultry. If the kids manage to persuade mom and dad that they really will look after one of these cute little creatures, the pet shop has all the housing, bedding and other paraphernalia needed to take the new member of the family home. Bird lovers will find that finches make good pets, but need to keep in mind that while they are not demanding on their owner’s time, they do need a mate, so be prepared to get two.

Daily events at Birdworld include feeding the Humboldt Penguins twice a day (11am and 3:30 pm). The keepers doing the feeding will offer interesting facts on these comical birds as they dive into the glass-sided pool for their food. Depending on weather conditions, each day between Easter and the end of October, the park has an outdoor flying display featuring a range of birds, including owls, kookaburras and parrots. The indoor Heron Theater Show stars a range of birds displaying their natural behavior while the presenter details a number of fascinating facts about these indigenous birds. Visitors can join the keepers as they feed the Owls and Bird of Prey, all the while sharing interesting facts about the birds and answering questions. The Safari Road Train takes visitors to see some of Birdworld’s larger inhabitants, including Emus, Cranes, Storks and Ostriches. Be sure to ask about the conservation projects Birdworld is involved in.

With so much to do at Birdworld, plan to spend the day at the park. You may want to try and include some of the special events, such as Art in the Park, Teddy Bear’s Picnic, or Mini Beast Safari Day, so be sure to check in with Birdworld on what’s happening when you make your plans to visit.

Mynahs as Pet Birds

May 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Mynah’s make fascinating pets and are the best mimics in the world of birds. Categorized amongst the softbills, these playful birds require special care, especially when it comes to diet. It is also important to note that they are very active birds and require a lot of space. If you think a mynah is the bird for you, then read on.

It is important that you obtain your mynah bird from a reputable domestic mynah breeder, so as to avoid supporting wildlife smugglers, who are responsible for the deaths of vast numbers of birds captured in the wild. Because mynahs can, and should, only be obtained through domestic breeders, it may be a challenge to obtain one; however, there are a number of online resources that will assist you in locating a good breeder.

The most popular pet mynah species are the Greater Indian Hill mynah and the Java Hill mynah. Java Hill mynah’s are the larger of the two and are notable for having a clearer, more human-like voice. On the other-hand Greater Indian Hill mynahs are known to be easier to handle. Mynah’s do well on their own, but a pair is also acceptable. They tend to make more noise when there are two, and do better in an outdoor aviary.

It is advisable to house your mynah in a large cage with a few perches made of natural branches, as they do not climb but only fly and hop. A cage with a grated floor is best as it allows for easy cleaning of the newspaper lined catch tray. A shelf and a nest box will make your mynah feel right at home. The mynah’s cage should be put in a busy part of the home as they are gregarious and enjoy company. Avoid drafty spots and direct sunlight. Include a bathing dish in the cage, along with a water bottle or dish. Be sure to keep both sources of water clean. Supply your very active bird with toys such as mirrors, bells, swings, bottle caps, paper and so forth. Be careful of rope toys as these may catch the tongue of your mynah.

Mynah’s require a specialized diet as hemochromatosis is common. This is a disease that causes too much iron to collect in the bird’s liver, resulting in the bird being poisoned. As such, the mynah must be fed a low iron diet, preferably softbill food that has been formulated to meet their needs. Avoid things such as parrot food, red meat, acidic fruits, seeds and live foods. Recommended fruits to accompany the pelleted diet include apple, banana, melon and grapes, with the seeds removed. Keep the food dishes clean and the cage free of uneaten food items that may spoil. You may wish to give your mynah distilled water if you are concerned about the iron content in your water.

While there are number of considerations to take into account before bringing a pet mynah into your home, if you do decide to do so you will find it a truly rewarding experience.

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 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.

Sun Conures

August 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Sun conures are a medium-sized parrot. They are green with a yellow head and breast. They look similar to Jenday Conures and the now extinct Carolina Parakeets. Sun conures are known for having moderate talking ability and being very good at tricks. They are very loud so they are not recommended for apartment-dwelling bird owners. However, they are not usually aggressive so they are good for a multi-bird household, and are actually generally bossed around by smaller birds! They can be kept in an aviary with other sun conures or other similar parrots. The loud shrieks they emit may bother neighbors, so make sure to tell them in advance you have outdoor parrots. You may want to invite your neighbor to meet the bird as the bright coloring and intelligence generally wins them over.

These parrots can still pack a powerful and painful bite, even though they are not known for nipping, so be careful as you would with any other bird. They will generally not bite, however, so they are good for families with slightly older children. Their cheery whistles even win over teens. If you are worried about biting, teach your bird to step onto a wooden dowel instead of your finger or hand. The birds are known for making bigger messes than small birds like parrotlets and budgies, so if you like things nice and tidy they may not be for you.

These birds can easily be occupied by a foraging toy or in-shell almond, but even so, remember to let them have at least an hour a day with you, their flockmate, otherwise they may begin screaming throughout the day for you. Sun conures are very intelligent birds and need stimulating activities so they do not get bored. You may want to get a very large cage and house them with other non-aggressive conures, lovebirds, or even cockatiels. Do not house them with other Aratinga conures besides other sun conures that are not the same sex, as they may mate and have a fertile egg which will hatch a hybridized baby. These contaminate the gene pool of the few captive birds we have and the baby may have health problems due to the odd genes. Even though they are very loud, do not cover the cage during the day in an effort to stop screaming. While it does work, it is cruel to the parrot. Even if they are loud, sun conures are great pets and are lovely birds.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

The Pacific Parrotlets

August 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Pacific Parrotlets are a somewhat uncommon species. While they are actually the most common of their genera, they are not the everyday pet. The Pacifics are the friendliest of them all, although feisty and occasionally nippy, and make great companions.

They are 5 inches long at full maturity. The males have light blue streaks behind their eyes and darker streaks on the wings and rump. The female is plain green and may or may not have the light blue streak behind the eye. While they are not recommended for young children because their occasional nips can be painful, they are noted for being good at tricks, such as flying to the owner on command, the ‘wave’, and going through a hoop on command. They are also good talkers and may speak in complete sentences, although the voice is not as clear as some other parrots. They are very cute, but are known for eating as much as the larger cockatiels.

They are not recommended for aviaries as they may kill their mate or cagemate. If you put a Pacific in an aviary be sure they have lots of room to fly and do not put them with other birds as they will attack other birds regardless of size. They cannot be housed in a small finch or budgie cage and need a very large cage with about ½ inch bar sizing. They need at least 3 toys and 3-4 perches (more is always better!). Though they are small their nutrition should not be overlooked and they should be fed at least three vegetables and 2 fruits every day. They are good apartment birds because they are relatively quiet.

Pacific Parrotlets come in several color mutations such as blue, white, albino, American yellow, and gray-green. They are rarely obtained at pet stores and usually have to be bought from a professional breeder. They are good show birds as they are generally comfortable with traveling, and like all the attention they will obtain from the attendants and the judge.

Parrotlets may be small, but they are very messy. Just as the large parrots typically do, they will fling fruit and such on everything in their paths, including walls, the cage, cagemates, and the owner! They love to be with you and are very affectionate. They will (somewhat begrudgingly) let you softly stroke them in most cases. Most will gladly step onto your hand if you prompt them. Pacific Parrotlets make great pets. If you would like a parrotlet find a local breeder in your area or check a nearby shelter – you may find the right parrot for you.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

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