There are many tough questions that many bird owners face.
For instance: When to give up your bird?
With a pet that lives upwards of fifty years, it’s a consideration that almost has to come into your mind sometime. Unless you get a baby bird while you yourself are very young, chances are you simply can’t be its forever home. And if you aren’t able to provide for it (whether that be vet care, toys, or even time), the question you need to ask yourself honestly is should you relinquish your pet?
There are those who argue that when you adopt a parrot, you become its forever home no matter what. You should know what you’re getting into and make it your priority to cope with everything that owning birds involves. In ideal circumstances, this mentality is a good one.
But my thought process is this: Life is rarely ideal, and circumstances do change – and these animals are incredibly long-lived. Although it is your job to look after a bird through good times and bad, when the animal suffers – then it’s time to consider alternatives.
Once you’ve exhausted all your alternatives, I see no shame in doing what’s best for your parrot. Put him in a home where it will get the care it needs and deserves. Don’t keep it and prolong an unhappy situation that isn’t going to change. And besides the fact that life happens, plainly put, not all people are suited to keeping parrots. Better to identify this problem and remove the animal, than to make everyone suffer.
I’m not saying that owners should simply up and relinquish. That decision should involve careful thought, research, and every effort being made to correct the problem(s). If it involves behavioural issues on the behalf of the bird, work to fix them. Biting, screaming, and even plucking are all things that can potentially be stopped. And yes, that’s hard work – but if you brought the animal home, it is your responsibility to try. There can be many alternatives to difficult situation: For instance, having to work late just means thinking ahead. Provide your bird with extra foraging and lots of new toys. You can craft them yourself if money is tight. When you get home in the evening, make it your priority to spend time focussed purely on him. These creatures are adaptable. It may not be ideal, but owners manage to scrape through many difficult situations and still raise happy birds.
Just remember, it it is not a failure when someone chooses to re-home.
Similarly, another difficult thing to face – and one the topic that sparked the idea for this post, courtesy of Birdline Parrot Rescue’s Facebook group – is what to do when your bird passes away. The most important thing you can do – particularly if you have a flock that may be compromised – is get the bird to the vet for an autopsy within 12 hours.
Their advice further warns owners against putting the deceased animal in the freezer. Instead, they recommend keeping it in the refrigerator for up to a maximum of 24 hours. This is sound advice for a time we all wish we’d never face.
Another question that potential owners face is whether they should adopt. As someone who disagrees with the breeding and selling of pet birds, it’s hard for me to say no to this one. But I feel like some people can identify themselves as not being cut out to cope with a rescue bird’s issues – and what’s wrong with that? Although rescues have many happy and healthy birds, each additional home brings emotional struggles. This can make even a well-adjusted avian’s life more difficult. In light of this, I try to provide information on this blog about how and where to find decent breeders, since I feel that it’s better to have access to this, than get a bird unwittingly from a bad source.
Finally, a question that plagues us all: Should I get another bird? Multiple Bird Syndrome, aka ‘Just One More Syndrome,’ is a real thing. And I can speak from experience how the mentality of ‘I have this many, what’s one more?’ can start to add stress to your life. Besides being risky in terms of flock health, it can also create a rift between you and your current birds by upsetting the balance of your home.
Essentially, one more bird is one more vet bill, one more cage to clean and find room for, one more beak to feed, and one more creature to love, provide for, and entertain.
If you think on it and have no doubts, go ahead. It’s fine to adopt more parrots, so long as you do it understanding the impacts that will have, and can take good care of them. Everyone has a different tolerance. I know people with large, happy flocks, and people who are content with one or two.
As with many issues in the parrot world, it’s down to you and what you think and feel.