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Carolyn

15 Common Reason Why people Give Up Birds

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Sometimes it’s easy to get angry with people for giving up their birds. For most of us, our birds are cherished family members and many of us just couldn’t imagine ever turning them over to anyone else. But the fact is that birds are re-homed for many different reasons, and the fault doesn’t always lie with the caretakers. As wild animals, birds have lots of traits that just don’t fit in to the average family’s home and lifestyle. Learning about the reasons why birds are displaced may help us to ensure that more birds stay in their homes, and that fewer birds will be purchased impulsively.:(

 

Reasons Why People Give Up Their Birds

 

1. Noise levels. Parrots are loud. Even the small parrots, like Budgie and Cockatiels, can be loud. That's what parrots are made to do. Whether it is the bird guardian who is at his wit's end, or the neighbors, noise levels are a major reason people give up their parrots. Most parrots do not fare well in apartment or condo settings due to noise levels, especially the very noisy birds like Conures and Cockatoos. Unfortunately, some frustrated caretakers will resort to isolating the parrot in a covered cage, closet, or basement to “control” the noise. This is horribly abusive. Isolation is never an acceptable “solution” to the noise problem. Isolation can cause further behavioral problems, including feather destruction and other neurotic behaviors.

 

2. Mess. Parrots are messy. They throw their food, and some species (Lories and Lorikeets) even projectile poop! Parrot guardians find themselves cleaning every day. Many parrot guardians have multiple cleaning appliances, such as vacuums, dust-busters, steam cleaners, electric brooms, special cleaning products to remove dried on food and feces, etc. It is a non-stop job that continues for the life of the bird (remember how long birds live??).

 

3. Expense. Parrots are expensive. With a medium sized parrot, such as an Amazon or African Grey, you can expect to pay an average of nearly $50 a month for supplies (toys, food, play stands, etc.), in addition to veterinary care (with vet costs spread throughout the year). This does not take into account the cost of the cage, which can run you $400-$1,000. Vet care can run $300 a year as long as the bird remains healthy. Depending on the cost of the bird itself, you are looking at a very costly "pet".

 

4. Biting. If you care for a parrot, you will get bitten. It's bound to happen eventually. Whether it's a daily occurrence, or only happens when your bird is scared (like at the vet's office), it will happen. How you handle the biting can determine whether or not it becomes habitual. If you lose your confidence, you will probably stop handling your bird and the bird will eventually lose his tameness. Birds can decide they don't like particular people. Even if your bird loves you, what if he attacks your boyfriend/girlfriend/children? Remember that the larger parrots have very powerful beaks -- people have gone to the hospital after being bitten by their parrot. Some bird caretakers have required stitches or even reconstructive surgery after a particularly bad bite, which can happen especially during hormonal times. Are you comfortable living with that possibility? Are you comfortable having an animal like this around your children?

 

5. Behavioral Problems. Problems such as excessive screaming, fear biting, feather destructive behaviors, body mutilation, and other neurotic behavioral problems cause people to give up their parrots. Behavioral problems can be a result of many different factors, all of which can be related to life in captivity. If you work all day, be prepared to spend a large portion of your free time caring for your bird. In the wild, parrots do not have behavioral problems. There are many "behavioral issues" that are not truly problems for the bird, but may be problems for you, such as loud noises, mess, etc. These are behaviors that would be normal for the bird in the wild. There are a few excellent parrot behavioral consultants who you can work with should your bird develop legitimate behavioral problems.

 

6. Allergies. Most birds give off dander and dust that can aggravate or create breathing problems. People with asthma should not keep birds that give off lots of dust like Cockatoos, African Greys, and Cockatiels. Some older people or people with respiratory problems have great difficulties with birds. While doctors may advise you to give up your bird if you develop allergies, there are some things you can try first, such as using an air filter, to try to lessen your physical effects before you need to give up your birds.

 

7. Having a baby. Lots of younger people get birds in their teens or twenties, and when they decide to start a family, they realize the bird doesn't fit into their life anymore, or they feel that they just can't give the bird as much attention as they should. Some birds can be dangerous around children, and birds can suffer from the lack of attention caused by a new baby in the family. The lack of attention can cause all sorts of behavioral problems for the parrot. There are things you can do, however, to help prepare your bird for the arrival of a new baby. If you can obtain a recording of baby noises (cooing, crying, singing, etc.) this might be helpful for you to play for your bird. You can also have a friend or family member bring over their baby for your bird to see. You can even try carrying around a doll for a few weeks before your baby is due.

 

8. Moving/Relocating. Sometimes people feel that their bird will not tolerate a long move, so they decide to re-home the bird. The fact is that birds are quite resilient and will often tolerate long car trips quite well, provided they have plenty of food and water. If you are moving into an apartment, just be sure that your landlord will allow pets, and birds especially.

 

9. Landlord Problems. If your bird is loud, and you live in an apartment, you may have to deal with noise complaints from neighbors. Hopefully you received something in writing before you moved in that pets were acceptable, and most specifically birds. After all, there’s a big difference between keeping a cat, and keeping a Moluccan Cockatoo in an apartment! You may also wish to make contact with your neighbors when you move in to let them know that you have a bird (maybe even invite them over to meet your bird), and let them know when your bird normally vocalizes. Give them your phone number so that they can call you if the noise is too loud for them. Keeping the lines of communication open can help diffuse any issues your neighbors may have with your bird.

 

10. Partner/Spouse Issues. Many times single people bond with their bird too much, and when the single person marries or moves in with their mate, the bird can become quite aggressive toward the rival. This is one of the leading causes of parrot displacement. Sometimes you just end up with a partner who doesn’t like your bird very much. In these cases, it’s usually not a really legitimate reason to give up a bird. As long as the primary caretaker can care for the bird without the help of the spouse, things should work out ok. You may wish to have your partner spend quality time with your bird to help foster a better relationship. Have your partner, and only your partner, feed your bird some special treats. This can often be a great way to change your bird’s mind about your partner!

 

11. Time Constraints. Birds are a lot of work, and they often require much more time than a cat or even a dog. When you first adopted your bird, you may have had plenty of time to care for her, but now you’ve gotten a new job, gotten married, had a child, are caring for an elderly parent, etc, and you’ve realized that your bird is being neglected. If you find yourself feeling guilty because your bird spends much more time in her cage than she used to, you have a few options. If you’re willing to do the work, you can consider adopting another bird. That might sound like more work, and it surely will be, but if the two birds bond, they will be able to provide each other with the constant companionship that they crave and need. You can also consider hiring a pet sitter, neighbor, or family member to spend regular time with your bird when you’re not home.

 

12. Too Many Birds. It happens to the best of us. We adopt our first bird and are so enamored that we somehow end up with a whole household full of birds. It might be fun at first, but after a while you might find yourself overwhelmed and tired of all the cleaning and the noise. You need to know your limits, and not exceed them by making impulse purchases and adoptions. It’s great to take in rescued birds, but not if the bird’s care is compromised by the number of birds already needing your care. Know your limits.

 

13. Child No Longer Taking Responsibility for Their Bird. Lots of parents think that smaller birds like Cockatiels make good pets for children, not realizing how long these birds can actually live, If a 10-year old child gets a Cockatiel, when that child is ready to go to college who is going to care for the bird, who could still have a good 10 years left of her life? What should parents do when young children simply grow tired of caring for their bird? Children need to be taught responsibility, and should not be offered the easy way out when taking care of their bird. Discuss with your child what can be done to improve the situation and work on an agreement and standard of care that you feel will be more acceptable. But, as the adult of the household, you should still be prepared to care for, and pay for (vet care, toys, food, etc.) the bird.

 

14. Moving to an Assisted Living Facility. Lots of people adopt young birds after their kids leave the nest, but this can pose a real problem when the caretaker finds himself or herself with the reality of moving into an assisted living situation. Adults should consider adopting older birds, so that this isn’t so much of an issue. They should also work out a plan while they are still healthy and independent regarding who will care for their bird when they can no longer do so. Older adults can also look into retirement communities that allow pets.

 

15. Illness or Death. Unfortunately, most people don’t think about what will happen to their birds when they die, or if they should become too ill to properly care for their bird. Using a living will, you can easily designate someone to care for your bird after you pass on, or should you lose your ability to provide proper care to your bird. You should work out the details while you are still healthy, though. You may want your bird to go to an avian sanctuary, an adoption facility, or to a friend or family member. Be sure to discuss all of your plans with your family so that they are aware of your wishes.

 

Carolyn & Mika:)

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Bravo Caroline this is a marvelous post. The administrators made an intelligent pick when they chose you as a moderator. Thanks for taking the time to work up these important points and reminders. You go girl!!!

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Nice informative post Carolyn. I hope everyone that enters this site reads and gives careful considration to the key points addressed in it.

 

Karma to you. :-)

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luvparrots wrote:

Bravo Caroline this is a marvelous post. The administrators made an intelligent pick when they chose you as a moderator.

 

 

You made my entire month with that reply!! KArma for you!! THANK YOU VERY MUCH! And you are right, she was a WONDERFUL choice! :)

 

Another very nice article Carolyn! :)

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this is a great topic. well done. This is exactly what happens most of the time. I wish everybody would read your post before getting a bird so they would know what they should expect,and dont say they were not warned. Well done!!!!

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