Oh, Poor, Pitiful Them, e.g., reasons NOT to buy a bird

Richard HorvitzAug 3, '18

This month I have decided to rant and rave,  scowl and scream,  like a character in a famous movie – “I’m mad as (heck) and I’m not going to take it anymore!” 

A little dramatic?  Maybe.  Necessary?  You be the judge. 

It’s just that we see soooo many people come in with problems associated with quick decisions, bad or no information, and the illusory “great deal,”

which turns out instead to be a great deal of extra time, money, and thinking about how you could ever purchase that bird in the first place.  You should never feel that way about a lifelong companion. 

First reason not to buy a bird. 

It just gets to me – the scenario goes something like this.  You and your loved one walk into a bird store/pet store selling birds.  Next thing you know, you find yourself feeling sorry for the deplorable way the bird(s) is (are) being taken care of – small cage, no toys, poopy rising like a mountain through the cage bottom all the way up to the bird’s vent.  Then, a light bulb appears as inspiration above your head – and inside that lightbulb it says – “I’m going to rescue this poor baby – I don’t care how much the bird costs, or whether I know anything about the bird, all I know it will have a better life with me than this horrible place,”  whereupon you shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars to “save” the poor bird, and take it home. 

Is this a good thing?  Is this any different than you feeling sorry for a drunk, then giving them $20?  Well, the drunk will not buy an ounce of food to eat, but will instead buy another bottle, and so goes the cycle. You are simply perpetuating the problem, you are not helping find a solution.  Likewise, give an unscrupulous bird/pet store owner money (even if your intentions are noble), and all you are doing is giving them the money to abuse an even greater number of birds!  That’s right, you save the bird but loose the jungle.  And, I bet the bird is either 1.  Not the species they told you  2. not the age you were told, or 3. the bird has a transmitable disease and your other birds are now at risk. 

A better solution would be to 1.  Tell the store owner or manager your disapproval of their method of caring (or not) for the birds  2.  Call Florida Fish Game and Wildlife to file a complaint. 

Second reason not to buy a bird. 

Scenario #2 – You and your loved one walk into a bird/pet store and see the nicest, sweetest, baby bird,  – just look how easy it looks to stick a syringe in its’ beak and feed it.  You bond so much better you when feed the bird, you are told, plus, you can get a GREAT DEAL if you simply finish the hand feeding yourself.  Right? 

WRONG!   On each account, misinformation.  First of all many states are trying to pass legislation to prevent the sale of unweaned birds.  Are they being unreasonable? You be the judge – birds in the wild leave their parents after being weaned, but if you wean the bird, the bird is staying with what they perceive to be their parents.  We have seen numerous behavioral problems associated with this “overbonding” i.e., excessive screaming, biting, and self mutilation that we feel is directly related to feeding your own bird. Plus, there are many birds sent home, believe it or not, that still needed to be hand fed, but were not, and they die from starvation right beside a big bowl of food that do not know how to eat.  

The second reason it is a bad idea is that most stores who sell birds this way do it for one reason, and one reason only – they make more money.  How, you ask, do they make more money if they are selling the birds for leses money?  In a word – volume, assembly line production – bring ‘em in, get ‘em out.  Plus, they will not even train you the proper method to hand feed, but they will sell you some formula, a syringe and (if you’re lucky) a thermometer.  By the way, don’t try calling for some help if you have a problem, because whatever went wrong, “it’s your fault.” 

The third reason for not buying a bird this way is the illusion of a “bargain” bird, a deal.  Well, my friends, I have been in this business for nearly ten years, and I can tell you, there is no such thing a bargain;  if a bird is selling for that much less money than the other outlets, believe me, there is a reason.  In this case, just one visit to the vet for a fungal, bacterial, or aspiration issue, and “Oops, you did it again . . . “  the vet now gets the amount you “saved” (or more) by buying an unweaned bird.  And, I almost forgot, you still have to feed him, only now you need to medicate the bird too.  

Third reason not to buy a bird

No health guarantee.  Any reputable store will give you a full health guarantee on your bird which gives you three to five days to test the bird, them guarntees that the store will take of of health issues (if any).  The guarantee should be in writing, and, for the heck of it, call  their vet and see if they actually stand (or have stood) behind their guarantee! 

Forth reason not to buy a bird. 

Not knowing that owning a bird is a lifetime commitment.  Ours birds come first.  Yours should too.  Do your research, shop around, and make an informed decision.  Buy with your brain, not with your heart.  It’s better for the abused birds that way, and it will keep storeowners honest. 

See ya! 

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