Pre Adoption Consideration
The following information has been put together by the Companion Parrot Support Network (originally founded by Jim Mckendry) to assist people considering adopting an older, unwanted or abused parrot that requires rehoming.
It is vitally important that this information be thoroughly read, digested and reflected upon prior to making a commitment to adopting a parrot via our adoption program.
The Commitment Required...
Any parrot that you may intend to adopt will have already spent its life so far in at least 2 or 3 different homes (including the breeder) and quite possibly more in some cases. It is important that the next home a parrot up for adoption finds itself in is one that has every likelihood of being a long-term situation that will end the disruptive cycle of life the bird has experienced so far. Choosing to take on an adopted parrot means that you are committed to making every effort to ensure that the life of that bird is improved and in some cases this may require continued behaviour management, extensive training and long-term care strategies being implemented. Whilst the commitment is significant it can also be highly rewarding knowing that you have made a positive difference to the life of that bird.
Parrots available via the PRC adoption program are not `give-away' or `free' birds. If you are a suitable candidate to take on one of the listed birds you may be required to compensate the carer for any veterinary, transportation and associated care fees incurred during the time spent with the carer. You should also be committed to ensuring that your new parrot receives an annual veterinary check-up and that you have allocated a sufficient monthly budget to adequately provide for the feeding, housing and enrichment of that bird.
Birds have traditionally been considered `cheap' pets in terms of their regular needs but it is essential to realise that this is not the case. Through talking with other parrot owners you may be surprised at the financial outlay dedicated keepers find necessary to provide a quality and dynamic environment for their parrot. The cost of owning a parrot does not end with the cost of the bird and its cage. Expenses however can be minimised through creative management. Utilise inexpensive items for enrichment toys, incorporate your parrot’s weekly fruit and veg intake with what you will eat during the week and focus on maintaining a `healthy' environment to reduce the likelihood of expensive health problems becoming a concern.
Suitability of Environment & Lifestyle...
Consider the suitability of your current environment and lifestyle for the successful integration of a parrot. For example, some birds may be significantly imprinted and therefore finding it difficult to cope with the regular absence of their human carer - Can you provide the regular quality time an individual parrot needs to be emotionally secure? Some parrots may exhibit phobias or have a high strung and anxious nature. Such birds may find it difficult to be integrated into a home that is constantly `active' and has children and/or other large pets regularly moving around where the bird may potentially be housed. Such situations may lead to the development of further problems so the choice you make in terms of matching what your environment and lifestyle is like and the personality of the bird needs to be a carefully considered one and something that you will need to talk through with the carer involved with the parrot you are interested in.
Most parrots require rehoming due to the following reasons...
Too Aggressive: In such cases the parrot has developed aggressive or biting behaviours as a result of poor management or the onset of a range of developmental issues. Most aggressive behaviours can be modified but it takes a dedicated approach and consultation support with an experienced parrot behaviour consultant.
Too Noisy: Parrots by nature are loud and noisy creatures. This can often become a major concern for uneducated owners and extremely disruptive to the household. Such birds should not be taken on when noise is a concern for the potential owner.
Feather Chewing: This is an increasingly significant problem and an indicator of a parrot's failure to adapt to a captive environment. Many cases of feather chewing can be alleviated over time with a dedicated, understanding and caring approach. Often these birds can become highly rewarding pets in the right circumstances.
Change of Circumstances: We can never 100% guarantee that our living situation or relationship circumstances will not change and unfortunately when they do often our ability to cater for our pets may be impaired. Many parrots requiring rehoming have no significant behaviour problems at all - they simply need to be placed in a new and more stable environment.
When taking on an adopted parrot you need to be aware of the behavioural history of the bird. The foster carer of that bird should be able to provide you with as many details as possible and direct you towards information and support mechanisms to assist you with dealing with any behaviour management issues that may come with your adopted bird. It is essential that you honestly evaluate your degree of knowledge, expertise, species understanding and overall capacity to work on modifying a parrot’s behaviour before making the final commitment to take on a new challenge.
Even a highly experienced parrot keeper can find it difficult to manage severe parrot behaviour issues so it would be unrealistic to expect all potential adopters to be successful integrating a parrot with behaviour management issues into their home. In such cases a contingency plan should be devised prior to taking on the parrot so that in the event of the situation not turning out to be positive for all involved then suitable arrangements can be made within a reasonable timeframe to ensure continuity of quality care. Never be ashamed to admit that you are having difficulties with your parrot - we all experience problems from time to time and we all need to work collectively to support each other and the birds we care for.
Whilst it may seem that the proposition of taking in an older parrot is a `difficult' one for most this is not always the case. Indeed, many parrots available for adoption may simply be in need of a new home and may have already established positive behaviours from their previous home. Such birds can bring just as much joy and affection into their new home as a young baby bird. Even those parrots that have been rehomed due to problematic behaviours can provide a dedicated carer with an immense amount of personal reward knowing that they have made a highly positive impact on the life of that bird by helping them to rediscover a new focus on life in captivity.
Can I form a bond with an older parrot?
This is probably the most frequently asked question coming from people considering taking on an older bird. The short answer is `yes' but there are a number of variables that will factor into the degree to which an older parrot establishes bonds with members of the human household. Parrots can and sometimes do transfer their pair bond throughout their life in the wild for a number of reasons and we certainly observe regular shifts in attention focus from parrots kept within a human family environment. An older parrot may take a little more time and a little more patience will be required than for a young dependent baby but with an approach built on a foundation of trust building and quality interactions you can certainly achieve a life-long and strong bond with an older parrot.