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Hi Riley,

The original post dates back to 2007 so the poster is unlikely to respond. I've copied and pasted some of the information for you, but you can learn more by browsing this and other parrot websites.

[FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]The work of [/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]Dr. Irene Pepperberg[/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif] with African grey parrots has taught us that most exotic birds have relatively high intelligence levels, often falling into the same range of a 5-year old human child. Knowing this, it goes without saying that parrots have very specific and serious [/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]social and intellectual needs[/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]. These needs can be difficult to meet in captivity, but it is very important that you attempt to learn as much as you can about your bird's needs and do your best to meet them.
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[FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]Birds are sociable creatures!
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[FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]Parrots have very intense social bonds in the wild. They are flock animals; they survive by staying with the flock. A bird who becomes lost or abandoned will soon be another animal's meal. Most birds which live in flocks (as most parrots do) and feed communally, tend to pair for life. In captivity, if the bird is kept alone or is bonded primarily to their caregiver (you!), that can present all sorts of problems. You have become this bird's mate, [/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]not her parent[/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif], and and the bird expects a lot out of her mate! She expect you to provide her with love and attention every day. Parrots that become bonded to people often suffer when the favored human has to leave for work, go on vacation, or just needs a break. If you do keep your bird singly, please consider [/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]adopting a friend[/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]. Until that time, be sure to spend time focusing on your bird every day for at least a few hours.
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[FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]Ideally birds should not be kept singly. Their social needs should be met by another bird. Birds can provide each other with the best source of companionship, because it is instinctual to them and it is constant. [/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]Different species[/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif] may have different social needs. Cockatoos are notorious for needing intense social interaction, while Ringnecks may be a bit more independent. If you keep a parrot who is bonded to humans in a cage all day, you are setting yourself and your bird up for major problems. Birds who do not get their intense social needs met often develop [/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]behavioral problems[/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif] such as excessive screaming, feather destruction, and other problematic behaviors that can be difficult to reverse.
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[FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]Parrots need to fly!
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[FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]Cages are just that: cages. [/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]An aviary[/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif] is best, not a cage. If you must cage your birds, give them as much time out as possible -- and start building your aviary! See the [/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]housing page[/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif] for more information. Allow your bird a safe place to[/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif] fly[/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]. Parrots were designed to fly, and some people feel that it is the inability to fly in captivity that causes all kind of problems such as excessive screaming and feather/body destructive behaviors. A bird's respiratory system is only working properly when she's allowed to fly. If you are planning on adopting a parrot, you should plan on building an aviary at some point to allow your parrot a safe place to fly around.
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[FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]There is a huge debate in the bird world regarding flying. And there are valid points on each side of the argument. Personally, I'm in favor of flying and my three birds do not have their wing feathers clipped unless it's necessary for their safety. Allowing birds to have full use of their wing feathers is a huge responsibility. You need to make sure your bird will be safe when he's out of his cage. A safe room would be one in which there are no doors to the outside. An interior bedroom would be better. Windows should always have screens in them and should preferably have a shade covering them so birds do not fly into them. Turn off ceiling fans. You should not allow other pets around your bird while he's out of his cage. Some birds who have been clipped may never have learned to fly, so once her wing feathers start growing back in, you will need to watch her carefully when she tries to fly. She might appear out of control, fly into a wall, mirror, or window, etc. Be sure it's bright enough in the room for her to see properly, and make sure it's a room she's familiar with. A smaller room, such as a bathroom, might be better with clumsy, inexperienced fliers. Just make sure the toilet lid is down and there is no standing water anywhere.
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[FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]Birds who are allowed to fly may indeed seem more self assured. They know that they can now get to where they want to go without relying on you, and they know they can get away from danger on their own. They are self-directed.
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[FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]Clipped birds also face some dangers. Even with their wing feathers fully clipped, some birds can still fly if they get outdoors, especially little Cockatiels. Don't let clipping provide you with a false sense of security. Clipped birds tend to roam around on the floor, where they can be stepped on, crushed behind a door, or picked up by the cat or dog. But, clipping can also help keep your bird safe if he is constantly going places he shouldn't go or if you live somewhere where he could get outdoors easily. You need to decide what's best for your own bird.
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[FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]Parrots are smart!
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[FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]In the wild, parrots spend most of their days foraging for food. They chew wood, dig food out of hard to reach places, preen themselves and each other, and fly miles and miles every single day. In our homes, they are much more sedentary. We have to make up for the lack of activity by providing other outlets for their energy. How can you do this? Here are just a few of the things you should do for your parrot to help enrich her environment:
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[FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]Provide LOTS of [/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]toys[/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]. Parrots need all kinds of toys; chewing toys, puzzle toys, foot toys, food toys, etc. Toys can be store-bought or home-made. They can be made of food, wood, leather, chains, plastic, etc. Your bird should have a few toys in his cage daily, and these toys should be rotated with other toys on a weekly basis to keep him from getting bored. Store-bought toys can cost a lot -- sometimes well over $20 just for one toy that your bird will destroy in a matter of hours! Home made toys, as long as you're using safe materials, are often much cheaper and as fun as the more expensive toys. You can use untreated blocks of wood, strips of fabric, plastic beads, etc.
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[FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]Bathe your bird[/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]. Besides the obvious benefit to your bird's skin and feathers, bathing provides a wonderful way to use energy. You can bathe your bird in the shower, in a sink, in a shallow dish, or with a spray bottle. Never use water as punishment. In fact, never use ANY punishment (not only is it cruel, but parrots do not understand it anyway). Some birds react to a shower as if you're throwing acid at them! Some birds who may have been abused may also have a phobic reaction to water. Go slowly with these birds, let them progress at their own rate, and never force them to bathe. Some birds bathe in their water dishes when you're not looking, so be sure to change the water at least daily. It may take years of offering a shower to your bird, but eventually, she'll probably come around.
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[FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]Allow plenty of out of cage time[/FONT][FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]. Your bird needs to be out of his cage, if you feel he must have one. He needs to have other places besides his cage to go. You will need to purchase other stands and playgyms or trees for your bird to play on. Outfit these stands with plenty of toys, and your bird will thank you for it.[/FONT]
 

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I'm kind of glad I didn't read that article before I got Seamus. If I had read it, I likely would not have gotten him. :(

I understand fully what they say. However, it alls sounds so harsh.
I think my little guy is a very happy bird, despite there is not a flock, his wings are clipped and I have to go to work.

I love my little bird and enjoy him, and I think he feels the same.
 

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I think that with this article as with all the other information out there, we need to be reading it with our critical thinking caps on - just as there are no hard and fast rules for raising children, the same goes for parrots. Casino was an only bird for almost his first year, was clipped and I went to work every day, but he is still an extremely well adjusted little fellow, and I disagree that multiple birds are right for everyone, and in fact I think that buying another bird is so that it will be a companion to an existing one is about the WORST reason there is to do have multiple fids. As long as you understand what your parrot's needs are and WHY they are what they are, there are plenty of ways to make sure that those needs are being adequately met :)
 

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Leigh - (enborgle) - I agree with you totally!
 

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I agree with Enborgle. While that looks like a really good site, when we read about parrots, most often the info is aimed at larger birds than our p'lets and I don't think their needs are quite the same. And as far as having companian birds it seems to me that is why so many large birds end up in shelters. Too much to handle and not enough human bonding. My baby is an only child (except for my finches which are totally different) and he is very well adjusted, I think. So, I guess the idea is to keep all this info in your head and try to think ahead of your birds when they don't do what we think we want them to do. Read, and modify as necessary and try to act in moderation is my personal theory. I do what I can...
 

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Thanks I feel better. That article made me feel like a criminal :(

I love my little bird and I think the feeling is mutual for him.
And he doesn't have it so bad; a roof over his head, meals all the time and someone who loves him. How bad could THAT be!? :rolleyes:
 

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I agree, Missie - when my other p'let, Py died last January, I didn't know what to do - Cosmo is very bound to me, but we have our routine and he seems to be OK with it. When I went on vacation, I did have a friend living here for the time, and he was OK, but nippy - obviously annoyed at my leaving. But he, too, has a roof over his head, good food, a safe environment, and someone who loves him a great deal - and I think he knows it as well. I hope it's OK for him...right now another p'let is not in my plans...
 

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I'm taking this article with a grain of salt. I don't think just because you have a bird, you should run out and get another one just so it will have company. How do we know it wants company? Birds are all different, and I know myself, I don't like having someone with me every second of the day. Now, if you have more than one bird and they like each other, that's great. However, I do not want another bird, for me one is enough. To me, it is far better for your bird to live singly with daily human interaction and plenty of toys, than to be stuck in a cage with a bird that it doesn't like, all because we think he needs company. You can tell if your bird isn't happy, and if you truly think he would like a friend or a mate-have at it, but I don't think it's fair to tell people that their bird HAS to have another bird to be happy.
 

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I got Heidi about a year ago and she had become such a great lil bird. For some reason I thought she should have a friend to keep her company, even though she is hardly ever alone.. So I got Arielle... It was a huge mistake. Arielle who was much younger became a real bully. It got to the point where I had to go and get another cage and separate them. Since getting Arielle Heidi's personality has changed. She is not as vocal to us any more and she just isn't her bubbly self. They are caged side by side but I truly think she would be happier if Arielle would just leave. :(
 

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This is a very interesting article and while I do agree with most of the things it says, there are others that simply don't make sense for us apartment city type people.

I agree that if you can provide a safe environment for your bird, then it is best not to have their wings clipped. It's very good for a birds mental well being to be able to fly. I noticed, as Tink's flight feathers came in, that she became more confident and a lot more fun to be around.

As for an aviary... I live in a small one bedroom with a really open floor plan and have birdie-proofed it and have so many play gyms, climbing ropes, perches and swings all over the place, that my apartment has become one big bird habitat anyway... I have more birdie furniture than I do actual furniture... My Grandma laughs at me...

The big problem I have is the whole needing to have a buddy for your birdie topic. I am Tink's pal. She is always out of her cage when I am home and can keep an eye on her (she usually hangs out right beside or on me anyways). I have designed it so that wherever I might be in my apartment, she will have a safe place to hang out with me and have fun. We have our routine and in the evenings I preen her and she preens my eyebrows and eyelashes. She will sit on my shoulder, right up against my neck and snuggle up by my ear and nibble on my earrings.

I love Tink, and she loves me. We have even started to develop a language between us of clicks and whistles that we both understand. I should catch this on film since no one believes me... But it's true! My boyfriend has witnessed it!

I bought Tink because I needed a friend and she needed a loving home. I think, despite the fact that she doesn't have a flock of other birds around, she is one happy little chicken. So there. ^^
 

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Quite interesting this article and I would hope that people would read articles like this before they buy a parrot. I have to admit that I got my first yen for a parrot after seeing a chocolate bar ad. At that time if you wanted information you went to the library, which I did.

When we did get our bird, much scarcer at that time, we had no idea how old he was or whether he was a he. We had him 12 years before he died suddenly and for most of the time he was out of his cage, even when we were at work. Once you've had them you miss them like crazy and our next was about 9 months old when we got him, I think and he came from a breeder in Wales. He's now around 23 (an orange wing amazon) and although at first he came out of his cage on a regular basis, his current cage is so big that he rarely comes out even if the door is left open all day. That's his place and where all his stuff is.

I read somewhere that by the first 5 years of their lives, parrots have had 5 owners, which I find extremely sad. The trouble is some can make a huge amount of noise and at the same time need a huge amount of attention. You can't just stick them in a corner and forget about them. Our man chatters all day, answers the phone for you and tells you when it's time for bed. He does sometimes have a shouting session, usually when the hoover is going or if it is a bit too quiet for his liking.

Our first little parrotlet came by chance. Visiting a garden centre I found this little bird sat on her own on a cage that was virtually sitting on the floor. I had to have her (I didn't even know what a parrotlet was) and a year later we got a male. In separate cages for a start they went barmy for each other so we had to put them in together. 5 years later we lost her to seizures. Yesterday we collected our new lady and she is currently in 'quarantine'.

I know that for little birds like this it is different to owning their much larger cousins. What did amaze me in my quest for another parrotlet, was exactly how many larger birds are currently available. Yes it is a good thing that they are bred locally and not taken from the wild, but there does seem to be an overpopulation for a bird that can live longer than their owners. Our last lady never offered to lay and I am glad because there is no way I could have sold them on to what might be an uncertain future. In the past my parents were interested in birds and bred canaries and budgies and exchanged with other enthusiasts only. They never sold them. Now it seems that very intelligent birds are bought and sold without a thought for their well being and if they do get a good long term home then they are extremely lucky.
 

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This is a very interesting article and while I do agree with most of the things it says, there are others that simply don't make sense for us apartment city type people.

I agree that if you can provide a safe environment for your bird, then it is best not to have their wings clipped. It's very good for a birds mental well being to be able to fly. I noticed, as Tink's flight feathers came in, that she became more confident and a lot more fun to be around.

As for an aviary... I live in a small one bedroom with a really open floor plan and have birdie-proofed it and have so many play gyms, climbing ropes, perches and swings all over the place, that my apartment has become one big bird habitat anyway... I have more birdie furniture than I do actual furniture... My Grandma laughs at me...

The big problem I have is the whole needing to have a buddy for your birdie topic. I am Tink's pal. She is always out of her cage when I am home and can keep an eye on her (she usually hangs out right beside or on me anyways). I have designed it so that wherever I might be in my apartment, she will have a safe place to hang out with me and have fun. We have our routine and in the evenings I preen her and she preens my eyebrows and eyelashes. She will sit on my shoulder, right up against my neck and snuggle up by my ear and nibble on my earrings.

I love Tink, and she loves me. We have even started to develop a language between us of clicks and whistles that we both understand. I should catch this on film since no one believes me... But it's true! My boyfriend has witnessed it!

I bought Tink because I needed a friend and she needed a loving home. I think, despite the fact that she doesn't have a flock of other birds around, she is one happy little chicken. So there. ^^
I too have just the one and when I do get more, they will be a breeding pair.
"Conway Tweety" is my little pal and we have each other.
I would love to see your place! It sounds like a place for the birds :D
 
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