Parrots can be purchased through several sources, including
- Bird breeders
- Private owners
- Bird shows and marts
- Pet stores.
Each source provides advantages and disadvantages.
Bird breeders advertise in newspapers, online, or in bird specialty magazines when they have young birds for sale. Some breeders may also offer older birds for sale. These are most likely breeder birds who are too old to produce chicks but are still good candidates for pet situations. If you buy your bird from a private breeder, you will probably be shown only the birds that the breeder has for sale. Do not be offended or upset if you cannot see all the birds that the breeder keeps; some birds are sensitive about the presence of strangers during breeding season, and sensitive birds may destroy eggs or kill chicks when they’re upset. If, however, a breeder is willing to show you around his or her facility, consider it a special treat and an honor that few people have bestowed on them.
Bird breeders can be excellent resources for first-time bird owners because they frequently offer follow-up care and advice after they’ve sold a bird.
Private owners often place classified advertisements in newspapers or online when they want to place their pet birds in new homes.
A previously owned bird can be a wonderful investment, or it can be an extremely frustrating experience.
Proceed cautiously if you have never owned birds before because private owners often do not offer follow-up care after they’ve sold a bird.
Bird Shows and Bird Marts
Bird shows and marts offer bird breeders and bird buyers an opportunity to get together to share a love for birds. Bird shows can provide prospective bird owners with the chance to see many different types of birds in one place (usually far more than many pet shops would keep at a time), which can help you narrow your choices if you’re undecided about which species to keep. A bird mart is a little different from a bird show. At a bird mart, various species of birds and a wide variety of bird-keeping supplies are offered for sale, so you can go and shop to your heart’s content.
Pet stores may or may not be the ideal place to purchase a parrot. If a store in your area sells live pets, you’ll need to visit the store and make sure it’s clean and well kept. Walk around the store a bit. Are the floors clean? Do the cages look and smell as though they’re cleaned regularly? Do the animals in the cages appear alert, well fed, and healthy? Do the cages appear crowded, or do the animals inside have some room to move around? Did someone greet you when you walked into the store? Is the store staff friendly? Do they seem to care that you came in to shop?
Remember that you will be visiting a pet store every week or two to purchase food, toys, and other items for your pet, so you will want to select a store with friendly and knowledgeable people behind the counter.
After you’ve determined whether the store is clean and the employees are pleasant, find out if the staff tries to keep their birds in good health. Do they ask you to wash your hands with a mild disinfectant before handling their birds or between handling birds? If they do, don’t hesitate at the request. This request is for the health of the birds, and it indicates that the store is concerned about keeping its livestock healthy.
Buying a healthy bird is much easier and more enjoyable than purchasing pet with health problems, so don’t be afraid to follow the rules in a caring store.
Look at the birds that are available for sale. If possible, sit down and watch them for a while. Don’t rush this important step. Do some of them seem bolder than others? Consider those first because you want a curious, active, robust pet rather than a shy animal that hides in a corner. Are other birds sitting off by themselves, seeming to sleep while their cage mates play?
Reject any birds that seem too quiet or too sleepy because these attributes can indicate illness.
Here are some of the indicators of a healthy parrot. Keep them in mind when Selecting your pet.
- Bright eyes
- Clean cere (the area above the bird’s beak that covers her nares, or nostrils)
- Upright posture
- Full-chested appearance
- Actively moving around the cage
- Clean legs and vent
- Smooth feathers
- Good appetite
Remember that healthy birds spend their time engaged in three main activities: eating, playing, and sleeping. If you notice that a bird seems to want only to sleep, for example, reject that bird in favor of another whose routine seems more balanced.
You may think that saving a small, picked-upon parrot from her cage mates seems like the right thing to do, but please resist this urge.
Do not buy a bird because you feel sorry for it. You want a strong, healthy, spirited bird rather than the “runt of the litter.” Although it sounds hard-hearted, automatically reject any birds that are being bullied, are timid, or hide in a corner or shy away from you. It will save you heartache in the end. When you approached the parrots under consideration, did they hold their ground, or did they retreat into a safe corner of the cage? Did they take an interest in you, or did they shy away?
Birds who hold their ground and take an interest in store visitors have better pet potential than those who flee or hide in a corner.