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Old 06-01-2013, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Tyler, TX
15,202 posts, read 18,209,317 times
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Three things to consider very carefully that most people really don't put a lot of thought into before buying a bird:

1. Birds are noisy.
There are less noisy birds, but if you get any type of hookbill, it WILL make noise at unwanted times. Some birds are worse than others in that regard, but they ALL will be annoying at times. You have to be ok with that. Seriously. Noise is probably the #1 reason that pet birds are abandoned or given away.

2. Birds are messy.
They don't care about where their food goes when they flick it around or drop it. They don't care where they poop. They will bathe in their water dish, getting water everywhere. If you're a neat freak of any sort, a bird isn't for you.

3. Birds live a long time.
Most birds, especially hookbills, bond with their owners. Many are "one person" birds, and will only bond with one person in their life. Some species are more prone to this than others. You have to be prepared to give your pet a "forever home," and you have to understand that the bird can/will live for decades. Many species also require a LOT of attention. It's a major commitment.

Keep those things in mind while making your decision. Birds are amazing pets, and having one is a very different experience from any other type of animal. Bringing a bird into your home can be very fulfilling, but it can also be very frustrating - just like adding a human family member. You always have to remember that the bird is a family member, not just a possession. Too many birds are abandoned, given to shelters or otherwise shunned. These are intelligent, social and loving animals that NEED to have a home for life.
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Old 06-01-2013, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Under the Redwoods
3,748 posts, read 6,118,808 times
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While it may sound like a crazy suggestion among hookbills and finches, I will take that leap and suggest a chicken. It's a bird that your son can safely interact with.
Believe it or not many people keep pet chickens. There are enough of them that there are several cottage industries that make chicken 'diapers' so that there is no mess. Chickens are a lot more quiet in an indoor environment and when are the only chicken. Flocks of chickens are noisy as a group while one in the flock is laying an egg.
A chicken lays, at most, one egg a day but usually 4 per week, so any loud noise from the chicken would be very limited. Chickens are not going to bite but will forcefully make you share your food. And chickens are not as dumb as most people think.
We have an Americuana, aka Easter egg chicken. They are super social and sweet chickens. Ours will snuggle in my daughters bed, she gets under the pillows to nap. She rides on our shoulders and will have a conversation- you talk to her, she will honk softly back, you talk, she honks. Our Isis is a delight and quite entertaining and amusing.
...Think I am going to go cuddle our chicken now.

Chicken Breeds - Ameraucana
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, LA
3,356 posts, read 2,681,241 times
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I don't mean to be the wet towel, but your son is TWO? He may be "obsessed" with spiders next week. Get him something that doesn't need constant attention, because I'm sure you have enough to do without a pet in addition to a 2 year old.

Enjoy your little boy while he is little, give him a stuffed bird to play with. When he's older, then let him have a living thing to take care of.

He's too little. You will end up with the entire burden of care.
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:28 AM
 
Location: so cal
1,110 posts, read 1,948,952 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puginabug View Post
I don't mean to be the wet towel, but your son is TWO? He may be "obsessed" with spiders next week. Get him something that doesn't need constant attention, because I'm sure you have enough to do without a pet in addition to a 2 year old.

Enjoy your little boy while he is little, give him a stuffed bird to play with. When he's older, then let him have a living thing to take care of.

He's too little. You will end up with the entire burden of care.
This is true. When I responded I was thinking the adults also wanted a bird. A 2 year old, too young for any pet unless they are just an observer.
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Old 06-03-2013, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
115 posts, read 187,270 times
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Great additional input, thanks!!

swagger - those 3 things you mention are probably what give me most pause. I'm not a fan of messes at all, and my husband is serious about his concern for the noisiness. As for considering a bird a family member...I feel that way about any animal that becomes a part of my life. I was very serious when I said I would go to great lengths for an animal. I lived in Spain a few years ago and had a horse I loved dearly. I was also married at the time (to my ex) and things were going downhill fast. My horse was involved in a horrific accident one night in his paddock/enclosure and nearly died, and needed to be in a clinic for 2 weeks just to stabilize him. I was in a bad car accident a week later which left me temporarily disabled and unable to work for a while, and my ex decided at that moment that we were over, and basically abandoned me and the horse and I had to deal with enormous vet bills and no way to pay. Fortunately my parents were able to help me out, but at that point I wanted to get back to the US to get away from the insanity and heal, but stayed several months longer to rehabilitate my horse and myself, and find him a good home before I could leave. I wanted to bring him with me but I had no job and no good prospects back in the States and couldn't afford the cost of transporting him, nor the long term costs of stabling, etc. once I got back to Los Angeles where my family lives. It was a heartrending ordeal that I have no wish to repeat.

OwlKaMyst - I really want to have chickens! Ultimately I would love to live on a country property and have chickens, goats, and a horse or two (again) but currently we are in a rental that would barely allow a small caged pet or a cat. But I will keep your suggestion in mind when the time comes

puginabug - I get what you're saying, and in no way did I mean to suggest the bird was specifically only for my son (although I get where that could be surmised). I was thinking it would be an addition to our family and mostly up to me to take care of, with my son being a casual observer/participant. Believe me I know about the whims of little kids! I would never get an animal I couldn't commit to just on the passing fancy of my son. I am perpetually outraged by the hordes of abandoned animals such as chicks and bunnies at Easter because the parents thought it would be cute to get their kids one at the time without thinking the long term consequences through.

For the moment I think we will hold off, but it was really great to get all your valuable input. Thanks again!
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Old 06-03-2013, 04:50 PM
 
1,288 posts, read 2,396,545 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLA74 View Post
Great additional input, thanks!!
Keep in mind that many people in here are OVER sensitive when it comes to pets. It's like one of those over protective parents who advise people to NEVER let a teenager go out or never let a 12 year old play with neighbors, or a child HAVE to have 3 apples and 5 servings of veggies EVERY day.

I am going to keep it real and let you know the real expectation of having a pet bird, from personal experience and tons of reading. Your best bet is a YOUNG budgie to ensure you end up with a tame pet. Here you go: http://kathylibby.tripod.com/id12.html


Soon, you will have this:


A very happy budgie! - YouTube

I will address you main concerns:

Noise: It's just a budgie. To many people, it's just music to their ears. You can enjoy a movie while your budgie is in the same room making noises. It's really not that bad. When all the lights are off, they are DEAD SILENT, because they have to be in the wild, in order to not allert predators. Lights off = zero noise.

Keep in mind, they sleep during the day too, and they like to sit and make zero noise for hours

Mess: It's just feathers and seeds. Vacuum will solve the problem. To preven the problem, put your cage in one of those plastic containers you get at Target or Walmart. Make sure the container is at least 5 inches tall. It will capture most of the feathers and seeds spilled out of the cage.

Feeding: Make sure you have water and seeds/pellets in the cage at all time. If you do that, you bird will most likely live for years. If you feed it weekly greens/fruit, it can live over a decade. If you're lazy, you can feed it once a week by having enough seeds/pellets and water to last a week or two.

What other concerns do you have?
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
115 posts, read 187,270 times
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Quote:
I am going to keep it real and let you know the real expectation of having a pet bird, from personal experience and tons of reading. Your best bet is a YOUNG budgie to ensure you end up with a tame pet. Here you go: telling the Difference between a baby budgie & a adult budgie
Cute video, thanks!

If we do decide to get one, we will definitely be getting a young one from a reputable breeder. I love the idea of hand taming a bird! At this point I would probably stick with either a budgie or finches. I do however think it's best to wait a while, maybe until my son is a bit older. At that point it would probably be a more enjoyable experience for all of us.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:49 PM
 
1,288 posts, read 2,396,545 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLA74 View Post
Cute video, thanks!

If we do decide to get one, we will definitely be getting a young one from a reputable breeder. I love the idea of hand taming a bird! At this point I would probably stick with either a budgie or finches. I do however think it's best to wait a while, maybe until my son is a bit older. At that point it would probably be a more enjoyable experience for all of us.
You're not getting an Amazon or even a Conure. A budgie from any pet store will do. Just get it young, clip the wings, finger train it, it will just be like the one you see in the video within 2 weeks.

Finches are "pet" that you put in a cage, feed it, and look at it.

Budgies are pets that you can take out of the cage and pet.

It depends on what you want.
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:25 AM
 
Location: McKinleyville, California
6,413 posts, read 9,104,557 times
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This has been interesting reading this thread, drinking my morning cup of joe and listening to my cocatiels in their aviary while watching TV and in the back ground I can hear my budgerigars in their aviary on the front porch. It is still a bit early for my blue crowned conure outside in his flight cage to be making his contribution and I should be hearing one of the chickens in the chicken coop squack soon to alert me of an egg being laid, the dogs are at my feet and one cat just walked past the cocatiel aviary and another is sitting on my spouses lap. I have rabbits too, but they too are outside.

My mom bought us a budgie when I was in kindergarten and it was basically my bird, but really Mom cleaned the cage, changed the food and water. Poor Petey dropped dead right in front of me one day and it scared me away from having a bird till I got a job working for an aviary with 65 parrots when I was 34. I adopted 5 parakeets from a woman who asked my boss if he would take them on. I thought that five was not equal and found a local aviary that specialized in budgies of all colors and mutations. I planned on maybe getting up to 5 more and make it an equal balance of male to female and start breeding them. It turned out that the people wanted to dissolve their budgie aviary and offered me all their birds at $5 each if I took all of them. I thought why not and bought all 50 budgerigars and built a large aviary for them. I let some breed and they went up to 71. They were beautiful, but ate more than 30# of seed mix a month. I adopted my conure about the same time and my oldest cocatiel. The cocatiel is now 21 years old, which is old, and the conure is 19 which is still young. Budgies live about 5 to 7 years old, maybe 10 for some. I resumed having budgies 2 years ago when I found a blue one in my front yard and proceeded to adopt and buy more till I now have 14. I recently adopted 2 female cocatiels and went on craigs list and adopted two males and built a portable aviary for them. I use a shop vac to clean out the aviaries and the birds are used to its presence. The aviary also allows the birds flight room without having them fly around your house risking the chance of injury or escape from an open door or open window. The budgie is the easiest to get to talk and the least expensive to buy and own. When your son is older you can work on a project to breed them and let that be another experience. They breed easily and reliably and one can be creative with their color mutations.

Budgie Parakeet | Feather Me
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
26,427 posts, read 62,653,352 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDragonslayer View Post
This has been interesting reading this thread, drinking my morning cup of joe and listening to my cocatiels in their aviary while watching TV and in the back ground I can hear my budgerigars in their aviary on the front porch. It is still a bit early for my blue crowned conure outside in his flight cage to be making his contribution and I should be hearing one of the chickens in the chicken coop squack soon to alert me of an egg being laid, the dogs are at my feet and one cat just walked past the cocatiel aviary and another is sitting on my spouses lap. I have rabbits too, but they too are outside.

This reminds me of another issue. Bird ownership is addictive. Most "bird people" I know go overboard. More bird people probably have ten birds than have one.

We are that way, right now, we have two cockatoos, a cockatiel, ten finches and a number of chickens (10-15 I think) and we are lightweights. Once you get into birds, you end up wanting more, or you end up breeding them (we did for a while). When you call a bird friend, you hear lots of different squawks and screeches in the background and think nothing of it. That is normal background noise for bird people. More birds = more noise because they get each other going, especially hookbills. I bird sat for two weeks for a friend with six macaws - Wow! What a cacophony. I ended up wearing earphones. It was noisier than noon in a clock collectors house.

Look on U-tube, there is an amusing video of a sulfur crested cockatoo named snowball dancing up a storm to some music. In the background you can hear what is probably a Macaw and some smaller birds (lots of them). - Yet another bird obsessed family.

The suggestion for a chicken as a pet is amusing idea to me. We have had chickens for years, but not inside the house (except we raise chicks in a bathtub that never gets used by humans). Some of them are amazing. They definitely have personalities, but they are really dumb. Laughably so. It is neat to watch them interact with you, other pets and each other. It is especially neat to watch how a rooster operates with a flock of hens. He has a special call to tell them he found some food, another call to warn them of danger, another call tells them to return to his area, he has a call that tells them it is time to return to the coop for the evening. A different call says "come hither baby!" (which makes the hen run away). He will choose a favorite hen and she will be at the top of the pecking order among the hens. It is all very neat.

An indoor chicken would lay eggs all over as well as pooping all over and pecking at everything (they love toes). We had one chicken that would somehow get into my office in the carriage house every day and lay an egg on my computer keyboard. She did not lay anywhere else. Most lay all over the place. It is hard to get them to stick to the nest boxes if they are free range.

We had one chicken that lived under a shelf on our back porch. When we approached the house, she would run out, run around us three times and return to her "cave" under the shelf. She always ran around you exactly three times. My son would impress his friend by yelling out as he approached the house "Robotic Attack Chicken - ACTIVATE" Out comes the chicken. Then after she ran around them three times, he would yell out "Robotic Attack Chicken - DEACTIVATE" she would return to the shelf and disappear. One kid's dad called and asked me where they could get a robotic attack chicken toy like our son had. "Toys R Us carry them?" "Nope but Old McDonald's farm does"

A chicken might work well because they do not live long (not so much of a commitment) and do not demand a lot of attention, yet they can still be sweet. You just have to deal with the mess and smell, or keep it outside. An outside chicken might not be a bad idea. You son could get used to the bird thing without the time demands. Chickens cost noting (about $4 for an Araucana chick). The cost is in protecting them. You need to buy or build a coop, a run and possibly a tractor (a mobile large pen that can be moved around your yard to let them eat bugs. They really keep ants and other bugs down. Most towns allow backyard chickens (some prohibit roosters). Usually you can only have one, or maybe three. Chicks are adorable. You might want to gt a couple - they do sometimes die or get eaten. Aracuanas or "Easter Eggers" (do not worry about the difference, it does not matter to most people) lay colored eggs, so that is neat. Polish chickens are super cool looking (punk rock chickens), Silkies and Frizzles can be pretty. Isas are great layers if you want lots of eggs. You may get stuck with a rooster. There is no way to tell when they are babies (no the key on a string thing does NOT work). Just drop it off at a farm and buy another chick and try again. Don't ask what they will do with the rooster, especially if you like him.
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