Shopping for a Bird


What qualities should you keep in mind while shopping around for a bird?

The first thing you need to do is decide on the right species. This requires a bit of research and involves you knowing exactly what you want.

Size
How big do you want your bird? Size plays a large role in other bird characteristics. It can affect noise, the amount you'll have to spend on a cage and toys, the lifespan and the price.

Lifespan
Larger birds generally live longer. Budgies can live up to 15 but often die much earlier due to malnutrition or tumors. Cockatiels and other big smaller birds like conures and senegals can live from 20-30. Most of the parrots like amazons and African greys can live 50-80. Macaws have been known to make it to 100. So larger birds mean a much longer commitment.

Price
The bigger the bird the larger the price tag. Some rare birds and newly developed colors can also cost quite a bit.

Noise
Parrots tend to scream and so do many conures. Aussie keets usually have nice softer sounds and Africans are known for being rather quiet.

Character
Each species varies in character and it's very important to pick one that you can get along with. Some people like cuddlers while others prefer boisterous birds.

Availability
It's no use picking a species that is very rare and belongs in a breeding program (unless that's why you're searching for it). Hyacinth macaws, vasa parrots, hawkheads and Brotogeris are best left to those who are seeking to boost the captive population.

Speech
This is the last quality in the world to be looking for in a bird. Anyone who picks a species soley on it's ability to talk is making a grave mistake. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice thing to have, but it's only the icing on the cake.

Now come the things you need to look for while you're actually out shopping for your species.

Movement
Birds that are moving around in the cage and making lots of noise are often healthy, happy birds.

Appearance
The bird should look healthy. Colors should be bright. Feathers, eyes, vent, nostrils and everything else should be clean.

Other Birds in the Cage
Check the other birds in the cage. Do they look bad? If so you'd best move along. Maybe they are ill and the one bird you like just hasn't displayed any symptoms yet.

Age
Always go for a younger bird, freshly weaned. This goes for both pet owners and breeders. Pet owners will get a baby that will adjust easier and be easier to tame. Breeders will get a bird that will adapt more willingly to a new setup, have more time to bond with a prospective mate, and is guaranteed not be someone else's burnt out or bad breeder.

Price
In general don't buy from pet stores. Their price will be double that of anything offered by a private breeder. Shop around to get an idea of what the usual price is.

The Seller
The seller can tell you a lot about the bird being offered. You want to buy from someone who is knowledgable, helpful, knows the bird's history and is reputable. If the seller is junk most likely the birds will be too.

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