Join Date: Jul-2002
Location: BC(Where all the cool people live)
Currently I only keep 1 budgie, 1 conure and 1 hahn's macaw.
I wouldn't encourage any 'new bird keeper' to get an African Grey. Particularly ones who are practically never home. Yes certain care aspects are similar with all birds, cleaning the cage, feeding, some time. But parrot types require more time either way as well as more attention to their emotional needs and mental requirements. Their cages and toys alone cost a fortune, and don't always last long... my macaw has ruined a couple toys within two seconds of them passing by him. They're far louder then a budgie, and you need fairly tolerant neighbors. (This being parrot types, Grey's may be fairly simmered down for a parrot..)
Due to their intelligence, they are aware of their surroundings more so then a canary would be. Any changes can effect them negatively or positively, they may not like where you moved the couch and begin plucking to show this to you. Or acting as if they are afraid due to this... I work with rescues as well.
Besides, if you are new on the topic of birds, why buy something that will more than likely out live you? You may end up not even liking birds and most birds have a pretty darn long life span. Even a budgie can like 15+ years, and I know 27 year old cockatiels. In the bird world, that's "short" but to us, that's one darn long responsibility.
The bigger the bird, generally the longer the life span, is he ready for that? The more 'intelligent' the species, the more like a child it acts. Depending on how well he knows his training will be whether he has a spoilt toddler or a well behaved one. E.G My conure I spoilt beyond reason, and he acts like a cheeky, moody 2.5 year old. My macaw is very well behaved and is fairly independent, acting like a well brought up 6 year old. Heck he even knows to take his Nutriberries inside his cage and eat them there rather then making a mess outside his cage. He's a very good boy...and so far he doesn't throw his fruits and veggies around the room or fill his water dish with them like the conure does.
Everyone will share different experiences about any species of bird of course.
Though General Truths.
Cockatoo's are loud and co-dependant: A definite no no for any first time bird buyer. And should be utterly ruled out for anyone except the most insane bird nut who is ready to dedicate their lives to this beautiful bird. I work with two mollucans...big, huge, loud, pink birds LOL. Though the two have totally different personalities, Cloe is pretty quiet for a cockatoo most of the day...Romeo is loud, highly energetic, and is the one who may bite a stranger if they go towards him the wrong way. But then, we believe he was beaten in his previous home. So I won't blame him for this behavior, I just hope it can be worked out of him. Oh, these are also dust bunny birds, if you have asthma, don't even go near one.
Macaws: Can be just as loud as the cockatoo's, but are generally less frequent. But this all depends on the house they were raised in, and what they have to occupy themselves with. More colorful, not dusty, and if you don't let them learn their beak can be used to get what they want...they generally don't use it. Hyacinth macaws btw, are one of the least 'aggressive' of all macaws, they are generally gentle giants. If you don't have tolerant neighbors, this is a no. If you don't have the time to spend around this bird, a no. I may not spend all my time with mine, but I do talk to him throughout the day whenever I walk by his room. He quite likes this and enjoys saying "Hello..." "Goodbye" every time I pass the door.
They are less needy then the cockatoo and not nearly as "velcro-ish". They like to play games like minor wrestling, tug-o-war, peek-a-boo, etc.
But, both of these are big birds and have an instinct within them that causes them to destroy things. If you don't give them things to rip up, they'll find things, and this isn't always a good thing.
Greys....don't even go there unless you've studied them. You need to be a certain kind of person to be able to have a grey. These are wonderful birds and I know a few of them along with their keepers who are relaxed people who pay attention to detail. They aren't good in high strung houses or people who are constantly moving. Read books on these if you ever think of one...they're mind is a horrible thing to waste, and people who just buy a bird because it may talk are morons. No offence...
Never buy a bird because of it's known capability to talk, that isn't a birds best feature. Their personality is, besides, not all greys learn to talk, while some do but refuse to speak in front of people. Not all are stage performers...
Besides, even a budgie can learn to talk for crying out loud.
And on the aspect of cockatoo's bonding to one person, they are suckers for attention and will try to get it from anyone if they can. They may over bond with one person and become protective when they are around that person. But if that person isn't there, anyone will do. It's usually in the 'partner' case where it's a problem..aka, Cockatoo bonded to Jill, but Jack came home and showed affection to Jill. Cockatoo will get jealous and try to chase Jack away.
This isn't a case only known in cockatoos, ALL parrot types are known for this (ranging from outright territorial aggression since YOU belong to THEM in their mind...to completely ignoring the person they don't like. Even my little conure gets territorial of his people. Which is sort of funny to watch since he's pretty small compared to a human being.)
Conures: Depending on family (look at the latin names) are whether it's really a bird for you or not. Pyhhura conures are the better "apartment bird" in the conure family. Not nearly as loud as an Aratinga. Sun conures are loud but beautiful, but when I say loud, I'm not joking.
Poisephalus: Your senegals, meyers, jardine's etc are "quiet" parrots. More so then the pyrhhura conures, but they do have a sharp whistle, at least I know the meyers does when it really wants your attention and you're leaving the room. Very soft to the touch, but you need to get accustomed to the senegals eyecolor. Some people don't like it...
Pionus: Now THAT is a quiet parrot, but is more of a one person bird. They have a unique smell to them when up close, but they are awesome. The Maximillian is gorgeous and I wouldn't mind one myself some day. One thing that scares people is they wheeze when nervous, but you get over that after a bit and stop rushing them to the vet every time they wheeze. They talk more in whispers mind you.
Cockatiels: Great first birds I think, carry all the traits of the larger birds, can whistle and some talk though once again, this isn't their 'selling point'. They've got quite the cute little expressions and have a 'cockatoo look' without the cockatoo down falls. Their noises aren't that loud, so anyone who complains about a cockatiels noise level really should never look into any larger of a bird. They are quite soft and the hand tamed ones are pretty nice cuddlers. One problem with them is they are prone to being over weight if you don't give them enough exercise...avoid fatty diets please.
(No french fries for birdy)
About the egg laying thing, that can be delt with.
-Don't over stimulate the female (aka, stop stroking her)
-Reduce her photo periods (uncover her later, cover her up earlier, simulate winter periods if you need to.)
-Remove any nesting box or material
-Cage separately from other birds
-Remove any mirrors and take away any toys she's been excessively preening or showing courtship behavior to.
There are other things, but in general, that works.
Budgies: Pretty good in busy homes, don't seem to mind you being away for long periods of time. Come in a variety of colors. But to keep them happy, give them numerous toys, and no, mirrors are never an necessity with any bird.
Both the cockatiel and budgie (more so the budgie) drop down feathers quite a bit. So be prepared for that if you go with them.
Cockatoo's do as well and they come out like these circular puff balls that can be pretty darn huge...
ALL birds are "messy" it's their job. Eat the prime pieces of anything and throw the rest to the forest floor for new growth and to feed all the land animals. Besides, if all you had was a beak to move things around (smaller birds) so you could get to your favorite morsels, where the heck do you think you are going to put the things you don't want to get them out of your way? If mess is a problem, get a seed guard around the cage or over the dishes and buy one of those thick pieces of plastic you put under your desk chair to help it roll. I do that with my parrot types and it makes clean up easy.
Okay, I’ve rambled enough…
I’m gone..birds need their salads anyway.