Purchasing a parrot online

Parrot Haven babies are always in high demand. There have been times when clients have waited over 8 months for one of our precious babies. Sometimes we receive emails from people wanting to buy our Eckies from different countries. They are disappointed when they discover they can’t buy our baby and ask if we can recommend a breeder who raises their babies in the same manner we do. We provide them with a list of questions to ask breeders, to ensure they are buying a healthy, well socialized baby from a highly experienced aviculturist.

The joys of technology

There are many places people can find parrots for sale online. Sites ranging from specialist breeders  websites to forums and even free ad sites that allow people to post pets for sale along side bus tickets.

When looking for a companion parrot – we always encourage people to arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible before they commit to a breeder. This knowledge not only helps them care for their parrot to the best of their ability, but also prevents them from being scammed by people posing as breeders. Some people have little to no experience hand raising parrots, sadly, it is the baby parrots who are affected.

Know your breeder

It is extremely important to understand who you are buying from. The internet has revolutionised many industries – opening the way for people to conduct business so much easier. However it also provides more unethical people a mask to hide behind. This was proved to us recently by an individual posing as an experienced breeder. This person claimed to be a specialist breeder with many years experience. We knew this was not the case and when we chose not to promote his newly started breeding business we were met with verbal threats of physical harassment. The email we received was so disturbing that we were advised by our lawyer to report it to the police.  We were deeply disturbed by his defamatory comments and threats of harassment. We worried what type of environment the baby parrots were being exposed to. How was this affecting them and shaping their upbringing?

When buying a pet parrot online it is important to exercise caution. Whether you choose to buy direct from a breeder, a pet store or an online ‘trading’ site – do your homework. Take the time to ensure the person you are buying from really does have the credentials they promote. This may save you from a great deal of heart ache later.  Here are some tips we recommend:

Know who you are dealing with

While talking with the person you are interested in buying from, try to ascertain who they are as a person. This may sound strange, but it’s an important step because you want to find people who are committed to their craft and raises their babies in a loving, caring environment.

Baby parrots are in the breeders care 24/7 for many months. The aviculturists hand raising technique and the time they spend with their babies helps shape the baby parrots developing personality

Ensure your chosen breeder has a great deal of experience working with  parrots. You want to feel comfortable in their ability as a breeder because you will need to turn to them when you have questions as your parrot grows and matures

We set up a forum dedicated to helping our own clients and others who were unable to receive the help and follow up service they required.

Sadly, some people are merely intent on making a quick sale. We advise people to buy from a breeder who truly cares about their babies. One who understands the personalities of their breeding parrots and babies. One who can match you with your perfect feathered friend. I believe it is very important to choose a breeder who has spent many years working and specializing with your chosen species of parrot.

We have met a few people via our forum who bought a parrot and later discovered the breeder did not offer the follow up service they claimed on their site. This is where doing your homework pays off.

If someone claims to have 5 or 10 years experience, ask for testimonials from their past clients. If they have been working in the industry for a long time they will have a solid clientele and a good reputation with many testimonials.  Ask the breeder if you can contact 3-4 of their past clients. Don’t feel strange contacting them. If a client is happy with their parrot, they should be more than happy to promote the breeder.  Ask about their experience with the breeder. Do they provide a good follow up service? Do they truly care about their babies and their clients? Are they knowledgable and professional. If you have any doubts or the testimonials sounded false, move on to the next breeder on your list. This is a big decision, you want to know you are buying from the best breeder possible.

Be respectful

Professional aviculturists are extremely busy, their life revolves around their parrots and spare time is a rarity.  We always appreciate clients who email us first to organize a time to chat. If you do call, be sure to ask the breeder if it a convenient time to talk. A little courtesy goes a long way and I know we are more likely to part with one of our precious babies when the client shows respect.

It is important to have a list of questions to ask your breeder. Take the time to write these down before you call.

You can learn a lot about a breeder simply by talking to them. Those who are truly passionate about their parrots will stand out. This is not something you can fake, true commitment comes from the heart. Be sure to contact a number of breeders, never buy from the first place you call. This will help you compare different breeders and find one that is right for you. Don’t feel bad about asking the breeder questions. A professional breeder who truly cares about their birds will understand why you are asking. They want to know their baby is going to a loving, forever home and will be more likely to part with one of their babies.

Follow up

Maintain contact with your breeder during your babies hand raising process.  Emailing is a great way to do this. We setup a forum for exactly this reason, we wanted our clients to be a part of their babies life and watch as they grow and develop. Ask for photos of your baby as they grow. Always be polite and acknowledge that you appreciate their time. Again, professional aviculturists are very busy. On average, Kirsten receives between 50-60 emails from Eckie owners asking for help and advice – some emails come from breeders with questions about their neonate Eclectus parrots. It takes time to respond to everyone – she does this while caring for 25 Eclectus parrots and writing her book. So be polite and respectful. If you think of questions you forgot to ask while on the phone, ask them via email.

If needed, schedule another phone call as a follow-up. This helps the breeder appreciate that you are excited about your new parrot baby and committed to your decision. It will also help them get a sense for who you are. When Kirsten was breeding, she would get to know each of her clients individually, talking with them sometimes on a daily basis via our forum. This helped her find the perfect baby for her client. Every parrot is unique, no two are the same and an experienced, caring aviculturist will want to know their baby is going to a home that suits their personality.

When the lines of communication are open, then it’s a good sign that you are dealing with a person who is honest and wants the best for their baby parrot.

Be safe

Sadly, the selling of unweaned parrots and birds who have been raised poorly by inexperienced ‘breeders’ occurs all too often. We  actively help  people nurse sick parrots back to health or assist those who have bought unweaned parrots. This is the down side to aviculture, some breeders may not take their responsibility seriously, to the detriment of both the parrot and the new owner.

If you see an ad that looks suspicious or unethical (such as an ad for an unweaned parrot), please take the time to report it to the site administrator. The selling of unweaned parrots is grossly unethical and ultimately dangerous to the poor baby parrot. Aviculturists must take their responsibility seriously. Raising a baby parrot is hard work, it takes a great deal of knowledge and skill to ease them through their different developmental stages. Professional breeders know how to raise large, healthy parrots. Please, don’t buy unweaned parrots, leave the hand raising to the professionals.

If things go wrong

Some people buy a parrot from a seemingly reputable breeder or individual and things go terribly wrong. We had a forum member who this happened to. It turned out the baby parrot she bought was in poor health and almost died because he had been weaned far too early. This resulted in astronomical vet bills. The correspondence between the “breeder” and the buyer escalated into a heated situation.

If you have purchased from a breeder or individual who has threatened you in any way, then you need to report the incident to the local police. They can file an incident report and if needed pursue the matter further.

Needless to say, any breeder who uses threats – no matter how empty – should be avoided.

Help improve the industry

Sadly, there is a harsher side to aviculture. Kirsten has recieved countless emails over the year from people who have purchased unweaned babies, birds from inexperienced breeders and even those who rescued abused parrots. She has actively helped educate people, sharing her knowledge so that people demand nothing but the best from their breeder. This education goes beyond care and maintenance for Eclectus Parrots – we try to educate people so they may make a good decision when it comes time to buy a baby parrot.

When people start demanding better service and care from the breeding industry, then things can change. Help encourage responsible breeding practices by interviewing your breeder and asking the right questions. When you find a reputable breeder, then spread the word. These people need all the support you can give.

The Buying and Selling of Unweaned Parrots

Time to bust the myth!

It is a common misconception that you need to hand-raise your baby bird in order to form a strong bond. This is a myth and there is no credence to the belief whatsoever.

Let’s think about this logically

In the wild Eclectus parrots form bonds with their parents until it’s time to leave the nest. Once fledged, they integrate into a flock, which consists of their siblings or unpaired adult birds, and they stay with them until they find a mate of their own. Forming an extremely strong bond with their parents would set them back developmentally, emotionally and even physically. It’s not natural for a baby bird to never leave home and the same applies to our hand-raised parrots. I often find my own babies pulling away from me emotionally when they begin to fledge, as if instinct is telling them to do so.

From a breeders perspective

We spend countless hours with our baby Eckies. It takes approximately 12 weeks to raise each parrot from neonate to weaned bird, and in some cases even longer. During this time, I watch them go through different developmental stages. As young babies they are completely trusting and dependent on me, but this gradually changes as they grow older. They soon discover a desire for independence. I liken this to a teenager preparing to leave home. Once the babies learn to eat by themselves they are no longer reliant on us for their feeds every day. I become less important to them and they turn to me less and less for nurturance.

Aviculture is a profession. As breeders we devote ourselves to researching every aspect of avian life. These are the people you want raising your companion parrot. Aviculturists have experience in recognizing potential problems before they arise and can counter them easily with no stress to the baby. They know how to raise a happy, healthy, large baby who is physically and emotionally ready to begin their life as a companion parrot.

Companion parrots have no say in the path their life takes. I’m sure they would prefer to stay with an experienced breeder until they are old enough to venture out into the real world. Please, save yourself the stress and potential heartache. Let the experts raise your baby. You will be doing both yourself and the parrot a big favor.

 

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