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Thread: The Problem With Quakers

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    Geaux Tigers!!! Tailfeather NeapolitanSixth's Avatar
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    Exclamation The Problem With Quakers

    Lately, it seems like Quaker Parrots are growing in popularity. I know two of you have/are considered/considering getting one. Erin is our quaker person here, but I thought I'd toss in my two cents on this issue too, since I live with one...I just wanted to give you some more info, from someone who kind of had no choice but to live with a quaker's point of view.

    This post isn't meant to specifically target any members, but it is the result of my repeated experience with people who want quakers. Also, you may think to yourself; Well, all birds can do this, but the truth of the matter is, Quakers are more prone to these behaviors than most other birds.

    Quakers are popular because, as a breeder put it; They talk, and they're cheap; They are fluffy and can be taught to do tricks, and are an attractive shade of green, blue, or yellow. Who wouldn't want one?

    Honestly, if I wanted something that talked that badly, I'd opt for the friendly telemarketer that calls at dinner before I got a quaker. Plus he's free, and requires no maintenance!

    You've read all the great stuff about Quakers, now it's time for the bad things that land them in rescues.

    Quakers are loud. I've mentioned this many times before, but I really cannot say it enough. When you go to pick up your new baby, he will probably be making adorable little purring sounds at you, nodding his cute fuzzy green head, as if to say, I love you too! Maybe for the first few days, or the first week, even, your baby will keep purring at you curiously, and will vocalize soft little, crra? crra? question sounds lovingly. But, when he decides to unleash his flock call, it is as if Zeus himself has unleashed a thunderbolt upon the roof of your home. And if he is on your shoulder, forget about it, unless you enjoy the sound of your eardrums popping. I used to work at an all-bird store, with birds you know and love, and a bunch of other species you'd probably not know, but would still love. Quakers by far were the loudest, and yes, there were macaws, cockatoos, conures, and amazons in there too. The volume maybe wasn't as loud (but they could still give the larger birds a run for their money..,proportionately, imagine if they were that size!) but the continuous noise was loud, and then they would get all the other birds calling too, causing a general racket. If you have more than one bird, beware of this. However, you have to understand that most birds that are good at talking are generally very chatty and loud.

    I live in an apartment with my quaker Bosco. My building is quite sound-proof, and so far I've had no complaints about loud bird noise. Still, I worry that someday I'll have an upset neighbor. Because quaker live in huge colonies in the wild, they 'flock call' a lot, and are used to having their family around them. If you get a quaker, be aware that they may start yelling and making a racket every time you leave the room or are out of their sight. If you're ok with noise: good. If not, think quaker ownership through very carefully before-hand.

    Quakers are highly active and intelligent. Why is this bad, you may ask. It just means they need that much more attention and toys, which for you equals time and money. Without a good amount of time (I'd say 3+ hours) and a huge variety of toys to play with and destroy, they can develop really bad, destructive behaviors, that include biting you quite hard for what seems like no reason (which of course there is), destroying your furniture, blinds, and molding (among other things), excessive screaming (in addition to the normal chatter), and general vengefulness. Also, my next point...

    Quakers love their toys! They enjoy toys they can chew up and destroy, and sometimes will weave parts of their toys through the cage bars, as if building a 'nest'. Quakers can get cage-territorial and aggressive about 'their space.' They need supervised out-of-cage play time every day. Quakers are not birds who are content and happy being in a cage 24/7. You need to make plenty of time for them every single day.

    Quakers are prone to feather plucking and other forms of self mutilation. They're right up there with those gorgous, cuddly, "Everyone wants me!" cockatoos. This results from not enough one-on-one time, and boredom. It is a serious problem (another one of our members is dealing with the affects of a neglected quaker right now, I'm sure she'll have something to say as well) and difficult to correct.

    Quakers are prone to obesity. All seed diets should be avoided in all birds, but it is especially important to offer Quakers a variety of food. The good news is, most are brave enough to try new things, but you have to be consistent in offering it, and you have to make sure you take the new food away within 4 hours, if perishable, or you can open up a whole new host of problems. Quakers will gorge themselves especially if bored. After all, what would you do to a bowl full of chips if you were stuck in a small room, with not enough stuff to do?

    Quakers are prone to fatty liver disease. A lot of good quaker owners will, at their yearly avian-vet 'well birdy checkups', have the vet draw blood and check the bird's liver enzimes. This is an especially good idea if the quaker is overweight, or has been a 'fatty-food' eater. This doesn't mean a quaker shouldn't have any seed in their diet..they certainly can have seed. But monitor it carefully, and like Nikki said, they need fresh, healthy foods each day.


    Quakers are temperamental. They are always testing their boundaries, usually with really painful bites. When improperly trained, they become unmanageable, and that's when people leave them in their cages to pluck themselves bare. Also, like I said before, they can be really vindictive. Sometimesn if I let my roommate's Quaker out later than he's used to when she has an especially busy day, he will march out with the most determined look on his face and bite hard enough to draw blood. Because of their intelligence, they remember and let you know. This is one of the reasons they are bad birds for a family with small children. If not properly handled by the child, a quaker can leave permanent scars--both physical and mental.

    Quakers can become one-person birds. Even when socialized well, Quakers generally do become possessive, one-person birds. They are not the best birds to just pick up and show off to your friends, as your friends may get nailed pretty badly. This is yet another reason that quakers aren't the best family birds. They will pick a favorite and might not be too nice to the rest of your human flock.

    If you get a baby quaker, and you want him to be a well-socialized bird, you need to start working with him when he's young. Having the quaker spend time with the whole family (being careful of little children's fingers etc.), can help your quaker become a well-adjusted bird. However, there is still no guarentee. A quaker who is well-socialized and lives in a home where the owners have done everything right, may still grow up to be a one-person bird. That's just how some birds are.

    Quakers are aggressive towards other birds. While he is curious about the other birds in our apartment, I don't trust my roommate's quaker to even play with them, even with supervision. He will make a beeline for my Conure, head down, mouth open. My 55 gram Conure thinks he is about 10 feet tall when it comes to these things, so he will try to charge back. Well, both of them are quick, and the Quaker actually put a significant indent in my Conure's beak. Had we not tried to separate them, he would have succeeded in splitting the Conure's beak in two--this was definitely not a quick nip type of situation. He was holding on for good. All the Conure did was have the audacity to sit on my shoulder within view, but he was near the Quaker's territory, and we've all learned not to let that happen again.

    Don't let your quaker play with birds of other species. The results can be very tragic. I've heard story upon story of birds losing their toes (or worse) because of a quaker. "Birds of a feather flock together"...'nuff said.


    I love the Quaker I live with, but my roommate is lucky because not everyone does. If I had the chance to go back in time and choose some other bird for her, I'd have probably gone with something else. My boyfriend, my super patient tolerant boyfriend, who helps me care for my green cheek conure, rescue pionus, rescue lovebird, bourke's, and cockatiel, has made me promise never to have a Quaker because of the above reasons, so that should say something. Even when you have the money and time, don't just think of yourself when buying a bird, think of those who you live with, the ones you love and care about.

    I love Bosco and wouldn't trade him for all the money in the world. But he can be a handful at times, and he keeps me on my toes. I am a single person who lives alone, and Bosco (and my tiels) fit in well with the lifestyle I have chosen. Please remember, if you are considering a quaker, that they can live to be over 30 years old, and they deserve the best life you can get them, which means they always deserve your love and attention, no matter what may change in your own life. Quakers are big commitments. They are extraordinary, special, wonderful birds. But they aren't for everyone.


    -Nikki


    **********
    Nikki has mentioned some very important points. I've added my opinions/points to this post in green font. Thanks, Nikki, for putting this together.
    --Erin CG
    Last edited by Erin CG; 08-02-2004 at 02:04 PM.

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    Re: The Problem With Quakers

    uhuh i agree i was going to get a quaker becuase they seemed perfect until i went to see one, he was staring at me through his cage as if to say who are you then he slowly came closer and as i lay my hand on the cage for him to brush against ( the owner told me it was fine as he was tame... little did she know) he lunged for my hand and that totally put me off

  3. #3
    Banned Tailfeather Squawk and Howl's Avatar
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    Re: The Problem With Quakers

    two things:

    first, too many people try & "break into" the world of birds with "something glamorous" like a macaw, an african grey, conure, or quaker. a vast majority of these birds end up in rescues & dead.

    please folks, make sure your lifestyle accomodates having a bird(s), not the other way around. and start with something easier, friendlier & more optimistic like a tiel. once you get a good feel for birdkeeping, feel free to expand your flock.

    but that said, budgies & tiels ARE NOT "throwaway" or "practice for the real thing". they are wonderful lving creatures that deserve our respect & loyalty. the other birds that end up in rescue are the smaller ones- because someone is "upgrading" or decides that their "cheap bird" isn't worth vet care.

    i understand not all people will research birds before getting them. heck, i weas one of those poeple too. but once you have a bird, it is YOUR DUTY to read everything you can, and ask lots of questions.

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    Fur & Feathers, I got it all! Egg's Cracking... boobirds's Avatar
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    Re: The Problem With Quakers

    Yes Quakers aren't a bird for everyone. They need alot of mental stimulation, and one on one attetion. And yes they do tend to bond to one person. That's Tommies problem, he bonded to his 16 yr old owner. And became distraught that he stoped paying attetion to him. And as a result started plucking. And when I got him he was bald on his chest, and starting to pick at the skin. He'll probally never be the tamest bird I have in my home, but I know that they have a differant personality then tiels. ANd they take a dedicated owner to keep them happy & ocupied.

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    Teenager tielguy's Avatar
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    Re: The Problem With Quakers

    I'm thinking this thread is worthy of being pinned. Very valuable information.

    Because they're fairly small, fairly cheap, and uber cute so many people are tricked into thinking that they can be a good first bird. When in fact they are as much of a handful as a grey. My friend wanted a 'good talking parrot' back in the new year. I talked him into a quaker. He's still pretty happy with the bird, but really it hasn't been easy. I should have talked him into a pionus.

    I think there's alot of misinformation floating about the net about quakers. So many sites you visit say that they aren't that loud, and that they are fairly easy to keep. It's simply not true. So mods, what say we pin this thread and dispel that myth?

    Not trying to rag on quakers, they are uber cool little birds. But life isn't easy when you own one. The peeps who are thinking about getting one should do so armed with all the info.
    You say it best, when you say nothing at all.




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    Teenager tielguy's Avatar
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    Re: The Problem With Quakers

    Holy smokes, someone out there actually listened to me! If only I could get people to do my bidding in the real world as well.

    Just kidding, this is a well deserved pin.
    You say it best, when you say nothing at all.




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    Owned by my Tiel Brand New Egg
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    Re: The Problem With Quakers

    We have a Quaker, and I must say, when he wants the light off at night, he lets us know. And he's already cage territorial, even with being so young. I was just changing his food once and he decided my finger would make a lovely target to bite.

    I agree with everything said here. If you can't stand a loud bird that could possibly become a plucker, cage territorial, person territorial, and various other things you normally associate with larger birds, don't even consider a Quaker.

    They are extremely destructive(We've already lost a few toys thanks to him thinking it would be more interesting to chew on then his cuddlebone, which he ignores.), and are far from an easy bird to take care of.

    But they're still a blast to own, seeing how easy they can mimic, and solve problems. Our Quaker can even manage to bring toys up to the top perch of his cage. Toys he ends up carrying in his beak, while climbing the bars of the cage.

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    Teenager tielguy's Avatar
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    Re: The Problem With Quakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Minu

    They are extremely destructive(We've already lost a few toys thanks to him thinking it would be more interesting to chew on then his cuddlebone, which he ignores.), and are far from an easy bird to take care of.
    Just wondering what you mean by this? You do know that toys are meant to be destroyed right? Chewing up his toys is very healthy, that's just what you want him to do.

    And yes, they aren't bad birds, they're just not easy birds that's all.
    You say it best, when you say nothing at all.




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    Re: The Problem With Quakers

    i think i just may be lucky becasue my quaker has seemed to have settled in very quickly but theres no territorial behavoiur and hes quiter then my budgies were. hr plays with everyone and is a bundle of joy to own. as people have said, dont let this turn you away from quaker, just know that when you buy one there is alot more then a bird your taking on.

  10. #10
    Geaux Tigers!!! Tailfeather NeapolitanSixth's Avatar
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    Re: The Problem With Quakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Caique Crazy
    i think i just may be lucky becasue my quaker has seemed to have settled in very quickly but theres no territorial behavoiur and hes quiter then my budgies were. hr plays with everyone and is a bundle of joy to own. as people have said, dont let this turn you away from quaker, just know that when you buy one there is alot more then a bird your taking on.
    Your quaker is still young right now, and probably settling in. Territorial behavior and aggression usually come with age and comfort. Also, there are exceptions to the rule. But, young baby most things are cute, cuddly, and quiet. I used to work in a bird store and we had a lot of baby cockatoos. They were the quietest, sweetest things on earth. This is quite typical. But they end up in rescues because they start having problems when they mature.

    Also...I made this post because there aren't many things around saying what is BAD about owning quakers on websites. Just what is good. If you read my message carefully, you will see that I don't mean to turn EVERYONE away from quakers...Erin loves her quaker, and I love the quaker I live with. Too many people make reckless decisions, or decisions based on breeders' websites where they rave about said bird. When I got Bartok, I went around and asked people what was bad about owning a green cheek conure, because I didn't need to know what was great about it. The point of this board is to educate, and we would like to educate all prospective bird owners of every aspect of having a bird.

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    Re: The Problem With Quakers

    i wasnt trying to say you were turning people away nikki, sorry if it sounded like that

  12. #12
    Speaker of the house (the chatty one) Tailfeather Duddles's Avatar
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    Re: The Problem With Quakers

    The whole point of the article is to make people consider whether they can handle the negative aspects of owning a Quaker. Feather-plucking, self-mutilation, shrieking, biting and other behavioural and health problems do not show up after a few days. Nikki's article comes from experience and a great deal of research. Your bird has nowhere near "settled in". It is still stunned from the move. I just wanted to point that out in case others read what you have said as an example of a Quaker not having these problems. That might give the false impression that her warnings are not to be taken as seriously because - hey, here's a person who's had a Quaker for a few days, and it doesn't bite, pluck or shriek.

    All baby animals are great. I'm glad this article is here as a resource for people who are responsible enough to do their research before they buy the bird, rather than making an impulse purchase because they saw a cute baby.
    * Another long-winded message from the beak of Duddles. *

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    Egg's Cracking...
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    Re: The Problem With Quakers

    It is seriously scary that breeders in my area are currently going as low as $50 for a normal green quaker.

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    Re: The Problem With Quakers

    ive already said im NOT saying that what shes said is wrong i believe i wrote dont let this turn you away from a quaker, theres just alot more then a bird your taking on as in meaning there alot more then just the bird when you buy them but this shouldnt turn you away. im just saying i hope people who read this turn quakers completely away, not that nikki was wrong.

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    Egg's Cracking...
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    Re: The Problem With Quakers

    I love my quaker, he is a good boy, sometimes he just needs his space and I respect his wishes. he has only picked once and that was after my budgie whom he really liked died. It was kind of funny it was like the budgie was his pet. Any way quakers do take a lot of patience. and yes my quaker can be loud, even compared to my yellow collared macaw, but noise is a fact of life with most birds. In my opinion noise is relative, I have heard people complain that budgies, cockatiels, and green cheek conures are just so noisy that you cant hear yourself think. whereas some of my frieds who keep large macaws and cockatoos, think that my noisy quaker dosen't make enough noise to bother anyone.

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