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Thread: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

  1. #1
    Amorous Tailfeather
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    Angry "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    First of all I just want to make a disclaimer and say:

    This thread is NOT directed at anyone in particular!

    So I've thought about this often...and was just curious as to what your thoughts are. Feel free to agree, disagree, add opinions, observations, etc. Me? I just feel like venting!!

    It seems like "little" parrots (I'm referring to mostly budgies, lovies, tiels. etc.) get stiffed a lot in the moral issues of parrot raising. People seem to think (whether consciously or not) that "big" parrots deserve better treatment than little ones. Why? Because they are bigger, fancier, prettier, more expensive, more talkative, easier to breed? I don't know what the reasoning behind all this is. Why do little birds so often wind up in cruddy little cages with seed diets and no vet care? Because so many people think a $20 bird is not worth taking to the vet, or that a $20 bird is not worth buying a $100 cage for.

    I especially notice this in regards to breeding. Some I see on this board, or in ads in the paper and on craigslist. But because they are easier to breed and cheaper/easier to sell, it's somehow deemed okay. People stick birds in a cage and give them a nest box all the time. Backyard breeders, just like those "free kittens" you see in the paper. Like I said in some other thread, if it were people breeding Macaws, Cockatoos, Conures, etc., I thing there might be a bit more of an outcry. And why? Just because budgies and tiels are easier to breed and sell off to people somehow makes it more okay to breed them?

    Now I am not saying there aren't responsible breeders out there. But with so many birds winding up in shelters and crappy homes, it's frustrating to see people who have NO IDEA what they are doing stick two birds in a cage and watch what happens. It's much more common that I like, and that's very unfortunate.

    Anyway, thats my rant for now!
    Last edited by McDenny; 05-12-2008 at 05:54 PM.


  2. #2
    Red-tailed hawk Five Eggs Laid!
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    Re: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    I think small parrots get stiffed in general. They get stiffed by some parrot people, who for whatever reason, seem to think that because they are small and easier to care for, that it means they are not real parrots. That peeves me to no end. Sorry, but my budgies and tiel are every bit as much of a parrot as a macaw or cockatoo are. (Well, technically, Beau is a cockatoo. ) They may not be the same exact species, and some of their needs may be different, but they are still parrots, and deserve to be treated as such.

    We do have our two budgies (Yellow, female and Cheerio, male) in the same cage together. However, we don't give them nesting material, or encourage them to breed and so far, they haven't. Cheerio tries, but Yellow won't let him. They've been in the same cage together for years, and so far, haven't bred. So... *shrugs* Being that they get along and all (well... they will sometimes have little harmless squabbles, but that's it) - we keep them in the same cage to be companions to one another. I don't think that they will breed (or we wouldn't have them together - if it were obvious that they were thinking about breeding, we'd probably separate them), but if they did, we'd do our best to be responsible about it. I certainly wouldn't give away birds to people who couldn't care for them properly.

    But true, you shouldn't haphazardly breed just because "it's fun" or whatever. That's something that should definitely be researched and thought out. And more respect should be given to things like that. I personally feel that people shouldn't be breeding their animals unless they do a lot of research, and can provide a home for the animals should they not find good, respectable homes.

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    Brand New Egg jaime.mcclelland's Avatar
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    Re: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    A few weeks ago I was at a flea market and they had a pets section with HUNDREDS of budgies, tiels and lovebirds stuffed into cages for sale. It was one of the saddest things I have ever seen. There were no large birds there. Only small ones.

    I definitely agree that there is a typical stereotype of all birds, where it is deemed that the large birds are more intelligent and more important. Bigger parrots are easier to show in zoos and animal shows because of their size, bright colors and general appearance. They are very good talkers. Talking is a HUGE aspect of why parrots are sold in the first place. Unfortunately, if the bird doesn't talk, which not all do no matter what the breed, it is no longer appreciated. What they don't know is how sweet these little birds can be. They are just as charming and can just as easily steal your heart away the moment you lay eyes on them. And, correct me if i'm wrong, but I believe the record of the largest vocabulary held by a bird belongs to a budgie.

    So in conclusion, I definitely agree with you on this argument. And i'm very pleased that someone brought it up, because it is really a bigger issue than most of us realize.

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    Bella's Personal Maid Moulting elfhome's Avatar
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    Re: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    I do think a lot of it has to do with greed. If an expensive bird gets sick there's more incentive for selfish people to take good care of it. Talking skills, showiness, and impressive sizes are some of the reasons why the wrong people buy parrots.

    Bella's initial vet visit plus her cage and accessories added up to something like 3 times what I paid for her and that was only the beginning. Some people I knew thought I spent too much on her (they can go stick their heads in a bucket!) Last time I checked no other person in the world is as soft, snuggly, warm, or adorable as my little Bella-boo. So there! :P

    Small birds can be easier to care for than large ones, but I wouldn't underestimate them. in a way I think they CAN be better adapted to captivity because they breed so fast. Unlike the larger, more difficult to breed species the smaller birds are generations further from their wild ancestors. So you can breed for more docile, friendlier birds, etc.

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    Resident Vampire Hormonal ellenant's Avatar
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    Re: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    Yes, it is not only small birds that are treated like that,
    as said above, mice and rats are treated the same.
    Look, everybody thought I was crazy that I had a 200$
    tumor surgery done on my pet rat!
    It is just this stupid attitude.
    It is cheap, so it is easier and cheaper to replace it than
    to "repair" it.
    It is this "waste and disposal" attidute lots of people
    have, not only to pets but to other possessions as well,
    and most of the time, pets are regarded as possessions,
    too.
    Look, my sister has a horse, so an "expensive pet",
    and she asked me the other day if I have a new bird
    (after my old one died). "Yes", I said. -"Which one?"
    "A parrot", I answered. "Oh, something cool?"
    _"No, I got another cockatiel..."
    -"Oh, you are sooooo boring..."
    Well, I explained to her why my cockatiel certainly is NOT
    boring!!!!!
    But try to explain to a "normal" (=non bird crazy) person that
    your cockatiel or whatever is as intelligent and as cuddly
    as a pet cat or dog...
    they just look at you.
    "There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said- NO. But somehow we missed it." (Samuel Beckett)


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    Re: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    I agree that price probably plays a bit part. A parent, for example, isn't likely to buy their kid a pet that costs thousands of dollars. A kid isn't likely to take very good care of it, and even if they wanted to... the parent is the one opening and closing the purse strings.

    As for adults, it's probably similar and chances are they don't take care of themselves much better than they take care of a pet.

  7. #7
    Bella's Personal Maid Moulting elfhome's Avatar
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    Re: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by nightlady View Post
    As for adults, it's probably similar and chances are they don't take care of themselves much better than they take care of a pet.
    It's like trying to get someone who's idea of veggies is the sad piece of lettuce on a Big Mac to understand that birds need greens and good veggies. Bella gets the best food I can give her, and I invest my time and money. She has perked up my diet a bit, since I can't let all the veggies sitting around go to waste.

    Whenever people see Bella they always ask about her. Now and then some people get bored when they find out she can't talk. Most people just react with surprise when they find out how smart she is, and how friendly she can be. So she has changed people's perceptions but it's a shame that people just assume a little bird like Bella doesn't do much of anything.

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    Re: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    I agree with you guys 100%. It's a shame that not many understand the beauty of the smaller birds and their personalities. At the bird store where I work we have EVERYTHING from finches to Black Palms. And when people ask me what my favorite bird is and I tell them "cockatiels" ... well, I've gotten some really weird looks. They are very under appreciated.

    I think finches should be added to this list also. They may not interact the same way tiels or budgies or love birds do, but they most often get the harshest treatment since people will stick 5, 6, or 7 in a tiny cage (small birds only need a tiny cage right? ) and then when all of a sudden they have 25 finches, they come to us and ask if we'll buy them. No. Learn some responsibility.

    Ugh, I hate people. I really do.

  9. #9
    Caique Crazy! Tailfeather BareFootAviary's Avatar
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    Re: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    Ellen, $200 for a tumor removal??? Wow, that is an insane price- not saying I wouldn't pay it, but that is just expensive! I used to have at least 5 rats at a time and I had a few that got a couple of tumors. I had a great vet take them out for $25 each, no extra costs. I would have paid more, but thankfully it was cheap.

    I agree. People breed for money and because the small birds are easy. That is why I do not lower my prices on birds. I'm sorry, but if you want a bird, you are not going to haggle me down. These are living creatures that need the same care other birds need. I only ever once had someone ask to lower a price on a Lovebird and I told them, "No, my prices are set because if you cannot afford to buy the bird, how will I know you will be willing or able to afford all the other things it will need?" They didn't ask again and they did buy the bird. I get updates all the time.

    And not all small birds are easy to breed- let me tell you! I once talked to a breeder who had a pair of DNA sexed, bonded Lovebirds that wouldn't breed to matter what! The guy was amazed when I told him my first pair started breeding within 1 month of bringing them home! And they weren't even bonded before then! But like any bird, breeding is a huge responsibility and the birds still need all the care any other bird needs. They still need good fresh foods, toys, a large cage, clean dishes and cage, etc. They are still living beings that feel.

    I like nothing more than to come home after a long school day or day of work and sit in the bird room while all my birdies fly to me to greet me. I think that is what makes having birds worth it.

    Also, I think that when people breed (like I mentioned before), they think they will be making money- yeah right! Just going to the sales alone, I spend way more than I make! I sold 1 baby and a few Hidey Huts this last sale, but ended up coming home with less money than I left with because I bought a whole ton of food, toy parts, and new toys!
    "I'd rather be the one in love than to be loved and never even known."

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    Part Owl Tailfeather BrandonK's Avatar
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    Re: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    The sad truth is the difference in price...

    Responsible people who love birds are going to care pretty much the same for a budgie as they will for a conure or bigger parrot.

    People who don't care as much and want a bird because of a spur of the moment desire are going to go for what bird? The $1000 gray? The $400 conure? no. The $20 budgie....and the $15 cage. And once the novelty wears off they're stuck with a bird that has a life expectancy in excess of 10 years. They didn't think about the consequence of their actions and now just buy the cheapest seed and change the water once a week and never let the bird out of the cramped dirty cage.
    "Questions open the door to knowledge."

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    Re: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    I've seen some pretty dodgy behaviour from a conure owner. The shop were I get my seed mix and where I got my second tiel boards birds, and just last week i saw a conure boarding there in a tiny cage with hardly any toys and the dates on the tag said he was boarding for 3 months! Poor little thing was on the top perch running back and forth screaching. And these birds aren't exactly cheap, though we are supposedly in a boom at the moment so everyone here, except me of course, has lots of money.

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    Re: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by Melkor View Post
    I've seen some pretty dodgy behaviour from a conure owner. The shop were I get my seed mix and where I got my second tiel boards birds, and just last week i saw a conure boarding there in a tiny cage with hardly any toys and the dates on the tag said he was boarding for 3 months! Poor little thing was on the top perch running back and forth screaching. And these birds aren't exactly cheap, though we are supposedly in a boom at the moment so everyone here, except me of course, has lots of money.
    Cheap is a relative term, someone who is gone for three months is gone on work.
    "Questions open the door to knowledge."

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    Re: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    I guess they spent all their money on the bird and didn't have any left over for a decent cage.

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    Brand New Egg jaime.mcclelland's Avatar
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    Re: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by kito109654 View Post

    People who don't care as much and want a bird because of a spur of the moment desire are going to go for what bird? The $1000 gray? The $400 conure? no. The $20 budgie....and the $15 cage. And once the novelty wears off they're stuck with a bird that has a life expectancy in excess of 10 years. They didn't think about the consequence of their actions and now just buy the cheapest seed and change the water once a week and never let the bird out of the cramped dirty cage.
    I completely agree with you, 100 percent. These people assume that because they are so small and so cheap, they must be relatively easy to take care of and keep. WRONG! I've had so many people ask me why I would bother to get a bird, and say "Well, birds just sit there and scream, and they don't do anything and are boring" Someone who has never owned a bird has no knowledge of how hard you have to work to keep a bird healthy and happy. I have had cats and dogs, and they are nowhere near as difficult to take care of as my bird and birds I have owned in the past. Big or small, talking or not talking. Just because budgies are one of the most common pets in the world doesn't mean they're easy to take care of by any means, and just because they cause $20 at Petco doesn't mean you can just keep them in a cage and expect them to just sit there and look pretty. Anyone who wants and deserves to own a bird should do an enormous amount of researching and taking into consideration the life expectancy and commitment it takes to own one. From Greys to Finches.

    Being small does NOT mean they don't have big personalities.

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    Part Owl Tailfeather BrandonK's Avatar
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    Re: "Small" vs. "Big" Parrot treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by jaime.mcclelland View Post
    I completely agree with you, 100 percent. These people assume that because they are so small and so cheap, they must be relatively easy to take care of and keep. WRONG! I've had so many people ask me why I would bother to get a bird, and say "Well, birds just sit there and scream, and they don't do anything and are boring" Someone who has never owned a bird has no knowledge of how hard you have to work to keep a bird healthy and happy. I have had cats and dogs, and they are nowhere near as difficult to take care of as my bird and birds I have owned in the past. Big or small, talking or not talking. Just because budgies are one of the most common pets in the world doesn't mean they're easy to take care of by any means, and just because they cause $20 at Petco doesn't mean you can just keep them in a cage and expect them to just sit there and look pretty.
    Being small does NOT mean they don't have big personalities.
    I am also amazed at people's concept of birds being noisy things that just sit in their cage and do nothing. Sometimes when I tell someone about the bonds they make with their owners I get the most blank stares and ridiculous looks.
    "Questions open the door to knowledge."

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