THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING A BIRD
Why do you want a bird?
When going to purchase a bird, it depends on the reason WHY you want a bird.
a) Is it for breeding purposes, to make some extra money?
b) As a pet for the family?
c) A Companion for an elderly person?
d) Or is it for someone who is housebound, infirm, or disabled?
If you want to start breeding, then consider the length of time it takes for the bird or birds to mature.
Some smaller species are mature after about 12 months.
That does not mean you will have a successful breeding pair.
Other species of birds take up to 2 or more years to mature, and then again they may not make good parents.
They could abandon their chicks after hatching, if they hatch at all.
Which means that you the breeder have to purchase a hatchery, then a brooder.
Then there is also the hand-rearing process; you then have to awaken early to start feeding, then later to bed, because you have to do the last feeding.
Breeding birds, means disappointment, heartbreak, and making time for the birds. It is not a job for the person who has a permanent job, or has other interests that take him away most of the time.
It means dedication, hard work, and money.
When you do start looking, make sure that the birds you require are a proven breeding pair. Ask for their breeding record.
A pet for the family
If it is a pet for the family, then it is best to acquire a bird from a reputable breeder who hand-rears the baby chicks, in a warm and homely and friendly atmosphere.
Some breeder’s, who hand-raise their chicks, do so in an outside room. These chicks have no interaction with other family members. So are not used to strangers, only their hand-rearing human.
Which results in them being shy or scared of strangers.
If it is in a house, which is empty most of the time, then a pair of Canaries or a Budgerigar is your best option, the do not require much except a clean cage and food.
If you want interaction, then perhaps a Cockatiel, which is an ideal bird, especially if there are very young children in the house.
Or if you have the finances, a larger bird like the Sun Conure, it loves attention, playing and cuddles, or even an African Grey, Cockatoo, or even a more expensive and larger bird like the Macaw.
Although the larger the bird, the more commitment. They are louder; make more noise, and more mess than the smaller species of bird.
They also can be more demanding.
The owner of these larger birds must be prepared to spend a good amount of time with them, as they can very quickly become bored, feel abandoned, and that is when trouble starts.
They also get very attached to their human flock and will become very noisy when ignored.
A companion for an elderly person
Please remember, that the larger the bird, the longer the life span.
So if the elderly person can no longer look after the bird, it will mean that someone else will have re-home and take the bird.
The bird may pine for it’s previous owner, it will need patience, love and attention to adapt to a new flock. Yes it regards the owner as part of its flock
Birds who are lonely and bored tend to pluck their feathers.
Or they can revert to screaming, nipping, or biting, as they feel abandoned.
They are scared, and like any other animal, will feel threatened.
The infirm or disabled person
Birds have been known to sense that these people have special needs.
They also can give comfort when petted and make ideal companions.
Depending again on the species, some act like clowns, some love being stroked, having cuddles or kisses.
Others can become great talkers, even learning whole sentences.
Some do not talk but mimic the words that they pick up from their owners.
There are a lot of reasons for purchasing a bird, to numerous to mention.
One must think very carefully when looking, there a lot of things to consider, no matter what the reason.
Things you must also acquire for your bird.
People forget that it is not only the cost of purchasing a bird.
They must also purchase a cage, food, vitamins, and toys.
Do not forget the cost of veterinary care if needed.
These come in a large variety of styles and sizes.
Depending on the size of your bird, it needs a cage large enough to accommodate the wing span plus. It needs plenty of room to exercise, play, climb etc.
A cover for the cage, a must in the evenings, when it is resting.
Birds needs at least 10 Hours rest and sleep time at night to stay healthy.
The type of food is important, check out the type of seed and other food that your bird eats.
All birds no matter what the species require plenty of greens, and a little fruit.
So again do your research and do think about this.
Other species like the Lorikeets are pollen, nectar-eating birds. (Not seeds).
So one must cater for their requirements.
For-bye the nectar that one can purchase from the pet shops, you can also feed them fruit and flowers, where they can get their natural nectar.
Vitamins can be purchased from your avian veteranian or from your pet shop.
There are numerous vitamins available, some are soluble that is added to the drinking water. Others come in powder form, to sprinkle on their food.
There are also vitamins that can be given to reduce the stress of traveling to their new home after you purchase your new bird.
Toys, well again it depends on the size of your bird.
There are toys especially for your small cage type of bird; they are unsuitable for your larger type of bird, who within a short time would have destroyed the toy.
There are tougher toys that can be purchased for the larger type of bird.
Or perhaps one can make some with a little imagination.
Play stands can also be bought for these birds; again one can also make them, if one has the tools and the time.
Find out who is your local avian veterinarian, not all veterinarians are suitable or specialize in birds.
KLAPMUTS BIRD CLINIC
Animal zone, Protea Rd, Klapmuts, Western Cape, South Africa, 7625
Tel: +27(21) 875 5063
Bloemhofstraat 34, Bellville,Western Cape, South Africa
Tel: +27(21) 910 3774
DR TOMMY BLUNDEN
Park Veterinary Hospital, Corner Rondebult and Kingfisher Streets,
Entrance on Stellan Road, Freeway Park
Tel: 011 893 2117
DR BRETT RUSSELL
Bryanston Veterinary Clinic, 99 Grosvenor Road, Bryanston
Tel: 011 706 1381 / 463 1413
DR. CHRIS KINGSLEY
Onderstepoort Vet Academic Hospital, M35, Onderstepoort, Pretoria
Tel: 012 529 8105
After Hours Emergencies: 079 525 0368
HATFIELD BIRD & ANIMAL HOSPITAL
Lynnwood Glen, Pretoria
Tel: 012 348 111/9
BIRD & ANIMAL HOSPITAL
68 Van Wijk Street, Nelspruit
Tel: 013 752 6661
Nahoon Bird and Animal Clinic Tel 043 735 1456
Dr Peter Wood
63 Beach Road
Protea Animal Clinic Tel 014 533 2084
Dr Tina du Plessis
Dr Newton Spark
230 Klopper Street
FOR A LIST OF ANIMAL VETERINARIAN SERVICES IN SA
IF YOU KNOW OF AN AVIAN VET IN YOUR AREA OF SOUTH AFRICA, PLEASE DROP ME A LINE SO THAT I CAN UPDATE THIS LIST.