Introducing Parrots, Part II: Dr. Jekyll

April 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ah, parrots. Those wonderful, wonderful animals. Now, prepare yourself for all of this, because it’s going to be quite the shock after yesterday’s post.

Well, parrots do make great pets. There’s no denying that. However, they are also very picky animals. For example, before you will be befriended, you must undergo a stringent test involving . . . bites. As a person once said, “If you have a dog and it bites, you have a serious problem. If you have a parrot and it bites… congratulations. You have a parrot.” Parrots are not like dogs and cats, who have hundreds of years of domestication behind them. Your parrot might be only a few generations away from the wild, or even less.

To get back to the pickiness, there is a very unfortunate occurance that happens sometimes with parrots. Let’s say there’s a family of three. Milly’s the wife, John’s the husband, and Aidan’s the son. Milly decides she’d like to get a parrot, and so she does her research and decides on a Amazon. (Bad choice anyway, as you’ll find out when we talk about Amazons.) So she brings home her new parrot, and guess what? Little Polly decides she likes John most, and that she must “protect” her “mate” from Milly. Now Polly’s devoted to John, who doesn’t even like parrots, and she’s aggressive toward Milly, who wanted a parrot, and now she’s starting to aggress toward Aidan. Polly’s off to the pound.

Parrots also have the unfortunate habit of screaming. Of course, this isn’t necessarily true to all parrots. Mango and Kiwi have more of a “excessive tweeting” issue. But if you get a parrot mid- to large-sized, you’re going to get screaming. One of the best known examples of this is the Sun Conure. Sun Conures are popular pets due to their beautiful colors and clownish personalities, but they’re also very commonly abandoned because of this behavior:

Now let us return to . . . the biting. This is one of the reasons why parrots are not acceptable pets for children under ten years, and one of the most common reasons that parrots are abandoned. Parrots are going to bite. No getting around it. We’ll explore biting in more detail later, but for now: Realize that the larger the parrot is, the more it’s going to hurt when (when, not if) it bites you. Certainly, I’m not saying they’re going to rip you apart (most biting is really just exploring, and doesn’t hurt at all) but I am saying that they will do it to some extent.

Hmm, what next. Aha! The pooping. “Oh, come on,” you say. “It can’t be that bad. You’ve been spinning horror stories here.” Well, you are partly right. If you have a Budgie, Parrotlet, Lovebird, or similar sized bird, it won’t be “that” bad. But if you have a larger parrot, you will have problems. You’ll watch your bird experience the joys of making soup with his food and water . . . and then throwing it all out. You’ll watch your birds have “poo-shooting” contests with each other. And even though Mango and Kiwi are tiny Lovebirds, whenever they have a “bath” in the water dish, they splatter water all over the place.

Okay, okay, okay. Maybe I need to get a rein on myself. After all, remember all the awesome stuff in Part I? All that’s still true! You’re parrot will be a mixture of Part I and Part II . . . Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in effect. What I want you to do (if you’re considering getting a parrot) is to look through Part II and consider: “Is there something in there that, if my parrot started doing it, would get him in the pound?” If your African Grey didn’t talk (yes, it happens), would he be abandoned? If your Budgie started biting your son, would he be abandoned? Think about it.

And in the meantime, eat lunch. 😉


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