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Considering an Aracari

Discussion in 'Ramphastid Road' started by EsJ87, 2/23/17.

  1. EsJ87

    EsJ87 Meeting neighbors

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    Real Name:
    Esther
    Hello !

    I am here to gather some opinions on some of y'all Aracari experts. . .
    WARNING SUPER LONG POST AHEAD! Stay with me.... & help! lol

    MY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE:
    I've owned birds all my life, budgies, parakeets, cockatiels, etc... My Mom currently has an African Grey so I'm familiar with the necessities of a medium size parrot. In fact, I helped with much of the handling the first year he was home (but then I moved out) and now Mom is his ONE PERSON and he hates everyone else. . . My husband and I previously adopted a Pineapple Conure, she was super smart, very cuddly, and easily clicker trained... BUT were unable to keep her in our for multiple reasons, so we ended up returning her to the original owner/breeder. I was totally heartbroken, and my husband promised at the time when we owned our own house maybe we could adopt another bird... 2 years later, and here we are 2 months into our large new single family home!
    __________________________________________________ _

    My husband had decided to gift me a bird for my birthday this year (in April).
    He had selected a Solomon Island female (because i don't like the color green lol) ekkie as the bird of choice... and was planning to purchase a baby in advance, and take me to the pet store to let me hold it once it was weaned before saying "SURPRISE ITS YOURS!"

    However, We went to visit some Toucanettes and Aracaris from Jennings' farm a week ago (just for fun! I had no idea he was going to let me get a bird!) ... long story short I kinda fell in love with many of their qualities... They're quiet, super cuddly and no biting or plucking! I personally loved the Curls and Chestnuts but they are out of my price range - So I am considering an Ivory bill or Lettered instead. After seeing me with the Toucanettes, he decided then and there he wasn't so sure anymore that he should pick a bird FOR ME since I'll be the main caretaker, trainer, and maid [​IMG] LOL So he ruined his own surprise and told me I'd be allowed to get a feathered friend for my birthday this year - Even if it WAS an Aracari instead of an ekkie....

    To be totally honest, my husband HATED the conure's constant barrage of seemingly random screams... and the conure also bit his fingers bloody on almost daily occasions. We aren't sure what lead to these behaviors and I tried multiple avenues for diversion, training, etc to no avail. . . So - my husband did a lot of research in picking the SI ekkie due to their speaking ability (which i Love in Mom's grey), more docile/calm nature overall, their relative quietness in parrot-speak (no 90 min screams), and the fact that they aren't really NEEDY birds like a cockatoo. I'm VERY MUCH drawn to the species once I was able to do some research on the over the last few days. . . However, I fear that while I may tolerate and even learn to respect their random screaming and hormonal biting - That my husband may not be so forgiving WHEN it does happen.

    I AM TORN!
    Should I go for the more common Parrot...trainable, talkative ekkie that will occasionally bite, pluck and scream.... Or should I go with the safer bet of a small, quiet, cuddly yet independent Aracari toucan that won't present any of those issues (but will also possibly be nearly as entertaining)... SIGH.... First World Problems y'all! Apples and Oranges - I'm having such a hard time!!

    HELP!!?![​IMG][​IMG]


    PS - Our current family only consists of myself, my husband, and 2 doggies. An Aussie Shepard (4) and a lab mix (5). . . We live in a 2000+ sq foot home with huge open spaces, and I would plan to have my new bird free-flighted under supervision. I'd also like to do clicker training with any bird I would adopt as I found it to be great fun!
     
  2. expressmailtome

    expressmailtome Ripping up the road Administrator Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Veteran

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    Welcome! You should look at some of @Calpurnia 's threads about her ivory billed aracari to get an idea about living with aracaris.
     
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  3. Just-passn-thru

    Just-passn-thru Rollerblading along the road

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    Hello and welcome,

    I'm not an expert of the species, toucanettes and aracaris , from what I understand they are messy with food and poo all over the walls.

    Maybe I 'm incorrect with that assumption, I had a mynah bird many years ago, very messy poop, fruit eaters have messy poo !
    if that's not an issue , sounds like a cool bid to have!


    They need a wide long cage, because they don't climb like a parrot, they
    have to hop from place to place.


     
    Last edited: 2/23/17
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  4. LunaLovebird

    LunaLovebird Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award Shutterbugs' Best

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    I would be worried about having the dogs out with a bird that doesn't really fly (or even ones that do). It doesn't matter how well they're trained, accidents happen, and even their presence can be a massive stress to a bird. @Calpurnia is a wealth of information on aracaris.
     
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  5. EsJ87

    EsJ87 Meeting neighbors

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    Esther
    Thank you for your concern - we had the same concerns and worries when we first brought our Pineapple GC Conure home!
    We introduced the dogs on leashes to the small bird very slowly, and did not ever allow them near her cage. Again, our bird was free-flighted, but was only left OUT when either 1 or both of us were home and paying attention specifically to the bird. She'd also frequently hang out on a perch in the living room with us and the dogs. We had one scary incident when Skittles was startled and flew off her cage and they both ran over to inspect her but I let out a blood curdling NO and they both stopped in their tracks and backed away on their own. ever since that day they had 0 interest in Skittles whenever she came out of the cage. My concerns are lessened with a bigger bird as both of my dogs are big scaredy cats, but even still we'd never leave them unsupervised.
     
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  6. Calpurnia

    Calpurnia Sprinting down the street Celebirdy of the Month

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    Hello!

    I figured I'd chime in considering we own an Ivory-billed aracari and previously had a female ekkie for about a year.

    I have to say, what species you choose definitely boils down to what you consider to be the "lesser of two evils". There are no bird species that are perfect for everyone, and everyone has varying degrees of tolerance for negative attributes. So I'll give a list of pros and cons for both our ekkie (who was in her mid-teens when we fostered her) and our aracari (who is almost 3 now):

    ekkie Pros -
    • Large and intelligent; Ellie was an expert forager and could figure out puzzles in no time
    • Less likely to scream regularly than other large parrots (e.g. macaws or cockatoos)
    • Less energetic than other species; more likely to be happy just chilling and watching the world go by
    • More "interactive" and trainable than an aracari
    ekkie Cons -
    • An insanely loud and blood-curdling scream (sounded like a woman being murdered); there was no "middle ground" when it came to vocalizing. Either she was quiet/making low grunts OR she was screeching at the top of her lungs.
    • Serious bite force
    • High maintenance diet; while opinions will vary, most people agree that ekkie should be fed a large proportion of fresh foods (veggies, fruits, sprouted grains, seeds, and legumes) with fewer pellets.
    • Prone to behavioral issues like plucking, toe-tapping, and wing-flipping
    • Large messy poops
    • Needs LOTS of space for proper physical and mental stimulation
    • CRAZY hormones. This was our biggest issue with our girl. After accidental stimulation (feeding her warm, mushy foods/petting her inappropriately/etc) she was obsessively nesty for almost the entire year. Talking with other ekkie owners I learned that this is not abnormal. The females in particular has evolved to find a nest hole then sit there and guard it all year long as males come by to mate with them. Some owners report not being able to touch their birds for months at a time when they become increasingly aggressive and territorial.
    • Not cuddly
    • Can become needy
    Aracari Pros -
    • Quiet; Our boy can be noisy (as in he will chatter or squawk throughout the day) but his overall volume is on par with our parrotlet or budgies. Actual screams are very rare.
    • Very handleable; let's us touch and pet him all over. He doesn't seek out cuddles like he used to as a baby though.
    • Less likely to be hormonal; toucans and aracaris can absolutely become more aggressive and territorial during the breeding season but it is probably not as extreme as an ekkie
    • Less likely to be an "one-person bird"
    • Less "needy" than a parrot and unlikely to develop neurotic issues like plucking
    • Cannot bite hard (but can violently peck if motivated)
    Aracari Cons -
    • Needs much more space than a parrot of a similar size. Even an Ivory-billed aracari (one of the smallest species) needs a macaw-sized cage. They cannot climb with their beaks and so need plenty of room to hop and fly (BTW our boy can easily cover 3 feet with one hop).
    • You should never clip their wings so they WILL get into things.
    • A pesky habit of eating small, inedible objects. Kevin has terrified us a couple times by eating hair ties and ear plugs. Luckily he coughed them up eventually, but there is always the risk they will eat something small enough and toxic enough to do real damage. For this reason we have to keep all surfaces in the house free of "tempting" objects.
    • Large, messy poops. Easily the same size as our ekkie, but made of fruit so they can be easier to clean. Unless he has eaten blueberries recently, then they stain everything. I spend maybe 15 mins cleaning a parrot cage each week. I spend over an hour scrubbing Kevin's cage with a stiff brush and soapy water.
    • High maintenance diet; they are predisposed to iron-storage disease and so must eat only low-iron softbill pellets, fresh low-iron fruits and veggies, and no citrus. There is a strong preference towards nutrient dense (but expensive) tropical fruits like papaya and dragon fruit. Because fruit does not freeze well you can't make a big batch of "chop" for convenience. I spend 15 mins or so every morning prepping.
    • Less "needy" than a parrot. I also put this in the "cons" column because for some people, the best thing about parrots is how interactive and sociable they are. My parrotlet is closely bonded to me and is constantly seeking out affection and/or wants to "hang out". I know he likes me and misses me when I am gone at work all day. Kevin on the other hand is very independent. He does not beg for attention but this can also make him seem very "aloof". He was more cuddly as a baby but seems to have grown out of it, and can easily go the entire day without "coming to say hi". If I go to him he is happy to receive scritches but he seems to be fine with "ambient" attention for the most part.
    • Not very trainable
    This is alot but hopefully you can start to see that while aracaris are awesome, they do have some real cons. Personally, I love how goofy, independent, and unique Kevin is. I've gotten used to his poops and the food prep and the cleaning. But for some people, having a bird that craps fruit smoothie every 10 mins over everything you love (because potty training is out of the question) is intolerable. For us, the intense hormonal behavior of an ekkie was intolerable. So it's up to you to decide what you are ready to handle, and what compromises you are willing to make.
     
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  7. EsJ87

    EsJ87 Meeting neighbors

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    Esther
    @Calpurnia Thank you So So SO Much for your response. This is the unicorn type of post was hoping for - Someone that would have experience with both and could give sincere feedback on the 2!

    Looks like both birds have messy poops given their equally yet distinct high maintenance diet requirements. So I guess either of those negatives would be a wash so to speak LOL. Looks like while the ekkie can become needy, neither are particularly a bird that requires major cuddle time which is kind of what we're looking for (we have dogs for that)!

    I do however enjoy the sociability and training aspect of parrots quite a bit... The thing that attracted me to the Aracari is the lack of cons found in said parrots (major biting, screaming and plucking)... The hormonal thing is definitely scary - but I have been told that without a nesting site/box or cozy corner, the right diet, and lack of back-stroking... the incidences are somewhat reduced? (HOPEFULLY).

    It is a hard choice, and I think I am stressing over it because I don't want to be the owner that returns a bird a few months later. So I want to make sure that I am at peace with whatever CON list I choose to accept! haha

    Thank you so much again for your insight!
     
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  8. Just-passn-thru

    Just-passn-thru Rollerblading along the road

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    Kudos to you!...for doing your research .

    Whatever species you choose , there is always trade-offs.
    When you fancy the more exotic species it's high maintenance !
    good luck , I'm sure you will enjoy whatever you decide upon. :highfive:
     
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  9. Buttersquash

    Buttersquash Meeting neighbors

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    The following is my experience with my Aracari:
    I have a curl crested, got him at 10 weeks, he's now 2. Prior to getting him I had considered a SI ekkie but backed out. I had also considered a number of other parrot species, but finally decided a parrot was ultimately not a fit for me. In short, screaming and biting are deal-breakers for me.
    Enter the Aracari. They are just so different, in wonderful, endearing ways. Maybe an easier way is to just outline a typical day living with my Aracari.

    When I work, he stays in his cage and when I'm home he is free flying if I'm not otherwise occupied or cooking. In the evenings he will sit on his t-stand while I read/watch TV. Then when it's late he'll typically fly to my shoulder and go to curl up under my shirt. When it's time for bed, I wrap him up in a blanket and put him in a toy dog carrier bag by my bed, and yes, that is how he sleeps. In the morning, he emerges and flies to his T-stand (and around the room etc) until I wake.

    I never did any type of formal training but somehow he typically only poops on the T-stands around the house. He has never pooped while playing in my bed, on the couch, etc.

    He has an outdoor metal sunning cage for the summer, nothing fancy, it's just to have him out once in a while. I believe natural UV light is important.

    Vocalizations range from an indescribably soft whimper to somewhat harsh caws if alarmed, but overall nothing near the decibel range of what a macaw or 'too can do. Not even close. And no repetitive screaming whatsoever.

    Anyone can handle him - no possessiveness, no guarding behavior and no biting in the manner a parrot might do. However, when he was several months old, he became what I believe to be protective of his territory and would "dive bomb" people in the house. No real harm done , but I simply keep him in his cage now when guests are over. He does not exhibit this behavior in other people's homes.

    Diet consists of various fruits (FYI I personally don't find feeding him any big deal whatsoever, as I already eat a wide variety of fruit myself, and I am an avid edibles gardener, growing blueberries and fruit trees). For pellets I use Harrison's and Goldenfeast goldnobles (tested with a food lab, and it has a super low iron content). However, after attending a Jason Crean lecture, I'm beginning to try to feed as little pellets as possible and try to use more natural foods (mealworms we're recommended... But he hasn't really wanted to eat them yet. I will keep trying though).

    Every bird (and bird/owner combo) is somewhat unique and everyone's experience will vary - these are just my experiences. But overall, I think Aracaris are the best keep secret in the bird world - to me the 'perfect' bird. Oh, they smell delicious too - very sniffable - which is a deal -maker for me. ;)

    Good luck and I'm sure you'll make the right decision for you.
     
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  10. waterfaller1

    waterfaller1 Ripping up the road Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Get Mazuri softbill pellets for your aracari
     
  11. TeresaG

    TeresaG Moving in

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    I had a curl crested I loved more than anything. He was my best buddy and slept curled in my shirt, was very affectionate and was the coolest bird ever. I fed him all the recommended fruit (organic) and the recommended Mazurl pellets, unfortunately he died from iron storage disease after only 5 years. I'm devastated and was beyond shocked. We don't have an avian vet in our town or anywhere within 4 hours, so it wasn't safe to test him, so it came as a complete shock because I did everything I'd researched that was right. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. I'd be very very cautious. If you get attached as I obviously do, I was absolutely beyond devastated to lose him. I'll never get over how unfair it was. Would I get another one? I've really debated. They are such beautiful, impetuous, joyful creatures I miss him every day. But they are also demanding of your time, and quality time, and extremely messy. Their poop is very sticky in a way you won't get until you own one. They get into everything because they haven't got much fear, unlike my Timneh. They aren't as noisy, but will cry for breakfast. I ced mine fresh at every meal time. They also bathe every single day, sometimes more than once. I had a custom cage built that filled my living room. It was over 6 ft wide, 6 feet tall and a depth of 4.5 feet and still could've been bigger. It required power washing weekly, with near daily paper changes in the bottom due to bathing. I did my absolute best with diet and cleanliness and it still wasn't good enough. If you travel, you'll need to be very careful who watches your bird, due to the diet and the cleanliness issues. They are also much more prone to escape in my opinion as mine was so friendly and curious without the normal bird fear, he'd definitely fly out a window without realizing it. This is both what makes them wonderful, and an issue for their safety.

    These birds are sold like the average person can keep them easily. But they require the best. I think until we absolutely know more about them, they are best left to the wild. This is my opinion from experience. If I ever did get another, I'll probably only feed very limited no iron fruits and no pellets, as the vet who did the necropsy said it was most definite the iron came from improperly manufactured pellets.

    So be forewarned.....

    that said, mine definitely loved me as much as I loved him. He could sleep for hours inside my sweater. They literally don't have a mean bone in their body- except for other animals. He mostly was OK with my dogs but wouldn't hesitate to face off if they did something he didn't like, and he absolutely hated my grey on sight. He was very possessive and jealous from the start. I got him as a baby, but I became his territory. Most humans he liked. One funny thing, I have curly hair he used to love. He'd sit with it twirled around his beak and fall asleep. Once I straightened it and took him out and he went berserk and attacked me! I think he thought I was an imposter, or something was wrong with my feathers. Lol. He followed me from room to room like a puppy, every single time I'd change spots, so would he.

    Good luck with your decision and hopefully my experience provides you with some helpful info.
     
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