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Beginner bird recommendations and questions

5678

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Hi, I’ve recently been interested in birds, they seem like such amazing and intelligent creatures! Can you recommend some birds to me? Here are some details about myself:

  • Completely new to birds

  • No other pets (except for fish)

  • Young children live with me, but they won’t be interacting with the bird

  • I am away for 9-10 hours on weekdays, but plan to give the bird free ranging time in my room for about 3-4 hours when I get home.

  • On weekends, I’ll try to give the bird most of the day to free range.

  • Noise preferably is in the middle. I don’t mind a lot, but I don’t want a bird screaming all the time. If it sounds nice, then that’s ok.

  • For personality, I’m looking for an affectionate and smart bird who I can teach tricks to and frequently handle.

  • For size, I would prefer 1-2 medium sized birds, or several small active birds.
I’ve looked into budgies (from what I heard, they’re not very healthy in general), cockatiels, parrotlets (I love their personalities, but some people say that they need to be kept alone, will they get lonely?) and conures.

Also, a few questions on general bird care:

  • Where do most people get birds from? I know pet shops are a bad idea. Are there “bird expos” like how they have reptile expos, where breeders come and show their animals? Do I have to contact breeders myself? Bird rescues?

  • Do fruits/vegetables fed to birds have to be organic? Is it better if I grow them myself? Anyways, gardening has always been something I’ve been thinking of starting.

  • Do you take birds to yearly checkups or only when they are sick? Anything I should know about health issues with birds and how to prevent them?
I’m currently doing my research into bird care, and things like fumes, so don’t worry about that! Thanks.
 

MahaSarah

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How about two cockatiels?

Birds need a yearly checkup as well as taking them to the vet when they are ill. The veggies and fruits do not have to be organic per se. But you would just need to make sure they get washed extra good.

I would go to a bird rescue first, then a small hobby breeder. (I am a little bias since I am one but I think the small hobby breeders are the best places to get your birds from.)
 

finchly

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I agree, it sounds like you need cockatiels. There are always so many in rescue. Depending on where you live, there are bird expos but if you do that you run a risk of your new baby picking up germs... there are a LOT of germs at those things. If you do that, take yours to an avian vet right after. (I actually got a cockatiel at one of those, for $25!) But that was risky behavior.

They should get yearly checkups but lots of people only take them when they’re sick. Problem with that is they don’t have a baseline for comparison.
 

Khizz

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Definitely consider getting 2 cockatiels! If you are away throughout the day they can keep each other company. On top of that they are known to generally be more laid back, and females in particular are generally quiet. There is no guarantee with birds however. My charming little Jeff has taken to imitating what sounds like a car alarm recently...

Most generic fruits and veggies are fine, and even some foraged goods if they are clean. Cockatiels really like dandelions, broccoli, sprouts. Mine eat herbs from my balcony, like rosemary, sage and basil. Just always check any new offerings are safe for cockatiels first.
 

Rain Bow

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I'm tagging @Lady Jane for budgies too! I dont think you should give up till she speaks. I think she may have more to say on the budgie part. Also more credible, IMO. I've heard if you take care of them properly they can live for a longer life because healthy is healthy. You get what you give it. She's the best I know of in the budgie worldview. I thought like you too before I came to this group, she changed my thinking on a bunch of bad info, you hear before you own a bird. I never had a bird till I inherited mine. She may just change your mind too!
 

Zara

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Welcome to the forum :)

Vet visits should be when you first get the bird/s, then yearly, and extra when you notice something odd - lack of appetite, vomiting, loss of balance, bald patches, weight loss, seizures, silence, accidents (bumps, cuts). The vet can trim nails etc while you are there for your yearly check ups too.

A rescue is a good place to go to see if they have the bird you are seeking. If you took home two ´Tiels from a rescue, you would be saving 4 because the two you take home will open a space for 2 more birds to be able to come and find sanctuary.

Also, depending on the age of your children, a padlock for the bird cage may be in order. My little nephew loves my birds so much that when he comes to visit, he now tries to open the cages, not understanding the patio doors are open.
 

Lady Jane

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I’ve looked into budgies (from what I heard, they’re not very healthy in general)
Some things to consider before getting a bird in your life. Budgies are as healthy as where they came from and how and what you feed them. I have 2 English budgies . They have a life expectancy of aprox. 8 years. I feed them only the best and they have the ability and space to fly which is very important for a birds health. People do rescue budgies or other species often and provide a loving home. Stay away from chain pet stores is my advice. These birds are almost never handled by humans before being shipped into a glass cage for people to watch. They take longer to train too. There are breeders that hand raise budgies and there is usually a wait list for these birds. Budgies are very active and if you had a nice, large flight cage you can get a pair or more. It should be an even number of birds though.

Cockatiels are a little larger and so very sweet. Its good that you came here for suggestions instead of just reading what the internet has to offer. Make sure you have an avian vet within driving distance as this is very important for any bird or birds you may have. Learn the ins and outs of avian nutrition. Birds need much more than seed.
 

sunnysmom

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Welcome to the forum. I agree with the other comments. A pair of tiels or budgies sound like a good fit.
 

5678

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Thanks for the suggestions everyone.
This morning, I found out that my parents are rather supportive of getting a bird, and they'll be willing to care for one when I'm away from home or when I leave for college. My dad specifically likes larger talking birds, any recommendations? Something with intermediate care should be alright as we'll be doing our research with everything.
 

MahaSarah

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Well then if they are taking on the responsibility as well of taking care of the bird daily then you would need to talk to them about their expectations, budget, time they can spend with the bird etc. Larger talking birds are a totally different ball game with more expenses, they need a ton of daily attention, and they are generally very loud.
 

EkkieLu

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Welcome Aboard! I'm so glad you're here!!!
 

sunnysmom

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Thanks for the suggestions everyone.
This morning, I found out that my parents are rather supportive of getting a bird, and they'll be willing to care for one when I'm away from home or when I leave for college. My dad specifically likes larger talking birds, any recommendations? Something with intermediate care should be alright as we'll be doing our research with everything.
Have your parents ever had birds? I think especially if you're considering a larger bird that it's important to meet some and understand what you're getting into. African Greys might be one to look into. But to me, larger also means more work and potentially more challenges. So you need to make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. Are there any rescues near you? That's a good way to meet some birds and see what you like, etc. Also, some rescues have classes on bird care too which can be very helpful.
 

Beasley

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they'll be willing to care for one when I'm away from home or when I leave for college.
Parrots are extremely sensitive animals, if bonded to you, your absence through college will be traumatic and may permanently change your relationship with your bird.
My dad specifically likes larger talking birds,
Who’s bird would this be exactly? And why specifically does he want a large talking species? This smacks of interest out of novelty, what happens when that wears off? Are they prepared for the 60+ year lifetime commitment to this parrot?
Something with intermediate care should be alright as we'll be doing our research with everything.
the level of care rises exponentially with larger parrots. They are more akin to adding a child to your life. I honestly would recommend sticking to budgies or cockatiels. Go to rescues and bird stores, meet parrots and interact with them, by all means study them; but don’t kid yourself on intermediate care - parrots require advanced care, ample quality time, dedication, attention and funding for their needs to be met.

Their intellect, sensitivity, and personalities are astonishing, even in the tiniest parrots. Budgies and cockatiels make very rewarding companions when properly cared for and offer a wonderful introduction to the care and experience of parronting.
 

finchly

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I spend as much time with parrotlets and tiels as with caiques, pionus... hubby is fixing a salad with a tiel on his shoulder right now. To do this right, they become your life.
 
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