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bonded/breeding pair experts needed

longyearwinds

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i work at a bird store these days, and we recently had an older pair of breeding black-headed caiques come into the store.

i noticed immediately that the male of the pair was very interested in me. he came from a male breeders home, and if he is sold, would go to a male breeders home as well.

he has only been in the store for 2-3 days, but yesterday, his entire personality emerged and he let me hold him and cuddle him and kiss him like he was my own bird. it really surprised me ! i'd spent the day before wooing him by whistling to him, but i had it in my mind that he was a breeder bird and wasn't expecting much back.

i am on the fence about his relationship with his mate. i'm not saying they aren't bonded– if they are proven, or even if they aren't, it doesn't mean they aren't bonded. i'd have to watch them a few more days to truly determine this. what i am curious about, is if there is such a thing as a 'bad' bond, or a bond where it's not good for one of the birds?

i am almost 100% sure this caique was a pet. he knows how to step up, he gives kisses, he whistles to me. he was grooming himself and let me stick my face in his chest. just absolutely a different bird than i thought he was.

when i put him back in his cage and stepped away, he sought me out at the front of his cage to come out. he always immediately came down from his perch to interact with me when i walked by– he showed a lot of interest in my GCC ( though i didn't let them interact, and that's really neither here nor there, just an observation. )

when he is next to his mate, he is silent and subdued. while this may be normal for breeder birds, i'm wondering if, even bonded, he is happy– after seeing a completely different bird emerge yesterday.

his mate is more of what i expected from a breeder black headed– extremely aggressive, extremely territorial, and very very very loud. that's natural, as she is a breeder bird and i'm not faulting her for that. however, i noticed her had a twisted toenail/toe that looked like it had taken a nasty bite at one point or another. i couldn't help wondering if it was from her– but perhaps so long in the past and before they were bonded to not be significant.

i know the female is bonded to him– when he'd crawl out of the cage to me, she would cry and scream and become naturally distressed. i never took him more than a few feet from her to avoid stressing her out too badly. i'm just very torn and i have no experience with bonded birds– all of mine hate each other.

have you ever had experience where a bond has been 'bad' for a birds happiness? it is very clear to me he was a pet, and he very much enjoyed it. but if he goes home with one of our customers, it will be a man, and he does not seem to like men. i know that there are cases where one bird is friendly, another not in breeder birds, but he is actively seeking my attention rather than just happily responding to mine. i read on a few places that this is concern where breeding is involved, but again, do not know enough about it on my own.

i'm going to observe them closely and see how they interact today, and will ask my bosses if they are proven. (although i imagine that they are.) this situation is just very weird and foreign to me and my gut is telling me he wants to be a pet.
 

Zara

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Matto

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I've heard from caique breeders that breeder birds are often also their pets. They seem pretty capable of having multiple bonds, even if all bonds are not the same. And keep in mind that he may not be hormonal right now. When he gets hormonal, he may turn his attention a bit more to his mate.
 

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I have one linnie (whom I hand-raised) who is both a breeder and a pet. When eggs are in the nest, he's all business and doesn't care much for humans, except to come out and greet me when I check up on him. When he's not breeding, he talks up a storm and loves spending time with my girlfriend and I. He even runs around the cage screaming his name when we come home. It's not always black and white, breeder or pet.
 

longyearwinds

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i've been hearing that here and there as well, however he has not been a pet for a long time. he doesn't like men and has been in male households for a long time. i was reading a bit that when breeder birds show more interest in human companionship, relationships should be assessed– but again i'm not a breeder.

if he is sold, he will go to a male household. all of our customers are older male men who do not interact with their birds as 'pets'; they are all rather strictly breeders, it's the culture around here. he doesn't seem to like men either.

maybe this would be alright for him? i just saw how happy he was to interact with me, and it became obvious to me that before he was a breeder he was a pet. the man who bred them before did not treat them as pets whatsoever. i guess i was just a little torn seeing how quiet and subdued he was with his mate and how he came to life when i whistled to him.
 

Mockinbirdiva

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I'm a little confused but since I was tagged I'll give it a go. You have a pair of caiques in your store. Are they a proven pair and only being sold as a pair or is the store willing to sell just one if a buyer only wants one? Quite often people who can't deal with a pet caique that comes of breeding age and turns into a biting - hunt you down machine.. for months. It happens with many different species of birds but caiques... boy... they will come at you with a vengence. I'm not surprised he responded to you and it sounds like he certainly was a pet at one time and sold to be a breeder when life became too difficult for the original owner to deal with. The only way you will know is to track down his history. I would want to know why they came into your store... are they not breeding? No breeder wants to keep and care for a pair of birds that don't produce chicks because they are an expense and take up cage space ( unless they happen to be super caring people and will give them a home regardless). I'd want to know how long he's been with this female to help in a decision as far as separating and selling separate. Is it even a choice in your pet store to split them up? I do think birds enjoy having a companion of the same species.... no human can replace that. One thing to note... they will attack other birds and quite capable of killing. So if he is separated from his hen and sold as a pet this should be disclosed in the event a buyer has other species of birds in the household.
 

longyearwinds

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I'm a little confused but since I was tagged I'll give it a go. You have a pair of caiques in your store. Are they a proven pair and only being sold as a pair or is the store willing to sell just one if a buyer only wants one? Quite often people who can't deal with a pet caique that comes of breeding age and turns into a biting - hunt you down machine.. for months. It happens with many different species of birds but caiques... boy... they will come at you with a vengence. I'm not surprised he responded to you and it sounds like he certainly was a pet at one time and sold to be a breeder when life became too difficult for the original owner to deal with. The only way you will know is to track down his history. I would want to know why they came into your store... are they not breeding? No breeder wants to keep and care for a pair of birds that don't produce chicks because they are an expense and take up cage space ( unless they happen to be super caring people and will give them a home regardless). I'd want to know how long he's been with this female to help in a decision as far as separating and selling separate. Is it even a choice in your pet store to split them up? I do think birds enjoy having a companion of the same species.... no human can replace that. One thing to note... they will attack other birds and quite capable of killing. So if he is separated from his hen and sold as a pet this should be disclosed in the event a buyer has other species of birds in the household.
I'm very aware caiques can be bird killers. I do want to note their history as well, and will have to get more information from my bosses as well. A lot of the birds that come into us are from ppl getting out of the business. Both these caiques have overgrown beaks and one is missing a part of toenail/it's grown in oddly. As I'm watching them interact right now, they have tussles, but I'm sure that bonded birds also have the occasional tussle with one another. I'll see if I can't get more information off the owners about them.
 

Mockinbirdiva

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I'm very aware caiques can be bird killers. I do want to note their history as well, and will have to get more information from my bosses as well. A lot of the birds that come into us are from ppl getting out of the business. Both these caiques have overgrown beaks and one is missing a part of toenail/it's grown in oddly. As I'm watching them interact right now, they have tussles, but I'm sure that bonded birds also have the occasional tussle with one another. I'll see if I can't get more information off the owners about them.

I'm glad you know that. It's really hard to trust breeders unless you have prior knowledge of them including their business practices. If someone were interested in these two as a pair they would be wise to want dna certificates on them as proof they are indeed male and female. If none is provided they should have them sexed to be sure. Would also be nice to have a record of previous clutches, not just eggs layed but successful hatchings with reared chicks. Some people will buy willy nilly on what is said and not proven. While some breeders will just claim they are "downsizing" their flock, I'm wary of a claim pairs are proven and very successful, it's up to a buyer to check out the facts. It's a sad life to pass from breeder to breeder, I would only hope for nice spacious enclosures and an adequate diet. The overgrown beaks may be suggestive of an improper diet or hidden illness due to diet. When new people come here and say their birds are on a pelleted diet and fresh veggies and fruit it's too generic for me... I want to know exactly what those items are, so you might want to inquire about that as well.
 

longyearwinds

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I'm glad you know that. It's really hard to trust breeders unless you have prior knowledge of them including their business practices. If someone were interested in these two as a pair they would be wise to want dna certificates on them as proof they are indeed male and female. If none is provided they should have them sexed to be sure. Would also be nice to have a record of previous clutches, not just eggs layed but successful hatchings with reared chicks. Some people will buy willy nilly on what is said and not proven. While some breeders will just claim they are "downsizing" their flock, I'm wary of a claim pairs are proven and very successful, it's up to a buyer to check out the facts. It's a sad life to pass from breeder to breeder, I would only hope for nice spacious enclosures and an adequate diet. The overgrown beaks may be suggestive of an improper diet or hidden illness due to diet. When new people come here and say their birds are on a pelleted diet and fresh veggies and fruit it's too generic for me... I want to know exactly what those items are, so you might want to inquire about that as well.
these birds have been confirmed by my bosses as a proven pair, and had 2 eggs with them when they were being picked up. turns out my puffyman is actually a puffyma'am, which is fine by me. she was out much of the time today as well, and i made sure to offer her the choice to go back to her cage so that she wasn't forced to be out if she didn't want to be. IE i placed her in her door and allowed her to make the decision to stay in or come out. she chose every time to come out, despite her spouses crying.

the male seems to have adapted to the small space between them now. he is much much quieter today while calling to her, and doesn't seem as panicked. he was eating and grooming himself contentedly while i kept an eye on him with puffy from about 4 feet away.

i noticed more squabbling between them after my initial post when she did go back in to eat– nothing major, but they would strike at one another, as well as regurgitate. she tried to mate with my arm after she got a little too excited playing with my sleeve, so i would certainly say hormones are in full swing at the moment.

she has started lightly chirping/crying to me if i step outside of her line of sight.

i will say the buyers at our store are local and small time, so it tends to be that if they pick up breeder birds off my bosses, it's on their word– and if they aren't truly a pair, they'll often be returned. i honestly find it a little sad too. my birds are my children, and i think breeders can of course do a wonderful job giving their birds a wonderful life, but i know that the culture around this area in particular involving birds & breeding is that they are for profit or for looks. the stores main clients typically breed show canaries & finches– same with both of my bosses, so as far as the parrots go, i'm the 'expert' in their behavior. but i of course don't know everything, as i've never bred or even owned bonded birds before, never handfed them etc.

the birds conditions don't look great. they don't look sick and they're enthusiastic and good eaters– but i've noticed puffy's feathers are very rough and coarse ( maybe just a caique thing? i've never pet one before. ) she's had a dried smudge of poo on her back since before she came in that i may try and wipe of tomorrow if she lets me.

not only are their beaks overgrown (the males is worse, but it doesn't inhibit him from climbing, eating, etc.) they look very cracked and dry. i've noticed puffy has a very difficult time perching on my shoulder, and even on my finger even though she always willingly steps right up– which makes me think her feet are somewhat weak.

i'll have to monitor them, but i've let my bosses know my thoughts on the birds as far as they go for now. thanks for all the comments and insights.
 

Mockinbirdiva

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Take some photos when you have a chance. Feathers can benefit from frequent shower baths, will help the dry feet as well. If the one is having a hard time perching she may never have had the proper perches to sit on with varying diameters. What is their current diet? As you probably know, birds can be masters at hiding illnesses until they become so sick they can no longer hide it. Overgrown beaks, rough condition, weakness in feet.... they could use a full work up with an avian vet.
 

longyearwinds

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Take some photos when you have a chance. Feathers can benefit from frequent shower baths, will help the dry feet as well. If the one is having a hard time perching she may never have had the proper perches to sit on with varying diameters. What is their current diet? As you probably know, birds can be masters at hiding illnesses until they become so sick they can no longer hide it. Overgrown beaks, rough condition, weakness in feet.... they could use a full work up with an avian vet.
i don't disagree. i do believe they're current state is more due to the cage conditions they were in previous. i couldn't say what that is, but the foot weakness reminds me of my grey & gcc when we took them in. they aren't my birds and i doubt i could convince my bosses to take them to the vet unless i were to purchase them & take them myself. they're current diet is unfortunately a seed mix, but not the worst seed mix i've seen. it does includes dried veg and greens, but as you can imagine, not the best. i'm not sure what diet they were on previously. birds don't typically stay with us too long and so my hope is they will end up on a different diet. honestly, i've been strongly considering purchasing them myself, but i'm not a breeder and i'm not sure what i'd do with an aggressive bird.

i attached a photo of puffy's odd toe, her feathers honestly don't look in too bad a state– it's only when you touch them that you feel how coarse they are. i don't have a photo of her beak that's decent, but it's more dry and flakey on the edges than rough and cracked. the males is a little worse off because of how long it is.

you can see that she has some dusty flakes in her feathers. this also makes me believe she hasn't had a bath in a long time.
 

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Laurie

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I don't know that it will address all your questions but I made you a couple of videos.


 

aooratrix

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It sounds like you think you need to "save" him; I'm not sure that that's necessary. Also, if the birds were to be split, that would be unfair and traumatic to his mate.
 

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I wouldn't separate them. The males are always more protective than the females so if the one you are playing with is a female and the male is freaking out then they are probably bonded. If they just had eggs they are definitely bonded, a female isn't going to lay eggs unless she is well bonded to the male. Things can change but when a pair is nesting they have a strong bond. It is not like with mammals, caiques don't go into heat or come into they breed when conditions are favorable including having a strongly bonded mate.

Everything you say seems pretty normal for caiques. If you want them then o ahead and get them, keep them together, enjoy the female and tame the male if you can but wait for him to calm down because trying to tame or handle a hormonal cock is not a think you will enjoy ;)
 

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I'm agreed with what's been said above. Whatever happens the should be kept together as a pair.
 

longyearwinds

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thanks for the information here ! the videos actually helped a lot more to visualize what a bond 'looks' like in caiques/birds. i would agree and say that puffy & her spicy bf are similar in composition. i do think puffy enjoys very much being a pet– she likes to climb down the front of my shirt and play in my hair and loves to beg to come out, but as her and her boo are bonded it's probably better for her to live as a breeder bird with whoever does buy her ultimately. i unfortunately can't take them in as i myself am not a breeder and wouldn't have the time to dedicate towards taming down spicy bf, especially because he's extra spicy atm with breeding season.
 

Zara

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i unfortunately can't take them in as i myself am not a breeder
If you took the pair in, you could not breed them. Switching eggs for dummy eggs.
Just another option :)
 
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