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Seeking Tips and Advice for First Time Bird Owner!

aidan16

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Hello! First, apologies, because this will be quite a lot to read! :shy:My name is Aidan, and I was looking into getting potential advice and input from experienced bird owners! I've wanted a pet bird my entire life, and I am finally in a financial and realistic place to do so! I am getting approved for an apartment, and the complex said they will allow parrots as pets!

I've been doing a lot of research into different bird breeds and their behaviors and needs, and I have absolutely fallen in love with Caiques! I've read all of the posts on here about their pros and cons, such as 'The Good, Bad, and Ugly about Caiques'. I've been watching YouTube videos about target training and enrichments for birds, I've already started planning dietary recipes like chop and what pellets, I want to provide a proper diet and environment for my potential baby!

I am aware of their need for hours of enrichment and human interaction, I work as a dog groomer so my evenings will be free for me to hang out with and train my bird, I am not someone who does things halfway, especially when it is something I really care about, I've dreamed of having a bird my entire life! I understand it will not all be fun and happy interactions, I've been bitten by dogs in my profession and am used to not letting pain inflicted by an animal affect my feelings towards them, I have experience in dog training (I trained my own Service Dog) and while it is different for parrots, I am willing to put in the time to properly train and communicate with my potential bird!

I know hormonal things are what is said to be the main 'issue' with Caiques, and I've read a lot of articles and threads on how to deal with hormones when they get bad, though I understand that is very different than experiencing it firsthand- or firstbeak!:rofl: I've spent hours at the bird store meeting all of the baby Caiques, and have begun bonding with one of the little Black Headed Caiques! The babies all seem to be wonderfully socialized and open to meeting new people and being handled.

The bird store was so helpful in educating me on Caiques and how they are not traditionally 'beginner birds', though after the time and research I've put in, they think that I am a good fit, and have 'soft held' the parrot for me until I move into my apartment and can take her with me, they say that once purchased, they'd like to keep her for a bit to train her to live and become comfortable in a cage, since they are in an open glass enclosure since they are still young and their wings are clipped for their safety while they are in the open store. I ideally would like to let her feathers grow in and work with flight training, but the store recommends for her wings to be clipped for the next few months of her life while I work on training, I'd like y'alls input on that!

The store seems wonderful, they offer free beak and nail services for birds purchased with them, along with bird boarding services, I think I will definitely be going to them for in person advice and help, they seem very knowledgeable and are focused on their birds going to a well adjusted home that can realistically meet their needs. I understand that I will have a lot to learn and go through, but I am absolutely committed to providing the best life for her that I can, if you guys have any tips or advice for me, I would appreciate it greatly! Here's some pictures of the girl so y'all can see how cute she is!
20231102_192313.jpg 20231102_192257.jpg
 

Pixiebeak

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Hi

:welave:
The only thing is birds are programed to fledge , and clipping before they do that and learn to fly ... isn't a good idea in my book. It's a critical life stage. You can research this, the importance of fledging.
 

aidan16

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Hi

:welave:
The only thing is birds are programed to fledge , and clipping before they do that and learn to fly ... isn't a good idea in my book. It's a critical life stage. You can research this, the importance of fledging.
Thank you for your response! I read a bit to understand the basics before properly responding, is there a way I can support my bird and encourage healthy habits for her while her feathers grow back so she can learn to fly? Or is this practice immediately irreversible and detrimental to her development overall? I've grown quite fond of her over the time I've spent, and would like to help her in any way I can.
 

Shezbug

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Welcome to the Avenue :hiya:

I hate to sound horrible but I struggle to lie or sugar coat most things.... I would not ever buy a bird that was clipped (rescue one from a bad situation I may do, pay for one -heck no!) as that is not in its best interest EVER but I would especially steer clear of unfledged or even baby birds who were clipped and restrained from learning proper flight- they need to learn flight at a young age to be good at it and it takes more than a few lift offs to get the skills needed to make the neural connections. I would not support such old practices and beliefs as I do feel that one day animal cruelty will catch up with reality and ban the clipping of 99% of birds who are currently being clipped for human convenience.
I certainly would not believe a store or seller who is pushing the clipping of such young birds knows anywhere near as much as they might like you to think they do.
They are there to sell you stuff they are not there for the wellbeing or health and safety of the bird they are making money on.
I also would never pay for a bird and then be told I should leave it with the seller so they can train something as simple as being in a cage (for a start, being a pet store, they are likely to use a cage that is too small and are also likely to tell you that you need to buy said small cage- I honestly hope I am totally wrong about the cage size).
They offer free beak and nail trims... healthy birds cared for correctly should rarely need this service so if they are raising healthy birds and promoting good husbandry that is a service you should not need often if ever. My Macaw is almost 6, my cockatoo is over 15 and my budgie I think would be about 4 or 5 and not one of them has ever needed a beak trim and only need nails done now and then which I do with a nail file.

The main thing for me is the clipping of such a young bird- big no no for health and for safety reasons but people buy the safety reason as they don't know better so the pet stores and lazy breeders use the excuse as an apparent reason.
 
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aidan16

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Welcome to the Avenue :hiya:

I hate to sound horrible but I struggle to lie or sugar coat most things.... I would not ever buy a bird that was clipped (rescue one from a bad situation I may do, pay for- one heck no!) as that is not in its best interest EVER but I would especially steer clear of unfledged or even baby birds who were clipped and restrained from learning proper flight- they need to learn flight at a young age to be good at it and it takes more than a few lift offs to get the skills needed to make the neural connections. I would not support such old practices and beliefs as I do feel that one day animal cruelty will catch up with reality and ban the clipping of 99% of birds who are currently being clipped for human convenience.
I certainly would not believe a store or seller who is pushing the clipping of such young birds knows anywhere near as much as they might like you to think they do.
They are there to sell you stuff they are not there for the wellbeing or health and safety of the bird they are making money on.
I also would never pay for a bird and then be told I should leave it with the seller so they can train something as simple as being in a cage (for a start, being a pet store, they are likely to use a cage that is too small and are also likely to tell you that you need to buy said small cage- I honestly hope I am totally wrong about the cage size).
They offer free beak and nail trims... healthy birds cared for correctly should rarely need this service so if they are raising healthy birds and promoting good husbandry that is a service you should not need often if ever. My Macaw is almost 6, my cockatoo is over 15 and my budgie I think would be about 4 or 5 and not one of them has ever needed a beak trim and only need nails done now and then which I do with a nail file.

The main thing for me is the clipping of such a young bird- big no no for health and for safety reasons but people buy the safety reason as they don't know better so the pet stores and lazy breeders use the excuse as an apparent reason.
Thank you for your response! I appreciate everyone's input so far, especially given my inexperience, I am happy and willing to learn from y'all! They have many types of parrots there, and in quite large cages as well. I appreciate the input/ admit my naivety, I entirely thought that it was for the birds safety as well! Though it seems they are old fashioned as you mentioned.

They mentioned accustoming her to a cage since they have the baby Caiques in a large play area, not quite sure how to explain it other than it is a large enclosure open top with toys and food, like a pen I guess? Unfortunately in the area of Texas I'm at, there are very few bird breeders, one's that I have spoken to are just selling the birds as is, i.e; pay and pick up, I would rather like to meet several babies of birds and socialize with them before deciding on which one since this is such a long and serious commitment that I am making, which is why I am wary of shipping a bird from out of state.

I would like to let her flight feathers to grow in, and learn how to teach her to fly. And I'm aware that with proper perches and enrichment that birds ideally trim their own nails and beaks, they just offered it as a free service should I ever need it. I admit I'm attached to her since I've spent so many hours with her, do you think there is any feasible way I could get her and offer her a good life?
 
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Shezbug

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@aidan16 I have no doubts at all that you could offer her a good life given that you already care enough about doing so that you joined here and asked for help learning before bringing her home, shows a lot of responsibility and care :)
 

Pixiebeak

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It's definitely for their convenience, because being in a glass room , babies learning to fly would crash into glass, and bird stores clip to protect their investments.

It is very detrimental to clip before fledging. It takes months or to a year to regrow flight feathers , they are sub adult or adults by that age.

I agree with everything shez says.

But I will say , smaller size birds have an easier time recovering than medium or larger birds..but ..it effects muscle and skeleton and even brain development, can impact confidence and more. .

Thst saying, I'm 100% against clipping a baby. But ..2( 1 from novice breeder, 1 pet store) of my quakers, and 2 ( both pet stores) of my green cheeks were clipped before fledging. Breeder baby I got at six weeks , the others around 9 weeks...they did learn to fly , and fly well. Only the pet store quaker had already developed behavior issues, over preening, mild shoulder plucking, screaming, forced interaction hand phobia. She did recover from.
My other Quaker had never been clipped, but kept caged or out in a very, very small dorm bedroom before me. She did not learn to fly well do to confinement and I didn't get her till she was over one year old. It took a good year to fly well, and she is not as skilled as all my others.

It is important to have a connection. It's up to you. But that pet store will have more babies, when you can actually take one home. And you might be able to request not clip ??
 

aidan16

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@aidan16 I have no doubts at all that you could offer her a good life given that you already care enough about doing so that you joined here and asked for help learning before bringing her home, shows a lot of responsibility and care :)
Thank you! I'd like to think so, I've been so focused on trying to research Caique behavior that I guess I lacked in other basic aspects, such as fledging and wing clipping, from the media and reading I've learned I have full intentions of not clipping her wings once I have her, I was wary when they mentioned to me to clip them again, birds are wonderful intelligent creatures, and I don't support disabling them for human comfort, clipped birds fly away all the time, so I'm glad to be reassured that it is not an appropriate action, I'm going into an apartment where I'd like to plan for her to be flighted, with several areas in the apartment she can go to where she pleases, it can be hard to find an overall resource with all behavior and needs that a bird requires! I know supporting such old practices by purchasing a bird from them only exacerbates the problem but there aren't many other options where I'm located, I could maybe look into finding resources and sending them anonymously to help their future husbandry? If they'd even be receptive lol, I think it is worth a shot!
 

aidan16

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Thank you for your response! I can definitely speak with them about future babies not clipping, though I'm not sure if they arrive there already clipped or not. It is good to hear that birds can recover from a lack of being fledged, I would want to support and teach her in every way I can, she can fly a little, she fly/hops to my fingers when I go to see her, she is so sweet and preens my face and kisses me, and her surfing behavior is sweet, she loves the material of my shirt. I am so endeared by her, she is lovely! And I at least know that she is well socialized, the babies are all so playful and easily handleable, though that doesn't quite make up for their unethical practice of clipping babies, I'd like to see if there is any way I can help the overall welfare of all the birds in their care, the employees seem truly dedicated and care for the birds, the ones I spoke to have birds of their own and were happy to give tips, though I now know that their views are outdated.
 

Trent84

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I am a new caique owner as well, and I also apologize becasue I'll be long as well! as you already know, they're A LOT of work. I'm cleaning 24/7 because mine he's a poop monster, especially in the morning!
They're also hyper charged, loud and everything you already know. But you don't realise as long as you don't see one playing non stop with you or his toys.
Mine was also not weaned, which was a little tough for us to deal with as novice parrot owners - hearing his screeches was heartbreaking, and teaching him what proper food is was not super easy, but this wasn't his fault at all.
That said, they're so rewarding as well. Mine loves people -all people- because he's always rewarded and he knows he can have extra attention from strangers. He's not scared of anything, and he truly understand what he's been told with calm and patience. They're hyped, but not phobic, so I don't need to be super careful going around the house and do stuff (I was drilling a shelf the other day, and he flew over to see what I was doing. Not bothered at all). When I come home, he'd fly to me doing his happy noises, which is super cute and lovely. They're hard work but also very, very affectionate and intelligent.

However, I would NEVER buy a clipped parrot, and I'll tell you why.
This is my very first parrot but I've seen a few, all fully flighted. You can tell that, even if caiques are brave and stuff, they can be suddenly get scared of anything and NEED to fly away from it. Otherwise they'd feel totally helpless and trust me, you don't want an insecure caique anywhere near you or other people.
I also learned that, as for the weaning and feeding instructions, breeders do their best to sell the bird as quick as possible, while every individual has his own personality and timing. Clipping the babies wings is for their convenience, not the bird's. This is a crucial stage of their life where they explore literally everything (caiques more than others, as they're super snoopy) and needs to learn how to fly as well, which is a must for birds. I'd say that a bird with clipped wings is the opposite of safety for them. I've also seen many baby parrots trying to fly and not doing a very good job, but trust me, they know their limits and will learn consequently but, they need to have the choice to do so.

I'd try to check on other breeders or to have a word with this one about clipping.. and good luck with your new adventure! They bring so much life to the house!
 

aidan16

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I am a new caique owner as well, and I also apologize becasue I'll be long as well! as you already know, they're A LOT of work. I'm cleaning 24/7 because mine he's a poop monster, especially in the morning!
They're also hyper charged, loud and everything you already know. But you don't realise as long as you don't see one playing non stop with you or his toys.
Mine was also not weaned, which was a little tough for us to deal with as novice parrot owners - hearing his screeches was heartbreaking, and teaching him what proper food is was not super easy, but this wasn't his fault at all.
That said, they're so rewarding as well. Mine loves people -all people- because he's always rewarded and he knows he can have extra attention from strangers. He's not scared of anything, and he truly understand what he's been told with calm and patience. They're hyped, but not phobic, so I don't need to be super careful going around the house and do stuff (I was drilling a shelf the other day, and he flew over to see what I was doing. Not bothered at all). When I come home, he'd fly to me doing his happy noises, which is super cute and lovely. They're hard work but also very, very affectionate and intelligent.

However, I would NEVER buy a clipped parrot, and I'll tell you why.
This is my very first parrot but I've seen a few, all fully flighted. You can tell that, even if caiques are brave and stuff, they can be suddenly get scared of anything and NEED to fly away from it. Otherwise they'd feel totally helpless and trust me, you don't want an insecure caique anywhere near you or other people.
I also learned that, as for the weaning and feeding instructions, breeders do their best to sell the bird as quick as possible, while every individual has his own personality and timing. Clipping the babies wings is for their convenience, not the bird's. This is a crucial stage of their life where they explore literally everything (caiques more than others, as they're super snoopy) and needs to learn how to fly as well, which is a must for birds. I'd say that a bird with clipped wings is the opposite of safety for them. I've also seen many baby parrots trying to fly and not doing a very good job, but trust me, they know their limits and will learn consequently but, they need to have the choice to do so.

I'd try to check on other breeders or to have a word with this one about clipping.. and good luck with your new adventure! They bring so much life to the house!
Thank you so much for sharing your experience and advice! It's good to know I'm not the only one getting a Caique as a first time bird! While they require a lot of time and attention, they are so charming and interactive, I'm ready for the adventure!

I definitely want to raise her to be confident in her own space, she can fly short distances, just not super far. I am definitely going to be going there this week to speak with them about the clipping issue, and to infer whether they arrive there clipped or if they do it on site, if it's on site, I'll see if I can get a non clipped baby!

I'm also not ruling out rescues, I'll continue searching for breeders or rehomers in a feasible distance from me while I'm moving to my apartment and setting up the equipment and such, already disposing of all aerosol and teflon equipment, going to have to bird proof my life but I'm so excited! I really appreciate y'all!!:)
 

aidan16

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@Pixiebeak @Shezbug @Trent84

Is there any other input yall could give me about bringing a bird into a home environment? I've watched a lot of BirdTricks YT Channel as she films her first days with her birds and what they look like, I've also been watching videos of bird body language though I think itll take some first hand experience to truly understand it.

I am moving into my apartment either tomorrow or early next week, and will begin my preparations! I truly appreciate y'alls guidance and advice, I want to provide the best life and environment for my bird that I can! :) <3
 

Trent84

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Oh, rescues can be so rewarding too! Depending on the issue and the breed, they can also be much easier to deal with IF you have patience and a little knowledge. Many times, most parrots are perfectly fine, but the owners didn't want to take care for them anymore -at least, that's what I heard.

This is my very first parrot, but my mum has a rescue gcc with lots of issues and it showed me what a scared/nippy bird looks like. But also, it taught me how fulfilling it is having these little creatures around and to care for them.
We don't have parrot sanctuaries here in Italy and I'm happy with Mickey but I would definitely have had a look because the experience of earning a bird's trust is something truly amazing.

It's great that your house will be parrot-safe! With Caiques, I'd bulletproof it as well :D
 

Trent84

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@Pixiebeak @Shezbug @Trent84

Is there any other input yall could give me about bringing a bird into a home environment? I've watched a lot of BirdTricks YT Channel as she films her first days with her birds and what they look like, I've also been watching videos of bird body language though I think itll take some first hand experience to truly understand it.

I am moving into my apartment either tomorrow or early next week, and will begin my preparations! I truly appreciate y'alls guidance and advice, I want to provide the best life and environment for my bird that I can! :) <3
Mine did not have any issue at all. I introduced new people as well on the first week, to help him socialize.
I've seen BirdTricks videos as well for the same reason, but I think they're talking about rescues and not babies.

I have both experiences (1 for each actually) and the rescued parrot was ok to stay in his cage for the first few weeks to settle in, and observe us and the surroundings. He let us know when he wanted to get off, by climbing on his cage.
The baby caique, instead, was super happy to be out and stay with us 24/7. We experienced a little regression with the weaning later on, but nothing major. As long as he's with us -the closer the better!- he's happy.
Personally, I wouldn't suggest anything as every parrot has his own personality, except for being calm and let him/her do the first move. Then, you'll follow along.
 

CrazyKozmo

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Videos on parrot body language are a good start (are they caique specific?). But my best advice is to learn your bird's body language, believe it, and respect it. One time I didn't believe it and thought "nah, she's just posturing"...then I got bit on the eye (holy crap that hurt for 2 weeks!)! Now if she's overexcited with eyes pinning, body swaying, "heart shaped" wings, I set her down away from my face (or any other body part). I always have a bath towel with me for playtime (they like to chew, plus it's handy when they get overly excited). Never a dull moment living with caiques!! :birdance:
 

Pixiebeak

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Look if a parrot chooses you, it is a really special thing. They are each individual.

I have had 2, that choose me, and it was an extra special connection. My breeder quaker , I met all 4 babies, and Neptune jumped on my arm and thst was it! He was ready to go home with me and never looked back. The breeder has been sending me videos of the babies as they grew up, and he had been the one to catch my eye even before meeting them . He also has never been interested in interacting with the breeder or her family. He was my heart and soul bird. The same with my first green cheek. She loved me at first sight and wanted to interact with me . But she was runty and scruffy. ( they were open about a hand raising aspiration and infection, and that she was vet cleared now) so after I had my money together, I was going to choose a different beautiful full size green cheek. That baby wasn't the least interested in me tho. I'm so glad the knowledgeable bird lady , talked me through it. Told me how it was extra special it was.

If you have an extra special connection with this baby , I would take that into consideration.
 

aidan16

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Videos on parrot body language are a good start (are they caique specific?). But my best advice is to learn your bird's body language, believe it, and respect it. One time I didn't believe it and thought "nah, she's just posturing"...then I got bit on the eye (holy crap that hurt for 2 weeks!)! Now if she's overexcited with eyes pinning, body swaying, "heart shaped" wings, I set her down away from my face (or any other body part). I always have a bath towel with me for playtime (they like to chew, plus it's handy when they get overly excited). Never a dull moment living with caiques!! :birdance:
This is all amazing input! I couldnt find Caique specific body language videos, though I have watched videos with them in it and just observe how they move and react to things, I think itll take me awhile to truly understand the body language, so itll be a learning process for both me and my bird!

I've been bitten in the face by dogs, I'm sure it's a different type of pain but I can definitely feel you on that one! I'm understanding basic body language like eye pinning, raised feathers, leaning towards and away, but I still will have a lot to learn, I am sure I'll become a regular here with questions and just overall sharing my journey!

I appreciate this forums respectful and kind users and atmosphere, I know having a Caique is not a conventional first bird, and was a little nervous that that would be an issue of contention especially given my naivety with some things, but yall have all been so understanding and insightful, I already feel more confident with the advice given!
 

aidan16

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Look if a parrot chooses you, it is a really special thing. They are each individual.

I have had 2, that choose me, and it was an extra special connection. My breeder quaker , I met all 4 babies, and Neptune jumped on my arm and thst was it! He was ready to go home with me and never looked back. The breeder has been sending me videos of the babies as they grew up, and he had been the one to catch my eye even before meeting them . He also has never been interested in interacting with the breeder or her family. He was my heart and soul bird. The same with my first green cheek. She loved me at first sight and wanted to interact with me . But she was runty and scruffy. ( they were open about a hand raising aspiration and infection, and that she was vet cleared now) so after I had my money together, I was going to choose a different beautiful full size green cheek. That baby wasn't the least interested in me tho. I'm so glad the knowledgeable bird lady , talked me through it. Told me how it was extra special it was.

If you have an extra special connection with this baby , I would take that into consideration.
I feel as if I do! She was a little nervous at first, but readily accepted my step up and immediately went to my shoulder and started rubbing her face all over me. In just an hour or two it was a struggle to get her off of me, she kept hiding in my hair and preening me. I was originally planning for a GCC, but after meeting her I was absolutely in love and dove into research, the employees pointed out that when they tried to go pick her up she would run to me and want up with me, I feel a special connection with her and I'm willing to work through issues with her together
 

Pixiebeak

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My dream species has always been quakers. But everyone talked me out of it at the time . Especially their tendency to scream . That is 100% true , and so many are given up because of that, including one I got because of the screaming.

It took me close to 20 years to get my first quaker. And they are my heart species. They are prone to behavior issues, plucking, screaming. But I connect with their essence.

All parrots live such long lives. You should choose the species you connect with, if you can meet that species unique needs.
 

aidan16

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My dream species has always been quakers. But everyone talked me out of it at the time . Especially their tendency to scream . That is 100% true , and so many are given up because of that, including one I got because of the screaming.

It took me close to 20 years to get my first quaker. And they are my heart species. They are prone to behavior issues, plucking, screaming. But I connect with their essence.

All parrots live such long lives. You should choose the species you connect with, if you can meet that species unique needs.
I'm so glad you eventually were able to get your Quakers! The pictures of them are beautiful, there are also a bunch of baby Quakers growing like weeds at the bird store, they showed me GCC's, parrotlets, plum headed parakeets, cockatiels, etc, but I just felt immediately connected to Caiques when I met her, I want my bird to be central to my life, I've been obsessed with birds since I was little and I cant express my excitement!
 
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