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Trying to choose an emotional support bird

taxidermynerd

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As a person with severe anxiety and depression, it is my opinion that a bird would make a terrible ESA, as others have stated here. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you should never get a bird. But just don't get one to be an ESA.
 

Monaco

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I just want to say that PTSD just isn't anything like standard depression or anxiety. It can give one valuable insight into how a prey animal relates to the world, but it's never going to be a reciprocal supportive relationship with a prey animal. Having any expectation toward that end is likely to end up very poorly for the animal.

Dogs are usually excellent, but even they don't all react well to emotional upset. They're still the best option for actual support, though.
 

Maple_tiel

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Hi there! My name is Mimi, I’ve grown up with birds my whole life, my mother loves parrots. I’m now an adult and I’m going to be moving out of the house next year into an apartment. I suffer from really bad anxiety and since I find a lot of comfort in animals, my psychiatrist has suggested getting an emotional support pet to help me with my mental health. Parrots are my absolute favourite animal and I have loved all the ones I grew up with, we now only have 4 budgies but they are my mothers. I think a parrot would be the best fit for me, I’m just having a tough time choosing what will be the best fit. I need a bird that will be apartment friendly (not too loud), and also that is really cuddly (I find a lot of comfort in cuddles). I’ve kind of narrowed it down to African grey or green cheek conure, but I’m still not sure. I’m open to any suggestions, I just want to make sure that I can give the right home to whatever bird I get.
thank you!!
I guess it really depends on the bird. I find cockatiels are very good birds overall. I personally have depression, autism, severe adhd, and severe anxiety. Maple helps with my anxiety, and depression, however, I did not get him with the intent of him being an ESA. He just happens to provide emotional support for me.
As someone else said, you can’t really cuddle with birds, at least not in the traditional way that we do with dogs and cats. The way Maple and I “cuddle” is I lay down, he sits on my chest area, and I give him scritches. Every bird is different so my situation with my bird won’t be the same for everyone.
 

cassiesdad

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Tiels are great birds...period!
I have the pleasure of being "owned" by Milton da Too... 20210605_084655_HDR.jpg

He, like most cockatoos, are cuddle bugs...and since field are "mini cockatoos"... this is where Maple get his "cuddliness"!
 

camelotshadow

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Parrots need emotional support people so don't expect much from them. Mine cause alot of anxiety. I am anxious to begin with & when I am that way it makes them worse to live with. They really are not going to provide consistant emotional support. They are always butting heads & make life more challenging as both my guys go into that annoying squeal! Arrrghhhh

Right now I;d like to ring there necks as my hair is wet & my ears can't take earplugs so I am stuck here listening to there drill!
 
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finchly

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I own a parrotlet that was someone’s ESA before. She’s absolutely adorable. For that person, it worked. She outfitted a cute little carrier and took her everywhere.

I am not trying to discount what anyone else said. I don’t think a parrot would be my ESA of choice. But for this person, it worked.

My choice would be a bunny.
 

cassiesdad

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Parrots need emotional support people so don't expect much from them. Mine cause alot of anxiety. I am anxious to begin with & when I am that way it makes them worse to live with. They really are not going to provide consistant emotional support. They are always butting heads & make life more challenging as both my guys go into that annoying squeal! Arrrghhhh

Right now I;d like to ring there necks as my hair is wet & my ears can't take earplugs so I am stuck here listening to there drill!
Very true! Cockatoos seem to be the most needy...and like all birds...shouldn't be considered as "pets"... IMHO.
That being said, Milton could defined as my ESA...no doubt about it...hey, he even sings with me...and we're not bad together...;)
 

Sparkles99

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I wouldn't choose a bird or a bunny. The best suited species would probably be dogs or rats. Maybe guinea pigs too, if they're gregarious (I have no idea, but have heard they like cuddling).
 

Destiny

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I wonder if a chicken could be a good emotional support bird?

I have heard of one lady who raised a turkey from a baby to be her ESA. Took it everywhere.

My turkeys are pretty chill birds. Not very bright, but funny and sociable, if you spend time with them. I can kind of see how it could work, but I think a chicken would be more mobile and easier to keep in your home, if you are so inclined. Turkeys get BIG.

And they poop big too ....
 

CStone

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I agree with all of the above. I have 4 birds and none of them are cuddly. That being said, they still provide me with "support" in that I enjoy watching them be happy birds and I enjoy caring for them. They lighten my mood just by having them around me. If you want a bird, you have to accept that they might not want to cuddle and that you'll have to put in maintained work to bond with him/her.
 

GoDucks

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I think it will depend on the individual animal and what relationship you forge with them.
I have had two cats at different times in my life and both of them were there for me. Having said that, I also have had kitties who acted very indifferent to me. I now have a cockatoo and I must admit that he has shown tremendous empathy towards me. He has been willing to put up with my sullen and sad moods with a jovial nature that I rarely see in humans.
 

GreenThing

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I am one week into owning a bird (budgie) for the first time in my life, so I have zero experience to offer in terms of parrot companionship, but as someone 1) who had family dogs most of my life and 2) has ADHD and depression, I can tell you how that factored into my decision to care for a bird rather than a cat or dog. For one, I am almost 32 and am finally at a point with my work-life-meds balance where I felt I could add another responsibility-- not on my best day (a big thing with ADHD is that we often think in terms of our high highs, not our low lows), but on my very worst day.

For another... I have a friend who also struggles with depression and anxiety, and adopting cats has, in some ways, helped her more than medication. Not necessarily because of the comfort they give her, but because she (like me) benefits from having someone else's needs to focus on. She was prepared to have a cat that didn't like her (one of the reasons she got two). I was prepared to have a bird that took years to accept my presence. The help that having a budgie companion has already given me is that I often find it healthier and easier to care about someone else need's. It gets me out of my head. Feeding this little life that depends on me gets me out of bed in the morning in a way that even the imminent threat of losing my job has never done.

But (again, as a late-diagnosed ADHD person who has learned a lot about the toxic optimism that comes with that disorder) there's a fine line between knowing and hoping that caring for a living thing will add structure and purpose to your life. There are times when I hoped that would be the outcome-- I had sourced a mouse breeder and even purchased an enclosure once-- but in my heart I knew I was coming from a place of optimism, not certainty. So I waited. You are the only person who can know yourself that honestly. What are you hoping to get from an animal companion?

To echo what many have said-- the companionship I get from my dog is very different. I go home to cuddle him (actually, I tended to err on the side of just giving him physical affection and not balancing it enough with his other needs, an issue to consider with dogs that can make them dependent), but that relationship isn't what I wanted from my own first pet. I wanted a companion specifically that I could closely observe and talk to while going about my various projects. I was mentally and emotionally prepared not to be liked or accepted right away. I needed and was ready to add a little more structure and responsibility to my day (things like food preparation that I struggle to do for my own sake but am able to do for someone else). You know what you need and what your anxiety is exacerbated by, so definitely focus on that.

It's only been one week but I do have to say... my budgie listens in a way my dog doesn't. It's like nothing I've ever experienced with an animal. I feel like I made the right choice-- but it was from a desire to support a life, more than for an animal to support me. As in the PTSD article linked by LadyJane, sometimes these needs intertwine in special ways (I've seen the same with beekeeping), it depends on what the needs are.
 

Maple_tiel

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Tiels are great birds...period!
I have the pleasure of being "owned" by Milton da Too... View attachment 385223

He, like most cockatoos, are cuddle bugs...and since field are "mini cockatoos"... this is where Maple get his "cuddliness"!
Absolutely! I personally have a preference for ‘tiels (for various reasons, the main one being I have ptsd from a cockatoo with behaviour issues), Maple absolutely adores people, he'll sit in the shoulders of complete strangers whenever he gets the chance to. He really helps me be able to talk to people that I don’t really know
 

Tazlima

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My birds are helpful to me emotionally in that they force me to be aware of my own mood. If they are stressed or irritable, I stop and analyze my own mood. Nearly every time, they're just reflecting my own negative emotions, which I sometimes don't even realize are there. I'll take a couple minutes to relax myself and get into a better headspace, and once I'm genuinely calm and cheerful again, the birds calm down as well.

Expecting them to HELP me calm down, though? No way would that work. They don't relieve stress - they magnify and broadcast it. May as well try to cool off by lighting a bonfire...
 

QB1rd

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As someone with PTSD and anxiety, I would like to say that having a bird has been fantastic for me. It has been life-saving even, but in deference to Q, I wasn't always the best owner when I was going through my times. A bird needs someone who can be dependable and be able to change their cage and water and food for them. Think about how you are when you're at your worst and imagine having to provide for someone else and then give them your time for play and invest your money in them. Think about cleaning out a cage when it's hard enough to get out of bed. I realize this doesn't sound nice or polite, but you have to think about the bird here. If I had the choice, as much as I loved Q, I wouldn't have gotten him. I would have gotten a cat or a dog.
 

cassiesdad

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If there ever a bird that should have to honor (and respect) of being an ESA...it would be my Milton.
I intend to talk about that when I talk with my psychologist next week...
 

Axeladi

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I had a quacker as my emotional support animal, and he helped me a lot. Gave me purpose, was really sweet loving, and intelligent, recently lost him do to a bad flight accident. And it’s been devastating on the whole family, he just brought so much love, and joy. He was great at picking up on my emotions, sadness, anger, or anxiety, and was always able to manage the right tones when he spoke or carry out proper actions to elevate my mood and bring me back to a happy, relaxed and playful place. And he would always listen intently when I’d ramble, and look at me from the one side with one eye and ever so slightly lower his eyelids with concern and care. When I got him he was supposedly weaned but wouldn’t eat he was a late bloomer out of his siblings I suppose and I ended up hanging to give him formula, he was a lot of unexpected nerve wrecking work, just like a newborn and I literally had work around his feed schedule, but the bond was intense, I slept next to his brooder and he wouldnt let me out his sight I trie placing things with my scent nothing. After he started escaping I would wake up with him, he’s sleep right on my heart, got a cage learned to escape eventually and would cry all night, eventually got a solid raw iron aviary. So at first he gave some headache that turned out rewarding, and I had a real loyal and loving companion.
 

Axeladi

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As someone with PTSD and anxiety, I would like to say that having a bird has been fantastic for me. It has been life-saving even, but in deference to Q, I wasn't always the best owner when I was going through my times. A bird needs someone who can be dependable and be able to change their cage and water and food for them. Think about how you are when you're at your worst and imagine having to provide for someone else and then give them your time for play and invest your money in them. Think about cleaning out a cage when it's hard enough to get out of bed. I realize this doesn't sound nice or polite, but you have to think about the bird here. If I had the choice, as much as I loved Q, I wouldn't have gotten him. I would have gotten a cat or a dog.
idk I have ptsd and I think that aspect of having my bird was what made me get up, keep going and feeling like my existence was of any importance. It gave me will to not give up. And he was 24 clock work and he helped block me from going to the negative rooms of ruminating past thoughts in my mind, and helped create positive memories. Everyone is different I guess
 

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I think it is really about finding the right bird who helps you to calm down (not stressing the bird is a great logic for you to take control of your own anxiety). I really like another's idea of a chicken as they can be very cuddly. We have a bantam (small chicken) who we call pocket chick because she is the size of a small pigeon. She is very calm and easy to handle. She could easily be placed in a parrot cage and smart enough to learn to stay with you, travel, etc. Chickens are also good as they get along with each other and you could get a pair of hens. Silkies are another great choice but with chicks you don't know if you have a rooster until they grow up. Doves are another good choice. That being said if none of these appeal to you then I would consider seeking out a rescue so that you can find the right bird. Older birds tend to be less hormonal and you will have a better idea of their noise levels.
 
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