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Two questions re: grass 'keets/parrots...

Dragonseer

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1) If your life depended on it, which grass 'keet/parrot species would you say makes the best pet? :) (I have a bias, which I'll share shortly.)

2) Do hand-fed grass 'keets/parrots do better if they share living space with a friend of the same species, yet remain tame toward and bonded to you?

Nearly 20 years ago, my mom made an impulse purchase of two normal-colored Bourke's--a male, Andy; a female, Rosie--though she was not new to birds. They wound up being wonderful additions to the household--especially Andy, to whom I was partial due to his intelligence and gregarious nature.

My mom housed separately to prevent breeding. (She kept their cages very close together, which seemed to keep them content. And they had hours of "out time" with each other each day, which never resulted in breeding--thank goodness. But Rosie did become a chronic egg-layer over time, which always worried my mom.)

That all said, I've not had experience with any other Australian grass 'keet/parrot species, so I look forward to learning others' opinions--especially if there's a species out there that rivals (or surpasses) the Bourke's in terms of intelligence and sweetness. (You're gonna have to work at convincing me, though. :D)

DS
 

expressmailtome

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@Monica had a very nice Bourke's parakeet, and she may be able to help you. @Stormcloud has several beautiful grass parrots. He might be able to give you information about some of the other species.

Matt
 

Monica

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Of the species that are considered grass parakeets, I would say that bourke parakeets are probably considered the "best pets" of them all, although bourkes are unrelated to the other species. This might have something to do with it!

Grass keets are considered to be aviary birds because they are more aloof and don't care about human interaction as much as other species of parrots do. This might have something to do with allopreening... the more a species allopreens, the higher chance of forming stronger bonds with humans. Cockatoos are #1 when it comes to allopreening, which is probably why so many people love them! And consequently, why we have so many problem cockatoos! Grass parakeets on the other hand (from my knowledge, and I could be wrong!) are towards the other end of the spectrum. They may do allopreening very little to not at all in the wild, so their ability to bond strongly to humans isn't as great as it is with other species. It's not to say that they make "bad" pets, but it may not be what many people are looking for when it comes to having a pet, especially with one as intelligent as a parrot. Grass keets are more your shoulder/finger type pet that you can talk to and enjoy having around, but don't necessarily expect the bird to be cuddly, seek out human interaction, talk, enjoy scritches, etc. Grass keets just tend to be less demanding than other parrots, but can still make excellent companions for the right people! (something I know you are already aware of! :D)

Don't get me wrong, I *LOVE* bourkes! And am sad I currently don't have any! Mine were all parent raised though, so I don't have any experience with hand raised bourkes, but I do believe that they can remain tame and friendly even with companions. I believe *most* birds benefit from having other birds around, too, regardless of how tame they are. Most parrots are flocking species, so it's natural for them to enjoy having a flock, even if they don't get along with any other birds. From my research, bourkes do tend to be less aggressive than other grass keet species, and I liken them to something between a cockatiel and a finch! ;) Very flighty birds, but also very calm and reserved. Often more bark than bite! :D

A pet peeve of mine is actually seeing clipped bourkes. Bourkes (and, I suspect, other grass keets) don't really climb like other parrot species do. They fly around and land in various places, but they do not climb. I feel that clipping them is paramount to clipping a finch. It's unnecessary and cruel. (I'm not a big fan of clipping in general, but I especially don't like to see certain species clipped)



Revisiting the allopreening topic... I was given a family of bourke parakeets. A pair and one of their daughters. The daughter was 5 or 7 years old, the parents closer to 11? Also got a turquoisine hen, but she unfortunately died soon after getting her. She was a sad mess. :( (older bird that plucked, previously lost her mate, not friendly and having to move to a new home.... didn't really get to know her) I never really saw any preening between the bourkes, although the parents did end up breeding and produced one each of male and female offspring. (female older by 2 days) For a while, I housed the bourkes with a few budgies, and the budgies love to preen! Well, the youngest two matured enough that they had left the nest but hadn't fully figured out who they were. The budgies couldn't preen the older bourkes, but learned they could preen the younger ones, and the youngest bourkes actually enjoyed getting preened. I then watched one of the young bourkes go and try to preen their mother, and the mother bourke was like "What are you doing?!?!?!? Back off!" :rolleyes:

I ended up losing the entire family over a period of a few years, except for the oldest daughter who lived for another 13 1/2 years, so she was 18-20 when I had to make the decision to put her to sleep. She ended up having various health issues and just would not die, I was surprised she was just continued on living, that is, until she had brain trauma and I just couldn't watch her suffer any longer. :sad5: Took her to my vets office, and even my vet had agreed it was time. Dosed her up with a partial dose, thinking that she may be so weak that she wouldn't need a full dose. Nope. Despite how weak she was, she was still alive. Full dose and she was finally at rest. :sorrow:


Although my bourkes were not "pet material", I still find them to be amazing little birds! And would love to have a couple of males again someday! Normal males, of course!
 
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