Friday, May 29, 2009

Small Talk from the Aviary

I received an email from the couple who got the cherry headed conure I wrote about in my last blog. He said "TJ" is doing great and spends about two hours per day riding on his shoulder and "helping" around the house. I love happy endings. Way to go!

Our normal green cheek conures are about ready to go. The two older ones are ready now, the two younger ones will need another 10 days or so to finish weaning. They are so much fun! They are all flying now and their favorite pass time is flying to me and riding around on my shoulder snuggled under my hair. They are total velcro birds! We are having so much fun raising the green cheek conures. They are so cute!

We have more normal green cheek conures in the nest. These will be available for wholesale purchase in about two weeks. See my website or email me for details.

Our turquoise green cheek conure babies are doing great! They are just as fat and healthy as can be! I can't wait until they feather out so I can take some pictures and post them on the site! If you are interested in purchasing one of our turquoise babies, please let me know.

I have a pair of linnies sitting on five eggs now. Not sure how many will hatch, but I am keeping my fingers crossed! The parents are both split to different colors so the babies could be almost any color! It's always fun when the babies start to feather out to see what they are.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Second Chance

Recently, a friend of mine acquired several pairs of african greys from a breeder that was retiring from the business. The couple was older and health issues were making it difficult for them to continue working with birds. Long story short, along with the african greys, there was a cherry headed conure housed in the same aviary. The deal was whoever purchased the greys was to take the conure too and find him a good home. He was approximately 20 years old and a former pet, many years ago. This was not an abused bird in any way. He had a good life in the aviary with the greys. A large cage, fresh air, clean environment and good food. He just had not been handled in many years.

My friend sent me a picture of him and he was gorgeous. Perfect feather. She wanted to find a good home for him. She mentioned although he had not been handled for a long time, he was not afraid of people and was enjoying the scenery at the new location. We discussed this little guy for a while and decided to work together to find a home for him. We both wanted a loving home for this bird and would screen potential owners very carefully.

After being posted on my site for a few days, a couple that I knew contacted me about him. We kept in touch after they purchased a bird from me a while back. They are really neat people and have a natural knack with birds. I was happy they were interested in this bird as they would make a great home for him.

Well they ended up getting the bird and bringing him home. When I contacted them a couple of days later, the bird had already bonded with the husband and was out riding on his shoulder!

I was amazed. Like I said, this couple has a way with birds, but wow! If you think about it, this bird went through some major changes. He was rehomed twice after being in the same location for many years. Strange people, new cage, different food, etc. And remember, this bird had not been handled by a human for a very long time. This conure shows just how resilient birds can be when they are handled with sensitivity, patience and understanding.

This situation got me thinking. Each new day is a blank canvas, a chance to make a fresh start. Many times, simply changing old patterns can make a big difference in your bird's behavior. Every day is a new day. A perfect day for that second chance.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New babies & our views on selling unweaned babies

We are so excited! We are hatching our first clutch of turquoise green cheek conures! All the wonderful qualities of the green cheek conure in a gorgeous jewel tone color! We have just started breeding these adorable conures and can honestly say we love these little birds! They are a great size (about the size of a cockatiel, but slightly bulkier), are not "squawky" and are little cuddle bugs! We also breed normals and hope to have some pineapple babies soon. Visit our website for more information.

Sometimes we get asked if we sell unweaned babies to individuals with little or no handfeeding experience. The answer is no, we do not. Regardless of what you may have heard or been told, handfeeding baby birds is a laborious process that requires skill and the proper equipment to do properly. There is more to it than squirting some food into the baby bird's beak! Proper care must be taken not to aspirate the bird. The formula must be fed at the correct temperature. The baby must be maintained at a carefully controlled temperature. No, a heating pad is not sufficient and many baby birds have died from being overheated by them!

Most buyers do not know the early signs of a problem and by the time they recognize there is one, it is usually too late. Would you know if your baby had a yeast infection in it's crop? What would you do if the crop failed to empty? What is the correct temperature to maintain a chick just out of the nest? How should the chick be contained? What are the signs of a bacterial infection? How much formula should be given to the chick and how many times per day? What is the best way to wean a baby bird and what foods should be given at this critical time? When is the chick ready for a cage? When do you trim the flight feathers and at what age? And this is just the start.

Quality, professional breeders have spent years honing their skills and apprenticing under other breeders to learn the proper techniques to raise baby birds correctly. We spend a lot of money on continuing education in the form of seminars, conferences, books, etc. (there is always more to learn) and the proper equipment (brooders, incubators, thermometers, etc.).

As for us personally, we are not "production" breeders. We raise a limited number of babies so we can give each one the individual attention they deserve. Watching our babies grow into beautiful adults makes all the sleepless nights and hard work worthwhile. We care about each baby we sell and want the best for it and the new owner.

And just from a strictly financial point of view, unweaned babies in general do not come with a health guarantee. There are too many things that can go wrong with unweaned babies and breeders/handfeeders know this. That means the buyer has no financial recourse if the bird is sick or dies after you bring it home! Is it really worth it?