Saturday, March 15, 2014

No quick fixes

I have received quite a few calls lately from people who have purchased parrots from less than reputable sources that want quick fix behaviorial advice. When I ask them why they are not contacting the person they purchased the bird from, I am told the person who sold them the bird either will not return their calls, or basically told them it's your problem now. First and foremost I want to say that is so important to purchase a bird from a reputable, knowledgeable person. Either a quality bird store, or a highly recommended breeder is the best way to go. Both of these sources will offer expert advice, a health guarantee and will be available to help you after the sale. Both of these sources also care about their reputation and want to be sure that their customers are satisfied with their purchase.
Customers who purchase my birds, are offered free support for the lifetime of their bird. They are welcome to contact me anytime with questions. I feel it is important that my customers know they can call me for knowledgeable advice if they need it, and not have to resort to going online to a free  "chat board" where the advice is usually questionable at best. As the breeder, I have a lot of insight regarding my babies as I know their genetics, early history and worked with the customer very closely during the sale process. This background information is helpful when a question arises. 

Unfortunately, I do not have this sort of information on birds that I did not raise. To help someone with a bird I am not familiar with, I have to ask many questions, look at pictures (or go to the home if necessary), find out if the bird has seen a vet, etc., etc. It is not enough to tell me "I bought a green bird from some guy two weeks ago and now he is biting me".  It would be extremely irresponsible for me to give advice without obtaining as much background information as possible. Yet, people think I can just rattle off a quick fix and all will be better. Well, when trying to change a behavior, it just doesn't work like that.

Some people are not interested if I cannot offer a quick fix solution immediately. They are also not interested in doing any type of work on the relationship, and/or don't want to pay for a consultation. This saddens me as with just a little bit of work and some time, the relationship could probably be improved substantially. But in retrospect, if these people had purchased a bird from a quality source in the first place, from a seller who takes the time to educate their customers (which may have meant spending a few dollars more), they would not be having these issues in the first place.

If price is your only consideration when shopping for a feathered companion who has the potential to live with you for 20-40 years, then you will get what you pay for. Cheap equals low quality and low service, no matter what you buy. Quality always costs a little more, because more time, quality materials, workmanship and effort has gone into the final product. Quality also lasts. A well bred, healthy bird raised by a knowledgeable, caring professional will have the head start it needs to be a successful companion for many years.

If you do need help, it's better to address the problem sooner rather than later. Habits become more and more entrenched over time. People are often amazed what a few conversations over the phone or a couple of training sessions can accomplish if an issue is addressed quickly.

I had a woman call me several years ago who was given an eclectus parrot. She was not familiar with this species and wanted to learn how to take care of this bird correctly. The bird came to her in terrible shape from a poor diet and inappropriate caging. After one consultation, she called me about a week later and told me how much better her eclectus was doing. She wrapped his perches (which were too big for his feet) with vetwrap so he could grip better and changed his diet to what I recommended. She said he was moving around better, playing more and loving his new diet which included lots of healthy, fresh foods. She was able to handle him easily and they were becoming fast friends. She even sent me pictures so I could see the improvements for myself. Here is an example of how just a little bit of education and effort can make a big difference!