The parrot crisis!
The Parrot crisis - don’t breed, don’t buy... adopt a rescued bird!
In 2007 after the EU Commission banned the importation of wild birds into Europe, domestic breeding boomed. Now, there is a huge overpopulation problem. Thousands of baby birds are being hatched each year. The problem begins here; with increased availability and a reduced entry barrier, more birds are being sold into homes that are unprepared for the commitment.
A large number of unwanted parrots - which can live up to 80 years old - are abandoned or resold within 2 years of being purchased and all of the Avian rescues and sanctuaries are full. Read more about the 2007 EU ban Click here...
The main reason for this overpopulation is the impulse purchase, without any prior education. Parrots are beautiful, characterfull animals, prone to becoming celebrities that talk and enchant viewers. However, what we don’t see on video is the hard work that goes into training and socialising a bird that is in no way genetically domesticated.
If you have a lot of time and resources and remain determined to have a bird companion, please adopt a homeless one from a shelter or rescue group, but only after fully researching their dietary, behavioural, and other needs. You are in for a great deal of work!
Not all birds will have all the behavioural problems mentioned on this page, they are all different. Some will be better or worst than others.
Some may not have any at the beginning, but if not cared for properly, they will develop some of these problems some time later. And will only get worse if their situation is not changed, and their bad behaviour is not corrected.
Stop The Selling of Parrots Sign the petition, World Animal Rescue
The parrot crisis continued...
Tame parrots require constant companionship and stimulation from their owner, both mentally and physically, just to approximate their natural environment. Without the opportunity to express the full range of natural behavior, the things they can do become exaggerated; birds will preen until they’re naked, for example.
People are mislead into believing that parrots are easily kept pets; cage, seeds, sorted. This could not be further from the truth. A parrot is nothing like a domesticated cat or dog. They haven’t been modified by thousands of years of selective breeding, and their behavior can much more closely reflect the challenges their species faced in the wild.
On an emotional level, they can quickly become anxious, depressed and/or obsessive, all of which can cause long term harm to a bird. A lot of the behaviors that land a bird in a rescue, screaming, biting, person-guarding, etc, are from a lack of social and environmental stimulation.
In addition to all of these issues, their basic husbandry needs are a lot greater than many new owners consider. Their diet is not just seed, they need a combination of specialised pellets, fresh fruits and vegetables and cooked foods. Seeds and nuts are the fast-food of the parrot world; easy, high density calories that are as irresistible to them as we find chocolate and pizza. And just like we would struggle to stay healthy on just pizza, parrots get fatty liver disease when fed only seed mixes.
Then, if that wasn’t enough, lots of mundane, every-day items in homes are toxic to parrots, from avocados and cleaning supplies to Teflon and house plants, even perfumes and candles. Parrots are delicate, particularly their respiratory system, and because they are prey animals, they hide it; they can grow sick and even die without showing any symptoms. Even if a bird ‘seems okay’ with your new air freshener, you should always check the ever-growing lists of known toxic substances.
They need toys and things to chew and actively destroy daily. They are loud and messy when they’re healthy, and only get worse with neglect. They have a natural instinct to destroy anything made of wood. Most of all, they are creatures that were meant to fly and by taking away the freedom of their large natural ranges, we’ve given ourselves the life-long task of providing enough stimulation to match that complexity. When we don’t provide enough, birds will even go so far as to self mutilate out of boredom and stress.
In many ways, parrots are completely unsuitable as pets, not for our sake, but for theirs. They don’t do well in cages, and our houses are in many ways lethal to them. However, they are here and the population is growing.
Their welfare needs can be met, if we have the perseverance and understanding to put in a lot of hard work, but with increasing breeding rates, particularly amongst amateurs and hobbyists, and poor education, birds that live for eighty years or more are treated as commodities and bred at rates that exceed the hobbies ability to provide good homes.
We need to help spread proper education and make the public aware of the overpopulation crisis, and to put pressure on breeders to be responsible with their numbers.
These are highly intelligent beings that are very sensitive emotionally. Life in a cage is a sentence for the crime of being beautiful.
New Life Parrot Rescue estimates that two thousand new birds are sold into the pet trade each week, in the Uk, that’s a hundred thousand a year. There are already so many birds that are waiting for good homes and statistics show that at least 50% of chicks will join that number sooner rather than later.
There are already too many birds in sanctuaries, and not enough homes to place them in. It is not humane or responsible to breed Parrots, Parakeets, Cockatiels, Budgies and Lovebirds at all at this point in time.
Adopt, don’t shop.