Monday, February 8, 2010

For the Love of Lovebirds

All to often people go out and buy a bird because they think it'll make a good pet.  They're small so they don't take up much space.  They don't cost very much.  They're easy to take care of.  They make nice little chirping sounds.  They're good apartment pets, etc.  This is exactly what I thought when I bought my two little lovebirds. Boy was I WRONG!  As much as love my little birds I would NEVER buy a bird ever again! 

Let's start with, "the're small so they don't take up much space".  I've had to separate my birds so now instead of one cage, I have two.  They're pretty big cages as I'm completely against keeping any bird, regardless of size, in a small cage for it's entire life. 

I thought they wouldn't cost very much.  We originally paid $250 for both birds, two cages ($80.00 & $50.00), bird toys (after four years, probably about $300), food, treats, vitamins and supplements (probably about $300-$400 after four years), boarding while on vacation $300 (two separate trips), and of course vet bills.  Yes you do have to take your birds, even the little ones to the vet.  Our last trip to the vet cost us $740!  So in total we've spent $2120 on our two tiny lovebirds and we still have another 11-16 years to go.

Well they at least have to be easy to care for right?  Most of it is pretty easy.  I have to clean and rearrange both cages on a regular bases,  prepare fresh fruit and veggies for them to eat, and take them out and spend time with them 1-2 times EVERY day (they get tired of being cooped up in their cage all day and they get lonely). 
That stuff is pretty simple, it's their health issues that can be tricky and a royal pain in the butt.  Our female has decided to start laying eggs.  Knowing what I know now about birds, I don't feel that they're meant to be pets.  They're meant to be free in the wild, not locked in a cage their whole lives.  Since we don't have the space for more birds, we'd have to find new homes for them.  I couldn't live with myself knowing that I was partly responsible for bringing little birds into this world so they could be locked in a cage their whole lives, possibly not being cared for properly, being teased or having their cages banged on when they were too loud.  So the obvious answer was not allow any eggs to hatch.  I won't get into more details, I'll just say we're on batch #3 in 3 months, a total of 14 eggs, and probably still going.  This can be a huge health concern as it can lead to calcium deficiencies which can  then lead to broken bones, seizures, egg binding, and even death.  Now for our male bird.  He has a feather/skin condition that causes his feathers to grow in funny.  It's very uncomfortable for him so he pulls our his tail and back feathers.  There's no treatment for it so he'll have this problem his whole life.  We do our best to make him more comfortable which means rubbing medicated cream on his featherless bum, and at one point, giving him medication.  Sometimes he chew down his tail feathers and the quill will start to bleed.  When this happens we have to grab the tweezers and pull it out to stop the bleeding.

You'd think being such pretty birds that they'd make nice chirping sounds and being so small they wouldn't be very loud which would be good for apartment living.  Well if you thought that you'd be wrong.  Oh boy would you be wrong.  They don't chirp, they SCREAM, and when they SCREAM, they SCREAM LOUD!  I'm sure the family living upstairs just love us.

So to make a very long story short, it's not a good idea to buy a bird for a pet. 

1 comment:

  1. Great first-person report on the "joys" of bird parenting. Even if I didn't already agree with you from prior reading, your story here would give me second thoughts if I was thinking about buying a bird. Thanks Holly. Good writing. Mom