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Choosing A Breeder: Expand / Collapse
Posted 3/22/2012 10:46:02 PM Post #2921

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The Excellent Breeder Checklist:

What to look for:
1.) He or she won't sell every hand-fed baby as a pet. Not all hand-fed babies should be pets. No matter what the breeder does sometimes a baby is hand-fed that clearly should be a breeder because they nip, are skittish or are Highly aggressive. Any baby that exhibits this should either be used as a breeder or only sold to a person that has extensive experience and also can come in person to personally evaluate the baby.

2.) Abundantly weans. A baby parrot is an individual and will not wean on a schedule. Most wean at their own pace and any breeder that will tell you that their babies wean at a specific age should be avoided. Example: "My babies wean at 8 weeks." And then they don't mention anything about sometimes it takes longer or shorter, depending.

3.) Matches each baby to the new owner. Even within a specie baby parrots have different distinct personalities and an excellent breeder wants to make certain that they baby you take home fits in with you. If the breeder does not mention this then it means they just don't care and you should move on!

4.) Always close-bands. In a lot of states laws are in effect that birds that are bred domestically MUST be close-banded. Don't take the risk of purchasing unbanded birds. For one a dishonest breeder could sell you a bird that is years old instead of a baby and you would have absolutely know way of proving otherwise in most cases.

5.) Weans onto a varied diet that includes pellets, fresh food (birdie mash or bread) and sprouted seed. Personally I would want my breeder to feed sprouted seeds and fresh food as the staple and feed pellets as vitamins, at the very least. I'd be wary of a breeder that outright refuses to feed pellets. (More on that later.) Again personally I would prefer that the breeder Not feed loose seed at all! Millet Spray is essential for babies and should be included in the carrier, whether or not the baby is being shipped.

6.) Socializes babies carefully. A baby should be used to playing by themselves, with people and exposed to all sorts of activities young. If a breeder does their job your baby (even if shipped) should when you open the carrier and sit by walk right out and want to see you. When you offer a hand and ask the baby to "Step-up" the baby should. The first day may be a bit rougher depending on how smoothly the travel to her home went. Sometimes a shipped baby will need you to reach into the carrier and scoop him or her up. When done in a calm, quiet room and you speaking gently the baby should NOT bite! And if the baby does he or she should not after the first night when you ask the baby to "Step-up" the next day.

What to watch out for:
1.) Won't keep a baby for at least a week after being weaned when shipping. If a breeder does not allow a baby to wean properly and waits until they are 100% certain that the baby won't revert to needing to be hand-fed because of the stress of shipping --- look elsewhere! A baby parrot can easily revert and new owners get this baby that they do not understand has reverted to needing to be hand-fed and the baby then dies.

2.) ALWAYS has babies! A breeder should have babies at the breeding season for their location and specie, NOT year-round. Why? Could you imagine being a mother all the time? It takes work to care for breeding pairs and ensure they are in top condition before breeding. Raising birds is time consuming and a person cannot possibly be a year-round breeder if they do not have hand-feeding staff and others to care for their birds. Unlike cats birds need daily care and it would be exhausting if the breeding bred all year long, even they rested some pairs, and bred others.

Most of the time in this situation a year-round breeder cuts corners. And be honest: Do you want a baby where the breeder cut corners and did not raise the baby to be a good pet? No.

3.) Seems to overcharge on shipping. An excellent breeder will be honest and charge you for the container (usually), the gas to the airport, the food and treats included and their time. A dishonest breeder will quote a large number and not break it down, even when asked. Honestly their is no shame in a breeder getting paid for their time and reimbursed for the food and such.

3.) Simply refuses to feed pellets. This one is more controversial, but most breeders should offer pellets, even if they feed seeds. Pellets are like vitamins in a birds diet; no matter how large or small the amount they should be fed if at all possible even if just a small amount each day.

4.) Do not be fooled by a breeder telling you that a Pacific Parrotlet needs a month, a few weeks or whatever lengthy period to "settle in" and "might bite because he or she is scared".

A hand-fed baby is socialized to all sorts of things and will be friendly, even if nervous for the first day. It makes me sick to see people post on bird forums that they've had their Parrotlet for a month or even a few weeks and the "baby" screams, bites hard enough to draw blood and they are working with the baby because the breeder told them they might take awhile to settle in. Sorry, but a hand-fed, properly socialized baby should come friendly and trusting; they may take a night to settle in but if the breeder tries to tell you otherwise then something is seriously Wrong.

Basically this Checklist is what I live by when trying to find a breeder. Sometimes it takes years to find a breeder and since adding a pet is that important to me I do not care! After all it is a Lifetime Commitment so what would be the reason to rush?

Cobalt Lineolated Parrot --- 8, January 2011
Green Quaker Parrot --- 19, May 2006
Posted 11/21/2012 6:04:34 PM Post #3124

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Very Very well said.
Can i add that really good breeders in my opinion do not ship unweaned babies
Nor do they sell an unweaned baby they may choose to do so with a fellow breeder whom they know really well and have known them for a while. However just to anyone that comes along they will not do so.

Also i respect and look for those breeders who take the time while the chick is weaning to help the owner become educated about the species and bird ownership in general.
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