So, you want to buy a bird. All you have to do is find a breeder and give him or her the money, right? Actually, there are some very disreputable bird breeders out there. To be sure you get a healthy, well adjusted bird, you will need to be sure you have chosen a good breeder.
The first thing you should look for when you are searching for a reputable bird breeder is whether the breeder can offer references. A good breeder has a lot of happy customers and some of them will be glad to offer a reference. Of course, the longest list of references in the world isn’t very useful if you don’t take the time to call one or two of them. Be sure you actually check a few references before you buy a bird.
Next, talk to the breeder. Ask about the type of diet the birds are being fed, whether the aviary is open or closed and whether the breeder shows birds or attends bird marts with birds.
If the breeder only feeds a seed diet, you may be buying a bird with nutritional deficiencies. Seed diets should be supplemented with fresh fruit, vegetables and beans or pellets.
A closed aviary is an aviary that does not buy new birds and does not have people wandering in and out. This means you won’t be able to walk through and look at the parent birds, but it also means other people aren’t able to walk through either. This means that diseases will not be easily transmitted to the aviary from someone who has visited several breeders.
If a breeder shows birds or attends bird marts, there is a chance that the birds may have picked up a disease. Ask the breeder if the birds that leave the aviary are quarantined when they come back.
After you are satisfied with the breeder, find out how the birds are being handfed. A handfed bird is not necessarily going to be bonded to people and tame if the breeder has been tube feeding babies. Tube feeding takes only a few seconds and there isn’t much time for interaction. If the breeder does tube feed, ask if the birds go immediately back into their cages or if they are socialized after they are fed.
When you visit the breeder, look at the baby birds’ cages. Of course, they should be clean and have fresh food and water in them, but there should also be some toys. Baby birds need toys to help them grow intellectually.
Then, don’t forget to look at the condition of the birds themselves. They should be alert and well groomed and their vents (the area right above their tails on their undersides) should be clean. When you hold one of the birds, be sure to feel his breastbone. If it feels prominent and there doesn’t seem to be any meat on the sides, the bird is too thin. This can simply be because he is just weaning, but the breeder shouldn’t be selling him in this condition.
Once you’re satisfied with the breeder, you can finally start making a much more enjoyable choice. You can decide which of the breeder’s baby birds you will take home.