A Guide to Successful Parrot Rehoming

Sad, but true: the average parrot will statistically have 7 homes in its lifetime. Sometimes the family experiences changes, such as a divorce or birth, other times the bird has not lived up to the human’s expectations. It is very possible that the parrot simply outlived its owners; some species can live from 50 to 100 years. No matter what the reason, when a parrot loses its human “flock”, he feels threatened. Therefore, re-homing a parrot needs to be a sensitive process to ensure that the bird doesn’t emotionally self-destruct.

Parrots are frequently looking for new homes because the first owner didn’t do his or her homework. If they gave up their bird because it ate their woodwork, the new owner can make sure that the bird’s need to chew is satisfied by providing plenty of wood toys in the cage. Parrots will usually scream in the morning, but some people find this behavior unreasonable because they do not realize that the parrot is only trying to locate his “flock”. A new owner can usually accommodate the bird by allowing him to “greet the day” and the parrot will usually be quiet. Owners need to keep in mind that parrots are still wild animals whose daily functions and behaviors are guided by centuries of instinctive behavior. A new owner of a re-homed bird needs to learn all he can about normal behavior of his bird, by reading or utilizing a behaviorist or veterinarian.

A vet exam is crucial before introducing a new bird to existing birds. Stressed birds have the ability to shed a virus, which could put the flock in danger. Have the vet perform an exam and blood tests to evaluate the overall health of the bird. It is a good idea to quarantine the new bird in a separate room for 45-90 days. Make sure the central heating or air conditioning is shut down, if the new bird has an airborne disease it can be spread through it to the rest of the birds. 

Some re-homed parrots will instantly love social interaction with their new owners, but others will lunge and bite. For these types, sitting next to their cage, talking quietly and offering snacks at the bottom of the cage might be all that is needed. You can also sit near the cage and do something that does not directly involve the bird, such as reading. Only pay attention to him if he comes to you, when/if he does you can offer him a treat. Parrots pay much attention to body language, both in the wild and in your home, so by keeping everything low key for a few weeks you will give him the time he needs to adjust.

Bringing a re-homed parrot into your life can be challenging, but with correct information and guidance, it can be a wonderful and rewarding experience for you and your new bird.

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