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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello Talk Cockatiels people!

This may be a controversial question. I am grateful for all the help I have received from the good people on this forum. I have a great deal of respect and gratitude for all of you. I feel that you understand me more than most people do, because we all have cockatiels in our lives. Please know that I am not trying to offend anyone and I am open to hearing other perspectives!

I need advice about what to say to strangers on the street who see me taking my cockatiels somewhere (like to the vet, or on a weekend trip to my parents' house). People often compliment the birds for their beauty, and people say they would love to buy one of their own. But that makes me feel worried--I don't want them to go out and buy a cockatiel, even though I love my cockatiels.

I have two cockatiels--one I bought as an eleven-year-old child and one I adopted a little over a year ago. They enrich my life. They are also, as you know, very very very hard to care for! I spend a huge amount of time and money on them. They affect my decisions about what apartments I can rent, whether to go on vacation, and what time to get up each morning. Also, I have come, over the 18 years since I was eleven, to think that birds deserve to live free, and with their natural families. I feel bad that I caused my first bird to be taken away from his loving mother. I know I was never as good a substitute mother to him as she would have been. For instance, I went to school each day, leaving him alone. He used to scream when I left and it still breaks my heart to remember. He was not the #1 priority to me back then, but I know he would have been priority #1 to his own mother. Also, I let my parents clip his wings for the first several years of his life. His mother would not have done that. Also, my childhood friend got a cockatiel right after I did. Perhaps her parents got her one because she asked for one after seeing mine. But she quickly lost interest in her bird, forgot to buy him bird seed and fed him foods like pizza instead, and he died at just one year old! This frightened me and made me worry, at an early age, that some people don't take good care of their cockatiels. As I have gotten older, I have met all too many people who tell me "I used to have a cockatiel." I say, "Used to? Cockatiels usually live a long time. What happened?" The answer is often that the bird got eaten by the cat, flew out the window, or some other premature death tragedy. Other times, the person decided the bird was too much work and abandoned her at a shelter. I know the people on this forum take good care of their birds, which is why I love this forum! But there are a lot of people who don't join this forum, and that makes me worry.

So, given my point of view, how do I talk to strangers on the street? I don't want them to go out and buy their own bird. I would rather they adopt. But even if you disagree with me on that--or even if the people on the street do choose to adopt--I am worried that they won't take good care of the bird because it is so much work and hard to do right.

Any advice?

Thank you so much!
 

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You just honestly speak from the heart. I have a large flock and many of my birds go out with me often. People usually make comments on how great they are and how do they get one "just like this?"

I say things like "well you sell everything you have and give up your social life haha; yes she is like this because she has all her needs met. If I was smart I would have gone with an easier pet like a dog" and then we talk about the work involved.

They often ask how much to get one "just like that." I laugh and mention that to buy that actual bird isn't too much but all the stuff that goes with her is expensive, then I laugh and talk about how I dropped $2,000 in vet expenses on ONE of my birds last year.

I always keep it casual; I never tell them what they should or shouldn't do, I just share my own experiences. People listen better that way. Sometimes you do some real good, other times they continue on their ignorant way.

Because most of my birds are not cockatiels I very often get asked why mine are nice when other parrots seem so mean. I love this because it allows me to go into my beliefs on how our modern parrot raising standards are so incredibly damaging and set the parrot up for failure from the beginning, etc.


Just speak from your heart. Share the truth you have to share without trying to force people to realize how serious parrot ownership is; they won't get it unless they have birds themselves. But you might make them think twice before rushing to the pet store.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Of course :) just realize you can't change everyone; sometimes they are going to be dumb regardless. I give a lot of people my card, and sometimes when they dive in unprepared they call or message me for help and I'm able to do some good even though they didn't listen the first time. Sometimes that's just instruction, and sometimes that means taking the poor bird off their hands.


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