Friday, May 27, 2016

My kids and their fids.

Some friends and colleagues have been asking me about our PARROTS after seeing their funny photos and a video of Yoda jailbreaking from his cage, so here I am dedicating a post just for these marvelous and colourful creations of God!

As an introduction, we have Yoda, our Congo African Grey (sometimes referred to as CAGs) hatched in Feb 2016.
We also added a Yellow-sided conure, aka YSC, just last Saturday 21st May 2016.

Recently, Adam had asked for a pet parrot again after the demise of our foster-turned-adopted Border Collie, Sky.
Long story short - before Sky came, we had a pet Sun Conure (in the early months of 2015) whom the kids named Joker.
Joker was a great parrot - playful, loves to rough it with the boys, tame, and a great clown.
However, he didn't get along with Sky after we fostered/ adopted her. They were often fighting, so eventually I had Joker rehomed, despite the protests from Adam.

Several months later, Sky passed away from food poisoning and for a few months then, our home had no pets.
Until, that is, Adam started asking for a parrot again around his 7th birthday.

He said he hasn't forgotten about me selling Joker away without his knowledge/ permission, and horror of horrors how could I do that to him/ his pet?!

So in the end, after some bargaining from him and also from me, Hubby & I gave in to his request and got him an African Grey parrot for his 7th birthday.
We made countless visits to different petshops, talked to the shop owners, Googled and asked around on the internet.

Finally, from the recommendation of a fellow bird enthusiast on Birdcraze, we finally got our African Grey baby from Chua bird shop at 154 Serangoon North.
The owner, Dion, taught us how to handfeed our new baby and gave me her personal number, and armed with the new cage, food, and accessories, we drove home with Yoda.

This is Adam, at 6.20AM on school mornings, handfeeding Yoda.
He kept his promise of being a responsible pet owner.

Yoda's mugshot when he just came. Still a silly, pigeon-looking baby.
I remember I took time off work to bring Adam to choose his parrot. Chua's petshop just had a new shipment of CAGs and we could go down to take a look.
After some choosing, Yoda was actually the one whom we had the most affinity for.

This is our red-butt chicken now.
With his diet of fresh fruits, pellets, vegetables like corn, choy sum, french beans, carrots and cooked brown rice, he has grown a nice plumage.

Yoda is not particularly fond of cuddles, or loud noises and sudden movements from the kids. He is quiet and not a screamer or destroyer, making apartment living very suitable for CAGs.
Because of their less demanding activity levels, they also make wonderful companions for older folk.
They are excellent talkers and masters of mimicry and usually start talking at 1 yr old.
I highly recommend watching "Alex african grey" on Youtube as you will likely be bowled over by the wits and cognition of Dr Irene Pepperberg's CAG Alex.

Yoda has a new friend, Happy the Yellow-sided conure.

While CAGs prefer a more dignified and less physical relationship and is usually a one-man-bird, Conures are more friendly and get along well with most in the family, especially children.

Conures will always have a special place in my heart for being the clowns and entertainers they are.
Despite being one of the smallest types of parrots, they more than make up for their size in their colours and personality.
They love to cuddle and are such clowns.

Happy's arrival story was a bit different, because we had gone to Goodwill petshop to buy toys and treats for Yoda, and definitely buying another parrot wasn't on our list of things!
She was just there, hopping around the perches of other parrots, and she was unchained.
When she saw me, she just matter-of-factly hopped onto my finger and then to my shoulder, as if she was meant to be mine!

We then walked around the store with Happy on my shoulder.
At first, I thought she was someone's lost parrot because she was the only YSC around, and the only parrot not leashed or in a cage.
In the end, the petshop guy came to talk to me and said this little bird has chosen us and I managed to bargain and bought Happy for a discount :P

Adam chose the name "Happy" for her (he usually names the parrots) as he wishes everyone in the family to be happy.

Happy's arrival was so spontaneous and she followed us home on my shoulder, we didn't even have time to prepare her cage!
She lived on the perch in our deck for a few days before her cage was delivered.

If you're thinking of getting a Yellow-sided conure, be prepared for lots of cuddles and cuteness!

Our balcony is slowly transforming into a parrot haven, with plants and crops for them to forage among in the day.

My kids enjoy being silly with their fids.

Advantages of keeping parrots:
- Require lesser time, money, and energy than dogs.

- They don't need to be walked twice daily.

- They don't shed.

- Many types of parrots can talk and mimic sounds.

- They are amusing and funny.

Disadvantages of keeping parrots:
- They are not easily toilet-trained like dogs and cats.

- Compared to dogs and cats which have been bred for their companion and working qualities for more than hundred of years, parrots are relatively new in the pet industry and many of them are from wild parents or only a few generations of tame parentage.

- If they aren't bonded to you / your family members, they can bite. Those beaks can pack a punch.

- Depending on the species, some parrots can cost a limb!

- The exotic bird trade is causing a decline in these birds' populations in the wild by poaching.

(However in Singapore, "according to parrot breeder Puah Leong Heng, 57, to legally import a protected bird species into Singapore, the bird has to be at least from the third generation. This means that if a parent bird is caught from the wild, only chicks bred from its chicks can be imported." - source: Flights of Fancy Straits Times SG)

Disclaimer: this post about parrots is based on my personal experience and not in advocacy of any trainer or vet.
I am in the opinion that with the correct research, time and energy, parrots will make wonderful pets for the young and old.
Please spend time joining bird groups on Facebook (Birdcraze.SG, Birdies and Family SG etc) asking for help and Googling on the breeds of the parrots you're interested in, and well as their personalities, noise levels, and children compatibility.
Depending on species, parrots live up to 40-80 years, so there's a good chance you might have to include them in your will!

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