Friday, July 30, 2010

Parrotlet "Adoption", Waiting List Policy

Dear Sandee,

We are very interested in adopting a pet parrotlet and were wondering
if you will have any available babies ready for adoption around the
last week of September.


Thank you for your email.

I understand that a lot of people like to use the term 'adoption' because they feel bringing a bird into the family is like adding another family member. However, as a bird breeder and someone with a legal background it is important that you understand that I do not 'adopt' birds but I 'sell" them. Legally, the term 'adoption' means you obtain a bird that has no permanent home from a non-profit organization and you probably are not paying a fair market value for the bird but a standardized adoption fee. I am a breeder who has spent almost 30 years breeding healthy, well-socialized parrotlets specifically as pets and take great care and time in both raising wonderful pet parrotlets and making sure they go to good permanent homes.

I currently have birds that are on fertile eggs and expect to have birds available sometime around that time frame. I always have a waiting list and am happy to place your name on it. I do not take deposits and work on a first-come, first-served basis. I contact people about 3 weeks before the bird is ready to go home and if you still want it, we can make arrangements to either have the bird picked up or shipped. If not, I just move on down the list.

Please let me know if you are still interested and thank you again for contacting me.

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2 Parrotlet Hand-Feeding Tips

1. Tired of lumpy hand-feeding formula that clogs the syringe? Use a small hand-held strainer to sift the dry formula before adding the water. It will make it very fine and get rid of lumps and large pieces so it will flow easily out of the syringe. This is very important for our little ones since the syringes are narrow, especially if using the canula tips and it also prevents it from using excessive force which can spray hand-feeding formula all over the chicks as well as the table and yourself.

2. Keep a cup of hot water next to you while hand-feeding. If the chick doesn't want to feed, simply fill the syringe and then dip the tip into the hot water. Don't draw up any water but then place it next to the chick's beak. Instinct will cause them to immediately open their mouths and you can feed. I've used this method for almost 30 years and it works like a charm!

Friday, July 23, 2010

IPS Bands, Color Mutation Terms

Hi Sandee, I'm Pam from Nebraska. An amateur, hobby breeder. I was wondering if you still offer colored bands for Pacific parrotlets? Other than silver? I now have a second hen laying on eggs, (the fathers are brothers from the same clutch) and I would like to have a different color to distinguish between the two. If so, how much? Also, how do you interpret green split to blue, or double split? Is that describing the father first, then the mother? What is double split, or triple split? Thank You Pam

Dear Pam:

Thank you for your email.

I'm assuming that when you said 'you' regarding the bands you meant the International Parrotlet Society. IPS does offer other colors of bands - blue, green, red, black, its just silver is the easiest to read for most people so that is the 'default' color but you're welcome to use another color of you wish. It is the same price as the other bands; there is no additional charge.

Recessive mutations have nothing do with sex; those are sex-linked mutations and we only have one of those, so far, in parrotlets. They are called 'palid' and those have not been imported into the US at this time.

Recessive mutations are very simple - either parent can pass on the color gene but both parents need the same color to produce visual offspring. The term 'split' refers to a bird that carries a color gene but looks like a normal bird. So a blue split would be a green bird that carries the blue gene. A double split is a bird that carries two color genes. True triple splits are rare but its possible to have a bird split to three colors such as dilute, blue and fallow. Double and triple splits can be visual i.e., such as a blue bird carrying a dilute gene but it can also be a green bird that carries blue and dilute.

I have a lot of information on my website at on breeding mutations including terms and basic inheritance modes. Most people find it very helpful.

Hope this helps!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Free-Flighted Parrotlets, Housing, Keeping Two Pets, Availability

I'm going to buy one or two parrotlets soon. I would like to drive down to pick them up. Is that possible? How long in advance do I need to make an appointment?

I would like to set aside a room in my home for the birds, and I have a couple questions. I'm worried about potentially harmful stuff in the room. I need to screen off an area, and make a screen door for their room. Is there a type of wire I need to avoid? Is there a "best type" of wire to use for this? The room is painted sheet rock with painted baseboards. If I have plenty of other stuff for them to chew on, will they chew on the paint? Anything else you can think of that I would need to know regarding giving them the run of a room?

Also, what are your feelings on one vs. two birds? Are they happier with companionship? Frankly, I don't want to deal with young birds. Would two same-sexed birds fight?

Thanks a bunch

Dear Steve:

Thank you for your email.

I have known several people that have attempted to keep parrotlets in a free-range, free flying situation and they have not turned out well. First, parrotlets, like all parrots do chew and would chew on everything from sheetrock to the floor coverings, all of which are very toxic. You could keep them in an aviary and there are many manufacturers of quality aviaries made with stainless steel which is the safest wire you can use.

Second, parrotlets are very territorial and aggressive birds. They are not domesticated birds like cockatiels or budgies and are still very much wild animals that respond by instinct. They have been designed by Nature to be aggressive and territorial ‘space’ because where they originate they compete for food, nesting space and safety. Many different animals eat parrotlets including other birds so being protective and defensive of their territory is what they do to survive. Many people report parrotlets being protective of their cages and most have to be removed from the cage in order to clean it and replace toys and perches. I always recommend feeders that can be accessed from outside the cage so owners can easily feed their parrotlets without having to remove them or worry about getting bitten. Having them free flying access to an entire room, they will perceive the entire area as their territory and they will, most likely, defend it with vigor especially if they can fly. In some cases this has resulted in the birds actually attacking their owners in order to drive them out of their territory. I have never recommended keeping parrotlets in this type of environment and do not feel it is either safe for them or their owners. I also do not recommend keeping parrotlets fully flighted for the same reasons. It is really the best way to teach a bird to be aggressive and learn to bite. All they have to do when they want to get away is bite harder and harder until the person let’s go. This reinforces the desire to be both aggressive and to bite.

I generally don’t recommend keeping two parrotlets as companions for one another. Pet parrotlets imprint on humans through the hand-feeding and socialization processes. They lose their instinct to bond with other birds and usually look at another bird as a rival or competitor not a companion or friend to keep them company. Also, as I have stated, they are territorial and aggressive and one often becomes dominant over the other and will not allow the other bird to eat, perch, etc. It doesn’t matter if they are being kept in an appropriate sized cage or a huge flight – they will attempt to drive the intruder out and this can result in injury or even death of one of the birds. Most people eventually have to house them separately and watch them whenever they are out of their cages and have physical access to one another. Most parrotlets that have a large cage, lots of toys and daily interaction with their owners are perfectly contented and healthy and not need nor want the companionship of another bird.

I am currently feeding 3 chicks but I have a waiting list for them; I probably will not have more birds until September or so. I almost always have a waiting list for my birds. I do not take deposits and work on a first-come, first-served basis.

I hope this helps and thank you again for contacting me.

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Eggs Not Fertile or Dead in Shell?

I would really like to know more about how to tell if the eggs are
infertile or dead in the shell. I am sure that most of your breeders
probably already know this information so I am not sure if it would
make a good article or not. If there is a previous article that you
would recommend me purchasing please let me know. Thanks. Paula :0)

Not sure if an article is warranted or not but I can tell you the following:

Eggs do not candle fertile until they are a week old. If the embryo
dies before that time there is no way to know if it was ever fertile or not.

Once the embryo starts to develop, if it dies before the chick is
formed, it will be reabsorbed into the yolk sack. If you are checking
the eggs daily, you will see it as fertile then it will 'go blank'. If
not, it will usually be re-absorbed within 24-48 hours so you might
miss it if not checking daily.

If the embryo fully develops but dies late in shell, then you will be
able to see the dead embryo.

Hope this helps!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Will Hen Feed Chicks When Male Has Died?

Hi! A person on the parrotlet forum suggested that I contact you with my question. Our male parrotlet died suddenly a few days ago and left behind his mate who just hatched out a chick today. I understand that the male helps feed the chicks - so am not sure what we should do. The female looks to be fine, but we are really not experienced with breeding birds - let alone face a situation like this. Any help you can give us would be appreciated.

Thank you for your email. Sorry to hear about the loss of your male. Actually, males usually do not ‘help’ feed the chicks. They provide food to the hen who then feeds the chicks. Some hens allow males to feed but usually it is not enough to keep the chicks alive. His job is to provide food to the hen and she feeds them.

In this instance, whether or not she will continue to incubate and provide to the chicks depends on your hen. It certainly isn’t what nature intended. Usually, they abandon the nest. In the wild, they cannot both provide food and protect the chicks and certainly will not starve themselves so it would not be unusual for her to abandon the chicks and remaining eggs. However, I have had a few hens in this situation that did continue to provide food and care for the offspring. They were hens with a lot of experience in raising offspring. Only time will tell. If this is a first-clutch, I sincerely doubt she would care for them. Instinct prevails in this situation and Mother Nature designed them to care for themselves so they can go on and raise more chicks in the future rather than sacrifice themselves over this clutch.