Thursday, August 26, 2010

Parrots, Selling Sick Birds, PBFD

I was wondering if you could tell me if there is any regulation
concerning selling a contagious parrot to another. I was sold an
ecleptus which I was told had plucked her feathers due to neglect.
After taking the bird, I tooke her to the hospital and a test confirmed
she had beak and feather. Unfortunately she had been kept in my home
until the tests came back and possibly infected my beloved Congo and
conure. Is there any thing i can do about this. I am just sick. I was
trying to rescue the bird.

Dear Dianne:

Thank you for your email. I am sorry to hear about this situation. You need to speak to a lawyer as I cannot give you legal advice. Also, every state is different when it comes to consumer protection laws regarding the sales of animals. I would imagine that the person selling the bird would have had to have known about the bird being sick prior to the sale and that might be difficult to prove as very few people have these kinds of tests run. Even if they do, there may be problems with the test such as receiving a false negative but you should speak to a lawyer in your county.

Also, since birds, as are all animals, considered 'property' you would have to prove that your birds were indeed infected by this bird. Furthermore that they have been harmed and what the damages would be but again you need to speak to an attorney. Fortunately, not all birds that are exposed to PBFD become infected and even those that are, do not succumb to the disease. You should talk with vets who specialize in PBFD and have your other birds tested. I would also immediately put that bird into quarantine and exercise quarantine procedures when it comes to caring for all the birds.

Best of luck to you and your birds and again, I am very sorry to hear about this.

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Color Mutation Pacifics

Hi Sandee,

I am looking for a blue dominant pied female to pair with my green/blue male
who is about 4 months old. In the future, I would also like to add some
other mutations such as pastel, ino's, or fallow. I currently have two pair
of breeders that I bought as a proven pair. They have both produced
beautiful babies, but the baby's mutations don't match the outcome for what
I was told the parent's are. I really would like to put together young,
healthy pairs without any hidden splits, but I am having a very hard time
finding breeders offering these birds. I am hoping you may be able to help.


Thanks Kelly but I specialize in rare and uncommon species not the latest
color mutations. I do breed fallows but have none available and don't know
when they will be breeding as I put my birds' on hold for 2 years while I
cared for my mother who died of cancer. They have not show interest in
breeding and I suspect, since I've been doing this for almost 30 years, that
it will take a long time to get them interested again. Sorry.

Please remember that its not always the breeders' fault when it comes to not
knowing what is in the background of these birds since all the color
mutations, except dilute, were imported from Europe and their backgrounds
were unknown. I do have a blog about that at that gives the history of these birds and
the reasons some colors are produced.

Best of luck!

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.

Thanks Sandee. I look forward to reading your blog. Is there a new violet mutation? (Well, it is new to me anyway). I will continue to learn all I can about these wonderful birds. Maybe someday I will have a true rare mutation. In the mean time, I really love the pied parrotlets and will continue to look for my little pied hen. :)

I am very sorry to hear about your mother. I work for a Home Care company and just recently care for a gentleman who passed away from cancer. Your mom was very blessed to have you to take care of her. I hope your birds decide to bless you real soon with new babies.


Thank you Kelly. You are very sweet and I'm sure my birds will breed again. I've been doing this for almost 30 years so I know my birds better than myself. Its people that can be the problem - no one has patience anymore. So I just as soon not take any names or give people times as to when the birds will be available because I simply don't know. Another thing people are reluctant to admit these days - they don't know. :) Especially online - everyone with a keyboard is an 'expert'.

As for the violet mutation I'm sure there is one in Europe an you're correct 'new' is a relative term. The Europeans are light years ahead of Americans when it comes to producing new mutations. As for 'rare mutations', again it is a relative term. What is 'rare' in the US is probably very common in Europe. In reality, no mutation is rare because they can always be reproduced and, unlike species, they can be imported. The US has tons of color mutations these days but even what used to be 'common' species like Green Rumps and Spectacleds, are becoming more and more rare. Species such as Mexicans, Yellow Face and Blues Wings are pretty much genetically extinct in this country. Very sad. I always tell people that 'mutations' are man-made but only God can make a species.

Glad to be of help!

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Parrotlet Aggression & Territorialism, Interaction With Other Birds

Ms. Sandee,

On June 29, 2010, I purchase a blue male parrotlet (now named Jasper) at a Florida bird fair. He was born April 1, 2010. He has shown no signs of aggression. The only exception to this is his cage. Jasper must be out for me to put my hand in his cage to change or add something; otherwise he comes charging. My Green Cheek, Sydney, is also cage this is nothing new. The exception to this aggression is coming out of his cage. Jasper then hops right on my hand ready to go. He also lets me rub his head some.
I respect his wishes if he does't want me to.

I also have a very gentle 5 yr old cockateil and a 1 yr old.mischievous but sweet Green Cheek Conure. I have all 3 birds out of their cages all the time and on me with no problems. I have been doing this since the quarantine was over. We do this everyday since I spend a lot of time with my birds.

There have been a few non serious swipes a couple of times among the three but nothing with intent to harm & no harm done. I immediately separate, discourage, scold, and stress not to get in the other's area. If I see one heading toward another's area, I immediately run interference. I might have one bird on one shoulder, another on my collar or neck, and one on the other shoulder or my head. Each is to stay in their own area. They also play on the table, bed or their cage tops with me supervising at all times.

I have recently read a few things that worry me concerning aggression in the parrotlet. My son warned me just today. His friend knew a parrolet that tore the beak off another larger bird. I do not want to be foolish and have someone hurt. Yet, Jasper has shown no aggression toward my establish flock.. I would appreciate it very much if you could please take the time to advise me. Thank you.


Dear Betty:

Thank you for your email. Your parrotlet’s behavior is very normal for a Pacific parrotlet. Almost all parrotlets are very territorial and aggressive around their cage. That is why it is so important to teach them the “Step Up” command as soon as possible so you can remove them from the cage before you have to service it.

Parrotlets are not domesticated birds like your cockatiel but are still very much wild and are guided by instinct. They are also not ‘flocking’ type birds like your conure. Parrotlets have a well-deserved reputation for not getting along with other birds. This is largely due to the fact that they originate in a very dry, desert-like region in which they have to compete for everything – food, shelter, nesting spots, etc. They are also very tiny and easily preyed upon by everything from reptiles to other birds; even spiders are bigger than they are so nature has designed them to be tough and aggressive in order to survive. These instincts do not change just because they are hatched in captivity and kept as pets.

However, unlike this story of a parrotlet biting off the beak of another larger bird, which, I have to admit after almost 30 years of breeding parrotlets, I find very difficult to believe, it is generally the parrotlet that is injured or killed when they attack another bird. A larger bird such as a conure can easily injure or kill a parrotlet in one bite should the parrotlet exhibit aggressive behavior. Indeed, lovebirds, which are not much bigger than parrotlets, often maim or kill parrotlets so both your cockatiel and your conure are a danger to the parrotlet rather than the other way around. It is because of the danger to themselves that I recommend species’ separation. They should never been kept in the same cage as other birds and should always have their wings kept clipped and only allowed interaction with other birds on a strictly supervised basis. Personally, I would never take the chance and would simply keep the parrotlet in its own space such as a basket or playpen and not allow it to have physical access to birds that exhibit more flocking behavior like conures and cockatiels both of which are much more social birds and do live very harmoniously with mixed collections. Parrotlets are just not built that way and for everyone’s safety should be kept physically separated. It isn’t hard to do – just keep everyone’s wings’ clipped and make sure the parrotlet has his own space to play and be active on.

I hope this helps!

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.
The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner,

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pacific Parrotlet Mutation Percentages

I started breeding parrotlets a year and a half ago. I purchased a bonded pair from another breeder and was told this was their genetics: hen - dilute split dilute blue and the male - green double split dilute and blue. There first clutch I got a dilute, albino, green and lutino and the second I got lutino, dilute blue and albino. I tried to fiqure out the offspring percentages, but I get confused. Could you please help me out? I'm not sure how I'm getting lutinos and albinos.


Dear Kim:

I have several pages on my website about mutations including a percentage table at Generally, I try to avoid percentage because they cannot duplicate real life. The percentages are based on 100 offspring produced, which no single parrotlet hen can do so they are largely inaccurate. I always tell people its like playing roulette or craps – there are “percentages’ but each spin of the wheel or each throw of the dice are specific to what that single outcome is. Same with birds and genetics. Each clutch has its own contributions of genetic material by the parents and no one can predict what you will get. Sometimes, people get all blues or blues and dilutes or dilute-blues and greens that are split but no one can give you the exact percentage of chicks that will actually hatch in each individual clutch. I always tell people, just like dice or roulette, you get what you get and you can’t really predict exact percentages in each individual clutch.

As for your birds, first, dilute-blue is not a color. It is a combination of two colors, dilute and blue. Therefore, your bird cannot be dilute split to dilute-blue. It is dilute split to blue. This is true even if one of the parents was a dilute-blue. However, if you are getting lutino and albino’s, then both of your birds are also split to lutino. So, your hen is a visual dilute split to lutino and blue. Your male also has to be split to lutino in order to produce lutino and albino. Dilute, lutino and blue are all primary mutations; albino and dilute- blue are combinations. Albino is a combination of lutino and blue and, as I explained, the dilute-blue is a combination of dilute and blue. Btw, since one of your parents is a visual dilute, all your green chicks will be split to dilute plus different combinations of blue and lutino. Of course, you won’t know which combinations until they are bred.

Hope this helps!

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.
The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner,

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Personalty Differences, Noise Factor, Shipping, Waiting List

Hi Sandee,

I am interested in a hand-fed male parrotlet.

I've read that Pacifics tend to be more feisty/stubborn with the exception of the blue mutation. I've also read that Green Rumped and Spectacled are also more mellow than Pacifics in general. Could you compare/contrast the temperament (in general of course, I understand each individual bird is different) of blue Pacifics, Green Rumped and Spectacled please? In addition, how do the noise level and tame-ness compare across all three?

I understand you have a waiting list right now - could I ask how long it is? Last but not least, what is the cost of shipping?


Dear Joseph:

You are right in that when it comes to parrotlets that all birds are individuals and that it’s more nurture than nature when it comes to personality. These birds are not domesticated animals like dogs and cats or even budgies or cockatiels – species that have had hundreds of generations to domesticate them and have their personalities become more predictable. Parrotlets are still very much wild creatures acting on instinct rather than ‘designed’ by humans through selective breeding. Therefore, “imprinting”, the process by which wild instincts are over-come by socialization and human interaction, is much more important than species.

I always tell people parrotlets are not like breeds of dogs where a poodle has a much more different personality than a pit bull but are more like standard poodle vs. a miniature poodle vs. a teacup poodle. That being said, generally speaking, Pacifics tend to be more outgoing and bold. Green Rumps tend to be much more timid and shy and Spectacles, are somewhere in the middle. Outgoing but not so stubborn as Pacifics but not timid like Green Rumps. I don’t really see much personality differences in the mutations although generally speaking people consider them ‘less aggressive” although I don’t believe that is a correct assumption. Pacifics do not originate in the rainforest or jungle but come from a very dry almost desert–like region where they not only have to compete for food and nesting space but are preyed upon by everything from reptiles to other birds. I believe that since Nature weeds out the mutations because they are a genetic anomaly they do not develop a survival instinct like normal Pacifics. People misinterpret this lack of a survival instinct as ‘sweetness”. Same thing with the Green Rumps and Spectacles that come from regions that are lush and tropical and there are plenty of places to nest and find food. Again, these are generalizations not hard and fast rules. I have seen very aggressive Green Rumps and very sweet and gentle Pacifics. Also, Pacifics are the most popular pet parrotlet in the world and are owned by small children, the elderly and people with disabilities. It really depends on the individual bird’s personality, how it was raised and socialized and dealing with a breeder that will honestly evaluate their birds and match them with the prospective owner’s desires for a pet.

As far as ‘noise’ factor is concerned, that is even more nebulous. I always say that noise is in the ear of the beholder. All species of parrotlets tend to be ‘quieter’ as far as volume level from other hookbills. Indeed, canaries and budgies are louder volume wise. However, parrotlets chirp and chatter and tend to chirp and chatter all day long. Some people find this pleasant and appealing, others do not. I know I have a problem with the location calls of male cockatiels and would rather listen to a macaw screaming at full volume but again, that’s my individual preference. Other people are different. I always recommend that people go listen to a parrotlet before they purchase it as only you can determine if you are annoyed by their calls.

I always have a waiting list and right now it will probably be at least 4 months before I would have birds available depending on what you want. I spent the last 2 years caring for my mother who died of cancer and have only recently set my birds up. The Pacifics are breeding but again my list is at least 4 months out. The Spectacles will take longer and it would probably be 6 months or so and the Green Rumps have shown no sign of any interest in breeding so I’m not even taking names for those. I work on a first-come, first-served basis and do not take deposits. If you are on my list, about a month before the bird is weaned, I will contact you. If you want it, great, we will make arrangements. If not, I just move on down my list. Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee I will have a bird available by the time you want it as I have no control over the birds’ breeding nor whether or not a bird will make a good pet. If it isn’t pet material, I will not sell it as a pet.

Shipping depends on the airlines but generally runs about $100 plus I charge a $50 refundable deposit on the cage and carrier.

Hope this helps.

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.
The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner,