Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What's a Split Tail Parrotlet? Why Do Pet Shops Charge More Than Breeders?

Sandee, I found your website (very informative) recently while looking for some info on Parrotlets. I found a sweet girl (not sure if it's a girl ;) ) accidentally at the local pet shop. I found out she is about 4 years old and has been there two years!!! I don't relish the idea of buying from a pet store however, she is SO sweet. She seems to have so much personality. She's quick to "chat" with me and comes right to the side of the cage. She does not seem to bite and just wants to play! She grabbed my heart. They are asking $300 for her! She appears to be a green Pacific. They say the high price is because she is a "split tail". However, when I did some research for a split tail, I couldn't find anything! Is she rare or has a genetic irregularity? Advice? Sidenote, I asked the same question of Debbie at ___________ and she actually directed me to you. She had never heard of a "split tail" and felt as though the pet store was simply uninformed. Thanks for your time! -- Heather Dear Heather: Thank you for your email. I'm sure what the pet shop means is that the bird is 'split' i.e., carries a color mutation gene. If you are not going to breed the bird, it is really irrelevant as to the bird's personality or pet quality. However, as a breeder, the bird, when paired with the correct corresponding color mutation, would produce color mutation offspring. For example, if the bird was split to blue, if it were bred with another parrotlet that carried the same blue gene, they would produce visual blue offspring. As for the price, $300 is a very reasonable amount for a parrotlet being sold in a pet store. When you buy from a breeder, you are paying a 'wholesale' price and therefore the price is much lower. After all, breeders do not have the expenses that pet shops do. Pet shops have to hire people, train them, have a lease and store front to pay for, plus overhead, insurance, taxes, licensing, etc., so of course whenever you buy from a pet shop you would be paying about twice the price of what that bird would cost from a breeder. It's no different than buying anything else wholesale. Hope this answers your questions. Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner, Join the International Parrotlet Society, – the World’s Largest and Oldest Parrotlet Organization A Chattering Bird Builds No Nest. Camaroonian Phrase

Breeding Age?

I am wondering what is the max age for a P'let and with that how old is to old to breed any p'let? Dear Leah: Thank you for your email. I'm not sure what exactly you are asking. I have no idea the age of the oldest parrotlet and even if I did, it really is irrelevant when it comes to the 'average' lifespan. I believe the oldest human is 120 years old but that is not the 'average' lifespan of humans. Also, which species to which you are referring? There are 7 different species of parrotlets but I am assuming you are talking about Pacifics, which are about the only species left in the US and even most of those are not normal, 'wild-type' birds but color mutations. As someone who has kept them for 3 decades I can tell you that wild caught Pacific parrotlets often lived 20 years or more in my aviary. Obviously, since they were wild-caught adult birds no one knew how old they were when they were imported. Also, as with most animals that are going through the 'domestication' process, their 'average' life spans have been substantially shortened. At one time, as I said, it was not unusual for these birds to live 20 years or more. Now, a bird over the age of 10 is considered 'old'. And, of course, just like with humans, the lifespan of any one individual bird depends on how it was kept, what it was fed, how it was housed, whether it was a pet or breeder, how many birds to which it was exposed, etc. Again, like humans, someone who has a healthy lifestyle is probably going to live longer than someone who does not. As for breeding lifespan, again it depends on the species, how they were managed, the age the birds bred, how many clutches they have produced, what they were fed and sex. Males can breed longer than females; most hens (again if properly managed) can breed 5-8 years; however, I have seen this shorted again because they were bred too early, bred to often, are color mutations or did not receive proper husbandry and management. Males can produce for much longer and I often had males producing into their teens. However, since their lifespans have been shortened, I would say that that timeline has been reduced as well. Hope this answers your questions. Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. Secretary, International Parrotlet Society

What to do With a Surviving Parrotlet?

Hello, I have a problem I'm not sure what to do I was hopping you could help. I have tried to find anything that would tell or not but to no luck. what I'm trying to find out is up until 2 nights ago I had 2 parrolets but one was killed. I did keep them in different cages, however at play time I'd let them out together the female always seemed to bet up on my male. then they would get along. I'd really like to keep just the one bird. but I also want to do what's best for my little boy. so do I need to replace the female? my little guy dose seem happier now that she's gone. but he's still calling her name and seems to be calling for her. I played canarys singing for him today and he seem'd to like that alot. I hope you can Help Thank You, Louise Dear Louise: Thank you for your email. I would not run out and try and replace this bird. Your surviving bird will not look at the new bird as a new friend or companion but as a rival and competitor. Unfortunately, we humans tend to put a lot of our emotions into animals. Your male may be calling for her but that is because he is exhibiting instinctive flock behavior. After all, in the wild, if a member of the flock disappears it usually is because they were preyed upon by a predator. This is bad for the remaining flock members and will often cause them to call at first for their lost member and then become quiet, sometimes not eating or playing as much. Again, people often mistake this for ‘grief’ when it really is just a survival instinct. After all, one should not be out flinting around having a good time chattering and chirping if something is going to eat you. I’d leave him alone and let him adjust. Most pet parrotlets are happier as being a single pet bird with no one to compete for their owner’s attentions. Hope this helps. Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. Secretary, International Parrotlet Society

Friday, June 8, 2012

Parent Raised Parrotlet Questions

When should I remove chicks from there parents? They are over a month old they seem to get along well. They sleep together in there nest. Should I leave them housed together or seperate by pairs ? Ty Gary Dear Gary: Thank you for your email. I've written an entire book on breeding parrotlets called The Parrotlet Handbook that has chapters on breeding parrotlets so I'll just answer this very briefly. Remove the male once the chicks fledge otherwise he may attack and even kill his male offspring. Leave the female in the cage to teach them how to eat and keep them fed until they are weaned. Generally, it takes parent-raised birds longer to wean than hand-fed birds so they should be left with the hen until they are at least 8 weeks old. Then you can move them into another cage but separate them by sex. All females together, all males together. Hope this helps. Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. Secretary, International Parrotlet Society

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pocket Parrot or Lovebird?

How do I tell if my bird is a pocket parrot, or a love bird? I just found this one the other day. It is so sweet and it looks like a pocket parrot but I am just not sure. It has peach on its head, blue on it's rump and wings, a very beautiful blue and the peach above his beak is so pretty. He is just the sweetest little bird. Your help will be much appreciated. I will try to get a photo for you. Thank you so much and GOD bless you and your family Sheila Dear Sheila: Thank you for your email. There is no species of bird called a ‘pocket parrot’. The term is descriptive and is used for a variety of small parrots including lovebirds, parrotlets, grey cheeks, canary wings and other small ‘pocket-sized’ parrots. That being said, your description sounds like a lovebird – probably a Peach Faced but I can’t tell without a photograph. If you can send me a photograph, I will see what I can do. Thanks! Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. Secretary, International Parrotlet Society

Saturday, June 2, 2012

How Do I Find Parrot Shows?

Subject: I have parrots and would love to go to a bird show,but have no idea when and where they r!! Plz let me know,I live close to ft.wayne,Indiana,thank u " Di" Dear Di: Thank you for your email. The International Parrotlet Society lists bird shows that have Parrot Divisions on our website a But you can also go to and These two organizations are the ones that coordinate parrot shows around the country. They list their various shows on their websites with dates and locations. Hope this helps! Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. Secretary, International Parrotlet Society