Sunday, August 4, 2013

Parrotlet Mutations, Adopting Older Parrotlets, Parrotlet Behavior

Hi Sandee, I suffered a terrible blow today. I was told I would be looking at a hand fed 'halfway socialized' 8 to 9 week old parrotlet, we drove 226 miles round trip for nothing. I called a mile away from the place ( I told her that we were leaving at 930 or 10, and she answered the phone when I was a mile away like I was her best friend, and said 'oh, I'm sorry, I got the age wrong, we got to talking last night and realized he's 4 months old' I said this is a shock but we're a mile away, I'll come see him...he was beautiful, maybe they all are, but skittish, he was flying into cabinet doors to try to get away, although he did like to hide in my long hair, and let me pet him there, he was more than bitey, bitey on a continuous basis, I freed him from the net the breeder's helper used, cause his claws were caught, and he bit me at least a dozen times just for that, the breeder was named Trish, she was an IPS member, said she had 20 years experience, but he was from two blues, which my friend Colette said is not acceptable. I don't know if you know her, she's great, she owns the He was bonded with the other young parrotlets, calling to them. I was tempted, after that long drive, but I declined him. I am now thinking of shipping... Please advise which breeders you recommend, and I will contact them...I want a hand fed socialized baby, just one, as long as it's a male... THANK YOU! Wendi Dear Wendy: Although the age of the bird was older than first indicated, it seems to me that the bird was ‘halfway socialized’ or more accurately was a hand-fed baby that had not been handled in several months and probably would have come around and made a good pet with some work and some patience. The best bonded parrotlet I ever knew was a female who I had hand-fed then put in with other parrotlets until she was 8 months old at which time I gave her to my husband’s friend. Yes, she bit at first but after a couple of weeks, she settled in to her new surroundings and bonded so strongly with her owner that when I took the bird in for a year while he had his house remodeled, she immediately responded to him when she heard his voice. The behavior as you describe is completely normal for a parrotlet that had not been handled in a long time. Also, 4-6 months is when most parrotlets go through their first molt. This poor bird is scooped out of its cage, away from other parrotlets, has at least 4 people in the room with it, two of whom are complete strangers and, of course, its scared and tries to get away only to get caught in a net, which, to a bird, feels like it is going to die. I’d bite too. Also, not sure if the bird’s wings were clipped but if it were flying away, probably not and even the sweetest parrotlet can turn nippy when it is fully-flighted. This bird probably thought the end was near and was doing everything in its power to save itself. After all, these are animals guided by Nature’s instinct to survive. They are not domesticated animals like a dog or cat that has been raised for thousands of years to live with humans. The bird was acting like a completely normal, healthy parrotlet and I’m sure it was stressed and frightened as it could be. That’s why it bit you, not because its mean or hateful. It’s a baby and it was scared for its life. As for the genetics of breeding a blue to a blue, that has nothing to do with its personality nor is it an indicator of any future possible health problems. Even if it did, unfortunately, people like me who actually outcrossed to wild-types (or even have wild-types) were very, very, rare. You are lucky if you can find ANY parrotlets that don’t have some mutation in the background and most have several. So the days of being able to pick from what would be considered ‘healthier stock’ from outcrossed mutations are over for parrotlets. Just like having any other species available. While species such as Mexican and Blue Wing parrotlets were always uncommon, they are now considered genetically extinct in the US. Even once common species such as Spectacles and Green Rumps are very, very rare and all of them are related. Breeding related birds, inbreeding, will bring about the extinction of a species faster than anything. That is why humans can’t marry their relatives. Mutations contributed to this destruction of the availability of parrotlets in the US because people were greedy (after all, they cost $1000 each when first bred), they are in or linebred in order to establish them, most parrotlet breeders did not outcross to wild—types and they dumped all of their other species in order to either make more money or inflate their egos by producing new pretty colors. It’s a pretty sad state for someone like me who devoted almost 4 decades of my life to establishing self-sustaining captive populations of all species of parrotlets in the US. This is what also led to the demise of the International Parrotlet Society. People only working with mutations, thinking they can get all of their information for free online and not giving anything back to the parrotlet community. Very sad. I am working on a presentation for several organizations on the demise of bird clubs and how it will ultimately lead to the demise of aviculture. Best of luck and be sure and let them know I gave you the referral. Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner, A Chattering Bird Builds No Nest. Camaroonian Phrase ________________________________________

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