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Posted by garudabird on December 4, 2009

New African Greys at Garuda Aviary

New African Greys at Garuda Aviary

Recently, Garuda Aviary welcomed five new African Greys into our flock. I am very happy to include these birds into our family for many reasons, one reason being the fact that these birds belonged to a parrot breeder. Now that these Greys are with me, they can look forward to a lifestyle made to suit their every want and need. No longer will they be in a position to further the problem of parrots in domestication. We are in the process of raising money for cage mesh so that I can build a huge flight cage large enough to flock them with our three African Greys. Flocking birds together by breed is a powerful enrichment and one of the most potent methods for rehabilitation

“What do they need rehabilitation from?” you may be asking. “Were they abused by the breeder?” No. This is a caring woman. I believe she loved these birds. The reason they need rehabilitation and another huge reason I am so happy to have these birds here with us is because they were “wild caught”. Illegally poached from their natural habitat. The methods used by poachers to trap and smuggle parrots into wealthy countries are some of the most stunning examples of cruelty imaginable. The birds that survive these methods (most don’t) end up insanely traumatized.

I want to make clear that the breeder, at the very least, did not add to these birds’ trauma. She didn’t breed many birds. In fact, what made her remarkably different is that she offered to take the young Greys back if they didn’t adjust to their new homes. That is unheard of when it comes to breeders. Most breeders can aptly be called “parrot mills”. Breeding pairs are often kept in the dark 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The breeders believe the parrots will mate more with nothing else to do. Best Friends, the animal rescue foundation, recently made sure our facility could be available to an Amazon parrot who had lived in conditions like this for over 20 years. This Amazon had stood so much in one position, its legs had begun to fuse in that position.

The breeder from whom our new African Greys come was more a lower quantity, higher quality type. She fed her Greys a fine diet, gave them toys and nice surroundings. You should also know that she wasn’t a very financially successful breeder. For breeding parrots to be financially worthwhile, a breeder would have to sell many birds. A successful breeder would tell the breeder of our new Greys that she spent too much time responding to the desires of her birds, desires for things like fruits and veggies, toys, extra large cages, even light! And certainly none of this “welcoming hatchlings back” nonsense.

Basically, what I’m saying here is that the reason she wasn’t a financially successful breeder is because she has a heart. Having some sense of compassion and being a profitable breeder are two mutually exclusive conditions.

Folks, there is no kind way for parrots to enter domestication. And once domesticated, the chances of a parrot being happy are extremely slim. Being a “pet”, parrots don’t have the benefit of centuries of selective breeding that brings us dogs and cats suited to live in our homes. Even hand-hatched parrots are still wild prey. Their natural instinct to avoid large predators (like us) are still completely intact.

When a parrot enters my aviary, it finds a lifelong home where its wild instincts are respected. I do not glean any profit from my birds. My only wish is to give them back some of the peace and happiness stolen from them when they were plucked from their natural habitat.

To learn more about parrots in domestication, please read Of Parrots and People and Here, There and Everywhere by Mira Tweti, which are available from the Parrot Press.  She has done an extraordinary amount of research on this topic, and she is a relentless advocate for parrot welfare. And she is my hero.

Christopher “Rigdzen” Zeoli

Garuda Aviary

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