Posted on August 28, 2017 at 9:35 PMMy heart breaks as the baby macaw's eyes lock with mine, and he begins his last few labored breaths. He knows what's about to happen I can tell, and so do I. Deep down in my heart of hearts I hope he knows that I did everything in my power to save him. The vet gave him a simple diagnosis, but this baby's fate had other plans. The question is why? If it was such a simple diagnosis, and it was such a simple cure - why did I just have to witness him passing before my eyes? My stomach churns. I want to vomit. Deep down I know the answer. Most likely because he's a hybrid, and there's much more wrong than anyone can begin to imagine. It's a topic that many in the avian world will keep quiet about whether or not they agree with it or not. The topic can get ugly, and many a time downright disturbing. Maybe people choose not to talk about it, because if discussed out loud, they will begin to feel that nagging feeling that it's wrong. I have chosen to talk about it, because it frames my choice for the future of my business. I will no longer sell hybrid macaws, or hybrid avian species. Let me tell you why. It bothers me when the breeder calls me and tells me a hybrid baby macaw has a body too big for it's legs and the legs broke underneath him. I've heard all of the nice explanations. Oh it's natural genetics. Sometimes babies come out "chunky", or it's life's "natural selection.". The question is is that true ? Is that why the other baby's head was so big that the head fell all the way back and fractured its neck? Is that why customers have reported that their hybrid bird had passed away, and the necropsy showed a too large liver, or a too large heart, or deformities in their organs? Or is it the fact that a Scarlet Macaw was unnaturally bred with a Green Wing Macaw who is almost double the size, and the baby came out disproportionate because "natural selection" wasn't so natural? Unfortunately the examples I am giving are based on real situations. And then the dreaded question arises - what happens to the hybrid babies that are born sickly or crippled with disproportionate limbs or organs? I've heard responses from breeders that ranged from "I just have to wait for it to die" or "I"ll just have to put it down. It's not like it will make a good pet anyway." And again my stomach churns, and I wonder how the hell we have gotten so desensitized with this process. How the hell is this process even viewed as humane? Different species of birds are stuffed in a cage together, given food and different formulas that raise their hormones so that they want to nest, and eventually they mate because their hormones are raging and they need a release - different species or not. Then when the hen lays an egg, most likely than not if the egg comes out a different size than what her instincts say is normal, she most likely will abandon the egg. This is when most breeders take the egg, and incubate it claiming they are "saving" the babies from being abandoned - but yet when the babies hatch the breeder will do his own picking and choosing of any babies that "look" healthy from the outside and dispose of the deformed or sickly. My analogy of this process is a box of ugly wrapped up into something beautiful. I understand the majority of people don't understand this process, that this process is hidden from their knowledge, but I still don't believe it makes it okay for me to sell these birds knowing what I know. A friend of mind once told me she witnessed a situation where a Rottweiler bred with a Daschund. The puppies came out extremely cute. Huge heads with tiny little bodies. All of the puppies eventually sold except one. It was the smallest, most crazy, most bipolar little puppy you've ever seen. Everyone thought it was so funny just to watch him attack people's shoes one minute, and then turn around and go beg for petting and attention the next minute. Nobody thought it was much more than a puppy with a "crazy" personality. Eventually a vet inquired about the puppy. She was a friend of the family, and out of curiosity, she asked if she could do some tests. The family agreed. Right away the vet took a CT Scan of the puppy's head. She was not surprised to see the results. It was as she expected. The puppy's brain was being smashed in by the skull, because the brain was too big. She explained to the family that this happened, because of the extreme difference in dog species, and unless they wanted the puppy to live in misery and pain, they needed to put the puppy to sleep. I understand that dog breeding is a different ballgame from avian breeding. All this story was meant to point out was how unnatural the process is to breed two different animals that are so different, and the problems that can arise. Please note that I'm not here to preach like I'm a perfect animal activist. All I am saying is that I truly do believe these babies have hearts and souls, and my heart hurts when I hear an innocent baby, who just hatched into the world, will be "put down" or left to die because of hybridization. I'm not saying I am right in my opinion or wrong. All I am saying is it breaks my heart. There's so much more to say about this topic, but I will end it here. I can't wait to see all of the hate mail I receive from the avian world because of this haha, and I do expect to probably lose business over this. But I have accepted the consequences. Again, this is just my opinion, and this is just me letting everyone know that our store officially will no longer sell hybrid avian species. I prefer pure blood - I prefer healthy.
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I watch you being brought in, In a cage that they say will make you feel comfortable. Maybe even help you not "notice" what fate is to come. But I see a difference. A difference in your eyes. They are no longer round, curious, and inquisitive. They have a squint to them that I've seen before. I've seen it in an older bird who was forced to have hope of a family over and over again, In the end only to be confused at why all of his belongings were packed up in his cage again -
Only to wonder why he couldnt sit on his favorite perch as the sun went down the way he grew used to - And wondering why his person is no longer near him, and wondering when they'll be back.
They bird doesn't squawk to make you angry. The bird doesn't fling his food to make you upset. Cockatoos don't shed a lot of dander on purpose just to make your mild allergies flare up more than you've ever experienced. It's the person who sold you that bird who didn't educate you enough to know how to pick the right match for you and your situation. Unfortunatley I've experienced birds who's owners passed away. When I'm closing the store at night I see their posture slumped. Their head down in almost a sorrowful position. The bird doesn't look at you in trust as a baby bird would. He only knows his person is gone, and he feels it is permanent. - And unfortunately, when a bird bonds with a family, the same effect happens when he is no longer wanted and brought into a shelter or a store. A bird's bond is strong and an amazing experience if you let it happen. And its a sad thing to watch when their bond has been broken. Yes a Macaw is beautiful. But did you know they have an earpeircing headsplitting honk when the sun comes up, when the sun goes down and whenever the heck they feel in the mood to honk ? Yes an Amazon can talk super cool. But did you know they were nicknamed the "meat eaters" because of the shape of their beak and how much damage they can do if they are in a mood sometimes? Yes a Cockatoo is AWESOME. But did you know their screaming could get to you worse than a Macaw, and if they're not given enough attention they will scream all day ? They will mutilate until their flesh smells like death, and you can no longer stand the odor ? Yes a green cheek is cute, but did you know that they are capable of over bonding that I've actually recieved calls from people not knowing how to stop the green cheek from following them around the house? Did you know a Sun Conure could have a crazy obnoxious HONK and yell that really irritate neighbors and family members to the point that they are almost always being given away for free ? Did you know bird toys ARE MEANT TO BE DESTROYED and it is a lifetime investment to continue buying birds toys so that they don't get bored ? This is not intended to make anyone feel guilty. This is to start spreading the word that we need to work together to do our research on what is best for your family. I promise that if we find you the perfect bird for your situation, you will find an amazing forever family member. I don't consider it a customer's fault when they come in with a bird that didn't fit in with them. I consider it the seller's fault and a lack of responsibility for not giving the proper education.
Yesterday was a big day for AJs. I posted a first time species we were handfeeding and announced that they were available for deposit! 3 baby parakeets, sweet as pie, tame, and $100 each. ""WHAT???!!! What a joke!!" Was the typical response I recieved, and to my surprise (and disappointment) this response was not from the general public, but from avian breeders themselves. - THIS is what motivated me to write today's blog. Many avian breeders, avian stores, and hobbiests passionately claim that all birds have amazing personalities when raised right, that their intelligence level supercedes our human expectations, and that small birds are just as important as the bigger more expensive birds. Is this just a scheme, a facade to make the general public believe that they are passionate about these babies to make a sale ? Why have parakeets become a joke in the avian world? Lets explore this just a bit to get some insite. Parakeets are prolific, breeding almost all year long if allowed. They wean fast, and many allow them to be parent raised to make a quick profit selling them by the dozens at one time to pet stores all across the country. Typical price of a budgie is 20-30 dollars. And why are they one of the most frequently bought bird ? Because of the PRICE. Nothing else. The general customer then brings this 20-30 dollar parent raised parakeet home thinking that they will get a true bird experience only to feel the wrath of a parent raised parakeet's beak digging into their soft hand skin, and drawing blood as this is the first time the baby has ever experienced human touch and it is TERRIFIED. This now makes the general customer claim that the bird is ""evil", makes a joke about it, and maybe after a few more feable attempts, deams the parakeet a "no touch"" bird, and this is the first day of the parakeets life where its fate is to never be taken out of its cage, and to live forever on its general cage one size perch and a plastic mirror toy. The parakeet is not completely ignored of course. It might get a little conversation from passerbyers, its food and water will be changed hopefully every day, and maybe someone will open a window in the summer time so he or she can get some fresh air. The light in the room the bird is in will come on and off most likely at the same time every day. So life is not so bad. But what happens when a customer buys a "cheap" bird ? Ninety percent of the time their is no motivation to study on what their avian friend needs for stimulation, or what is harmful to him. Unfrotunately, it is not an uncommon situation that a general parakeet dies from simple negligence from having them too close to toxic fumes, to forgetting their small cage outside in the summer where they either die from heat stroke, or from another animal getting to them. The cycle then starts all over again; going back to the petstore to replace the 20-30 dollar bird with another since it wasn't such a "big loss"". - Thus lessening the value of yet another small creature. DID YOU KNOW? A parakeet can learn to talk. Males are known to learn up to several hundred words, and females are known to learn up to 100. There is a European parakeet that has a record of learning over 2000 words. Parakeets, when hand raised and taught to trust humans, love human companionship, affection, and will bond as strongly with you as any other more expensive parrot. So why is it that people don't buy the play top for their parakeet? Why are parakeets only good enough for Walmart brand seed and not the more expensive brand that has the dried fruits and vegetables like the bigger more expensive birds do? Why can't the parakeet get different size perches to exercise his feet that are stiff and tired from standing on the one size generic stick that came with his small cage? - The answer is because breeders, customers - people in general have DEVALUIZED the small bird because of his price. The 20-30 dollar bird that won't effect the budget much if it dies. - and THIS is what motivated me to write this blog. Laugh all you want at my hand tame parakeets for $100. As far as I'm concerned, by hand raising them, and putting a little more value to their worth, I am giving them a real chance at human companionship, and I'm giving my customers a real chance at experiencing the amazing personality a budgie can have.