Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Birds

     I got a call last weekend from a dear friend (Hi, Melanie) who asked me if we would like some birds - Three Love Birds.  Cool.  I love pets and our bird cage has been empty since our last parakeet died so... Why not!?!  They were free - they came with food and I like birds.  I pictured really tiny little birds with sweet little chirps, who flitted calmly in their cage.  How could we go wrong with Love Birds? 

     We moved the hamster cage over so that the birds could sing sweetly to Aaron while he played and so that I could watch them while working in my office.  We like to keep our pets close. 

     Oh my stars.....Love birds are NOT calm, are NOT little and do NOT have sweet little chirps.  After 30 minutes of listening to their earsplitting screeching - they were moved out of the center of attention.  They are now in the family room screeching as loud as can be and hopping merrily around in their cage.  Bird seed is everywhere - the noise is deafening and both Aaron and Elijah are happy as clams. 

     Do you know that these birds are LOVE BIRDS for a reason???  They are supposedly really easy to breed and my dear, always thinking of some new project, Elijah has BIG plans for them. He's building nesting boxes because he wants baby versions of those birds.   He wants to sell them and make lots of money. Help! 

     I wasn't sure what poor Rob was going to say when he walked in the door last night.  His zeal for pets isn't as great as mine and he hadn't been too keen on more.  They were quiet when he walked into the door.  They are quite pretty birds and I listened as he walked over and peeked in at them.  I heard him comment on how pretty they were.  I smiled.  I then started chuckling to myself because I knew that when the first bird began to screech, that he would no longer be commenting on their beauty.  Sure enough - one screeched.  The look on my dear husband's face was worth listening to those crazy beasts all day.  We started laughing and 10 minutes later were still going strong.  Poor Elijah.  He sat and listened to us come up with 50 ways to get rid of 3 Love Birds during supper. 

     After supper I drove the dear child to Boy Scouts.  On the way, in all seriousness he tells me that some Love Birds are on the endangered species list. (He only knows this because he spent the last 2 days studying non-stop and is now a walking encyclopedia when it comes to Love Birds).  I said I wasn't surprised at this piece of trivia.  The birds are just plain obnoxious.  He looks at me and says:  "Mom, do you think I ought to call Dad and tell them that it is illegal to kill them if they are on the endangered species list?"  I laughed all the way to Boy Scouts, reassuring my dear child that his dad would not knock off his precious pets.  So we are now the proud (?) owner of three Love Birds and if you come to our house please bring ear plugs - you are going to need them!  Watch out for the bird seed... it is everywhere!! :(


  1. You need a bigger cage!! Those birds are HUGE!
    Tell Elijah Thanksgiving is coming up and you know what might be on the menu....

  2. Too funny! My sister had a very annoying cockatiel for a while. I hate birds!

  3. Paul's parents raise parakeets to sell--a whole building full! And that is noisy and dusty and seedy too . . . I can only imagine! But you never know . . Elijah and Aaron just might get their own little business going . . . I hope it goes well for them! (And wasn't God good to give you the gift of laughter right now?! ;-) )

  4. That is hilarious! I still remember a friend's big white parrot of whatever kind who screeched so high that my friend couldn't keep it. She gave it to her parents :-)

    I just adore your blog and reading about all your boys' adventures!

  5. I do not envy you for your new pets! My dad thought it'd be romantic to get my mom love birds for their anniversary one year. Let's just say my mom didn't mourn the passing of the last one for very long. Those birds are loud and messy!

    But it brings much joy to my heart to see Aaron doing so well. He looks so happy in his pictures! I'll bet he loves having two big brothers around. :)

  6. you can limit the bird seed by taping clear plastic around the bottom part of the cage bars. they look like peach faced love birds. I had one. he was very sweet. no screechy. his name was mozart. and if you can breed them you might be able to make a few bucks because they sure didnt come cheap when I had one. I love the photos you posted. we are in Philly today to see dr vb tomorrow. too bad we didnt cross paths with you this time.

  7. HA!!!! Oh fun fun fun. At YOUR house anyway! Seriously though, once they get used to their new environment, they'll quiet down some. Also the need lots of newspaper tucked into the side of the cage (Elijah probably already knows this!) because the like to rebuild their nests, and cut the PERFECT pieces of paper *just right* to stuff their nests with. This busy work keeps them pretty content, and their minds busy. Bored Love Birds are LOUD Love Birds. Have fun! Too bad it wasn't a cat you brought home, they're way more quiet.

  8. Elijah has a good heart. Aaron must love all the new adventures that come with his family! Can you put a sheet on the cage at night to keep the birds quiet?

  9. I agree. You definitely need a bigger cage. That cage is about 1/4 - 1/3 of the size it should be for 3 birds of that size. That will cut down on the screeching significantly; much of that vocalization may be due to stress/boredom from a small cage.

    Also, there are far too many toys in there. You just want 3 toys at a time (1 per bird is the general rule) And then, you rotate them every 1 or 2 days, so there's variety. And as the others suggested, tuck pieces of newspaper into the side of the cage. I also give timothy hay -- they'll go nuts.
    This and the toys keeps their minds occupied. As one of the others said, a bored bird is an unhappy, loud (and often, bald) bird!

    I'd also do a *lot* of homework before allowing these little guys to breed. You can't just give them a nesting box and let them do their thing. It's irresponsible and an extreme risk to their health.

    You need to have them on vitamins, supplements and a special diet for AT LEAST 8 WEEKS prior to any breeding attempts. Otherwise, your females will be prone to egg binding -- a condition that leads to a slow and painful death when a malformed egg (soft or absent shell due to the improper diet) gets stuck. (And you'll need to do your research on how to recognize the symptoms of egg binding and how to administer first aid).

    You also need to have them examined by an avian vet to ensure that they're free of illness and parasites. Breeding is extremely taxing on the hen's body. If she has any preexisting health issues, these will come to the surface very quickly once she starts laying eggs. Her body will be weak, enabling the illness/parasitic infestation to take over.

    Their feathers look rather unhealthy in those photos posted. At minimum, they need dietary changes and supplements/vitamins (you can't just feed them seeds). I'd be willing to bet that they have feather mites too, judging by the appearance of some of those feathers. This will all need to be treated/addressed before breeding is even considered.

    Further, if they have behavior problems (in many cases, you'll have to wait until they're settled for some of these behaviors to manifest), then it's probably best to prevent breeding. Behavior is largely determined by genetics, and you'll be expanding the poor gene pool by creating birds that are prone to behavioral issues. When you go to the avian vet, they can examine their feathers for signs of plucking (this can be triggered by stress/boredom, but it then becomes an OCD-like issue -- a mental disorder of sorts that persists even once the stress/boredom is remedied.)Feather plucking, in its early stages, isn't always obvious. Your bird won't necessarily be bald (and even if they are, you may not notice it if the bald spot is small, as other feathers will cover the area.)

    If you're not willing to take these measures, please don't allow your birds to breed. And please don't just stick a nesting box in there. It's irresponsible and unethical.


  10. Get a baby pool to catch the bird seed, my mom has a blue fronted amazon (if you think yours are big you should see hers, and he BITES).

  11. So funny :)Theres real life learning for you! We have a funny kids book about a pet bird called A Pickle for a Nickle that is so funny and your story reminds me of. If we ever get settled and unpacked we'll have to share it with you.
    love, the Adamsons

  12. ROTFL!!! It really is to bad that you were not able to get a picture of Rob's expression:) I hope that the birds adjust to their new enviroment quickly and that they quiet down for you. So happy that the boys are finding joy and your family is finding laughter in this mixed blessing.

  13. We've got a loud, aggressive amazon parrot we're trying to get rid of. Do you want him to add to your collection? the very least he'd take care of your love bird problem :S

  14. I don't think I've ever looked at birds the same after seeing Alfred Hitchcock's movie YEARS ago! Hope the breeding business works out well--at least they'll earn their keep!

  15. I came to your blog for a particular reason this afternooon and I even got a great laugh!


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