Does Age Matter?
Lots of people contact me wanting one of my babies. My aviary is quite small and I produce a limited number of babies so about 70% of the time I end up referring them elsewhere, specifically to local parrot clubs and other groups through which they might find a companion. I usually hear some version of “No, we only want a baby, so it can bond with us.” This statement never fails to break my heart. There are pros and cons to both babies and older birds, but older birds are often passed up completely by people who would have fallen in love if only they would let go of preconceived notions. So let’s look at some pros and cons.
-Very cute, usually snuggly
-No history of bad habits or abuse (presumably)
-Easy to find at your local pet store or breeder
-They are pre-puberty, meaning you will get to deal with the raging hormones and the naughty behavior that goes along with it.
-During puberty the personality may change completely and never go back to the baby you fell in love with.
-You must lay all the ground rules, babies come with very few manners and need to be taught boundaries in every area.
-Many poor raising practices such as force weaning and early clipping have consequences that may not manifest until the bird reaches maturity.
-Freshly weaned birds are at the most expensive they will ever be.
-Personality is usually fully developed so it is easier to get a good idea what the next few decades will be like sharing your home with them.
-Many have already learned the basics of manners and training
-They bond just as deeply as younger birds, sometimes more so.
-Considering the lifespan of some parrots, the age of an older bird may make it easier to prepare for the care of the bird after the death of the owner.
-The “retail price” is usually significantly lower than that of a baby.
-May have existing behavioral issues
-May have existing health issues.
-Some rescue groups seem to make it difficult to adopt, but they only do this to protect the birds.
Yes, I am a breeder and I believe the experience of bringing home a young bird to share your life with is incredible. However it is no more incredible than bringing home an older bird, and I strongly believe that anyone diving into parrot ownership would be wise to search through their local rescues and clubs in addition to contacting local breeders. Your future featherbaby may be a few years older than you expect, and waiting patiently for his next (or first) great home!