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Dear Parrots magazine,

Behavioural problems

Tariq Abou-Zahr contributed a very important article in the March issue of Parrots magazine which needs to be read and re-read by all parrot keepers, and potential keepers. Everything he wrote made sense yet unfortunately many people who have parrots in their care disregard some of the vital information he offers. Readers of the magazine are the more enlightened ones so perhaps breeders who sell their young and, indeed, anyone who knows someone who has recently acquired a parrot, should make copies of this article for the less well informed.

I would like to reinforce his comments regarding keeping parrots alone. The companionship of another parrot is so important and would suggest that anyone acquiring a young one for a companion should buy two at the same time. Acquiring another at a later date is likely to create more problems than it solves.

Tariq was one hundred per cent right when he wrote: “… keeping parrots with others may mean that they are less tame and less attached … but it is far more fulfilling and natural to a parrot.” We tend only to think what we want from an avian companion when the bird should always come first. To me, to see two parrots playing together and preening each other is more rewarding than one which does not even recognise its own species and just craves human companionship. It is so true that this is the root of most behavioural problems.

Breeders are not blameless. They hand-rear parrots without giving them the opportunity to socialise with their own species. As for the hand-rearing of white cockatoos, I am always saddened by people contacting me to try to find a home for a hand-reared cockatoo, which at only three years or less has already proved too demanding. I now tell them, “Take it back to the breeder”. Only in this way will breeders realise how much damage they are doing in hand-rearing cockatoos.

Too many hand-reared parrots are condemned to a life of feather plucking and other serious behavioural issues because they have never had the chance to know how to be a bird. Through no fault of their own, they are psychologically damaged.

Rosemary Low, by email

Please visit and click on 'Articles' for more information on hand-reared white cockatoos – Ed.




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