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Dear Parrots magazine,

Buyer Beware

I want to just point out how careful one has to be when buying a parrot.  I have kept parrots now for over 10 years and a close friend of mine has also been bitten by the bug and decided she would like an African Grey – I have three.

We have been close friends for many years now and I gave her a lot of advice about how best to go about buying a bird, but needless to say off she went onto the Internet.  My heart missed a couple of beats when she told me, but she was determined to search online and there was little I could do about it.

As we live in Gloucestershire, I was concerned that she had found an advert for African Grey babies in a town close to Sheffield.  She was quite excited about this as the lady selling the birds, according to my friend, seemed very knowledgeable and genuine, and the price of £450 seemed a good deal.  Having a natural suspicious nature, I was more concerned when the lady offered to meet my friend half way in a motorway service station and so I tried, in vain, to advise against this meeting.  But my friend was determined to go and off she went.  I refused to go with her. 

When I saw her on her return, she seemed very pleased with her purchase and showed me this baby African Grey, but I was concerned as it did not seem to be 100 per cent.  She bought a large cage for the bird and all the toys and food, etc., but this baby just didn’t seem right.  To cut a long story short, after two visits to my avian vet, this sweet little baby Grey has never really been well.  On phoning the lady she bought the bird from, often her calls were not answered and when she finally did get through, she was faced with every excuse under the sun.  She doesn’t know where this lady lives and she has no form of bill of sale, so really there’s not much she can do.  She has already spent several hundred pounds on veterinary treatment and I just hope this little baby will eventually get better. 

The moral of the story, as many of us have preached over the years, never buy a bird when you cannot see where it has come from and certainly never to meet anybody in a neutral location such as a motorway service station.

Madelaine Horton-McKay, Glos.



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