Breeder Etiquette
When Should Young Fledglings Leave Breeder's Possession?

by David T. Longo

Longo�s Aviaries Inc.
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

This issue is one that needs to be recognized! These different subject matters will be elaborated on. Interacting with the public is probably the most important to maintain a good reputation. Selling to pet stores, which ones are competent to hand-raise young birds? Working with Aviculturists, which are dependable and reliable? To avoid confusion, we will refer to "Aviculturists" as "Breeders" but still may use Aviculturists where applicable.

First and foremost, we as breeders all interact with the public generally when they tend to avoid the middleman; usually it is to save a few extra dollars from the retail industry, which is no sin. Most of the public are normally misinformed that if babies are taken under their wing (Pardon the Pun) the bird will bond better to the new owner. This Old Wives Tale is false, 100% FALSE. I cannot begin to count how many birds that I have raised eventually grew to turn on me and others on numerous occasions. Furthermore, there have been many, many large parrots (at least 40-50) through experience which I have not raised or hand-fed who have bonded to me and felt discomfort around others who approached them. These examples instantly falsify the latter theory. If breeders choose to be responsible, they should not misinform the public so they may possibly relieve their duties of 2-3 more weeks of work which should be considered an experience not a burden. Depending on the circumstances, if the purchaser has hand-feeding experience, criteria like the species of bird, hands on experience, age of bird, etc. are some differentiating factors which could determine if they are prepared to raise the young bird(s). There have been and still continue to pop up, drastic occurrences, which take place in the hands of inexperienced hand-feeders. This is not to say that all Aviculturists are well educated at hand-feeding either. Just as it is the buyer's responsibility to research breeder, it is also the breeder's responsibility to make sure our birds will not be returning to us or be available elsewhere in the "Pet Trade" 6 months - 2 years down the road. If the buyer chooses to purchase a bird from a breeder, if this works well into their routine, the breeder may allow visitation when hand-feeding takes place. This will benefit all 3 parties. The breeder can get a feel for the foster parents the young will be going home with, the customer will be able to see the bird being hand-fed and have time to socialize with the baby. The baby bird, when being hand-fed sees the new faces surrounding it. Whether or not the new owner is hand-feeding in your home that should be supervised by you. The bird does not comprehend who is feeding it but instead recognizes that all faces seen by the baby will be non-threatening. The bird associates the seen faces with food and will want to interact with the visible parties.

When transacting with other Aviculturists for resale or future breeding stock in most cases are acceptable. Many of them are well recognized and go the extra mile to keep a well-reputed name/title or hobby/business. Breeders should also be responsible to keep articulate records on birds that are being sold to other breeders. Some Aviculturists do more record keeping than others do. It is very discouraging when you acquire or want to acquire new birds which are in excellent breeding condition and find out that either it came from an unknown source or don't know the age or history of the bird. It is good to go the extra mile and keep others satisfied, which also allows you to sleep at night knowing you have maintained your responsibility as well as pleasing your clients.

When selling certain species to the Pet Industry, Aviculturists/Breeders should do their research to make sure these specimens are not critically endangered in captivity or their native habitat unless they are directly involved with release programs which there are not many of. In other words, we should take responsibility when breeding more endangered species. Aviculturists should be a priority to obtain rarer specimens than the pet trade. This topic will be discussed further in a later article. We, as aviculturists, should make sure pet stores know the requirements of hand-feeding particular species and genus of parrots and must be capable of completing the weaning process as well as providing the species with the proper diet for the birds' duration. If they are incapable and for some reason or other the bird has to be obtained by them at the time, it is solely the breeder's responsibility to make sure the well being of that bird will be kept.

Over the years, I have witnessed drastic occurrences happen over foolish decisions or judgements which may have had good intent but were unintelligent. I do not want to bring up that long "R_____________" word again but these lives we help create are in a sense, feathered little humans. Face it, they are just as or if anything even cuter and sometimes more intelligent than human children and they deserve the best.

This topic always brings back certain memories but there is one that sticks in my mind the most that I would like to share. This certain breeder sold a Peach-Faced Lovebird to "Mr. & Mrs. Joe Public" with very minor instructions on how to complete rearing it. The customer was essentially told to mix the food with hot water and feed it with the given pipette. They proceeded to hand-feed for the first time. She placed the pipette in the mouth without holding the head properly and the pipette penetrated through the pharyngeal mucosa at the rear of the mouth with the pipette's tip that resulted in subcutaneous disposition of food into the upper neck. The outcome of the pharyngeal puncture resulted in death the following day. The breeder created the demise of this lovebird not the hand-feeder. Please be careful, do your homework and research whom you purchase from and whom you transact with or sell to. We can greatly reduce conflicts and misfortunes by following some of the simple mentioned guidelines. There is also something for us to remember, breeding for profit or research can make a difference in your profession as a "Breeder" or an "Aviculturist"

Dave T. Longo
Longo's Aviaries Inc.
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