A Holiday Aviary Wellness Check

By Vicki Ronchette

On December 22, Mickaboo volunteers visited a Redwood City home with an aviary containing over 70 birds, mostly cockatiels. The aviary had come with the purchase of the home, and Mickaboo had been asked by the new home owner for birdkeeping advice. The home is located on a big lot and has an indoor/outdoor aviary where the previous owner bred cockatiels. Mickaboo volunteer Martha Kudlacik said, "At first I didn't think there were more than 50 birds in there, but then she pointed out the ones in the attached building!" In addition to the 70+ cockatiels, there were three budgies and one white dove.

Overall, the volunteers found the aviary to be pretty decent. It had cement floors and no traces of rats. It was filled with a mix of normal grey, pied and pearl cockatiels as well as the budgies and dove. While there were too many birds for Mickaboo to take in, the volunteers were prepared to take any sick or injured birds for immediate vet care. Fortunately, however, none of the birds appeared to need medical attention.

The home was purchased by the new owner four months ago. The new owner is currently caring for the birds and looking for new homes for them by advertising on Craigslist and charging adoption fees, to discourage collectors and breeders from taking the birds. The ages of the birds and the number of generations of cockatiels living there is unknown but the owner is trying to gather more information on the birds from the previous owner. Because the birds are aviary birds, they are not hand tame. However, it's certainly possible that, once adopted, they could become hand tame pets for someone willing to put the time into working with them.

Mickaboo volunteers spent some time going over healthy diet changes, such as adding pellets and vegetables, and recommended the nest boxes be removed once the weather warms up. Thankfully, only two babies have hatched in the last four months. While Mickaboo was unable to take in these 70+ birds, the assistance and support we are giving to the owner will help her find good homes for the birds she is rehoming, and help her provide a better home for the birds she is keeping.

It's important for people who breed or keep aviaries to think about the future of their birds should they decide to move or in case anything ever happens to them. In this case, the birds are lucky to have found themselves with such a considerate new owner.