Finding Your Bird a New Home
Here at Mickaboo we wish that we could take in all of the needy birds out there and find good, quality homes for them all. However, the truth of the matter is that there are far too many birds needing homes and far too few good homes to be found. We must rely on the owners of healthy and well adjusted birds to find their own adopters so that we can focus on and keep resources open for the birds who really need us; the ill, injured, abused and special needs birds. It is important to know that finding a quality home can take time and there is some detective work involved. There is no "perfect home" and you may find that you go through quite a few "toads" before you find your "prince". It will take some work but will be very much worth it to know that the pet you love is in a loving and responsible permanent home.
Tips for Finding a Good Match
- Advertise in the local newspaper. Make sure that you list an adoption fee.
- Advertise on the Internet. Again, list an adoption fee.
- Take some pictures of the bird and try to capture his personality as much as possible as well as his color.
- Make flyers and list your bird's good points. You can make tear off phone number flyers so that interested parties don't have to write a number down (you will get many more phone calls that way). Send these flyers to veterinarian offices, pet stores, humane societies. You can send them to non-pet related places, too. Flyers usually do well at Laundromats, coffee shops--anywhere people have a little extra time to browse.
- Call local avian vet offices and let them know about your bird. Many times the staff there will know someone who may be looking to adopt.
- Tell friends and neighbors you are looking to place your bird. Never underestimate the power of "word of mouth".
- Call your local humane society or animal care and control. Ask them to refer interested parties to you if they come looking to adopt a bird and the facility doesn't have birds at the time.
- Call rescue groups for other animals (dog and cat rescues, for example). Many people don't realize that there are bird rescue groups out there and may contact these other rescues when they are seeking out a pet bird and are unsure of where to look besides the pet stores.
What to Do When You Find a Potential Good Match
- Interview the potential adopters. Ask them why they are interested in adopting the bird, how long they plan to keep him, how they plan to provide for him (what kind of diet, medical care, cage, etc.) and their experience with birds. Ask how many they currently own, how many they have owned in the past and why they no longer have those (did they pass away, fly away, etc.) This will help you to know what kind of commitment they have to their pets.
- Ask for references and call them. Ask the reference what kind of parent they feel the adopter will make to your pet. Be sure to mention any special needs your pet has and ask how they feel the adopter will provide for them.
- If possible, do a "home visit" to see where your bird will be living. Make sure he will not be situated in a kitchen, entryway or bathroom (bad choices for a bird). Make sure there are no other dangerous animals or small children who may be left unsupervised with the bird. If they have other pets, you can see how they are being cared for prior to adopting your bird to them. Never, ever adopt a bird to someone who will leave them unsupervised with other animals (this includes cats, dogs, ferrets, rats, hamsters, reptiles---they have all been known to attack birds regardless of how tame they may seem).
- Confirm that the adopters are established with an avian veterinarian and that the bird will be brought in for a "well check up" and annual routine exams in addition to any necessary medical care. Be sure they are aware of the costs involved with avian health care and that they have some way to provide for emergencies (pet insurance, credit card, etc.).
- If you are not providing cage and accessories, be sure the adopter will be providing safe and roomy environment and that the toys are plentiful and safe. Always ask to see the cage the bird will be living in. Make sure the bird will get "out time" of that cage daily and that he will be given adequate attention.
- Be specific as to the diet your bird is on and make sure the adopters will be feeding a high quality healthy and varied diet. Make sure to send some familiar food home with the adopter so that the bird will be sure to have his usual diet the first few days in the home. Ask the adopter to be sure the bird is eating after the move. Many birds become stressed and don't eat well after a move.
- Always recommend continuing education for the new owner. Bird Talk, The Original Flying Machine and, of course, the Mickaboo website are all excellent sources of information. Most books are outdated and give sometimes dangerous information. The exception to that would be "Birds For Dummies" by Brian Speer, "Cockatiels For Dummies" by Diane Grindol and "The Complete Book For Cockatiels" also by Diane Grindol (assuming you are placing a tiel [(smile)]
- Make sure the adopters have adequate behavior support and advice and make sure to NEVER adopt out a bird to someone who would use physical force for behavior modification.
- If possible, provide the adopter your phone number and contact info. so that they may ask questions if necessary regarding behavior, etc.
- Make sure the adopter is aware of the dangers of aerosols and other pollutants.
- If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, recommend to the adopters that they attend a Mickaboo class so that you can be sure they are updated on the latest care information.
- Call your local Animal Care and Control and ask if they have ever received any complaints or if the adopter has ever had any animals impounded.
- Always charge an adoption fee--it can be minimal but never give an animal away for free. It is our experience that people that take in free birds are a lot less likely to spend money on vet care for the bird because it was "free".
Things You Should Not Do
- Never adopt to a home where the birds will be kept outside in an aviary setting. Birds kept in outdoor aviaries have shorter lifespans and are much more prone to bacterial infections, parasites, and, of course predator attack. This is NOT a good option for a pet bird regardless of how untamed he may be.
- Never adopt out to a nursing home, preschool or any type of facility. We have yet to find an exception to the rule that these facilities are not friendly places for birds. There is usually no one person to care for them, (the staff usually "takes turns" and often aren't happy about the added work) they are usually in noisy and stressful environments and (perhaps worst of all) they usually do not receive veterinary care since these facilities do not have animal veterinary care in their budget. This is NOT a good option regardless of how much "attention" he may get here.
- Never adopt out to a breeding situation. There is a HUGE overpopulation problem currently. It is worse in some areas than others but getting worse everywhere as time goes on. It is not humane or responsible to breed cockatiels, budgies or lovebirds at all at this point in time. There are so many waiting for good homes. Think about how difficult it is for you to find a home for the one you have now and then ask yourself how much more difficult it would be to find a home for an entire clutch. Many breeders will suggest putting an untamed bird into a breeding situation as a solution. This is NOT a solution. This will only cause many, many more problems down the road as more and more birds are produced and brought into a society where there are too few homes to care for them. Breeding is NOT a solution to behavior problems and should never be perceived as one.
- Never give your bird away. Always ask for an adoption fee. A person that gets a bird for free is a lot less likely to ever spend any money on the bird as far as vet care etc.
- Never adopt your pet to someone without getting to know them and how they will care for your pet beforehand.
- Never adopt a bird to a home where the occupants smoke inside of the house.
- Never adopt a bird to someone without clear and permanent contact information on the adopter.
- And finally, never adopt out if it doesn't "feel right". Listen to your intuition and do yourself and your bird a favor and only adopt him to a home where he will be safe, happy and well cared for.
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