What’s the Solution for Abandoned Pet Birds?

An Excerpt from HBD’s Avian Examiner #33
Greg J. Harrison, DVM, Dipl Emeritus ABVP (Avian), Dip ECZM (Avian, retired)

Many committed and well-meaning persons join bird rescue organizations because they are concerned about the welfare of abandoned pet birds and want to make a difference. I understand that a basic frustration occurs due to the constant struggle for financing and the vast number of birds in their care. Of course, well-adjusted, socially acceptable, reasonably-sized, family-friendly birds are not usually among these. In most cases the shelter birds have been “donated” or abandoned due to some buying impulse/misjudgment on the part of the owners or chronic behavioral problems — screaming, biting, other aggression — on the part of the bird.

A resolution for this situation must start with educating potential bird owners. What is their motivation to own a blue and gold macaw, for example, which tends to favor a single person and shows aggression toward other family members? Or why choose a cockatoo that expresses its natural chewing tendencies by destroying the kitchen chairs? Some of these birds can be “saved” and adopted out to an appropriate household. But many become totally unwanted and end up occupy¬ing cramped space in a rescue facility.

Ideas for Solutions?

While we applaud the effort of kind volunteers who donate significant personal time to provide care for these birds, we also recognize that overcrowding scenarios in some rescue facilities do not spare some birds from enduring a life of misery. Preventive, educational measures are the keys to addressing this issue moving forward. We look to you for suggestions on how to incorporate such measures.

Please submit your ideas to Dr. Harrison at birddoc@harrisonspetproducts.com
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The Avian Examiner is a free avian medicine newsletter that is created by HBD International and is distributed several times every year. Subscriptions are available to veterinarians and veterinary clinics who carry or sell HBD products. It includes articles written by vets, practice tips and avian medicine news.

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