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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-17-2015, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Post Bird-Sitting

Okay so I'm thinking of starting a small parrot-sitting business/hobby in a few months and I was wondering if anyone had any tips? I have had loads of experience with smaller parrots but not so much the larger ones... But I have done loads of research and I guess I'll have to learn on the job does anyone have any tips about handling larger parrots and running a bird-sitting business??
Also, if anyone needs/knows anyone who might be interested please say! I am in central Scotland!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-18-2015, 12:07 PM

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My main concern would be the spread of infectious diseases, especially if you have birds yourself. A seemingly healthy bird can be a carrier of all kinds of nasty things (as I unfortunately learned myself). Unless people can prove their birds are disease free, which a lot of people won't do, I wouldn't risk it. Another issue would be if their bird needed veterinary care while they were away and they were in your care. Firstly, a spot on avian vet would be needed and secondly you'd need some sort of agreement for them to pay you back or something like that. Lastly I would consider housing them. Where would they be housed? Would you provide large cages and the owners bring the toys or would they have to bring their toys too? I'm sure there would be a lot of legal rubbish that would be a pain in the butt, as it is with dog walking. You usually need some kind of insurance

As for handling larger species, what would you like to know?

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-18-2015, 12:50 PM

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I'm with CatD on this, bringing birds into your home where you have your own birds is a huge risk to your own birds as well as you. If you house the visiting birds away from your birds you still need to wash up after handling the other birds before you interact with your own. Mites or air born bird illnesses can be transferred easily to your own birds.

PBFD is a concern, a lot of people don't know if their birds have this illness and you could bring it into your own home infecting your birds or even other birds you are caring for.

Would you expect the owners to bring the birds food for them? Will you have to chop or prepare fresh fruit veg beans etc for some birds? Will you be able to do it exactly as the owner wants?

You will need to know how to deal with a bird that is upset at being placed in care and won't eat. You will have the continuous concern and worry about that bird not eating or drinking while in your care. The stress would be hard to deal with.

I think the biggest concern would be if any of the birds showed signs of illness would you be able to get the birds to an avian vet quickly? Or does the owner of the bird have a specific avian vet they would want you to take their bird to? Distance and cost are huge factors here, a sick bird may not take to traveling far to someones preferred vet.

Its a great idea to want to do this but I see so many ways this can go wrong and I wouldn't want you or anyone else to get yourself into any trouble if you didn't have all the answers for every little need.

Best of luck with starting up if you do this.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-18-2015, 08:34 PM

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It is a hard call
As you may know I do board, re home and have birds of my own.
Boarding is always a big risk.
I ask that the owner vouches for the general health of their birds before they come in, and say that if I have any doubts I will take to the vet. Unfortunately some health problems are not visible. And can only be found with full blood panel. Even then PBFD may not return a positive. So yes there are risks involved.
Quarantine is a bloody hard one, I for one do not like to think a hand tame loved one is going to deal very well isolated on its own for 30days or the length of its stay if only in for a few days.
With re homes I do gram stains on day one in here and do my own assessment/valuation. As I cannot re home any bird until I am fairly sure it is in good health.
So far I have only had sick birds that were not infectious. The other problems I have had, but on top of was worms and lice. Lice is easy to see and treat. Worms get picked up in gram stains. And these guys do get isolated and I will pick out one or two of my own guys to have gram stains to make sure they are still clear. Both of these have come in from aviaries, says a lot for breeders.
And you have to consider "what if" Like if a bird gets sick 'How will you deal with it'
I have had two of these. Both were Lutino Tiel's both died. Well one we put to sleep as she was suffering to much and I could see she was slipping away from us.
The other died in my care. Both were under the vet, as I picked up on them in each case. I had necropsy done on both as I needed to know 'Why'. Both were due to body malfunction, and on a death sentence nobody could of changed. But still cut me badly and having to tell owners their bird is not well. Also consider stress can bring out things like PBFD.
So summing up where do I stand on all this. I take huge risks, and one day likely will pay for it. I hope not. But I do better than the local Rescues who do not have isolation wards, and deal with over 3,000 birds each a year. I keep it small and see I have only been involved with 60 odd re homes, according to Pets On The Net. Which is where the re homing ones get posted.
Food: I always ask them to bring in what the bird/birds are used to eating. At least for a few days supply.
Cages: Always best if they can stay in a cage they know.
Weight checks: It is a good idea to take weight checks.
Anything that keeps the stress to a minimum, is a positive for them.
I watch to make sure they eat. If they eat you know they are comfortable enough with what is going on.

And Daisy is right. If you get it wrong, everybody suffers.And that is not good and at best could be costly. At worst Horrible. And like Daisy there are any number of incidents that show this does happen.

A tribute to my lost ones. RIP.

Last edited by clawnz; 07-18-2015 at 08:41 PM.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-19-2015, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for your advice! I'm sorry if I came across as someone who hadn't really put much thought into this above in the first comment; I have actually been thinking in detail about this alot lately; I just forgot to put it into the above post����
I found a website recently about a Lab in Spain that will do a test for you for all the common parrot diseases relatively cheaply, and I was thinking maybe I would ask people beforehand to do this test.
Caging: I am going to designate a room in my house as the 'bird room' with only birds and bird stuff in it so I have the space to look after the parrots. At the moment I have a spare small budgie cage, a large-ish flight cage that could easily hold an Indian ring neck or a parrot of similar size and I am going to get my dad to build a large flight cage that can hold a macaw. If the cage is transportable then they can bring their own.
Food: I would ask anyone to provide their own food to last the duration of the birds stay so that the parrots don't get upset stomachs from the change of food and feel more comfortable. I'll also ask the owner to provide their own food bowl so that the bird again will feel more comfortable and also to prevent the spread of disease if it did turn out the bird had a disease that wasn't detected.
Toys: I would provide toys (I make them myself)
Health: I'm not sure yet about what I would do if the bird suddenly showed signs of being ill. Obviously I would immediately contact the owner and then take the bird to the vets but if it died I'm not sure.....
Weighing: I have scales that I weigh my birds with at the moment. I will weigh any residents everyday so that I know of any weight loss that may indicate illness
Fresh food: I cook everyday for my birds anyway. Broccoli, beans, rice and pulses will be provided every day as well as many other things.
I hope I've answered your questions. Is there anything wrong with what I've put above? Anything I could do in a better way? When I say tips on handling larger parrots I mean like are they the same as handling smaller parrots? Just bigger?
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