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Topic: I need a big bird! (not sesame street)
Message: Posted by: JustinDavid (Jan 15, 2004 03:30PM)
I am in NEED of a macaw, mullocan (sp?) cockatoo, or an african grey. I don't have a huge budget so I'm looking to adopt or a pay a small price. Anyone know of any shelters in the NJ area?.. or is anyone selling one themselves?(i know I know.. doubtful).. I have the cage and what not.. I just cant afford 700 dollars right now!

Thanks guys,
Message: Posted by: Lou Hilario (Jan 15, 2004 08:34PM)
You might have difficulties training a parrot coming from a shelter. SPECIALLY, if you want to use it in your shows. I suggest you save your money to buy a young parrot. A blue and gold macaw would be good for starters. They are the cheapest in the macaw species.
Otherwise, if you are just looking for a big bird as a pet, you can go ahead and adopt a sheltered bird. Just be prepared to have a lot of patience and love.
Message: Posted by: JustinDavid (Jan 15, 2004 09:28PM)
Believe me that's not a problem. It's just that I'm on a really low budget.. paying for a car actually.. and I just thought an african grey would be great because of its vocabulary. Although a macaw is not a bad option. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Jan 16, 2004 09:43AM)

You can't own a $1,200 bird on a $700 budget.

Nor can you own a $700 bird on a $700 budget.

Do yourself and the avian world a favor, don't buy a bird right now because you'll likely only do damage to the animal.

A Moluccan Cockatoo? You clearly haven't researched parrots have ya?

[quote]Just thought an African grey would be great because of its vocabulary[/quote]

Having a Grey is no guarantee it'll "talk".

Man it's guys like you that put these birds in shelters in the first place. You just go for the bird without thinking twice.

Please, think twice on this one.

Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: DaveWomach (Jan 16, 2004 11:46AM)
Hey Man,

Robert's words are harsh, but please listen to him. Unless you live in a metal house, with no neighbors, and a high tolerance for EXTREMELY loud noise... a Moluccan Cockatoo is NOT for you!

My family purchased a Moluccan when I was little, and it destroyed all of our frame work in "the bird room". He escaped all the time. Also, they are EXTREMELY loud!!!

Cockatoos are more likely than any other parrots, to develop problems such as feather plucking, screaming, etc... and you do NOT want to be stuck with a bird like this!

Unfortunately my family ended up giving our bird up. Fortunately he went to a breeder, and is now makin' babies... but that's not the point. We were able to learn from this experience, and everybody ended up ok, but can I suggest a macaw instead?

My brother and I produced a whole line of products on shaping and solving parrot behavior, talking on cue, tricks on cue, etc... Sign up on our mailing list at http://www.birdtricks.com/Video.htm and you'll gain access to an 8 minute demo for free, along with emails full of great tips for parrot owners.

Please look carefully before just getting a bird for your show. A parrot is more of a commitment than having a child. You will be taking care of a moody 2 year old for the next 60 years. My cockatoo was a great addition to my show, but I was fully aware of what I was getting into before I invested my life. Not to mention that traveling internationally with these guys is a PAIN!!!!!!!

I hope this helps you a little bit. And again, please check out our site, so you are as prepared as possible when you get your parrot. http://www.birdtricks.com/Video.htm

Message: Posted by: JustinDavid (Jan 16, 2004 08:42PM)
Thanks Dave.. I appreciate it. I've been researching them for a short while, and have spoken to many breeders (I guess trying to sell their product), and while I've been working with doves for quite some times now, I never realized the commitment fora larger bird. Thanks for the enlightenment, as I do still want to obtain one. I'm going to go with a macaw or an african grey, even though I know an african grey isn't an entertaining bird, I still would ilke one. I will check out that site, and I am going to buy a few videos. You guys are great, thanks for the help.

Message: Posted by: Lou Hilario (Jan 17, 2004 10:16AM)
An african grey is not a show bird. I just wanted to tell you this in case you were planning to use it in your shows.
My CAG (congo african grey) is a talker. I've trained him to speak in my voice and I've tried every method there is to do make him talk on cue in my shows, but to no avail. He does learn everything I teach him but only when he wants to. I am referring to talking on cue. But he is good at trick training behaviours with or without props.
Just FYI.
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Jan 17, 2004 10:53AM)

I'm curious about the cage you have. What are its dimensions?

Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: JustinDavid (Jan 17, 2004 01:23PM)
Yes I know that a congo is definatly not a show bird, it was just the point that I liked them, and would like to have one as a pet.

As for the cage size. It's 3 feet high by two feet wide by two feet deep.

Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Jan 17, 2004 02:20PM)

Alright it's time for a reality check.

You [b]can't[/b] put a macaw in that cage. Its feathers will be destroyed and you'll likely start it plucking.

The cage I have is a Midwest 2000 (maybe 2100? ) It's 48" x 36" x 24" roughly. I have an amazon in that cage. That cage would not safely hold a macaw. (unless perhaps a Hans or Severe)

For a macaw use this as a rule of thumb, the bird should be able to stretch its wings out and turn around without touching any cage bars.
It should also be able to make a full turn without it's tail feathers scraping against cage bars.

Justin, for a heavy dose of reality, you aren't ready for a macaw, or any large parrot.

That's the reason I said you can't get a $1200 bird on a $700 budget.

Go to Petsmart and pick up a copy of BirdTalk magazine. Major cage manufacturers advertise in there. GO to their website and look at the prices.

If you want a good macaw cage I'd say look to spend [b]at least[/b] $600. Likely you'll spend more though.

So let's look at your $700 budget and pretend you find a macaw that'll go for $700.

So your $700 is gone now: spent on the bird.
Cage: $600
Toys: Average $20/toy. You'll need easily 5 or 6 as they go through them like water. $100
Food: Average $40/month. $480/year.

So you're telling us you've got $700 for a bird that you're going to cram in to inhumane conditions.

But you can't afford the $1,180 other dollars I just listed? (and those are just off the top of my head estimates)

Dude, please don't purchase a macaw. Spend the next couple of years researching this and get a bird for companionship, not as a prop.

I spent 18 months researching all species of birds before I was "chosen".

Which by the way...you haven't even thought of that factor yet.

You're not ready.

There's my rant. :) Enjoy!

Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: JJDrew (Jan 17, 2004 11:10PM)
Don't forget vet bills. $200 for the first "well bird" exam!
Message: Posted by: DaveWomach (Jan 18, 2004 01:25AM)
Ugh... I forgot to mention all that... I just spent $830 to get my birds round trip from Seattle to Hawaii... and now I've already invested $400 into another trip to Grand Cayman, Costa Rica, and Florida... Not to mention the $300 on a custom made metal travel cage.
Message: Posted by: JustinDavid (Jan 18, 2004 12:37PM)
Man you guys are on top of things lol. I guess me being curious goes out the window. Hey, it wasn't like I was going out tomorrow and getting one, lol. But as FOR reality, you guys are 100% right, and I appreciate the feedback I was looking for. (and Robert, the point of getting one was for my show AND a companion, not just one or the other.) As for Mr. Bloor being harsh, sometimes people that don't get a reality check once and awhile start to sway in the wrong direction. But I can assure you that I am a professional about things, and I open my mind to almost anything that makes sense, and again, I appreciate the input that I now know about them.

I had my eye on a sun conjure at the local pet store. Their colors are beautiful, and they seem very friendly, although I didn't get to associate with him because the bird guy wasn't there. Any opinions on them?

BTW when I mentioned 700 dollars on a bird.. I meant FOR the bird. I've had multiple other animals (still do) and I know the procedure of food, toys, vet bills.. etc. etc. etc... (I mean common, I have 8 of the most active birds in the world.. doves!:bigsmile:) Not to mention a wide variety (and yes a WIDE variety lol) of other animals.

THanks again for everything guys,
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Jan 18, 2004 06:40PM)

Glad to see your eyes are open on this. In the long run, it will make for a much happier living condition...for you and your new parrot should you decide to buy in a year or so.

Sun conures...that's a 'whole other' species that I don't deal with. My neighbor has two. Her home is a good 50 feet from ours (corner to corner) and her birds are in the back of a newly remodeled and insulated house.

You can still hear the conures scream. Nasty things.

But that's my opinion of them. Anyone else working with sun conures may have a whole other view.

[quote](I mean common, I have 8 of the most active birds in the world.. doves!:bigsmile[/quote]

Maybe active...but they won't disassemble their cage around themselves.

Nor do they snap metal welds like toothpicks.

Glad you're thinking about it. I think the reason we felt you were rushing into this was because you said...

[quote]I am in NEED of a macaw, mullocan (sp?) cockatoo, or an african grey.[/quote]

Your emphasis on NEED and not knowing what species you wanted was a concern for a few of us.

Justin, ultimately you'll do what you want to do. We can't stop you. Just be sure you really think this one through. Owning a large parrot is a lifetime commitment, you will put it in your will. It's unlike any relationship you've ever had with [b]any[/b] other animal.

Cheers mate. If you're curious about other stuff, you know where to ask.

Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: nix225 (Jan 18, 2004 07:06PM)
Suns (in general), are loud and constant screamers. I wouldn't take a free one from my brother and we live with 4 macaws.

Message: Posted by: DaveWomach (Jan 18, 2004 11:08PM)
I was in the same position. I was offered a free sun conure, and turned it down... and I live with 11 doves, 5 parakeets, 1 senigal parrot, 1 blue and gold macaw, 1 umbrella cockatoo, 1 cockatiel, and 2 dogs... and a partridge in a pear tree.
Message: Posted by: Shadow (Jan 19, 2004 09:41AM)
I've had two doves, two love birds, a severe macaw, a cherry head conure, two cats and a hamster, along with the wife and teenage daughter in a 2 bedroom apartment, but I would never take a "sun" even if I was going to keep it in the garage. How that one little bird makes so much noise is beyond me
Message: Posted by: JustinDavid (Jan 19, 2004 01:37PM)
Wow.. well thanks guys.. lol
Message: Posted by: Beaudini Magic (Jan 19, 2004 10:34PM)
I agree with what you've said, but Chill out man! We all now understand what is neccesary to own a large bird. Our friend justin was just wondering and asking some questions. Thank god the animal police, caught him before he made a horrible mistake. Save up your money justin, and when you have the supplies and means to support your pet, go out and get him, good luck
Message: Posted by: JustinDavid (Jan 19, 2004 11:10PM)
Thank you!.. It's great to hear (or see) someone encouraging me. Dan thanks for all the info as well.
Message: Posted by: JJDrew (Jan 19, 2004 11:23PM)
Beaudini's got a point. To have parrots, everybody has to have a first parrot. May I reccommend a bit of good reading? "Birds for Dummies" is a great overview of choosing a species, housing, behavioral issues, and a lot of other extremely important information. That and "Guide to a Well-Behaved Parrot" will give you enough of a basis to make an educated decision. I've read every book about parrots I could find and those two sum up the best general information in all the others put together.
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Jan 19, 2004 11:35PM)
On 2004-01-19 23:34, Beaudini Magic wrote:
I agree with what you've said, but Chill out man! We all now understand what is neccesary to own a large bird. Our friend justin was just wondering and asking some questions. Thank god the animal police, caught him before he made a horrible mistake. Save up your money justin, and when you have the supplies and means to support your pet, go out and get him, good luck


Thanks so much for replying to my posts. Apparently you forgot to read them though.

I am "chilled" out, dude.

Animal police...*shaking head*

Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: JustinDavid (Jan 20, 2004 12:54PM)
JJ thanks alot. I will definatly pick up copies of both. :cool:

Message: Posted by: Amyxdove (Jan 20, 2004 01:38PM)

I studied parrots and the one I wanted for three years before I even bought one. Take your time and really think about it first. There is tons of infor online.

Best Wishes,

Andy Amyx
Message: Posted by: JustinDavid (Jan 20, 2004 09:19PM)
Absolutaly.. I've been reading like a book worm. thanks Andy, and hey, great work man.

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jan 25, 2004 09:35PM)

I have an unemployable parrot I wouldn't wish on anyone. He's not even big! Another is not on my want list. Dobbie has simply become a pet (like the horse, three goats, four dogs, cat, 100 doves, geese, chickens, etc.) Lucy and I live with. Some of them do work in the act, but most just "people watch". But we also have a 10 acre yard and regular help. If it were not for that, things would fall apart very quickly in the animal care department.

If what you want is a large bird for magic production, water fowl are even easier to work with than doves. They have a shorter lifespan, eat cheap food, are quieter than a parrot, lay eggs you can eat, and if things don't work out, you can eat them too. There are good reasons why early magicians used geese and ducks. It is also less likely you are allergic to them like you can become with doves, parrots and chickens. Another important point is that you don't need $700 either. For about $50 you could get about all the trouble you could stand.

I really don't believe the audience is impressed with how much you spent to fool them. Most props cost very little to store and don't eat, don't make a mess, don't carry diseases, and don't make noise between shows. Zoos are expensive hobbies. Please put your thinking cap on for this one. It is very hard to undo.

Exploit your opportunities as a magician. Zoo keeping is a rich man's hobby. You have plenty of time for that. Invest in the magician.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: JustinDavid (Jan 26, 2004 03:36PM)
Bob, understandable, but I am an animal magician through and through, as much as any other part of magic. I have the time and space as of right now to get a bigger bird for my act. Also I'm in an apartment, and unless the duck or goose wants to live in a bathtub, or a closet, like the tv show friends, lol.. then I can pretty much count them out.

Or can I? :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jan 26, 2004 09:20PM)
It does sound like a good time to duck the goose! If you have never owned a parrot, living in an apartment may be a very temporary situation for you. The others in the building will throw you out. Parrots can be very loud. I really would rather live with a duck than a parrot in an apartment. I can't say I would stand in line to do either one and I really do love animals, magic or not.

Maybe what you need right now is a friend with a larger animal that you can produce. Over the years, I have produced everything from a horse to a hampster. Neither of those were mine. It can be arranged. If the show is a public show, even a pet store might be interested in getting public credit for furnishing the livestock. Some zoos might cooperate too! But the bottom line is that the draw back to larger animals is that they are there 24/7, even if you are poorly equipped to deal with them. Having them for the show may be good enough right now. When you get more space, go for it! I'm certainly in no position to do anything but wish you the best luck under those conditions. When I die, I hope they bury me in the horse pen.

Is there someone you know who keeps lead dogs for the blind the first year? Usually the dogs and the masters are great contacts. Of coure, they get a new dog every year. So your act will change! Color changing dog: have you ever seen that one?

Good Luck! I know what it's like to have a want list too! Sometimes it just takes time.

Message: Posted by: Tim Taylor (Jan 26, 2004 09:41PM)
On 2004-01-19 00:08, DaveWomach wrote:
I was in the same position. I was offered a free sun conure, and turned it down... and I live with 11 doves, 5 parakeets, 1 senigal parrot, 1 blue and gold macaw, 1 umbrella cockatoo, 1 cockatiel, and 2 dogs... and a partridge in a pear tree.


Sounds alot like us!
1 African Senigal
1 Umbrella Cockatoo (plucks)
1 Double Yellow Head Amazon
1 Parakeet
1 Pacific Parrotlett (handicapped)
1 Very AMAZING congo African Grey (awsome!)
11 cats (accident!)
11 dogs- Borzois mostly, 1 Chinese Crested, 1 min pin, 1 dobe, 1 lab
Did I mention we live in the country?
Notice there is NO Conure? There is a reason for that! :lol:
A person with all these animals telling you that a Conure is to loud for him, that should tell you something!
And Boy! Do I know about vet bills!
Luckily, my wife went to school to become a vet so that helps. But get this, she is now a paralegal! Go figure!
We had a Green Wing Macaw for a while but my wife told me it was him or her. We gave him to a LOVELY couple from the Bird Club who never did pay us for him. $1200 down the drain.
BTW Green Wings are LOUD and my wife suffers from migranes and all the birds live in the house in the living room.
All our cages are designer cages and more than big enough for each bird, talk about a small fortune!
I suggest you get involved with your local bird club and not to make any hasty decisions. You will get a better deal when you do decide to buy.
Remember they change your life too, when I was single I vacuumed once a week, now its twice a day! And change there paper and change there water and feed 'em. A lot of work but they are VERY rewarding!
Take care and good luck with your decision!
Tim Taylor

I forgot to mention the only bird I use in my act is the Axtell CookaToo! I am no vent so he just comes out and finds the selected card (blindfolded) out of a paper bag. There is a LOT more to it then that. I open with it and there is a lot of comedy.
I am looking for a apperance of my Senigal if anyone has any ideals.
Tim :cool:
Message: Posted by: JustinDavid (Jan 26, 2004 10:11PM)
Lol Tim that is great. btw the bird in your picture is awesome.

Bob, again.. your priceless information is great. Thanks!

Message: Posted by: Tim Taylor (Jan 26, 2004 11:09PM)
Hey Justin,
If you look at my picture in Meet the Staff you will see a picture of my Umbrella Cockatoo. The guy with me in this picture is my Senigal, Asante.
Message: Posted by: JustinDavid (Jan 27, 2004 01:26PM)
Beautiful birds Tim..
Message: Posted by: axtell (Feb 8, 2004 04:17PM)
This is so funny! You have all those birds and you use our cockatoo in your show. Hey we also make a realistic Macaw called the "Real McCaw" http://www.axtell.com/birds.html


Message: Posted by: Tim Taylor (Feb 8, 2004 06:42PM)
Hey Steve,
I have seen him, he is BEAUTIFUL!
I didn't mention it but I also have your purple wing bird that we call Hank that looks sort of like a Buzzard(?) and your Arm Illusion (left hand) and your Living Arm Illusion (right hand). Occasionally, I will come out with both birds. The kids love it!
Thanks for such a GREAT product!
Message: Posted by: Jkta99 (Feb 9, 2004 10:48PM)
I would say for you a senigal would be a good bird. They tend to be not as loud as other parrots and are not that large. And as for everyone who is telling you that oh this bird does this and that bird is bad b/c of that, not all of them are 100% accurate. I work for an avian veterinarian and I do agree that a larger bird is more work but keep in mind that no mater what bird you get they require your time. You can not just take them out for one hour a day, birds need attention and when they do not receive it that is when the feather plucking starts and that is a horrible site. Believe me I see beautiful Moluccan come in with no feathers b/c their owner just throws food in there and doesn't care about the bird.
Message: Posted by: R2 (Mar 3, 2004 11:07AM)
I disagree about Conures being intolerable.
Loud yes, tempermental like most birds. They
just want to be noticed and so they have to be

Mango has been with me for almost fifteen years.
He doesn't say much but, he is happy with the
Cockatoos, doves, African Grey, cockatiels and
even my many dogs and reptiles.

I keep him away from all felines.

He loves cookies!
I wish you all well.....remember to make them
a part of your life and not just a "Cellie"
Any bird can work for you if you treat them as you
would any friend. Kindness, respect, care and love!
My regards, r2
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Mar 3, 2004 02:02PM)
Rey Rey -

Hey man! How's life in El Paso?

I can't stand Conures. But for me, I think the problem is the tone of their screech. My sisters grey is really loud - but it talks loud, whistles loud and laughs loud.

My Amazon screams pretty loud sometimes, but even at her loudest, nowhere near what a sun or nanday can do.

That's my beef with Conures. :)

BTW...I recently got a new bird...tiny little pacific parrotlet named Beamer (after 9/11 hero Todd Beamer). Man for something the size of my thumb that bird sure can chirp up a storm!!

Cheers mate! Maybe this summer we can hook up.

Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: R2 (Mar 3, 2004 02:55PM)
Yes their screech is among the loudest of all parrots.
I have so many other noises around my home that Mango the Sun doesn't even register at times. It took some getting used to but, I knew what I was getting into.

I look forward to visiting with you in person Robert.
Perhaps I'll stop in when I'm up north.

Why don't you make the Ring meetings eh?

p.s. I like your website changes Brother!
Gracias Amigo!~
Message: Posted by: RandyStewart (Mar 4, 2004 11:20AM)
I appreciate the posting member's love for animals! They certainly depend on us and I know their owners put them high on their priority list.

Justin's need or desire for a "big bird" has been addressed by several experienced keepers. I grew up with these birds (mom's hobby) and can tell you it can be a huge responsibility. Some of these birds require much attention. It's like raising a kid! Ignoring or neglecting them can lead to self destructive behavior including feather plucking. Just check the rescue websites of people who thought it be cute to have that cockatoo in the corner and now with a bald chest they want to rid of it. I don't question Justin's ability to care/handle these animals as he's stated he uses them in his act. I mention it for the first time bird owner who may come along.

Getting back to my point, Justin mentioned the budget issue. The trainable/talking variety of large bird you need is EXPENSIVE! Adopting one and trying to train for the show will be practically impossible - that's a promise. Talk about an old dog not learning new tricks. They get set in their ways and stick to it! You've been warned by the scars on my hand! LOL!

Save the pennies, find a breeder, and purchase a large bird type as a baby. Then get to it.

Lots of great advice from the other members. Great to see others love our feathered friends.
Message: Posted by: Tim Taylor (Mar 21, 2004 02:38AM)
That is Cool about Beamer (his name).
My parrotlet just died, he was only a year old but both legs were splayed by his mother when young.
The breeder gave him to us, otherwise he was going to be put down.
It's really sad, he was a great bird and a great talker.
Tim :angel:
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Mar 21, 2004 12:26PM)

Sorry to hear of your loss. Just think about it this way: You probably gave that bird the best life he could've ever hoped for.

Cheers to you and your flock.

Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: wally (Oct 1, 2004 06:15AM)
I would like any reviews on Axtell Epressions real Mcaw. as anyone here seen it close up. I may buy one next year.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Oct 1, 2004 10:09AM)
Here is some advice on your first "big bird."

We have a Peach-Faced Lovebird and a Masked Lovebird. Lovebirds are a real handful! They are passionate about love and war, they can be pretty aggressive.

When it was time for a big bird, we researched it carefully and got a Senegal Parrot from a breeder. The October issue of Bird Talk has a cover story on Poicephalus, the genus that includes Senegals. A hand-raised Senegal is a real sweetheart, not too noisy, likes to cuddle and play.

Ours is a good talker. They understand what they are saying. Neuroscientists now accept that parrots use language semantically. Our Senegal addresses me as "Daddy" (picked up from my wife as she played with the bird waiting for me to come home), calms herself if there is a loud noise by saying "It's OK, it's all right," and says "Night Night" when it is time for bed, among many other things. She has not taken much interest in lines I have repeated hundreds of times, but she picks up language that is useful to her as it suits her.

I had no real ambition to teach her any tricks, she has spent her time training us. If you have ever thought about a big parrot this is a good species to learn on, big bird behavior in a medium-sized bird.

Here is one thing that I learned right away: when you first bond to this species they will deliver the bite that never heals, the one on your heart.

How did I ever live without a parrot?


Message: Posted by: MDS (Oct 6, 2004 01:18AM)
I have been working with exotic birds for over 7 years now and I really don't think that adopting one is the best idea for use with magic. You almost have to handraise them from an egg to get them to cooperate.
Message: Posted by: John T. Sheets (Oct 6, 2004 04:28AM)
Parrots take a lot , & I do mean A LOT of time & patience! It's best to start with a baby, just "weaned". Maybe consider joining a bird club. There you will make allot of contacts that may help you. Also Parrots are just like "Kids", they become a part of the family, you will end up spending about the same amount of time with them. That means there are hassles of any vacations too, you just can't leave them. Maybe consider a "fantail" dove. They are HUGE birds, & beautiful in white! They are easier to train, take care of, & easier to load when it's showtime. Not to mention a lot cheaper on the pocket book! I hope this helps!