Buying a gently used Cockatoo (aka re-homing with a fee)
Knowing that stepping into the pet bird world can be a long-term commitment, we did not want to take that lightly. So we dived into online research on some great sites such as www.thesprucepets.com which provided a lot of great information. We spent months reviewing the various breeds, reading about young vs established birds and even talking to breeders at a local show.
Here is what we decided was our bird criteria:
- Must be good with kids and dogs – we have 8 grandkids and one Cavapoo.
- Talking not that important – but, do not want a screamer.
- Leaning towards a weaned (“new”) bird, but leery of the adolescent/hormone phase.
- Wanted a bird bigger than a Parakeet, but smaller than a Macaw.
- Cost less than $1,500.
While there is a ton of great information available online, two things became very clear. First, when you move into a medium to large size bird, they live a long, long, LONG time. Like update your will time! Second, breeders and reviews alike describe virtually every breed as screamers, likely to scream, potential to scream or can be “loud.” That left us wondering if “loud” was like Realtor speak of “cozy” or “cottage.” Bottomline, most likely any decent size bird is going to have the potential to stretch their lungs and vocal cords.
The thought of getting a weaned bird was appealing, as you can train and bond from the beginning. However, as with a puppy, you never really know the personality or traits until it matures. Then there is the hormone phase which can last 1-2 yrs, in which the bird may become aggressive until they become comfortable in their feathers so to speak.
Bottomline, at least for us, just like buying a car or house, there did not appear to be a “perfect” bird. Just like marriage you should take your time, do research, make your choice – and then be ready to commit for better or for worse.
So meet Juno. We came across Juno, a Sulfur Crested Cockatoo in a great aviary shop south of Miami. Juno was slightly used at 8-9yrs old – but in great shape. He was the perfect size being a smaller (not a Lessor) sized Cockatoo. We learned what we could – he needed a new home due to his owners moving, had been with another bird, was good with people, talked a little. Juno came readily to us as well as our son, daughter-in-law and grandsons who were with us. We returned the next day to spend more time with Juno. One of the things that most impressed us was his quiet demeanor. There was a large Cockatoo in the shop that when ignored screamed at a level that left your ears bleeding! Juno, not a peep. And the price was right.
So began our bird journey. And I mean journey since we left the next day for the 9 hour drive back to our home in Atlanta. To our delight, the drive with Juno and Harley (Cavapoo) went perfect. We then took Juno to an avian vet for a check-up. The vet agreed that Juno appeared to be in great health and shape – even for a slightly used model.
Juno still travels. Each day we load him up to take him and the dog to the office. Juno is now our product tester! Every evening, he travels back home with us. Life as bird owners has officially begun! Will it be love? Time will tell, but either way we have a new housemate and shop employee!