So I'm getting a new bird: Pet store or breeder?

I started a similar thread a few months back that asked about the best type of cat to get. Well, I think we’re holding off on getting a cat for now, because one of my cockatiels passed away since then (RIP Clark :frowning: ) and our other cockatiel, Simon, has become really lonely and needy of attention without his bird-friend whenever we’re not in the room.

So I have two questions, actually. I know that most of the Dopers said with cats, often the best types are the mutts from the pound. But is it better or safer to get cockatiels from a breeder rather than a pet store? Because both Clark and Simon we got from a pet store (I guess we didn’t even think of going to a breeder back then), and they both turned out to be incredibly sweet birds. Clark had some health problems which led to his passing, but I think that was probably just bad luck.

My second question is this: Since Simon is about 10 years old at this point, by getting a baby bird we are going to be stuck in the same cycle: Simon will eventually pass away and then the younger one will be left alone, and then we’ll have to get another one and then there will be another big age gap. So should we get two baby birds instead? That seems like a big ordeal to train two birds at the same time, but maybe not.

Thanks, Dopers!

Please, PLEASE look into a local parrot adoption group. I can’t tell where you’re located, but I know a number of cities have them. MANY parrots either escape or are simply given up due to change of life-setting and need good homes. This could also solve your age discrepancy situation - you could EASILY adopt an older bird.
Here in San Diego, I obtained my parrot through a local parrot adoption group, and they had LOTS of cockatiels up for adoption. So please see if you can find a local (or even nearby) parrot adoption group (there’s even one in Alaska, so they have to be all over the place). I would try contacting the local humane society and see if they know of any. If you can’t come up with anything, e-mail me your location and I can try to see if the parrot organization I used might know (or you could try e-mailing them direct:

I was thinking the same thing. We got a 9-y.o. adoptee and we took a little getting used to but now it’sa big happy family. Why not find a nice 'tiel about the same age as yours and give him or her a new lease on life and they can move into their golden years together?

That’s a good option. All of my parrots are older rescues. I have a mitred conure from the jungles of Peru, and 2 greys who were booted for being neurotic or hoodlums or both. Since they were older, I did not have to worry about personality changes with puberty. They are respectively a raving looney, a criminal genius, and a sweet lil’ cupcake bird. You could not really find a better pet value, but don’t get a feather plucker unless you are sure you can live with that

Absolutely. Parrot adoption. Parrots are notoriously needy and complicated pets who have not coevolved with humans (they’re fundamentally feral) and probably should not be bred for pets in the first place. The percentage of birds that are ultimately abandoned or die from neglect/inappropriate care is absurd compared to dogs and cats. The parrot adoption groups are doing a heroic job - most of them are overwhelmed with the number of birds they need to take in. Meanwhile breeders and pet stores are just perpetuating systematic cruelty for profit and creating new generations of birds that will ultimately need rescuing. The pet stores are notorious for mistreating birds and certainly never screen owners to see whether they have any concept about what bird care entails.

Most parrot adoption agencies carefully screen and match owners and birds. Many require you spend time building a bond with the bird before you can adopt it. I know one that actually will come and do spot inspections of your house after you’ve adopted the bird. I know it seems absurd and intrusive, but the level of mistreatment of birds because most prospective bird owners think they are nothing more than nice ornaments they can keep in a ridiculously small barren cage is pathetic.

Given that pet stores are notorious for buying puppies and kittens from unethical breeders, I wouldn’t trust them to do any better for parrots.

That’s really sad. Far too many dogs and cats are ultimately abandoned :frowning:

If you decide not to go with adoption, most definitely go with a breeder. Avoid pet stores if possible, or at least avoid the chains and more seedy, smaller ones. I’ve seen some horrifying things there. Breeders deal with birds exclusively, and know their histories, not like a store that just buys a set number of birds and returns the ones that don’t sell.