Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hand Fed Offers No Guarantees

I have been hearing a lot lately of people saying "I don't want an older bird because it might have been wild caught, I want a hand fed one so it will be friendly"
Sitting here watching Marnie ( 8yr hand fed CAG), Puff (10 yr hand fed CAG) and Lucha (30+ yr wild caught Lilac Crowned Amazon) on the playscape, it strikes me that this is a hugely over simplified view.
Hand fed does not guarantee a friendly bird, no more than being wild caught means a mean one.
I have three excellent examples right in front of me; Puff, Marnie and Lucha.
The easiest and without doubt "friendliest" bird is Marnie, who was hand fed, was treated well all her life and is friendly with others (as long as I am not there).
Now if one followed the quote in the opening sentence then the next "friendliest" bird is Puff... WRONG! The next one would be Lucha, who was wild caught, brought into the USA and had not had the best of lives... however with patience and positive reinforcement is a very sweet bird, who actively seeks attention and whose idea of heaven is a beak rub. Now I'll admit he will bite if you ignore his extended warnings and touch him below the shoulders, but on the whole that's not a major thing.
The least "friendly" bird is Puff, who was hand fed and then had a series of mistakes and bad attempts at "training" which saw him turn from an inquisitive little grey ball of fluff into a mistrusting, bite first find out what the human wants later guy. This is not his fault, and he is making slow progress now he's in a calm, enriching environment where he is allowed to make choices in his interactions with humans. The other day the stood on his door perch waggling his leg and saying "step up?" while I was getting the others out onto the playscape. Needless to say I wanted to ruffle his head feathers and kiss his beak (just as Marnie loves)... but I contained myself knowing that with Puff such an action would result in removal of one or more features of my face.

Now I know some folks are now saying "Ahh but these were rescues, a hand fed baby is something completely different"... well not so! My friend Emily's female Eclectus Cah'ya was a hand fed baby and was far from a sweet hand tamed baby... and she was raised by a first class breeder.

So what is the whole point of this post?
People should judge each bird on it's own personality, behavior etc... not by whether it was wild caught, hand fed, old, young, rescue, specific species, brand new baby or for any other generalised catch all.
By being open and allowing each bird to stand on it's own merit and get to know you, you will greatly increase the chance of finding the best companion bird for you... and maybe where you would least expect it

1 comment:

  1. SO true! The more I learn about parrots, I am finding out that each bird has it's own individual personality, separate and apart from species and how it was raised....(example: Figaro!)! So happy to hear of the progress with Puff!