Parrots Forever
Sanctuary & Rescue Foundation

Giving up a companion parrot can be a very difficult and heartbreaking thing to do. Most parrots entering a rescue situation come from very happy, loving homes, but their caregivers are simply no longer able to care for them properly for various reasons. The caregivers know in their hearts that they are not giving the parrot sufficient attention and care, and they feel guilty about it but cannot find a solution. Life is busy and life situations can change rapidly.
Some of these changes are expected, like going to school, getting married, starting a family, or changing jobs. Other changes are completely out of our control, like a health crisis, losing a job, moving, divorce, or a death in the family. For whatever reason, the parrot owner no longer has the time or resources to provide properly for the parrot. Finding a suitable new home for the parrot can be a lengthy, time-consuming process. Sadly many well-adjusted parrots are sold to unsuitable homes. They develop behaviour problems, and are then resold repeatedly, on average seven times, throughout their lives. With every change in home, the parrot can become even more anxious and stressed. More behaviour problems develop, and the parrot can end up being more rejected and neglected.
As pets go, parrots are the most vulnerable to changes in their environment. Anything from a small change to life-altering changes in the daily routine of a parrot can have adverse effects on the parrot's ability to cope. Often the lifestyle changes that people experience seem to be normal and mundane. Simple things like spending more time away from home because of working late, going to the gym, or out with friends means less time spent with the parrot. Bringing another pet into the house, starting a new relationship, or bringing another person into the house, can cause the parrot to start being very possessive and demanding of the caregiver. The parrot may mourn the loss of a favorite person or pet. These changes may create anxiety, stress, or emotional abandonment issues for the parrot, and may manifest in a variety of unhealthy ways.
Caregivers may notice that the parrot becomes more demanding of attention, is louder, and screams more. The parrot may begin to bite or attack the caregiver, a new pet, or a new person. The parrot may begin to over preen or chew their feathers. This may escalate to feather plucking and self-mutilation. Once begun, these behaviours become very difficult to correct. More often they become progressively worse with each new stressor that the parrot experiences. Caregivers try many things to correct the situation but it usually takes a lot of time and perseverance, and may never improve if the parrot no longer trusts the caregiver.
The decision to find a new home for a parrot is never easy to make, but it most often is in the parrot's best interest. If a lifestyle change is affecting the parrot's behaviour and an acceptable compromise cannot be found, then a new home may be the best answer. The sooner this is done, the better the parrot will be able to cope and adjust. The parrot may be sad at the loss of its home and caregiver, but it will still have confidence and trust. The longer the parrot remains in a stressful situation and the worse the coping behaviours become, the more unlikely it is that the parrot will fully adjust positively to a new home. Parrots are individuals, and some are more resilient than others, but they all have their breaking point just like people.
The next decision that must be made is the type of new home to seek for the parrot. Advertising in print or online media is often employed by the owner to find a suitable home. Parrots and their accessories are very expensive, and price will often determine the number and type of potential buyers. Owners often set the price low or are willing to give the parrot away in hope of finding a good home. This increases the number of potential buyers, but also increases the process of eliminating inappropriate potential homes.
Once a parrot is sold, the seller no longer has any control of that parrot's future. Sellers should understand that, in spite of their best intentions and efforts, some buyers can misrepresent themselves. Parrots may be bought by unscrupulous dealers only to be resold for profit, often without their original cage and toys, and with no consideration to the suitability of the next buyer, or they may end up in a breeding program. Even when placed in a good home with a caring new caregiver, the parrot may take a long time to adjust and trust the new caregiver. If the new caregiver is not patient enough and does not give the parrot enough time and understanding during this transition, the new caregiver may become frustrated and resell the parrot.
Depending on the circumstances and reasons for finding a new home for the parrot, not all caregivers are able or willing to take the necessary time required to ensure that their parrot is placed in a suitable new home. Others may take a lot of time and care to ensure the future happiness of their parrot, but are frustrated and confused in their efforts to find a trustworthy new home.

The Sanctuary and Re-Homing Program at Parrots Forever Sanctuary & Rescue Foundation offers an alternative for parrot owners who find themselves obligated to give up their parrot. Parrots relinquished to us under this program will receive the best possible care, and caregivers can feel confident that we will find their parrots a suitable, loving home. For details of our Sanctuary and Re-Homing Program and to relinquish your parrot under this program, please go to our Sanctuary and Re-Homing page.
Parrots Forever Sanctuary & Rescue Foundation also has plans to offer a Legacy Program. This program is intended for caregivers who, due to ill health, advancing age, or other reasons, are no longer able to properly care for their parrot themselves, but are able to provide financially for the daily care of the parrot. Parrots relinquished to us under this program will be cared for by Parrots Forever Sanctuary & Rescue Foundation, in an environment most suited to the individual parrot, for the remaining life of the parrot. Parrot caregivers will have the peace of mind of knowing that their treasured companions will be happy and well taken care of for their remaining years. If you are interested in this future program and would like more information, please see our Legacy page.    
  • by M.L.Savoy, BSc, MLT, Parrots Forever Sanctuary & Rescue Foundation, 2012

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