We are in the process of final preparations for the Dog, Cat and Pet Expo this weekend at the Durban Exhibition Centre. The organisers have very generously given us a stand free of charge and we are so grateful for this. With around 15 000 people expected to attend over the 3 days of the expo, it is amazing exposure for us. Whilst we do not sell birds as pets, we are always asked for advice on pet birds and also have been asked to re-home birds.
Every year we get more than 100 requests from the public to re-home birds. Most of these birds are no longer wanted by their owners for various reason but others are very reluctantly handed over. Birds can make fantastic pets and we will not dispute that...however many people don't know what it takes to look after them properly or the amount of dedication needed to make them happy and healthy. When you realise that some parrots have the intelligence of a three-year old child and can live for up to 80 years, it really is like having a child in your home for life. Many birds also need specialised medical care and diets and if you do not do your research, your bird can suffer and possibly die.
We are continually stunned by some of the questions we get asked by people wanting to buy a pet bird - or even worse - who have already bought the bird. I have included some below for your amusement and also to shock you.
"I want a bird that will talk. If it doesn't talk can I bring it back and swap it for one that does?"
"I want to buy a brightly coloured bird and don't care what it is."
"It's my daughter's 5th birthday tomorrow and I want to get her a macaw."
"I bought a bird from the pet shop yesterday but con't know what it is...what do I feed it?"
"Can I buy an owl from you as my mom really likes them and I thought it would be nice for her to have one as a pet".
It's not all bad though. We have had some very heartbroken people contact us needing us to give their birds a home and it has not been easy for them. These people touch our hearts and we have wept with them as they hand over their birds to us and also seen the joy on their faces when they come to the park to visit and see their birds on display or with a mate acting like a real bird. They are also the people who regularly stay in touch with us to ask about their birds and where possible, we try to put pictures on our Facebook page for them.
So we are not saying that you must not get a bird as a pet, just to think carefully about your decision and please do as much research as possible about they bird you are looking to get. Do it for your sake and theirs. With all that out the way, come to the Expo this weekend and see us or join our Facebook page, Twitter Feed, You Tube channel and come to the park...we have lots waiting for you.