Question for Sitters/ What about Parrots?

We have an African Grey parrot who is very social, intelligent and sensitive. Not a lot of people have experience with parrots and they can be a bit intimidating to care for because they aren’t truly domesticated animals. So, my question to the forum is: would you tend to apply for a house sit with a parrot? What would be your concerns? Is there anything I can do as an owner to make the sit more comfortable? Thanks!

P.S. We have been lucky and I have had very good experiences with several people from THS who have cared for our bird.

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Well i would be anxious to look after a parrot. How could i guess he is not well ? Is your parrot a parrot who speaks or can he be trained to speak ? In how many days ?
I guess you prefer experienced sitters. I only know dogs, cats and rabbits . Sorry.

.Do you check sitters’ références when they apply ? I thought it was not légal to own tropical ones ? Vets around you know parrot enough ?

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Hi @terrys welcome to our community forum and I know you’ll get some great responses to your question.

Thank you for joining, you don’t say your parrot’s name but welcome African Grey, we have so many amazing pet members they are the reason our community is so very special. Enjoy the conversations and connecting with other members from around the world.

Angela & The Team

Oh yes I would happily look after parrots, my pet sitting selection list is cats, bunnies, small animals and birds. African grey’s are so friendly and sociable too.

I used to have a sulphur crested cockatoo which had been abandoned and he was great fun in and out of his cage but sadly passed away…

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I’d love to apply for such a sit but don’t have any experience with parrots & most ads request people who are. I would happily spend a few days prior to the start of a sit with a homeowner listening & learning.

I promise I wouldn’t teach it naughty things :sweat_smile:

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Wow, first of all: thanks to all of you who have responded! I’ll answer any questions in your responses.

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African Greys speak VERY well. And I know this is hard to believe BUT often they speak appropriately in the context of the situation. She tells us when she is hungry. She says “see your box” when she wants to be taken to her play box and she asks my husband to come to her when she wants to spend time with him [which is often]. Our bird did not come to us speaking human words [she had a whistle] but she picked up her vocabulary up on her own. We taught her several phrases that she would learn after 2 or 3 days of repeating things to her but mostly she just listened to us and figured it out.

All the sitters who have watched Corey for us from THS did not have any [or much] experience but were willing to listen to what we had to say [one sitter spent a day with us before we left] and read the material we left. Very fortunately, the vast majority of parrots in this country [now] were hatched here and are not caught in the wild any longer. Our bird is a rescue that we encountered when we went into a tropical fish store and knew she didn’t belong there. We didn’t have an experience when we got her.

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We’ve been relatively lucky with regard to how healthy Corey has been during the 20 years she’s been living with us but you are correct: you need to find an avian vet because most vets just don’t know enough about “exotics”. You are also correct the parrots tend to hide when they are sick but if you are at all tuned into animals, you will see there’s a difference in how parrots act when they are sick. They won’t eat very much [or at all] and they don’t want to do the normal type of things/they just hang out in the back of their cage [often with their feathers fluffed up]. We always leave a short list of avian vets when we leave.

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Thanks for the warm welcome, Angela! Corey is the name of our African Grey.

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Martin, Thanks for your response! I sure haven’t seen a lot of people with parrot experience on THS. Yes, I’ve seen sitters who are willing to sit for budgies or cockatiels but very few with any parrot experience. As you know, parrots are more demanding in their need for human interactions [not that budgies or cockatiels don’t need to be with their humans]. The other thing, too, that makes parrots more difficult to deal with is that they can bite. Our bird is generally very sweet but you need to pay attention to her body language. I can honestly say that we very rarely get nipped any more but we had a a learning curve to begin with. We generally do not try to force her to do something she does not want to do. We just plan around her.

Sorry to hear about the loss of your sulphur crested cockatoo.

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Hi Runner! It’s so nice to meet people on THS that would consider taking care of a parrot. I’m taking good notes! :smiley:

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Terry, perhaps one day we may cross paths. What part of the planet are you in?

Our only experience with ‘other’ animals has been with a kune-kune pg, goats, alpacas, a couple of cows, some rats, turtle and small birds.

I think I must be the only person who reads all the info an owner provides in their ad prior to applying, then all the sit info once accepted plus I take notes should need be.

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I would totally sit for a parrot even though I have no experience looking after birds. So if the owner would be fine with teaching me everything I need to know, I’d really enjoy looking after a bird.

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Thanks for your answer it must be very interesting to see what sentences your parrot remember, the context.
It must be fun sometimes? Does she appreciate the radio on ?
Can you let Corey free in the house or are you obliged to keep her in a cage ? I have seen vidéos of parrots and cats playing together. I would be scared by the cat instinct to kill birds do you own cats as well ?

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Hi @Veerle welcome to the forum, thank you for joining … Terry’s parrot sounds so adorable, thank you for joining in the conversation. Enjoy being here and connecting with other members and thank you for being part of our amazing community.

Angela & The Team

Thanks @terrys and thank you Corey … amazing replies thank you for taking such time to inform and connect. Have an great day.

My husband and I have never owned birds, but since we started housesitting have done many with fowl, peacocks twice, a cockatiel who didn’t even have a cage, and two African Greys. One lived in its cage and had little interaction, the other wanted to be out all the time. It was great fun, but like a two year old. If it was quiet you worried what it was doing.
We have enjoyed looking after birds and would gladly do so again, but it has made my husband realise that perhaps he doesn’t actually want one!

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We’ve done a couple of sits with parrots, one in Australia and the other in the UK. I’ve got a bit of a phobia of birds flying round my head (a childhood trauma with pigeons in Trafalgar Square, London :rofl:) so it took me a while to be comfortable when they were released, but I’m glad I did.

One was a rescue from a closed wildlife centre in Perth, WA that couldn’t be released into wild as not indigenous to that state. They are so intelligent and we spent so much time interacting and getting pleasure from that.

Overall though, I still feel birds should be free of cages, but I’m glad I’ve had the experience.

p.s. welcome to the forum!!

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Haha - yes bites can be painful… even playful ones!, I recall my cockatoo took a fancy to my nose on a couple of playful occasions and whilst it was painful I’m quite sure he just didn’t realise his own beak strength! He could crush walnut shells in an instant easily.

His had a cute habit when sitting on my shoulder of nibbling the small hairs on my neck which sends a shiver down your back like when having a haircut!, it was very soothing and sort of intimate.

He had a very macho character and defo made it known who was boss if he wasn’t sure about meeting someone new, he was not a great talker unfortunately. :cry:

Where are you located?

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We live in Davis, California [a university town]. It’s in the central valley so it has mild winters, a nice fall and spring BUT hot summers.

I do think that the willingness to take care of a large variety of animals shows that you are adventurous and like animals. I do think that these characteristics are very important for dealing with parrots because I would really want someone who wants to interact with her if we were gone for several weeks. Corey would not be happy being locked up in her cage for that period of time. Here’s another thing that’s important to know about parrots: if they get very stressed, they start pulling out their feathers. If you look on the internet, you will see pictures of parrots with almost no feathers. That is why I find THS so valuable: she gets to be home with a person who is looking out for her basic needs.

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