VSanaries, finches, parakeets, parakeets, conures, cockatiels, amazons, cockatoos, ringnecks, and quakers are among the many breeds people will find at the Arizona Bird Store.
“We’re raising babies by hand,” said AZ Bird Store owner Debbie Schweikardt, who owned the former Cage World in Mesa for 19 years before moving to the current location near Dobson and Broadway roads. in 2013. “When we take in babies, we run through a panel of four different tests before opening them to the public.
She said the birds don’t breed in Arizona during the summer because it’s too hot with few food sources, so she doesn’t have as many birds at the moment.
“But at this time of year the birds know there will be fresh flowers and grasses and other food sources to feed their babies,” Schweikardt said, adding that no breeding is done. at the store.
For anyone who’s never had a pet bird, Schweikardt says cockatiels are “super cuddly and super friendly.
“They’re raised that way,” she added. “If they lay three eggs and three babies hatch, they will only raise one baby. They’re going to let those other two go. They are going to put all their focus and attention on this baby. So, naturally, it’s an animal that’s going to be very co-dependent, like an only child.
Scheikardt said she takes the babies
out of their nest at four weeks old and begins hand-feeding them, “making them super used to people”.
Hand-feeding babies socializes the birds and makes them more comfortable around humans, allowing for easier adjustment to a new home.
For those who live in apartments, condos, or townhouses, Schweikardt said canaries, finches, parakeets, and parakeets are good for whole conures, and amazons are very loud.
“We also wouldn’t recommend a macaw or a cockatiel for an apartment, even though people have them,” she said. “Some of the smaller birds can also be quite noisy. Several times they call out to each other. Most of the time, the birds are most active half an hour before sunrise, half an hour after and half an hour before sunset.
She said birds make great pets for children.
“They are very forgiving. They are very docile and passive. I’m sure once in a while you’ll find one that likes to bite and is a bit unruly, but when we’re raising little babies they’re super sweet and have been handled since they were four weeks old.
Schweikardt recommends setting limits for bird handling.
“We recommend handling them for an hour a day because they’re sticky,” Schweikardt said. “Let’s say you’re talking on the phone, they know you’re talking but it’s not theirs and they don’t like it. So they start making a lot of noise, banging their toys.
“The human will try to comfort them, rewarding the animal for taking action and throwing a tantrum. They’re smart. Do that once or twice, they realize they’re getting attention. We’re trying to “educate people. Don’t. Set limits. You control this animal.
Owning a bird is relatively inexpensive compared to a dog.
For smaller birds, a complete setup with a cage costs $100. Schweikardt said hand-fed parakeets start at $60 and hand-fed cockatiels start at $200.
Grooming every two months costs $15, but the store has a special offer: buy four sessions and get two free.
“The food is much cheaper than dog food,” Schweikardt added. “It’s all about having good food. We sell it at the store. We do not encourage people to buy their bird food from Walmart.
“They are exotic animals. Some of their diets are going to be a little specific, but we still want to feed them a good diet with lots of vitamins, lots of minerals and lots of amino acids. We always suggest giving them fresh fruits and vegetables. Sometimes, if you don’t do it soon enough, they won’t do it later.
She explained that manufacturers make pellets with grains, fruits and vegetables that contain all the vitamins and minerals that birds need.
“We recommend that it be 80% of their diet, then 20% fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Schweikardt, who said it was okay to feed the birds French fries and tuna — “things you wouldn’t think of feeding them, but they could totally love it.
Birds are long-lived, so having one as a pet can sometimes be a lifetime commitment. Macaws live 50-60 years, cockatiels have a lifespan of 20-25 years, and finches/canaries typically last seven to nine years. A good diet contributes to a longer life.
Compared to dogs and cats, Schweikardt said birds require less maintenance, but that depends on the owner.
“The bigger the bird, the bigger the cage, the bigger the mess. But birds aren’t necessarily something you have to take out as long as you have them in a cage and you have everything they need. need it and it’s big enough.
Store employees work with owners who have to give up their poultry on consignment.
Regarding grooming services, Schweikardt said, “We do the wings, beak trimming, microchipping, DNA testing because with a lot of birds you can’t tell the difference between male and female.”
“We recommend grooming every two months, like the wings… We change the shape of the wing so they can’t fly over someone’s house or a tree halfway -mile away.”
Clipping the wings is not painful for the bird. “It’s not even like hair because hair is something that continually grows,” Schweikardt explained. “The feathers, when they grow, are pretty much dead after that. There’s no blood supply. There’s no nerve endings. Twice a year they molt.
She said some people want their birds to fly and not clip their wings, but Schweikardt said that’s like taking a dog that’s never been trained to walk on a leash and letting it go.
“It’s out of control. They just instinctively do what they’re going to do,” adding that letting the birds fly has caused a lot of them to come out, which can be dangerous.
“Birds don’t like a lot of temperature changes,” Schweikardt said. “They don’t know how to fend for themselves. They cannot go from a hot temperature during the day to a cold temperature at night.
“We also run a lost and found store. Ever since this way of thinking started happening, our lost team just goes crazy. Accidents happen. We totally understand. We understand.”
Nail trimming is included in grooming. “That’s usually what draws people in,” Schweikardt said. “It’s a necessary evil.”
When the owners go out of town for a weekend, Schweikardt said to put an extra bowl of water and food. But a trip that lasts longer than a weekend, it is better to have someone take care of your bird or bring it on board.
“We offer boarding here,” Schweikardt said. “It’s minimal. $15 per day. Then bird owners feel confident if anything should happen we will know what to do. With birds, all of them exotic, if they are sick, they don’t let it be known.
“A lot of it is due to survival. In the wild, if you have a flock of birds and one or two don’t look or feel well, they are a liability. They will attract predators to that herd and potentially sicken the whole herd. So they are killed. They spend an awful lot of time pretending they’re fine while eating, etc. People who know about exotic animals know how to look for the warning signs.