Bird Guarantee?

Should a New Bird be Guaranteed?

Have you wondered about a guarantee when you purchase your new bird?

As you have may have already learned about birds, you cannot tell if they are sick until they are quite sick. What this means if you are purchasing a new baby, is that even though he may seem healthy, you can never be totally sure. Thus, any reputable bird breeder or pet store should also know this to be true. So then shouldn't you have a fair opportunity to make sure that your new bird is in good health? This can be done by a " new bird check-up" by any qualified vet.

What does a vet usually do at a "new bird check-up?"

A qualified avian vet will weigh your bird, this will be in grams. Be sure to write it down for future reference. He will check over the feather condition. On an Umbrella Cockatoo or African Grey he will check for proper growth of feather shafts, and to be sure the bird has proper feather dust. He will check the bird's vent area, nostrils and eyes to make sure they are clear. Then he will recommend to you to have cultures and blood work done. Some vets will also recommend Beak & Feather Testing, and Psittacosis testing. My "wonderful" vet usually recommends that both blood work and cultures be done. If there are problems, the blood work will show something amiss and then a bird owner could go from there. But at the very least with your new bird purchase you should do the cultures.

Why are cultures important in a "new bird" Purchase?

Baby birds will frequently pick at their own poop in their brooder or in their cage. So it is not necessary uncommon for these guys to pick up some nasty little bug. Although it is usually easily treatable by a qualified avian vet, it often times does require medical treatment. As the baby gets a bit older he will not be quite as prone to infection, unless he is kept in a dirty environment, fed a poor diet, or perhaps has dirty food or water dishes.

What would be considered a Fair Guarantee?

Any reputable breeder or pet store should be willing to give you a minimum of 5 days to take your bird to a vet, or at least let your bird settle into his new home if your choose not to do a vet visit.

How much should a Guarantee Cost?

Guarantees shouldn't be something that a customer should ever HAVE TO BUY when purchasing a new bird. In my 10 plus years of experience in seeing bird breeders and their policies, I have yet to see a reputable bird person make a potential bird owner pay for something that should already be part of the bargain. Would you buy a brand new automobile and expect to pay extra for a guarantee to drive it off the lot? If you have found a bird that you just have to purchase, and the seller won't guarantee the bird, BEWARE! See if you can get enough of a guarantee to take it immediately to an avian vet. However, you may want to take this as a danger sign.

Do I really need a Guarantee in Writing?

Just like any other contract that you might make in "today's world", YES get it in writing. And get all of it in writing. You should feel totally comfortable with the guarantee. It should give you plenty of time to make a vet appointment. Also be sure that what is in writing covers you for the fact the cultures and blood work can take up to 1 week to get return results on. Some guarantees can be very vague. Be sure that it doesn't leave loop holes for the seller to use later on. But most of all don't leave without some protection for yourself. In my years, I have seen many of customers taken advantage of by some "well named" breeders. If you are purchasing an adult bird, you should also cover the issue if the sellers know of any pre-existing condition of this bird and ask what vet would have the records from the previous owner. Again, if they don't want to disclose this information,BEWARE. And if they don't know, ask for it in writing. As a breeder myself this is something that I have always known, so again BEWARE.

What if I am having a Baby Bird Shipped to me?

Basically the same thing should apply. If a baby is coming from an active home environment, he shouldn't get too stressed from the ride. It would be a good idea to ask your breeder what environment that baby bird has been use to. And, you should still insist on a guarantee but the breeder might fairly give you an extra day or so since you might want to have the baby settle in just a bit first. Sometimes, if a baby has been through an ordeal, his blood work could give a false reading because of the stress factor. So it might be best to wait a few days.

Should I check out references?

It has been our experience, not only in our own past purchases, but also in speaking to other bird people that references should always be checked out. In my novice days of birding, I didn't check references and Yes I did regret that decision on my first few purchases. But now because of years of bird experience (22 years), I know that is the ONLY thing to do. If the breeder or pet store is in your area, this can be accomplished by asking a local bird club, a few GOOD avian vets in the area, and even the District Attorney's office. They keep track of continued complaints in the local area. If the breeder is out of the area, again check with their local bird clubs, and then find out who the local Avian vets might be and call ALL of them. If a breeder has moved on from a previous vet, there could be a good (or bad) reason for that. No news can be good news. Good words don't spread like bad words. Bad experiences (as with bad news) spread quickly. I read once that every upset customer will tell an average of 25 people of their bad experience. Whereas a happy customer will tell just a few people. Of course, with the Internet you could always ask for references from other computer buddies. I have personally found that going with your gut feelings is best. In the past, had I taken my own advice here, I would have saved my self and my birds some unfortunate experiences. I hope you have great success finding your new baby.

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