How much is too much?

An interesting question is “when do you have too many birds”? The reason I ask this is I’m beginning to get worried about my wife and I becoming weird animal people.As it stands, we have the following:2 Cats1 African Grey1 EclectusIn an ideal world, my wife would also own a macaw, and I’d own a Caique, a rescue puppy, and a triton cockatoo to round off the whole group. But if you think about it, that’s 8 animals for 2 people. Even cats being independent require attention, dogs require walks, and birds require unique attention. I think, ultimately I will cut the caique and the cockatoo out of my life, stick with a dog, and let my wife have 2 birds.What have you guys discovered?

One is too many and two is not enough.

The number of animals depends on the infrastructure, financial resources and available time. I have a small zoo: 7 dogs, 7 cats, over 40 birds and a mouse. My house has a large fenced-in backyard that is used only for the dogs, buffer zones (so nobody can get out by somebody opening a door by mistake), two dedicated bird-rooms (one for finches and canaries and one for the parrots), a generous husband who pays the bills and a full time slave (me! -my husband is home most days, too and he helps a bit with the dogs and cats but wants nothing to do with the parrots). My animals are all rescues or adoptions but all very well behaved because I don’t only have years of experience (I did full time rescue -dogs, cats, birds- for 6 years, I groom and train) but I am here all day long so supervision (and correction of bad behaviors) and company is constant. Plus, I never take in a new animal unless the current group dynamics are working like clockwork and it’s very rare that I would take in a bird of a species I don’t currently already have although, sometimes, it happens due to unavoidable circumstances like it did recently with an African Red Bellied). I get a good discount at the vet as well as a lot of latitude when it comes to getting medicines to administer myself because I am a VERY good client (I am there every single month) and my vet trusts me not to do something stupid like giving the wrong medicine or dosage to an animal (he says he knows vets that don’t know as much as I do). My children are all grown and have families of their own so I am now free to spend my time taking care of animals -something I always wanted to do but could not before -not that I did not have multiple animals all my life because I did but not in such large numbers.When it comes to parrots, it depends on the species and infrastructure more than anything. The species you mentioned (ekkie, gray, macaw, too, caique) are all species that usually need hours and hours with their owners so even if you put them all in room of their own and allow them to live cage-free, they will require the usual one-on-one time with you - and that only if you manage for all of them to live with attacking one another out of jealousy over your attention. I have four birds now living outside the birdroom: Zoey Senegal, Isis Redbellied, Codee GCC and Pablo Peachfront. Pablo is severely handicapped and a wild-caught that lived as a breeder all his life; he does not really want any interaction with me and cannot fly so letting him out and climb and chill around is the most that he can get and easy enough (he has Codee for love). Codee comes out first thing in the morning and rides my shoulder while I do the canaries, finches, cardinals, the downstairs parrots and prepare the food for the ones in the birdroom. Thankfully, Isis Redbellied is a sweet tempered bird that has no issues with other birds and likes to fly around the entire downstairs of my house, perching in her special spots to groom and ask for head scritches or some fruit so I can have her out at the same time I do Pablo and Codee - but Zoey is a jealous little thing that will not think twice of attacking another bird, dog, cat or person out of sheer jealousy and possessiveness of my person so I have to take her out on her own, and let me tell you that, although this doesn’t sound so complicated, it’s actually quite hard because I have to plan my entire day around this fact. Right now, she is perching on my shoulder preening, my husband is taking a shower and getting ready to go get his hair cut to make enough time for me to spend with her before we go to the supermarket. When I come back, it’s another hour or two for Isis, Codee and Pablo before I do another hour or two for Zoey while I groom two of my little dogs and repot some plants, by then, it’ll be time to feed them dinner. When I tell people that my entire life revolves around the birds they think I am exaggerating but I am not.

Oh my God Pajarita… From reading all your posts I could tell you had experience to the point I thought you were a vet, but now I can see why!! That’s a LOT of experience and a lot of work!! Your life really is all about birds and I mean this in the best of ways! Also, your husband must be really understanding haha, my family usually freaks when it comes to dealing with the birds.I admire what you do, and I’m sure your 40 birds couldn’t ask for a better home! :]Also, what a great answer Wolf… “One is too many and two is not enough”, that’s pretty much it.

Well… my husband is not so ‘understanding’ -LOL- He freaks out with the parrots, too (he is VERY afraid of them), and he complains about the birds flying around the house ALL THE TIME (we are also both from South America and he has the old-fashioned mentality that birds should live in cages) but he has learned throughout the years we’ve been married (25) that my animals happiness comes before my AND his comfort so he has resigned himself to this fact. He also loves me very much (much more than I actually deserve, to be honest) and knows that I need to live with animals to be happy and that our animals will always take work because I take in the ones that have either medical or behavioral issues (and this goes for almost all of them, dogs, cats and birds -well, there are exceptions like the Spanish Timbrados and a couple of parrots that would have done well anywhere else). He often tells people that I ‘messed up’ his life because, before he met me, he was oblivious to al the animal suffering there is out there and now he drives to work looking to the sides of the road in case there is a wounded or sick animal and carries a bowl, a bottle of water and a box of cat food in his car so he can feed the cats in the parking lot -LOL

I guess it’s different for different people and for different animals.At one time I had 1 budgie, 1 rosella, 3 cockatiels, a conure, an indoor aviary with finches, canaries and diamond doves (we were fixing an old outdoor one up for them so they had to be indoor for a time)5 dogs (not for long though as some were elderly/sick when new ones came through the door), 1 rabbit, 2 ferrets, 2 terrapins, 4 chipmonks.That was hard to give them all the attention they deserved.At the moment I have:1 conure, 1 cockatiel, 1 house rabbit and 21 mice.This is hard to give them all the attention they deserve The thing is those pets (birds in particular) in the first group were a lot less individually needy than the 2 birds I have now, but I had a lot more pets then which made it hard work. My big mistake of an ex also didn’t work at the time so he spent half(ish) of the hours I was at work with the birds but none of them craved as much human attention as my current two so they were happy just being let out and coming to me for attention in the late afternoons as and when they felt like it. My current two need a lot more of my time, partly because of their individual personalities and species but also because there are less birds in the room so less to keep them entertained so to speak. They are also left alone for a few hours most days which the first group of pets were not (at least very rarely). Ollie was part hand raised and just want to be with people, Harlie needed a lot of work and time because of her traumatic past. Neither bird currently has another of their own species here.Anyway my point is, less pets can be “too much” and more pets can be easier. It just depends but currently I don’t think I could take on more than another 1 or 2 of the more needy pets without everyone suffering for that choice. In fact I would have to limit it to one for the moment.

Exactly the basis for my One is too many , Two is not enough.

I agree 100%. Having a pack of dogs is much easier than having a single one - as long as you have the infrastructure because, although I used to walk eight dogs three times a day on the street and my dogs were very well trained, it was nerve wrecking because I was always worried an aggressive dog would approach us and I would not be able to control the situation. And having lots of parrots, as long as they live cage-free and have companions of their own is much, much easier on the human than having a few of them in cages and all dependent on the human for company and love. Cats are another story because although some of them love another one (I have two sets of siblings which love one another and an older one that loves all the other cats), they do pretty well on their own, too (they are territorial animals that adapted to living in societies). So, yes, I agree with both of you and that was my point, precisely: it depends on the conditions, species and numbers.

Pajarita wrote:I agree 100%. Having a pack of dogs is much easier than having a single one - as long as you have the infrastructure because, although I used to walk eight dogs three times a day on the street and my dogs were very well trained, it was nerve wrecking because I was always worried an aggressive dog would approach us and I would not be able to control the situation. . It goes from nerve wracking to sheer terror when your paid to walk other peoples- other peoples dogs are extra terrifying when the ones that are with you arent even yours. I’ve heard some places are bringing in laws to stop people walking more than x amount of dogs at once. I think they were talking about 4-6 dogs. My business insurance allows 6 but tbh I think Im going to set my limit at 4 at a time.

Oh, yes, I am with you on that 100%, Marie! Sheer terror!