Planning For Your Parrot's Future

Planning For Your Parrot’s Future

 March 8th, 2010
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Congo African Grey Parrot

I really dislike the term “forever home”.  It is used very commonly among people who take in rescued or rehomed parrots.  “He has found his forever home”.  I like the idea behind the expression, which is indicative of a person’s level of commitment to a bird that might be unsuitable in many homes.  Practically speaking, all good intentions aside, it often doesn’t happen that way.

Have you ever given thought to what would become of your parrot if you were to die or in some way become incapacitated?  What if you were faced with a financial crisis and were unable to keep your pets?  Do you have a plan?

Both of my cockatoos could outlive me, as could my young quaker, even if I live to a ripe old age.  The cockatiels are getting up there in age, but who knows?  I could be hit by a falling meteor on my way to the mailbox.


Since parrots are so long-lived and require specific care, their placement is a little complex.  If you are lucky enough to have a spouse that loves your birds like you do (not just tolerates them because he loves you), or children who have been raised around them and will commit to taking on their care once you are gone, you are indeed lucky.

Many people I have discussed this with do not feel that their family members will offer the same level of care and understanding that their birds are accustomed to.  Sometimes your bird will be better off going into the care of  an outside party that is educated about parrots and their needs.

Once you have made a decision on placement, it is a good idea to frequently reevaluate.  Your favorite nephew may have eagerly offered to take over the care of your parrot, but his life could change as well.  He may wind up engaged to a woman that really doesn’t care for birds and would prefer that one not be in her house.  Once someone makes the offer, let them know that it is always retractable with no hard feelings.  This will allow you to make other arrangements.  NEVER will a bird to an unsuspecting relative or friend:  so-and-so gets the house, so-and-so gets the jewelry, and so-and-so gets Kiwi because you once said he was cute.  Not a good plan.

Blue Fronted Amazon Parrot

Passing along vital information:

On my computer desktop I keep two bird related files: Bird Instructions and My Parrots.  I place them in the top center of the screen so they can be easily spotted.  Bird Instructions outlines my daily routine for the feeding and care of my birds, should I ever be hospitalized or unable to return home for any reason.  I include the number of my vet, and a few bird knowledgeable friends to call with any problems.  I assume that someone with limited knowledge about birds might have the short term care of my birds, and I make it as simple as possible.

The My Parrots file contains a very detailed outline of each individual bird.  It includes the hatch date, or approximate age if you don’t know for certain, and the species of each bird and whether captive bred or wild caught.  It includes band #s, and microchip information,  the number for the vet and a friend or relative who has had some experience with each parrot.

I specify, in length, any health or behavioral issues and list as many likes and dislikes as I can think of:  foods, snacks, toys and favorite games. Also include a list of your bird’s quirks, he feels threatened if you… or doesn’t like his toes touched, for example.

I go into detail about how well this bird does with other birds, pets or children and how tolerant he is with commotion and noise.  If you are working on any tricks with your bird, be sure to include those.  A video of a training session would be helpful for a person who will continue this practice.  It will give them a chance to see your training style and how your bird responds to it.  I put in whatever I could think of that might help a future owner take the best possible care of my bird, and I constantly revise as new behaviors or issues present themselves.

Blue throated macaws

Trust Funds:

Many people are setting up trust funds for the future care of their pets, should they die or find themselves unable to care for them any longer because of health issues or advancing age.   We all know that keeping a parrot can be expensive.  This will ensure that the new care giver will be able to afford the very best for your bird, and maintain the lifestyle he has grown accustomed to.  A living will can ensure that your desires are carried out if you are unable to communicate them.  Forms for this can be submitted online.

Mine are all going to a rescue in Arizona that is owned and operated by a dear friend.  I trust her implicitly with the task of finding great new homes for my babies.

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9 Comments on “Planning For Your Parrot’s Future”

Devi  03/10/2010 5:21 pm

Oasis??? (the rescue in Arizona)

Patty  03/11/2010 1:33 pm

Oasis is a sanctuary mainly for birds that for one reason or another can’t be placed in homes. They had over 600 birds in their care last I heard. If your birds can transfer easily to another home, you don’t need a facility like the Oasis or a rescue, but might use them for references for good homes.

Devi  03/12/2010 11:52 pm

Oh yes, I’m well aware of Oasis :-). A fantastic org.

I was just wondering what rescue you were referring to :-).

Patty  03/13/2010 11:57 am

Oasis really is fantastic. They do such great work there. I was referring to the Macaw and Cockatoo Rescue of NM.

Jean  08/20/2011 10:58 am

Oasis is wonderful, but is only sanctuary. I have been looking into Gabriel Foundation, they do have an adoption program and also sanctuary.

KAREN tACKETT  08/20/2011 4:38 pm

Well first of all i would like to thank all the bird rescues for taking in these beautifu babies, but let me tell you that they make it so hard for a person tho adpt them. They want ridiculus prices for them and leave the new owner with nothing left if the bird needs to see a vet. I would think that you would just be grateful that the birds is going to a loving him and will be cared for. I myself am on disability but I am able to care for m bird and woud love to have more but on a fixed income i can’t pay what the rescues want so thre are birds out there that woud have a good loving home but the rescues want to much money so I csnt afford to pass my love of them on to them. You all should think what is best for the bird not your pocket book. I could take care of thre more if i could afford to buy them and that is the sad par they are sitting there waiting for a good mom and dad and the rescues stop that from happening.

Kevn Rider  08/22/2011 2:01 pm

I had to give up my birds when my daughter got brain cancer (not directly because of cancer – long story). I miss them and wish I had a plan.

Interesting that you mentioned trust funds. One of my “after hours” or “when the wife and kids go to bed” projects is to place trusts online. I currently have two types of trusts, one irrevocable and the other revokable. Normally trusts are complicated and expensive documents. I wholeheartedly believe in you message, and, if I ever get my project moving again, will put the trusts up for very cheap, so anyone can afford them.


Haven’t had much time, or money lately to get, but I will try to get in touch with you if I move on this project in the future.

Take care and keep up the great work,


phyllis kline  04/07/2014 6:44 am

I have a friend, who I call the bird lady, that wants my African Grey when I die, I am 75 almost 76, she is in her early 40’s. I told her she could have her but my other 3 birds had to go to her too and not be sold or given away. I hope she keeps her promise because she breeds and sells and takes in a lot of birds. We can’t go to a bird fair without her at least bringing home a bird.