Should Birds Be Allowed in Pet Stores?

Should Birds Be Allowed in Pet Stores?

 October 2nd, 2010
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blue throated macaw

Q: I went to my local bird store with my sun conure, Joey, the other day to get him a cage mate. I thought this way I could let him choose his new friend. The store owners made me leave with Joey because they don’t allow outside birds around their own. I thought they were rude. Why do they have this rule?

Dena W., Norfolk, VA

A: I’m sure it did seem a little offensive to you that they sent you and Joey packing, and maybe they could’ve been a bit more considerate in offering you an explanation as to their actions. I have to say, though, that I agree entirely with their “no outside birds” policy and wish everyone followed the same rule. Since they didn’t take the opportunity to explain, allow me…
When you allow someone to bring their bird into your store, you are exposing the all of the birds to any disease the visiting bird might have. Some of the most contagious and deadly of the avian diseases are airborne, meaning that it is circulated and spread through moving air. Others are contact diseases which are spread through body fluids or feces. They can be passed along as innocently as on a mutually chewed toy or on the hands of a human.  All it takes is one sick bird.

Blue throated and camelot macaws

Consider this: What if Joey had been sick without your awareness and had passed his disease along to a potential cage mate that you decided against and left behind at the store. This bird would then go on to infect the others in the store. When they were sold, they would go on to infect the flocks in their new homes…and so on.
There is also the reality that Joey could have been made sick by a bird in that store – or a toy that he latched onto that had been recently in contact with a sick bird.  It is really not a risk worth taking when you consider the trickle down effect.
It is for these reasons that it was a strict policy in my Austin bird club that we do not bring our birds to meetings and it is why I don’t bring my birds out to places where there are other birds present, such as bird fairs.

blue throated macaw

In fact, I am reluctant to buy toys from places where I suspect other birds have been or those that may have been handled by the owners of potentially sick birds. I will usually only by toys that can be cleaned and sterilized from fairs and bird stores that allow visiting birds, and I purchase the wooden toys and shreddables online where I am certain they are new and untouched.
So, instead of being angry with the store owners that sent you away, applaud them, instead, for their good sense and safe practices where the birds are concerned. This is a store I would definitely make purchases from in the future.

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4 Comments on “Should Birds Be Allowed in Pet Stores?”

kealakai  10/02/2010 11:03 pm

Our bird store does allow other pets, however when it comes to other birds, if you bring a health cert. from your vet – they welcome them. Very smart move and no they shouldn’t have been rude about it.

Lars Andersen  10/03/2010 7:19 am

Birds has no place in pet stores at all. Often they are placed in small cramped cages and people sometimes buy them because they look cute and in a few weeks sell the bird again.
Birds should only be sold from breeders and only when there is no more birds in sanctuarys.

I used to buy seeds for my birds at a store with a lot of birds for sale, they were next to the place where thy kept the seed in open container so one could make a mix.
One day all the birds were gone due to disease, i had luck none of my birds got psittacosis but one of the shop assistants was the one who first showed signs of a pneumonia.
Now I buy only pellets in sealed packs.

Barbara  10/03/2010 10:35 am

This makes sense It’s for our protection as well as the the pet shop thanks for the info

Holise Cleveland III  10/03/2010 10:53 am

Maybe it was a sense of urgency that came across as rudeness, especially if they were currently engaged in other matters. If they were actually being rude, however, you should have your bird tell them off on video and bring them a copy.