Works, Words and Other Random Stuff

Cricket & Pearl

Current Status as of January 22, 2022: Looking for a new home, but not in a rush.

Short story:
I have a pair of green cheek conures that are looking for a home (they come with cage, toys, many things!). I’ve had them 8 years, they’re a male & female, I do not want them bred, they are sweet, tame, playful, and good with people and well-behaved children above toddler age. I would prefer to stay in touch with their new home for pictures/video, and it’d be nice if you were within an hour or two of Los Angeles (though Vegas, SF Bay, or Phoenix might be ok). Ideally I’d like a forever home for them, but if your circumstances ever change, I’d take them back rather than see them end up in a shelter or a home that doesn’t care for them. This is not a sale – these birds will be free to the right home.

I am extremely cautious about potential bird “flippers” or any circumstance that would lead them to harm – I expect anyone who takes them to maintain contact with me and keep me apprised of their well-being.

Meet the birds:

On the left is Cricket: yellow-sided green cheek male, hatchday 8/22/2013
On the right is Pearl: cinnamon green cheek female, hatchday spring 2012 (I say May 1 just to give her a day)

Longer back story:
I’ve had Cricket since he was 2 months old, in 2013. He has always been hand-tame, friendly, silly, playful, likes to figure out challenges, foraging toys, and chew on things. He was the odd-man-out with my other birds who were paired off, and he always seemed to want to spend more time with another bird, but my birds weren’t into him. So in 2016, I got Pearl. She was a rescue, 4 years old, a little shy but hand-tame, and took to Cricket immediately. They became inseparable. In 2017, Pearl laid 6 eggs, and 2 hatched. Their babies Friday & Sunday are in a new home now.

But Cricket became a jerk to my other birds (puberty and a mate will do that). He harassed my other birds constantly, to the point where I ended up at the vet with my oldest bird bleeding because Cricket attacked him.

So I decided to foster Cricket and Pearl out. My friend took them into a home with no other birds, and they did very well – for nearly 2 years they’ve been happy, with a big cage and no competition from other parrots.

My friend’s living situation changed and he had to give them back. So now I’m looking for a new home for them.

I don’t need to have them back in the future. If something happened, they always have a home with me until I find then another, but they don’t get along with my current flock, and I’d rather they find a home that wants to keep them forever if possible. Or at least long-term, so they don’t have constant changes.

Would you like to be that home?

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding them:

Do they come with a cage/toys/etc?
Yes. Their cage has a playtop on top, a stand, wheels, and trays that extend out to reduce food droppage on the ground. It’s 31″ by 31″, and stands over 5 feet tall. This is the cage on Amazon. Perches, toys, ladders, dishes, more toys – everything they possibly need is included. Plus food for probably the first month. Your only expense should be food in the future.

Can I put them in a different cage or an aviary?
Yes, but I recommend starting them in this. If you want to move them into an aviary or other cage situation, know that they might potentially fight with other birds, and you’ll want a cage to put them in if they need to be separated from them. I recommend holding onto this cage until they’re settled in, happy, and you intend to keep them and everything is good. This is an excellent life-time cage for them, so you never have to change it or replace it if you don’t want to.

How long of a commitment is this?
Cricket is 8 and Pearl is 9 currently. Their breed of parrot typically lives 20-30 years. I’d love for you to take them for the rest of their lives, but I know sometimes that’s a lot to ask. If your life circumstances ever change, please contact me so I can take them back, rather than having them go to a shelter or falling out of contact with me. I committed to them when I got them, but I didn’t count on them making my other birds miserable, and so I will continue to be their steward as long as they need, and keep finding them homes.

How much attention do they need?
Frankly, Cricket and Pearl are obsessed with each other. They keep each other company, they don’t *need* much of your time. But they like it. They like hanging out, sitting on the back of your chair when you’re at the computer, or hanging out on your shower rod while you’re taking a shower. They *love* to be part of your life – they love music, singing, and being paid attention to. But they’re also fairly self-sufficient. Most of the day, they’re literally just gonna sit and cuddle each other or preen each other. If you leave them extra food and water, close them in the cage and go away for a weekend, they’ll happily entertain themselves.

They do thrive on more attention – but they do take some time to warm up. They’ve been in 4 different homes now and usually they’re a bit tentative and wary at first – Cricket can get nippy and protective of Pearl. I’d say it takes about 2-3 months for them to settle into “oh you’re our human and we like you now” and being actively affectionate and friendly.

What are their personalities like?
Cricket loves to be all up in your business. Are you drinking something? He’d love to stick his face in it. He is fearless in many ways, jumping from high surfaces, protecting his lady, and trying whatever you have in your hands. Pearl is calmer. She likes it when you sing to her. She likes to be with him, wherever he is. She’ll sit on your shoulder but is less fond of your hand. 90% of the time, they’re connected at the hip. Constantly cuddling together.

They haven’t been biters most of their lives, but Cricket’s gotten a bit territorial around his cage and nippy if he feels like you’re imposing on his space. I think right now he’s moody due to transitions, but know that he *can* bite and his mood may decide whether he does (typically IN the cage – once he’s outside he’s usually totally fine. Pearl might gently nip if she’s displeased – though she takes effort NOT to bite – she’ll lightly press her beak into your skin without clamping down, as a warning. Either might bite if feeling scared/cornered/in pain.

What if they breed?
These two are horny bastards and they have a lot of sex when they’re comfortable/the “season” is right. If they could, they’d constantly be having babies. Breeding them the first time was an accident – Cricket was supposed to be a non-breeding pet per my agreement with his breeder, and Pearl was a rescue, and the rescue agency asks you not to breed birds. There are far too many unwanted birds out there looking for homes, we don’t need to increase the number of them. But you can’t properly “fix” birds, so these two WILL have lots of sex and WILL inevitably lay some eggs.

In summer of 2020 they laid another TWELVE. Typically a clutch is 6, but if you remove the eggs before she’s done laying, she will keep laying more until she has “enough”. So I wait a week or so for her to finish laying (she usually lays once every other day, on the floor of the cage) and then I take the eggs out of the cage, hard boil them, mark them with a marker dot (in case she lays more you want to know which ones you did), and put them back in the cage. She’ll sit on them until she gets bored. Yes, this is what I’d like you to do as well. They’re not supposed to be bred. Please don’t breed them.

How loud are they?
Birds are not quiet. They will chirp, they will squawk, and they can be very loud if they think they need something. This may include if you were hanging out with them and then left to go take a shower, they may take a moment to go “wait! friend! where’d you go!? hello!?” sometimes just talking back to them helps, but they’ll “get over it” after a little bit anyway. They might chirp for your attention if they want to be in or out of the cage or if one of them got out of the cage, the other is in, and for whatever reason they can’t figure out how to get back together (sometimes they’re not very smart). They like chirping if they hear you talking too.

What do they eat?
Cricket and Pearl are on a pellet-based diet, which they have constantly in their cage. They also get the occasional seeds as treats (I use sunflower seeds as bribes). But they eat a LOT of fruits and veggies. I make up a “chop” where I take and chop up a lot of vegetables, peppers, and things, add in red pepper flakes and other spices and herbs, and feed them that mix daily. They love it. Here’s a link to one of their favorite recipes, and the picture below. I also sometimes give them half a cob of corn, which they’ll each over the course of 2-3 days, or other fresh veggies I’m eating (check with various parrot poison lists because some things are not bird-friendly). I will provide their basics until you’re settled with them.

This next section is definitely more important for people who don’t have birds or have never had birds, and may be a good refresher for anyone unsure.

What’s their sleep schedule like?
Ideally, birds should sleep 12 hours and be up for 12 hours. Usually at a semi-consistent stretch, currently Cricket and Pearl have been on an (approximate) 9a-9p cycle. The 12 hours of sleep/light help tell their bodies not to breed, reduce hormones/moodiness. It’s helpful if they’re in a place where they can get natural light (near a window) that can be blocked off (curtain/blanket over cage). A lot of times if I’m going to be out of town for a day or two, I’ll uncover them and then let them sleep/rise with the sun from a window (without other lights). It’s not always ideal timing, but it’s best if you’re out for a night or two. I often use a timer (I include one with their things) on a light near their cage to better define light-time and dark-time for them. Birds don’t make noise at night unless you’re making a bunch of light and noise at them. If you like to sleep in, cover their cage with a blanket or two (I include one) and they should usually sleep in until you provide light (within reason).

What kind of environment or temperature?
Birds like to be part of your flock, so it’s nice if they’re in a room you’re in too so they can chill with you. However, you want to avoid certain things: chemical fumes/smells (so not near laundry or bathroom or garage or kitchen), and breezes generally (a nice warm one can be nice now and then). They are happiest at 70-85 (F) degrees, but they’ll be ok at 65 or 90 – if it’s really hot make sure to give them lots of water and maybe a fan nearby. It’s okay for them to get some direct sunlight too, but make sure they can *always* escape it in case they don’t want it/it gets too hot. Putting a towel over half the cage if it tends to get bright sunlight part of the day can be helpful so they can decide what they want.

What food is bad for them?
Literally you can google things like “can conures eat XYZ?” and there are whole lists. But big things: they love veggies and fruits, they love SPICY things, and never serve them anything that’s hot to the touch – they can burn their throats and make them sick/hurt them so much they won’t eat and then starve themselves to death. Room temperature is good or just a bit warmer, cool is good, anything you’ll comfortable hold against your wrist or in your enclosed hand should be fine. No canned food – fresh or frozen. NO: avocado, chocolate, no onion, no mushrooms. Also, no apple seeds. This list is decent here.

What do they like?
Peas, corn, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, raspberries, bell peppers, jalepenos, ALL THE PEPPERS, butternut squash, slices of apple but no apple seeds. They have a hanging skewer which is great for putting bits of fruit or veggies for them to forage. Mini bell peppers are really convenient for this (just pop a couple on whole), but they also love parsnip, baby carrots, watermelon, grapefruit and orange quarters, apples and pear slices (no seeds), and similar items that can be skewered in chunks.

What’s cleanup/maintenance like?
I change their water at least once every morning with fresh cool tap water. Sometimes they bathe in their water dish and I’ll replace the water then because they splash it around and it gets dirty. I give them veggies and things throughout the day (probably twice really, but I’ll be snacking on something and just bring them a piece of banana randomly), and I make sure their pellet dish is always full. I clean bird cages once a week, but I remove “wet” food like veggies after a few hours to ensure they don’t grow mold/smell/make anyone sick. I wipe down dirty spots of the cage with a rag with water, maybe some white vinegar when it needs it.

If I’m gone for a day or two, I’ll usually make sure their pellets are totally full, leave them a corn cob to chew on for a couple days, give them a light amount of veggies, and extra dishes of water. Expect to replace the bottom of the cage with new papers about once a week (more often if you’re sensitive about it, often is always good!).

Can they interact with my other pets?
BE CAREFUL. One, Cricket tries to dominate other BIRDS, so ANY time with any other birds should be carefully supervised. Dogs or cats? Definitely supervise. Some cats or dogs don’t have much predatory drive, and can be near the cage but can’t be near them loose. I recommend never leaving them unattended with the cage open if you have a dog or cat, and if you’re not home, possibly keeping the dog or cat out of that room if possible just to ensure no shenanigans while you’re not home to respond. But let’s talk about your other pets – you know their personality, we can discuss, and we’ll figure it out. 🙂

They will *probably* do best in a home without other birds, but you know your flock best!

How much out of cage time should they get?
Frankly, I like to wake them up, bring them veggies, and open up their cage so they can climb on top and hang out. They don’t need to be on my shoulder, they’ll adventure and climb all around. I’ll let them do that for a while, and then close them up in the cage either when they’ve both wandered in voluntarily or if they need to: I lock them in if people are coming in and out of the room or house a lot, I lock them in if I’m not gonna be home, or am sleeping. But if you want to limit it to mornings or just evenings, that’s ok, they’ll adjust and they literally have everything they *need* inside the cage. If you’re gone for the weekend, leave them locked in the cage, they’ll have everything they need and will stay out of potential trouble.

Can I use regular cleaning products around them?
No. Birds are highly sensitive to chemicals and fumes. I use white vinegar and water mixture for any cleaning near them. If I use anything in the next room, I’ll close off the room or use a fan to blow fresh air around.

Any other household stuff a bit no-no?
TEFLON PANS and non-stick cookware. The fumes can kill them. Keep them away. If your birds are in a totally different part of your house or apartment, then it should be ok to use them, as long as the air doesn’t circulate into them, but if they’re near the kitchen, don’t use teflon or non-stick pans. Self-cleaning oven fumes can also kill them. Keep the birds away.

Can they fly?
Cricket and Pearl currently have clipped wings. This means they glide down to the ground, and can’t gain lift. This can keep them out of trouble in lots of ways, but it also takes away some independence. Their wings grow back – and with that, the ability to fly (including AWAY or up on stuff that’s hard to reach), and so depending on your circumstances, I recommend a trip to the groomer every few months to do a clip. But if you’re in a situation where you want flighted birds and your environment is bird proofed and safe, I respect your desire not to do it, and to let their wings grow out.

What if there’s a medical emergency?
The thing about birds is that they hide illness/injury until it’s generally too late. It is very unlikely there will be medical issues to deal with until they’re old, but just in case. Dr. Rosskopf at Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital in Hawthorne (4871 Rosecrans Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250) at  (310) 679-0693 has dealt with my other birds before. The most common injury involves blood (broken toe, broken feathers). Birds can die from too much blood loss. I use styptic powder – dabbing some on the bleeding body part is all that is needed.

What if I have other questions?
Ask away! I will always be available to answer/help! If you’re going on vacation and you live close enough, I’ll happily babysit them for a week! If you adopt my birds, you become extended family, and I will always help you and I will always try to make it the best experience possible!

So how do you determine if I’m a good fit?
If you’re interested in taking the birds, email me at applesobrienATgmailDOTcome or message me on Facebook. I’ll want to confirm you read this stuff, and that it sounds manageable for you. Obviously if you plan to take them and after a few months it’s not working, I’m not gonna force you to keep them forever, I just want you prepared!

Ideally, I’d like to visit your home with the birds in a travel cage, so you can meet each other and I can see the space they’ll be in. I’ll want to stay in touch after we’ve confirmed and they move in – I love to post pictures and videos of them on social media and see how they are doing. And of course, if anything good or bad is happening, I just like to be informed so I can always keep them safe, happy, and taken care of.

There is no cost to adopt them – they’ll come with some prepared food and pellets and stuff, and plenty of toys. They’ll have their own costs (buying more food, if you decide to buy new toys etc), and rare vet visits (In 25 years of owning birds I’ve been to the vet like 5 times and spent abut $1500, but one of those instances was literally surgery for a bird – I don’t find regular vet visits to be needed at all, just keep an eye out for illness).

When do you want them taken by?
I’d like to find them a new home in February 2022 ideally.. They’re in a situation right now that is okay but there’s a new dog in the space and we’d like to make sure they stay safe, and I’d like to find them the right one soon. If you’re interested but want to meet them first, or interested but need to wait until X date, please let me know and I’ll see how I can accommodate that!

If this is of interest to you, message/email me. I’d love to chat more, and inquiring is NOT a commitment! I want to make sure it’s the best possible situation for them.

If you take them, expect me to be checking in pretty often to see how they’re doing, and I’m ALWAYS available for a call or text about them anytime.

%d bloggers like this: