As we go through the stories of the various parrots that have passed through our doors, the reasons they come to be here are almost as individual as the parrots themselves.
This particular post is about a serious issue we see more and more of, not only in Canada but in pretty much every other country and is a very serious one, and one that can be hard to talk about as many have very different viewpoints and ideas.
The issue is “Hoarding”
Wickpedia defines hoarding: involves keeping a higher-than-usual number of animals as domestic pets without having the ability to properly house or care for them, while at the same time denying this inability. Compulsive hoarding can be characterized as a symptom of mental disorder rather than deliberate cruelty towards animals. Hoarders are deeply attached to their pets and find it extremely difficult to let the pets go. They typically cannot comprehend that they are harming their pets by failing to provide them with proper care. Hoarders tend to believe that they provide the right amount of care for their pets.
Many people have multiple pets in their homes, its not unusual to meet someone with 10/15 or even 20+ parrots as their companions, does this define them as a hoarder? Only if the above definition is identifiable to that individual. I have met many people with multiple parrots in their home and have yet to see any that even closely resemble the above definition of a hoarder.
We have had to deal with such situations, and they are by far the most difficult to deal with. Unless you have the SPCA involved, encouraging a hoarder to let even one bird go, can be incredibly difficult. I won’t go into the psychology of it as I am not a psychologist by any stretch of the imagination – with that said however – we have had to deal with hoarders, and while we were successful in having the birds released, for some of them it was to late.
In a hoarding situation – you are dealing with a multitude of issues. Over crowding, smell, lack of food, enrichment toys, inbreeding, wild – the list can get quite long sadly, and many don’t survive for various reasons. The weak are trampled/picked on, the old have many issues that hinder their daily life, they fight over food, they interbreed leaving chicks born with many deformities that suffer until they finally die on their own, and those that are truly wild by nature, remain wild – making it incredibly hard if not impossible to find a safe and loving environment for them to live out their days.
This young bird was picked on mercilessly, being the smallest, she had to constantly fight for food.
These two birds were also picked on – unfortunately they both suffered from severe splay leg, and the lutino had damage to both wings. Sadly, they both passed away.
The tiel facing backwards was unable to grow tail feathers – and we believe he was a product of inbreeding – unfortunately he did not survive. The tiel below him was fortunate and gained strength and was able to be adopted into a loving family.
This pearl was a breeder, the above photo of her shows her the day of arrival – so weak/malnourished she could not stand up – we were unsure if she would make it. The photo underneath shows her about 2 months later, going through a molt and standing upright – with time and proper diet, she pulled through.
This sweet girl was a product of inbreeding. Unfortunately not all signs show up immediately and she was about 8 months old when she starting having issues with her eyes – she had a very patient foster mom who administered eye drops and meds every day for weeks. Her brother also had eye issues, but unfortunately at the age of 1 he went totally blind.
These are just a few birds we have encountered from a hoarder. The level of neglect they suffer is heartbreaking and so many have yet to be found. Its not easy to convince someone with that mindset that you are trying to help them. Offering to buy them cages/food is met with annoyance if they feel you are criticizing their current way of doing things – and the offer of taking some of the birds to help them, is met with anger that you would even dare to think you can do a better job. Its a very fine line and often times the SPCA has to step in and use legal means to withdraw them from the home.
Dealing with the people involved is JUST as important as saving the lives of the animals – whether it be parrots/dogs/cats or any species..we need to remember that we are dealing with human beings who love, feel, and care the same as we do, just in a different way. That doesn’t make them bad people, it makes them people worthy of our compassion and care and that if we are so quick to reach out to the animals in need, maybe we need to reach out to them abit more as well…