“Chats” with All Parrot Rescue

Written By: B.D. Butler - Aug• 22•12

Courtesy of All Parrot Rescue

When many of us were growing up, if we wanted a companion bird, we thought about large chain pet store.  Where I was raised, there was a pet shop in every mall, selling puppies, kittens, of course they had their parrots, reptiles, and fish.  As laws got stricter, people started looking into the truth about these stores. People stopped purchasing from most of these stores because they learned the truth about where there animals were really coming from.  Several chains went out of business, and some of the larger chain stores realized they would have to change their pet selling practices.  Now most only sell fish, and have adoption days to help those animals less fortunate find a home that they so desperately need.  Breeders then went on to sell their animals in newspapers, and online for profit.  Mass producing a “product” for a profit.

Then came the “fad” pets, keeping up with the Jones’ is what my mother called it.  Your neighbor got a puppy, so you got a puppy, your boss bought his wife a parrot for Christmas, so you bought your wife one, and then in three years, when you just didn’t have the time, or energy to clean up after it,  it became a burden. The cycle just kept going, and unfortunately, people see the instant gratification of getting a pet, and not thinking in the long-term. The past few decades were a very disposable time, you wanted something so you went out and got it, and when you were done with it, poof you just made it someone else’s problem.  This has caused an epidemic across our nation, therefore causing shelters and rescues to be plagued with over crowding, and with out the means of feeding and taking care of animals that are just discarded.

I have always said that any person that gets into the line of working with sheltered/foster animals of any kind, is a saint in my eyes.  There is a lot of baggage that goes with it, and if I tried, I don’t know if I could get over the attachment of these loving animals. Hey, as I say, “know your strengths and weaknesses”.

I got my photo for whisper here.

A friend of mine that lives in the northern Seattle area, let me know she got wind of a new rescue that is opening up in Fall of 2012 for birds.  I of course was intrigued by anyone that would change their lives, and open a non-profit shelter.  It’s a lot of work, and its a thankless job.  Most of the time, their donations don’t really cover their expenses.  So unfortunately it comes out-of-pocket.

I contacted Steve and Sonya Brewer at the All Parrot Rescue in Graham Washington, and asked them if they would be interested in participating in a “Chats” segment.  They agreed, so I started my research on their cause, and practices.  I have to say that they are associated with some pretty well-known people locally, and are helping out with other rescues in the area.  That shows me something right away, they aren’t in this for any sort of money, or monetary gain.  It’ just out of the goodness of their hearts.  I admire that.

*Notice* – Parrot Earth is not directly affiliated with All Parrot Rescue and have no direct business dealing with A.P.R.  Anything regarding a donation should be directed to them.  This piece is an interview, and should be regarded as such.

Sonya and Steve Brewer

1. When did you realize that you had a love for animals?

As long as we both can remember both of us have our parents to thank for they raised us both with compassion and empathy makes for a strong structure to care for all living things.

 2. When did you realize that you had a love of birds?

 Kikki Our Goffin Cockatoo, who, died of heart disease.  We were novice bird owners and are very upset that we didn’t even know she was sick. We felt compelled to do it right, in memory of  Kikki. 

Later our family met Ella, and Dingy her goffin cockatoo. We went thru a load of questions to adopt that sweet little boy, but we later found out he was not so sweet and he was a “man hater” raised in a bar first 14 yrs of his life, abused.   Dingy was neglected and very cage aggressive. We became very good friends with Ella who had worked with dingy for a while and needed to re-home him due to family medical issues. It was a big challenge. But we wanted the challenge. We were so eager to show Dingy a new life of no fear love and compassion.   Steve was adamant that he was going to show dingy that all men are not bad. .. After 3 years of working with Dingy and many struggles with tones of love, persistence and just letting dingy know that we were not going to give up, he finally has come to trust and love our family.   The progress we had with Dingy inspired us to look into helping more birds.

3. What was your first bird?

Kikki, our Goffin Cockatoo was my husbands and I had a Cockatiel named Spike.

4. What is your favorite kind of bird?

 Steve seems to have a gift with the greys and the big Macaws. He has a gentle way with them. However I am more into the mini Macaws and the Eclectus parrots.  They are bold and I am bold in my behavior.  We love them all.

5. How many birds do you own personally?

 We do not own any, they own us.

6. What inspired you to begin a bird rescue?

 In 2006 my husband Steve and I knew we both had a passion for the birds. We had no idea there was a need for rescues and never even knew they existed. We started seeing the need in our community and began volunteering at macaw sanctuary in carnation gave us the much-needed push.  Most rescues in the area were either full or shut down.

 

7. How many birds are at your rescue now? 

In the last year we have increased in volume by 15. Total as of now 23. This is before we became public. In the last year we have rehomed. (7) Finding great homes is the hardest. The economy has affected people’s ability to pay for pet care.

 

8. How many staff members do you have working/volunteering with your organization?

 There are seven wonderful people, who share this labor of love. 

They are friends and family who are starting to networking and helping build our additions to our home  and also come and play with the fids. Our first foster home is my Vet’s tech Diana Grabinski. How awesome is that! My Vet tech on board as a foster!

9. What kind of research do you think people should do when surrendering their birds to a rescue?

Before you relinquish and your hard-earned dollars, time and your precious parrot to any organization, it is very important to do your research and make sure that the organization is ethical and will be around for a long time.

Make sure that receipts and documents are kept open and for public viewing. Do background searches and read up on the folks involved in whichever organization you are considering. Look at the history and make sure they are long-standing and have the means to continue over the long haul. .If they are rescues, make sure they have vet records on all the birds in their care. Talk with others who have dealt with them. “Word of mouth doesn’t cut it” we encourage you to go and see for yourself where they will be living, and in what conditions. While it is difficult to always find the truth on the internet, by following some of these guidelines, you will hopefully be able to make an accurate decision before placing an Angel into the wrong hands. 

Unfortunately, some groups/people claim to be rescue or sanctuary facilities but in reality are animal collectors or hobby breeders

10. What makes your rescue different from other facilities out there?

We go slowly in our process.  Any relinquishment we get we really want to educate the owners, prior to them relinquishing their birds.

 The bird may be going thru hormonal issues, health issues and behavior issues, which could be turned around with education and support from other fid owners.  They are not alone with frustration. We want to help people keep their birds if they can.

 They should have all access to education and realize the unwanted behavior may be temporary and it could possibly be just a behavior medical condition the parrot is suffering from.

 Let’s be a community and help keep our bird in the care they are in, as long as they are in a good environment. We want to help keep them healthy and happy, and will work with them to keep their parrot.  As a new rescue we are limited on spaces, and until later in Fall of 2012 we are currently NOT taking any new birds.

11. What do you feed the birds at your rescue?

Harrisons Pellet, Zupreem natural pellets, Fruit pellets. MY FAVORITE boat loads of “Chop”, “Mash” and  fresh fruits and vegetables.   I am always looking for new things to feed my fids. We love the chop and mash recipes, and love researching new ways of getting my fids to be healthy eaters. 

 This makes for a happy fids!

12. Describe a standard day for you.

 We definitely do not sleep in. It is definitely a labor of love.

Coffee for the Brewers!   Steve will get the fresh water dishes ready and new breakfast dishes as I chop up the fresh vegetables/fruit for the day. Using mash or chop cuts out a lot of prep time. We are able to fill the dishes, faster for already prepped food.

The birds wake up and begin squawking eagerly for their breakfast. But there are days where chop gets boring to the fids. So we will implement a different menu every day, then we go in the bird room’s open their cages. Greet each one individually. Some are not morning birds and we respect that!  We open doors, some are slower to rise and some want their kisses immediately, some want a shoulder, some want a scratch on their head, as we let them out of their cages. To greet the day we open the blinds to all windows while they are squawking for breakfast.

This is where the extra dishes come in! Steve brings the water filled food dishes while I gather the dishes from night before.  And one by one come all new dishes with all new food. DID I say we have a lot of bowls?   I can say we go thru 40 dishes every day in our wash cycle.

 As we set each dish on top of the cage each bird starts eating. The squawking calms down. Some share their dish some are not in the mood to share. Funny how they know, who is willing to share? But they all have the own dish to have for their own. Then when breakfast is done and the squawking begins again for they want us to open the aviary that sets out of their bird room to go out and enjoy the summer filled day. We trade out dishes again at 5-6 pm all over again for dinner and fresh water. Let the squawking begin for dinner. 

We are both working full-time “parront’s” so in the evening each one will get their own time between my husband and I. Each individual’s needs are met for their own behaviors.  Some are more demanding than others. They all go in their cages at dusk to eat and bed down. We eat “take out” our fids eat “gourmet”.  The flocks in good health, vet checked and well-behaved.  What more could you ask for?

13. Name a few people who have inspired your journey into aviculture.

Bob Dawson, Carol Dawson, from http://www.macawrescueandsanctuary.org/ .

 We have recently been introduced to them on volunteering work parties to help build permanent housing structures for the birds and learned so much from them. Steve and I learned that many “pet” birds are relinquished and in that we knew we needed to save “pet” birds from going to the sanctuary. Yes some do belong in the sanctuary setting, breeders, and parrots that are aggressive to humans. NOT “pet” birds. The sanctuary is set up to house breeders and aggressive parrots.

 We need room for that but bobs is filling up with great pets. My husband and I thought how we can help? How can we save the friendly pet birds that really belong in a home structure?  The ones that just need possible behavior training in which they will flourish in a home setting.

The sanctuary does not rehabilitate and then re-home. We can! So we added onto our home to offer assistance to birds that were homeless and continue to build onto our home to house more.

14. If someone wanted to donate to your organization, how would they go about it?

www.allparrotrescue.com

Our web site has all that information. And we humbly appreciate any donations. 

16. What are the standards that you look for in a “forever” home for one of your rescue birds?

Parrot education is key. Caring for one of these magnificent creatures can be costly, We will never offer any of our rescues a home unless they educated. We have many keys of educating and go forth in providing all this information to potential adopters.  Myself” Sonya Brewer” refused adoption to my own father. He was by far inexperienced and unwilling to learn.

17. If you could tell someone who is considering buying a bird, a few things before they purchase, what would they be?  

Don’t Buy!! Please adopt a homeless parrot there are too many out there that need you.

Don’t ShopAdopt.

Parrots make wonderful pets, but they are NOT for everyone. Many parrots end up homeless within three years of purchase, just because their owners didn’t research.

1. Start reading! A good parrot book can tell you almost everything you need to know about owning different species of parrots. Don’t get a parrot and then learn after you purchase.

2.  A parrot can cost anywhere from $20 for a Parakeet, to $12,000 for a Hyacinth macaw.

3. You’ll need to buy a cage that has a bar width that’s appropriately sized for your parrot

4. You will need to buy 3 water bowls and 6 food bowls

5. Create a budget. be prepared to spend about $10-50 a month on toys, $30+ a month on foods, and $25 a month on additional items. Our cost is 1.50 per day per parrot just to feed.

6. Find an avian vet for your parrot. Once you purchase your parrot you will need to take it in for a health check.  Your parrot may need to be vaccinated. Common vaccinations include a series of shots for a disease known as Polyoma.

7. Some parrots live to be 80 years old. This is a pet you should leave to someone in your will. Illness, disease, accident, and genetic defect are all things that can end the life of any creature prematurely. Many parrots today are living long lives because we have a better understanding of their needs.

8. All parrots are messy.

9. Noise can also be an issue. Parrots are naturally noisy and will do flock calls several times throughout the day.

10. Cooking for your parrots is a great way to display your love for them. (It’s also a great way to offer them more food and expand their eating options and habits.)

11.  You may be having second thoughts right now. And that’s a good thing. Think things through before you go and buy a parrot, because that way, you will know for sure that you’ve made a good choice!

Thanks to Sonya and Steve Brewer at All Parrots Rescue for participating in “Chats”.

For those of you that are interested in finding your bird a rescue, and be rehomed I suggest that you find a rescue with the heart that APR has.  All Parrot Rescue is currently not taking any new birds and will NOT be until sometime in Fall of 2012, while they continue to expand.

 

*Notice* – Parrot Earth is not directly affiliated with All Parrot Rescue and have no direct business dealing with A.P.R.  Anything regarding a donation should be directed to them.  This piece is an interview, and should be regarded as such.

 

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2 Comments

  1. […] few weeks back I did a “Chats” article with All Parrot Rescue because I believe that their hard work needed to be acknowledged.  I like when people decide that […]

  2. Jacqueline Martens says:

    After meeting with Sonya and viewing the wonderful methods and love they give, I’ve decided to relinquish my beloved Blue Front Amazon to their care to be re-homed. I’ve worked with him for years, finally having to admit he needs the companionship of a male in his environment. As much as I love him, it’s not enough and, for his sake, the process of transfer is in place. Having read the interview you’ve presented, I realize, even more so, it’s the right decision. Thank you for your posting.

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