Choosing the Right Foster Bird
If you?e found a great parrot foster and adoption organization and have gotten involved with them, you might be thinking about fostering a parrot in your home. Great! Now how do you decide what parrot you should foster?
Wait? Shouldn? you take the parrot most in need? Well, there? nothing wrong with that. In fact, taking in any parrot in need is wonderful. Go you! However, if it? possible to set some boundaries, you will be less likely to have foster burnout and be more likely to continue helping parrots transition into long-term (hopefully permanent) homes over and over. Consider a few of the following.
What Are Your Deal Breakers?
This may seem obvious, but know what issues you are not willing to live with in your home. Make a list. These are things even experienced parrot people don? often thing about. After all, we are living with parrots that we enjoy. For example, a high-decibel screamer is a deal breaker for me. I can train the parrot not to scream, for sure. However, I? a writer and I work at home. No work done means no parrot food. It? a deal breaker. However, an aggressive parrot? No problem. I can work through that. Consider what behaviors would make you miserable and don? take on a parrot that exhibits them.
How Are You Most Experienced?
I like fostering parrots that are different from species I have the most experience with. However, I make much faster progress and have easier insights when I take in a species I have worked with a great deal. If you have a lot of experience with Amazon parrots, then you might have a lot of success living with and/or training an Amazon parrot who needs a new home. One little caveat, though. I have a bad habit of falling love with fosters when they are my favorite species or breed of dogs. Sometimes, it? a good idea to choose a species of parrot that will be easier to part with when the right home comes along.
What Are Your Expectations?
Know what you expect of the parrot and the situation before you agree to foster. How much time will the parrot take? Does it have special needs? If it has medical issues will you be expected to give treatments and spend extra time with it? Does it have behavior problems that need an investment of training time to solve? If you are willing to do these things for your foster, fantastic! However, there are plenty of parrots who just need a steady home and a good amount of TLC. Be honest about what you are and are not willing to provide and factor these things into your decision.
How Does Your Family Feel?
If you don? live by yourself in a house full of parrots, take your family or roommates into consideration. Even if you are the one who calls the shots, keep in mind that your future foster parrot has already been dealt a bad hand. Set it up for the best possible situation. Talk to everyone and ask them how they feel about another parrot. Do they have deal breakers and expectations as well? Agree on the ground rules and choose the parrot you will agree to take with everyone in the house in mind.
If like me, you don? have roommate concerns, keep your nonhuman housemates in mind as well. My personal parrots and dogs also have a say in what fosters come into my home even if they don? know it. I know that a foster parrot is better off if we are all one happy family.
Sometimes a parrot in need comes along and we just jump in because there is no one else. This is fine as well, but it can get tricky. If you are working with a larger foster organization, chances are that you will have an opportunity to open your home to a parrot that is a great fit for your home. So give it some thought!