Bringing your Quaker home for the first time will be an exciting and challenging experience for all of those involved. Most birds are more intelligent and sensitive than more common pets such as cats or dogs, but the majority of prospective bird owners have not spent enough time observing the Quaker’s behavior and mood patterns enough to prepare themselves for understanding and dealing with the unusual needs of a pet bird before they bring them into their homes.
Birds are exceptionally intelligent creatures, and because of this, guidelines for acceptable behavior and day to day activities must be set on the very first day. Scheduling and following a common routine will allow your bird to feel comfortable in his new home and with you. Bonding to new owners will be easier in this relaxed atmosphere, and your Quaker will be more inclined to develop behavioral patterns that you both can live with and enjoy for the rest of your lives.
After purchasing your Quaker, getting him home becomes a major concern. The transport cage should be large enough to be comfortable, yet not so large as to enable the bird to flutter around and risk injury. Bringing him home in a cage would make sense, but it is less stressful on the bird if you select a carrier that is dark and secure. Choose one that will not tear your car upholstery and place the perches, if any, towards the bottom of the cage.
We have found that pet carriers, such as those used to transport cats and dogs, work extremely well in preventing our birds from suffering injury during transport, if we have to travel a fair distance. Cover the bottom with newspaper, and you have a portable, temporary bird cage.
If you are traveling a short distance, a simple cardboard box lined with a sheet or towel to prevent injury will suffice. Never transport a bird in the trunk. Fumes from the car will kill him before you get home.
Although Quakers are very hardy birds and can stand extreme temperatures of heat and cold, common sense should still prevail when transporting birds in any temperature. Temperatures from inside a building to an outdoor car should be controlled as closely as possible to avoid very extreme changes. In cold weather, don’t forget to warm up your car before transporting the bird. To keep temperatures as constant as possible the cage can be placed in a large laundry bag, towel, or sheet which is loosely gathered at the top. In addition to helping protect against drafts, these items can also act as “shock absorbers”.
Water should be available if the trip is going to take some time. Spill-proof containers should be provided, and make sure the bird knows what they are for and how they work before you leave the house. If transit time is under 2 hours, food shouldn’t be necessary and probably wouldn’t be taken anyway. Have a clean isolation cage waiting for you when you arrive at your destination. This enables you to transfer your Quaker to a comfortable cage immediately upon your arrival, and will give your bird a chance to look around.
A Quaker’s cage is its sanctuary from the outside world, its microcosm of security. Cages, feeding equipment, toys and the surrounding areas must be properly cleaned and maintained for both aesthetic and sanitary reasons. Enhancing your bird’s life and streamlining your bird keeping chores can be accomplished by making informed, careful decisions when selecting your Quaker’s cage and accessories.