Yet those of us who live with Quakers know that their feelings are often as complex and loving as anything a human being experiences. Once a normally rambunctious Quaker has cuddled close to you and cheered you up when your have felt particularly depressed or just plain lousy, it’s hard to deny that your devoted friend has a full range of emotions or the ability to express them. The natural conclusion that he can gauge your moods and react accordingly has been proven countless times.
Once you have chosen the Quaker that is right for you, conduct a physical assessment. It is important to learn how he normally appears and acts in order to establish a baseline for potential future problems. Examine your Quaker for signs of poor health, such as puffed-up feathers, and/or bowed head, which gives the bird the appearance of being cold, or constant tail bobbing with each breath.
Other warning signs are runny nostrils, continual sneezing, diarrhea, feathers that are in poor condition, or areas on the bird’s body that are bare or almost bare of feathers. Check the eyes, nares, and vent for discharge and swelling. Listen for noisy breathing, wheezing or panting sounds. The upper and lower mandibles (beak) should meet cleanly. Check to see if all toes are present. The feet of a young bird should be smooth and soft. Older birds will have more scaly feet. Check to see if the bird is banded. This will be indicative of an imported or domestic bird, depending on the type of band used.
Ask to handle the bird. Check to see if they bird if is “filled out” by feeling along the sides of his keel (breast) bone. If you can see it protruding, the bird is obviously underweight and may be suffering from an illness. If the bird is weaned and walking, does he come to you with little hesitation? Is he steady while you hold him? Does he appear to socialize well? Did he bite the *@#** out of you?