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Psychological Effects of Separation

1011 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  StarlingWings
Hey guys, I haven't been on in years, but this is the first place I go to when I have questions about my birds. As of recently my family and I have found ourselves in Mexico, we've been living here for about a year now and we are planning on going back to the United States soon. We've been researching, calling, and emailing every USDA type agency Mexico has in order to get the correct documents for our birds so we can safely return without our birdies being confiscated. We correctly and smoothly got into Mexico last year, but now we are facing a huge wall. To get our birds back into the United States we will have to pay a huge fee, quarantine them for a month in San Diego, and fly them on a cargo plane. The stress of this process is enough to give me a heart attack, I don't even want to think about the effects this will have on my feathery friends.
With all of that said we do have an alternative solution. We can leave our birds here, in Mexico, with a vet that we know and like and then return for them later. Later is defined by about two to five months. I just don't feel comfortable about leaving our four little friends in Mexico. Now I have to decide between two evils and I need help. My question is; what are the psychological effects of separation? I know they'll be really scared if we have to fly them and then quarantine them, but that's only for a month. What about two or five months of new, scary, strange, separation? They will be completely ripped from their normal routine, from their humans, from their family, and I'm scared it will end with a really bad result.
Please help, what are your opinions?
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You don't indicate what type birds you have --
are they budgies or larger parrots?
how long have you had them?
Are they particularly bonded to you or only to one another?

Sorry for all the inquires but your answers will help me better formulate my response to your question.
The fact that you have two of each type bird is very positive as they will at least have one another -- whichever way you choose to handle the move. The fact they are not budgies is also a positive as both species are larger and not as fragile.

If any of the birds in question was a single bird that was closely bonded with your (or your parents) that would be a much more difficult scenario.

Parrots can and do have negative reactions to separation from their owners. The more closely bonded the bird is to the owner, the more difficulty it will have in dealing with a separation. Sometimes the reactions manifest as behavioral issues such as overpreening, self-mutilation, aggressiveness or depression.

If your parrots are used to being left with other people for periods of time, such as when you go on vacation for two or more weeks, that be advantageous in the upcoming situation.
In such a case, I would not be as concerned about them being able to handle the change of routine and enviornment as I would otherwise.

If, however, they have never been away from you and your parents for any length of time, then the separation (whether it is for one month or for five) will be more difficult for them. In this case, it is going to be extremely important to take into consideration the personality of each bird and the potential effect the separation will have.

It is crucial for you and your parents to sit down and carefully weigh out all the pros and cons for both potential scenarios, evaluating the birds' personalities, the risks involved and the potential advantages of each of the two choices.

If you transport the birds by cargo plane, temperature, time in the air and how the birds will be handled during transport is a concern. During the quarantine period, where will the birds be kept, who will be caring for them, what kind of human interaction will they receive, will they receive their regular diet with a normal routine and will you be able to visit them? Can your family afford the fees necessary for this scenario to be a viable option?

If you leave the birds with the vet you know in Mexico, will they be housed at the individual's home or at a pet clinic? Will they be given attention as if they are part of the individual's family of pets or will they simply have their most basic needs of food, water and cleanliness met for the five month period? Will they be exposed to other birds during the time period? Won't they still have to be quarantined for a month when they come to the U.S. at the end of that time?

These are obviously not questions I expect you to give the answers to on the forum, but are serious matters you and your parents will need to consider as you weigh the decision before you.

I wish there was an easy answer but there are too many variables that I have no knowledge of for me to give you a direct opinion on how to best handle the situation.

Sending lots of positive thoughts to you and prayers for you to have the strength and wisdom to make the best choice for your four parrots. :hug:

Best wishes.
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