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FaeryBee (Deborah)
February 2016
Why Buy From a [Reputable and Ethical] Breeder Rather Than a Big-Box Pet Store?

I urge every member of the forum to take the time to think carefully before you buy.
Please, keep in mind, I am not judging those who have budgies from a big-box pet store.

I've have owned budgies purchased from a big-box pet-store in the not-to-distant past.
In 2011, I brought my beloved Sunny and Shelby home from one of them...
unfortunately, both of my babies had health problems and neither one of my beautiful boys made it to their fifth hatchday.

What I am hoping to do is raise awareness of a situation many are don't realize exists OR choose to ignore.

The goal is simply to promote better practices when considering future purchases.

Please keep in mind that every person that advertises him/herself as a "breeder" is not necessarily ethical and responsible in their breeding practices. Just because a person has had budgies that bred does not make them a budgie breeder.

An ethical and responsible breeder is one who puts the health and well-being of the budgies first and follows best practices in the care and breeding of their budgies. Most budgie-breeders are "hobby" breeders, meaning the income from any budgies they sell is not their primary source of income.

Unfortunately, some people get into breeding with their eye on whatever "profit" they may make rather than out of love for budgies and the desire to ensure healthy, happy and long-lived offspring.

Big-box pet stores purchase birds from profit-motivated breeders who breed for quantity over quality.
The breeders who sell to big-box pet stores operate like "birdie-mills" and are simply out to make a profit.
The people don't care about the conditions in which they house their budgies, whether or not the budgies are in-bred or over-bred, what the parents' health issues are that will be passed genetically to the offspring nor do they consider the temperament and personality of the birds they are breeding.

The adult birds are kept in cages that are too small, unclean and have only a nestbox.
These budgies receive no interaction or mental stimulation and are often fed only the lowest quality seed diet possible in order to keep costs down.
The more budgies the breeder can "generate" the more profit s/he makes. Therefore, concern over the welfare of individual adults or chicks does not enter the equation for these people.

At some bird mills, when the chicks hatch, they are taken to an incubator and not allowed contact with the parents. During weaning they are weaned through deprivation weaning which can result in malnutrition, starvation, and permanent behavior problems.

The 6 week old budgies are shipped to the big-box pet stores packed wing to wing in small containers and then kept for two weeks in the "back room" in quarantine (along with all the other bird shipments that have arrived) meaning this is NOT a true quarantine.

I've personally visited the back room of more than one big-box pet store and can guarantee you the manner in which the baby budgies are kept is totally heart-breaking.

Buying from a big-box pet store can be more "convenient" and "less-expensive".
People who view budgies as disposable pets find this to be great.
Unfortunately, the attitude of, "Well, it only cost $20 so if it dies, I'll just get another one" is thus perpetuated among those individuals.

Obviously, not all people who buy from big-box pet stores have that attitude. Some people think they are "rescuing" the budgie(s) they purchase, while others are unable to find an ethical and reputable breeder from which to buy.

The idea that one is rescuing the budgies when they buy from a big-box pet store borders on self-delusion though. For each budgie the pet-store sells, the more "demand" there is for the birds so the birdie-mills continue to churn out more and more baby budgies without regard to their health, genetic background or the fact that with every budgie hatched the blood-lines are being weakened.

Many employees in the big-box pet stores have little to no real knowledge about the budgies they are selling.
They may be unaware of where the birds came from, know very little (or nothing) about how to distinguish gender, what size cages different numbers of budgies should be kept in, or what would be considered to be a healthy diet for a budgie.

Often the big-box pet store employees recommend cages that are too small, toys that are dangerous and additionally promote outdated practices which time and research have proven are ineffective or even potential health hazards. The customers follow the "expert" advice only to later find out they were told the wrong gender for their budgie, the cage they bought is too small and the toys and bedding purchased pose health hazards.

The sad truth is that many well-meaning people walk into a big-box pet store to buy food or supplies, get drawn to the cages or enclosures housing the budgies (or other birds), fall in love with one or more and decide to "rescue" the budgie and take it home to give it a better life.
Yes - I know how easy it is to do this.
I, myself, did it in the past.

What every member of this forum needs to keep in mind is that while you will no doubt be giving the bird(s) you purchase a better life, you are putting money right into the pockets of the breeders who have caused these poor birds to need to be "rescued" in the first place.
Every time a big-box pet store sells a budgie, another will be brought in to take its place. This is the simple law of supply and demand.

What can you do to make a difference?

The ONLY way to stop birdie-mills from operating is to STOP purchasing budgies from big-box pet stores that use birdie-mills as their suppliers.

Spend some time and try to locate reputable and ethical breeders when you are ready to bring a budgie into your home and heart.

Look for a locally owned pet-store that works with a local breeder who sells quality over quantity. Do your research ahead of time and know the questions to ask of the pet-store or breeder from whom you choose to purchase your pet.

Go to a rescue organization and adopt.
The birds at animal shelters and bird rescue organizations are true rescue situations and deserve to find a safe and loving home.

Encourage pet stores to provide the same adoption services for birds that they do for dogs and cats instead of selling birds in their stores.

If you see a bird being neglected or abused, report it to your local humane organization or animal control agency; or contact the local law enforcement office or nearest humane agency.

Help educate others.
Many people do what is convenient and least expensive because they don't take into consideration the consequences of their actions.

If you are unable to locate a breeder in your area, contact various bird-clubs and/or bird societies to ask for recommendations.

Consider making a road-trip to get a budgie from a breeder that may not be "convenient" but whom you know to be a reputable and ethical breeder.
(I've driven Seven and one-half hours (7 1/2) hours one way multiple times to get budgies!)

Contact a breeder who uses safe and reliable shipping methods.

Think beyond the "immediate gratification" of getting a budgie "right now" to the long-term goals and possible consequences of your actions.

Investigation of Pet Stores

Avian Welfare Coalition

Bird Mills

This article is for informational/educational purposes only.

If you see birds being kept in poor conditions, please do not make a post about it on this forum.

Report the situation to the store manager and/or contact the appropriate local authorities.

Reporting Animals being Abused, Mistreated or Kept in Unsafe Conditions
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