The Importance of Having a Plan B With Parrots


I’m one of those people who doesn’t take much time away from my flock unless I can help it. If they can go with me, they do. If not, I tend not to go at all. At one point in my life, I had even said that I would never travel, would never take a holiday – but when you have birds, ‘would never’ are dangerous words. Keeping an open mind helps both you and your birds.

The problem is life. Life gets in the way. The best thing for you is to imagine the worst possible scenario and prepare for that. Me, I was forced to move from the UK back to the U.S.A. due to a law change. That was my worst possible scenario and it happened!

Only two of my birds could go with me. My ‘I will never re-home’ rule became ‘I will never re-home unless it’s for the good of the bird, and/OR unless circumstances can’t be changed.’

I hear people say things like ‘I’d never leave my birds,’ or ‘I don’t travel.’ Personally, this is something I agree with in general. It’s a sacrifice many owners make. But then the immigration laws changed, and I had to leave my flock. This was beyond my power to change. If you get sick, someone in your family is hurt or dying, or some other emergency arises, it’s good to have a Plan B in place.


These birds have all been re-homed to the Island Parrot Sanctuary – and not all were from bad conditions. Re-homing isn’t always a failure. Sometimes it’s down to sad circumstances.


When I got the devastating news about my move, I was beyond thankful that I’d made my own emergency plans. Here’s what you should do to prep for the possible worst:

  • Keep a list of important numbers, including your regular avian vet, an emergency clinic that treats birds, and at least two people who are familiar with your birds and can take care of them if an emergency arises. This can be tied to your pet’s carrier if need be.
  • Make a care sheet just in case. This will include medicines, dosages and times, dietary needs, as well as any other important information about your bird.
  • Have someone you trust to take care of the birds. I can’t stress this enough. We know a couple wonderful friends whom I trust whole-heartedly when it comes to the care of my flock. Some people teach their parents, siblings, or partners to care for their flock. You can even make friends with people at your local bird club – just exercise caution.
  • Socialise your parrot so that when you have to go away – it will happen sooner or later – your absence isn’t some big, scary, unusual event. I regularly take my birds out in their travel carriers to meet new people and see new things. And I bring people I trust in to meet them in the house, too.
  • Leave your bird on its own sometimes. I’m not talking about for multiple hours at a time every day, but if you always stay home with your bird and it’s used to your sole companionship constantly, what happens if bad luck strikes? You’ll do your bird a favour by teaching it to play and forage and generally function on its own while you’re gone.

All our birds are familiar with foraging. We keep several toys that anyone can fill up and pop in the cages.

Our umbrella cockatoo was re-homed to a sanctuary near to where we lived. I just couldn’t bring him with me – only two birds could come due to the laws. He is now in a veritable heaven, though – it’s beautiful there, and he is much loved. Plan C was an absolute worst-case scenario, but because I had it, when that bad run of luck struck, Bobo was able to go to a safe place.

Just remember that life doesn’t always go as planned. When it doesn’t, it’s better to have prepared for the unknown than the alternative. Make a plan B, or even C. Even if you never need it, it’s a responsible thing to have in place.

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