How many pet birds do you have? Is that too personal a question?

multiple birds or a flockSome bird owners don’t want to say how many birds they have. Recently I made a mistake by asking that question when I asked a fellow bird owner how many birds she had. I really was just curious as to the answer; as I wanted some kind of assurance from what I thought was as bird expert, that my bird count was well, normal.

After I asked that question, the lady kindly told me that you just don’t ask fellow bird owners how many birds they have. I have talked to a few bird people that freely admitted to me that they had 100 plus birds. Mind you the birds are outside birds and gouldian finches which are small birds that present little trouble that the larger parrots can entail. Part small talk and part information seeking, asking the question didn’t really seem to be too personal or unacceptable to me at the time.

I at present count have seven birds, which some people might think is too many birds. I often get an amazed reaction when I tell non bird owners how many birds I have. Seven birds however are not really that many in bird owning circles as most of my birds are small, with Goldie my sun conure being the biggest.

Why are some bird owners sensitive about revealing how many birds they have?

Not long ago a kindly older man revealed that he recently had 40 plus birds and lived on what was described as horse property. He always it seemed had that many birds and thought nothing of it. However one of his neighbors complained, and the city said he could have no more than 28 birds. So he had to go through the difficult process of deciding which birds to keep and which to get rid of. After he went through the weeding process, he did admit that he used to have to spend all day taking care of all of his birds, and now he had more time to pay attention to them individually.

In another example a bird owner has a large outdoor aviary where she keeps a rather large flock. Again one of her neighbors complained about the aviary and the noise. The city said in this situation that she had to move the aviary closer to the house but didn’t have to get rid of any of her birds.

Neighbors and city rules can impact the number of birds owned

An owner of multiple birds does have to worry about offending neighbors with noise and mess. Keeping the number of birds you own a secret does help from calling attention to the situation in some ways. Excess noise and mess can come from owning just one bird though; whereas multiple birds may be quiet and well kept. The reality nonetheless is that bird owners do have to think about the neighbors and any city rules.

Is it strange to have multiple birds?

Many pet bird owners have multiple birds or a flock primarily because just a few more birds does not exponentially increase the work involved. Also many bird species are very social and some even get along quite well with different species of birds. Many of the small hobby bird breeders that I have talked to have upwards of 10 plus pairs of birds at least. They are aware however of the noise and neighbor factors, as many have outright told me that they would not ever keep the notoriously loud sun conure for fear they would antagonize the neighbors.

The most important thing no matter how many birds you have or how sensitive you are about revealing that information, is to know your limits. Is there excess noise? Can you keep the cages clean? Are the birds healthy and happy? What are the city requirements if any as to keeping birds? Not asking yourself these questions can lead to the negative questions of hoarding and keeping a pet bird mill. It should not ever be about how many birds you have, but how healthy and happy those birds are.

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