FEBS Bird Acclimation Process
FEBS has a well-practiced and successful acclimation process after a Parrot is relinquished to us. We want to share how we achieve a key part of our Sanctuary Life Reimagined™ vision, which is to have each of our birds in a flight aviary where they can find a “mate” to bond with and have the freedom to "Just be a Bird".
Upon arriving at the sanctuary, each bird has a preliminary vet exam as part of the FEBS Flock Safety Guidelines, and then enters a 3-step acclimation process:
In this initial stage, the bird is housed in one of 3 quarantine areas. The bird is typically in the enclosure provided by the owner (or “parront” as we like to say)—where they have the familiarity of toys, perches and a diet that they are accustomed to. For a two-week period, we observe the bird and take it back to the vet for a complete wellness exam, by our avian vet Dr. Murphy, that also includes blood work.
After many, many years of doing stage one intakes, our Bird Mother (Patricia Norton) explains that “once around other Parrots, new birds typically become calm and relaxed. Understandably, this process is emotionally harder for the bird parronts than for the bird.”
After receiving a clear health exam from Dr. Murphy, the bird is moved into one of the sanctuary’s outdoor, enclosed Aviary's. The bird is placed with their own species—and typically next to a bird of the opposite sex. At this point, we also start to gradually introduce our enriched FEBS diet to the birds existing diet. As in stage one, we closely monitor each bird for any issues.
In this final stage, we introduce several of our new birds together into "like species" flights. This important step ensures that an individual bird won’t experience "newbie syndrome", e.g. be the lowest in the pecking order of a flock. We continue to monitor the new birds to make sure they are accepted by their new flock and are eating and drinking well. If we see any issues, such as a bird is being picked on by other birds, we remove them from the flock and re-access them for suitable housing.
There are numerous factors to consider during the acclimation process, such as the birds personality, if the bird was previously flighted and the birds feather condition.
Accordingly, after stage one, there is not a “one size fits all” timeframe and an acclimation may take one or several months. Point in case, as a sanctuary with over 700 parrots, we frequently need to establish new flocks—which may entail constructing a new flight aviary for a bird species.