Saturday, August 14, 2010

Do Your Homework When Boarding Pet Birds

Saturday, August 14, 2010
Recently, I saw an article in the newspaper about a pet store in Royal Oak, Michigan, that’s been around since the ‘50s. It’s still run by the family of the man who opened it over 50 years ago. And they board birds. That caught my eye, because I’ve boarded my birds only once, and it cost me $25 per day per bird. That certainly adds a lot to the cost of a vacation. So I decided to see what this place charged for boarding, and it was only $8 per bird per day.

Well, before I leave my birds anywhere, I have to feel comfortable with the place and the people who run it. So I stopped in to see the boarding area and ask some questions. The first person I spoke with told me that nobody ever gets to see the boarding area, which was the upper floor of the building, a split-level former house. I asked to see the owner and ended up talking with one of the original owner’s family members. That’s when I decided my birds would never be left there.

He told me that at any given time, they could board between 100 – 150 birds and that I’d need reservations for the holidays, because they usually get over 200 hundred birds then. I knew immediately why they wouldn’t allow anybody to see the boarding area. It had to look like a chicken coop, with cages stacked floor to ceiling, and it couldn’t possibly be clean enough for me.

This place was not huge – it appeared to be maybe a four-bedroom split-level house, with the downstairs broken into two sales areas for birds and fish. So that left the upper level bedrooms and bath(s). How in hell do you stuff that many birds into probably no more than 1,800 square feet and still maintain sanitary conditions? And even though they don’t require any vaccinations or testing for fatal avian diseases, the guy told me none of the boarded birds ever got sick from being there. How is that possible?

The birds never get out of their cages, and if your bird doesn’t get seed, you’d have to bring in your own food, because they feed at least some seed to all the birds. Seed is like the McDonald’s of bird food, being high in fat that’s meant to sustain outdoor birds that burn calories by flying most of the time.

The bottom line is I wouldn’t leave my dog at a kennel if I couldn’t see the facility, and I wouldn’t leave a child at a daycare if I couldn’t walk in unannounced and inspect the place. So why should I leave my parrots at a place like that? Obviously, there are a lot of naïve bird owners in the Detroit area. Fortunately for my parrots, I’m not one of them.


Sherrie said...

Warning bells always go off in my head when a business like that won't let you 'behind the curtain'. I learned Madison's dentist was like that when I scheduled a cleaning for Nicholas. They told me parents weren't allowed back, even if the kid had special needs. All I could think was "what are they doing to my kid that they don't want me to see?" Needless to say Nicholas never got his teeth cleaned there and Madison never did again either.

Editing4U said...

Wow, I'm surprised that a dentist would do that. You're absolutely right in not going back there. That's crap! I boarded the birds last weekend at a vet's office. And, although I still felt guilty for leaving them, I not only saw the boarding rooms, I got to pick out their cages and who went where. So I felt better about it.

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