Welcome to another EtsyVeg 'Pet of the Week' Interview! Today, we hear from Rachel of Etsy's Adorned By Morgan, one of our newest EtsyVeg members. A warm welcome to the group, Rachel. Please introduce us to your pets.
Rachel: Hey all! I’m a “parront” to Einstein, 17, and Papaya, a.k.a. “Poppy,” 1½. Ein is a Quaker parrot, and Poppy is a Caique parrot.
EtsyVeg: Where/how did you come up with their name?
Rachel: When Ein was just a few months old, he would take down every toy/swing/etc. put into his living space. He seemed to have a knack for figuring out how to remove the devices, rather than playing with them. Hence, our little genius was dubbed, “Einstein.”
Papaya’s name was decided likely before he came to live with my boyfriend and I. It’s a tribute to one of the best journeys I’ve ever had, which was traipsing through the forests and beaches of Costa Rica. Papaya was a staple in many dishes there, and so, we decided one day, our expanded flock would also include this essential. It also happens that Papaya fit right into his name, and he even loves to eat dried version of his namesake. We usually call him “Poppy” for short.
EtsyVeg: What's the most important/special thing your pet(s) adds to your life?
Rachel: Parrots are by no means domesticated. No matter how much time they spend around humans, there is always a part of them that remains wild. One of the best feelings in the world is when my guys voluntarily cuddle with me and get all puffed up and let me scritch their heads. It’s such a moment of trust for everyone involved. I also get an amazing feeling, even after years of cleaning cages, when my babies have clean living spaces and full stomachs.
EtsyVeg: Favorite toys, foods, snacks, activities?
Rachel: While Ein isn’t much of a toy guy, he does sometimes prefer to chew on those with cotton or fleece. He loves his carbs, like pasta, and will get very excited when there’s “people” food around. Just the other day, he climbed down his cage, walked over to a bag of chips I was eating while leaning against the couch, grabbed one, and walked back to his cage to indulge. His cleverness cracks me up! Poppy is all about toys. He’ll try anything once, and especially loves those that he can tear apart or jingle. Ein is a real chill dude. He mostly likes to lounge and observe the rest of the flock from his cozy perch, while Poppy is a ball of kinetic energy. He’s always flying around (supervised) and trying to get into mischief. If I turn around for even a second, I’ll find cotton balls from a jar on the floor. Sure I gotta keep an eye on him, but he is constantly coming up with ways to surprise me and make me laugh.
EtsyVeg: What are some things you enjoy doing with your pet?
Rachel: A dance session with Einstein’s accompaniment can usually bring me out of even the lowest of moods. He’s got real rhythm, that one does! And he usually “sings” along to whatever’s playing (or whatever I’m poorly warbling, but hey, he doesn’t complain, so that’s all good). Papaya is just fun to watch or play with whenever he’s interested in a new object. He’s particularly into those mini whiffle-type balls, and will lay on his back and swing one around from his upturned feet. Too cute.
EtsyVeg: Do you take them to parks or to visit people? How does your family like them?
Rachel: Ein prefers to stay indoors, and while Poppy can sometimes be timid about it, he’ll express curiosity about his surroundings when I take him outside in his harness during the warmer months. (Note: Neither of my babes have clipped wings, but even if a parrot is clipped, he should not be taken outside without a comfortable/safe harness that fits his body type. I got mine online). My family members love both of the parrots. My parents refer to them as their “grandkids.”
EtsyVeg: How did you meet your pets?
Rachel: When I was 9 years old, I longed for a fuzzy companion. I’d been an animal and nature lover since day one, and so, for my birthday, my parents surprised me with Einstein. I remember the day I came home from school and found out I was a “mom.” My grandmother Harriet was watching me at the time, and I started hearing strange noises from my upstairs bedroom just a few moments after arriving. I went upstairs to investigate, and there was my lil’ green dinosaur. My grandma ended up teaching Einstein most of the words he knows.
Although at the time I wasn’t sure exactly when my boyfriend and I would have the space to expand our flock, Poppy won a place in my heart and home the second I saw him. There he was, this little peanut of a Caique literally sitting in a pile of African Grey parrot babies in an incubation-type tank. He was placed in my hands, and even though he was a teeny baby who could do little more than bob his head and make “peeping” noises, he immediately went to grasp my glasses with his beak. Since Ein is a huge fan of trying to get my glasses, I felt like it was fate. Papaya came home with us that day.
EtsyVeg: Are they adopted, rescued or other?
Rachel: When we began contemplating an addition to the family, my boyfriend and I initially looked into adoption and rescues. As there are, unfortunately, so many homeless and neglected parrots, we felt this should be our first avenue of choice. We did, however, want a very specific type of parrot- a Caique- and so when we saw a posting for one at a local rescue organization in Queens, Feathered Friends Parrot Adoption Services, Inc., we went to check it out. The Caique we met was really sweet, and he did eventually get a home, but we just didn’t “click” with him.
EtsyVeg: Do you spoil Ein and Poppy?
EtsyVeg: Anything else you would like to add?
Rachel: Living with parrots is amazing. However, they require unique care and a lot of interaction and mental stimulation, as they are extremely intelligent. Research is a requirement if you are considering bringing a parrot into your home. There are so many helpful sites out there as well as informative books and even online videos. As I mentioned, parrots are always wild (even when watching TV with you in your living room), and while they do form loving, lifelong bonds, they will still yell nonstop at times and even bite (usually with reason, but not always). I’m not trying to paint a bad portrait of them, but their care and lifestyles are vastly different from those of dogs and cats. Many parrots end up in dire situations and rescues because their owners did not realize the attention, space and care they would require. Parrots may live for many, many years with proper care, and so they demand a great deal of commitment.
Here are some resources:
Thanks so much for listening to this “beak speak,” and I’m so glad to be on board team EtsyVeg. While I’m by no means an expert in parrot care, I’d be glad to try and help or point toward some resources if anyone has inquiries and wants to message me.
EtsyVeg: Thanks for letting us have a sneak "beak" ;) into your avaiary, Rachel. It was wonderful. All the best with your success on Etsy. Welcome again to the EtsyVeg family!
XOXO Heather :)