During this difficult time, we’d like to offer some guidance and assistance for those of you with feathered friends. As many of you have probably noticed, we have been very low on bird food. While we are grateful that many people planned ahead and stocked up over the last couple of weeks, we know a lot of our customers have come in and been unable to get the food their bird is used to. We are now restocked and have no indication that we will have any problems receiving our weekly deliveries at this time.
Clearly, no one was able to forecast the situation that we have all found ourselves in. But this teaches us a valuable lesson: be prepared for the unknown. I won’t go off on a tangent about stockpiling toilet paper, but regarding our pet birds, there is an important point to be made.
Parrots are creatures of habit, we all know this. They can be picky eaters, they don’t like change and usually, neither do their humans. We send people home with and recommend a very specific set of bird foods. We do this because these are the foods we trust and rely on for the health of our own flock. But as the saying goes “variety is the spice of life”. Going forward, we must begin offering our birds a larger variety of foods. Not only is this a great way to help keep our birds healthy, but it is also a big step toward curbing the pickiness and stubborn attitudes that many of us encounter when feeding our parrots.
If you have an adult bird (weaned and established in your home for at least 3-4 months), that is otherwise healthy and of good weight, consider picking up a different brand of food every so often. Certainly, there is no bird out there that would want to live on just Roudybush, Caitec or Higgins every day for life. But those birds that are offered the exact same thing every single day will gradually learn to not recognize anything else as edible.
When talking to people about their bird’s diet, you will often hear me say: “there is no Harrison’s tree in the rainforest”. I say this not only because it is true, but to help illustrate to our customers that parrots are highly complex beings that need variety in their diet not only for their physical health but for their mental health as well. So the next time you come in (or the time after that), consider asking a staff member what else they might recommend for the type of bird that you have. Mixing in a different brand with your normally fed brands will spice things up and is perfectly healthy for an adult parrot. Not only will your bird thank you, but you will have a pet that is much easier to feed come the next global crisis we experience.
Next, I’d like to let everyone know what steps we are taking at our store to help minimize the risk to our birds, staff, and customers. We have implemented mandatory hand sanitizing upon entering the retail area. We received information from Dr. Susan Clubb, a well-respected avian vet, that there is no KNOWN threat to companion parrots from Coronavirus. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are only allowing the handling of birds by the families that have a deposit on them. Our store residents will be out playing as usual, but we are asking that people please refrain from handling any of them.
Also, we must politely ask that parents and individuals not bring their children or friends into the store for any unnecessary lengths of time. We realize that kids are out of school and bored, but as we all know any groups or gatherings of multiple people pose the highest risk right now. This puts us in a very difficult position business-wise because we love having customers and visitors hang out at the store. Normally, we would never even think of asking people not to come visit, socialize and interact with our birds. We are huge proponents of educating the next generation of parrot caretakers, but unfortunately now is not the time. Our store MUST remain open so we can care for our birds and supply food and toys to those of you with birds at home. In order to accomplish this, we must minimize the risk to our staff as much as possible by keeping visits brief.
To that end, starting this Friday the 20th, we will be implementing a curbside pick-up option. We are expecting some large deliveries this week and have the store re-stocked and ready to go for the weekend. For anyone who does not feel comfortable coming inside, simply call (703-349-4444) or place your order online (choose in-store pick-up for shipping option). We will bring your order outside to your vehicle (just give us a call when you arrive). Also, IF YOU NEED HELP, please reach out to us and we will do everything we can to assist you and your birds.
A minor scheduling change: starting Thursday the 26th, we will be closing at 6 pm instead of 8 pm to include all subsequent Thursdays for the near future. We will continue to be open from 11-8 on all Mondays, though. We apologize for any inconvenience, however, this change is necessary for us to continue providing the best possible service to our customers during these challenging times.
Lastly, we cannot thank everyone enough for their support, understanding and paper towel donations. It is easy to take things for granted and times like these remind us just how awesome our customers are. We could not be more thankful and look forward to coming out of this as a better and stronger parrot community.
Thanks for reading,
-Carey and the TC Feathers crew