Nicola Roos and Sylvanas, an Eclectus parrot
Written by Director, Nicola Roos
Parrots are popular pets all around the world. They’re sociable, loving and beautiful, and, when cared for properly, make fantastic companions. Sadly, many people don’t fully understand the requirements to keep these highly intelligent animals: they need plenty of space, specialised feeding, loads of interaction, and constant attention. Without the right care, parrots become unhappy and unwell, which can lead to feather plucking, behavioural issues, and sickness. The need for parrot- and bird-focused rescue organisations is growing.
In 2019, Cheeky Beaks Parrot Rescue was founded to meet that need. This registered NPC is dedicated to parrot rescue and responsible rehoming. In the past six months alone, Cheeky Beaks Parrot Rescue rehomed 76 parrots, primarily African Greys and Indian Ringneck Parakeets, proof that the need is great.
Not another sanctuary
Cheeky Beaks Parrot Rescue aims to help reintroduce neglected, abused, lost or surrendered birds back into a family environment and works with a network of dedicated fosters, rather than establishing a sanctuary to provide such birds with a “forever home”. These sanctuaries are full to the brim, yet there are many people who contact rescue centres on a regular basis to ask if they can adopt birds.
Therefore, we encourage rehoming (with strict adoption protocols), because this reduces the chance that birds will be sold to breeders or given to people who don’t know how/have the time to care for them properly. Crucially, it also discourages people from supporting the pet trade, which they will do if they cannot find a bird to adopt in any of the local sanctuaries or rehabilitation centres across South Africa.
Moreover, just as some children don’t do well in the foster care system, some birds simply don’t cope in a sanctuary environment. These birds benefit from the one-to-one attention, resources and family structure that can be dedicated to them specifically if they’re rehomed.
We also aim to raise awareness about the plight of surrendered parrots and educate the public on proper parrot care.
We don’t have one physical location. Instead, Cheeky Beaks Parrot Rescue is a network of people across the country who are passionate about the rescue and rehabilitation of parrots.
Our founders offer foster care facilities for surrendered parrots who are then either kept with them until adoption or are sent out to another experienced foster carer that has been approved by Cheeky Beaks Parrot Rescue. We have four core team members in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pietermaritzburg respectively.
Strict processes for happy homing
Cheeky Beaks Parrot Rescue enforces strict guardianship contracts and surrender agreements whenever we’re approached to assist with a bird anywhere across the country. It’s important to us to ensure that all parties involved are clear about what’s expected of them, as well as our role in facilitating a temporary or permanent new home for any particular bird. This reduces the chance of one of these gregarious birds from landing in yet another unsuitable home.
We have an online application system. People can apply at any time to adopt, even if we don’t have a bird at the time. When a bird comes to our rescue, we refer to our system and choose the applicant who can provide the best home for the specific bird. If we can’t find a match within the applications currently in our system, we post adoption notices on our online platforms and accept new applications for that specific parrot. We then create a shortlist of the best potential candidates based on our team’s collective input and proceed to arrange home checks.
Once a candidate’s home check is approved, we encourage him/her to go and meet the bird first before making a final decision about adoption.
We require that either the current owners or the chosen adopters book a check-up at their nearest registered avian veterinarian, either directly before or directly after the bird has been adopted – and that a copy of a signed wellness certificate is emailed through to us. If neither of these two parties are able to arrange a check-up, one of our volunteers or team members are able to assist with transport and funding if necessary.
We aim to have all rehomed parrots tested for common contagious diseases such as Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) and Avian Chlamydia before entering a new temporary or permanent home.
Many people don’t realise that ownership permits are required for certain parrot species. In accordance with the Department of Environmental Affairs’ legislation, Alien and Invasive Species (AIS) ownership permits are required for certain parrot species in South Africa.
Indian Ringneck Parrots (a.k.a. Indian Ringneck Parakeets/Rose-ringed Parrots), Alexandrine Parrots/Parakeets and Cape Parrots are all classified as Invasive or Restricted species by the Department of Environmental Affairs.
We aim to educate current and potential owners about the permit application process and requirements. We won’t adopt out any parrots without the potential adopters having submitted proof of their permit or permit application.
Not for sale
Please be aware that Cheeky Beaks Parrot Rescue doesn’t “sell” birds. We don’t help people sell their birds. We’re a rescue and rehoming organisation, and the adoption fee covers all the costs associated with this work. Cheeky Beaks Parrot Rescue is a non-profit company; all funds go straight back into helping the birds.
The fee varies on a case-by-case basis – some parrots come with a vet bill, which increases the adoption fee. The fee also covers administration and travel costs (when home checks are conducted or the bird is transported to a foster or forever home by us), as well as funds needed in case of an emergency vet visit for a bird in our care. Food for parrots is costly, as is the correct type of housing.
We’re transparent about all our finances and are willing and able to provide proof of our expenses upon inquiry.
We at Cheeky Beaks Parrot Rescue believe in the five freedoms outlined by the NSPCA:
1. Freedom from thirst, hunger, and malnutrition
2. Freedom to express normal behaviour
3. Freedom from discomfort
4. Freedom from fear and distress
5. Freedom from pain, injury or disease.
We aim to raise awareness about our network at veterinary clinics and pet stores around the country in order to assist more parrots in need. We work with various private and public sanctuaries to find the best possible environment for each individual parrot that comes into our care.
For more information or any enquires about surrenders or adoptions nationwide, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow us on Facebook or Instagram (@Cheeky_Beaks_SA), or visit www.cheekybeaks.org.za