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    After you’ve filled in our online adoption or fostering application, we might get in touch with you to complete our next step in the process – arrange a home check (virtual or in-person with the utmost respect to COVID safety protocols and social distancing). Here are some basic guidelines to consider: 1. We like to see that your birds have a large cage (as large as you can afford and as large as your space allows!) with lots of enrichment and foraging opportunities. Check out our “Local is Lekker” blog post to get some ideas of where you can buy the coolest goodies to spice up your birds’ play areas and cages while supporting awesome local small businesses. 2. We want to see that the area is safe. We do not support any interaction between predator and prey species of pets – in other words, we need to see that you are able to keep your birds in a space that is secure and separate from any dogs, cats, snakes or other pets that might share your household with you. 3. We cannot allow you to adopt from or foster for us if there are any signs of breeding activities taking place on your property or in your household. That includes other pets as well, not just birds. There are simply too many horror stories that we have to witness first hand that are a direct or indirect result of breeding, whether that be for commercial gain or not, on a large scale or not. We cannot and will not ever support or condone this in any shape or form. 4. If you are a smoker, you cannot be smoking anywhere near your animals. Birds are particularly sensitive to airborne pollutants and cigarette smoke can lead to a variety of health problems. 5. We would like to see how you can accommodate your birds during out-of-cage time. If they spend minimal time in their cages while you are at home (which is ideal for physical and mental health for parrots), we want to see the play areas you have created for them – an outdoor aviary, some playstands, an indoor bird room… anything like that will definitely be a plus.
    Cheeky Beaks does not have one physical location; we operate nationwide via foster homes. We have team members in the following provinces: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. We are currently the most active in Gauteng and the Western Cape, but can assist with parrots in need anywhere in the country.
    We have an online adoption application form which you can complete at any time. Your response will be saved in our system and we review all applications when we have a bird available for adoption. Please note that we cannot respond to each application as we receive far too many and all our team members are full time students or have their own careers. We do conduct interviews and home checks and usually require at least one meeting with the parrot before any person is approved to adopt.
    We will contact you once we have the perfect match for your family. We might contact you within a few days or even a few months. We are not breeders, so unfortunately not every family who has applied has been able to adopt from us. If we don’t contact you, it doesn’t mean you have been declined – it just means we have not necessarily been able to match you with the right bird yet. You don’t have to re-submit an application for any other future birds you might be interested in; once your information is on our system, it remains there and can be accessed by our team members at any time.
    It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the specific situation. We are stricter when it comes to the placement of larger parrots, especially cockatoos. We require the candidates on our shortlist to attend regular meetings with the bird in foster care and get to know him/her before we make any final decisions. We need to make sure that the bird responds well to the potential new owners; we don’t just place a bird with any family simply because they have a suitable home – we want to be sure the bird chooses them, too.
    No, we do not sell birds in any way. We do charge an adoption fee, though, which varies per species. This fee covers administration and travel costs (when home checks are conducted or the bird is transported to a foster or forever home by one of our volunteers or team members). We also provide essential supplies for foster carers if needed. Furthermore, we require funds in case of a vet visit for any bird in our care. We attempt to provide each bird that comes into our foster care at our organisation with a health check and any medical treatment that may be necessary before they are adopted out. We are a non-profit company and all funds which enter our business bank account goes straight back into helping birds. We are transparent about all our finances and are willing and able to provide proof of our expenses upon request. Adoption fees also allow us to ensure that adopters are financially stable and can afford the costs of owning a bird.
    You can. We take it on a case by case basis. We are just trying to prioritise applicants that have not had the opportunity yet. It’s by no means a hard rule, but we usually put a 6 months waiting period on all individuals who have adopted – this allows the person to bridge that ‘honeymoon’ period where the bird is still settling in and allows one to truly evaluate if you want any more birds. A lot of the birds we get in are also very traumatised and need a lot of one-on-one time, which simply is not possible if the applicant has already adopted several birds/has several birds in their existing flock.
    Why we have a waiting period between adoptions – and why we don’t always enforce it strictly: At Cheeky Beaks Parrot Rescue we have a waiting period between adoptions of 3 months. Now as with all rules this rule is not etched in stone. We do occasionally break it in certain extraordinary cases. The reason why we have the 3 month rule to work off of is to allow your existing birds and the newly adopted bird to settle into a routine before adding another bird into the mix. This also allows for you to complete the quarantine period after bringing in the new bird. The 3-3-3 rule is a general guideline that is believed to cover the adjustment period after getting a new animal. Sometimes this happens faster and other times it might take more time. In short what it means is that it takes your pet: * 3 days to decompress. They will feel anxious and scared because they are put into a new environment. In some cases they might not eat or drink which is hard to keep track of if you adopt multiple birds. * 3 weeks to learn the routine. This is when they start to settle down into your routine and show more of their normal personality or the personality you saw when you met with the bird in their foster home. This is also in most cases when behavioural issues might start to show again. * 3 months to start feeling at home. Around this time they will start feeling comfortable in their home. They start to build trust with their new owners and form a true bond with their new owners. They will gain a sense of security in their new family and might start showing more of their past experiences. Another reason why we do this is to ensure that every person who adopts from us is financially, emotionally and physically capable of looking after an additional parrot. Adopting a parrot is a very large responsibility in many different ways and we need to ensure that the bird we home will not be returning into our system in two months for whatever reason.
    We are often criticized for implementing “age limits” on certain adoptions. While this is not something any of us enjoy discussing, it’s a very real part of life. We don’t disqualify older people from adopting, if they meet the required standards and pass the required checks, we will happily adopt a bird out to anyone suited to that birds particular needs, who the bird would do well with. As we’ve said in several of our posts, even the smallest species of birds have a life expectancy of over a decade, and despite the measures we put into place, and the care with which they are handled, there is always some degree of stress involved in relocating a bird. So this is something we try to minimize. Particular with the larger, more sought after species of parrot, you’re looking at beyond an 80 year lifespan in some cases, and yet we’re criticized for not homing the bird to a retiree who has all the time and resources to offer the bird. If we home even a young adult bird of this kind to someone in say very early retirement at age 40, that’s still only half the birds lifespan being spent with you. And that’s being generous. So while you may think we’re unreasonable for not giving you a beautiful 4 year old Macaw that you are able to dedicate this phase of your life to, we need to plan for the birds entire life, not just a phase. In 40 or so years when you are no more, this bird is only middle aged. It’s temperament and personality are fully developed and rather solid at this stage, making any move not only traumatic for the bird psychologically but difficult for us, because just like you, everyone wants a young bird. Some of our most common rehomings are from people who are now moving into retirement communities, or assisted living, or with family. The cockatoo you got as a baby is used to being out all day and roaming freely, now it’s put in a cage and expected to be quiet. Your family did not sign up for a bird that can very realistically result in hearing damage. It’s not fair on any of the lives involved. We handle these rehomings with respect and care, and are grateful to be able to provide happiness for this beloved companion, but it’s never easy, and it’s never without taking a toll on the psychological well-being of the bird. Even making provision for family or friends to take over care of your birds is not a guarantee. Circumstances change, particularly with the state of the world right now, and it’s a lot to expect for someone to take on an animal that they didn’t originally sign up, especially one of the most difficult and needy pets there are. We’re not being monsters in saying that we are unlikely to home a young bird to an older person, we’re being realistic, and doing what we do best… putting the best interests of the bird ahead of everyone’s feelings. As an older person, fostering is a fantastic option. Particularly when it comes to long term fosters, because you get all the benefits of a companion bird, with few drawbacks. Of course, fostering is not adoption and you do so knowing that the bird may be homed or removed from your care for any number of reasons. But, it does allow you to make a difference, and give love to a bird in need, while we assist with some of the financial burden and take care of the bird should anything happen to you or change in your circumstances. It would scare you to see some of the “hate mail” we recieve when reviewing applications, we don’t like turning people away, our goal is to help and home as many birds as possible, but our duty is to do so while keeping the bird’s best interests a priority at all times. So next time you think we’re being difficult, try having an honest conversation with us, without emotion. It’s impossible to form such an attachment with a bird through a Facebook post, so enquire, ask us what the bird you have an interest in is looking for, and be honest with yourself about how much of that you’d be able to fulfill, and for how long. Truly wanting to help, and make a difference to rescue birds means that you wish to offer a home to a bird that fits your lifestyle, and what you are able to offer. It means being realistic in your expectations and allowing us to follow the processes we have in place to ensure happy lives all round. It also sometimes means that you probably won’t get the baby that you “fell in love with.”
    Meeting and greeting our adoptable birds… At Cheeky Beaks Parrot Rescue, we strongly believe that in most cases, the bird chooses their person, and not the other way around. We often recieve feedback from fosters that x bird prefers y presenting people, and just as often, the bird lands up absolutely adoring a totally unexpected candidate. It’s happened in several of my own cases, as well as with several of my own birds. This is why we are insist on meet and greets. While the bird is in foster care, often they are not exposed to a wide array of people, and that person, or family, is all they get to know, so it really isn’t possible to say conclusively whether this is the birds preference or whether it’s simply that they prefer that person in that household. Meet and greet sessions allow the bird in question to meet an assortment of people, and decide who they feel most comfortable with. The foster, as well as the entire team, then enter into a discussion which goes a lot deeper than “he allowed me to scratch his head” or “I’ll be patient and he’ll warm up to me” and make a decision based on the best interests of the bird in question. Various factors come into play, and we do our very best to ensure that every placement is happy and successful for all parties involved. A foster is never given first option to adopt a bird, unless under very special circumstances. This is not our process, and fostering is not a shortcut to get a bird. When our fosters offer a meet and greet with a bird that a potential adopter is interested in, they’re taking time out of their lives, away from their families and responsibilities, to allow you into their homes (in most cases) and spend some time with the bird you are interested in. We ask that all potential adopters respect this time, and stick to any arrangements made and boundaries set. Likewise, we ask the fosters not to create false hope for any potential adopters, as the decision is made as a team, and no single person has the authority to simply hand over a bird. Our process may seem drawn out and frustrating for some, and we understand the excitement which can lead to frustration, but every angle needs to be considered, and everything we do is in the very best interests of the birds. A bird is a longterm commitment, so there is no reason to rush the process. If you’re committing to spend the next 25 years caring for this animal, a few days or weeks don’t make much difference in the bigger picture. Your meet and greet doesn’t guarantee the adoption of that bird, it’s just part of a strict process we follow in allowing birds to choose their people.
    Firstly, the home check is not intended to intimidate the potential adopter. It is standard practice at most reputable rescues and rehoming initiatives. The home visit allows us to double check details the potential adopter gave us. Some people take great offence at the suggestion of a home check, but they just don’t realise that we can’t trust a stranger’s assurances on the phone. You may well be the most honest and knowledgeable parrot owner around, but we simply can’t tell. And we need to make sure that the potential family is the best match for the physical, emotional and mental needs of the bird, so we have to check. So, why do we homecheck? People are deceptive for a variety of reasons. For example, some who have abused and/or neglected animals in the past, will look to adopt again. Not necessarily only birds, but often people who neglect or mistreat other animals on their property will take an interest in getting a bird companion. We need to make sure that you are a responsible pet owner. That includes the animals you already have. All people can be perfectly capable of sounding like excellent prospects for a new home on paper – unfortunately it’s very possible to lie very convincingly on an adoption application form. Sometimes suggesting a home visit is sufficient to make these people take a step back. If they agree to a home visit, it is usually possible to spot irregularities that might indicate neglect or abuse, even if they try to cover it up – and if there are any signs of breeding activities taking place on a property, it’s also immediately a no-go. We need to make sure you have the correct setup for the specific bird you want to adopt, e.g. If you have young children, we can’t adopt out a bird to you that is known to be traumatised by young kids and excitement/a loud household. This is not a personal attack against you as a potential adopter. Every bird is an individual with a different history and we are just taking that into account to make sure they have the best chance at being happy. We need to make sure your house is clean. How will you keep a bird’s habitat clean if you cannot keep your own home clean? Obviously we understand that birds are messy animals and it often requires a lot of work and time to stay ahead of the household chores, and we are reasonable people, but if the feces and dust and old caked-on food is centimeters high on the cage bottom/perches, etc., then it is a bit concerning. We need to make sure that you have the resources and the right mindset to take your bird to an avian vet when needed and not rely on home remedies or advice from people on social media to treat serious illnesses. While some people may be insulted or intimidated by a home check, it’s important to realise that it’s not about you – it’s about being sure the companion you are thinking of adopting is right for you and that your home is right for him/her. It’s about what’s best for everyone. Also, we are a network of people – we rely on each other’s experiences and knowledge for education. We help and support each other. It might seem nonchalant or haphazard if we ask for home check volunteers to contact us on Facebook to assist in a certain area, but what you as a observer on Facebook might not realise is that our team takes the time to personally check out and educate each person who volunteers for our organisation. We do a home check for the home checkers. We have a list of criteria that has to be met that we communicate to every home check volunteer after they have been approved. We have documents that need to be signed and written feedback that needs to be provided. Our volunteers – even if we found them through a request for assistance on Facebook – go into a home check knowing exactly what they need to look for and equipped with the knowledge to help educate and advise candidates in case certain criteria aren’t met yet. We have WhatsApp groups for the majority of our rehomed birds and often check in with people who have adopted from us to make sure that everything is still on track or if there is anything we can assist with. We often spend a lot of our free time going to people’s houses and helping them with their parrots’ diets, cage setups and training. We also assist with training through virtual platforms as well – even for people who have not adopted or have any other connection to Cheeky Beaks. If you’d like to speak to anyone who we’ve helped out to see what we can offer, give us a shout and we can put you in touch with them. Similarly, if you ever have any questions about our processes, please feel free to contact us and have a chat, because we are always open to suggestions and learning.
    We operate via foster homes nationwide and are always in need of fosters. Anyone wishing to become a foster can complete the same online application and select the foster option. Applicants can then also contact any of the official Cheeky Beaks team members and let us know to review your application and we can arrange a home check. If we approve your home check, you will be added to our official foster list and will be contacted when there is a stray or surrendered parrot in your area that we would like you to help us with.
    Quite often, birds that are surrendered to us need to be removed from their current situation as soon as possible. We arrange a foster who can temporarily look after the surrendered bird, assess its mental/emotional/physical needs and get it to an avian vet for a health check/medical care. It takes time to find a forever family that matches the specific needs of an individual bird. We encourage potential adopters to take the opportunity to discuss it with the rest of their household and so on before making a final decision, because adoption is a massive commitment that should never, ever be made on impulse. Having a bird in foster care also often allows a potential adopter to come and meet the bird first. Many people want to help birds, but are not necessarily in an ideal position to adopt, so fostering gives them the opportunity to help a wide range of birds and gain experience with different species without having to make a long-term commitment. But isn’t it traumatic for a bird to be moved from its original owners and then moved AGAIN from its foster family to its new forever family? It can be, of course, but it also de-sensitizes the bird to new environments and new people, which can be beneficial to its mental health in the long run. We encourage our fosters to train and socialize the birds in their care as much as possible before we find a forever home, so that the move is as easy as it can be on the bird. So, if you want to foster, how does it work? Well, Cheeky Beaks assists with transportation and medical costs while the bird is in foster care. If you want to sign up as a foster, go to our online application ( and select “foster” as an option. The rest of the form remains very much the same – just fill in what is applicable to you. What you will need is a spare cage (not all birds are surrendered with their cages) and a space in which to keep your foster bird separated from your existing flock. You will need some basic experience and knowledge with regards parrot training and converting a bird to a healthy diet. If you are familiar with pluckers or have worked with aggressive birds, that is a bonus.
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    Yes – we try to give all our fosters a chance to foster – this let’s us utilise the potential of our organisation to the maximum and to see what each individual is capable of – if we didn’t do this the same fosters would keep getting birds every time. However we have some fosters who are better at some things than others so if a bird has a specific problem we will rather use the foster with the most experience in that area. We also discourage or outright kick out fosters who join just to adopt – bird hoarding is frowned upon – our fosters have to be emotionally strong and cannot apply to adopt every bird they foster.
    We appreciate any support and donations greatly. Monetary donations can be made into our FNB bank account or via PayPal. We also sell merchandise (t-shirts, mugs, tote bags and more), parrot perches/play stands and healthy parrot food mixes (in collaboration with The Parrot Hotel). Cage donations are also welcome as we refurbish them and use them for foster birds or we sell them to raise funds. Toy donations are also greatly appreciated because often parrots are surrendered to us with little to no toys. Toys and enrichment are part of the rehabilitation process as birds need to be able to play and forage independently – it also decreases other unwanted behaviours.
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