Please excuse me for the title, but this is a new, updated thread concerning gamebirds vs parrots as pets, and I'm here to tell you why gamebirds are better, not parrots! Lucky for you, I'll post videos of both birds explaining their personalities (take a look at the original of this thread: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1090648/why-not-get-quails-instead-of-parrots):
Gamebirds (friendlier; more amenable), featuring a girl and her peafowl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0mQ1QCmGVA
Parrots (temperamental; more to themselves, but aren't necessarily selfish), featuring cockatoos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lxo8Sr2uYQw
Quails can be fun, entertaining little birds to own (as long as you have the time and effort to attend towards them, of course!), whether you're hungry for their meat, eggs, or just for the sake of them as pets! Personally (in my opinion), quails are better than parrots when it comes to pet birds (sorry if you were offended). Lucky for you, I'll list the reasons why. You've got to see it to believe it!
Quails are game birds; they're in the same order as pheasants and their kin; Galliformes (gamebirds), plump-bodied birds that spend most of their time on the ground. They can fly (normally in quick, short bursts), but they prefer to walk and run as their main means of locomotion, and typically take flight usually to roost or escape a predator.
Parrots, on the other wing (LOL!), are placed in the order Psittaciformes; an order of tropical or sub-tropical birds, often colorful, characterized by a hooked bill and zygodactyl feet. This variety of birds includes budgerigars, cockatoos and cockatiels, lovebirds, conures, amazons, macaws, rosellas, lorikeets and lories, etc. and are some of the most common birds kept as pets.
Quails are my favorite birds to keep as household pets; in fact, we've had many quails in the past, from the diminutive Asian-blue quail to the impressively-vocal bobwhite quail, and everything in between! They're any of the various of small, spurless game birds (excluding the button quail; they are too small for me!) split into 2 families, the New-world quails (Odontophoridae), and the Old-world quails (Phasianidae), in addition to being prized for their euphonic, melodic sounds and calls, each with its own, unique tune varying with species and individual.
Now here's the question: Why are gamebirds (like quails) better pets than parrots?
Ready? Let's go!
Compare the beak of a gamebird's to the beak of a parrot's. What shape is a parrot's beak (or bill)? You guessed it, hooked! The beak of a game bird? Straighter than a parrot's, of course! Imagine, if a game bird, like a quail, bites you, it wouldn't do as much damage as a parrot bite (which can do far more damage)! So, game birds have a straight bill, so it hurts less when they bite. Parrots, on the other hand, because their bills are hooked (hence their alternative term "hookbill"), it'll hurt more (and far more in a large parrot) when they bite! Let me tell you this: I got bitten on my left arm by one of our Rhode Island-red hens we used to have and the bite itself felt like a hard pinch and left minor bruising due to its straight beak. If the chicken were to be a parrot instead (let's use a cockatoo for example), the damage it has did would have been far worse than the injury the hen had already done due to the parrot's hooked beak in addition to clamping down with force that can thrust far greater harm than a chicken's (and in the case of cockatoos, a sharp, 3-pointed hooked bill, thus making cockatoos' bites even more painful!)
You know that hand-feeding a baby bird is very time-consuming and difficult, right? Well, first off, it depends on the bird! Another reason why I pick game birds is because they're precocial, like waterfowl. What does precocial and altricial mean (in case you're wondering)?
Precocial indicates an animal that's born in an advanced state after birth and is able to walk, run, and eat by itself. The only precocial birds I could think of as house pets are game birds and waterfowl, with game birds (particularly quails) being my sole choice. Precocial birds include gamebirds, waterfowl, ostriches, emus, rheas, etc.
Altricial, on the other hand, is not the way to go; after birth, the animal is defined as helpless (and sometimes naked) and will heavily depend on the caretaker for its survival by being fed constantly and attended to throughout the day and night. This is an extremely time-consuming process (unless you really know how to do this precisely!). Altricial birds include parrots, songbirds, pigeons, etc.
Quails, As with many game birds, aren't truly intended for skilled flying, but rather better accustomed to running and walking on foot, as they lean more towards ground birds; plump, relatively heavy bodies along with comparatively short and rounded wings preferably meant for quick, short bursts of flight. Conversely, parrots are proficient flyers and are more suitably adapted for flight, rather than on the ground, and I get really uncomfortable when a bird, like a parrot, is better designed for flight. To understand if I'm okay with having a flighted parrot (which I found out that I'm not), I capture wild songbirds in the bird trap and let them free in the house. Believe me, it was chaos!
Bear in mind: This is why you may have been advised to clip parrots' wings; since parrots are better fliers, take this to limit the parrot's flying capabilities as desired until the owner's needs are satisfied.
Lifespans are another thing to consider, aside from straight bills, precocial young, and preferably being on foot. Think of how long most parrots can live compared to fowl. Larger species of parrots can live to be 60+ years, more than enough to outlive their human caretakers! Gamefowl (like quails) have a shorter life expectancy, so this shouldn't be a big deal (unless you get them in your elderly years!).
Take note of their intelligence and temperament, too. You've heard of stories of parrots causing issues to family members by becoming a problem, right? Maybe not for quails and other gamefowls, but you bet for parrots! So, parrots are some of the most intelligent species of birds out there (aside from corvids like ravens and crows). Because of this, they're also prone to exhibit what seems like behavioral problems (specifically cockatoos) like self-mutilation, feather plucking, destructiveness, excessive screaming/calling, etc. is the moment when they can pose a problem. Parrots can also reveal a habit of becoming temperamentally aggressive towards other individuals (like birds and people) and strictly bond with 1 owner, making game birds a safer, better choice for especially young children to come in contact with. And for any reason, I would never let a toddler get near a parrot of any sort (since parrots are capable of being moody, temperamental, and aggressive). Better watch out for the hooked bill! Their intelligence is also what provides them their ability to talk. While not all parrots can talk, some do! When given the chance, they can swear! Luckily, gamefowl (like quails), being less intelligent, are far less prone to behavioral problems, which in turn, makes them a more "easy-on" kind of bird; with subordinate intelligence gives more amenability within the fowl without having to worry about neurotic behavior in parrots.
Quails (and most other gamefowl) have a much more basic, simpler diet compared to cockatoos (and most other large parrots). According to the MyToos website, it's stated that you have to cook food for them, in addition to providing them a varied diet of fresh veggies and some fruits. This can be difficult to perform, especially on a daily basis. With many species of gamebirds, no worries! There's always the choice of gamebird feed and chicken feed for both starters and growers! But, with baby parrots, since they're altricial, a formula that you're going to have to buy or make your own is definitely a necessity! And of course, that's no easy task!
Good luck to you all...
I hope you folks enjoy this discussion! Feel free to let me know if there's anything else you have to say.
Edited by Quails1 - 4/26/16 at 7:12am