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Winter Storm Plans

It looks like we’re going to have a big storm in town starting tomorrow and continuing through the day on Saturday. I’m planning to be at the store until the snow starts falling but will close when it does and probably won’t open again until Tuesday of next week. I’ll update this post if anything changes.

If you need anything please be sure to come in before noon tomorrow (the current forecast calls for snow to begin around noon). Conditions permitting, I’ll be in every day of the weekend to check on the rescue/sanctuary birds and I’ll be happy to meet anyone who needs supplies at the store then. Just send me a message and let me know you need to meet up and we’ll make arrangements.

PORT ORCHARD WEATHER

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Emergency Shelter

As always, emergency boarding is available for anyone who needs it due to damage or power loss.

Stay safe and warm this weekend!

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Tornado Hits Port Orchard

Emergency Pet Bird Shelter at Port Orchard Parrots Plus

A strong tornado struck Port Orchard around 2:00 pm today (PST) causing extensive damage to homes and business.  If there are any pet birds in the impacted area that need emergency shelter please bring them to Port Orchard Parrots Plus at 595 Bethel Avenue in Port Orchard.

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Sunflower Seeds: Pro and Con

Balancing Avian Nutrition with Quality of Life

“Sunflower seeds have no nutritional value for birds. My avian vet said so.”

Has anyone ever said this (or something like it) to you?  I hear it frequently from parrot owners but I’ve never personally heard an avian vet say it. Maybe that will change with publication of this article.

The claim that sunflower seeds have no nutritional value is false.  Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E (an important anti-oxidant which is useful in the prevention of arthritis, heart disease, and other crippling conditions), magnesium (necessary for nerve and muscle growth), and selenium (which aids in cell repair and has been shown to help prevent cancers).

Sunflower seeds (like most nuts and seeds) are relatively high in fat so you do need to limit their quantity in your bird’s diet.  While it’s true that there are other, healthier sources of the nutrients contained in sunflower seeds that makes little difference to your bird who may or may not be willing to eat the healthier foods.

Beware of Absolutes

Balance in all things is the key to a happier, healthier life for birds and people alike.  When you hear someone say that something is always good or always bad, be skeptical – especially when it comes to nutrition.  What we feed our birds is obviously important, but so is their quality of life.  If your bird loves sunflower seeds let them have a few now and then.  Better yet, use their love of sunflower seeds as a bonding, training or foraging opportunity. The more activity you associate with a treat they love the better. You and your bird will be happier and healthier for it.

Why Sunflower Seeds Have a Dubious Reputation

As the presenter in the video above mentions, sunflower seeds were (at one time) a staple food for parrots – the reason being that they tend to go crazy for them and we humans didn’t know any better. As more research became available avian nutrition experts began to recognize that a diet based primarily on seeds is unhealthy for parrots. Note the use of the word “primarily” in that last sentence.  We humans have a tendency to overreact – especially when it comes to things that might pose a danger to those we love – and that’s what we’ve done to the poor, unsuspecting sunflower seed.

Avian Nutrition Basics

What’s true for us is also true for our birds.  Freshly prepared foods are best, but most of us have to rely on packaged foods because of the demands placed on us by jobs, families, community, and other factors.  For us, a diet consisting of 60% pellets, 30% fresh or dehydrated vegetables and fruits, and 10% treats (like nuts and seeds) is a workable compromise that – combined with plenty of activity and attention from you – will give your birds their best chance at a long, healthy, and rich life.

Be mindful of what you do and do the best you can with the resources at your disposal, but don’t let it become an obsession. I bet your avian vet will agree.

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Groomer Down! Limited Appointment Availability and Change of Location Through the Rest of 2018

Groomer Down!

Limited Appointment Availability and Change of Location Through the Rest of 2018

Just a reminder that Tonia (my sister-in-law and one of the two groomers who handle parrots at The Groomery) will be out of commission through the end of 2018 due to shoulder surgery.  We’re still doing grooming, but only two days a week in the late afternoon.  Parrot grooming services are available between 4pm and 5pm, Wednesdays and Saturdays through the end of the year.  We will return to our normal schedule on January 2, 2019 assuming that everything proceeds as expected with Tonia’s recovery.

You can still book your appointments online which will move you to the front of the line at your appointment time.  Walk-ins are welcome but please be patient as we will serve those with appointments first.

To schedule an appointment, just click the button below.

IMPORTANT:  During this time, grooming will be done at Port Orchard Parrots Plus, not at The Groomery.  If you accidentally go to The Groomery don’t worry about it.  Just head on up here and we’ll take care of you.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.  Thanks!

P.S.  Don’t forget to check your email for discount coupons from us before booking your appointments.  They’re usually valid for only 30 days (sometimes less) from the date of issue so don’t miss out on your savings!

P.P.S.  If you’d like to send Tonia a get well message, here’s a link to The Groomery’s Facebook page! <3

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Speaking of Beaks

You may have noticed that we offer wing and nail trimming at Port Orchard Parrots Plus, but not beak trimming. Have you wondered why?  The best answer we can give to this is that abnormal beak growth is frequently a sign of a more serious problem.  Beaks are constantly growing – just like nails and wings – and an active, healthy parrot will usually wear their beaks down by chewing, foraging, playing, grinding, and rubbing them against rough surfaces.  If that’s not happening, your first call should be to your avian veterinarian to rule out any health problems that may be contributing factors.

Creating a Beak Friendly Home Environment

In a natural environment birds have many different types of objects that help keep beak growth under control.  As pet guardians it’s up to us to reproduce as much of that as we can.  Perches should have different diameters and textures so that your bird can use them to wear down their beaks.  Make sure that your parrot isn’t using a rough surfaced perch all the time as this can cause sores on their feet as well as too much wear on their beaks.  Cuttlebones, and mineral blocks help smaller birds keep their beaks in good shape, and of course chewing toys of all shapes and sizes are a must.  Just be sure that your parrot is only chewing the toys and not ingesting them unless they’re specifically made to be eaten.

Leave Those Beaks Alone!

Most parrots don’t need to have their beaks trimmed.  As long as the beak isn’t growing abnormally there’s no need for you to do anything with it.  Beaks can become malformed in ways that interfere with a parrot’s ability to eat, or so long that there is a risk that it could puncture the skin.  If this is happening with your parrot, your first stop must be your avian veterinarian rather than a pet groomer.  As conscientious and well meaning as your groomer may be, they simply don’t have the training and experience (not to mention the resources) to correctly diagnose the cause of such unusual growth.

How Beak Trimming is Done (If it Must Be Done)

The grooming procedure itself is not overly complicated but it is never advisable for you to do it yourself.  A groomer or veterinarian will generally use a tool like a file or dremel to gently and gradually wear away the surface growth just as the bird would do naturally – but at a faster rate of course.  Wings, nails, and beaks are fed by blood vessels that – if knicked – can bleed profusely.  It’s essential that the person grooming your parrot knows exactly what to do if bleeding occurs.  A clotting agent must be quickly applied and firm pressure applied to the wound until all bleeding stops.  Ordinary household flour works great as a clotting agent as do the many over-the-counter clotting agents sold by Port Orchard Parrots Plus and other pet supply retailers.

Stress Management

Parrots seem to tolerate wing and nail trimming without too much stress, but that may be due to the fact that they can’t easily see what’s happening.  Beak trimming can be – but need not be a stressful experience for them, so when you’re all done, make sure you return your parrot to a safe, non-stressful environment as soon as possible let them calm down.

Of course their favorite treats should always be on hand to let them know how proud you are of their extraordinary bravery.  You may want to treat yourself too while you’re at it.

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About Us

A Brief History of Port Orchard Parrots and Port Orchard Parrots Plus

2004: Rein Baker, Owner

Port Orchard Parrots (now Port Orchard Parrots Plus) has been a family-owned business since it was founded in the summer of 2004 by Rein Baker, a breeder of many different parrot species in Southern California since the early 1990s, and later near Fragaria (southeast of Port Orchard) and in Ocean Shores, Washington.

Locations

Rein initially shared space with The Groomery (owned and operated by her daughter (my sister-in-law) Tonia Baker  and my sister, Traci Penland) on Bay Street near the Hwy. 16 interchange. In 2007 both businesses relocated to Frederick Avenue in downtown Port Orchard and remained there until March 2016 when we moved to our current location on Bethel Avenue, just downhill from the Mile Hill/Bethel roundabout.

2009: Phyllis Penland, Owner

Phyllis Penland and Pookie
Phyllis Penland and Pookie

My mother (Phyllis Penland) worked part time with Rein and on her own for several years (hand-raising many of the parrots bred by Rein’s flock and her own flock of Lovebirds).  In 2009 she purchased Port Orchard Parrots from Rein. Mom brought her many years experience rescuing other types of animals (in particular her beloved basset hounds) to the parrot world and soon had a store full of rescued birds of her own, whom she loved as only a devoted mother can.

When Mom bought Port Orchard Parrots it was one of several parrot-related businesses in the area, however all the others went away over the years and only Port Orchard Parrots remained. In addition to caring for her flock, Mom would spend hours every day introducing them to curious tourists and other visitors who wandered in, providing boarding and grooming services for those who needed it, placing homeless parrots in new, loving homes, discouraging parrot ownership for those who were clearly not ready for the unique challenges that entailed, and debating politics with anyone who had the stomach for it.  No shrinking violet, my mother.

Mom was seriously injured in an unfortunate fall in September 2010 and spent more than a year recuperating from her injuries. My Dad Mike (who was still operating his own very successful classic car parts recycling and sales business in Mojave, California and commuting between there and Port Orchard on a regular basis to be with Mom) eventually decided to make the move to Port Orchard a permanent one.  He started a new business with my sister Traci (Key Coins and Collectibles) and between Mom, Dad, Traci, Tonia and various other friends and family members, Port Orchard Parrots continued to thrive in spite of Mom’s ongoing disability.

2016: Todd Penland, Owner

Xena and Todd (March 2016)
Xena and Todd (March 2016)

Time passed and the business continued to grow, however Mom’s health continued to be a problem for her.  Her leg injury continued to restrict her freedom of movement and eventually she decided that more help was needed. Of all the members of our family, I was the only one with a job that can be done anywhere (I’ve been a self-employed software developer since the late 1980s, working in far-flung locations all around the United States, Europe, and Asia), and in October 2015 Mom and Dad asked me to come to work at Port Orchard Parrots. I agreed and set up shop in the front of Mom’s business, creating software and taking care of Mom’s flock, her boarders, and the retail business with Mom’s help and guidance. I knew absolutely nothing about parrots when I started this, and would probably never have considered making this a second profession. Then Xena happened.

Our current location, 595 Bethel Avenue, Port Orchard
Our current location, 595 Bethel Avenue, Port Orchard

As it happened, Mom decided to retire in March 2016 and I – having fallen in love with everything to do with Parrots – decided to buy the business from her. Due to the deteriorating condition of the building in which Port Orchard Parrots and The Groomery were located, I made the decision (along with Dad, Tonia, and Traci) to move. The Groomery stayed in downtown Port Orchard (on Dekalb Street where it meets Bay Street) and I moved Port Orchard Parrots to its current location at 595 Bethel Avenue.

In the summer of 2016 I decided to expand the focus of Port Orchard Parrots to include products and services for all types of exotic pets and to set up our online store at POParrots.com. I renamed the business Port Orchard Parrots Plus to reflect our expanded offerings and have been working ever since (keeping my software development skills well-honed) as the primary developer of the online business – another thing I’d never done before.

Over the years I’ve come to love parrots more than I could ever have imagined possible. Sadly I lost Xena in July of 2017 and my early days as a parront have been rocky ones. Through it all I’ve had the support of a wonderful community of clients and their feathered family members keeping me busy with boarding, grooming, daycare, pet sitting, and providing the supplies they need to lead happy and healthy lives. I’ve continued the work Mom began with Port Orchard Parrot Rescue and in the process I’ve helped find new homes for many homeless birds, and even adopted a flock of my own along the way – made up of (at this writing) three African Grey parrots, three Cockatiels, a Sun Conure, an Indian Ringneck, a Cinammon Green Cheek Conure, and a Zebra Finch. Of course I consider myself a temporary caretaker for most of them as I continue looking for just the right people who can provide permanent homes for them. In the meantime, we take it one day at a time (along with my dog Minion), living with, learning from, and loving each other as we share this little adventure of ours. Funny how life works out when you were busy making other plans.

Todd Penland, President
Penland Investments Inc. DBA Port Orchard Parrots Plus
May 2018

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Remembering Xena

I can write now though talking will still be difficult for me. My baby Xena has flown on to whatever comes next in life. She passed away earlier this evening (August 13, 2017) and I just drove her home one last time. She was only ten years old and we should have had many, many more years together. Sadly, that will not be.

Xena was the first parrot to adopt me. She adored me for some reason right from the start, frequently hopping down off her cage and walking (calling “Hey Xena!” all the way) to wherever I was. I’d never had any type of bird and had never even considered having one until we met. There was just something irresistable about her and how attached she was to me even though I didn’t have the first clue what to do with her. She opened my eyes to the world of captive birds – with all the joy and sadness that entails – and she was my constant companion for the past few years. She was also something of a mascot at Port Orchard Parrots where she greeted everyone with her distinctive double chirp or a suspicious glare – depending on her mood. She was famous for saying “Hey Xena”, “where’s Xena”, “kiss, kiss”, and assorted other mumblings no one could understand but that sounded suspiciously like her first Mama Carol, a family friend who raised Xena as a baby dinosaur and was with her until Carol died in March of 2011.

Everyone who saw Xena commented on how strikingly beautiful she was – until she bit them when they weren’t looking. To me she was always beautiful though, bites and all. She liked to steal ice cream from me and had been known to try to stand in the middle of my dinner plate when something I was eating struck her fancy. She was a wanderer from the day I met her and I never dreamed she would be wandering off so soon. I had imagined that we’d grow old together, two crotchety old ladies turning greyer with each passing day.

This is a difficult goodbye. I’m not ready for it still, even though I know I have no choice. I hope the years she spent with me were happy for her. I know they have been for me – and specifically because of her. She was my teacher and my friend and I can’t imagine not seeing her beautiful little head bouncing up and down every time I look where she should be. I don’t believe that life ever ends so I don’t feel the finality of this loss the way so many of us do, but I share the absence of a familiar voice, a familiar sweet powdery smell, her brilliant dark eyes gazing up into mine as she perched on my chest (her favorite place on Earth to be but pretty painful without a shirt on).

There’s nothing more to say now. When I close my eyes I can imagine her in flight, soaring as birds are meant to do beyond the confines of cages. I want to think of her that way from now on. My sweet, clingy, noisy, dusty, prickly, faithful companion flying free at last.

Bon voyage my baby.

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Giving Back

REMINDER:  We’ve received a couple of votes for organizations outside of Washington State.  At this time, the donations will be allocated (by the percentage of votes received) only to in-state organizations.  Thanks for the participation though!


This has been such an eventful year for Port Orchard Parrots: a new location, many new friends and clients, and so much more to be grateful for.  As a way to show our gratitude we’re going to donate 5% of our retail sales this month to one or more local or regional rescues, sanctuaries, and/or other non-profits helping at-risk parrots.

We already know a few worthy recipients but we’re looking to our community to help us identify others. Hence this poll.

Tell us who you would like is to donate to. You can choose as many of the options as you like, and you can add others that aren’t in the list yet.  Our only conditions are that they must be a registered 501c3 non-profit and that they be located in Washington State.

LIMIT: ONE SUBMISSION PER PERSON, PER DAY.
Come back again tomorrow and vote again if you like. Voting ends at midnight on January 1, 2017.

If you add a recipient, it won’t appear in the list until we add it manually.  Your first vote will appear under “Other Answers” but will still be counted toward the final result.

Thank you so much for your continued support of Port Orchard Parrots after all these years.  We’re looking forward to many more with you.
Happy Holidays to you all!

Editor note:  Poll result are no longer available.

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Purchasing Cooperative: To All Non-Profits and Animal Related Businesses

What’s a Purchasing Cooperative?

I’ve mentioned this in conversations before, but I don’t think I’ve ever written anything about it here on the website:

“A purchasing cooperative is a type of cooperative arrangement, often among businesses, to agree to aggregate demand to get lower prices from selected suppliers. Retailers’ cooperatives are a form of purchasing cooperative. It is often used by government agencies to reduce costs of procurement.” ~ Wikipedia

hands1All of us who buy wholesale either have to go to the vendor’s location to pick up our own purchases, or meet minimum requirements for free or discounted shipping. I’ve always thought (whether we are competitors or not) that small businesses and non-profits ought to (as long as they’re willing) combine their purchases so that minimums could be reached sooner, and (hopefully) to get the best possible pricing through our combined buying power that we can’t get by buying individually.

As a retailer, Port Orchard Parrots buys from multiple vendors all across the country on a regular basis. These vendors sell bird products of course, but they also sell a wide array of other animal products which could be ordered along with the bird products. This type of arrangement can go a long way toward helping those of us who operate small brick and mortar businesses (as well as online retailers) compete with the big-box stores and online giants like Amazon. I think it’s an ideal solution to a problem all of us face all the time.

So, if you have a resale license or are otherwise exempt from paying sales tax, and are interested in working with Port Orchard Parrots on this, please contact me.  Even if you aren’t exempt from sales taxes, I’m betting that we can work out a deal on bulk orders that’s better than you’re currently getting.

I’m going to be placing several orders on Monday of next week so we could get started right away if you’re interested, but I order almost every week if Monday is too soon. Let me know if you’re interested.

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Olympic Bird Fanciers

After months of procrastinating I finally made it to a meeting of the Olympic Bird Fanciers Club in Port Orchard earlier today (Sunday, October 9th).  I’m so glad I did.

Olympic Bird Fanciers (OBF) is a non-profit group formed in 2003 to “promote the education and preservation of birds and provide a service to birds and bird owners”.  The group is involved in outreach and education for bird owners and anyone else interested in learning more about them.  Additionally, the group has been known to band together to help recover lost birds and to assist those who can no longer care for their birds in finding new homes for them.  The group sponsors a very well received exhibit each year at the Kitsap County Fair where the public is invited to view many of the exotic feathered friends kept by members of the group, as well as an annual Bird Expo in Port Orchard that takes over the whole bottom floor of the Eagles Aerie on Jackson Avenue for a day each April.

OBF at the Kitsap County Fair
OBF at the Kitsap County Fair – image credit: Bainbridge Island Review

The group meets monthly at the Active Club Community Center in Port Orchard to discuss various topics related to bird care and nurturing.  Today’s presentation was a very informative discussion of bird “escapes”, how to prevent them, and what to do if it happens to you.  Group member Pam (last name withheld since I haven’t asked permission to use it) led the group through a surprisingly well researched package of guidelines on the subject, and I’m glad to say that I picked up several useful tips I hadn’t considered before.  I’m very grateful to the group for inviting me to attend and very pleased with myself for not letting work keep me from attending.  I now have my membership application safely in hand.

Olympic Bird Fanciers Club Bird Expo
A glimpse inside the annual Bird Expo hosted by Olympic Bird Fanciers in Port Orchard – image credit: allevents.in

Others who are interested in joining Olympic Bird Fanciers may do so formally or informally through their public group on Facebook (with a current membership of 394 and rising).  The cost of an annual membership is very affordable at only $25 for an individual ($35 for families) and comes with benefits including a 20% discount on most goods and services available from Port Orchard Parrots and POParrots.com.  Free memberships are available for junior members, and seniors 62 years of age or older get $5 off the individual and/or family memberships.

If you love your birds as much as I love mine or you’re just curious about a life with birds in it, check out Olympic Bird Fanciers.  You’ll be glad you did too.


WHAT:  Olympic Bird Fanciers Club

WHERE:  Active Club Community Center, 1025 Tacoma Avenue, Port Orchard

WHEN:  Second Sunday of each month at 1:30pm