Getting Your Lory - The Basics

 Margrethe Warden


Now that youíve made the decision to get a lory there are several more factors to consider. From where will you get this bird and from whom? How will it arrive? What will you do with it after it arrives?

The best place to start would be with a reputable breeder. There are great people all over the United States and beyond who work with lories and one of them has the type youíre looking for. Start with getting references and asking around. If the breeder provides you with names of previous customers, contact them! Ask all the questions you can think of about the breeder and about the birds. Ask other people not listed as references as well. Most people are not going to give out the names of unsatisfied customers. There is a large network of "lory people" out there. Find them. Theyíre in your community, involved in the local bird club and on the Internet. They can not only give you information about certain breeders but they can also give you information about providing the best care for your new bird.

Once you have decided on where your bird will come from you need to settle on price, payment method and the terms of purchase. It doesnít hurt to check around and find out whatís the current market price for your particular lory. Many good breeders have sales contracts that outline their responsibilities and yours. These contracts usually provide for a health guarantee based on your own vet examining the bird upon its arrival. The agreement should also outline under what conditions, if any, your money can be refunded if the bird is ill or dies soon after its arrival.

You need to know how your lory will be coming to you. If the breeder lives close enough you might be able to arrange to pick it up or to meet partway. If itís coming from out of state the bird will need to be shipped via airline cargo. This would necessitate a trip to your local airport. Many airlines do not ship live animals so itís important to know what airlines fly into your area. The most common carriers seem to be Continental, Delta and US Airways. Shipping is not usually very stressful for the bird; however, it can be a difficult time for the worried new owner. Once the bird is placed inside a shipping container, it usually remains fairly calm in that dark environment. If the bird needs to change planes in transit make sure the shipper allows sufficient time between flights to make that change. Plan to spend anywhere form $100 - $180 for the cost of shipping. Some shippers will use the US Postal Service because the price is less than commercial airlines. The Postal Service is not a recommend shipper as they may bump the bird in favor of more important cargo and it is also ILLEGAL to ship parrots with them.

You need to locate a good avian vet if you donít already have one. Again, your network of bird people will help you with this task. Itís important that the vet be know about birds and vain medicine and hopefully has experience with lories. When youíve established an arrival date for your bird, make an appointment with the vet for a Well Bird check. Most health guarantees require the vet check be done within 3 working days from arrival. Some of the basic tests include a fecal gram stain, a CBC (complete blood count) and an avian panel. These will give the vet a snapshot of the birdís health as well as provide a baseline for future reference.

Now that you know youíll be getting this bird soon youíll also need to have a suitable cage and food available. The minimum cages size in one in which the bird can fully outstretch its wings and be able to turn completely around. Lories use a lot of their cage space, including the top and bottom and all 4 sides so this is a situation where size DOES matter. The bar spacing should be narrow enough that the bird cannot get its head stuck. This cage should be one that is easily cleaned. Removable grates on the bottom and slide out trays are important. Many owners worry about the mess caused by the runny droppings that are typical of lories. This mess can be managed simply. Plastic chair mats sold at any office supply store can provide protection for your carpet. Seed guards, if available can be helpful. Sin inexpensive shower curtain can be hung behind the cage to catch those squirts and thrown fruit and can be easily removed and cleaned. Panels made of acrylic or similar material can be attached to the cage and removed for cleaning. Along with the cage you will need to consider toys. Lories are active and love to play. They enjoy swings and toys they can hand from or undo. They donít chew to the degree other parrots do but they enjoy chipping away at wooden toys. They also enjoy "foot" toys Ė those loose ones on the bottom of the cage that can be tossed around. Those little balls with bells inside that are designed for cats are perfect as long as they are not something a toe could get stuck in. One need not spend a fortune on toys either as pretty much everything is a toy to a lory.

Another thing you need to have ready for your birdís arrival is appropriate food. Lories do not eat the same diet as other parrots. They eat primarily fruit and nectar. A good commercial lory diet is import as is a variety of fresh foods. Have the food available prior to the birdís arrival. Also, ask the seller what type of diet the bird was fed. If different from what you plan to feed, ask that they include some of its normal food when they send it to you.

You are now ready to pick up your new lory!

Margrethe Warden