Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Parrots - a Popular Pet in Nicaragua

Pancho
When we first arrived in Nicaragua we couldn't help but notice how many households had birds as pets. From almost every house you could hear the happy chirping of birds and almost every time we went to the market we saw little babies being sold. Also, many owners take their birds to work with them - at least a lot of the street vendors do. You will see the birds either in a small cage or loose near the owner. Without doubt the most popular pet parrot in León seems to be the small green parrot also known as a Chocoyo.

We decided that even though we had absolutely no experience with birds that we would like to see what all the fuss was about. Our first step was to buy a cage. There are many sizes and styles available at both the Central and Estacion markets.  We chose a cage that was on the larger side and had legs (as opposed to the ones you hang). Once we had a good cage we set about looking for a baby Chocoyo. One afternoon we went to all the markets looking for a baby but with no success. We were told that we would have to wait a few months until some were available.

Then, one afternoon a friend told us that a Chocoyo had "flown" into their yard and it needed a new home - did we want it? Although we were hoping to have a baby bird we decided we would give this poor little guy a chance. We decided to call him Pancho and he really is a sorry sight to see. We don't know how long he was away from his previous owners but the little guy was so stressed that he has pulled out all of his chest feathers. We're hoping that he hasn't developed a permanent habit of doing so because he looks like a plucked chicken (at least on his chest).


Pancho our pet Chocoyo

It doesn't cost very much to get set up to have a bird. This large cage only cost us 280 cordobas or approximately $11.50 CDN. Also, a bag of bird seed from La Union was only 50.5 cordobas or $2.07 CDN. Bananas - his favorite treat - are 1 cordoba each.