A customer recently asked me to locate cholla wood for him (he uses it to make perches and chew toys for his parrot). In the process I found a great new manufacturer of natural products for reptiles as well as parrots and other birds. I fell in love with their unique design and natural quality and decided straight away to bring them to Port Orchard.
Galapagos Reptile Gear is located in Southern California and produces a wide range of substrate, moss, wood, and other natural products that are obviously great for reptiles, but surprising useful for other exotic pets too.
Among our favorite finds are the Mossy Birdhouses. Although they’re clearly built for birds, we’ve seen them used as hides for snakes and other reptiles too. They really serve a lot of uses and are equally useful indoor or outdoors. We’ve purchased a large selection of them that you can see in the store now. Customers who have already seen them are raving about them and we think you will too.
If you’re in Port Orchard and you haven’t had a chance to see these great products yet, drop by for a visit. We’re always happy to see you (and the parrots love the attention too)! If you’re shopping online, take a look at the full line of Galapagos products here.
Why We’re Having Trouble Stocking Harrison’s Food Products Right Now
I’ve disappointed a few people over the past few weeks with assurances that my new Harrison’s shipment would be arriving soon – and then not. I’m still working on it but there’s a bit of a problem with this particular brand that a small business like mine has some trouble overcoming. I’ll try to explain, starting with this announcement from May 10 of this year:
Harrison’s Is Competing with it’s Own Distributors and Resellers
I want to start by saying that I think Harrison’s is a great product and a great company. None of this information is meant to disparage either, but simply to inform you of the challenges I’m facing due to a change in Harrison’s online sales policy.
In May of this year Harrison’s notified all of their distributors and resellers that they would no longer honor certain orders placed on Amazon.com – the biggest online marketplace of all – and that our ability to continue selling their products (even in our retail stores) could be jeopardized if we are found in violation of this policy. As I understand it, Harrison’s is now selling directly to the public on Amazon which is putting a lot of pressure on distributors and retailers alike who have to cut their prices in order to compete directly with the manufacturer – a game which is ultimately unwinnable for anyone but the manufacturer. It’s an unfortunate decision by Harrison’s that we have no option but to follow.
As a result of this, both of my Harrison’s distributors have now told me that they won’t fill orders for Harrison’s products alone; that I’ll have to order a significant quantity (about 50% of each total order) of other products in order to receive any Harrison’s products at all. If you’ve ever had a business like mine, you probably know already that I can’t afford to buy a bunch of products I don’t really need just so I can get the one product I do need.
I thought perhaps buying directly (as a reseller) from Harrison’s would be an answer to this problem, but after several contacts with the company I’ve come up empty handed. They will not sell directly to small stores like mine; we must purchase our products through their approved distributors.
I intend to continue carrying Harrison’s products because I have so many customers who really like them, but until I can come up with enough orders for toys and other supplies that these particular distributors carry I have to wait.
You Can Help Relieve This Temporary Shortage
If you (and anyone else you know who buys Harrison’s products) would be willing to help us compile a big enough order to overcome this temporary shortage it would be immensely helpful.
You can do this by back-ordering out-of-stock Harrison’s products, toys, and other bird supplies through Port Orchard Parrots Plus or POParrots.com. This is not only a big help for us, but a great deal for you if you can afford to wait a few weeks to pick up your order. By combining your order with ours you won’t have to pay any shipping charges, and you can use your rewards points and in-store pickup discounts to save as much as 20% off the retail price. Hopefully that incentive will make it worth the inconvenience of waiting.
If this is something you might consider, just click (or press) the image below to browse our Harrison’s products.
As always, I’m available to respond to any questions or comments you may have about this. I will do my level best to resolve this as quickly as I possibly can and adjust my purchasing plans so that I buy more toys and other products from my Harrison’s suppliers going forward. Any help you can offer at this time to speed that process along is greatly appreciated.
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.
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
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
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.
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
Did you know that Port Orchard Parrots Plus | POParrots.com carries products for wildlife lovers too? Well we do, and during the month of March we’re lowering our regular prices on products for wild birds and animals (which are already guaranteed to be the lowest available in-store or online) by 10%. Add rewards points (up to 5%) and in-store pickup of online orders (another 5%) and you can save an astonishing 20% off regular retail prices – but only during the month of March. Now is the time to stock up for spring, summer, and fall. Here are some examples:
Pro Tip: Use Safflower Seed to Protect Your Bird Feeders from Squirrels
Squirrels generally love seeds and – as anyone with an outdoor bird feeder can attest – will quickly relieve you and your birds of their food. Wild birds love safflower seed but squirrels don’t. This year, offer safflower seed and other foods that squirrels don’t like and watch your wild bird population boom! Be sure to feed the squirrels elsewhere though. They need love too!
Every day clients ask me to recommend the best toys for their parrot. Choosing the best parrot toys is a challenge – especially for new parronts or those of limited means. Parrot toys can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. One of our goals at Port Orchard Parrots Plus is to help parronts reduce the cost of caring for their companions while still maintaining a happy and healthy quality of life for the birds.
The toys should fit the bird – and we’re not just talking about size (though that is very important). In addition to making sure that the toys you choose are the right size for your parrot, making sure that they enhance your parrot’s quality of life is what it’s all about. So how do you do that?
Start by watching your bird’s natural behavior. Do they like to chew things? Do they enjoy tearing up papers? Are they foragers? Are they easily bored? Know the answers to these questions before you start shopping for toys and you’ll avoid wasting money on toys that are unlikely to interest your parrot.
Know Your Parrot
Chewing toys are frequently made of wood blocks made from natural bird-safe wood, shells, and other natural materials. Birds who like to chew (and what bird doesn’t?) will be entertained for days or weeks by the colors and shapes of their chew-toys, and they look great in cages and aviaries too.
Shredding toys are most often made of natural paper, palm leaves, and other bird-safe materials that are relatively easy (compared to wood) for your bird to shred. Birds that love to tear things up should always have something you don’t mind them destroying within easy reach.
Some birds love to burrow under papers and other things in their cages looking for objects that interest them. Treats, foot toys, balls with bells in them – basically anything a beak can push around or a talon can hold – will foot the bill just fine. Make sure that your little forager never comes up empty-handed on their treasure hunts.
Avoiding boredom is essential if you want to keep your bird happy. Giving them things to do that challenge their birdie brains (as well as their merrymaking tendencies) will go a long way toward achieving this goal. Humans have come up with all sorts of ingenious toys that can help your birds learn to work a bit for their rewards. Don’t forget to include these in your bird habitats. They’ll thank you for it.
And while you’re at it, change things up occasionally. Don’t just put those toys in the cage and forget about them! Swap them out with other toys from time to time (you need to clean them anyway, so you have a good excuse in case the bird complains).
Bells and Whistles…
…well, bells and mirrors really. Parrots tend to enjoy making noise and gazing at themselves. (Admit it, if you looked like them you would too.) Don’t forget these very important ingredients when preparing your shopping list.
The Best Parrot Toys May Be Your Own
Are you the crafty sort? Why not make your own toys? Your parrot supply storekeeper will help you find all sorts of bird-safe materials which you can combine to create unique and intriguing toys for your own birds, and who knows: you might find others who want to buy them from you! Many a successful toy-maker started in their own homes, making things for their own birds.
Let Your Parrot Choose
Does your pet supply store allow you to bring your parrot shopping with you? Port Orchard Parrots Plus encourages parronts to bring their birds. Shopping with your parrot can be a rewarding experience for both of you, not to mention all the new friends you’ll make along the way. (Nothing breaks the ice with strangers better than the appearance of a parrot in their midst!)
If you and your parrot enjoy shopping together, why not let your parrot choose his/her toys? Take the time to walk around the store and pay close attention to the things that interest your parrot. This will be an important clue in choosing toys so pay attention. If your bird is fixated on that wooden block plaything, that might be just the thing to make your beaky baby happy for days!
Like everything else in life, parrot toys require a healthy dose of caution. Not all toys are made with the same care and quality, and it’s important for both you and your shopkeeper to stay on top of things that can pose a danger to your parrot. Knowing the answer to how toys are dyed (for example) is essential. Food coloring, cake icing color, and non-toxic tempera paint are bird-safe. Anything else should be avoided unless you’re certain that it’s safe for your parrot.
Inspect Toys Regularly
Toys that start out perfectly safe can become a hazard over time as your bird plays with them. Pay close attention to chipping and cracking that can result in small pieces of the toy breaking away. These can pose a choking or splintering risk and should be removed as soon as you see them. Hooks, chains, and rope can also become hazards if your bird has a leg band or a tendency to eat the things they shred. Keep your bird’s nails trimmed so that they don’t inadvertently get caught on ropes, cloth, chains and other toy parts.
All animals are sexual beings and birds are no exception. Occasionally birds become fixated and the next thing you know that cute little toy you bought to keep your baby happy is – well – making them happy in a way you didn’t intend. This might seem funny at first but it can have deadly consequences (see avian cloacal prolapse or vent prolapse for more information but be prepared for a shock). If your bird is using his/her plaything as a sex toy, remove it from their habitat at once.
Finally, don’t overcrowd your bird’s environment with too many toys. Leave plenty of open space for your bird to move around and spread their wings. Place their toys in corners and along the edges of their cages and avoid overcrowding the center with things that will prevent them from moving freely.
Knowing the hazards your bird may face is important, but try not to let caution take over your life and prevent you and your parrot from enjoying your time together. None of us gets out of here alive. Bad things happen to even the most responsible parrots and parronts. Just do the best you can and then let go of the rest. Nobody is perfect.
Best Parrot Toys Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
We hope you found this article useful and enjoyable but if we’ve missed anything please let us know about it in the comments. If we use any of your ideas to update this post we’ll reward you for your input! We’re learning all the time – just like you are. Tell us about your toy buying/making experiences. Share photos of your birds with their favorite toys in our parrot toys forum.
In addition to our retail activities, Port Orchard Parrots Plus also operates a parrot rescue. We never sell live animals in our store and we never charge a rehoming fee for the parrots we rescue (although donations to help offset the cost of caring for these homeless birdies are always welcome and encouraged).
Come See Us!
If you’re in the Western Washington area, please stop by Port Orchard Parrots Plus and say hello. We love meeting our online clients and Port Orchard is a lovely place to visit. Hope to see you soon!
Exciting news! We’ve secured accounts with three new suppliers this week – vastly increasing our access to bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, pond, and small animal products as well as a whole new line of large animal supplies. Our goal is to make Port Orchard Parrots Plus your one-stop-shop for all exotic pet products in Western Washington.
Here’s a list of just some of the brands we have available now. It’s going to take some time to get all of these products on the website but we’re working on it every day. We’re going to need a bigger store!
At Port Orchard Parrots Plus we’re all about supporting locally owned small businesses whenever we can. Of course we carry all the big-name national brands, but whenever we have a chance to focus the spotlight on local products and the people who make them, that’s what we’re going to do.
Save Up to 10% with Double Rewards Points!
Starting now, you will earn double rewards points for every locally-made product we sell as well as products made by Northwest-based non-profits like Parrots for Patriots. This means you can save double when you exchange your points for discounts on other products and services – and you’ll be helping your neighbors grow their businesses too! What could be better than that? [popp-row] [popp-column lg=”4″ md=”4″ sm=”1″ xs=”1″ ]
Spread the word! Buying – and selling – locally is IN at Port Orchard Parrots Plus!
What About You?
If you’re local (based in Western Washington) or a non-profit based anywhere in the Pacific Northwest and you have exotic pet products to sell (not just parrot products), get in touch with us. We’d love to help promote your work too!
Last night we finished outfitting Peaches the Peach-Faced Lovebird with her new home (replacing the severely delapidated digs she came with when she was rescued by our customer, Toni B. in Olalla. Port Orchard Parrots supplied the cage and all the goodies – including a nice healthy pellet-based diet to replace the seed-based food she had been eating.
Do you need a new cage (or cages) for your babies? Talk to us. We offer complete installation and outfitting services for those of you who don’t want to do it yourself, and we can get cages at reasonable prices from almost any manufacturer. For those preferring something a little fancier, we can also help arrange custom habitat construction for you. Financing available on approved credit. Come into the store and talk with us, or send us a message here. Let’s see what we can do for you!
Order online and pick it up at the store and save 5% on your order (before taxes). If you’re planning to come to the store anyway, this is another great way to save on your purchases from Port Orchard Parrots.
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We offer free same day delivery on orders of $100 or more (limited delivery area). This is a great option for those large bags of food you’ve been considering to cut down on feeding costs! Let us do the heavy lifting for you.
As an extra incentive (as if there weren’t enough already), we’re offering double rewards points to every customer who takes advantage of one of these options from now through the month of January 2017. We’re really excited about our online offerings and want everyone to experience that too!
Don’t See What You Want Online?
Remember, this is a new online store. We literally have access to THOUSANDS MORE PRODUCTS that aren’t currently posted. Todd’s working feverishly to add more as quickly as possible, but he’s only one man. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, tell him about it. If he can find it, he’ll add it and let you know when it’s done.