Battle of the Sexes

I work at a pet store.  A very animal conscious, happy, healthy family run pet store.  I love just about everything about my job.  I don’t mind taking care of animals, I don’t mind the work, I don’t mind educating people.  However, I do mind irritating, know it all customers.  Especially when it comes to birds.

Now, I am by no means a bird expert.  However, neither is the woman standing across the counter from me, complaining that an all seed diet is completely adequate for an African Grey.  Of the old man still insisting that lovebirds will die without a partners. 

The thing that set me off on this irritated rampage was a customer who came in the other day.  We are instructed to go and greet the customer when they come in, and ask them if they need anything.  So, being a good employee, I went over and said hello, and asked her if she needed anything.  She rudely brushed me off saying stoutly ‘no I’m just looking’.

Already, I don’t like her.  I totally get if you don’t need any help in our little store, but don’t get all rude on me about it. 

She later comes over and asks if the conure we have in a cage near the register is a jenday or a sun.  I replied a sun.  She then asks me if it is a male or a female.  I replied that it hadn’t been DNA tested and there is no way to be 100% sure of the sex unless it is DNA tested or lays an egg.  At this, the woman swells and lights up.

“Actually,” she said, ” I can tell the sex of a conure by looking at how far apart the pelvic bones are.” 

At this point, I get ready to start tuning her out and want to usher her out the door.  One thing I cannot STAND about work is stupid people who think they know more than me. 

First off, pelvic bone sexing, while it can be useful, is not 100% surefire way to tell the sex of a bird.  And honestly, if I’m going to tell someone the sex of an animal, I want to be 100% sure.  Or I’m going to say something like ‘well, we call it a girl because its smaller, but honestly we don’t know.’

Second off, this conure is still on one hand feeding a day.  It’s not going to be weaned until early September.  Most birds that are correctly sexed pelvicly are older or at least fully mature birds.  Young birds are still growing, and a lot of young female birds’ pelvic bones will remain close together until she reaches a sexual maturity, which in a sun conure is usually somewhere around two years old.  Much quicker to get it DNAed. 

Third off, unless you are extremely experienced in bird handling and bird sexing, you will probably sex your bird wrong using the pelvic method.  Owning a sun conure once in your life before does not constitute being experienced in bird sexing.

And the fact that this woman talked herself up like this just shows her total lack of knowledge.  I thought about preaching to her and educating her a bit, but it would have been waste of my time and energy.  Some people see me as underneath them and refuse to take advice from someone so young and so ‘inexperienced’.

I had another similar ‘sexing battle’ with another customer.  A very rude, bossy, and cheap woman came in around February and bought a parakeet and a cockatiel from us for her neighbor.  I adored the little cockatiel she bought.  He was a cinnamon white face pearl, and actually, he is a full-blooded brother to Lance’s bird, Jules.  I handfed the little tiel, and I was totally crushed when a mean, nasty woman bought him.  I mean, she takes care of her animals, but still. Yeesh.

So, the neighbor kid bring the bird back to get his wings and nails clipped.  I, of course, gush over the little tiel, asking about him, what his name is, and how he’s doing.  I also noticed that he was at the end of a good molt and that he had lost almost all the pearling on his body.  I informed them that they were the proud owners of a boy”

“Oh, our neighbor said that it was a girl!” They exclaimed.   I explained to them that pearl cockatiels lose their pearling if they are males usually within the first molt.

The neighbor comes in to get her bird clipped as well.  I was ducked behind the counter getting someone a mouse when I hear them inform her that their bird is indeed a male.

” Who told you that?!  I told you it was a girl!”

” The little dark-haired girl who works here.  She said because it lost its spot-“

“Well, don’t listen to her.  She doesn’t know anything.”

Pardon me. 

Once again, I would like to tell this woman that just because she owns a parrot doesn’t make her an expert.  I highly doubt she has ever looked up any basic information on her birds if she doesn’t even know male pearls loose the spots. 

Doubt me?  Read for yourself


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