Story and Photos by Delaney Rohrs | Contributing Writer
The exotic bird fair, which is held bi-annually in March and September, was hosted at the Tennessee Livestock Center on campus this weekend.
The floor of the small animal arena was bustling with vendors eager to sell and trade a wide variety of birds, toys, food, cages, and other supplies as early as 9 a.m.
Bonnie Vance, who owns “Shack in the Back Exotic Birds” in Junction City, Kentucky said that they loaded a 16-foot trailer to be able to attend the event and that she and her husband both still work full-time jobs while doing bird fairs throughout the year.
“[The company] raises and sells about 200 birds per year” said Vance, “when you hand feed and hand raise them, they become sweethearts.”
Contrary to the event name, birds were not the only animals on display.
Another table near Vance’s was selling marmoset monkeys and sugar gliders.
Amanda Longo, who became involved in the exotic animal business through a friend, warned prospective owners to be aware of scams and the time commitment required by these unique pets.
“A lot of people think that you can work a 9-5 job and have a monkey, but that’s just not true” she said.
At another booth, Gretta Price and her husband Donald showed off their talking African Gray parrot, Abagail.
The Prices have been in the bird business since 1991 after they bought their first bird as a pet.
Gretta said they were “trying to get information out to people about the different species of the birds” and said the fair was a great place to get all that you need in one place.
The fair was open to the public with free admission and welcomed both experienced owners and those just looking to dip their toes in the water. Details about the next event can be found on the MTSU livestock calendar.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email email@example.com.
For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News