If you are a total novice in birdkeeping and have never owned a parrot before, there are a lot of things you must consider before you choose a pet parrot.
Parrots are one of the most intelligent animals that can be great companions providing endless hours of fun and entertainment provided you take good care of them. With an IQ considered to be similar to that of a 2-year-old toddler, their constant antics and inquisitive nature will surely lead to an amusing and rewarding experience.
However, these birds require a lot more attention and care, unlike common pets like cats and dogs. They are extremely dependent on their owners and they usually have a long lifespan, when looked after well, that demands prolonged dedication from their owners.
A Complete Guide To Choose A Right Pet Parrot!
Here we’ve tried to list some key aspects that can help you choose a pet parrot that is right for your lifestyle and your environment.
Is it good to have a pet parrot?
Although it can be an extremely demanding endeavor that requires your regular attention in terms of preparing their food, cleaning their cages, replacing their toys, taking them out for walks every day, etc. parrots are often one of the most rewarding pets to have.
They can be silly and unpredictable and surprise you in hilarious ways by picking up on your conversations and engaging verbally.
Maintenance can be an expensive factor considering the initial costs for a suitable cage and then replacing their toys regularly (they will get worn out pretty soon).
It can also be difficult to manage them when they get cranky and squawking constantly, so it’s not recommended to get a parrot, especially larger parrots if you have sensitive neighbors.
Your feathered companion may resort to plucking out their feathers and self-mutilation, and other depressing and harmful behaviors if they are left isolated for hours in their cages.
Parrots require attention and interaction regularly to live long and healthy lives. Despite the demanding routines for maintaining your pet parrot, there is no doubt about the unbounded joy they bring when they are raised with love and care.
10 Steps to Select a Pet Parrot
- Research different types of parrots
There are so many kinds of parrots to choose from at your local pet store or breeder. They come in wide types of colors and shapes. Read about the various kinds of parrots available like cockatiels, African grays, macaws, etc. and check out what owners of these birds are saying about them. Researching will help you know what you are looking for when you go out to choose your pet parrot.
- Choose a healthy parrot
Always make sure that you check out your parrot before deciding to purchase them. See how they are behaving and look out for those parrots with missing or ruffled feathers, as these may indicate a very frustrated and stressed-out parrot. Also, look out for any discharges from their nose or ears, as these are signs of illness. It’s a good idea to have your pet parrot examined by an expert vet soon after you get them, or better before you make your purchase.
- Choose a parrot matching your lifestyle
If you are constantly outdoors or have an active social life, work-life routine, or other engagements, that don’t leave you with just a couple of hours to spare every day then you shouldn’t get a parrot.
Parrots are very social and intelligent and they need regular stimulation to remain healthy. If they are caged all day they tend to get depressed and resort to self-harming behaviors.
Also, think about your environment and see whether your place is adequate to care for a parrot. Other pets that you have can be a predator and small children at home can also pose a threat to these delicate beings.
- Budgies or Cockatoos – Big one’s VS Smaller ones
You must consider the size of your feathery friend as sometimes people underestimate this aspect. African grays, Cockatoos, and Macaws are bigger birds that can create a lot more noise than smaller budgies or cockatiels. Ensure that you have sufficient space at home or in your aviary if you are considering getting larger-sized birds. The bigger ones however talk more but can be slightly harder to manage.
- Get a suitable cage
The cages are the next biggest investment that you will have to make that can directly affect the well-being of your bird. The general rule is the bigger the cage the better. Birds need some space inside their cages to stretch out their wings and glide around a little. Bigger cages are more expensive but they will certainly create a healthier atmosphere for your pet.
Also, think about matching the bar spacing of your cage. Smaller birds require more closely spaced bars that prevent them from poking their head out and getting stuck or escaping. The cage should also be placed safely to prevent toppling over and other damages.
- Toys are musts
You should always have toys for your pet parrot to play with in their cages. They can either get bored or will definitely wear them out pretty soon and you will need to change their toys regularly. Having toys can prevent plucking at themselves or causing harm to their perches or your furniture at home to some extent.
- Consider the Lifespan
Parrots are a long time commitment for up to 15 years or longer for smaller birds and over 60 years on average for larger-sized parrots like the African Grays if they are taken care of well. They may outlive you and so you should be ready for a lifetime commitment to your feathered companion.
- Consider the noise
All parrots squawk and create a lot of ruckus at home consistently. At times they are just enjoying their health or following their routine dawn and dusk calls, or they may be throwing a tantrum or getting cranky or asking for something, etc.
Make sure you don’t have any problems with your neighbors regarding their noise. The bigger-sized birds create a lot more noise and may not be suitable for apartments and other close neighborhoods.
- Feeding your Parrots
Parrots have special dietary needs that require nutritious food for healthy development. Diets for large parrots can be 60-80% pellets. A good portion should be vegetables (15-20%), and a small number of fruits like banana, apple, pear, mango, etc.
You can also feed them things that you cook at home like whole grains, pasta, brown rice, hard-boiled eggs, etc. all other animal proteins that should be avoided. You should talk with your pet guide and vet to plan a proper diet for the specific needs of your pet.
- Locate avian veterinarians near you
Find out whether the closest vet hospital has an avian veterinary specialist. Birds need immediate medical attention when they show signs of illness so make sure your vet center can take care of emergencies if required.
It is also recommended that you get a checkup occasionally (at least 1 once every year).
Here we’ve tried to provide some basic aspects for consideration that can help you make a more informed decision to choose a pet parrot.
As we’ve mentioned here, taking care of a parrot can be a demanding ordeal that requires long-term commitment and regular engagements.
It can be quite expensive as well considering the toys you will have to replace regularly, the damages they can cause at home, at occasional checkups, etc. but these creatures can undoubtedly provide a very rewarding experience. They are extremely dependent and attached to their owners and their sharp intelligence and amusing behavior are sure to make your life more interesting and fun.
We highly recommend that you read up more about birdkeeping and research more intensively about the demands of the particular type of parrot that you have decided to get.