Birds

Choosing A Parrot For You

There are several things to consider when choosing your feathered friend.

The main 7 things to consider are:

1. What other pets do you currently own?

2. How much room do you have in your home?

3. How much are you willing to spend for your bird?

4. Can you devote enough time for your companion?

5. How much noise can you or your family members tolerate?

6. Do you have children?

7. Do you live in an apartment where pets are not permitted?

Let’s answer the first question, first. What other pets do you currently own? Obviously birds and cats are not a good mix, although I’ve seen certain instances in which a large Scarlet Macaw defended itself against a prowling feline. I still wouldn’t recommend a parrot with cats in the home. As far as dogs and parrots, it depends on the dog and the bird. If the dog and parrot are raised together while very young, chances are, they will get along. My Blue & Gold Macaw was 3 years old when we brought home a 4-month-old golden retriever. After 10 years they still get along well. As playful as my dog is, she respects the parrot. A few years ago I had my Macaw on the rug walking around the family room until our retriever approached her. The Macaw was startled & bit the dog on the nose; the dog backed up 5 feet, barked and ran away. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. In any case that was the end of that. Always use your judgment; if you have a dog that’s rambunctious, it may be a bad idea to leave it alone with the bird.

Second question. How much room do you have in your home? You must have enough room to accommodate not only your bird, but its cage too. If you own a house, and have room enough for a large floor standing cage, then by all means, go get yourself a large parrot. Some large species such as Macaws, Cockatoos, Amazons and African Grays, make great companions. If you live in a small apartment, consider Cockatiels, Parakeets, Lovebirds, Conures and Quakers.

Third question. How much are you willing to spend for your bird? Large exotic parrots command a hefty price tag. Hand fed Blue & Gold and Scarlet Macaws retail for about $2000-3000 in pet stores. African Grays & Cockatoos average about $2000-2500. Amazons go for about $1000-$2000. Recently we’ve seen a beautiful hand fed Hyacinth Macaw sell for over $11,000 in a New York parrot store. You must understand that Hyacinth Macaws are very rare. You will need plenty of space for a Hyacinth. Conures and Quakers go for around $500-700. Hand fed Cockatiels will sell for about $150. Hand fed baby birds may cost you more, but will make better pets since they’ve been accustomed to being fed by humans.

Fourth question. Can you devote enough time for your companion? Parrots are very social animals. In the wild they keep a very tight knit with each other. You must be able to devote at least 30 minutes a day of quality time for your bird.

Fifth question. How much noise can you or your family members tolerate? Large parrots such as macaws and cockatoos can be quite vocal if ignored. Smaller parrots (Cockatiels & Parakeets) will make less noise.

Sixth question. Do you have children? If you have small children, you must make sure they won’t mishandle the bird. Introduce your children to the bird and show them the correct way to handle the bird. Let them know that birds are very delicate creatures.

Seventh and last question. Do you live in an apartment where pets are not permitted? If you live in an apartment were pets are not allowed, you may still be able to have a small parrot. Ask your landlord if you can have a small, quiet bird in your apartment. Parakeets and Cockatiels are a great choice for apartment dwellers.

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