Parrots Are High Maintenance Pets

Have you ever wandered through a pet shop and wondered what it might be like to own a pet parrot? They are beautiful to be sure, and the idea of having someone to “talk” with can be really tempting. But did you know that parrots are some of the most high maintenance pets out there? Before you buy, learn more.

First of all, it should be noted that parrots are very expensive to buy, house, feed, and maintain over long periods of time. Even the little parotlet, the tiniest of all parrots will cost at least $150 to purchase. Macaws, the largest, can run up to $10,000. Most people buy something in between these two extremes, but the point is they don’t come cheap.

Parrots require specialized living habitats: even a medium sized parrot such as an Eclectus or African Grey needs a good sized cage along with play toys, climbing apparatus, and materials to chew on.

Unlike parakeets or canaries, parrots cannot live on seeds alone. In fact, a high fat diet of seeds will be greatly detrimental to a big bird’s health. They need to have a base diet of specially formulated high nutrition bird pellets (available at most pet stores) with appropriately sized nuggets for helping your particular breed of parrot to keep its beak healthy and strong.

In addition to pellets, parrots have other nutritional needs that can only be met with “real” food. Lories, for instance, require nectar to stay healthy. Eclectus parrots need to have fresh cooked legumes such as chick peas and beans as part of their diets.

All parrots have specific additional foods that will help them to have happy lives, and owners must be responsible enough to provide their pets with what they need. There are also foods that are toxic to certain breeds of parrots: responsible ownership means learning as much as possible about your bird.

Parrots are notoriously destructive: macaw owners often dedicate an entire room of a house as playpens for their pet. They will chew on wood windowsills, refrigerator cords, and just about anything else you can think of. If you want your parrot to have the run of the house, you will need to “bird proof” it and keep your bird’s wings clipped at all times. It is definitely possible to “housetrain” a parrot, but even if it only defecates in its cage, owning a bird means cleaning up messes.

If you are seriously considering making a parrot a part of your life, take the time to do plenty of research first. You’ll want to choose one that will fit your lifestyle and whose personality suits what you are looking for. Some parrots are better talkers than others, and some live so long that they have to be put in people’s wills. Are you ready for that kind of a commitment? Think it through before taking that big step!