What to consider before buying your first parrot

Should you get one? What to consider before buying your first parrot

Many people buy parrots on impulse because they look beautiful with their striking colours and their ability to talk. They seem to be easy pets who live in a cage and don’t need a lot of attention. These parrots end up being trophies in the living room with many behavioural problems including screaming, biting and plucking.

Before going out to buy a parrot, you need to ask yourself a few questions first:

-What size parrot are you looking for?
-How much money are you willing to spend – now and in the future?
-What kind of temperament or characteristics are you looking for in a parrot?
-What is the noise limit in your home?
-How much space do you have in your home?
-How much time do you have for your bird?
-How many people, children and other pets are there in the home?

Instinct driven

Parrots are not domesticated animals. They are wild animals who have been tamed and at most they are two or three generations removed from the wild. Unlike dogs and cats, they are neither independent nor subordinate creatures and should be full-fledged members of the family. Even if raised in captivity and hand-tamed, parrots are still driven by their instincts and will scream, bite (if threatened), be very messy, loud and very demanding.

Some parrots can live up to 80 years old, so owning and caring for a parrot is a lifelong commitment

Time consuming

A lot of time needs to be spent on the bird. Apart from cleaning cages and feeding, parrots need a lot of love, attention, discipline and training. They never ‘grow up’ in order to look after themselves and will never be independent. They need more attention than dogs and if you are single and spend a lot of time away from home, then a parrot may not be for you.

Parrots are very intelligent animals and therefore need a lot of mental and physical stimulation

Trust and respect

Parrots do not give unconditional love. Instead it has to be earned with trust and respect. They are very intelligent animals and therefore need a lot of mental and physical stimulation, as well as plenty of individual attention and out-of-cage time. You wouldn’t lock a three-year-old human in a room, would you?


There are some immediate costs involved when buying your parrot. The bird itself can be expensive, depending on the species. Obviously you will also need a cage (the bigger the better) with cage accessories such as food and water dishes, perches and toys. It is recommended that your new bird should have an initial check-up exam by a veterinarian to rule out any diseases or parasites. The maintenance costs can also be quite high but again it depends on the bird and his needs. One has to put money away each month for good quality food, toys, treats, grooming and supplies. Vet bills must also be taken into consideration.

They are messy

Parrots are very picky eaters and tend to drop more food than they eat. Any food they don’t like gets thrown around the room or dropped in their water bowls. Empty shell husks also tend to land in the most unexpected places. Parrots spend a lot of time grooming and preening themselves and therefore there is a constant trail of old feathers and dust.

Parrots love to chew, so provide them with plenty of toys

Living arrangements

The kind of parrot you get also depends on where you live, other pets you may have and other members of the household. Some birds are noisier than others, so if neighbours are a problem a quieter bird will be more suitable. Care has to be taken if there are other pets in the home and they should never be in the same room together unsupervised. Too many birds have been injured or killed by dogs, cats, pet rats and other animals.

They make great pets if you choose right Parrots are exhilarating, fun and always rewarding to have in your home. They do need patience, understanding and attention from owners but if a parrot is suitably chosen according to your lifestyle and personality, there is potential for a great relationship which will be very rewarding.


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