Buying a parrot, especially a first parrot, is a big decision and not to be taken lightly. Parrots require time, commitment, care, love, and will live for many years if cared for properly.
Before buying a parrot, you must consider several important factors. This is the only way that you will be happy with your decision long after your purchase. This is also the only way to ensure the parrot will not end up having to be re-homed.
First, consider the amount of space you have available. Your parrot will require a spacious cage to call its own home. It should also have a play stand or play area. Do you have the space to provide these important factors for your parrot? Think about this critically because, if you were to buy a macaw, you need LOTS of space. However, a budgie or cockatiel doesn’t require nearly as much room. Sure, the big, beautiful birds are great, but can you live with a huge cage and enormous play stand in your home? This will help you choose the right size parrot to consider.
Second, you must consider the other humans and animals in the home. Children and large parrots don’t mix very well and every parrot deserves out-of-cage play time every single day. Big parrots can break small fingers; after all they crack walnuts and Brazil nuts in the wild. All parrots make noise to some degree or another and some can be quite loud.
How will your spouse or roommate feel about the noise? Parrots are messy; how will the family feel about this factor? If you have dogs, cats, snakes, ferrets, or other pets, your parrot could become a meal for the other animal. It isn’t fair to confine a parrot to its cage all the time because you have lots of other pets and it isn’t safe for the bird to be outside the cage.
Third, can you afford the cost of the parrot you want as well as the cage, toys, food, and medical care? Big birds require big cages which are costly. It is not unusual to spend $1,000 for a macaw cage! Again, smaller parrots require smaller cages which cost much less. Every parrot must have a yearly medical checkup and any emergency medical care required in the event of an injury or illness. Can you afford the vet bills? Toys and food are really only a consideration if you are thinking of buying a large parrot. Big parrot toys can be expensive and they destroy them as part of their healthy chewing and play. Big parrots also eat a lot more food than smaller parrots.
Fourth, do you have the time for a parrot to live happily with you? A parrot wakes up about the time the sun arrives and goes to be when it gets dark. For many career-oriented adults, these are the same hours that they are away from home working. It isn’t enough to spend Saturday and Sunday with your parrot. You need to be able to spend quality time every single day with a parrot for its emotional health. The bird should be out of the cage as much as possible. If you can not provide time for a parrot, you should not consider buying a parrot.
Fifth, do you have the time and motivation to clean and care for the parrot? A parrot has to have fresh food and water daily and needs the debris cleaned from the cage daily. Every week, as a minimum, the cage needs a thorough cleaning. Play stands and play areas also require cleaning. Molted feathers will have to be cleaned up, as will seed husk or dropped pellets, food that is slung or dropped and toys that are dropped over the side of the play area. Can you provide this mandatory service? If not, you shouldn’t buy a parrot.
Now, the good news is that if you have a stable lifestyle that allows you to provide for a parrot, giving quality time every day, maintain a regular schedule, and everyone in the household wants the parrot, then and only then should you consider buying a parrot!