How to Decide If a Pet Bird Is Right For You

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A pet bird can be a wonderful addition to your life that will bring years of enjoyment and entertainment to it’s owner.  If you hate taking dogs outside year round, the fact that your bird never actually needs to leave the house is a great solution.  You can hold a conversation with your bird, teach it tricks, or just hang out together.

Before you buy a bird of any species, take some time to think about several things that will help you decide whether or not you really want a pet bird.

1. Will I get tired of caring for my pet bird in 20 years?

Depending on the species, a healthy bird can have a lifespan from 5 to 100 years. Some birds, such as African Greys and Amazons, literally are passed from generation to generation.  Even a parakeet or cockatiel can live 15 to 20 years.  I have finches that are over 5 years and still going strong.

2.  But except for changing food and water every day, I don’t have to do anything with a bird, right?

Wrong.  Birds are very intelligent.  They have moods and feelings just like us.  If you don’t believe me, laugh when your bird does something he is embarrassed by.  Some of the larger parrots are as intelligent as a 2 or 3 year old child.  Just like a small child, they like a lot of stimulation such as new toys and games and they love attention.  In the wild, birds live in flocks.  You and your family and friends are his substitute flock.

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Yellow Parrotlet Baby

3. Aren’t birds cheap pets?

Some birds are very inexpensive, but a well adjusted baby African Grey can easily cost at least $1000.  Even a $50 Hand-fed lovebird baby has additional expenses, however.  When you buy a bird, you will need a cage, toys and food.  Most pet birds do not get shots, as veterinarians still disagree over whether they are effective, but a well bird visit at least once a year is a good idea.  That way, your vet will know some important information if your bird becomes ill and will also catch illnesses you are not aware of, such as tumors.

4. Birds are great for me because I live in an apartment.

Yes and no.  If you have any of the finches, a single lovebird, a budgie, a cockatiel, or a Pyrhurra conure, you will most likely have a nice, quiet pet that will not disturb anyone.  If you teach a louder bird to talk and don’t neglect or spoil it rotten, it will probably be ok, but is a risky choice.  Some birds, however, such as the Moluccan Cockatoo, which makes the loudest naturally occuring sound known to man, are sure tickets to finding an eviction notice on your door.

5. Birds aren’t messy or destructive like dogs or cats .

Sorry.  If you have your bird out of his cage and turn your back on him, he will probably turn your curtains into swiss cheese, take the buttons off your shirt, and carve intricate detail into your moldings.  Also, some birds are much messier than others.  For instance, those birds that have nectar diets have a tendancy to have very messy droppings which don’t stay in the cage, so a floor mat under the cage is an excellent idea.  Some birds throw food they don’t like.  My African Grey will literally pick up food in his foot and throw it at me if I’m not paying attention to him and he wants something.  Cute, but messy.

If you have reached the end of this article and you still feel that a bird is for you, congratulations.  You will have a wonderful, entertaining friend for many years.

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