Are you ready to own a parrot? It’s an important question that should not be taken lightly. If you are interested because you saw a cockatoo dancing and screeching on a YouTube video, ask yourself, “How amusing will that be at 6 am?”
The most important considerations are how much time you have for your parrot, how much patience you have to train an incredibly bright and pretty much wild, creature, and what tolerance do you have for noise and mess.
Parrots Need Attention
Parrots are extremely intelligent creatures. They need regular stimulation. Some species are prone to self-mutilation if they get bored, such as African greys and cockatoos. They need plenty of toys to destroy – and those can get expensive. They need play time outside their cage. A bored bird can be more than depressed, they can make your life miserable with screaming.
Parrots Are Flock Creatures
That means they want to be with their flock. I remember someone once inquired about lovebirds and wanted to know if they would be happy in the garage – he was worried about the noise and mess. No. They will not be happy in the garage. Don’t get a bird if you want to relegate them to a lonely spot by themselves.
Parrots Can Be Noisy
You might luck out and not get a noisy parrot, but chances are at some point each day they will raise a ruckus. For example, amazons often call out for about half an hour in the morning and late afternoon. This is instinct. They are calling the flock. If you live in an apartment your neighbors are going to hunt you down if you have a parrot screeching for an hour or so each day.
Parrots Can Be Destructive
Got a favorite wooden chair? Make sure Polly doesn’t get onto it – it might be missing an arm an hour later if you do. I remember I bought a new (expensive) treadmill, and Inca managed to jump from her play tower to the arm rails without my noticing for 5 minutes. In that time she had a delicious time destroying the foam covering.
Parrots need constant supervision when outside their cage, and the alternative is NOT keep them in their cage all the time.
Parrots Can Get Fat
Fat parrots die young. This means they need exercise. That happens OUTside the cage. Inca, my amazon, likes to dance. She likes to climb all over the top of her cage and play with her toys. She likes to flap her wings as I swing her around while sitting on my hand.
I knew a woman who had a fat amazon, who died at age 18. Amazons should live decades longer than that.
Parrots Are Messy
No matter how big a seed catcher you get, there will be seed on the floor. If you live in a place like Florida, you are going to have to stay on top of that or you’ll get roaches. Where I live in California, I have to watch for ants.
And they poop. A lot. You will be cleaning up poops all the time. Get some Poop-Off – it works really well – but be ready to clean lots of poop.
Parrots Are Amazing
If you have the right mindset and environment for a parrot, they can be the most amazing pets. They will make you laugh and surprise you over and over with their uncanny intelligence. I remember the first time I heard Inca call me by name, “Vera?” I almost fell out of my chair.
The truth is, a parrot is a much larger commitment than a more domesticated animal like a cat or dog. They can’t wander around on their own so they require your time to get the attention and exercise they need. There is nothing sadder than a parrot relegated permanently to a cage to just sit glumly waiting for their life to be over. If that’s what you think could happen, don’t do it.