Caring for a new pet bird is a challenge! When bringing a bird home (by bird I mean a parrot) one must consider several things before doing so.
First and most important, you need to know that unlike a dog or a cat, parrots in general will live for a long time. The average lifespan for a parrot ranges from 30 up to 80 years old. There are stories of birds living even longer than that in captivity.
Age Matters when caring for a pet bird
With that in mind you need to consider how old you are, how old your kids are and possible changes in your life that may make you reconsider getting a bird in the first place.
Of course, age per se is not a problem unless you are 80 and in bad health and is now getting a baby bird which very clearly may outlive you. You should consider: “Who’s going to take care of it should something happen to me?”.
A lot of my rescues come from families whose parents died or were involved in accidents and the children (even adults) were not able to take care of the bird(s).
If you ever heard of the term “trust fund babies”, you should think about talking to your estate planning attorney or if you don’t have the means, at least consider talking to your family about what to do if something happens.
Maybe even contact a rescue willing to accept the bird and instruct the family about contacting them if something happens. That way everybody can rest assured that your pet bird will have a place to go.
Lifestyle and your pet bird
One thing is to take a vacation here and there but what if you are constantly traveling for work?
Do you think it’s fair for the bird to be locked up in a cage and being cared for by someone else? Is that someone experienced?
Is Your pet bird safe?
Third, is your house safe for a bird? Do you have cats? Dogs? Reptiles? Are you still cooking with nonstick pans? Do you like to light scented candles (or those outlet scented ones)? Do you smoke (even if outside)?
All of these items should be considered. While not all cats or dogs are dangerous for birds, you still need to supervise their interactions. Those cute videos you see online of dogs or cats interacting with birds are the exception, not the rule.
Especially the ones with dogs sleeping near the bird or cats roughhousing with the birds. First, despite what you heard cats are not the most dangerous for birds.
Except if a cat scratches a pet bird it may die within 2 hours.
So ALWAYS supervise. Dogs are the ones that are most dangerous to birds. Especially, bird dogs. Yes! your nice Golden Retriever may be one of them. But there are other breeds that can be dangerous to birds too.
Always research and always supervise. If you know your dog cannot be trusted with the bird but you still want a bird, always keep the bird locked safely in a good sized cage when you are not around.
Sometimes even lock the bird cage in a separate room. Seems pretty obvious to say this but you would be surprised how many injuries occur to birds because people trust their animals too much. You just never know.
Interacting with your pet bird
Ideally, you do not want to breed the birds but most females do well with other females (they are also sweeter) but males can be buddies too.
If you do have the time, play time and just hanging out will make most birds happy. They also don’t mind stealing food from your plate.
Just make sure they are eating safe and healthy things (no chocolate, chips, fried stuff, avocados or coffee). There are other plants and food that are unsafe. Also most fruit seeds can be dangerous (especially apple, cherry, pear, among others).
When in doubt, research
Well, these are a few things to think about. This post was not meant to discourage anyone from getting a bird, just to make sure that you think hard before you get one.
They are a lot of fun if you spend time with them, but they do take some work too. Not only noise, cleaning and attention. Oh and don’t forget, a lot of people don’t know this but there are a lot of bird rescues out there and they are full of very good birds for adoption.
Other rescues will require you to volunteer in exchange for the bird. That way they learn if you will do well with the bird of your choice and also bird care in general.
Sadly, others will just take your money and will say that any bird that sat on your hand is the perfect bird for you. Be careful!
In the next post I will talk a little more about rescues and my experience with them. Always remember: Don’t buy. Adopt!!!!
Feel free to ask me anything you need to know about bird care. Whether you own a bird or you are thinking about getting one.