5 things you should know before adopting a parrot

On YouTube, there are countless videos of parrots talking like humans, making funny noises, doing acrobatics and being generally adorable. In fact, they’re so cute and charismatic in these clips that sometimes people rush out to adopt one without knowing enough about what’s involved in keeping a parrot as a pet. Here are five things you should know before deciding to adopt a parrot, courtesy of Chico, your local pet store.

  1. They live a very long time. Unlike, say, parakeets, which tend to live 10 to 14 years, parrots generally live at least several decades — and some even to the age of 80! Are you prepared for a long-term commitment of this kind?
  2. They need company. Leaving a parrot alone and neglecting to interact with it can have a disastrous effect. Birds that are deprived of social contact may pull out their feathers, develop an aggressive personality and even cease eating. If you’re often away from home, you’re better off having a more independent pet.
  3. They require special care. Parrots have a delicate constitution and owners have to diligently attend to their needs. Companion parrots require a spacious cage, fresh fruit, seeds, toys, fresh air, baths, nail clippings and regular checkups at the vet. So, don’t adopt a macaw or a grey parrot and think that filling its bowls with water and grains every day will be enough.
  4. They can bite. Parrots have a powerful beak designed to break nutshells. Their human companions therefore have to be careful when handling their parrots and watch that they don’t get their finger mistaken for a piece of fruit! In the same vein, it isn’t advisable to adopt a parrot when you have young children, for children, not knowing better, may disturb the parrot, causing it to bite in self-defence. 
  5. They’re frequently abandoned. It’s not uncommon to find young, healthy parrots in animal shelters. Excuses for abandonment usually relate to the behaviour of the bird (for example, that it screams or bites or is too noisy) or to the meticulous care it requires.

Do you want to have a parrot but aren’t sure that you’re up to the task of caring for it? You can always choose a similar species for a pet, such a cockatiel, which you’re sure to love just as much. For expert advice about birds, speak with a Chico team member today.