Before Adopting a Parrot
Photo courtesy of our very own, Renee Wing’s Indian Ringneck named Biggie Bird
Although parrots are truly fascinating animals, they can also be much more challenging than people anticipate. If you’re thinking of adopting a parrot, Best Friends Animal Care has posted a few things on their website (bestfriends.org) that you should consider before bringing a parrot into your home:
• Parrots are wild by nature. They are not domesticated animals like cats and dogs, and they retain many of the survival instincts and social behaviors of their cousins in the wild.
• There are more than 350 species of parrots. If you adopt a parrot, you’ll need to learn about that particular species’ care and behavioral needs and adjust your lifestyle accordingly.
• Parrots are highly intelligent; in fact, in some species, their intelligence is equivalent to that of a three- to five-year-old child.
• Small parrots, like cockatiels or parrotlets, may live to be 20–30 years old. Larger parrots, like amazons, cockatoos or macaws, may live to be 60–80 years old. So adopting a parrot is truly a lifetime commitment—for your lifetime and beyond! If you think your parrot might outlive you, you will need to arrange for a future home for your pet after you are no longer around.
• Because they are highly intelligent, parrots require a great deal of attention. You’ll need to spend at least two to three hours a day interacting with your parrot outside his cage, and you’ll need to provide some entertainment for your bird for the rest of the day, such as safe toys, radio or television, and contact with other family members or other parrots.
• Parrots are messy. You’ll be spending time cleaning his cage, around his cage, his play area, and any other areas of the house where he may play.
• A parrot requires a very complex and varied diet of pellets, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, which you’ll need to prepare every day.
• It’s important to provide a safe area that will allow your parrot an opportunity to fly.
• You’ll need to parrot-proof your house, both for the safety of your parrot and also to prevent damage done by the parrot.
If you’ve taken all these points into consideration and still want a pet parrot, go for it!