One girl holding a cockatiel in pet shop asking employee about the bird

11 Things You MUST Consider When Purchasing a Parrot

Last Updated on by mitchrezman

“Parrots Secrets Newsletter” 

Released On: July 12, 2011
This special issue includes:
1) “11 Things You MUST Consider When Purchasing 
a Parrot” by Nora Caterino
2) “Free Content for Your Birds/Parrots Web Site or Ezine!”
3) Tell Us What You Think! 

I realize that most of you already own parrots.
However, if you are like most parrot parents, you are tempted 
from time to time to add to the flock. Whether you are buying 
your first parrot or your 10th, the considerations are the same 
and you want to be smart. There really can be too many parrots 
for some people while other people are happy to care for dozens 
and dozens or even hundreds of parrots. 

I’ve learned these things that must be considered because 
of my personal experiences and experiences of my friends in 
relation to becoming new parrot parents. Yet, I have had to 
make mistakes to learn from them myself. Even with years of 
experience with parrots, it is easy to make an error if you 
don’t go back to the list of factors and review them from 
time to time. 

1. What is your motivation to buy
a first parrot or to add to the flock?

You’ve all read about my SunDance, the sun conure I had from 
age eight weeks until her death. I’d like to tell you how wrong 
my motivation for buying her really was. Now, understand that 
I enjoyed 17 happy years with her and loved her dearly, but 
my true motivation was flawed. I would not have missed those 
years with her for anything, however.

My honest motivation was that I had just moved from cold 
and snowy Colorado back to my former home in Cape Canaveral, 
Florida and bought a brand new bicycle. Everyone in that area 
rides their bicycles around town and on the beach and very good 
bicycle paths are provided.

I had seen several people riding their bicycles with parrots 
and I wanted one to ride my bike with me! I already had cockatiels 
and budgies but I wanted a beautiful, striking, bigger parrot to show 
off riding around town. Now, realize I had already been published 
in Bird Talk magazine and I was dumb enough to think along these 
lines of motivation.
Guess what?

SunDance was TERRIFIED at the sight of a bicycle! There was 
no way in the world that I could get her to even consider sitting 
on me while I was NEAR the bike, much less on board!

However, things worked out and I knew enough about parrots 
to love her for what she was and we were happy, even though 
I never went bike riding with a parrot – but then how safe would 
that be, anyway? I would NOT recommend it at all!
Why do I tell you this? I am sharing this because it is 
so very important to search ourselves and find exactly why 
we want a parrot. If we want it as something to impress our 
friends or to show off as a status symbol, we are using the 
wrong motivation.

The only right motivation is that we have a place in our 
lives that will provide room and care for the parrot and we 
want to give of ourselves and our time to the parrot.
After all, it takes work and dedication to keep parrots 
properly and they require a consistent schedule and daily 

2. Is the expense something you can afford 
initially and over time?

Parrots are NOT inexpensive. The bigger parrots cost lots 

of money. Sure, a budgie isn’t a major investment, nor is a 
cockatiel, but you also have to provide proper housing, food, 
treats, toys, vet care, and you have an expense in time you 
have to spend with the parrot.

If you want a large parrot, before deciding you have the 
money for the parrot, price the large cage it will call its 
home. A large, sturdy parrot cage that would be roomy enough 
for a blue and gold macaw, for example, can cost as much as
the parrot!

Toys for big birds can run into money as well. Some of our 
subscribers have stated in their interviews an average expense 
of up to $500 per month for total average expense of caring 
for their parrots – and they only have one, two or three!
Sure, this includes their wing clipping or other grooming 
by a vet and health check ups, plus lots and lots of toys and 
treats. Even a budgie, however, costs money and it has to have 
the things it needs to be happy and entertained.

 3. Consider family structure and family stability.

Right now you may be a single person with lots and lots of 
time to spend with a long-lived parrot. But what happens to 
the parrot if you…
a) Marry and have children?
b) Become unemployed? (Do you have the resources to care 
for the parrot during times of financial stress?)
c) Are you in college and have time right now, but once you 
enter your new career, will you be working long days and 
leaving before daylight only to return after dark?
d) Do you travel a great deal or plan long international trips?
SunDance loved me through more than one marriage, several 
jobs, different housing and even different family components. 
However, that might not be the case for you. Think long and 
hard about your future plans. She traveled with me at times 
and other times visited with her Grandmother (my mom) or 
with another trusted friend or relative.

I once had to change roommates because SunDance could 
NOT stand the roommate I chose. She was right and I was wrong, 
but nonetheless, I had to go through finding another roommate 
because I couldn’t afford the housing alone. There’s a lot to 
consider about what could happen in the future.
Also, parrots are long lived and plans must be made for 
their care should something happen to you. They can easily 
outlive their owners.

One African Grey in Alaska was documented by 
Bird Talk magazine to be 112 years of age!

4. Do you have time and desire to provide 
attention to your parrots every single day?

One mistake made by many parrot buyers is that they buy a hand-fed just weaned baby parrot and, because the parrot is new, pay loads of attention to the parrot.
Then, reality sets in and the parrot doesn’t get nearly 
as much attention as it previously was lavished with. Some 
parrots become stressed out by this and begin to pluck 
Cockatoos are especially emotional parrots and, if you 
choose a cockatoo, you should begin at Day One paying only 
as much attention to the parrot as you reasonably expect to 
provide on a daily basis.

5. Do you have reasonably consistent work hours 
or live on a consistent schedule?

Parrots need consistency in their lives. They live on a 
schedule and they expect their humans to do the same. 
They can adjust to different schedules to an extent as long 
as there is consistency. TOO MUCH CHANGE can result 
in a stressed-out parrot!

Parrots want to be awake, uncovered, and fed in the morning. 
Many of them like to get up at sunrise and will tell you about 
it if you try to sleep in. They want to settle in for the night 
not too long after it gets dark outside. During the hours in 
between rising and going to bed for the night, they want their 
humans to pay attention to them.

6. Do you have the time and willingness to provide 
proper training on a consistent basis?

Parrots need to learn good manners through basic 
training. If you want your parrot to learn to talk, you’ll 
have to provide that training as well. You will find that 
you need to teach your parrot what belongs to it and what 
it should not bother; keeping in mind they only learn this to 
a point because they are mischievous, curious creatures 
by nature.

Parrots can actually be potty trained, but only through 
consistency and training can that happen. Some talented 
parrots can learn to use speech in context to let their 
humans know what they want, but only if the time is spent 
to teach them the words. 

A parrot, as a rule of thumb, takes almost as much time 
as a two-year-old human to raise properly! But the parrot 
does not grow up and go to college after 16 more years like
the two-year old child! It’s a commitment of many years!

7. Are you willing to learn about your parrot 
and ensure it has the proper care?

In order to care for a parrot properly, you need to know 
what species it is and what that species needs to be healthy 
and happy. Some parrots, Lorikeets and Hyacinth macaws for 
example, have special dietary needs that must be met in order 
to be healthy. 

There are State laws in the United States about certain 
species and I’m sure this is true in other countries as well. 
Quaker parrots, for example, are illegal to transport in some 
states and in others they are illegal to even have possession 
of. Some states require closed bands to remain on the parrots; 
others do not.

The parrot owner has to investigate and learn about their 
specific species and how to best create a healthy, happy home 
for the parrot.

8. Do you have space in your home for a parrot 
or another parrot?

I once lived in a one-bedroom apartment with a dozen small 
parrots. That isn’t for everyone, however. If you choose a 
large parrot, you’ll have to have sufficient space to put a 
large cage and you’ll probably want a place for a play gym. 
Parrots are messy and you can’t just put their cage anywhere. 
They’ll often sling food onto the walls and make a mess with 
their food on the floor.

9. What is your housing situation?

If you rent your home, are pets allowed? Are the walls 
sufficiently sound-proof so that your parrot will not bother 
neighbors and result in complaints against you?
As I said, I did live in a one-bedroom rental apartment 
for years with a sun conure without getting any complaints. 
Whether that had to do with my neighbors or fate, I can not 
say. I do know that most of my neighbors loved seeing SunDance 
and our walls were not thin. Many apartments or attached homes 
allow lots of noise to travel between apartments.

“A 747 Jumbo Jet produces as much as 140 decibels of noise. 
Peacocks have been registered at 115 db. Moluccans hold the 
record as the loudest bird on earth at 135db (average = 120db)” 
by the San Diego Zoo. 

10. Do you have the dedication neededto give a parrot everything it needs?

Just as with raising a child, there will be times that you 
have to spend money you may prefer using for something else 
to obtain things your parrot needs such as health care, a new 
cage or toys. Also, your parrot will expect you to be with it 
during part of every day.

I hear too many stories about people who obtain untamed 
parrots and then don’t have the dedication to tame them. It 
can take months or even years to get an untamed adult parrot 
to become trusting of humans.
Do you have that kind of dedication?

This is a good time to bring up the differences of buying 
an adult untamed parrot and a hand-fed well-socialized baby 
parrot. If you want to ensure you have a loving pet that will 
allow you to handle it and pet it, you should BUY A HAND-FED 

Even with a hand-fed parrot, if the parrot is allowed to 
exist as part of the parrot flock, it will learn to be a 
parrot. If a baby parrot is placed in a loving family as an 
only parrot and you follow guidelines about spending time 
every day with your parrot, you’ll almost certainly have a 
loving, cuddly parrot.

Some untamed adult parrots become trusting and loving; 
this depends on the parrot and the humans involved as well 
as dedication and consistency.

11. Do you want a parrot that talks and will 
NOT be happy with a non-speaking parrot?

The only way to obtain a parrot that is guaranteed to talk 
is to buy one that is already talking!
There is absolutely no guarantee that any specific parrot 
of any species will talk. There are African Greys that never 
learn to say a word and others that seem to know most of the 
Webster’s Dictionary. Can you love a parrot no matter whether 
it ever speaks? Will you love the parrot for what it brings to 
your life, no matter what?

If you don’t feel you can be happy unless you have a parrot 
that talks, you should either buy a parrot that already talks 
or look again at your reasons for wanting the parrot.
If you do want a parrot that talks and is also tame and 
loving, you can purchase a species that is known for talking 
ability and then train the parrot, hoping it will learn to speak. 
But you have to keep in mind that there are absolutely… 
-No guarantees no matter what anyone tells you!
Final Thoughts

If you consider all these factors and become well educated 
about the parrot you intend to purchase, you’ll make a very 
good parrot parent.

Remember, other pets can harm a parrot. Today I have the 
pleasure of owning BabyLove, a cockatiel who will never have 
a pretty tail again because a former, less than attentive owner 
let a dog attack him. Today, BabyLove lives in a home where 
there are other birds and he enjoys spending most of his time 
outside the cage since I am from the comfort of work. But in the past 
was not so wonderful. Someone obtained this loving boy without 
having thought their plans through well enough and it almost cost 
BabyLove his life and he will carry the scars all his remaining life. 
If, however, you find yourself thinking you may not be able 
to provide enough attention or your other pets may cause danger 
or stress, you might want to think about your purchase further. 
It’s very sad when someone spends thousands on a parrot only to 
learn they really don’t want to own the parrot! 

Written and approved by the Windy City Parrot Content Team

Leave a Reply

Close Menu