Throughout all pet hobbies, there is perhaps none more rewarding as keeping parrots as pets. For the right owners, a parrot can be extremely rewarding due to their high intelligence and strong desire to interact and bond with people. Many parrots are very affectionate, even cuddly with trusted people, but require a lot of attention from their owners. Some species have a tendency to bond to one or two people, and dislike strangers, unless they are regularly and consistently handled by different people. Properly socialized parrots can be friendly, outgoing, and confident companions, and since larger parrots can live 40-60 years, it is good to have a well socialized bird. The first thing people think about when they hear the word “parrot” is the large parrots known as Amazons,Macaws, or African Greys. This is of course a correct assumption, but for our purposes, the term “parrot” is being used to talk generally about pet store birds of the parrot family that includes Amazons, African Greys, Cockatoos, Eclectus, Hawk-headed Parrots, and Macaws; mid-sized birds such as Caiques, Conures, Quakers, Pionus, Poicephalus, Rose-ringed parakeets, and Rosellas, and many of the smaller types including Brotogeris, Budgies, Cockatiels, Parakeets, Lovebirds, Parrotlets and Lineolated Parakeets.
The main thing that has attracted people to these fantastic birds over the years is their high level intelligence that has allowed them to learn tricks, something often reserved for only dogs, and the ability speak human language, even if it is nothing more that mimicking the sounds that they hear. Most pet parrots take readily to trick training, which is a helpful activity that can also help to redirect a bird`s energy and prevent or correct many behavior problems. Although parrots can be messy pets, with their frequent food throwing and damaging furniture with their beaks, they ae generally well behaved if given a substantial amount of room, a large selection of toys, and a lot of personal attention. With a lot of work, and an equal amount of research of the species, the parrot can prove to be one of the best animals on the market right now.
What is a Parrot?
Parrots, also known as psittacines (pronounced, are birds of the roughly 372 species in 86 genera that make up the order Psittaciformes, found in most warm and tropical regions.
Choosing a Parrot
The first rule about purchasing your first parrot is to buy a species that is interesting to you. Never be persuaded to purchase an animal that you don’t want because you are told it is an easier parrot meant for a beginner. If it is a parrot that you don’t really want, then it is a bird that you will grow tired of in the future. Regardless of what type it is that you want, you have to ensure you do all the research about it prior to purchasing it so that you take proper care of your new pet from day one. There is simply no sense in getting a parrot that will live for 60 years if you are not willing to take care of it for its entire life. Many of the larger parrots are unsuitable in an apartment setting due to noise level. Although all parrots will make some noise, species that are generally less noisy include parrotlets, budgies, cockatiels, Pyrrhura conures, Pionus, caiques, African Greys, and usually Poicephalus. Many of the other species of conures can be loud birds. Cockatoos, and many Macaws and Amazon parrots can be very loud, though normally only at certain times of the day. Care should be taken to ensure a parrot does not learn to scream for attention, and they should be punished if they do.
One of the most debated issues in all of the pet industry is whether to purchase from a private breeder or from a pet store. Here is an argument that is based on a few too many bad apples spoiling it for the bunch. Without pet stores, there simply would not be parrots, small animals, reptiles, snake, and amphibians in captivity as pets because it was various pet stores that sparked the interest in exotic animals in the first place. But over the past twenty years, there have been numerous cases of birds being sold by people thinking only of profit as their animals suffer from neglect. Thankfully, there has been numerous bird enthusiasts stepping forward to challenge pet stores to live up to the standards that exotic birds require, and there have also been numerous pet stores in North America that have been promoting proper animal care. The downside to purchasing from a pet store is that you will be paying higher prices because the pet store purchases from breeders and then mark up the prices to make a profit. Sometimes you will find unique birds in pet stores, but for the most time, they are usually the run of the mill whereas, if you purchase from a breeder, you may be able to get a more unique animals that most people have never seen before.
As a general rule of thumb, always try to purchase the healthiest parrot available. This is easily done by purchasing the largest in a group that has bright eyes, has beautiful plumage, and is active. Larger animals typically mean that they are being well fed and cared for. If a parrot is skinny and not active, then it is best to leave it be. One of the most common reasons for buying a small sickly animal from either a breeder or pet store is because you want to save it and nurse it back to health. Although noble your intentions might be, a life time of health issues will not make you love your new pet any more, and health issues in parrots are incredibly difficult to treat especially if it is young and has yet to build up a resistance to illnesses. A healthy animal can live many years, and if you put in the time that is necessary, you will be rewarded in the long run. The other thing that is unique to the parrot over all other animals is that young teens and some idiot adults like to teach these birds obscene language while they are in the pet store. With a lot of work and positive reinforcement, they might forget or stop using these words, but it is often best to avoid birds that have taught negative things.
While many parrot species do well with equally well behaved children, and can be trained to become excellent family pets, they are generally not a good child`s pet due to their potential lifespan and specific care care required. Parrots are not a pet that can simply be ignored for any amount of time, and they require consistent daily care and attention. They are also longer lived than most other companion animals in which their lifespan range from around 15 years for a budgie or lovebird, to 20–30 years for a cockatiel, and up to 80 to 100 years for Amazons and Macaws. Additionally, a young child could unintentionally injure a small bird such as a budgie, and most parrots unaccustomed to children may find the high energy level and noise of a young child threatening. Parrots that have been raised and socialized around children from a young age typically do much better with children than parrots who are introduced to children at a later age. This is just one of many things to work out prior to picking up a parrot that will spend a life time together with you.
The initial purchase for your new parrot, be it a Budgie or an Amazon, is a cage. It is very important for your parrot to have a cage large enough to exercise, especially if it will not be out for a good part of the day. Since parrots love to stretch their wings and are generally quite active, so you must ensure that you have a cage big enough that your bird can play in, climb around in, and stretch its wings. Without exercise, your bird will tend to become obese and unhealthy quite quickly. With the right home parrots have the potential to make excellent, highly interactive, affectionate, and entertaining pets prized by their owners, but should not be considered easy care or low maintenance pets in any way. Since parrots use their hooked beaks to help them to climb around, somewhat like an arm to aid in their climbing, and also as a tool to shell seeds and nuts. It is of the upmost importance to have a cage that is of a strong, sturdy build otherwise a parrot could tear the cage apart.
For most animals, toys are just a nice addition to ensure pets will have fun and perhaps have their minds challenges, but for parrots, toys are an absolute necessity. Like any pet, different birds will have different birds will have different preferences for toys, but you have to remember that toys should be sized appropriately for the bird`s size and destructiveness. For example, a small plastic budgie toy could be dangerous for a large parrot that could break off and ingest a piece without any trouble at all. The key to finding toys that a bird will enjoy is to always ensure you have a large selection of toys, of all sorts of varieties, that will both entertain them and challenge their intelligence. Some birds may prefer wooden toys to chew up; some may prefer bells or other toys that make noise; some may prefer toys with leather strips they can untie; some may prefer a bowl of small `foot toys` they can throw around. There is little risk of small birds like budgies and love birds, but with larger birds, like macaws, amazons, and African Greys, there is a high risk that lack of toys will lead to boredom, which will lead to a destructive outburst.
Throughout the pet industry, there is perhaps no other animal that has garnered as much fame at that of the parrot. The simple fact is that they have beautiful colours, are extremely personable, and highly intelligent, but the one thing that makes them so popular is their ability to speak. A lot of the times their speech is nothing more than their attempt to mimic their owners, but when they start using certain word in context, their brilliants truly stand out. Not only are they great pets, but they make a fascinating hobby as you can spend countless hours with them, and they will never get tired of trying to learn new things. Perhaps the one thing that does cause peoples is their incredibly long life spans. Prior to owning a parrot, most people have most likely only owned pets that have live to a maximum of 15 years, but some larger parrots live to be 60 -80 years old. So what happens if your parrot actually out lives you? It’s a pretty strange question, but it is something you have to figure out prior to making a big purchase that will take up a large portion of your life. There is perhaps no hobby more fascinating than the one that can actually talk back to you.