How Much Does It Cost to Keep a Parrot?
Having a parrot as a companion is not inexpensive. The costs of food and care are similar to a dog. The other costs, that no one talks about, can be off putting. We have two macaws, one African grey, four cockatiels, two dogs, one rabbit, one guinea pig, and two leopard geckos. Costs are impressive here. I've created tricks of the pet trade to save money or shift money to cover surprise costs. The cost of pets is like the stock market. Keep your eye on the goals. Don't get caught up in unnecessary new things. Necessity, not want. Risk management. Invest wisely.
The costs of having a parrot.
- Food. Parrots throw their food on the floor. Parrot lovers around the globe hunt for the training, tool, or food that makes this stop. Like squirrel baffles for bird feeders. Parrots throw food on the floor for the same reason they throw a toy. They can. It's fun. You react. A parrot that loves you wants your attention. It seems you get very animated when he stirs and throws his food. How fun! 20% of your food bill will land on the floor, or the bottom of the cage. Food Tip! Lay towels on their cage grid, and on the floor around and under their food bowl. Tossed food can be saved cleanly.
- Water. Parrots need filtered water. Not bottled. Filter pitchers, or refrigerator filters offer the best delivery. Most parrots like to make soup, bathe, splash, float toys, and dunk wood in their water bowls. You will pour water out to keep their bowl clean. Every parrot is different, water costs vary. There are water bottles (like for guinea pigs). Personally, I stick with bowls. Birds need to interact with water for mental health. Water Tip! Have two water bowls. A parrot will favor one over the other for the messes. Leaving another unadulterated. Which saves headaches and money.
- Yearly health checkups. Every vet is different, so I won't be quoting prices. Healthcare is important. Parrots hide weakness and illness. Having a yearly checkup keeps your wallet and your parrot healthy. A sick bird is an expensive stressful event. Parrot Injuries Happen
- Buying vs Adopting. Adopting a parrot from a rescue won't be less expensive. A rescue parrot is not an overstock item. Nor discounted for damage. That is a farcical belief that percolated from the depths of ridiculous. Rescue parrots have lived other lives. They are intelligent, intuitive, experienced with things human. Ahead of the game as far as cages, foods, water, talking, noise, and living with us. We are tricky and difficult. A rescue parrot already knows this and is a veteran of our chaos. Rescue parrots are vetted both mentally and physically. They are worked with by volunteers and professionals. Allowing a rescue parrot to choose you puts you both miles ahead of all things companion parrot lifestyle. Buying a parrot from a store or breeder is another matter. There are dedicated breeders. There are not. Big Box Pet Stores are brokers. They did not breed or raise their birds. They bought them wholesale in large numbers. I've found our flock members in all three different places. Bottom line, if you are wanting a parrot cheaply as possible. You don't want a parrot lifestyle. Stop off at your nearest small business garden nursery and buy a gorgeous houseplant. Read How a Rescue Parrot Sees their Rescue
- Cage. Cages are expensive. They can cost as much as or more than your parrot. Do not skimp on the cage size for costs. You will regret it, and your bird will suffer. Buy the biggest cage you can afford with appropriate wire spacing for their body size. Wire gauge and spacing is the real conversation, not the cage size. Those small cages at the Big Box Pet Stores are not day cages, they are inappropriate for anything more than travel cages to go to the vet. Read How to Choose the Right Cage for Your Bird
- Toys. Toys are a loss leader. Toys are bought to please the parrot and then destroyed by the pleased parrot with great fury. This is an expenditure that lowers Other Costs. Read How to Choose the Right Parrot Toys
Other Costs of keeping parrots.
- Your laptop. I've yet to find a DELETE, F, SHIFT, or 1,2,3,4,5,9,0 replacement button collection.
- Your remote control. Small parrots like the rubber buttons. Large parrots like how they sound when crashing against a wall, or onto a hard floor.
- Door frames and molding. Linear feet costs vary. Home Depot has some good deals.
- Your toothbrush.
- Your toothbrush holder.
- Your faucet. Rubber seals and aerators are hilarious to dig out and chew up. Felix told me so.
- Charging cords. They look like worms. Must kill worms.
- Blankets, pillows, and throws. Because nesting satisfaction starts with soft materials chewed up with great fury.
- Walls. Not the entire wall, just that corner over there. Drywall patches are available at Home Depot. They have some good deals.
- Your shirts. This is called allopreening. Your parrot will be driven to preen you, your hair, your shirts. You are a hot mess, and they must fix you because they love you that much. Good news! Holes in your clothing is on fashion trend!
How much your parrot costs is a personal number that is affected by who your parrot is as a personality. What size parrot you've brought home. And how you choose to feed, care, and love them with toys, food, and treats. Veterinarian costs are just too wide and varied. As well as your needs at the time of visit. Quoting numbers is a guessing game at best. Parrots are expensive to acquire. Cages are expensive. But if you buy a quality cage, big as you can, you'll only buy one.
One cockatiel cost us $550 her first year, to include cage, food, treats, vet visit, store price. One macaw cost us $4000 her first year, to include cage, food, second bedroom cage, treats, vet visit, and store price. One African Grey cost us $2700 his first year to include cage, food, second bedroom cage, treats, vet visit, and store.
It's important to bring up the subject of what it costs a parrot to live with us. If you're worried about how much a parrot is going to cost you, you don't want a parrot. You want control. And if you bring home a parrot, that's the first line item on their to do list. Read The Successful Companion Parrot Lifestyle
Grab a print or ebook copy of my book; The Art of the FlockCall: Creating your Successful Companion Parrot Lifestyle
Grab a print or ebook copy of Felix's book, straight from a bird's point of view on us. Dear Felix Diary Thingy: Felix in the Time of Confused Living with a parrot is hilarious. Ask your bird, they will be laughing at you, a lot.
Browse my Curated Parrot Products Collection and see what the basics cost. Parrot Product Collection Call your local avian vet and ask for prices. Look at your SHIFT button. How much do you really need it?