Should I Get a Bird?
You’ve heard…and seen firsthand… that birds can be wonderful pets. And you’re pondering, whether or not you should purchase one of these delightful creatures. You’ve just come back from a short vacation, visiting your long-time friend, whom you haven’t seen in years. She owned a beautiful parrot. His feathers were stunning, his manners were perfect, he talked up a storm and entertained you with numerous tricks. You can just see such a bird filling your life and living room with laughter, entertainment and companionship. The more you think, the more convinced you are that you need a bird. But wait! Before you rush out and purchase the first parrot & parrot cage you can find, do a little thinking.
A Short History of Bird Keeping
Since the beginning of recorded history birds have been popular pets. In 1500 BC an Egyptian Queen named Hatshepsut sent out a royal expedition to search for birds and other animals for her zoo. In Roman days, having a talking parrot was a symbol of status and royalty. The Romans built elaborate aviaries to house their parrots and birds.
Alexander the Great was an avid bird lover and introduced bird keeping to Europe. He imported a variety of different birds including peacocks from India, the Alexandrine Parakeets and the Plumbhead parakeet. The lower classes did not start keeping pet birds until the industrial revolution, after which many zoos and bird societies sprung up all across Europe and the United States.
Why Birds are Popular
Birds can be wonderful companions for people who are single or live alone. Their chatter and antics can be quite amusing. Many parrots can speak, have delightful, unique personalities, and are extremely affectionate. They can provide entertainment, companionship and hours of pleasure. A bird can help prevent depression and provide you with a reason to get up each morning.
In addition, parrots are beautiful creatures. Many people are attracted to their stunning feather combinations, which can range from bright green, to blue, red, yellow and orange. So all this sounds great, right? And now you’re even more convinced that becoming a parrot owner is right up your alley. But before you go on a shopping spree for bird-supplies…let’s take a look at the reality of owning a bird.
7 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Pet Bird
While birds are incredibly social, amusing and beautiful, they are a ton of work—almost more work than a small child. Not everyone has the temperament or ability to adequately care for a parrot. The Avian Welfare Resource Center has published an enlightening article entitled “Keeping Parrots As Pets”. If you’re serious about purchasing a parrot, this article is a great read.
Here are a few things to consider before making your decision:
Many birds have life expectancies that extend to 30-50 years. You need to be prepared to care for your bird for its entire life. Passing off a bird from home to home is never a good idea. So don’t purchase a parrot unless you plan on having him around for the next 3-5 decades.
In addition, consider your work schedule. Most birds should not be left alone for more than 5 hours. Like people, they need companionship and an emotional connection with another individual—either a human or bird. You must also be committed enough to help your bird work through any problems or behavioral issues that arise. Having a parrot is similar to raising a kid—you’re going to run into a few bumps here and there.
Although the price of your parrot may not seem astronomical (depending on the species), the bird cage and accessories can be costly. Housing is the most important factor to consider when buying a bird. The parrot cage must be an adequate size for your pet. As a general rule, large bird cages are the best choice. It will give your pet plenty of room to stretch and move around. If you are purchasing a small bird, such as a Parrotlet, a finch cage may be adequate. However, large to medium sized birds will need an African Grey cage or a macaw cage, specifically designed for the bigger species.
Birds require a lot of time and attention. In order to keep your bird happy and friendly, you will need to interact with it on a regular basis. Be prepared to spend at least 3-4 hours a day with your bird. Also, keep in mind, that by nature birds are messy. They toss their food on the floor, shed feathers, spill their water and poop all over the place. In order to maintain the health of your pet, you will need to clean your parrot cage on a regular basis. Perches should be spot-cleaned weekly; the cage should be disassembled at least once a month to be thoroughly disinfected.
The tray below the cage must be changed daily. For your own convenience, it is best to use disposable tray liners, such as the ones offered by Custom Cages. These disposable liners allow you to place a week’s supply in the bottom of your parrot cage. Each day, simply remove the top layer. These disposable tray liners make it easy to keep your bird cage neat, disease-free, and smelling pleasant.
4. Health Concerns
Most birds shed feather dust or dander, which can irritate people with asthma or respiratory disorders. If you or a family members suffers from this condition, invest in an air purifier system. This will help keep the air fresh and dust-free. You can also minimize the effect of feather dust by bathing your parrot on a regular basis. But once again, you’ll need to be absolutely sure you are willing to make this commitment. Consistently bathing your bird will take time and dedication.
There are certain species such as the Eclectus parrot that are free from feather dust, making it the ideal bird for people who suffer from respiratory conditions.
If you do suffer from allergies but would still like to own a bird, consider keeping your bird in an outdoor avairy or outdoor bird cage. This could provide you with the pleasure of owning a bird, without having to deal with the feather dust in your living quarters. The Suncatcher cages offered by Custom Cages are a great choice when considering an outdoor bird cage. These decorative bird cages are extremely stylish, roomy and functional. They are coated with a UV protected, non-toxic material for a stunning finish. They also come with a solid metal roof, which will protect your bird from the harsh afternoon sun or a light drizzle. These outdoor bird aviaries can sit on an existing deck, patio or slab of cement.
In addition, outdoor bird cages can reduce daily clean-up and maintenance by 80%. Instead of having to manually clean the bottom of the cage each day, you can simply spray it off with a hose. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
If you enjoy long hours of peace and quiet, a bird may not be the best pet for you. Many parrots, especially those gifted at talking, tend to be exceptionally noisy. Parrot love to shriek, scream, whistle, talk and mimic others. The noise they generate can irritate your neighbors and prompt a visit from your landlord.
Parrots are noisy by nature. In the wild they use their voices, screams and calls to communicate with one another, including their mates, friends and other flock members. Many parrots such as Amazons and Cockatoos have powerful voices that can be heard from long distances.
Birds especially enjoy talking in the morning and during evening hours. This is natural and should be expected. While you should not allow your bird to get in the habit of constantly screaming, which is a behavioral issue, normal talking and vocalizations is part of living with a parrot.
Before investing in a bird, be sure you are willing to handle the noise. Keep in mind, your bird may choose to be boisterous & loud at all the wrong times, such as when you’re watching your favorite TV show or talking on the phone. Also be prepared to deal with neighbors or your landlord who may complain about your bird’s excessive shrieks.
6. Other Pets & Children
Birds are not compatible with most other pets. So you will need to be willing to keep your bird away from other household animals. Cats and dogs can harm or kill your bird, even in play. In addition a cat’s claws and mouth contains a bacteria called Pasteurella, which can cause infection or death in a bird. Snakes, ferrets and other exotic pets carry similar bacteria that can threaten your bird’s health. You will also need to keep pet mice or rats away from your bird cage, as these animals are known disease carriers.
In addition, birds are not the best type of pet for young children. Birds tend to be startled by the loud noise and sudden movement’s children make. This can cause them to become aggressive or defensive. Young children should never be left alone with a bird.
If you do have other pets or young children, be sure to purchase a solid, secure parrot cage that will keep your bird in and other animals or people out. Curious children or excited dogs and cats may try to pry open the cage door to terrorize your bird. As a result, safety and security is essential when selecting a bird cage. The bird habitats offered by Custom Cages have a unique and highly-secure locking system that makes it impossible for a bird to escape, or for a predator to open the door. The outer handles of the cage interlock with the frame and the revolutionary locking system pins the doors together offering maximum security.
7. Your Patience Level
Birds are wild animals. Unlike cats and dogs, they are not genetically programmed to bond with humans. As a general rule, if you take good care of your bird and treat it with love and respect, the bird will return these feelings. But this is not guaranteed. Birds are picky about who they like. They may act hostile towards a person simply because they dislike their tone of voice. They may refuse to bond with their primary caregiver, and instead lavish their affections on someone who spends relatively little time with them. This type of rejection can be emotionally devastating for you. Simply remember to treat your bird with respect. Be committed to working with your bird to gain their trust and love.
Evaluating Your Motives
Let’s take a moment to think about your motives for wanting a bird:
- If you simply want a status symbol, a great pet for your kids, or a brightly colored decoration for your living room, you may want to consider a stuffed parrot instead.
- A bird is a living creature with physical, mental and emotional needs.
- And there is only one proper motive for wanting a pet bird: to gain a lifelong friend and companion.