This article will take you behind the scenes of having a parrot as a pet and the responsibility that comes with owning this wonderful exotic bird.. Most pet parents have dreamed of their fur baby being able to speak back to them. If your dogs or cats could talk, what would they say? Parrot owners know the reality is, they wish their feathered friend hadn’t learned THAT word.
Taking on a parrot can be fun and rewarding, but it is definitely not for the faint of heart. They have an incredibly long life span and require special care and attention. Still interested in taking on the challenge of a parrot? Read on to learn if you have what it takes to provide a home for one of these extraordinary birds.
Head of The Class
Parrots, or psittacines, a group that even includes the familiar parakeet, aren’t just intelligent for birds. They’re one of the most intelligent animals on the planet! African Grey parrots, the most studied group, have demonstrated the ability to add and subtract. All parrots recognize complex concepts, such as object permanence, and they aren’t just repeating what you say. It’s been demonstrated that parrots know the meanings of words. Even the parakeet can learn to speak and be taught tricks!
This high level of intelligence means that parrots need to be kept entertained. When bored, they can become destructive and may even self mutilate. Make sure your parrot has plenty of toys. You may also want to keep some back-ups on hand so you can rotate them out from time to time.
Make sure you take some time out of your day to teach them tricks. Not only will it keep them amused, but it will also help you bond. Simply handling your parrot is another excellent way to make sure they’re mentally stimulated. Parrots in the wild have a very complex social structure, so make sure your parrot gets plenty of healthy interaction with you.
We all have to leave the house on occasion. Leave the radio or tv on for your parrot. Parrots are interested in different noises, so this will help keep them occupied while they’re alone. You may even find your parrot has a favorite radio station!
Parrots are Pals for Life
Parrots have incredibly long lifespans. The large species, such as the African Grey, Amazon Parrots, and Cockatoos can live 60 years or more. Smaller parrots, like cockatiels and parakeets, still have impressive lifespans of 15 to 20 years. The record holder for the oldest living parrot was Cookie, the cockatoo, who lived for 82 years at the Brooklyn Zoo. He lived to be 83 after being sent from Australia at the age of 1!
Here are a few tips to ensure your feathered friend lives the longest healthiest life possible. Proper veterinary care is a must. With exotic pets becoming much more common, it’s not difficult to find a veterinarian who specializes in birds and other exotics.
Make sure your home is a healthy environment for birds. Parrots and other birds can be very sensitive to chemicals released by air fresheners, scented candles, and non-stick cookware. In fact, these products can cause serious illness or death. Be sure to use mild cleaners if you have birds present.
Make sure they have a varied diet. Parrots need more than seed to stay healthy. Look for parrot pellets as opposed to birdseed. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and nutritious protein sources will help your parrot live his longest, healthiest life.
Parrots: 4th Popular Pet in the US!
Parrots are the fourth most popular pet in the United States, behind cats, dogs, and fish. If you spend any time with a parrot, it’s easy to see why they’ve risen in popularity. They are incredibly affectionate birds. Many parrots even enjoy a good cuddle. Their incredible intelligence makes them easy to train, and they make great companions if properly cared for.
Unfortunately, their popularity comes with a downside. We’ve all heard of “puppy mills,” and sadly, many parrots are being bred in similar conditions. If you want a young parrot, be sure you research your breeder carefully. A good breeder will be able to fully answer any questions you may have, carefully socializes their parrots, and gives them plenty of room to stretch and move. Most likely, their birds have some kind of health guarantee.
Some breeders do not allow people to visit their facilities. This is not necessarily because they have questionable practices, but because they are trying to keep their facilities clean and disease-free. These are known as “closed aviaries.” If you are allowed to see the facilities, take a good look around. Beware of dirty cages, unsocial birds, or questionable conditions. A good, ethical breeder is operating for the love of parrots and the unique qualities they bring to the table – not a love of money.
There are cases where people did not anticipate the amount of care a parrot takes. Due to this, more and more parrots are finding their way into shelters and rescues. Many of these birds are suffering from poor nutrition or a lack of socialization. Many have been kept in a too-small environment. Parrots need enough room to fully stretch their wings and turn when in their cage. They also need plenty of time outside their cage. Cramped spaces can lead to destructive behavior, like feather picking. Due to this, many former parrot breeders are now becoming more involved in parrot rescue work.
In the right environment, parrots can be an exciting and fun addition to the family. Positive you have what it takes? Consider adopting a parrot from a rescue. These birds may be more challenging, but you can rest easy knowing you’re providing a unique and intelligent animal with a second chance at a happy life.
Are you a parrot parent, and need someone you can trust to pet sit your feathered family member? Our pet sitting services are for more than just dogs and cats! For any questions, head to our FAQs page.
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, in 2016 she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, bonded, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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