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Parrots are not like other pets. Their intelligence
If you want a parrot, then I really hope that before you have even started looking for that cute baby bird or even an adult, that you consider the following points.
Do you have your own home? Living with your parents or roommates isn't an ideal situation to have a parrot in. If you are still at home, can you take the bird with you when you move out - what about when you go to college? Work? HOW many hours will you work for? How many hours will the bird be alone? If you are with a roommate, is it fair to inflict upon them the noise, the mess, the fact their air fresheners and teflon pans/hair dryers/straighteners/ George Foreman grills will have to permanently be resigned to the bin? That no, they cannot have parties because parrots require 8-12hrs of uninterrupted sleep? Oh and SO sorry you're trying to study, but maybe you'd best go out if the parrot shouting is annoying you?
Do you have plenty of time to spend with your bird? By this I do not mean a few hours of an evening, I mean a LOT of time.....
Are you financially stable?
Are you aware that your bird must be taken to an AVIAN vet that will charge almost double to a regular vet to do something simple like shorten nails?
Does EVERYONE in your household support the idea of living with a parrot and are prepared to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in with training/care? Can everyone take a blood drawing bite or two? Because it WILL happen. Additionally, some birds will always dislike some human, even in it's own family. Are you ready for this?
Do your personal qualities include endless patience, love and respect?
Can you take the time to learn parrot mentality?
Have you considered what you will do if you find yourself with a bird that is aggressive/noisy/messy? We can't pick personality and for all the good sides, each parrot has a downside that may not be able to be corrected.
Can you offer a stable routine? Too many different times for feeding/out of cage/bed are not good for a bird and can distress them greatly.
Can you offer a LIFETIME's care to this bird?
You may be thinking: This girl is WAY over the top. She's a parrot NUT. She probably goes mental at people who eat meat and cries if you stamp on an ant.
No, I am not lol. That is the scary thing. I am just a normal person who happens to have a parrot and I can tell you that EVERY point above is essential. Any of the other wonderful guardian's on this forum would agree. I am not an expert or a specialist. I do not have some sort of Parrot Degree behind me, I learn every day and I will continue to read everything I can get my hands on with relation to my bird because I want her to be as healthy and happy as possible. We never stop learning and that is the key to becoming a good parront.
Life with a parrot is fantastic, rewarding and there is never a dull moment but let me do what I intended to do and break the silence on the bad parts.
Messy. They do not eat food. They throw food, mash it into furnishings, spray juice up the walls and onto the carpet. THEN they eat some food.
They can be toilet trained, but poop when they need to where they need to if something is too interesting to go back to the cage for.
Noisy. ALL parrots come with a certain amount of noise. The dawn and dusk chorus' are VERY important to them and although you can prevent screaming, it is something you will have to work at for a long LONG time. They are not like dogs, you cannot just call through to the other room 'No shouting' and expect it to work.
Can get really uppity and show this via the channels of BITING. Some only in the beginning, others quite frequently - stock up on plasters.
Demanding. You must be able to have a parrot out of their cage for a few hours a day at least. They will not let you have any time off from this! They decide they want out? They want it YESTERDAY and they will not behave until you play ball.
Bossy. If you think you can curl up on the sofa with a book and your bird wants to play - forget the book. When you bring a new bird home, you cannot FORCE them to do ANYTHING. If you do, they will never trust you and therefore initially, things need to be on THEIR terms.
Destructive. Depending on the species and the personality of the bird, you may get one who is capable of ripping your sofa to shreds in the space of half an hour. Wallpaper, woodwork, curtains, cables....it ALL needs to be parrot proofed.
Specific health needs. All parrots need a good pellet mix as a base food. These are EXPENSIVE. They need seed and nuts - human grade. There's that /$ again.....They need plenty of fruit and veg which really, need to be organic - unless you want to risk the pesticide issue.
The subject of care is a minefield with many, MANY dangers. No dried fruit, no peanuts, no chocolate, no onions, no caffeine...the list is not exhaustive. Non stick pans that release deadly fumes need to be binned - stainless steel is hard to clean. Checking your heating systems do not produce PTFE (teflon fumes). No air fresheners. No heavy duty cleaning products. Only stainless steel for your bird - metal poisoning is deadly. No open windows. Only natural cleaning of the cage. No exposed mirrors or windows until your bird is settled. No cables within beak range. No, no no no NO! There are so many I could not list them. Is the air humid enough? Prepare for higher leccy bills if your air is dry and you need a humidifier. Bathing them every day.........on and on and on...
Not like other animals. Other domestic pets are different to parrots in the extreme. You can buy a cute puppy or kitten and within a few days, they will be acting like they can't remember where they came from. Not so with a parrot. BASIC trust takes weeks to get to. Deep trust takes months. Bonding can take YEARS. This is where your endless patience needs to kick in.
Talking. If you want a parrot just because they talk then you really shouldn't be getting one. Only happy, healthy, settled parrots will talk and then there are some that no matter how content in life, will never attempt to imitate a single noise.
Time consuming. Several clean ups a day, wiping away with warm water and lemon juice/vinegar/bi carb/natural products (anything else can be poisonous) - the cage, the bars, the floors, the walls, the toys, the bowls. Providing fresh water several times a day. Cooking and preparing mini dinners. Taking the time to buy lots of different safe toys so they can be rotated. TEACHING your bird HOW to play - it's not natural, you know. Teaching him you are trustworthy. Teaching your bird manners. Keeping him entertained.
Cages. RESEARCH what size and shape you need. This is a most important point. Too big for a small bird will result in fear. Too small will make for a miserable bird. The bar spacing needs to be correct for safety. No caught body parts or mashed feathers. The shape is important. A climbing bird will not thank you for a dome shaped cage. Good quality cages are a MUST. No rust.
Knowledge. You NEED to get the correct knowledge and be confident you know how to handle your future bird before you bring them home. Too many people take a bird home and then ask questions that they shouldn't need to ask. For example: How do I get my bird out of it's cage? How do I get my parrot to like me? How can I get my parrot to cuddle me? These people did no research beforehand. Get yourself Parrots books - you will need them. Anticipate every problem you can before you home your bird.
These are very basic needs of a parrot. This is them without the 'Oh how cute, he said hello!' sugar coating.
Having a parrot in your home is not all roses and I'm sure everyone would admit to thinking: Just 10mins peace would be great.
I just hope that if you have not bought a bird and have read this, you have seriously considered what I've said.
Parrot rescue centres in the USA are packed out with birds whose owners were ignorant to the downsides. The UK's pet classifieds are full of birds who are 'unmanageable' or 'Don't have the time anymore.' People who have all bought now and thought later - to the detriment of the bird. Because of people thinking having a parrot will be 'cool', wild birds are STILL being caught in Africa and shipped like semi-precious vases to people with more money than sense.
If you are 100% sure you can provide the care they need then you are in for a life changing experience.