Don’t buy that bird… on Impulse!
I know! I really do know, how hard it is to resist that brightly colored parakeet or gentle cockatiel you just passed at the pet store. Look at it, so small and the cage is not big or expensive. You don’t have to walk them, they don’ t bark. Even a cat has a litter box you have to deal with. No noise and no mess. What an easy pet to own!
Stop right there. Almost everything I just wrote is incorrect! Well ,the no walking or barking , part is true but the rest…NOT.
A new parakeet or cockatiel can make a wonderful, entertaining and affectionate pet, but like all pets we take into out care, they should never be an impulse purchase. Here are a few of the realities of owning a small parrot.
1 – The only inexpensive part is the cost of the bird. These little creatures were meant to fly, search for food and live in a flock. Even the smallest bird needs plenty of room in its cage to spread it wings and flap. So small cage is not correct.
It also needs several toys to interact with, to keep its active little mind sane. These toys will not last long if they are loved (birds will love them by tearing them up) and need to be changed and added to often . A bird with nothing to do will not be a happy pet for long. So inexpensive is not correct.
2- Yes, you don’t walk birds but they Do Need a lot of attention. Birds are flock animals and need even more social interaction than people. Though a single bird can make the most affectionate and interactive pet, you have now become its flock. It will need you to give it time and attention through out the day. Your bird should spend a part of each day outside of the cage on a play stand or on your shoulder. A young hand feed bird will happily cuddle and come out to be with you from day one. You should be able to hold the bird you are considering.
Birds do not bark. However, birds are not quiet (actually some parrots learn to mimic your dogs bark). They use their voices to call to each other from great distances and they can be loud. They chatter to each other through out the day. The placement of the cage needs to be where the action is, not only because your bird enjoys your company but also because if it gets lonely, it will call for you ,and that can get noisy. Like all of us, your bird will want to be heard. So the noisier the house the louder the bird. But please remember this is a social animal and isolation in an unused room is a cruel solution. Ask your bird store for recommendation on how to quiet your vocal pet. They will be happy to help.
3 – There is no litter box to change. Well, that is not exactly true either. The cage and the surrounding area can become as messy as a litter box. The cage is manageable if the paper is changed daily. The whole area needs to be cleaned at least weekly. Expect to vacuum the area near the cage. Your bird is not concerned where it poops, so watch that the food and water dish stay clean and that they are not located directly under a perch.
Speaking of food and water…this needs to be changed daily. Even if they appear clean and full. A seed dish looks full but could only contain can empty but the hulls and water can grow bacteria quickly. Also, don’t feed your new baby only seed! A seed only diet is unhealthy and will shorten the life of your pet. Birds can and often do live much longer than dogs or even cats. Your parakeet that you just bought your kindergartener could be there till she goes to college and the cockatiel could easily be waiting for her after she graduates and moves back home. Ask your bird store what fruit and vegetables, table food , seed and nut mix you should start your bird on.
That all being said…this is an easy pet to love. They are very entertaining to watch as they sample a new food or figure out a new toy. They can learn to whistle tunes and even to talk. If you purchase a very young bird or a handfed bird it will be an affectionate pets from the start, and enjoy head scratches and cuddles. These birds can become a part of their human family and add fun and affection to everyone in the house.
So remember as you pass the cage of little parakeets in the big pet store don’t make an impulse purchase. Stop and think is the pet for you? Is this the best bird store in my area to buy a healthy pet and get the expert advice you will need? Are you ready to give the time and attention to a pet even after the newness has worn off? Can you spend the money for quality food, toys, a large cage and a bird Vet when needed? Now that you have some of the important facts….
BUY THAT BIRD!!!
Lynne Singerman is the happy owner of a 10-year-old Love Bird named J.D. Who flies to her and cuddles – a 5 year of Blue Crowned Conure named Pickles who dances and give her compliments – and 2 year old Alexandrine named Emmy Lou who says “ Whatya doing, you?” and cuddles during Nightline every night. Lynne purchased her pets from Adventures in Birds and has been recommending the bird specialty store to her friends for years. Recently that relationship has grown and she is now the Ambassador of Birds.
Adventures in Birds -7414 Westview Dr. Houston, TX, 77055 –713-681-5299 www.adventuresinbirds.com – Become a Fan on Facebook of Adventures in Birds