What are the costs of owning your own parrot?

What are the costs of owning your own parrot?

So you’ve decided you want to buy a parrot, but you’re not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered. We discuss every eventuality you will experience when buying a bird, all things considered, to help you make an informative decision on whether a parrot is right for you.

It’s important to realise that parrots are long term commitment. It’s a friend for life, they are intelligent and sociable animals that enjoy interaction with humans and thrive from play time inquisitiveness.

Different breeds have different life spans, Cockatiels will live for up to 25 years and African Grey’s living up to 60 years. Some birds can become bored and irritable if they aren’t allowed out of their cages on a daily basis. You also have to consider the commitment to cleaning their cage, feeding them and making sure they have an enjoyable environment to live in.

If you’re thinking of buying a parrot, why not consider adoption? We are partnered with All Star Parrots who give homes to the UK’s sadly unwanted parrots.

Are you ready for a lifestyle change? Then read on.

Buying your parrot

Similarly to dogs and their sub breeds, parrots have very different personalities, lifestyles and needs, dependant on their species.
Some parrots will be more vocal than others, for example Cockatiels can whistle, you can get specific songbirds that ‘chatter’ and birds like Macaws as they are bigger, will produce a louder sound when squawking.

We’ve done a little tally up of all the average prices for the most commonly bought parrots online. Here you can see which birds are financially suited to you.

Once you have considered this and made your choice, start to look at your options around purchasing. A lot of people ultimately assume that a known breeder is the only choice, in fact there are a few to consider.

How much does it cost to insure a parrot?

When buying a parrot one of the essential elements most people overlook is the cost of ongoing treatment if your bird is sick, the cost of recovery if your bird is injured, because even if you’re going in for a general check-up, you may find there is something wrong and be left with a £1,000 bill to settle before treatment goes ahead. Delays in finding this kind of money upfront could cost your bird their life, so it’s important to have this covered.

One option is insurance for your parrot, using our UK parrot insurance you can easily ensure your parrot. We cover up to £5,000 for exotic birds and you only have to pay the first £30. There are lots of different options that you can add on or take off for your exotic pet’s insurance cover, something other insurance companies don’t offer for parrots. Our exotic pet policies start from £8.14 a month, to get your quote give us a call on 01444 708840 or get a quote online.

Should I use an adoption agency or rescue centre?

Rescue centres can often have a database of bird owners who are looking to give their birds a new home, as they can no longer look after them. Please ensure you do your research and investigate both the rescue centre and the owners to ensure you know as much as you can before adopting. They are often looking for you to become a member of their organisation and to pay an adoption fee. These are significantly less than purchasing from a breeder or retail outlet. You may also be able to get a large amount of equipment in with the purchase, this is desirable as the parrot would be familiar to these. Ensure any equipment you do purchase is working and fit for the parrot you are buying.

If you consider adopting a parrot you need to be aware that they may not warm to you as quickly as a baby parrot. They may be older and frailer, like humans, they may be set in their ways about humans not being friendly if they have previously had a bad experience with an owner. Some may have been neglected or abused, so you must act with caution and extra care to ensure they feel safe and don’t cause stress to your parrot. If this does occur your bird may experience feather plucking, think of it as them getting anxious and biting their nails like a human would, we have devised a special blog post dedicated to how to look after birds with feather plucking.

Should I buy from a friend or parrot group site?

There are many parrot groups on social media sites that you can join and ask questions. Often you will find a parrot being sold on these sites. Ensure you do your own research, as often these are breeders. Also try to understand where the bird has been kept and if there is any equipment being sold along with the bird. Make sure you compare the purchase costs with buying direct from a breeder or retailer. Look for recommendations and review on the person if you can, time spend on this is valuable and it may stop you from buying from a poor source. The above also applies to buying from a friend, the only advantage is that you do have some more detailed background information on the person.

Should I buy from a parrot breeder?

Breeders tend to be less expensive than retail stores and often extremely knowledgeable. They will often help you understand how to look after the parrot, both in terms of feeding and equipment. Write out a list of questions you might want to ask before you get there, make more than one visit and check out their living environment. Check out reviews and what others have said, be careful as some reviews aren’t always genuine, but if there are a significant number spanning a reasonable length of time, it would be a reasonable indication that they are genuine reviews. Contact some previous parrot purchasers if you can.

Should I buy from a parrot retailer?

This tends to be the most expensive way to purchase, but again you can buy not only the parrot but the equipment at the same time. Make sure you do your research and know what a reasonable price for all the items you are looking to purchase. Do not miss the opportunity to ask for a discount. They can also be very knowledgeable but be mindful they can be looking to maximise their revenue from you.

How much will the vet cost?

You will need to find an avian specialist. A check-up for your parrot may range from £50 to £100 depending on the vet practice’s rates and the type of parrot you own. A bigger bird may need more specialist avian care. Bear in mind if this is your first check-up it may cost more as they will need to do a full check of everything. Microchipping is one of the cheapest options available to your bird and would be highly recommended, this is very quick and can be done as part of a check-up.

If your bird requires their blood to be taken for the examination this could cost up to £70, X-rays for £100+. An anaesthetic may be required for small things like beak and nail trimming, this could be anything upwards of £20. This is of course all very dependant on where you live in the UK and the vet’s own rate’s.

Buying parrot food

The cost of parrot food will vary depending on the brand, quantity and quality. Don’t get sucked into the old marketing tricks of buying for quantity, try your parrot out on a few items with small quantities in case they don’t like it. Find out what they like and look to vary it according to their tastes. We haven’t priced any products for you as we think you need to locate a supplier close to you for convenience, however, we do recommend you look at 3 different suppliers to ensure you know what your paying is reasonable. A typical parrot diet should consist of 1/3 seed mix, 1/3 pellets and 1/3 fruit and veg/human foods.

These bags might contain:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Oats
  • Raisins
  • Other dried fruits
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts
  • Corn kernels
  • Barley
  • Flax seeds
  • Buckwheat

If you’re interested in making treats for your bird at home we have an article on 3 DIY bird food recipes for your parrot, quick and easy snacks for your parrot.

How much does a parrot cage cost?

There are many sites that will give you slightly different views on the size of the cage, but as a guide it needs to be 2.5 to 3 wingspans wide, 3 to 3.5 wingspans deep and 4 wingspans for the length. Try not to under size your cage based on costs as this will impact your parrots overall health and well being. The type of cage you need will depend on the type and size of bird you have, different birds require different set ups. To have a look at some of our favourites take a look at our Pinterest board for inspiration.

Turning to costs, there are many sites offering second-hand items for sale, these can be a cost-effective means of getting good quality cages at a much-reduced price. Upwards of 50% discount on buying it new. Make sure you do your research and ask question about the reason for selling. Ensure your cage is thoroughly cleaned before you introduce your new Parrot friend to its cage.

Some models come with perches on either side of the bars, which creates a nicer environment for parrots, and wheels so they can be conveniently moved around your home. Generally, the bigger the better, as birds need to have room to stretch their wings out fully and to move around comfortably. These range from £90 to £350. Cages can come with stands and often have pulled out trays and grills, these types of cages will often also come with detachable seed catchers too. We recommend Scarletts Parrot Essentials as a reputable company that will offer free delivery and deals on cages for all types of parrots.

Make sure you have considered where you are going to place your cage. If it’s a chatty Parrot, you may not want it in an environment where it is going to interfere with conversation or the TV. The kitchen area can be a problem area if you have not considered your cleaning materials and the chemicals contained within. Check these out alongside your saucepans if they are non-stick, these can also give off harmful chemicals to your parrot.

Buying parrot housing and decorations

You can go overboard on various exciting toys and perches for your parrot, try to pick a sensible selection that doesn’t cramp the cage and or your own environment. Try to look for sales and discount offers as these can amount to large sums when making big purchases.

  • Play stands can cost from as little as £15 up to around £250, depending on the make and or size of the stand.
  • Perches can cost around from as little as £15 up to around £50, again depending on the make and or style of perch.
  • Get a selection of toys.
    • Parrots like toys they can chew on and shred.
    • Novelty toys that give out treats and climbing toys.
    • Have two or three sets that you can rotate so your parrot does not get bored.
    • Remember to replace worn-out toys as these can break and cause harm.
    • Do not buy toys that are too small for the size of your parrot, they have strong beaks and can break toys easily.
    • Costs anything from £1 to £20.
    • Be careful where you buy these products, many sites have links to suppliers, there are not always the best suppliers in terms of price, range or quality.
    • Ask your friends and groups for recommendations.
    • Do the same for potential questions you might want to ask before you purchase.

Parrots are truly wonderful companions and can be with you for a large part of your life, so look after them and enjoy the endless fun you can have teaching them to talk or just admiring them.

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