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Do you really want a Parrot
By Rhonda Stech of the Parrot Playhouse
Are you sure that you are equipped to handle life with a
parrot? Before you take on the daily challenge of life with a
parrot research the type of parrot that you are considering.
Talk to owners of parrots; read everything you can find
concerning them. Research, research, research, and then research
some more. Life with a parrot is not easy. Take a look at the
parrot rescue facilities and sanctuaries. These places are
filled to capacity with the ďmistakesĒ other people have made.
Then ask yourself the following questions!
Do you expect your home to be spotless at all times? All parrot
species are messy, even the little parakeet. Food is flung
everywhere. Seed, pellets and nutshells end up on the floor.
Fresh foods can be found plastered to the walls, cage bars,
carpets and the ceiling. Pieces of wood from those favorite
toys are strewn about. This is a daily occurrence!! Birds poop
every 2 to 15 minutes, depending on their size. That tends to be
a lot of poop. Big birds make big poop. Poop is not confined to
the paper at the bottom of the cage. They poop on the bars, in
their dishes, on their perches and toys, on you, through the bars
onto the floor and on your furniture. Cage papers must be
changed daily. If they eat messy foods you will have to change
them more often. Cages need to be scrubbed with soap and water
at least once a week, sometimes more.
Greys have powder on their feathers that will stick to
everything. Dusting will be an everyday chore.
Do you have priceless antique furniture? Parrots do not know
the difference between the wood toys in their cage and the
priceless antique chair that your grandmother left you. If they
can reach it, they will chew it. This goes for furniture,
woodwork, walls, computers, electric cords, picture frames,
books, nothing is sacred! TV remotes become button less in an
instant. I spent 2 days putting wallpaper on the walls of our
living room only to have strips of it removed by our African
Do you hate loud noises, or continuous monotonous noise? Any of
the larger birds are loud when they scream, earsplitting, earplug
wearing, run for cover LOUD!! Your neighbors a mile away will be
able to hear these screams. A normal parrot screams at least
twice a day, for 5 to 15 minutes at a time. Parakeets,
etc may be small but they do have voices. Can you
listen to a small bird whistle or call for hours on end? These
are just what normal birds do. Some birds scream constantly!!
Can you handle it??
Are you afraid of being bitten, or the sight of your own blood?
If you spend much time with a parrot at some time or other you
are going to be bitten. I mean blood drawing, skin ripping
bitten. The macaws here can crack a brazil nut with their
beaks. Imagine what they could do to your finger, arm or face if
they applied that pressure to you. I have had the small bones in
the back of my hand broken by a parrot. Was he mean? No, he
was scared! I know many people who have had to have stitches
from damage caused by a birdís beak. Small birds can also bite
extremely hard. I saw a parakeet bite into a personís finger and
hold on for dear life. That tiny little parakeet had to be pried
Do you like to have visitors over often? Your non-bird loving
friends will no longer come to visit if you have a loud, messy
parrot. If they donít mind the noise and the mess the thought of
being bitten will keep them away. You would be surprised at how
some people freak out over a little bird poop on their new shirt.
Do you mind having holes in all of your clothes, or not being
able to wear jewelry? Parrots love to chew on clothing. Those
beaks can and will puncture your clothing. Every parrot owned
human that I know has at least one good article of clothing with
holes in it. Shirts with buttons will no longer be an option. A
parrot can remove or break a button in less than a second.
Jewelry is just another thing that will have to go. Parrots love
shiny things. Rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings will be
chewed and more than likely broken if you wear them near your
parrot. Parrots have removed precious stones from favorite
jewelry in an instant. I have seen 14 karat gold necklaces
snapped in half by a tiny little parrotlet.
Are you ready to give up that nonstick cookware, those aerosol
cans (hairspray, perfume, deodorant) air fresheners, rug
deodorizers? Nonstick cookware can be deadly to a parrot. The
fumes from PTFE have killed thousands of parrots. PTFE can be
found in stoves, heaters, hair dryers, curling irons, dishwashers
and many other everyday household appliances. I received this
letter from DuPont Teflonģ and wanted others to see all they have
done to address this issue , to read what they had to say click
here The propellants used in aerosols can also kill. You will
have to change to pump bottles. That perfume or cologne that you
love so much will also have to go along with those air fresheners
and rug deodorizers. The smells from those items can kill or
cause severe neurological disorders. Bleach is also on the not
to be used list. You canít use the self-clean option on your
Do you have an extra $150 - $300 to spend on a well bird exam
each and every year? $1000 plus if the bird gets sick and needs
vet care? In the wild birds mask their illness in order to
survive. This is a natural instinct. Birds need to be vetted at
least once a year to make sure they are not masking any illness.
Looking at the bird and listening to his heart and lungs is not
enough. He will also need to have blood work and cultures done.
You canít take him to your dog and cat vet either. He will need
a vet that specializes in avian medicine. Heaven forbid that the
bird becomes sick. In one single weekend we have spent over
$1,500 on emergency vet care.
Do you have money for toys, lots of toys? Birds need to be kept
busy. This means toys, lots of toys, destructible toys. If a
bird canít destroy a toy it is no good. They need to chew and
destroy. It not only keeps them mentally stimulated but also
helps to keep those beaks trimmed and sharp. Without toys they
will look for other things to chew, see question #3. Toys vary
in price depending on which type of parrot you choose. Toys for
the larger birds can run upwards of $50 and last less than a
week. We haven't even mentioned the cost of a suitable cage,
which can be anywhere from less than $100 to over $3000 for the
top of the line.
Are you aware of what constitutes a good diet for a parrot? You
canít just throw some pellets or seed in their cage and expect
them to be happy or healthy. They need variety and moderation.
They will need veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, breads, lean
meats, etc. This is an every day thing, not just when you have
time. We spend hours shopping, peeling, cutting and preparing
bird foods every week. After all that there is no guarantee that
they will eat it! So you think they can just have what you cook
for dinner. Well, that depends. Do you cook only nutritional
foods? Do you use a lot of salt or butter? Parrots need a
nutritionally balanced diet to stay healthy. Avocados,
chocolate, raw onions, and caffeine are just some of the things
that should never be fed.
Are you ready to spend the next 30, 40, 50, 60 years looking
after a perpetual 2 year old child, or a hormonal teenager?
Depending on the type of parrot you decide on, they can have a
lifespan of more than 60 years. Even that tiny little parakeet
can live to be almost 20. The bigger the parrot is the longer its
lifespan. Do you have someone to take care of the birds if
something should happen to you? Just because you love your bird
doesnít mean that other family members will take them on.
Many of the parrots in adoption facilities are there because they
were left to family members who did not want them.
Parrots are like 2-year-old children. They cannot be left alone
unsupervised. They can and do find things to entertain
themselves, see question #3. They will get into anything and
As birds reach maturity they often turn into hormone
raging teenagers. Ever see a sweet human child that turned into
the devilís advocate once they hit puberty? Imagine that same
thing happening to your little feathered bundle of joy! The
sweet cuddly bird that you knew yesterday is gone. Today you
have a feathered demon whose only purpose in life seems to be
making you miserable. He screams non-stop, he rips out his
feathers, and he bites you to the bone every time you get near
him. Suddenly you need to buy stock in band aids and the staff at
your local ER know you on sight. He chases your children and
spouse around the house biting at their feet. If he decides that
you are his mate he will do anything he can to drive away anyone
he sees as a rival for your affection. This includes your
Do you like to go on vacations away from home? You cannot leave
a bird alone with just a dish of seed and a bowl of water. He
needs companionship and supervision. Birds can die of thirst or
starvation in a very short period of time. And an unsupervised
bird can be big trouble. I read a story of a parrot that let
himself out of his cage while his owners were just gone for the
day. Check out the damage he did in just a few short hours. Bad
Bad Frances You can't leave them with just anyone either, your
non-parrot owning friends won't want to baby sit.
BIRDS ARE A LIFETIME COMMITMENT! IF YOU CAN'T MAKE THAT
COMMITMENT, WANT A PARROT BECAUSE IT TALKS, DON'T WANT TO BE
BITTEN, WANT ONE THAT NEVER SCREAMS, GET A STUFFED PARROT
If after reading all of this you think you can
dedicate your life to a parrot then please check out these
websites and ask yourself if the same can be said of those who
share your home. Parrots affect everyone in a household, not
Still want a parrot, then consider adopting one from a reputable
parrot Rescue facility. If you decide that you must have a baby
then please buy one that is weaned. It is a complete myth that
hand feeding strengthens the bond between parrot and human. The
bond I have with my previously owned birds is every bit as strong
as that I have with the ones I raised from babies. Hand feeding
by an inexperienced feeder can be DEADLY!!!!
Remember that parrots are not domestic animals. They retain
their wild instincts no matter how tame they are. You may share
your life with a parrot but you won't own him. He will own you!!
Enchanting Stuffed Plush Parrots