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Checklist For New Parrot Owners
So you saw a lady with a beautiful white bird on her arm that
said "I Love You" and now you want to share that experience and
have your own parrot. Let me give you some insight before
you do something foolish, like run out and buy a Cockatoo.
But what I have to say applies to all large parrots,
some more than others. Remember each bird is an individual,
regardless of its species, and is a product of its environment
- past and present!
1. A GOOD DEAL.. is measured only
by the end product. What I mean is if you buy a healthy,
tame/hand-fed parrot, high quality cage and packaged food
you will only end up with a great relationship if you also
provided also provided adequate attention and affection, chew/stimulating
toys, play area, healthy fresh food, discipline, socialization,
routine health care and a positive, healthy environment to maintain
that same tame, healthy parrot. You can adopt
a parrot from a less than perfect situation with less INITIAL
investment, but you will still need to provide a quality cage,
play area, toys, food, health care, socialization, attention with
affection and discipline in a positive, healthy environment.
There is no guarantee any parrot will be a cute, cuddly, or talking
parrot. Your chances increase with the quality of care you provided
on a constant basis.
2. What would it be like to have a large
parrot? Try this:
WASTEFUL.. Buy $30 worth of groceries and throw $24 worth
in the trash as soon as you arrive home. Do this several
times a month. Parrots require fresh food in addition to
pellets (not seeds) and are wasteful eaters. If you can't afford
the wastefulness of a parrot, you can't afford the parrot.
BITES.. Slam your fingers in your car door to simulate
a bite. If you have a parrot, you will be bitten, sometimes
just hard, sometimes really hard, and some times with blood and
severe damage. Parrots can be very temperamental and some
favor a love/hate relationship that seems more like a game of
"GUESS WHAT MOOD I'M IN TODAY". Large male Cockatoos are
famous for being hormonal teenagers. When these males are
in the presence of a human female that is experiencing her monthly
cycle - WATCH OUT! Remember, if your parrot bites someone,
there may be a financial obligation that goes with that bite.
Do you have homeowner's/renter's insurance? Does it cover
animal bites? If not, how will you cover any lawsuit that
may arise from a parrot bite?
ATTACHED.. Velcro a 1 pound weight to your arm and keep
it there for 2 hours at a time, 3 or 4 hours a day, every day
for a week. This is how it feels to have your "baby" with
you, which you will want because they are our babies. In
the case of Cockatoos, they crave the physical contact of their
flock - YOU are their flock. If you don't have the time
or the desire to have this much interaction with a parrot, reconsider
your decision to bring a parrot into your home.
MESS.. Scatter cooked and dry oatmeal on your floor.
Let the cooked oatmeal dry good
and hard. Clean up the mess and repeat. Do this
a min of 3X a day for a week. This is similar to a
parrot's mess (food and poop). Its really more than 3x
a day, but I can't keep up with the sweeping
and mopping more than 3x a day. Cage papers must be replace
several times a week. The cage,
toys, perches, playgyms, T-Stands, etc, must be cleaned at
least once a week and sometimes more depending upon the bird.
Birds are clean by nature. They spend several hours a day,
every day preening/cleaning themselves. Don't be selfish
and ignore the mess. If you can't or won't spend the time
necessary to keep the parrot's home clean, then a parrot isn't
right for you at this time.
NOISE.. Record from the library the TOO screaming and play
it on your stereo full blast for 15 mins 3x a day. Some
parrots are not as loud, some may be louder, some may scream short
periods, while others scream longer periods, but all parrots scream,
squawk, sing, or talk. They do it when they're happy,
scared, mad, on alert, or just for no reason at other than to
do it. If you live in an apartment or condo, your neighbors may
become your enemy. Do loud noises bother you?
Are you a nervous person? If the noise would be a reason
to find your parrot a new home, DON'T bring the parrot into your
FEEDING.. Every morning before work and every evening as
soon as you get home, fix a bowl of fresh fruit/veggies and water
in clean bowls. Don't forget to remove the food bowl after
hours so it doesn't cause harm to your would be parrot.
How often do you eat out? How healthy do
you currently eat? You will have to buy groceries and
cook for your parrot! Junk food won't cut it.
If you do not have the time to shop and cook for yourself before
the parrot, what makes you think
you will do it when you bring birdie home? Be realistic,
if you don't have the time to shop and cook,
you don't have the time for a parrot!
BOARDING/OTHER.. Planning a vacation? Travel a lot
with business? Enjoy frequent weekend getaways? Need
to paint? What about if you are ill, have an accident, or
die? Where will birdie stay? Find someone to care/board
your parrot before you get a parrot. Local bird shops maybe
a place, but do you really trust them? Parents, friends,
siblings, neighbors are a good choice, but find out if they are
truly willing beforehand. The day will come when you must
board your parrot for one reason or another. Make certain
you are prepared for that day.
MEDICAL CARE.. Routine vet check-ups are a must, but what
about medical emergencies? Is there an avian vet in your
area? Not all vets see birds and not all vets that see birds
are qualified avian vets. Locate the nearest avian specialist
before you need them and get prices on routine care vs. emergency
care. Wings and nail can be clipped by yourself, vet, or
qualified pet shop. Be careful, blood feathers and nails
will bleed if a mistake is made. Do you have the money to
spend for the initial vet exam, the yearly exams, and medical
emergencies? If not, then please consider your over financial
situation. Parrots are expensive from the very beginning.
If you get a great deal on a "used" parrot, there may be health
problem and $1500 (or more) later, you may have a healthy
parrot. If you don't have an emergency stash, get one ASAP.
If you cant afford to divert any funds to an emergency stash,
you can't afford a parrot!
TOYS, TOYS, TOYS Are you handy with a saw and drill?
If not, then you will be spending a lot of money on chew toys,
$30+/- a week! Parrots chew. If you don't provide chew toys,
they will find their own (sheet rock, furniture, wood trim, themselves,
etc). Parrots don't care what value an item has to you,
all they care about is chewing, so provide plenty of chew toys
at all times, as well as stimulating toys. Play with your
parrot, remember they are intelligent and enjoy a variety of activities.
Toys are a MUST to achieve a happy, healthy parrot. Add
the cost to your budget, if your budget can't absorb the cost,
don't get the parrot!
VISITORS.. Do you have frequent visitors in your home?
Not everyone understands bird people and their birds and some
people just shouldn't be allowed around our birds. Be prepared
to see a decline in visitors, rude guests, and guests who will
try to teach birdie to say not so nice things, feed them junk
food, smoke around them or try to touch them after smoking, etc.
Your bird's well-being must come first and foremost.
COOKWARE ALERT!.. Teflon kills! All nonstick surfaces have
Teflon type coatings that produce a gas that kills birds - FAST!
Opt for stainless, alum, copper, glass, or enamel. TEFLON
coatings can be found in many household appliances - ovens, toasters,
irons, waffle irons, coffeemakers, hairdryers, etc. If you think
just this one time won't hurt, YOU ARE WRONG! If you can't
part with the nonstick stuff, then at some point you will be parting
with your parrot from death of the fumes.
.. certain plants, smoke, aerosols, fragrances, candles with wicks
that contain a metal stem, carpet fresheners, air fresheners,
FaBreeze, some essential oils, certain hair products, certain
foods (avocados, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate). As new products
are added to the market, new dangers are made aware to us.
You must continue to educate yourself on these hazards.
Be prepared to parrot proof you home. If you can't forgo
the use of these items and are unwilling to keep your parrot out
of harm's way, why spend the money/time for a parrot at all?
TIME..Your parrot need your undivided attention for a considerable
amount of time. Each species and each bird is different.
A Cockatiel may only want 20 mins 3x a day (I can tell this by
when he starts getting nippy), but a Cockatoo is happy only when
they can be your right arm pal for hours at a time. There
is bath time that needs to take place in the morning to give the
parrot time to dry before nightfall. This can be a trying
feat if birdie doesn't favor bathtime, but it is a necessity.
Every morning you must fix breakfast, change papers, and spend
some quailty/quantity time. Does your morning schedule allow
for this? Are your evenings filled with school activities,
work from the office, college courses, etc? PLEASE reconsider
the notion to bring a parrot into your home if you can't spend
quality and quantity time with your parrot!
is not punishment. It is establishing boundaries, respect,
schedules, education, and acceptable behaviors for both you and
your parrot. In order to effectively discipline yourself
and your parrot, you must first learn what is considered normal
behavior and what is considered destructive behavior. This
means you are going to have to READ, READ, and READ some more.
Do you have the dedication it takes to effectively discipline
yourself and your parrot?
If not, don't set yourself up for failure and jeopardize the
well-being of another parrot by unknowingly encouraging behavior
that will only pave the way for the parrot to place with another
..Educate yourself on the type of bird you think you want to adopt
/buy/rescue. Does this parrot fit the description of what you
want? You must educate yourself on what the characteristics of
a healthy bird and the cause and effect of illness. natural
habitat, nesting, breeding, etc. Join a bird club, visit
message boards, be involved with other parrot owners. More
importantly is to continue to educate yourself. By educating
yourself, your are paving the way for a very fulfilling
relationship with your parrot. If you do not have the desire
to learn as much as you can about your parrot, why would you want
a parrot? Because they are cool? Please don't be that
shallow. Parrot ownership is a very serious commitment.
You are responsible for the health and well-being of an intelligent,
emotional, living creature. Don't take it lightly or it
will bite you (literally and figuratively).
Parrots may consider children and other pets as rivals.
Be cautious of this fact. If you have or are planning on
having children, you are in for a rocky ride. Be forewarned!
JEWELRY/CLOTHING ..A large parrot can and will remove gemstones
from their settings! Earrings/Other piercings will be removed
with or without a piece of flesh. Parrots seem to love metal
and enjoy beaking chains into pieces. Clothing will
have a new look that is personalized by your parrot. Little
holes around the arms and neck is normal. Anything that
is 3-D is considered fair game (rhinestones, studs, etc).
Eyeglasses are no exception! If this behavior is unacceptable,
then a parrot in your home is unacceptable!
It happens and it will be on your floors (better put something
over the carpet), on
their cage/playgym, on your furniture, and yes - on you.
More importantly is daily observation of
what the poop looks like. You can tell if they are sick,
if they are eating to many watery fruits, if
they aren't eating enough of something, etc. The poop
must be cleaned off daily or the build up will
be more disgusting than daily clean-ups. Birds are messy,
not dirty. Don't force them to live in substandard conditions
because you are to busy or to lazy to tend to the mess.
MONEY..Even if the parrot was not expensive, there is the
purchase of a quality cage that meets or exceeds space requirements,
toys, food, treats, playgym, T-stand, carrier, initial vet check,
perches (must have different texture/size to stimulate healthy
feet), and the dreaded, fearful, emergency care costs. Don't
forget the cost to repair any damage your parrot may cause to
you or other's person or property. Owning a parrot and affording
a parrot are two different things. If you can't afford ALL
the costs that go along with the parrot, don't get the parrot!
ENTERTAINMENT/LOVE/JOY/HAPPINESS..A happy parrot makes
a happy human. What a parrot provides in return for putting
up with them is greater than you can ever imagine. Life
with a parrot is never the same as the day before. We are
willing owned by our birds and our life revolves around our birds.
It is a commitment we gladly make for the rest of our lives.
If you can't make a lifelong commitment to a parrot, get a pet
with a shorter life span.
If after reading this you still want a parrot,
I welcome you and ask that you commit yourself to being the best
friend you can be to your companion Good luck and remember
that right now may not be the best time for you to become an owner,
you be the judge. Please remember to always keep the parrot's
best interest at heart.
(Thanks to Lei)
HERE for a printable page
(Be aware that it will print out 4 pages for all the information