Owning any pet requires you give them all care and attention they need. You also have to spend as much time as you can with them which all adds to a big responsibility. On top of these two very important factors, you need to know you can afford to keep them – which includes paying for their basic needs and then any veterinary care if they ever got injured or sick.
If you are considering buying or even adopting a bird because you think they might need less time spent caring for them, you would be very mistaken. Birds make wonderful family pets if they are well raised and lovingly cared for – they become affectionate creatures and they love to interact with their owners. A pet bird when well cared for becomes a valued member of the family with some species living for a very long time.
The first two things you need to consider before committing to owning a pet bird are – time and money. Most people don't appreciate that birds need a lot of attention and care. You must have the time and be willing to play and interact with a pet bird whenever you can. You also have to consider how much time it takes to keep their cages clean. Birds are just as demanding as a dog or a cat, if not more so. They need to play and interact with their owners, and they need to learn how to socialise with everyone in the household and not just one person which can often lead to problems.
There are some pretty high maintenance species, so you need to be able to afford their upkeep which means not only the monetary value but the time spent with them too. If you're on a limited budget, consider owning lower maintenance birds which includes finches or canaries as well as budgies. Smaller birds can be kept together as long as they are the same species which means they get to interact with each other.
However, if you can afford to own an African Grey, parakeet or cockatiel, then you need to know they are not only much more expensive to buy but to keep as well. Exotic birds and more especially parrots need a lot more time spent with them so they get all the mental stimulation they need to stay healthy and happy. This is especially true as they are often kept as solitary birds in the home.
If you already own any other pets like a cat or a dog – remember, your pet bird will need to learn how to socialise with them and vice versa. This may take a bit of time and patience. Never leave them on their own when you first buy or adopt a bird, no matter which species you decide on. Cats can be a real problem with smaller birds. You would need to make sure bars on any cage are not wide enough for paws and claws to reach in and injure any bird or birds you keep in it and that the cage is high enough off the ground to prevent your cat from tormenting any feathered friends inside.
It's never a good idea to let any birds out of their cages when other pets are in the room, especially if you are not in there with them. Some parrots can be a bit aggressive with dogs – so you need to be careful if you already own a dog and want to have a parrot too. The last thing you would want is for the new bird to attack your dog and visa versa.
Most birds need loads of interaction, they love attention which means they get to bond well with you and your family. When deciding where you should keep your pet, try to make it a place where people generally spend most of their time in. This could be either in a living room or even a kitchen. If you want to own a parrot, you would need to get a large enough cage for them so they can be safely put away when no one is at home. However, when people are in the house, there's no reason why your pet bird cannot be on a perch which means they can really enjoy interacting with everyone.
You would ideally want to buy a strong and secure cage for your bird to live in. Make sure it's made out of non-toxic material because a lot of birds love to chew on their cages. When it comes to the size of the cage, this needs to be large enough for a bird to move freely around in it. The rule of thumb is to choose one that's three times the length of the bird's wingspan. If you want more than one bird, then you would need to consider a much bigger cage for them to live in together making sure they have enough room. Birds kept in smaller cages tend to become depressed and can develop behavioural problems.
Other things you need to consider is how much it will cost you to keep a bird which includes buying the right type of food and a whole lot of toys to keep your new pet happy. Birds are clever little creatures, they need to be kept busy and occupied which means offering them lots of mental stimulation. With this said, there are loads of interactive bird toys on the market. You may want to consider getting for them to play with when you are not at home, it's another expense you would have to think about.
Birds can fall ill and may need veterinary attention. You would need to make sure your local veterinary surgery does in fact treat birds whether they are exotic or not. Some treatments can be extremely expensive, so you would need to know you could afford to take your bird to the vet should you need to. Another option is to take out some kind of pet insurance making sure it covers you for any veterinary bills you might have to deal with if your pet falls ill. You have to read a pet insurance policy carefully or you may find there are certain things you are not covered for when it's a little too late.
Owning any sort of bird is a big responsibility. You need to be able to spend as much time as you can with them so they become friendly. You would also need to teach certain birds how to socialise with the whole family which is especially true of parrots and cockatiels. Birds make wonderful family pets as long as you look after them and give them all the care and attention they need so before you decide on adopting or owning one, you need to sit down and think about things very carefully.