Research indicates that there are around 400 different types of parrots. Although the larger macaws and Amazon species may get the most fanfare because of their proclivity for human speech, there are several smaller species, including lovebirds, cockatoos and budgies, that are equally interesting.
Parrots are one of the more popular birds that people keep as pets. Parrots can be eye-catching companions with dynamic personalities, and these wild animals are naturally curious, intellectual and playful. They can bond easily with people, but the same intriguing traits that make them attractive to some also can make them challenging pets. Before prospective pet owners bring home their first parrots, it’s best to get a grasp of what it’s like to own parrots.
Unlike some other caged companions, parrots as a whole are intelligent social animals that will demand mental stimulation. Parrots thrive when given lots of attention, and a properly cared for parrot can live up to 80 years or more. As a result, it’s imperative that prospective parrot owners recognize that owning a parrot is a life-long commitment. Ensuring the health of the bird and a good relationship between pet and pet owner takes work and dedication.
Getting a parrot is not a decision to be made on a whim. Here are some points to consider before bringing a parrot into a home.
Parrots need a large amount of room in order to play and feel content. The cage will need to allow the comfort of moving around and also room for play. A parrot that does not have adequate cage room could develop nervous behaviors, like feather plucking or destructive measures, that can be detrimental to its health. Err on the side of caution when choosing a cage and go larger than what you may think you need.
A parrot will not be content to sit in an empty room all day. Parrots are inherently social birds, and in the wild they tend to congregate. In a captivity setting, you will serve as the bird’s main form of entertainment and interaction. It is important for you to help parrots to socialize with you early on. This helps mold a well-adjusted pet and can reduce the likelihood that the parrot will engage in destructive behavior resulting from boredom. A parrot is susceptible to feelings of depression and anger. Socialization helps to quell these feelings.
Expect to give your parrot several hours of interaction time, both inside and outside of the cage. This will help acclimate him to socializing with humans.
Understand that parrots can be large, intimidating birds. They are territorial and dominating. Parrots may not get along well with other animals in the house. Conversely, other pets, such as dogs and cats, may not take well to parrots and aim to make them a play thing or a meal. These are considerations to make before bringing a parrot into a home.
Although parrots can be social animals, they also can be dangerous. A parrot’s beak can easily break twigs and even snap fingers of small children. It may be unadvisable to have a parrot in a home with young children.
Parrots are messy birds, and they will spill seed, throw food and cast feathers around the cage and elsewhere. During times of sexual maturity or arousal, a parrot also may mark its territory with feces.
Parrots have been known to shred paper and toys placed in their cages. An aversion to cleanliness makes parrots less than ideal companions for certain people, especially those who want to perform as little pet maintenance as possible.
In addition to vocalization, parrots can learn some not-so-pleasant behaviors. Parrots can scream and squawk to get attention. Certain parrots become territorial of their cages. Parrots can mimic sounds around the house, such as smoke alarms or even yelling. These traits may not be endearing to every pet owner.
Biting is something bird owners often fear. Certain types of parrots have powerful beaks that can inflict painful bites. Biting is sometimes instinctual to parrots who merely want to inspect other birds or companions and may not always intend to be mean. Yet biting also can be a learned and aggressive way for parrots to get what they want. Parrots also can bite out of fear.
Building trust with a parrot and doling out discipline with firm biting limits and verbal commands can help break parrots of biting. Alleviating fears and helping the bird to feel comfortable can reduce a parrot’s tendency to bite.
Like all pets, parrots have costs associated with their care and diets. These expenses can quickly add up, so people whose finances are already stretched thin may not be ready for a parrot at this time.
Parrots have been companion animals for centuries. African Greys, macaws and cockatoos have brought happiness to homes around the world. Understanding the level of commitment required to have a parrot as a pet will ultimately separate those capable of the task from those who should look to other animals as companions.
by Metro Creative Connection
TIP Alleviating fears and helping the bird to feel comfortable can reduce a parrot’s tendency to bite.