Is your family ready for a new pet? Perhaps a bird could be right for you! Like all pets, birds have their pros and cons. While these feathered companions can be charming, silly and entertaining, they also require a lot of care, can make a big mess and might drive you a bit crazy with their squawking.
Not sure if a bird would be a good addition to your home? Here are 11 things to consider before buying a bird:
These intelligent animals thrive in stimulating environments where they spend time with humans or other birds. In fact, a bird may be driven to engage in destructive behaviors, like plucking, if he is isolated or does not get enough attention. When you’re deciding if a bird is right for your family, you should consider the amount of attention you can devote to this pet. If no one is home all day, a bird might not be the best pet for your family.
After spending quality time interacting with a pet bird, you — or your child — will also need to prepare his food, clean his cage, clean his food bowls and help him with his grooming. It’s also important for a bird to have supervised time outside of his cage. Be prepared to take on these responsibilities if your family opts for a feathered friend.
Many pet birds live a long life. In fact, some can live up to 100 years! As such, adding a bird to your family has the potential to be a lifelong commitment. Even smaller budgies can live for 8 years, so if you’re thinking of getting a bird as a pet for your child, he may not be around to care for his pet during future summers or college years.
Unfortunately, some pet birds tend to bite, especially if they bond to a particular person and feel jealous or needy. While this is certainly not always the case, it’s important to consider the possible safety issues that come along with having this type of pet.
- Other Pets
If you have other pets in the house, you can still have a bird! You should, however, consider several factors before making that leap. The cartoons are right — sometimes birds and cats just don’t get along, so you’ll have to start out with supervised interactions.
A pet bird will need an appropriately sized cage — the larger, the better. Some cages are as big as five feet wide! Make sure that you have the necessary space for a cage, stand and other supplies.
Do you love peace and quiet? Then buying a bird might not be the best choice for you. Even small budgies tend to make an awful lot of noise, and that noise isn’t always pleasant.
Not all vets will treat birds. So, before bringing a bird home, check that you have a local avian veterinarian available to you.
As with any pet, it’s important that you keep your budget in mind. Bird food, toys, vet bills, grooming costs, cages and stands can add up rather quickly.
- Breeders and Rescues
Unfortunately, some birds are illegally taken from their wild homes and sold on the pet market. As such, it’s very important that you do some research and use a reputable breeder or rescue organization. Both will help you find the right bird for your family and provide any support that you need during the process.
- Type of Bird
If you do decide that a pet bird is right for your family, think about which type of bird would be ideal. In the case that your child will be the primary caregiver, consider adopting a smaller species that’s easier to care for, like a budgie or cockatiel. Older children can handle caring for some conures, parrotlets and lovebirds. However, larger parrots, like macaws, do not make suitable pets for children.
For more information on the decisions involved in becoming a pet owner, check out 10 Signs Your Family Is Ready for a Pet. What do you love (or hate) about pet birds? Tell us in the comments below!
Kit Arbuckle works as a freelance writer covering parenting, education, health and pet-care topics. Her family has two pet birds and a cat that keep them entertained and busy.