Owning a Parrot

So you want to buy a Parrot?

You may be shocked to find that inviting a feathered friend/companion into your life may require a few lifestyle and home changes on your behalf.

You may need new cookware. Teflon or non-stick cookware can be fatal to parrots. The coating gives off an odourless fume when heated that can kill a bird within minutes. This means that any non-stick cookware you may own will have to go, and you will need to invest in pots and pans made of stainless steel or another safe substance.

Say goodbye to candles and air fresheners. As with the Teflon and other fumes, scented candles, scented oils, and air fresheners can all pose a health hazard when you use them around your pet.

Parrots have extremely sensitive respiratory systems and are easily overcome by chemicals and fumes.

As well as cleaning products.. no smoking in the house. You guessed it .....cigarette smoke is just as bad for your parrot as it is for you, in fact worse. If you do choose to use tobacco products, use them outside away from your parrot to keep him safe and healthy and always wash your hands, change your clothes before handling your parrot after having a cigarette , also remember that you should not talk to or breathe near your parrot for around 30-60 minutes after smoking a cigarette because the nicotine will still be on your breath and in your lungs!

Plan on waking up early. Parrots will wake up with the sun each morning, and they are ready to start their days bright and early. They will expect you to do the same. Be prepared to adjust your sleep schedule as needed to accommodate your feathered friend. Your parrot will need his breakfast soon after waking, and you'll have to be there to serve it.

Invest in a really good vacuum. Parrots are quite messy, to put it lightly. In many cases, you will need to sweep or vacuum a few times daily to keep up with the constant flow of seed hulls and other debris that will accumulate around their cage. Be sure that you are up to this task before bringing a parrot into your home.

You may have to get rid of some of your houseplants. Many commonly kept houseplants may be toxic and could kill your parrot if he eats them. You will need to find new homes for them before you adopt your feathered friend. You will need to watch what you wear.

Parrots are naturally attracted to shiny objects, which makes things like jewellery great targets. You may need to take these off before handling your parrot, to protect them, yourself, and your items. Also, you should be prepared to lose many buttons to your feathered friend, and not be precious about your clothes in general.

Although it takes effort to keep a parrot as a companion the relationship that you can form together makes it all worthwhile - just ask anyone with parrots of their own, and they'll be more than happy to tell you all about it.


Owning a parrot takes a lot of time. Parrots are not domesticated like cats and dogs, so they have to be worked with on an individual basis. If you buy a tame, hand reared bird, you can be assured that a lot of time and effort went into shaping his little personality. To maintain the fruits of all that labour, you have to be able to handle and interact with your parrot every day.

Aside from that, daily cage cleaning also takes up more time than many are willing to spare, also parrots need a minimum of 4 hours out of cage time, that means supervised out of cage time, they need your full undivided attention too, parrots are well known for being destructive, this can include wallpaper stripped, doors, skirting boards, curtains, blinds and wooden frames chewed, parrot poop on doors, floors etcetera, parrots are not really for people who are 'house proud' or for people who don't like mess!

You should be absolutely sure that you are able to devote enough time to maintaining a parrot before buying one. Also going on holiday can be tricky as who is going to care for your parrot? You'll have to put up with some noise. Sure, some can talk but all of them can scream, chirp, cackle, screech, tweet, or coo, whistle amongst other things. Your parrot will probably make a variety of these noises, and it may not always be at a time when you want to hear them.

If you want to own a parrot, you'll have to figure out a way to cope. Parrots also bite, never think 'if' you get bitten always think 'when' I get bitten and a parrot bite can be very painful, remove chunks from your body, remove finger tips, break bones etcetera. You may have to adjust your eating habits too. So you like ready meals, convenience food or microwaved meals? Your parrot cannot survive on the same seed or pellets everyday. Your parrot needs fresh fruit and vegetables and will rely on you to cook for him/her.

If you are going to invite a feathered friend into your home to become one of the family, you owe it to your parrot to provide nutritional meals. Also very important is that your parrot will feel like one of the family if he/she gets to eat what you are eating within reason ( chocolate, caffeine, avocados are absolute no nos for your parrot). This may require that you reconsider your own eating habits. Also you cannot leave food lying around the house as parrots will help themselves..

Don't expect your parrot to be a social butterfly. You may well end up with a parrot that is completely tame when you deal with him, but refuses to tolerate other people. While there are certain species that are more prone to becoming "one person parrot" than others, it can happen to any parrot, particularly if only one person cares for and interacts with it.

If you are getting a parrot for your family, it's imperative that everyone learns as much as they can about it, and participates in its care and maintenance. Otherwise, your parrot may decide to play favourites, which can lead to sore fingers and hurt feelings.

If you are prepared to deal with all of the issues on this list and more, then a parrot may be an ideal companion for you. Remember, the more research that you do before you get a parrot, the better off you and your feathered friend will be.

Adapted from About.com pet birds