Consider These Factors Before Purchasing a Bird
By Don J. Harris,DVM
Purchasing a new bird is an act that requires much forethought and planning. Some potential bird owners research a new car purchase with far more diligence than they do a new pet. But, because some parrots live as long as 50-60+ years, impulse buying may have repercussions that last for decades-much longer than a new car. Here are a few aspects to consider when purchasing a bird.
- Does this particular bird fit your lifestyle? Does the species enjoy a busy and noisy environment with a lot of people interacting, or would it do better in a more quiet more isolated environment?
- If it is a large species, is there enough space in your home for a large cage?
- How much time can you devote to a pet? Does the species demand a lot of care and attention? Is it a "high maintenance" species that needs a lot of one-on-one interaction, or is it happy to be left alone for periods of time?
- Does this bird have the pet characteristics you want? If it is important to you that your bird talks, choose a species with high speaking ability, such as an African Grey, Amazon or Mynah. If cleanliness is important, check out a smaller species. If intelligence is important, you can't beat an African Grey.
- What is the average life span of this species? Life spans range from 10-60+ years, depending on the species. Do you want a bird that may outlive you? Where are you purchasing your new bird?
- Was it bred locally? Is the breeder available for questioning? Is the dealer in a fixed location where you can locate him or her should you need follow-up advice or if a problem arises?
- Is there a guarantee? Be suspicious of anyone who doesn't offer some assurance of the bird's health.
- What are the nutritional needs of this species? Certain species of birds have special nutritional needs. Can you meet them? What kind of diet is the bird currently eating? Is the bird already eating a balanced diet or will it need to be converted to a new more nutritious one? Older birds on seed diets can be difficult to convert, but may encounter health problems if not switched.
- Is the bird healthy? There is no way to answer this without a complete post-purchase veterinary exam. Schedule an exam with your avian veterinarian immediately after purchasing your new bird. Don't wait.
- Is your home ready for your new bird? Is the caging suitable? Is it situated in the correct location in the home? Are the perches arranged correctly? Are there toxic plants or substances harmful to birds in the household that may need to be removed? If your new bird is joining other birds in your family, do you have a plan on how to quarantine the new bird until you have a post-purchase veterinary exam?