A Parrot for a Pet?

If you're asking yourself if a parrot would make a good companion for you - then this post might provide a little guidance.

Let's address some of the realities:

You're considering a pet that can and wants to fly.

It's smarter than a dog and as sensitive as a child.

Oh, and I should point out that some species can live for over 50yrs - so you know?, there's that.

A scruffy, moulting Skitz (don't worry, the can had been rinsed - with vodka)

With that said, let's dig a little deeper shall we?. Perhaps the best way to explore this question is by looking into the proverbial pro's and con's.

We'll start with some of the positives of having a parrot share your life, not to mention most of your meals, (don't ask).

1. Parrots are intelligent.
2. Parrots are humorous.
3. Parrots can be affectionate and some, enjoy human affection.
4. Parrots are communicative and many positively love to 'chat'.
5. Parrots aren't cats.

So yay!, all good right?. Well, maybe - but after looking at the positives a little closer, it turns out that many of them could also be negatives.

Parrots are intelligent. But intelligence is a bit of a double edged sword. Just look around - some of the happiest people I know can't operate a can-opener and believe that voting actually makes a difference - bless 'em. Yet they seem perfectly content.

The point is, perhaps they're happy because they simply don't think about things deeply enough not to be eh?, (the lucky mutha...).

Parrots think, and Parrots feel. They get lonely, angry, frightened, mischievous, playful etc. They're not an animal that should be left sitting in a cage, day after day, year after year. They need engagement and stimulation. They require a flock - and guess what?, to the bird, you and your family are exactly that.

It's also true that parrots can be affectionate. However, they will also often pick a favourite. And sometimes become jealous and possessive of that person - even going so far as becoming aggressive towards other people. I realise this doesn't sound like a big deal but, it really can become one if not mitigated by sharing feeding duties, and quality time with all members of the household who want to be included.

Parrots communicate with one another, most noticeably (to us anyway), through sound. And what sounds they can make. Depending on the species, the calls can be incredibly loud. They have to be in the wild. But that's little bloody comfort when your head is pounding after accidentally falling into a bottle of vodka the night before.

There are another couple of negatives that I oughta mention.

Do you own stuff that you like?. Well, if you do - chances are fairly good that your Parrot will like them too. Unfortunately, your bird might like them in new, and uniquely destructive ways. Best you be prepared for that.

Definitely doesn't give you wings - diabetes on the other hand ...?

And finally. How do you feel about bird poo?. It's a serious question. Because you will be dealing with it. And depending on the size of the bird ... well, let me put it this way: I'm glad Cassowarys are flightless ...

Look, at the end of the day choosing any animal to share your life with should involve lots of research and serious thought. Remember, they don't have a choice. It's all on you.

If you think that a Parrot and you, your family and your close neighbours would make a good and life-long fit. Then all the power to you. Great!.

However, if you have any doubt - why not start with a nice high-maintenance orchid?, and move up from there.

The worlds favourite 'companion' bird?
Australia's very own Budgerigar!
Very cool little birds


Skitz, (pictured) is an Alexandrine parrot (Psittacula eupatria). She entered our life as a rescue. She's loud, destructive, funny, and at times, positively infuriating. But she's also family. We also share our life, stuff and food with a Rainbow Lorikeet, again a rescue.
Both birds bring a huge amount of enjoyment into our lives and enrich it. However, they are a real commitment - so please consider all aspects of pet ownership, (housing, food, vet costs, attention time etc), before you bring one home eh?.

Cheers - and as always, take care - Paul

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