Dos and Don’ts: The Don’ts of Being a Parrot Owner

Cockatoo-MoluccanWhen it comes to being a responsible parrot owner, there are very distinct dos and don’ts. Although it is sometimes hard to do everything right, the goal is to do more “right things” than “wrong things” to include those listed.

  • Nonstick Cookware – Overheated nonstick cookware releases fumes that can kill birds. Even with all the warnings and public education, this continues to be a serious problem. Parrot owners need to avoid anything made with Teflon, to include cookware, as well as space heaters and blow dryers.
  • Bad Behaviors – Unwanted behaviors should never be ignored. People need to remember that parrots can live upwards of 80 years so poor behaviors such as biting, screaming, foul language will simply be passed on to the new owner after the initial one passes away. If a bird displays poor behavior, finding a good home will be much more challenging.
  • Behavioral Response – Too often, parrot owners will pay attention to birds that act badly. It is important to be consistent with birds by providing lots of positive attention when a bird is behaving and correcting unwanted behavior.
  • Consider Messiness – Birds of all breeds are messy. Therefore, if someone always wants a spotless home, a parrot may not be the right type of pet.
  • No Pet Order – Some people think landlords who say “no pets” is a reference only to dogs and cats but in reality, this include birds, fish, and reptiles.
  • Talking Bird – People should never get a parrot just because they want a talking bird. The truth is that most parrots do not talk although human voice, televisions, and radios do help to teach.
  • Beauty is Only Skin Deep – Birds, especially parrots are beautiful but they are also a lot of work. Therefore, people need to choose a bird because they are interested in owning that type of pet, not because they are beautiful.
  • Respiratory Problems – Certain bird species to include cockatoos, cockatiels, and African Grey parrots produce a significant amount of powder, which is down that can cause respiratory problems, in particular, people with asthma.
  • Noise Sensitivity – Birds are not only messy but also loud. If someone is noise sensitive, a bird should not be the first choice of pet.
  • Financial Limitations – There is a joke among parrot owners that these birds consume just $1 of every $10 spent on food. They tend to be very wasteful but in addition, there are expenses for feather and nail trimmings (if you don’t shop at Everything Birds ;-)), toys, cage, and avian veterinarian bills.
  • Busy Lifestyle – Just as dogs, parrots need to be played with, even if only a few minutes at a time so if someone cannot provide appropriate interaction, buying a parrot should be avoided.
  • Limited Space – Birds need adequate size cages that may not fit in a small home. This is especially true for the larger parrot breeds.
  • Sleep Time – While many birds love to cuddle, an owner should never sleep with their feathered pet since this can cause suffocation and since birds need 10 hours of dark sleep then it’s literally impossible sleeping with most humans who barely get 7 hours of sleep on average per night.
  • Proper Petting – Birds should be petted around the head only. Petting down the neck and over the back is considered sexual foreplay to a bird, which in turn can lead to frustration and serious behavioral issues.
  • Long-Term Relationship – Some parrots live upwards of 80 years so people need to be prepared for a long-term commitment. Even a small canary can live up to 20 years!
  • Household Support – Because of the mess, noise, and expense, everyone in the home should support the purchase of a bird.
  • Avoid letting companion birds walk on the floor after pets and our shoes have brought in traces of fecal matter, bacteria, pesticides, etc. Parrots eat with their feet so risk is higher of getting sick if they are always on the floor.
  • Women should NOT kiss their bird in the mouth or let your bird eat or lick in their mouth. Why? Women carry yeast, even if they don’t have an active infection, in their bodies and can be a silent killer in your pet companion bird.

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