I am a happy owner of an adorable parrot who makes me smile every day and makes me want to eat him from all that cuteness that he shows me. But it is not always that I feel this way about him.
There are days when I just wish he could be quiet so I can meet my deadline at work or that he could just respect my personal space and sit nicely on his cage for at least 10 minutes.
This article is not meant to change your mind about getting a bird.
This article is about telling the truth, based on my experience, on the challenges of owning a bird. I will reveal my Five Things to Know Before Getting a Bird, in collaboration with my colorful green cheek conure Elvis.
1. Cleaning every day
I need to be honest here, birds are dirty. They would drop more than half of what they eat, they would poop in the bowl they have just eaten from and they will act all cute while doing it.
The cleaning part has been the major change in my daily routine. Before having Elvis, the next steps after deciding to go to bed would be brushing the teeth and moving towards the bedroom.
After having the bird, there is room vacuuming and cage cleaning moment every day. There is always sufficient seeds to vacuum from the floor and enough poop on the papers on the cage and in the cage that needs to be cleaned.
It is not just the area where the bird hangs out most of the day that needs thorough cleaning. It is also the parrot’s bowls of food and water that need daily cleaning. For example, if one of the bowls contained fruit or veggies chop (which is a healthy daily diet) any remains need to be removed to avoid it going bad and prevent any chance of food poisoning.
The cage itself will eventually get pooped on and food will be dropped on it. I usually clean it once every week including all the perches attached to it and the trays.
2. Having poop stations and poop alert (every 10 min)
My green cheek conure poops every 10-15 minutes. His poops are also varying depending on what he has eaten or drank about one hour before. If he had juice, juicy fruit or veggie, his poop would also be … juicy. This kind of poop you cannot easily wipe off the couch, your shirt or any other surface that can soak it in.
On the other hand, if he had dry food like seeds or pellets, his poops would be dry and would be relatively easy to remove from any surface.
In both cases however, I don’t like my bird pooping on any surface, especially not on my clothes. For this reason, I would carry a ‘pooping station’ (i.e. piece of kitchen paper) with me or create one (i.e. put a piece of paper on the bottom of a spot where I can place my bird to poop) when he leaves his cage environment.
However, when Elvis starts to cuddle on my neck or starts falling asleep, I do not need to worry about him pooping on me, as parrots do not poop while napping or sleeping. But he poops after that, so better have that pooping station near by.
You can check the below video on my parrot’s potty training for his main, morning poop:
Important to note though is that regardless of how much preparation you make and how careful you are with your bird, accidents will still happen and your favorite shirt or expensive couch will get pooped on, sooner or later.
3. Bird-adapted clothes
Following from the point above, your clothes will quickly become ‘adapted’ to the ones of a bird owner. They will usually be distinguished by poop marks (and possibly remains) as well as hanging strings and biting holes.
Never underestimate your bird: as uninterested in biting your clothes as the bird might seem in the beginning, it will inevitably happen one day. They just love chewing on clothes.
My Elvis would bite on my clothes after he has drank water, while having a bath or just for fun.
4. Items in your house that can kill your bird
My green cheek is a very curious bird. He would walk and fly everywhere and would try to bite everything and hang from everywhere that he can get his nails into.
My parrot also loves to be around me, especially if I am cooking or eating.
However, a lot of household and beauty items that the bird comes in contact with are toxic for birds.
Our feathered friends have little and sensitive lungs, that are susceptible to the toxins in the air. Additionally, there are certain foods that are toxic for birds. Because of that, a bird friendly house needs to adopt the following:
- Replace the non-stick cookware with ceramic or stainless steel cookware. Non-stick cookware can cause severe health problems to our little friends and even death;
- Isolate yourself or the bird in a different room when planning to use deodorant, hair spray or any other sprays that the bird can inhale;
- Isolate yourself or the bird in a different room when planning to use the hair dryer, as most hair dryers use Teflon which release (the same kind of) toxic fumes as the non-stick cookware;
- Store away the bird poisonous foods like avocado, garlic or onion.
The list above is not exhaustive, it contains the main toxins and enemies for our parrots.
The bird is like a toddler, it needs to be watched at every step: one second he is nicely sitting next to you on his perch and the next second he is chewing on your headphones or sipping from your 80 degrees tea cup.
5. Ultimate love and cuddles combined with screams and biting
My green cheek can be sweet, cuddly, loving while bite my finger, or nose, or lip till the blood if he perceives me as a threat.
Birds can perceive threats when petted wrongly, i.e. touched a pin that hurt, or just as a reaction to a certain object that is touched or certain noise that is made that causes the bird to become aggressive and bite.
In conclusion, owning a bird is a big decision and needs to be made responsibly. It is not always easy to make the commitment to take good care of the bird. But the rewards of bonding with the bird and the love that a bird displays are irreplaceable.
I hope the above Five Things to Know Before Getting a Bird have set the right expectations and exposed the hard truth but have not changed your mind regarding owning a bird.
For those of you who prefer video content, see below the related YouTube video, animated by Elvis:
To all the Parrot Lovers,
Founder of Best Parrot Toys
Disclaimer: I am not a parrot expert therefore the information in this site represents my opinion based on my experience. Please do not make decisions based solely on my articles. It helps to do further research.
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