Hi Josh. I have some questions for you to think about and consider your answers. Kudos to you for trying to make an informed decision about acquiring a bird!1. Do you live alone, with roommates, or parents?
2. How are others going to react to bird noises?
3. Do you work or go to school all day? Some birds are more loud when they are alone. This can cause problems for others in the house or even neighbors in an apartment.
4. Do you enjoy sleeping late? Birds don’t like to sleep in. Even when my bird is covered, the latest he sleeps is 9 am.
5. How are your kitchen skills. Contrary to what non bird people think, birds need a very select diet. Most need a pellet diet with a variety of fresh vegetables daily with fruits a couple of times a week. My Quaker SCREAMS loudly from when I uncover him in the morning, until he gets his breakfast. If anyone is not awake by then, they will be.
6. Unlike any other pet, birds become very hormonal once or twice a year. It may last a few weeks, or a few months. They may not change at all. Or, they may bite, scratch, scream, lunge at you, ignore you, or all of the above.
7. Birds are so very sensitive. They are unlike any pet. They can become your confidant, your best friend, or your only friend. However, you cannot ever discipline a bird. You will break its spirit.
8. Birds will not love you unconditionally. Get a dog for that. Birds are flock oriented. If you notice, you will never see a lone bird outside. With one bird, you become it’s flock. When the new wears off, you cannot stop interacting with your bird. They are not meant to be alone.
9. Birds need consistency. Wake up, eat, and go to bed approximately the same times. They need 12 hours of sleep a night. Some say uninterrupted, but birds in the wild do not sleep uninterrupted, and pet birds do wake up to poop. However, they do need an environment conducive for sleep. No bright lights, loud music, or blaring TV.
10. How are your finances? Is there an Avian vet where you live? Birds don’t become ill often , but when they do you need a vet familiar with birds. They are very specialized pets and usually require specific diagnostic skills. Needless to say, an illness can be very expensive and sometimes ongoing.
11. Most bird species require a DNA test to determine sex. If you’re not sure, once your bird reaches puberty, she may begin laying eggs. Non fertile eggs are an issue all their own. I’ve never had a female bird, but I know there is a whole new set of issues involved from chronic egg laying, to having your bird die from becoming egg bound.
12. Back to sensitivity, some birds, for many reasons, begin to pluck their feathers out. This will fall under financial woes also, because if this happens, your once again, experienced avian vet will need to run a gamete of test to rule out a metabolic disorder. And it could come down to there is no physical reason to be plucking. Then you must take a long look at everything from cage, toys, what are you doing right or wrong, do you try to prevent it by your bird wearing a collar, or can you love a naked bird? My bird occasionally mutilates under his wing. He can pluck a few downy feathers out and have a nickel sized bloody wound under his wing in seriously 10 minutes. I have to be extra vigilant watching him in the springtime, as his is hormonal. MOST of the time.
13. Birds require a lifestyle change. Their respiratory system is very specialized. Scents and odors, even undetected by your nose can kill your bird. No more essential oils, candles, plug ins, air fresheners, and carpet shampoo- dry or wet. No more cooking with nonstick pans. Throw them away. Start over with cast iron or stainless steel. Nonstick can give off an odorless scent that can instantly kill you bird. You simply cannot allow anyone in the house to risk it. Fabreeze is another instant killer. It’s been documented so many times the back of the can states, do not use around birds. If the can states use caution around pets, it probably will kill your bird.
14. If you’re still reading this, each species of birds has a life expectancy. The smaller the bird, the shorter lifespan. A cockatiel can live to 20 or so. My friends is 22. The older a bird gets, the problems increase as with any pet. Budgies or parakeets can surpass 10 years. Do you know where your life will take you in ten years? Expect you bird to still be with you.
These questions may seem extreme to you, but anyone with a bird can relate to this post. And please, if you do live with your parents, make sure they agree to pay any and all vet bills if you cannot. I find it so frustrating when a teenager writes in for advice when their bird is sick. You can hear the heartbreak in their post, when their beloved bird is sick and their parents won’t take them to the vet.
Please carefully consider if you can in
good faith share your life with a bird.