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Cost of Owning a Parrot

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Cost of Owning a Parrot

Postby Michael » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:41 am

Owning a parrot can be quite costly and it is easy to overlook or underestimate the long term costs of parrot ownership.

How would you compare the typical cost of ownership to the cost of the actual parrot? What kind of costs can a new owner expect? What other kinds of costs might a non-owner overlook that are in addition to parrot supplies that may be brought on by owning a parrot but not directly related?

How does the cost of ownership affect additional parrots like from going from a single to two parrots, etc?
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Michael
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Re: Cost of Owning a Parrot

Postby Michael » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:07 pm

In addition to the cost of a new bird, you should expect to immediately incur the cost of the following prior to even bringing your new parrot home:

-Suitable cage
-Playstand
-Perches
-Toys
-Initial supply of food
-Initial supply of treats
-POH, Parrot Operators Handbook, a book about your species

Some additional optional items may include:

-Carrier
-Water bottle
-Vitamins
-Nail trimming scissors
-Quickstop (should really be in required list)
-Training aids and materials
-Cage cleaning sprays
-Spare perches and toys
-Additional food bowls
-Initial vet check up

So based on these assumptions, we can try to come up with a ballpark cost of initial investment into a parrot. Since bigger parrots require bigger cages, bigger toys, bigger food, etc, their cost goes up fairly proportionate to their size. And since parrot price goes up fairly proportionate to their size (yes there can be special rare birds, but if you're buying those you don't care about price), we can basically infer that parrot accessories are in price proportionate to the actual parrot.

My rule of thumb is to take the price of the parrot and immediately double it to be able to estimate the amount you should be ready to pay up front to own that parrot. So for a $500 parrot, expect to spend $200 on a cage, $100 on play stand, $200 on perches, toys, food, etc. For a $1,000 parrot expect to pay $2,000 for parrot with supplies. You get the picture.

Parrots that cost under $200 are a bit of a special case and you can add $200 to their price no matter what it is by default. You may be able to get a budgie for $20 but there is no way you can get the cage, food, etc for just another $20. The stores practically give those birds away to make money on the overpriced supplies. I really do not believe you can give any <$200 priced parrot a good home for under $200 worth of supplies.

So you may be thinking, ok, $500 parrot + $500 supplies = $1,000. If I have $1,000 set aside for a bird I'm good to go. Wrong. There are a lot of other costs you need to be ready to incur. The following items you may already have for yourself, other birds, or other pets so you might not have to buy them. However, if you are a none-pet owner, there is a good chance that you will be needing these items:

-Floor vacuum
-Handheld vacuum
-Cleaning supplies
-Non-nonstick pans (as in pans that don't have teflon coating)
-Air purifiers/filtration
-Rugs or mats for all bird areas
-Night light
-Lamps and full spectrum light bulbs
-Timers for lamps
-Additional furniture for storing bird supplies
-Scale for weighing
-Sheet for covering cage
-Spray bottles for misting bird and cleaning cage
-Zip lock bags
-Lots and lots of paper towels

So as you see there are many more things to consider than just the parrot alone. They make a mess many times greater their size so you may need to at least double the cleaning supplies you already have. They shed feathers, they make dust, they poop, they throw food around, they chew and break things. You will definitely need a vacuum cleaner and you will definitely need a handheld vacuum cleaner to use to suck up seeds, loose feathers, etc without doing a major cleaning. You will be using more paper towels than ever before so be ready for that additional expense as well.

Air purifiers are expensive but quite necessary because parrots make a lot of dust in general and some parrots are especially dusty. I ended up having 3 because I wasn't satisfied with the first 2 I got. Now I usually have 2 running at any given time and use the 3rd one for a boost if I'm cleaning or the parrot is away from cage area. The last air purifier I got was $250. They got progressively more expensive ranging from $100-$250 in price. I was not satisfied with the cheap ones because they were noisy or did an inadequate job filtering. So I ended up spending a lot on air purifiers but I think it saves a fair amount of vacuuming by taking the dust out of the air. I'm also allergy prone so I think it helps keep the bird and other dust down. I think it also reduces the smell but I cannot verify that because I may just be used to it now.

All your non-stick pans are going to have to go. This is not even a point to be debated. Too many parrots have died in homes from Teflon poisoning that I feel absolutely certain that people who are not willing to give up the convenience of non-stick cooking should not be parrot owners. This also means getting rid of non-stick electric grills, waffle makers, hair straighteners, etc. I gave up my beloved george foreman grill and beloved waffle maker when I got a bird. It was painful but that is a small sacrifice to make for the life of your bird. Of course I got rid of teflon pans as well. All in all, I threw out or gave away about $300 worth of non-stick stuff. Then I bought about $200 worth of replacement not non-stick pans and a lot of oil!

I have 4 lamps set up in my bird area and each is on a timer to simulate day/night for my parrot for when I'm not home. I have 4 rugs strategically placed around my apartment where my parrot spends the most time to catch its mess and then I can just vacuum the rugs. Repeated cleaning wears them out so I just plan to replace them when they get too worn or dirty. This is much simpler and cheaper than ruining the carpet. I also ended up buying several additional pieces of furniture to house the mass of parrot supplies I have and to put the bird scale on top of to conveniently weigh my parrot whenever going in or out of cage.

Here are some more personal sacrifices that you and everyone in your household should expect to make if bringing a parrot (like a baby) into the house:

-Give up nonstick pans or appliances
-No open windows without screens
-No ceiling fans
-Give up smoking (parrots have sensitive lungs and suffer greatly from smokers)
-Cover or get rid of mirrors
-Reserve an entire shelf of refrigerator and freezer for bird food
-Set aside quiet, safe, no-draft area for bird area
-Don't leave toxic or precious things out you don't want your bird getting hold of

Then after all of these initial costs and adjustments have been made, you can expect yearly and monthly maintenance costs for your parrot. Some of these may include:

-New toys
-New perches
-Bird Food
-Fresh Food
-Grooming visits
-Vet visits

Once again most of these costs will be roughly proportionate to the initial price of your bird. A $500 bird is usually small and requires smaller perches, smaller toys, smaller and less food. Bigger parrots are more expensive and usually get charged more for grooming, etc. It is up to the owner how much toy variety they wish to provide their parrot but a brand new toy every month is a good start. Of course as you accumulate more toys you can recycle old toys as well as introducing new toys. Perches get destroyed and require replacement. Also you want to be able to provide a variety of perches like trimming perches, natural perches, ropey perches, swings, etc. So it's not unrealistic to be purchasing a new perch every 2-3 months. So for a $500 parrot, expect to spend $20 per month on toys, $10 per month on perches ($20 divided by 2 months), $20 per month on food, $5 per month on trimming ($15 every 3 months). That right there is $660 per year! And this does not even constitute spoiling your bird.

Basically this is how I would break down the cost of owning a single first time parrot. Expect to pay the price of parrot P + accessories at approximately same cost as P initially. So initial cost is 2P or twice the cost of the parrot. Then you can add the household adjustments you may have to make like cleaning supplies, replacing non-stick, getting lights, etc. These really depend on your situation but don't be surprised to spend at least 1/2P on this for your first pet. Finally expect to spend another P per year in consumable costs. In your first year alone, expect to spend anywhere from 3P to 5P and to continue spending from 1/2P to P for the rest of your parrot's life.

Owning a parrot is a major financial investment that should not be taken lightly. The cost of the bird itself is just the tip of the iceberg with the real cost coming later on in the maintenance. For a $500 parrot living 30 yeas, don't be surprised to spend $15,000 over its lifespan (without getting into inflation, net present value, and economics). Of course there is a time component to these expenses and many of them you will incur later on. But let that long term cost govern your decision about acquiring a parrot rather than focusing on merely the cost of the bird by itself. That is only a minuscule part of the money, time, dedication, cleaning, caring, and love you will spend on that feathered friend.
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Michael
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Re: Cost of Owning a Parrot

Postby Kathleen » Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:13 pm

The great thing about getting another parrot or additional parrots to your first one, is that many expenses can be shared among the birds.

You would still need to put down a lot of money up front for the initial costs. You would need another cage for each additional bird, starting accessories for the new cage (a few perches and toys), probably an additional playstand, a handbook for the additional bird, another water bottle, another carrier, a vet check, a cage cover.

You can, however, eventually (after quarantine) share many items between your birds such as toys, perches and other cage accessories. Instead of getting 2 times as much supplies, you can share and get 1.5 times as much supplies for many things. You can share food, treats, vitamins, nail trimming scissors, training materials, kwikstop powder, cleaning supplies (poop off, paper towels, vinegar, vacuum etc), lights and lamps, timers, air filtration/purifiers, furniture for storage, rugs and mats, a scale, spray bottles, and zip lock bags. You may need to get more of these things more often, but more birds to spread resources between prevents a lot of waste. This is especially the case when things are bought in bigger quantities.

Instead of throwing out vegetables you buy for your one parrot, if you share them between two or more, you use more, buy more often, and the vegetables are fresher, taste better, and are more nutritious. If your additional parrots eat the same pellets, or treats, you can buy the food and treats more often because you will go through it faster and it will be fresher. One parrot may get bored of a toy before entirely destroying it, if it's still in tact, you can give it to your other parrot or parrots. If it's destroyed and you save some of the parts, you can try to make a new toy out of it. Passing toys around and making new toys from parts prevents waste. Similarly, perches can be swapped between birds.
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Re: Cost of Owning a Parrot

Postby Natacha » Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:17 pm

Wow what an extensive post. Good job!

The only thing I would do..change the carrier from optional item to required item. You need to be able to bring the bird from wherever you are getting it (I find it's the perfect occasion to get a proper carrier) and you will need this carrier in the future for vet visits.

It should really be one of the first things that are bought alongside the bird.
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Re: Cost of Owning a Parrot

Postby Michael » Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:49 pm

Yes I agree that a carrier is very important but I can forsee people owning a parrot without a carrier. I know someone who bought a cockatiel, took it home in box, and it lived there 15 years without ever going out, to vet, or anywhere. If you never take bird again anywhere the carrier is unnecessary. I believe in taking my parrot places but that is my option to take her out and thus my option to get a carrier.

The reason I called it optional is to try to show the bare bones requirement of supplies to pay for when buying a parrot. There's no saying that cage cleaning supplies, vitamins, etc aren't important but I meant them more as optional that you don't have to pay that money out up front and can come back to buy that in subsequent months. Notice that I put carrier #1 on optional list because if anything that is something good to have upfront.

I agree that it is very important but for someone on a tight budget, I would sooner skip carrier than other mandatory items I mentioned.
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Michael
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Re: Cost of Owning a Parrot

Postby Scott » Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:10 pm

I was hesitant to dig up an older topic, but I'll list the costs associated with the purchase of our Ruby macaw (thus far). Most everything is accounted for.......or is/was already in place.

All prices are actual......and include shipping/taxes.

Ruby Macaw - $800.00
Delta Pet Freight w/carrier - $135.00
Avian Adventures Grande Dometop Cage - $547.49
Cozzzy 4630DT Cage Cover - $109.83
Acrobird Macaw Playstand - $133.82
Pellets (20 lb) - $46.63
Lafebers NutriBerries (3.25 lb) - $19.88
Handfeeding Formula (5 lb) - $22.80
60CC Handfeeding Syringe - $1.78
Toys, Perches, etc - $136.51
Poop Off (1 ga) - $36.93
Zervo Pellet Dispenser - $24.92
Vittles Vault (30 lb) - $34.47

Total $2,050.06

I can see another $100.00 or so to be completely "finished" for initial set-up. But then again, when do you ever get really "finished" with birds?
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Re: Cost of Owning a Parrot

Postby Brittanyv326 » Wed May 26, 2010 9:35 pm

Here's where I am at the end of day one of owning my Senegal:
Cost of deposit: $175
Petco visit (accessories, perches, poop off, etc.): $93
Cost of cage: $250
Cost when picking up bird: $294 (carrier $60, $175 to complete deposit, food, toys, cups, boing, etc.)
Wal-Mart visit: $40 (supplies for homemade play stand, fresh produce, ladder, hand sanitizer to use before handling, etc.)

Total: $852

So mine was $152 more than the cost of the parrot doubled. This does not include our avian vet visit scheduled for Friday morning. I'll be driving 45 minutes to go to a recommended one so there's even more money in gas. I'm actually surprised it isn't more yearly. I guess birds don't get sick as much as dogs? I spend a LOT of money on vet visits for my dog. She's four. I've owned her for 2 and a half years and have spent more than $3,000 on her. I'm fully prepared to do the same for my new family member. =) I'm not rich by any means, but I do know that the $15 I could spend on a DVD that I'll watch once and then have it sit there could be spent in better places - for my animals. It's all about choices. Anyone has the choice to get a parrot, but hopefully you'll make the right choices about owning the parrot, make the right choices on where to spend finances, make the choice to research, you get the point.
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Re: Cost of Owning a Parrot

Postby Michael » Wed May 26, 2010 11:26 pm

That's because birds have stronger and faster immune systems but when they fail they just die and there is little even the vet can do. Birds run their body temperature at what is a fever to us so that helps keep them safe from disease. But be careful not to give your bird a chill or that can be compromised.

If you've never had birds before, you may witness another major expense at discarding everything you own that uses teflon and replacing with alternatives. Air purifiers, humidifiers, and special cleaning supplies could run your tab up some. Remember that the P cost rules I made are for the baseline ownership or for people who already own many supplies and are just adding another bird.

Good luck with everything. Keep us posted.
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Michael
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Re: Cost of Owning a Parrot

Postby lzver » Fri May 28, 2010 9:29 am

Michael wrote:If you've never had birds before, you may witness another major expense at discarding everything you own that uses teflon and replacing with alternatives. Air purifiers, humidifiers, and special cleaning supplies could run your tab up some.


Yes, these secondary expenses definitely add up! I have not been able to do it all at one time and have had to replace some things one at a time. I'm almost there. Just in the past month, I finally replaced most of my bakeware and found a good quality Stainless Steel skillet on sale. The last pieices I need to replace are muffin pans ... can't decide what kind I want to get as a replacement.

I've owned dogs in the past and even with the vet visits required throughout the year, I'd say its more expensive to own a parrot.

On the other hand, owning parrots has been the most rewarding pet experience, so they are worth every penny in my opinion. I'll always love dogs, but I have a far deeper bond with Lucy and Jessie than I ever had with any of our dogs.
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Re: Cost of Owning a Parrot

Postby TheNzJessie » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:44 am

my costs for seeting up my new lorikeet

rainbow lorikeet- $120
wet mix --------- $17
dry mix---------- $17
cage------------- $300 (paid but not delivered yet)
rope perch------ $15
wooden perch x2 $15
wooden clip perch (bolts to side) $10
stainless steel food bowls x4 $7 ea
shredder toy $15
plastic toy $20
forgaging toy $20
ladder $20
snuggle hut $30
total $707

ongoing costs (monthly)
dry mix
wetmix
new wooden toy
possibly new perch or too
paper towels

every 2-3 months
new toy
more wooden perches
cleaning supplies
vacuum bags

yearly costs
hardly any
new rims for the stainless steel bowls they tend to rust after a while
full vet check up
worming treatment (6-8 months
mites treatment (more of a 6-8month thing)

note that these prices are in new zealand dollars

as for my budgie
cage--$50
soak seed(weaned onto it) $4 per kg
seed $4 per kg
rope perch $9
cuttlefish $2
mineral block $7
clip perch $9
plastic perch $2.50
3 plastic feed bowls $9
ball toy $1
bell toy $3
leather toy $4
perch toy $3
lori links $15 (climbing toy)
$122

monthly costs
1 new toy userly the leather one
seed top up
paper towels
cuttlefish

2-3 months
mineral block
seed top up
new toy

yearly
vet check up
worm treatment
mite treatment


fruit and veges for both birds come to about $8 a week it can cost me up to $15 a week depending on if there favorites are in season. corn and apple are a must. corn right now is up for $4 a cob!!! hurts my budget this time of year
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