Decisions to be made about your first pet bird
We would always encourage people to keep birds as a pet – but it needs to be the right bird for the individual – and perhaps it needs to be the right person for any particular bird. Blue & Gold Macaws are fantastic birds and for the ideal person, they will make a superb pet bird but they are challenging birds for most of us. Choose the best first bird for you – and everyone will be happy.
I would suggest you think carefully about what you want from a bird. How much time you can give to your new bird and can you provide the ideal home? This article is not going to tell you which bird is best for you but we hope to be able to direct you towards finding out more about the birds you fancy keeping – and then making sensible decisions for yourself.
The simplest of birds to keep as a pet are the likes of Zebra Finches, a Budgie, a Canary, a Cockatiel or even a Mule. The other extreme will be the Macaws, the larger Parrots and those ever-so-difficult-to-keep exotic Sunbirds and Humming Birds.
Decide what facilities and time you can give your new bird. How much space do you have? Are you out at work all day? Are you frequently away weekends? Do you have young children? How much can you afford to spend on a new bird? These are the questions you need to be thinking about.
Read books that are about pet birds. Check the internet to expand on that initial knowledge. When you are reading about those birds, consider the problems that come with them and not just the joys they bring.
Once children are involved, it has to be at the starter end of bird keeping, but someone with the experience of keeping a Budgie, a Cockatiels and the like when they were kids should give some careful consideration to something more challenging – if they have the time and the facilities.
I have always loved Parrots. African Greys are probably the best talkers. Silvers are the larger and more expensive of the Greys. Amazons are from South America and come in many different varieties. The most common and cheapest are the Orange-wings, Blue-fronts make wonderful pets and those Primrose-cheeks are lovely birds. Amazons talk well but are generally not quiet as good as those African Greys. A word about Conures – the Sun Conures are probably the brightest and the most attractive – but they are the noisiest of all the family. They are NOT ideal pet birds to be kept in the home.
Hand-reared birds make far better pets than the parent-reared birds. Hand-reared birds are more expensive, they are taken from their parents and rearing is completed by the breeders – or their helpers. These birds bond with people far better than birds that are parent-reared. They are almost certainly worth the extra money!! Properly hand-reared birds and they are “silly time” but be careful of people selling hand-reared birds that are not so tame. Many people will take birds from the nest just before they are ready to leave and “finish them off”. These are not properly hand-reared and will never be quite as tame as the best of the hand-reared birds available. It’s usually Parrots that come hand-reared but a hand-reared Cockatiel makes a wonderful pet for new bird keepers, especially children.
Birds as pets can bring a lot of pleasure but if you select the wrong bird for you – it becomes a nightmare for everyone – including the birds! Think carefully and consider before you buy.