Cost-Breakdown of Owning or Buying a Parrot.

Here’s a quick cost-breakdown of owning a parrot, if you were wondering how much that costs to keep one. I’ll provide two – an estimate for a smaller bird, and another for a big one. These are all rough guesses based on my own experience.

Cost of buying a small parrot – (example, parrotlet):

IMG_1888

Celestial Parrotlet

1. The bird: If you rescue, anywhere from nothing! It typically varies per rescue, though – this is part of how they raise the funds to keep their charity going. Birdline parrot rescue charges £20 for rehoming a small bird like a budgie or ‘tiel. If you’re not adopting, ideally you want to buy from a breeder, not a pet shop. Cost of a breeder-raised bird, £60-upwards.
2. The cage: A smaller bird’s cage will be less expensive than a big bird’s, but still a drain on the wallet – don’t skimp on quality to save a few pounds or dollars, or you’ll quickly be replacing it. Stainless steel is ideal, but not always possible. A decent powder-coated cage ranges upwards of £70.
3. The accessories:

  • Perches – Anywhere from £10 per perch, times a minimum of three.
  • Bowls/feeders – About £5 a stainless steel coop cup, times a minimum of four.
  • *Toys – toys for a small bird range between £5-25.
  • Bedding – nontoxic-inked newspaper is the best cage liner, and you maybe be able to get it for free. Otherwise it’s the cost of a day’s edition, which will last you a fair bit for one bird. Costs from 60p upwards.
  • A UV lamp – complete set, £75.
  • *Food – from £8.50 per 1lb bag of organic pellets.
  • Travel cage – this is an investment, as you’ll be taking your bird places, including the vet. Cost, from £15.
  • First vet check-up – anywhere from £30, not including potential treatment.
  • Treats – from £5.

Total initial cost of purchasing a small parrot: Upwards of £394.50.

Ongoing costs:

Not scared off yet? There are monthly costs to factor in, too.

1. *Toys: These are actually an ongoing cost. You’ll want to keep the bird’s environment fresh and exciting, and you’ll have to try out different kinds of them to see what he likes. Old toys are still usable, but you should ideally set aside a budget of £50 for a month’s round of new ones. Save money by making your own.

2. Food:

  • Organic pellets – I mentioned that you can get this from £8.50 for the 1lb bag of super-fine texture pellets, such as Harrison’s. Lasts about one month.
  • A boxed seed mix, like Trill – from £1.60 at your local supermarket. Lasts about a month between three birds.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables, etc. – from £15 a month, if you’re not already eating such things yourself.
  • Treats – anywhere from £5 a month.
Apples

Fresh fruits and vegetables are important to a pet bird’s health.

3. Vet: Your pet should have an annual well-bird check with a certified avian vet, which runs from about £30 per visit, again, not including any treatment. Keeping this fund set aside for an emergency is a good idea.

4. Cage liner: I mentioned also that you can get newspaper (nontoxic!) from 60p per issue. This lasts about a week – so approximately £3 per month.

5. Extras: Otherwise known as your ‘splurge’ fund! I spent mine last month on extra toys and an aviator harness. In reality, there are tons of things you can and will want to spend on. Factor in £25 a month, minimum, just for the cool, useful things you’ll need along the way.

Monthly running total of keeping a small parrot: £113

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DSC00156

Greenwinged Macaw and Blue and Gold Macaws.

Cost of buying a large parrot – (example, major mitchell cockatoo or greenwinged macaw):

1. The bird: Birdline parrot rescue charges £80-100 for rehoming a large bird. How much does it cost to buy a big parrot, like a macaw? For a a breeder-raised parrot, you will pay approximately £2,000, maybe more, depending on the species.

2. The cage: A sizeable powder-coated cage ranges upwards of £900, probably closer to £1,000. You will need to splash out.

  • An aviary: For a bigger bird, this is absolutely ideal, but definitely not possible for the average family, so I won’t figure it into the actual final total. They range upwards of £1,000. Sunlight stops bird biting.

3. The accessories:

  • Perches – Anywhere from £20-40 per perch, times a minimum of three.
  • Bowls/feeders – About £5 a stainless steel coop cup, times a minimum of four.
  • *Toys – toys for a large bird range between £15-40.
  • Bedding – same as the smaller birds, this costs from 60p an issue upwards.
  • A UV lamp – complete set, £75.
  • *Food – from £8.50 per 1lb bag of organic pellets.
  • Travel cage – from £60.
  • First vet check-up – anywhere from £30, not including potential treatment.
  • Treats – from £5.

Total initial cost of purchasing a large parrot: In the ballpark of £3,364.50

Ongoing costs:

1. *Toys: You should ideally set aside a budget of £100+ for a month’s round of new toys. Learning to make your own – such as with help from the Parrot’s Workshop on Facebook – can really save you here.

2. Food:

  • Organic pellets – £8.50 for the 1lb bag of coarse texture pellets, such as Harrison’s or TOPS. Lasts just under month.
  • Fruits and veg – from £20-25 per month.
  • Tidymix – £7.50 for a big bag (plus p&p).
  • Treats – anywhere from £5 a month.

3. Extras: The fun stuff! Factor in £35 a month, minimum, just for the interesting, cool, and utterly useful things you’ll need along the way.

4. Cage liner: £3 per month. Trust me, you’ll go through a lot of them.

Total upkeep of a large parrot: £180 per month.

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Though that looks really expensive, there are lots of ways to cut down on the costs of parrot ownership, which include adoption, homemade toys and perches, watching for sales, picking up the free newspaper, buying secondhand cages and sanitising them yourself with vinegar and sunlight.

On the list of ‘things you will acquire‘ there is a fair bit that I haven’t included (being somewhat option, but dead useful!), such as a play gym – which can range from £20 for a budgie-sized one off Amazon, to a full-blown £300+ java perch contraption – T-stand, foraging toys, extra (extra) dishes and perches, foot toys for big parrots, cosy huts, and extraneous things like extensions for your flight harness… Plus whatever I’ve forgotten.

And, of course, whilst that’s a haemorrhage on your wallet, it’s nothing like the time-sink that is an actual parrot!

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…But a he’s CUTE time-sink!

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11 thoughts on “Cost-Breakdown of Owning or Buying a Parrot.

  1. Really !!! how come ?
    By the way is there any Osprey conservation project in Britain, if u happen to know about anything let me know ASAP, very urgent.

  2. Yes, time and money consuming… Just like kids 😉

    We are lucky that hubby brings scrap paper from work for the lining. Also, we eat losts of veggies, so birdies get what we eat. Also, when I juice, I save the pulp, freeze it, and then give to birdies. They love it!

    I use lots of frozen fruit and veggie, especially raspberries – much cheaper than fresh, and equally healthy.

    We make our own toys, which keeps the cost lower. Made our own playstands.

    So our main expense are the seeds and pellets, however I’ve noticed that since I started giving them veggies and fruit regularly, they have been eating considerably less seeds and pellets.

    • I’ve got to start buying some frozen veggies! We have the tiniest freezer known to man, and it’s usually at least half full of our pellet and seed stashes… But I’ve just been reading that warm or even room temp veggies appeal more to birds (makes sense), so having the ‘excuse’ to heat up their produce sounds like a good idea.

      I believe in the do-it-yourself approach too. You should post a how-to of your play stand – or some pictures! My goal is to start making our own perches, as those are our current biggest expense. It’s a bit intimidating, though. I’m a do-it-yourself fail, haha.

      • We buy untreated birch dowels and cut them to size for perches.

        Our playstand is pretty sophisticated. We were actually planning to start selling the playstands, but we don’t have enough time to make them LOL. Maybe one day in the future… I will post a photo when I get a nice shot.

  3. I tell people all the time getting birds is really like having a child there are so many parts of your life that you may have to change they are costly and they need attention. My dogs still love me tomorrow if they eat 2 hours late…My Macaw…well lets just say I would be in the dog house.

  4. They are like children, aren’t they?! Fortunately, my lot are good natured about meal times… I manage to keep them pretty flexible with their routines. Well, most of the time. And sometimes I miss the ease of having a pet like a dog, but for the most part, I wouldn’t change a thing. 😀

  5. Pingback: A Guide to Basic Parrot and Finch Care. | Students and Birds

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