Some parrot care costs are unavoidable, such as vet care and
healthy food, and are staples of a bird owner’s budget. But parrots need a
safe, fun environment with lots of enrichment that keeps them busy too.
Fabrie of Maryland has one Goffin’s cockatoo, a rose-breasted cockatoo and a timneh
African grey and asks that potential parrot owners consider the costs
associated with a parrot to thrive as necessary ones. "Are you willing to have
the bird become part of the family? Give him a playgym? Will you provide
perches in different places around your house? Will you invest in their health
and visit the avian vet before there is a sickness or accident?”
The good news is that there are cheap and creative ways to
make your bird’s life better. Some of these suggestions build community among
parrot owners or require planning ahead. Some of them are so simple, you won’t
believe you haven’t thought of them before. But all work with any budget.
Parrot owners from Virginia, Maryland, DC and West Virginia
shared many fun, practical ways to keep birds happy without breaking the bank.
Debbie Russell of Maryland, who owns over a dozen birds from cockatiels to macaws, provided
these 6 cost-saving tips.
your own parrot toys and perches. There are tons of websites that sell toy
parts. Even things you use every day at home make awesome toys or toy parts for
your parrots. For perches, make sure you are using safe wood that has not been treated with chemicals or pesticides.
pellets in bulk. Instead of getting a 1- or 5-pound bag, get the larger 25-pound.
bag and freeze them.
fruits and veggies in season and use them in recipes year round. For example,
in the fall you can get apples cheap. My parrots love applesauce with cinnamon.
Each fall I make and freeze my own applesauce.
My birds get it two or three times a month, but it’s a treat for them
and they love it! Applesauce can be used in birdy bread in place of oil too.
your own veggies. If you don’t have a
garden, try planting container gardens.
up for different suppliers and watch their sale ads. Some have really good
sales for toy parts, toys, perches and other items. One site that I watch every
day is Pick Your Plum. Every once in a while, they sell paper items that make
wonderful foraging toys.
large parrots, get two-by-four holders and give your parrot a two-by-four perch,
which can double as a toy. They are cheap and easy to replace. My husband even
rounds the two edges to make it softer for the parrots to stand on.
Halvorsen of Virginia has 13 macaws and gets together with multiple bird owners
to buy nuts. It reduces shipping costs dramatically to make one single
order rather than individual orders,” she said. In her last order of 25-pound
boxes of nuts, the group bought 15 boxes and paid $1,340. "It kept shipping
costs to only 32 cents per pound,” she explained.
also rarely buys macaw toys. "They are usually upwards of $45 per toy for
something that will get chewed to bits in a day or two. I buy two-by-fours
and cut them into about 10-inch lengths, then make holes in them with a drill
press. I save all heavy chain from any toys I may have purchased
previously and re-use it to string up the blocks I've cut. Much more
Erin P. Doherty of
Washington DC,who has four parakeets, suggests bartering pet-sitting services with a trusted neighbor who also has pets.
and Suzanne Cromwell have 11 birds from parakeets to timneh African greys.They
have a cost
saving tip that every parrot person should embrace: Vinegar and water in a
spray bottle as a cleaner. "Use it to clean your cage and any place you find
bird droppings,” they said. "Spray, leave it for a while and it will come off
easily with a damp cloth. No need for costly products. Vinegar is cheap and
totally safe for birds.”
Melissa Kowalski owns Critters & Conservation in Ranson,
West Virginia, which provides hands-on animal
education programs for all ages. She has six parrots and 23 other animals in
her care and suggests:
rope perches are shredded, wash them on delicate cycle in a pillow case, allow
to dry, then rewrap with vet wrap
chemical-free branches from mulberry, lilac, bamboo or butterfly bushes for
enrichment and perches
thrift stores to find cheap bird toys: gently used, unfinished, glue-free wood
blocks, toddler or baby toys or baskets
one parrot doesn't like a toy, try it on another bird
more than one avian vet so that it's easier to get appointments, or go to the
closer and/or cheaper vet for routine visits
- Join a community (online or otherwise) for sharing ideas about care, cost savings,
”Parrots are expensive if cared
for properly, there's no way around those food and vet costs,” said Ann Brooks,
President and founder of Phoenix Landing. "However,
you can be creative with the resources for enrichment; and don't forget that
spending training time with your parrot is free!”
What are your savings secrets? Share them in the comments.
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5 DIY Bird Toys
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