The Affordable Parrot
I read, with much dismay, an article from a self-proclaimed shopping expert who tried to convince people that parrots are prohibitively expensive to own. I will go over the points listed in the article that I feel were misleading at best, and at worst just plain wrong. I will show you how to cut in half the budget given in that article, making parrot ownership affordable for almost any home that can afford a stray cat.
False Claim #1: Quality Caging for parrots starts at $500 and goes up to $1,100
The cages chosen for this comparison are the most expensive powder coated cages on the market. There are now very affordable cages, manufactured in China, that are not only safe, but affordable.
For example, in this issue you can find a huge 32” x 40”Macaw cage on sale for only $319, and a great stainless steel cage for African greys and Amazons for $599. Last month there was a cage on sale for medium sized parrots for $129.99.
Amount saved: $370-$781 (Wow!)
False claim#2: Travel carriers cost between $80-$180
Where does this guy shop? You can find IATA approved carriers for small birds up to African greys and Amazons for as low as $14. There are wire carriers that start at $29.99. I have never seen a carrier for more than $170, and it would be a molded, unbreakable lexan or an aerospace fabric for that much money.
Amount saved: $66-$150.
False Claim #3: Pine nuts cost $15 per pound
Golden Cockatoo sells 5lbs of Pine Nuts for $9 per pound.
Amount Saved: $6 per pound (40% savings)
False Claim #4: Cleaning supplies are expensive at $10 per bottle Well, I suppose if you buy the most expensive products, then it stands to reason that those products are expensive. However, if you are a good shopper, you can find similar products for a fraction of the cost. For example, there is a product called “Pet Focus” that not only cleans, but also disinfects cages, wood perches and toys. You can buy one-gallon of concentrated Pet Focus for $52.99, which in turn makes 128 gallons, or 512 comparable bottles of cleaner and disinfectant (remember-he only priced a cleaner, whereas this is both a cleaner AND disinfectant) for a grand cost of $0.10 per bottle.
Amount saved: $9.90 per bottle
Claim/Benefit not described. What was not mentioned in the article is how inexpensive bird pet care is compared to dog and cat vet care. Reason: birds are generally very resilliant, and do not sick often if properly cared for. Plus, they usually live over 40 years. A dog or cat will live between 8-15 years, and you are almost guaranteed to have huge vet bills during the later end of this period. As well, it is more expensive to groom a dog, to board a dog, and to feed a dog. Parrots only eat 5-10% of their body weight per day. Bird boarding starts at $6 per day, grooming at $9.50. A correct claim: Bird ownership (as any pet ownership) is a large responsibility not to be taken lightly.
Bottom line: Any pet ownership is going to be expensive, and, as with any other items we need to buy for our own lives, if you are a smart shopper you can save big bucks.
How to save: Go on email lists for the stores you frequent, sign up for frequent buyers clubs that give rebates or coupons for loyalty, watch for in-store sales, or just ask the salesperson what is on sale (and why). Also, for the bird itself, if you have the time it is a great idea to call parrot rescue organizations or the Humane Society, or the Wildlife Care Center and adopt a parrot in need.
This should give you a more appropriate view of the costs of parrot ownership. Good luck with your shopping!
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