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How to Buy a Bird or Parrot

Updated on November 11, 2012

Sun Conure

You Want to Buy a Bird

Birds can make wonderful companions and pets. They also offer an excellent alternative to cats or dogs if you or someone in the family is allergic to pet dander. Shopping for birds is complicated and it is important to find the right kind of bird if you wish to avoid having an unhappy or unwanted bird.

Please consider the following suggestions when shopping for a new pet bird or parrot. Remember, they can live as long as a human so this is an important decision!

Find the Right Bird for You

Before you set out to buy a bird, research bird breeds. Just like dog breeds have different temperaments, so do birds. Some birds are known to be very social while others are known to attach to one person and act possessive around other people or pets. Decide which breeds may be right for you before you set out to buy a bird.

When doing research on bird breeds and temperament you should also take into consideration:

  • If you can provide the amount of attention the bird will need.
  • How big the bird cage needs to be.
  • If you can afford the types of foods and toys the bird will need.
  • How loud the bird is likely to be.

Take your lifestyle into consideration as well. Do you travel a lot? Birds can starve to death in a number of hours, so you will need a birdy babysitter. Do you have other pets like dogs or cats who may harm the bird? Do you have small children who may mishandle the bird or be bitten? Do you smoke inside the house? You must consider the environment you are bringing the bird into. You would do this with any pet, but birds are especially fragile and can be harmed by much less than a dog or cat.

Pineapple Green Cheek Conure

Find a Hand Raised and Hand Tamed Bird or Parrot

Once you have made a determination about what bird breeds would be the best for you, set out to find a bird that is hand fed, hand raised and hand tamed. Having a hand tamed bird is very important. Just because a bird is hand raised does not mean it is hand tamed. A bird that is not hand tamed can develop behavioral problems, and may bite you or your family members.

Fortunately, it is simple to determine if a bird is hand tamed. Simply observe how the bird comes out of it's cage. Does it "step up" and act comfortably around people? It is natural for some birds to act shy around new people, but if the bird seems afraid of the store owner or the bird will only come out of the cage when grabbed or prodded that is a big red flag that the bird is not hand tamed and you should probably look elsewhere.

Senegal Parrot

Bird Shop vs. Bird Breeder

There are many reputable bird shops that breed and sell wonderful birds. However, there are also a lot of bad shops. You should look at more than one store and ask questions about the bird or birds you may be interested in. A knowledgable breeder can help you narrow down your choice in bird by offering additional insights you may not have found in your research.

Make it a point to investigate the reputation of a bird shop. Ask other bird shop owners. If you can possibly find a feed store that does not sell birds, or a bird club or meet up, they will be able to give you the best information on reputable breeders or bird shops.

If you are able to find such a group then it is possible to find a private breeder. If at all possible, you should go with a reputable private breeder. Not only will you be able to purchase the bird at a better price, you will likely be able to visit the birds many times while it is still being raised.

Baby Conure

Return Policy

A reputable bird shop or breeder will have a very clear return policy in place for their birds. This can help you gauge how much the bird breeder or shop owner cares about the bird. The most caring and reputable breeders will tell you to return the bird at any time if the bird does not fit in with your family or you simply decide it is too much to care for the bird.

A generous return policy shows you that the breeder cares about the bird and wants to ensure it goes to a good home where all of it's needs will be met. Keep in mind, the return policy may not include a refund for your purchase. But if the bird shop or breeder cares enough about the birds wellbeing to take it back if it becomes unwanted, then you probably will never want to return the bird because it has been cared for well enough to be a well behaved and loving member of your family.

You're a Bird Parent!

Make sure you are ready to bring your bird home. You should have an appropriately sized cage and enough toys and food. If you are working with a breeder you can take suggestions while your baby bird is being weaned. Good luck and congratulations on your new baby!


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