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Why Birds Make Good Pets

Updated on May 24, 2012


About six months ago I brought home my two cockatiels, Angus and Selchie, small members of the parrot family. Though people often think of brilliantly colored macaws when they hear “parrot,” many small birds are also parrots: parakeets (budgies), cockatiels and conures just to name a few. Small parrots pack lots of personality into their diminutive bodies, and make wonderful pets. If you are considering adding an animal companion to your household, here are some of the things that make a small parrot a great choice.


Birds are cheerful


A bird expresses joy like no other creature. Maybe the ability to fly is part of it. When Angus sings, he looks like he is so happy he can’t keep it to himself, like he must celebrate his life or burst, like being a bird is just so great the world has to hear about it. In the morning, Angus and Selchie patter about, checking the different feed bowls for the best breakfast. Just the sound of their little four toed feet is cheerful.


Angus enjoying his swing
Angus enjoying his swing

Birds are small


A tiny creature trusting humans enough to perch on a finger is charming. Budgies and cockatiels, two of the smallest parrots, tame quickly, usually needing only a week or two to go from completely unsocialized to accepting a person as part of the flock.


The small size of birds also means they don’t need as much space in your house, and their habits are quite economical with square footage. They need a cage to be their home base and safe place, but a bird can do with a cage smaller than a dog’s crate or a cat’s litterbox. Unlike the aforementioned items, a birdcage can hang from above, saving floor space. Birds make use of their cage top as an extra play area, something no dog ever thinks to do with his crate.


Birds sleep 12 hours a day, not counting naps


When one of my students explained her fogginess in class with, “My new puppy wakes me up at 4 am every single morning to let her out,” I pointed out that Angus and Selchie sleep from 7 to 7. It’s a point to be considered in a pet.


Birdz N the Hoodie
Birdz N the Hoodie

Birds are chummy


Members of the parrot family are very social. Their life is their flock. When they are tame, you are part of the flock. The bird’s interactions with each other are a big part of their charm, and their ongoing entertainment value, which is why I think having more than one bird is nice. Angus and Selchie groom each other, follow each other, quarrel with each other, and nod off for naps side by side.


Birds are not messy (compared to other pets)


Birds do scatter their food liberally, and drop you-know-what wherever they happen to be, but I still think they are the cleanest of pets. For one thing, bird droppings don’t smell. It may look like poo, but it doesn’t smell like poo. In contrast, if your puppy has an accident behind the drapes, that accident cannot be hidden. Carpets have a tough time recovering from dogs and cats in this regard, and I have heard about the territorial “spraying” wars cats can get into. I keep newspaper under the bird tree and of course on the cage bottom, and picking it up and throwing it out is easy.


Birds toss food everywhere, this is true. It is part of their symbiotic relationship with the plant kingdom. Plants feed birds, and in return birds scatter the plant’s seeds, along with every other part of the plant. Inside your house this does present more of an issue than in the woods, but both bird seed and bird pellets are dry, and vacuum up easily.


I look forward to many happy years with my little friends. I am enjoying them so much I may even get more.


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    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR

      graceomalley 

      5 years ago

      Darcy - I always say birds are more like people than most animals kept as pets - and this makes them challenging pets. They are quirky, and can be prone to taking strong personal likes and dislikes. While capable of deep bonds with humans, they are independent of humans in a way that domesticated animals simply can't be.

    • profile image

      Darcy Rhoden 

      5 years ago

      I have a bird and he does really wierd things! He flys off his cage and 60% is my meany sister and I have 15% of him!

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR

      graceomalley 

      6 years ago

      Grant - Life with birds is really nice.

    • Grant N.Z profile image

      Grant N.Z 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      I have a male hand reared budgie. His name is Billy. I also have an indian ringneck, he is also hand reared. Someone else handreared the ringneck. I got billy when he was only a few weeks old and i handreared him for a couple off weeks as he was almost ready to eat seed when i got him. And you are correct, he has stolen my hart, i love him dearly. I got billy before the ringneck, so he will always be the no 1 and the boss. Cheers Grant

    • jenb0128 profile image

      Jennifer Bridges 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Aww... thanks! He's my spoiled feather-baby. :)

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR

      graceomalley 

      6 years ago

      jenb - Love the picture of you with your little guy!

    • jenb0128 profile image

      Jennifer Bridges 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Cockatiels are great! I adopted my little rescued 'tiel in January of 2011, and wow, has he ever taken over my life! He was abused by other birds before his rescue so he needs to be an "only bird," so I don't have any help from other birds, lol.

      I know what you mean about how happy birds look when they're singing! Buzzy just looks like the happiest little critter who ever lived when he sings. :)

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR

      graceomalley 

      6 years ago

      aviannovice - Nice to see you! I notice wild birds even more, from being familiar with 'bird ways.'

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Voted awesome and up. Glad you have your indoor birds to enjoy. In the scheme of things, I have many birds to enjoy outside, be it the ones at my feeder or during my wanderings at Boomer Lake Park. I understand where you get your joy from.

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