|Cockatiel Parakeet (Nymphicus hollandicus). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
You're not alone in considering a pet bird. In fact, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA), birds are the 3rd most popular pet behind cats and dogs.
It all sounds great, doesn't it? Slow down a little bit, before you rush out to buy a cockatiel or a parakeet, take some time to think about whether or not you are ready for a bird companion. There are a few things for you to consider before you decide if you're ready for the responsibilities that come with parakeets and cockatiels.
Do yourself a favor and don't buy a parakeet or cockatiel until you ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have enough patience for a bird? Cockatiels and parakeets are social animals and they like attention. You should give them at least a half an hour of attention a day to keep them happy.
- Am I a neat freak? All birds (not just cockatiels and parakeets) can be fairly messy. You're probably going to have some feathers and bird seed to pick up around the cage.
- Can I care for my bird properly? You're taking the right first step by looking for information about birds. It's important for you to know all of your cockatiel's or parakeet's needs before you bring him or her home.Don't make the mistake of assuming that since you already have a dog, cat or some other pet, that you know how to take care of a bird. Birds have very different needs than other pets. I'm afraid it's a little more complicated than sticking your bird in a cage and giving it water and birdseed.
- Do I have room in my house for a bird cage and other 'bird accessories"? You need to think about where you're going to place the cage in your house before you walk in the door with it. And remember, the bigger the bird, the bigger the cage. (Be sure to study the do's and don't of cage placement. There are places in your house that are very dangerous for your bird.)
- Do I have the time to give my bird what it needs? In addition to the time you should spend with your bird giving him or her attention, you should spend some time preparing meals for your bird. A proper diet for a healthy cockatiel or parakeet includes fresh vegetables and fruits - not just seeds.
- Exactly what type of bird (and how many) do I want? Decide whether you want a female or a male bird. Maybe you would like to have a pair of birds so that you can breed them. It's easier to think through these types of questions now instead of waiting until you're talking to a breeder.
- Am I ready for a long-term commitment? As I said above, it's not unusual for cockatiels to live 15-20 years and parakeets can live 12-14 years. Getting a pet bird is a long-term commitment. Please don't get a cockatiel or a parakeet thinking that you're going to "try it for a while". There are already too many birds in rescue and adoption centers.
Pet birds can bring a lot of fun and happiness into your home. If you don't know what to expect before you bring one home, you may be in for a surprise. However, if you've gone through the checklist above and decided that you're ready for a new feathered family member, then congratulations! Get ready for a long, loving and happy relationship.
Author: Simon Blake