Ask Lafeber

Question:

November 8, 2018

Which breed is right for me?


I have never owned a bird. I’ve never fully been interested in getting one, but lately they (and snakes) are on my mind a lot. I’ve been watching adorable bird videos on YouTube and I’ve been researching a few breeds. I was wondering if you could tell me what would be the ideal beginner bird species for me to look into.

I’m disabled, not very active, and I mostly keep to myself and enjoy being alone in a quiet environment. I would love a super affectionate, speech-capable bird who isn’t super loud or vocal all the time, and who would work well as a solo bird instead of with others. Maybe even works well with other animals like cats and dogs. It’s not manditory but I would love color options with rose gold-esque patterns (reds, pinks, golds, even light blues).

Thank you for your time! I hope to hear back from you soon.


Answer:

Hi Emily,

A pet bird can be a good companion, but they are not for everyone. First, forget about all of the cute videos you see online. This is only a small excerpt from a bird’s life and these adorable moments are sometimes rare compared to the challenging moments. This is not to discourage you, but to make you aware that a pet bird is a high maintenance pet compared to a domesticated animal like a dog or cat. Even domestically bred and raised parrots are still wild animals with their instincts intact – much like a captive bred lion or tiger. So you need an understanding of their behavior in order to understand how to deal with behavior challenges as they occur.

There is no such thing as a quiet parrot or a quiet species. Yes, some are less likely to be as loud as others, but it is not consistent. You might get an African Grey or a Pionus because they are generally not as loud, and then end up with the loudest Grey or Pionus ever. Parrots are active, vocal birds and one should not expect them to be quiet all or even most of the time. And if you want one that is likely to talk, then a certain amount of natural squawking will come with that.

As far as wanting a solo bird, this is not a problem because pet birds make better companions when you have only one, or at least only one per cage. When caged together, birds will tend to bond with each other and no longer want to be handled.

My best advice is to research species of parrots, talk with breeders, and actually go out and visit and handle some birds. Each bird is different, so just because a certain species seems ideal to you, doesn’t mean every bird in that species is ideal. You need to meet a bird and handle it before you buy one. You might even look into any parrot rescues in your are that adopt out. They will let you visit and generally do a home visit, and also have a trial period where you find out if you and the bird gets along. And if not, they will take the bird back.

We have many good articles on our website that cover everything from bird species to care, nutrition, training and health. Here are some links to get you started.

Types of Birds

Caring For Your Bird

Bird Food Guide

Avian Expert Articles

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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