How Hard Is It To Take Care of a Pet Bird? (Here Are The Facts)

Birds are intelligent and loving companion pets and a great choice for many potential pet owners. But before adopting a pet, it’s always important to look into the amount of time and energy they’ll need.

So then, is it hard to take care of a pet bird?

Taking care of a pet bird is about as hard as taking care of a cat or a dog. Different species have different needs, but you can count on daily cleaning and exercise, as well as specialized diets. The easiest birds to care for are small birds, which may require only two hours outside the cage.

How Hard Is It To Look After a Bird?

It’s no harder to take care of a pet bird than to take care of a dog or a cat. Every day, they’ll need fresh food and water, exercise and attention, and you’ll need to make sure that you keep a clean and spacious cage.

Smaller birds tend to be the easiest to care for; you’ll need to invest more time and energy if you plan to adopt a larger bird like the macaw. 

Which Birds Are the Easiest To Take Care Of?

Different birds will require different levels of socialization, different amounts of space and exercise, and different kinds of diets according to their species.

You’ll need to learn about the species you’re looking to adopt in detail before deciding because some will be more difficult to care for than others. 

Intelligent birds like parrots need more socialization than others, or they can become restless. Parrots also tend to bond strongly with one person or bird and can be territorial towards others besides their main companion.

They also need exercise and should be routinely allowed outside a cage. For these reasons, parrots are considered the neediest of any pet bird.

All pet birds need at least two hours of time outside the cage every day, but you should plan on even more time for larger birds like parrots.

You should also ensure that any rooms where the birds are allowed to fly are free from hazards or escape routes.

Small birds, like budgies, are generally the easiest to care for.

Finches, too, are small and easy to care for but do much better in the company of other finches, so you may need to adopt more than one.

Ultimately, the right companion bird for you will depend on your own needs as well. If you have the time and the desire to spend time with your bird, you won’t be so bothered by the need for several hours playing outside the cage.

But if you have cats or a busy schedule, this may be more of a hindrance. You can take a quiz to determine which bird is best for you at MyRightBird.

How Much It Costs To Have a Pet Bird

The cost of caring for a bird can be as much as $5,000, depending on what species you’re looking for. Caring for a small bird costs about $185 per year, plus about $100 in initial investments the first year.

Larger birds are more expensive to care for, costing anywhere from $450 to $2,500 a year, and have an even higher initial cost because they need larger cages.

A cage for a large bird, such as the Mcage Large Parrot Bird Cage, can cost several hundred dollars.

See the following table for a breakdown of costs by species:

SpeciesCost of AdoptionYearly Cost
Macaw $900 – $5,000$700 – $2,500
Cockatoo$800 – $5,000$405 – $780
African Grey$600 – $2,000$550 – $1,600
Conure$150 – $500$450 – $1,350
Parrotlet$100 – $300$185 – $295
Canary$25 – $150$185 – $295
Finch$10 – $100$185 – $295
Budgy$10 – $35$185 – $295

How Do You Take Care of a Pet Bird?

The best way to take care of a pet bird is to simulate its natural environment as much as possible, minus the predators and scarcity.

For example, you’ll need to make sure that the diet you provide matches what the bird would naturally eat and that you provide the appropriate kind and amount of socialization for your animal. 

Find the Right Bird Food

Each bird species has its own unique dietary needs, some preferring worms and insects, others seeds and fruit.

For this reason, pet suppliers have begun making edible pellets catered to each species, like the Kaytee Exact Rainbow Premium Daily Nutrition for Cockatiels.

Bird pellets are one of the best things to feed your pet bird because they include all the major nutrients they need. 

Bird pellets are much more nutritionally dense than seeds. An all-seed diet can cause weight gain in birds, and it’s important not to let your bird become dependent on seeds.

When this happens, the bird will resist change, and you’ll need to follow a step-by-step process to wean your bird off of seeds and onto a healthier mix of food.

Some birds — like the lorikeet — also need to eat a special kind of nectar, like the Blessings Gourmet Lory Nectar, which you can find from specialty pet shops and online retailers. 

Some birds love to snack on fresh fruits and vegetables, and these make for good additional dietary supplements. These include many members of the psittacine family, like macaws, parrots, conures, cockatiels, and budgies.

Recommended fruits and vegetables for these birds include:

  • Corn
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Yams
  • Peas
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Bananas

Besides these, you should generally avoid feeding table food to your bird, regardless of species. Chocolate, avocados, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine are especially dangerous.

Keep the Birdcage Clean

Keeping your bird’s cage clean is important because it decreases the risk of certain infections for you and the bird. Necessary cleaning can be broken down into what needs to be done daily, what needs to be done weekly, and what needs to be done monthly.

Every day, you should follow these steps:

  1. Replace the cage liner. Each day, the liner becomes dirty with discarded food and droppings, which create a hazard for the bird. Plus, changing the liner will cut down on the stench.
  2. Wash the food and water dishes with detergent. This will prohibit the growth of harmful bacteria.
  3. Wipe down the bars, perches, and toys to remove other messes. 

Every week, do the following:

  1. Wash the cage tray with a rag, water, and a cage cleaner, such as the Oxyfresh Crate & Cage Cleaner. 
  2. Remove and scrub the grate at the bottom of the cage to get rid of any dried-on droppings. 
  3. Remove, soak and scrub the perches to prevent bacterial growth. If you have wooden perches, take extra care not to replace them until they are fully dry.
  4. Remove, soak and scrub any toys. Birds tend to lay with their mouths, which means that these need to be kept clean to prevent infection.

And every month, follow these steps:

  1. Scrub the bars and base of the cage, using a cage cleaner for any dried-on messes.
  2. Scrub the cracks at the base of the cage.
  3. Rinse and dry every inch of the cage to remove any remnants of detergent or cleaning fluid. 

In all cases, when you wash a part of the birdcage, make sure that it’s completely dry before putting it back. Birds become chilled very easily when they get wet. 

Take Your Bird to the Vet Every Year

When you first adopt your pet bird, it’s important that you schedule a new bird visit to establish whether they have any ongoing medical issues that need to be resolved.

Then, you’ll need to bring your bird back to the vet every year for wellness exams. 

In addition to providing checkups and care for your pet, the veterinarian will be able to answer any questions you have about bird care and talk you through proper feeding and housing plans.

Conclusion

Taking care of a pet bird is about as easy as taking care of a cat or dog. They require regular exercise, a clean environment, fresh food, and time spent socializing.

However, different birds require different care levels depending on the species; larger birds tend to cost more and take more work overall.