Parrots can make entertaining pets, especially for those who cannot have other types of animals in their homes. Numerous factors affect the cost of a parrot itself, including size, type of parrot, and whether it was raised in captivity or caught in the wild. Other factors to consider in the overall cost are cages, feeding supplies, and accessories. The lifespan of the bird should also be considered, as some can live up to 80 years or longer.
Size plays a large role in determining the cost of a parrot. The birds can range in size from small parakeets to large macaws, which can average close to three feet in length from the top of their heads to the bases of their tails. Typically, larger birds cost significantly more than smaller birds. In some cases, however, certain small exotic species can cost more than even the largest macaw. Larger birds tend to live longer than smaller ones, so costs over their lifetime is much higher.
Breeding location also factors into the cost of a parrot. A parrot that is bred in captivity typically costs more than one that was caught in the wild, especially if it was hand-fed. Hand feeding a parrot helps it bond better with humans, which generally makes it more affectionate towards its owners. While decades ago, many parrots were caught in the wild, most countries have laws against that now for certain species, so the majority of birds are bred in captivity.
While the bird itself plays a significant role in determining the cost of a parrot, those considering purchasing one should take into consideration all the extra costs associated with feeding and housing the bird. At the very least, a new parrot will need a cage, feeding bowls and food, and a couple of perches. Cages can range from inexpensive basic structures to large, elaborate designs that cost thousands of dollars. Food also varies in price, depending on the bird and the type of diet it consumes. The cage should have at least two perches to allow access to the food and water bowls.
Extras, such as treats, toys, and cleaning supplies should also be taken into consideration when determining the overall cost of a parrot. Although toys are not essential, parrots are social animals and they enjoy playing. Providing them with toys also satisfies their need to chew and forage. Treats are useful when training the parrot to talk, or to entice them into bonding with their new owner.