The Cost Of Owning A Parrotlets

Parrotlets May 6, 2022
Written by | Updated Jun 23, 2024
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The Cost Of Owning A Parrotlets

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The Cost Of Owning Parrotlets

As the name suggests, parrotlets are a small type of parrot. Small as they are, however, these little birds have big personalities and they aren’t the right pet for everyone.

They often have bold, assertive personalities and, with the right training, they can even be taught to speak.

Keeping a parrotlet as a pet is an exciting challenge. These birds require a large cage with plenty of toys to keep them busy as well as a healthy diet.

Keeping parrotlets as pets is a long-term commitment as these birds can live up to 20 years.

Before you bring home a parrotlet as a pet, make sure you can handle the responsibility. Not only do you need to care for your pet for up to 2 decades, but you have to be able to shoulder the costs as well.

Here’s what you need to know about how much it costs to keep a pet parrotlet.

Bringing Home A New Parrotlet – One-Time Costs

Parrotlets are the smallest of the new world parrots, standing between 4 ½ and 5 inches tall. These little birds come in a variety of bright colors and they are very active. They can be a little bit feisty at times but they don’t tend to be very noisy.

The thing to remember about parrotlets is that they tend to bond easily. If you want a bird that will be a companion pet, only get one parrotlet. If you want your birds to keep each other company, get a pair or keep a larger group. Just know that your birds may not want to interact with you as much and they can become a little aggressive without frequent handling.

In addition to deciding how many parrotlets to keep, youshould also think about the commitment of being a bird owner. You’ll need to provide for all of your bird’s needs for up to 20 years.

Here’s what you need to know about one-time costs for pet parrotlets:

Buying A Parrotlet

After deciding how many parrotlets you want to keep, the next decision is what species.

Celestial or Pacific parrotlets are one of the most popular species and among the most affordable. Generally speaking, parrotlets range in price from $100 to $350, though some species can cost a great deal more, especially in certain color mutations.

Here are some of the most popular pet parrotlet species:

  • Pacific (Forpus celestis)
  • Green-rumped (Forpus passerinus)
  • Spectacled (Forpus conspicillatus)
  • Mexican (Forpus cyanopygius)

Because parrotlets are popular pets, you may be able to find them at your local pet store. If you want a certain species or mutation, however, you may have to look elsewhere.

Purchasing from a breeder is a good option. Not only will you get a good price, but you’ll be able to specify which type of parrotlet you want. Just know the cost may vary between male and female birds, and between juveniles and adults.

Another option to buy a parrotlet is to adopt one.

You may be able to find a local bird rescue, or you can put your name on the contact list at your local shelter to be notified if someone abandons a bird. Expect to pay an adoption fee of $50 to $100 which may or may not include the cage the bird was abandoned in.

Parrotlet Cost by Species

Species Average Cost (Low) Average Cost (High)
Pacific (Forpus coelestis) $100 $350
Green-rumped (Forpus passerinus) $150 $350
Spectacled (Forpus conspicillatus) $350 $500
Mexican (Forpus cyanopygius) $100 $350

Supplies And Setup

The parrotlet is a small bird, but an active one so you need to provide a cage with plenty of space. The larger the cage the better, especially if you plan to keep a pair or small group of parrotlets.

Look for a parrotlet cage at least 18×18 inches – a pair of parrotlets needs a minimum cage size of 40x20x20 inches.

Remember, however, that the more space you can provide your bird, the happier it will be. Consider the dimensions as well and choose a wide cage rather than a tall one.

You can expect to spend $100 to $300 for your parrotlet cage, depending on size and quality.

Another startup cost to consider is the cost to outfit your parrotlet cage. You’ll need an assortment of perches, toys, and bowls for food and water. Plan to spend $50 to $100 on these items.

Once your cage is set up, stock up on a month’s supply of food. Parrotlets eat a staple diet of nutritionally balanced pellets and a variety of seeds. Supplement your bird’s diet with small amounts of fruits and vegetables as well as a source of calcium.

Plan to spend about $15 to $20 per month on your parrotlet’s food.

The last of the start-up costs you need to think about is your pet’s first vet visit.

Your parrotlet should be seen by a veterinarian within the first few weeks you have him to establish a baseline for his health. Most traditional vets aren’t well trained in bird care, so you’ll need to find an avian vet or possibly an exotics vet.

Plan to spend about $35 to $50 on that initial vet visit. If your parrotlet needs any kind of lab testing or treatment, the extra cost will likely be over $100.

Parrotlet Supplies and Setup

Cost Type Average Cost (Low) Average Cost (High)
Cage $100 $500
Cage Supplies $50 $100
Initial Food $15 $20
Spay/Neuter Cost N/A N/A
Initial Vet Visit/Vaccinations $35 $50
Total = $200 to $670

Cost Of Parrotlet Ownership – Annual Expense Breakdown

Once you bring your parrotlet home, the real work begins. You’ll need to handle your bird regularly if you want him to remain tame, especially if you are keeping a pair or small group of parrotlets.

In addition to handling your bird, you’ll need to provide for his ongoing needs. The first of these is his nutritional needs. You’ll also need to keep your bird healthy with routine veterinary care.

Here’s what you need to know about annual costs for pet parrotlets:

Annual Medical Expenses

Keeping your parrotlet healthy is your biggest concern as a bird owner. On top of feeding him a healthy and balanced diet, you should also provide routine veterinary care in the form of annual vet visits. Regular vet visits help you monitor your bird’s health so you can identify problems early.

Here are some of the health problems to which parrotlets are prone:

  • Psittacosis (parrot fever)
  • Candida
  • Polyomavirus
  • Respiratory problems
  • Psittacine beak and feather disease
  • Nasal discharge
  • Aspergillosis
  • Tracheitis

You’ll want to take your parrotlet to the vet within the first weeks of getting him so your vet will have a baseline for his health. If your bird develops symptoms, you’ll know something is different and you can take him to the vet again. At the very least, he needs an annual checkup.

Your parrotlet doesn’t require vaccinations, so the only additional veterinary costs will be for lab tests or treatments your veterinarian recommends.

If you’re considering pet insurance to help offset these costs, consider putting what you’d pay in premiums into a savings account in case of emergencies. That way you won’t be committed to that monthly spending but you’ll still have an emergency fund, just in case.

Estimated Medical Costs for Parrotlets

Cost Type Frequency Average Cost
Veterinary Checkup Annual $50
Dental Cleaning N/A N/A
Vaccinations N/A N/A
Treatments Occasional $100+
Emergency Expenses Occasional $100+

Food And Supplies

The primary recurring expense to care for pet parrotlets is food.

Parrotlets are small, but they require a specific blend of nutrients in their diet. A high-quality commercial pellet is the best way to provide that nutritional balance, but it should be supplemented with seeds for variety.

Plan to spend $10 to $15 on an initial supply of parrotlet food that will last a few months.

You’ll also need to purchase seed mix as well as fresh fruits and vegetables for your parrotlets. The total monthly costs for these foods should be $15 to $20.

The other cost to plan for each month is the cost to replace cage accessories like food bowls and perches. These costs won’t happen every month but it’s a good idea to put $5 aside just in case.

Food and Supply Costs for Parrotlets

Cost Type Frequency Average Cost
Food and Treats Monthly $15 to $20
Additional Supplies Monthly $5

Total Annual Cost Of Owning Parrotlets

Though parrotlets are small, keeping one as a pet is a big commitment. Not only do these birds require a significant amount of space and attention, but they can live for 20 years or more.

Before bringing home a pet parrotlet, be sure you can care for your new bird for the entirety of its life and do your research to ensure you can cover the financial commitment.

Here’s a quick summary of the estimated annual cost for keeping parrotlets:

  • Purchasing/Adopting = $50 to $500
  • Cage and Setup = $200 to $670
  • Annual Veterinary Costs = $35 to $50
  • Monthly Food and Supplies = $20 to $25

The costs associated with keeping pet parrotlets may vary according to a number of factors. Keeping more than one parrotlet, for example, will increase your costs.

Refer to the estimates above when doing your research to determine if a parrotlet is the right pet for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a parrotlet cost?

Parrotlets are the smallest of the new world parrots, so they may not cost as much as their larger relatives, but they are by no means cheap. You should expect to pay at least $100 for a parrotlet and some species and mutations go for over $500.

How much does it cost to neuter/spay a parrotlet?

It is generally unnecessary to spay or neuter pet birds. Not only is the procedure very invasive, but it’s possible to prevent breeding through other means. By not providing nesting material or making certain changes to the cage, you can prevent breeding. You can also simply keep the sexes separated.

How much does a parrotlet vet checkup cost?

Most veterinarians aren’t trained in bird care, so you may need to find an avian vet or an exotics vet. Expect to pay $35 to $50 for the exam and about $100 and up for additional testing and treatment.

How much does it cost to microchip a parrotlet?

The cost to microchip a pet is usually a one-time fee of $35. This procedure is not recommended for parrotlets, however, because the microchip is typically embedded under the skin on furry pets.

How much does parrotlet food cost?

The cost to feed your parrotlet each month will only be $15 to $20. Start with a high-quality pellet food and seed mix, supplemented with fresh fruits and veggies.

How much does a parrotlet cage cost?

Parrotlets may not be small, but they are active so they require a large cage. If you are keeping a pair of parrotlets or a small flock, the cage needs to be even bigger. Budget $100 to $300 for your cage.

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
  1. Diana Bowles

    I have a question.What type of lighting should birds have?

    • Kate Barrington

      Hi Diana! We recommend full-spectrum lighting for at least a few hours a day, especially if there's not a lot of natural light. Your parrotlet will benefit from natural day/night cycles.

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