The Cost Of Owning A Parrot

Parrots May 26, 2020
Written by Kate Barrington | Updated May 18, 2021
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The Cost Of Owning A Parrot

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The Cost Of Owning Parrots

There are dozens of species of pet birds, but none so popular as the parrot. Different species of parrot come in a wide range of colors, all with their own unique personalities.

Some are talkative, some whistle, and some have a penchant for getting into mischief.

Though every parrot is unique, there is one thing they all have in common – it’s a big commitment to keep a parrot as a pet. Some species live 30 years or more, and their size means they take up a significant amount of space.

Before bringing home a new pet parrot, you need to do your research to ensure you can provide your parrot with the life it deserves.

Not only do you need to make sure you have the space and the time, but think about the cost to purchase and keep your parrot as well.

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

Bringing Home a New Parrot – One-Time Costs

Parrots are unique and beautiful creatures, no matter which species you choose. Many are highly intelligent and are capable of speech, making them a much different pet than traditional options like cats and dogs.

In addition to deciding what type of parrot to keep, you should 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 30 years (or more).

Though parrots are wonderful pets, they do take a lot of work and they can be fairly expensive. Before committing to being a parrot owner, you should have some idea what you’re getting yourself into in terms of the costs. Here’s what you need to know about one-time costs for pet parrots:

Buying A Parrot

The first thing you need to decide is what type of parrot you want. There are over 350 different species to choose from, each with their own unique personalities.

The cost to purchase a parrot varies widely from one species to another. You could spend as little as $150 or well over $3,000 to purchase a parrot.

Here are some of the most popular pet parrot species:

  • African Grey
  • Conure
  • Cockatoo
  • Meyer’s Parrot
  • Amazon
  • Eclectus
  • Macaw

Because there are so many different types of parrots to choose from, you may not be able to rely on finding them in your local pet store. Even if your store does sell parrots, you may not have many options when it comes to the species or color.

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 parrot you want.

Just know the cost may vary between male and female birds, and between juveniles and adults.

Another option is to find a local or regional bird rescue. You can also put your name on the contact list at your local shelter to be notified if someone abandons a bird. Plan to spend $50 to $100 or more on an adoption fee and know that it may or may not include the bird’s cage.

Parrot Cost by Species

SpeciesAverage Cost (Low)Average Cost (High)
African Grey$500$2,500
Conure$150$350
Cockatoo$500$1,500
Meyer’s$400$1,000
Eclectus$600$2,000
Macaw$700$3,500

Supplies And Setup

Though the biggest decision you’ll need to make is what type of parrot to keep, perhaps the most important one is picking a cage.

The type of cage you choose will depend on the type and size of parrot you choose. Some parrots prefer to climb while others prefer to fly, so make your choice accordingly. Keep in mind that most parrots are too big to fly in their cage, so your parrot will need to spend some time out of it for exercise.

A high-quality parrot cage will cost at least $100 and up to $300.

Remember, this is where your parrot will spend much of his life, so it’s well worth it to spend a little more to keep him comfortable.

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

On top of accessories and supplies, purchase a month’s worth of your parrot’s food.

The best diet for parrots varies depending on the species. Commercial parrot food is usually formulated for parrots of different sizes, so choose accordingly but factor in your parrot’s species as well.

You should expect to spend $15 to $20 on a high-quality pellet diet or seed mix. Supplement it with fresh fruits and vegetables as well as insects and other foods your parrot may need. Budget $30 to $75 per month to feed your parrot, depending on its size and species.

Finally, consider the cost of your parrot’s first vet visit.

Most traditional vets aren’t well trained in bird care, so you’ll need to find an avian vet or an exotics vet. Plan to spend about $35 to $50 on that initial vet visit. If your parrot needs any kind of lab testing or treatment, the extra cost will likely be over $100.

Parrot Supplies and Setup

Cost TypeAverage Cost (Low)Average Cost (High)
Cage$100$3,500
Cage Supplies$50$100
Initial Food$30$75
Spay/Neuter CostN/AN/A
Initial Vet Visit$35$50
Total = $215 to $3,725

Cost Of Parrot Ownership – Annual Expense Breakdown

Once you bring your parrot home, the real work as a parrot owner begins. You’ll need to provide for your bird’s ongoing needs for food, shelter, and veterinary care in addition to meeting its needs for exercise, companionship, and mental stimulation.

Depending what type of parrot you choose, you may need to spend a great deal of time on socialization and training. You can’t put a price on your time, but you can estimate the cost to feed your parrot and to make sure it gets its annual checkup.

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

Annual Medical Expenses

Take your parrot to the vet within a few weeks of bringing him home and then plan for an annual checkup. 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 parrots are prone:

  • Aspergillus
  • Avian gastric yeast infection
  • Candida virus
  • Macaw wasting syndrome
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Psittacosis (parrot fever)
  • Ulcerative dermatitis
  • Psittacine beak and feather disease

The cost to take your parrot to the vet may vary. You could spend $35 to $50 on a regular exam while lab tests and treatments cost well over $100.

Just remember you’ll need to find an avian vet or exotics vet because most veterinarians aren’t trained in bird care.

If you’re think about getting pet insurance to help offset these costs, consider putting what you’d pay in premiums into a savings account instead. 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 Parrots

Cost TypeFrequencyAverage Cost
Veterinary CheckupAnnual$50
Dental CleaningN/AN/A
VaccinationsN/AN/A
TreatmentsOccasional$100+
Emergency ExpensesOccasional$100+

Food And Supplies

The biggest ongoing expense you’ll have as a parrot owner is feeding your parrot.

Your parrot’s species will determine its dietary needs, so be sure to do your research. Some birds feed primarily on seeds, nuts, fruit, and vegetables but many are omnivorous. Regardless, you should be prepared to feed your parrot a variety of foods to ensure nutritional balance.

You will probably spend between $15 and $20 for a bag of high-quality pellets for your parrot and it should be supplemented with seeds. Feed your parrot fresh fruits and veggies as well as other foods like cooked egg, insects, and grains, depending on its ideal diet.

Budget $30 to $75 per month to feed your parrot, depending on its size and species.

In addition to food, add another $5 or so to your budget per month to account for replacements for things like your bird’s toys or food bowl. These costs won’t happen every month but it’s a good idea to put aside a few dollars just in case.

Food and Supply Costs for Parrots

Cost TypeFrequencyAverage Cost
Food and TreatsMonthly$30 to $75
Additional SuppliesMonthly$5

Total Annual Cost Of Owning Parrots

Keeping a parrot as a pet is a major commitment. Not only could you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to purchase your parrot, but you could be caring for him for 30 years or more. Before you bring home a pet parrot, make sure you’re up to the task as well as the financial commitment.

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

  • Purchasing/Adopting = $150 to $3,500
  • Cage and Setup = $215 to $3,725
  • Annual Veterinary Costs = $35 to $50
  • Monthly Food and Supplies = $35 to $80

Pet parrots aren’t cheap, so do your research before making a commitment. Refer to the estimates above when doing your research to determine if a parrot is the right choice for you. Again, these estimates are not exact and your costs may vary depending what type of parrot you choose.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a parrot cost?

The cost to purchase a pet parrot varies greatly depending what species you choose and what coloration. Popular species like conures are among the more affordable options, costing $150 to $350. Large parrots and exotic mutations, on the other hand, could cost thousands of dollars.

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

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 parrot 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 parrot?

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

How much does parrot food cost?

The cost to feed a parrot varies depending on its size and species. Plan to spend $15 to $20 on a high-quality pellet diet or seed mix and supplement it with fresh fruits and vegetables as well as insects and other foods your parrot may need. Budget $30 to $75 per month to feed your parrot.

How much does a parrot cage cost?

Your parrot deserves as much space as you can give him, so don’t skimp when it comes to purchasing a cage. The size of the cage will be determined by your parrot’s size, but you should 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
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