Over the years, I have taken a turn in the way that I deal with people who are interested in getting a parrot. I have always been careful to be honest with them about the work involved, the noise, the mess and the damage they can do to your home but I use to end on a positive note describing the magical experience parrot keeping can be.
I don’t do that anymore. Now I use that time trying to talk people out of getting a parrot. “You don’t want a parrot. Let me tell you why…” It is pretty easy to put the visuals in their heads but some people are okay with the idea of having to scrape sweet potato off the ceiling or having holes in their curtains and bite marks on their chair backs.
You will often hear people say that parrots are a “lifetime commitment”. I wonder how many people can really fathom what that means.
For those over, say 40 years old, getting a large parrot will require having a plan in place for after you are gone, because it is likely to outlive you. That is the responsible things to do.
I wonder, though, if it is even possible for a young prospective parrot owner to comprehend what the term lifetime commitment actually means. With any luck, the “lifetime” they have experienced so far is only a fraction of what is to come. Ten years is an eternity to a 20 year old. How are they supposed to understand what 40 years with a parrot looks like?
If you are young and looking at purchasing a long-lived parrot, I want to try to put a “lifetime commitment” into perspective for you by taking a quick tour of what life might have in store for you…
Let’s say you have an amazon parrot that you talked your parents into buying for you while you were in high school. When you graduate and head off to college, what will become of your parrot?
You are moving out of your house for the first time and into a place you will share with a roommate who thinks it will be a blast to live with a parrot…until your parrot bites him or destroys personal property. What then?
You are up for a promotion at work that will require putting in long hours or travel away from home. Who will take care of your bird?
You meet your soul mate and fall in love. He/she doesn’t care for your parrot. How important is your bird to you now?
You eventually meet someone who loves you AND your parrot. You get married. A baby is on the way. Will your life have room for a baby and a bird?
All of these things are likely to happen within the first 10 years of moving out of your parent’s house and represents only about a quarter of the time you will share will your bird. These are the normal courses of events in the average person’s life – never mind the disasters and surprises that life throws in our direction at times.
Before I turned 30, I had lived in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and London. I had a really fun life, but I did not have a bird in tow in my earliest years. If I had parrots early on, my life would have taken a different course – and not the one I had in mind for myself.
If you are in your twenties and considering getting a large parrot, please think it through carefully. Your parrot will be there through every expected and unforeseen event of your life – every move, every illness, every death. It will be a lifetime of providing boarding whenever you go away. A lifetime of vet bills. A life time of having to do things differently because you live with a parrot. There will be no time in your life that you can be guaranteed peace and quiet. There will be people who avoid you and your home because of your unusual pet choice. This will be your reality until either you or your bird dies…or until you give up and, like so many others, put your bird in a rescue.
Don’t be that person. It might be the better choice to wait until you are older and more settled for that large parrot.