Should I Get One?
Why A Parrot?
Most people are familiar with pet dogs, cats and even hamsters, but not many know the fact that parrots can make wonderful pets. Like pet dogs, parrots are able to bond very strongly with their caretakers and family, and are able to recognize and respond to us.
For example, our tame, handfed youngsters will often come to us when called, pretty much like when you recall a pet dog.
The bonds that parrots can form with us are strong, and the more you put in, the more you get back from your feathered bond. Most parrots enjoy a cuddle and a scratching of their cheeks, and are content just hanging out on your shoulder, or exploring your desk.
They are also very very unique individuals, each with their specific likes/dislikes, favorite foods, and fears. I have known of a parrot who absolutely loves rounds objects, and one which abhors Lego mini figurines with a vengeance.
So why a Parrotlet?
In the case of apartment living, it might not be suitable for the larger parrot cousins of cockatoos and Amazons, due to the space required and volume of their daily calls.
We first fell in love with keeping parrotlets after discovering that they have a bucket load of personality, true to the common saying that they are basically Amazons in tiny packages.
They are also very, very cuddly, and will fluff their head feathers ask for you to scratch their cheeks, neck and nape. They will even rotate their heads for you to scratch a different area!
Their adorable diminutive size also means that we can provide for a large roaming area for them in our apartment, and their calls will not be disturbing the neighbors too much.
Are they high maintenance?
All pets require a commitment. For our parrotlets, this means:
- DAILY – Throwing out their stale food and topping it up with fresh seed every morning, along with small amounts of fresh foods.
- DAILY – Changing and checking their water supply.
- DAILY – Letting them out to play! This could be in the day or in the evening, but keep it close to a routine and they will love you for it!
- WEEKLY – Depending on your cage size, you may change the newspaper cage linings weekly, or every few days.
- MONTHLY – The cages could be taken out for a good scrub and washing every month, along with the perches.
As you can see, maintenance is pretty light. We would say the greatest commitments that your feathered pets need from you will be attention and time.
Being highly intelligent birds, parrot require daily social interaction and stimulation. Exploration, games, training or just plain cuddling are important to a parrotlet’s well-being, so make sure you are able to provide for this aspect before committing to bringing one home. Ignored, isolated birds often develop psychological issues, which may manifest itself in the form of excessive screaming, feather plucking etc.
They learn fast!
Parrotlets are very intelligent. Once they are comfortable with you, you may notice them picking up on certain things on their own. For example, recognizing your voice, the sound of the food packaging rustling, or even learning how to open their cage door!
One way to stimulate the parrots intellectually and to spend quality would be through tricks training. Parrotlets can learn a variety of tricks, from turning around, shaking “hands” to playing dead. They are certainly a bundle of fun.
Can they talk?
One common question that pops up very often in conversation with parrot owners is: Can they talk? Personally, this has never been a big attraction for us in getting parrots, as they are not in fact talking, but simply mimicking. This has also, through the media, been seen as the only thing that parrots are known for.
Parrotlets are definitely capable of following a tune or a chime, and some even do attempt to mimic certain phrases from their owners. However, you’ll have to listen very carefully, as it is usually not as clear as that of their larger cousins, the Amazons and the African Greys.
How long do they live?
Parrotlets are new to the pet trade, and have only been in the trade for about the last 15 years or so. Current online literature do report an average lifespan of 10-15yrs in captivity. So when you bring that fluffy cute ball of feathers home, be prepared to have a friend for at least the next decade!
Of course, these are just some of the usual concerns we go through with potential new owners who come over to play with our parrotlet babies, or who are in contact with pet parrots for the first time. Please do contact us if you have any other questions at all! We will try my best to answer your queries and share our experiences.
Do hope you are all ready to be a proud owner of a little feathered one!