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Advice On What Type Of Parrot To Get?

Discussion in 'Parrot Chatter' started by Fuzzmeister, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. Fuzzmeister

    Fuzzmeister Registered

    Hello everyone! I'm new. I'm going to be moving out of my parents house into an apartment of my own (in Australia) in a few months, which means I'll FINALLY be able to get a pet parrot! (My parents won't let me get one while I live in their house, and also I currently live in NZ so it would be mean to get a parrot and then put it through the stress of plane travel when I can just wait until after I've moved to Australia and then get one).

    I have been struggling to decide what kind of parrot I should get, and have heard a few conflicting opinions. I'd really like to have a grey african as they are so intelligent and I think I'd have a lot of fun playing a variety of games and doing lots of different activities with an intelligent bird. Some people say that a large parrot isn't good for someone with no bird experience and that I should get something like a budgie first, whereas other people say that it's not fair to the 'starter bird' to get a bird that isn't what you truly want.

    Though I am very tempted to just go ahead and get an african grey, I think that a starter bird would actually be the best move for me, for three reasons:
    1. I would never get bored of or neglect my starter bird once adding a large parrot to my family, once I have a pet I will dedicate myself to that pet forever.
    2. I'm a little nervous of the sharp-looking beaks that large parrots have and if me and my new bird are BOTH feeling uncertain of each other it could make bonding difficult.
    3. A large bird may not be the best thing for someone living in an apartment. Though I have actually heard some people say that african greys are okay for apartments, as they aren't too loud and I could make up for the small space by taking it for walks with an aviator harness.

    I've applied to volunteer at my local bird rescue and I hope to get some parrot experience through that. Who knows? Maybe by the time I move out I'll have interacted with some large parrots and will feel confident enough to get an african grey after all! But just in case that doesn't happen, I'd like some advice on what a good starter bird for me would be.

    I was originally thinking budgie, because they are small and relatively quiet so I thought that one would make a good apartment pet. However I was talking to one of my friends today who told me that cockatiels are more playful and interactive than budgies and also make a good apartment bird. So now I'm a big confused on what the right choice for me would be. :p

    What I'm looking for in a bird: a fun pet who wants to spend heaps of time hanging out with and interacting with me and is intelligent enough to play a variety of games and learn tricks. It would also be really cool if the bird was bold enough to come on walks in the park with me without getting scared. Being able to talk would be really cool but not top priority. Also I'd like my first parrot to be a kinda gentle one so that I can get accustomed to the occasional nip (I'm aware that NEVER being bitten is unlikely) without getting a really hard bite that might make me scared. I once got bitten really hard by a rat in a pet store (I don't think it had been handled enough while growing up) and since then I've been nervous around kinds of animals that I'm not too familiar with as I don't know how to read the warning signs that may come before a bite, but I really want to overcome that phobia because I think a pet bird would be perfect for me.

    What I can offer a bird: I'm a quiet and chill person and I will be living alone so I can provide a secure, non-frightening home for an animal. I work from home most of the time and would be quite happy to spend hours and hours playing with my bird each day. I like coming up with new games to play and teaching tricks.

    Possible complications:
    1. I have a pet cat. She is elderly, sleeps all the time, is a bit blind and has arthritis in her back legs so she can't jump. I've done some research on how to introduce my cat to the pet bird and teach her not to bother it, and I would never allow the bird out of its cage without supervision, so I am confident that my cat will never get an opportunity to harm the bird.
    2. I will be in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend who lives in New Zealand and I will be visiting him for one week every two months. I am happy to pay for my bird to stay at someone else's house while I'm away so that they can care for, feed and play with it. However if my bird gets really attached to just me and doesn't like anyone else it might get sad while I'm away.

    Sorry for the super long post, I wanted to get all the details written down so that you guys are aware of all the factors that will go into my decision! The huge variety of parrots available is a little overwhelming so any advice on what sort of parrot you think might be right for me would be FABULOUS! :)
    JessCheekyMia likes this.
  2. TomsMum

    TomsMum Administrator Staff Member Admin

    Hi and :welcome: to our forum based here in the U.K.
    Well done for volunteering with a rescue, that will give you some great hands on experience.

    It’s a bit late here, so haven’t read all your thread in detail...
    However I am aware that some Australian States prohibit the keeping of certain parrot species and African Grey is one such specieis, so please carefully do your homework, and check up with the state authorities where you intend to live.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
  3. Fuzzmeister

    Fuzzmeister Registered

    Hi TomsMum, thanks for warning me about that. I'm not yet sure which state I'm going to end up living in (it depends on what university I get into) but once I know I'll check which parrot species I can legally keep as a pet there. :)
    TomsMum likes this.
  4. DizzyBlue

    DizzyBlue Administrator Staff Member Admin

    Hi and welcome tot eh forum :)
    Oz is gods own country :thumbsup: lived there for a while when I was a lot younger totally fond memories of a life down under :)
    Well I suppose it depends on when you move into your apartment how big it is, how much time will you have, how dedicated your going to be to a companion like a bird which need more attention than say a cat or a dog living the single life will mean your mates around, going out etc etc. Best to get all your preparations in first like no candles, wires hidden, no Teflon, research if your gong to have house plants as to which are safe etc etc
  5. Fuzzmeister

    Fuzzmeister Registered

    Hi DizzyBlue,
    That is good advice, I'll make sure to safety-proof the apartment before getting the bird. The apartment will be a single-person apartment so probably quite small. I think I should get a small bird and train it to wear an aviator harness so that I can take it for walks. I'll be studying for around forty hours per week, and as I don't mind studying in the weekends that'll come to six hours per day. I've read that parrots should sleep for twelve hours per day as well as having a midday nap, so I think I should be able to get most of my study done while the bird is asleep and then have lots of playtime while the bird is awake. I'm not much of a party girl so I doubt I'll be going out in the evening very often, I'm more likely to invite a few friends over to my apartment to hang out with me and my bird. :)
    DizzyBlue likes this.
  6. Michael Reynolds

    Michael Reynolds Regular Member

    Hello and welcome, What I will be concerned with is the problems of importing parrots back to New Zealand as I know there import control on non native species are tough. A grey will live for many years and can you at the moment commit your self to be in its life as long as you or the bird lives. I wish you all the best in finding a collage that will offer the subject that you wish to study. I am sure there will be plenty of opportunities for looking after birds as they have a few sanctuaries that are always looking for people to help. I cannot recommend any parrot to you at the moment as so much will depend on the type of place and the other occupant's you have living there. will they be caring enough to not use things like spay cans or even lighted candles. please stay in touch and ask as many questions as you want. good luck in working with needing parrots and if you get the chance to take a few photos of them we all love photos here
  7. dianaT

    dianaT Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    :welcome: from me and my flock .
  8. Fuzzmeister

    Fuzzmeister Registered

    Hi Michael,
    The importing back to New Zealand thing won't be an issue as I'm never going back there (except for short visits), there aren't any universities in New Zealand offering the kind of research I'm interested in. Also roommates won't be an issue either as I intend to buy a one-person apartment (having lived with two annoying younger siblings getting all up in my personal space all my life, definitely keen on having NO roommates).
    Cleaning up after my cat or a bird I can handle.
    Cleaning up after other humans? I am DONE with that! XD

    I suppose the main issue with matching my parrot to my living space will be the amount of room it has to fly around in. I think a small parrot would be best as I'll be looking for a one-bedroom apartment.

    Thanks for the good luck wishes! I'm feeling a bit disappointed at the moment as the bird rescue people haven't replied to my email :( but hopefully they will soon.

    Thank you dianaT for the welcome! ^-^
    dianaT and TomsMum like this.
  9. JessCheekyMia

    JessCheekyMia Regular Member

    Hi and:welcome:, it is so nice to hear you are researching before committing. I hope you hear back from the bird rescue soon.
    My first parrot was a cockatiel. They are small but they have so much personality. Mine was just like my larger birds just in a small body. They are very affectionate once you build up the bond between you. Also you can get 2 and they will still have that bond with you. Then they have company when you are out. I got mine on his own and had him for years. Then I took in a rescue and he still was very much bonded with me and I didn't loose that when I took on my female tiel.
    Parrots of all sizes require a lot of commitment. You will need to make sure you don't use sprays (deodorant, perfume, air fresheners etc). As DizzyBlue says no Teflon ( Teflon can be found in a number of products) and no candles.
    Also keep your cat away at all times even if the parrot is locked in his/her cage. Cats salvia is very harmful to birds. This can lead to death if not taken to a vet immediately.
    Dogs can also attack the parrot, so best to keep your bird away from cats and dogs all together.
    Also you can have a look at where to find a avian vet in your area. As one day you may need them.
    I wish you luck in finding your parrot. If you have any questions then this is the place to ask :thumbsup:
    dianaT likes this.
  10. Michael Reynolds

    Michael Reynolds Regular Member

    Ok that puts me more in the situation that you are expecting. I do hope you will get a place in a sanctuary as then you may get too know other species and will help you decide on your final friend. by the way I can say I would rather be bitten by a Macaw than a grey so don't worry about the size of a beak as one of the worst bites I ever received was from one of your native species the Clown Parrot (Kakariki). its not the size but the attitude that counts. well I look at what bird you are wanting and I will say your mind may change as you get to know the different species. your mind is at the moment set on a grey and that I can understand but to be honest you may just find another bird that triggers your heart and believe me that the one to have as I believe in love at first sight. I do not think that getting a small bird will be the answer if you find that you fall in love with a big bird then it just as important to learn as much as you can before committing your self with any parrot. I do think that we all have thoughts for what parrots we will want but if you go with your heart its not the size that counts in a bird but how much love you find between you and the bird you finally get, small or large its a learning curb but one that can be so rewarding to you and the bird you take on. can I ask what subjects are you wanting to study in collage?
  11. Michael Reynolds

    Michael Reynolds Regular Member

    I have a lot of different species and if some one asks me what is my favorite its a hard choice as in my flock I have greys, too's, amazons, conures, Macaws and many from the Australia's like the red wing and the king parrot. but I have two favorite species and they are the Sun Conure and the Ringnecks followed very closely by the King parrot but there is not one that I dislike as each bird has its own character
    dianaT likes this.
  12. Fuzzmeister

    Fuzzmeister Registered

    Jess: cockatiels sound quite fun, I've heard that they're playful and good at singing. I like that you can have two and they'll still bond with you, because I've been torn between getting two parrots so that they can keep each other company when I visit NZ, and getting just one parrot so that it'll have a strong relationship with me. Are cockatiels usually like that or is that just from your experience?

    Michael: your comment about the size of the beak not mattering that much makes sense because after further research I've found out that hyacinth macaws are really gentle. I suppose being huge means they don't get spooked or anxious as easily so don't feel a need to defend themselves? I would love one of those but I don't think such an enormous bird would like living in an apartment, so I'll wait until I can afford to get a proper house and will adopt an apartment-sized feathered friend for now. I'll be studying biomedical engineering. :)
  13. Michael Reynolds

    Michael Reynolds Regular Member

    I believe there are sanctuaries in many parts of Oz that look for people to safe house a bird or two, its worth while looking in that direction not only for you but the bird in need. Adoption is like owning a bird (depending on the rules of the sanctuary) in England I do safe house and work with a charity it can be so rewarding. I have over 20 of there birds in my care, Until you find a place and settle it may be the direction to go in.
  14. JessCheekyMia

    JessCheekyMia Regular Member

    Yes cockatiels are very sociable and in the wild they keep in large flocks. So even with a bonded person they will still accept attention from others. This is the case when they bond with another tiel they will still like to socialise with others. As longs as you give them one to one attention and start hand training as soon as you can, you will easily build up a relationship with both.
    You can start with getting one and see how it goes and in that time you can build a bond with him or her. I would suggest a boy first. I find males are more soppy lol. They love cuddles. You can get 2 males but don't put them in the same cage. If they do get on you can but keep a close eye on fighting.
    I would recommend them to be in seperate cages. Then put the cages close together when you are out. This is what I did.
    Obviously all birds are different and there is no guarantee witn any parrot.

    This is Cheeky (male), he was my first bird.
    This is Elsie (female) my second tiel. She has actually taken to my hubby. But as you can see she still likes cuddles of me. Actually she sits on my lap all day lol. I have to have her food bowls on me so she can eat.

    Also they love anyone that comes in the lounge. Will fly and sit with family.
    KEV H, dianaT and Michael Reynolds like this.
  15. Heather2131

    Heather2131 Guest

    Caiques are well known for being able to keep two and still having a bond with both of them, I have two and they both love me and want to be on me a lot whilst also keeping eachother company when I am out
    They are relatively small and stocky, they are the ideal size for me, they are so fun to watch and interact with.
    So maybe a one to consider?
    There are also quakers and conures which I like too and are a nice little size.
    Not to forget parrotlets!

    I love cockatiels too but have never had one before, I have had budgies though
    JessCheekyMia likes this.
  16. JessCheekyMia

    JessCheekyMia Regular Member

    The only thing with caiques is you will find that if you want to get another breed in the future like the african grey you are wanting will be hard. Caiques don't get on well with other breeds of parrots. So you will be limited to just caiques.
    You will have to be careful with smaller breeds and getting a bigger breed of parrot anyway.
    With my tiels they got on with my bigger birds. Cheeky loved my Mia (amazon parrot). But I had to supervise closely if they are out together. If you have one out then cover the other cage with a cage cover or bed sheet. So they can't get each other through the bars.

    I think it was @Heather2131 that told me this. I also read it on here I think.
    Heather2131 likes this.
  17. Heather2131

    Heather2131 Guest

    That is true
    Although not unheard of to keep other species as well as caiques (in the same house, not cage) I wouldnt recommend getting a caique then later getting an african grey, they seem to have a natural hatred for other species of parrots and you would have to have seperate out of cage times and make sure the other birds dont land on the caiques cage
  18. JessCheekyMia

    JessCheekyMia Regular Member

    Thank you for that. I knew I heard it somewhere. I just needed someone to say if I was right or wrong x
  19. Michael Reynolds

    Michael Reynolds Regular Member

    the only species that I have found that gets on with the caique is the Senegal, I have not had him attack another bird but he will stay on my shoulder and we play in the bedroom away from many of the flock
  20. Fuzzmeister

    Fuzzmeister Registered

    The parrot rescue didn't want me :'(
    They already have too many volunteers.
    Never thought I'd complain about too many people doing charity! :p

    Michael: I'll definitely be looking at adopting rather than buying, I'd only ever buy a pet if the local SPCA had nothing up for adoption. :)

    Jess: Your cockatiels are so cute!!

    Heather: I've never heard of caiques. I checked the SPCA near where I'm probably going to live and they didn't have any, but they do have cockatiels and conures.