Birds are a popular choice for many prospective pet owner’s across the US due to the conception that they are cheaper and easier to maintain than a cat or dog. This can be true, depending on what breed of bird you intend on owning. However, there are some breeds that need much more attention and costly supplies than you would think.
Birds, no matter the breed, are a large time commitment, similar to a cat or dog. They require your time and attention in order to keep them happy and healthy. It is not fair to the bird to bring them home and leave them in their cage, unnoticed unless they are being fed or their cage is being cleaned. Birds are social animals and they want to spend time with you and many breeds can have strong bonds with their owners.
See the table below for general prices of the start-up supplies you will need for your pet bird. Keep in mind that different breeds will have different requirements. Also, the minimum requirement is not always going to be best for your bird. You may want to purchase a cage that is larger than suggested to give him more room to move around.
The Cost of Supplies when you own a bird
|Bird Cage||$60 – $1000|
|Food/Water Containers||$8 – $30|
|Perches||$12 – $30|
|Ladder||$8 – $18|
|Swing||$10 – $40|
|Play Stand||$30 – $200|
|Nest (for small birds)||$4 – $12|
|Nail Clipper||$8 – $12|
|Bag of Bird Food||$9 – $20|
|Travel Carrier||$25 – $80|
|Veterinary Exam||$50 – $200|
|Total:||$300 – $1,800|
As you can see even the smallest bird and the cheapest supplies can add up quickly. This chart just shows your initial investment as well. You will have continued expenses as your bird grows and ages such as, food, veterinary checkups, cleaning supplies, replacement toys and perches, and vitamin and mineral supplements. Plus, there are optional (but highly recommended) expenses such as a psittacosis test, vaccinations, and microchipping.
Since all breeds have such different requirements, their cost vary as well. Now, we will go more in-depth about the cost to own different breeds.
Small Birds (Budgies, canaries, and Finches)
- Budgies (Parakeets) – $10 – $35. Budgies are small and generally cheaper to care for and feed. However, veterinarians do recommend a diet that consists of more than just seeds. Including pellets, fresh fruit and vegetables, and leafy greens in their diet can cause the price to go up depending on how often you are adding these options to their meals.
- Canaries $25 – $150. Most of your budget will go towards food and general upkeep items like cleaning supplies and toys since they do not require any “specialty” supplies. However, these birds do need a larger cage as they need room to fly around.
- Finches $10 – $100. The reason this is such a large range is because finches prefer the company of other finches. They should be kept in small flocks in order to give them an ideal, happy life. The more finches you have, the more it will cost to feed and maintain them.
- Parrotlets $100 – $300. One thing to consider when adopting a parrotlet is that they have a longer lifespan than other birds similar in size. With an estimated lifespan of 20 years, a longer investment time should be considered.
Medium Birds (Conure, Parakeets, and Doves)
- Cockatiels $50 – $150. Cockatiels are very attention driven and require lots of love from their owner’s to keep them happy and healthy. They may cost less money, but they will take up more time than other breeds.
- Conures $150 – $500. Their diet consists of fruit, nuts, and seeds in the wild. In captivity, they should be fed a balanced diet of pellets, nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits and veggies. The price of these products can vary based on where you live, so make sure to do some research.
- Doves $20 – $100. Doves require much more exercise than other breeds and a caged life cannot offer this. You’ll need to “bird-proof” a room in your house to allow your doves to fly around for at least an hour per day. This can be an additional cost depending on your living situation and it is certainly an additional time commitment.
- Lories $400 – $900. Lories drink nectar as their primary source of nutrition in the wild. In captivity, they will need to have nectar as a large part of their diet. Nectar formulas are available at specialty pet shops and breeders. They will also need fresh fruits and veggies and edible flowers. These feeding items are often not expensive but they can be difficult to find depending on where you live.
Large Birds (African Greys, cockatoos, and Macaws)
- African Greys $600 – $2000. African greys are very intelligent and can be emotionally needy. This means that they will need socialization and exercise regularly. This means that you will need to “bird-proof” a room in your house for them to spend several hours each day.
- Cockatoos $800 – $ 5,000+. Cockatoos are prone to excessive weight gain in captivity so you will need to commit some time to monitor your bird’s fat intake. You’ll also need to exercise your cockatoo for a minimum of three to four hours per day. They also have a habit of going through chew toys like we go through underwear, so be prepared to buy LOTS of chew toys.
- Macaws $900 – $5,000+. If your Macaw is chewing things, this is a sign of boredom or under-stimulation. Make sure that you’re spending enough time with your bird and they have plenty of toys, puzzles, and perch options to keep them interested and happy. Not only are these time-consuming pets, but due to their large size and high intelligence, they are costly to maintain as well.
No matter what the breed, before you decide to adopt a bird, make sure it is within your budget to give your bird the home and lifestyle that he requires and deserves. This includes ample exercise, attention, and supplies like food and toys. Giving your bird a clean, healthy environment to live in is essential. Both an air purifier for pets and a pet odor eliminator for you, CritterZone can make that easier! Check out our super small Air Naturalization units to get fresher, healthier air for you and your pet bird.