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Old 01-29-2014, 10:02 AM
halogen halogen is offline
Arya-Cockatiel Tyrion-Cockatiel
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Wilmette
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Re: Choosing a parrot

Time is a very important thing to consider when getting any bird, especially the larger ones. Besides that, however, is the issue of experience. Parakeets are one thing, but making the jump to a macaw or even a medium sized bird like an amazon is a big one. Their demands are different and they need more time and attention the bigger they are. I have a cockatiel and a conure, and I'm at school for ~7 hours a day. I spend the time immediately after getting home with my birds and only with them, at least an hour and a half. After that, I still play with them while I do everything else I'm doing that day until bedtime. These birds are considered by many to be small, but they still need attention, and as much as you can give them.

For a larger bird, this time commitment is twice as important. If you leave your smaller bird alone and only take it out for two hours a day one day when you're busy, it isn't good, but it is still manageable for the bird. For a bigger bird, only two hours out of the cage is a problem. They'll scream for your attention, get nippy if you don't allow them enough attention for even two days in a row. It takes a lot of prior knowledge to really get what they need. Anything less and they're prone to plucking, biting and screaming. Considering your time constraints and experience, I wouldn't recommend anything bigger than a conure or such.

Make no mistake, the smaller birds are just as capable of learning tricks, and my own bird does speak, and imitate me a lot. It isn't that they CAN'T speak, its just that when they do try, it doesn't sound like perfect human speech like an African Grey for example. Their voices are gravelly or warbly sounding. The smaller birds learn to mimic and whistle songs. They are also capable of trick training. I wouldn't discount their intelligence based on their speaking ability or comprehension. In my opinion, it might be better to wait for a bigger bird until you've gotten some more one-on-one experience with a smaller bird like a cockatiel or conure. They're still a big commitment, and although I don't believe much in the idea of "starter birds", they do give you just as much companionship and friendship as a bigger bird, minus the loud screaming and huge time and energy commitment.
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