How to convince my parents to let me get a bird??

Minor_Arcana

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Aug 17, 2018
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Lexa - 4 year old ‘tiel
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Hey! So im trying to convince my parents to let me get a cockatiel or a parakeet. I have been wanting a bird since i was 8 (im 12 now) and ive done countless amounts of research on everything. I am responsible and i havent gotten less than an a in school since 3rd grade (7th grade now) in which i got a b-. I have a guinea pig, a hamster, snails, and 3 fish. I take great care of my animals, and I have had my animals for quite a while. My mom is very outgoing and is usually up for anything, but even she isnt leaning for me to get a bird. I run a petsitting business, in which i have been working in for about 3 years. I make a nice amount of money from that so i will pay for everything (and i mean everything!) my neighbors have 4 cockatiels which i am great with, so i know my stuff. Ive even watched the birds while my neighbors were away and did great, so i know that I will take good care of the birds. I dont know how to convince them, so if anybody can help, i would be endlessly greatful!
 
Welcome to the forums, an honor to meet someone at your age so mature and hard working!

The choice of a parakeet or cockatiel is reasonable and potentially manageable. Your parents may have concerns for the future, given the long lives of birds. At your age, a cockatiel may be with you well into adulthood, possibly reaching your third decade. Quite a mind bender!! That encompasses your teenage years, college, if desired, and beginnings of a career.

You'll find many responses will focus on the life quality and safety of your bird. Understand this as perspective you may not have considered, and take it as friendly advice from others who may have been in your position!

Please also read this excellent thread, started by of of our forum moderators. http://www.parrotforums.com/new-mem...-students-should-ask-before-getting-bird.html
 
You sound very responsible and smart. The problem is, a bird isn't like a dog or a cat, in that it really takes cooperation from the whole family to make sure a bird is healthy and happy (and it is often thankless work, as the bird may or may not like everyone in the house).


Birds are flock animals, so keeping them in a cage out of convenience is not fair to them (even though it often works best with humans' schedules)



Birds are easily killed by household fumes from cooking with Teflon, bleach, Windex, Fabreeze, scented candles, you name it...if it has a smell and isn't natural, it can kill your bird or irritate its respiratory system (which is far more sensitive than those found in other animals).



This means that everyone would need to understand these rules and adjust their lifestyles to help the bird....Your parents would have to completely change the way they cook and clean and after many years, that can be difficult (and expensive when replacing pots, pans, irons, popcorn poppers, rice-cookers and other things that contain teflon/ptfe/ptfoa)


Also, birds need bedtimes and routines. If you are out late because of a practice or if you want to see a movie, what happens to the bird then?


Birds' water and food dishes need to be washed well each morning (with soap) and they cannot just eat seeds and be healthy. Feeding and cleaning up after a bird is expensive and time-consuming, as are vet bills.


You are in 7th grade, which means that, if cared for properly, your bird should still be alive when you decide to go to college. Then what happens?
You can't have pets in dorms, and you can't usually live off-campus as a freshman.
Also, as you get older, you will be driving and dating etc and you will find yourself spending a lot less time at home.



I can see why your parents are resistant to the idea, simply because birds are way more complicated than other types of pets. The issue isn't a matter of responsibility, so much as the logistics. Without their help, you won't be able to adequately care for the bird, so they need to be okay with that in order for it to work. This can work BUT ONLY with their help....so they need to want it too.


Does that make sense?
 
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Yes. I have done a lot of research and testing to make sure I am fit for a bird before even getting one. My guinea pig has allergies, so his nose is quite sensitive, so I dont use any cleaning products that could potentially hurt him, including febreeze and any air scenting warmers. And yes, I understand that birds require much attention. I work with my animals multiple times a day, so I do know that it can be difficult to find time to socialize with friends. Since I rarely go out, as I am so young, its not a problem at the moment, but I suppose it will be in the future. My 3 sisters are on board with the idea so when I go out they have agreed to help me for the duration I'm gone. I also understand that you need to clean the bird's cage often, but I usually clean my animal's cages every 3-4 days, (as I said, I dont use any air fresheners, so I am required to do this in order to make sure my room doesn't smell bad,) So I will be able to fit this into my schedule. Also, I realize birds live a long time. The pet store I plan to get one from has 4 year old cockatiels and 2 year old parakeets. If I get one, expect it wouldn't live as long as, say, a Macaw. I plan to do online college the first, and possibly second year of college. If the bird is healthy and survives past then, I will attempt to stay in a pet safe dorm, (every college near me had one.) However, of course, if my parents don't allow a bird, I will just have to respect their decision. Thank you for your help, though.
 
If I were you I would honestly wait. I got my first bird when I was 17 and I kind of regret getting him this early (I am 19 now). You still have a whole life ahead of you and a ton of variables that would conflict with getting a parrot. Such as college or possibly a financial change. From the sound of it, you current income is solely commission based, only exists based on the need / want of the people around you and isn't exactly stable. It's best to wait until you're financially stable and have lots saved up for any unexpected events.
 
rylanmoore678--
You do sound like you have thought this through, if what you say is true.

I suppose all you can do is talk to your parents and prove yourself as you have here.
If I could put my brain in your body, I would say to wait, but I know what it is like to want something badly, and I do believe you are responsible and that you have good intentions. Good luck, and if it doesn't work out, know that you have your entire life ahead of you :)
 
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I like you, kid.

And I can see our members do, too.

I'm glad you shared your situation with us. Someday, it'll be a lucky bird who shares your life.
 
I think you sound like a remarkable young person. And as long as you realize you will have this responsibility until you yourself may have children of your own, really wrap your head around that! :) If you can convince your parents that you are prepared to make this work and for the next 20 or more years, every plan you make will have to be for you and your bird. There are benefits, this could lead you to a career in a avian medicine, it avian training and behavior, you never know the doors that could open! I am fifty now, but when I was ten I convinced my parents to get me a horse!! We were not rich, more like lower middle class. But I was exceptionally responsible, and hard working. Our neighbors were horse breeders and I had been riding since I was 2. So my parents agreed. :) They and I never regretted it. I had all the responsibility of care, even when I was terribly sick whith pneumonia, I still fed, cleaned the stall ect. It lead to a degree in equine science, working as a stable Manager as a freshman in highschool, working with disabled children and adults useing equine therapy. If you can convince your parents you are the exception to the rule! You can make a plan, check out books, set aside the money for a large cage, toys, perches, and vet visit. You never know we're life will take you, but if you can write down how you plan to make choices that include your bird for the next 20 or more years. Then I think your parents might support you. I wish you the best of luck!
 
Your parents have to buy in to this, there is no other way around it. It will change your life AND theirs, and if they are not buying in, then please do not jump in. Parrots ( and budgies and cockatiels are parrots) are THE hardest pets to keep healthy and tame so that they live their natural LONG lives. Special food considerations, all the stuff in the air from modern appliances and cookware and fragrences, 1 on 1 time considerations, and a strict bedtime schedule with 12 hours min quiet time mean eavy body must commit. Will you Mom give up wearing perfume? Will Dad not bar-b-que right next to the house ( so the smoke and fumes come into the house)? Will big brither not blast the stereo loud past the birds bedtime? Will you have the 3-4 hours a day of parrot time needed to keep him tame and friendly? Will they have the $$$ needed to pay for vet bills that are needed when something happens? Good rule of thimb - parrot owners need a slush fund of about $1000 every year to pay for unexpected vet bills and toys that need constant replacing. DO you have it? Are Mom and Dad willing to help?
 
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yes. My mom is okay with me getting one now, but it's really all up to my dad. I don't want to nag him too much, and I just don't know what to do. I suppose if both my parents don't give in I'll have no choice but to wait :(
 
DO NOT DO THIS UNLESS EVERYONE WANTs IT! OKAY is not the same as accepting it ..you will end up with a neglected bird...
 
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yes. My mom is okay with me getting one now, but it's really all up to my dad. I don't want to nag him too much, and I just don't know what to do. I suppose if both my parents don't give in I'll have no choice but to wait :(

It would be best if you, mom, and dad have a nice dialog about getting a bird. Thoroughly discuss the pros, cons, and adjustments the family will need to make for the good of all.
 
You sound so mature for your age!

Personally, I would wait. I am 21, and although I have had family birds in an aviary since I was 17, I have had my three hand-reared birds for just over a year. While I had a lot of time on my hands at 12 to care for a bird, I was extremely busy in high school, and only after school did I have more flexible hours as a university student to care for my birds.

I spend a lot of time at home, as many of my university lectures are recorded, and physical attendance is only necessary for small group tutorial classes. This is a luxury that I did not have in high school, where I was usually at school from 7 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon.

As members have said, birds require a lot more attention than other pets, and if your family is not totally on board, then you may run into issues, because when you are at school the bird may not get enough attention. It also depends on whether there is always someone at home to be there for your bird.

Birds also live for a very long time. You do not know where you will be in 15-20 years time if you get a cockatiel, or 8-10 years if you get a budgie. My life has changed enormously over the past 10 years since I was your age. My living situation has changed, my schedule has changed, etc, and it will still continue to change over the course of my life. Right now, you may not know what you want to do with your life. What you want to study, where you are going to study (you may leave home and have to live in student accommodation where pets often are not allowed), and what your career plan may be.

When I was 12, I thought I knew that I wanted to be a professional musician (I've been doing music since I was 7), but now I am studying History and English, and going into academia, which is completely different! So even if you feel sure of what you want to do, that can change, and more often than not, tweens and teenagers really aren't sure of what they are passionate about.

These are just some of my thoughts. So yeah, I would wait until, at least, you are out of school. You will have a better idea of your direction in life, and whether a bird would suit your lifestyle.
 
Just make sure your parents are committed-- many years ago (20+ years) my family had a Budgie. I was just a baby but I remember him well, his name was Freddy Bird. This was in the early 90s before we came so far with animal husbandry with the internet to discuss with other keepers-- my parents got tired of him and let him outside. :( Fortunately this story does have a happy ending as he did end up landing (ironically enough) at a coworker of my fathers' house and they adopted him, but in this day and age we should all know better, not to do that (yet people still do), and I'd hate for that to happen again if you go off to higher education and your parents do not want to care for a bird any longer.
 
I don't at all doubt your responsibility, that is obvious. Unfortunately, bringing a parrot into your family, regardless of the species, absolutely must be the decision of every person in your home, not just you or your siblings. The issue is that parrots are extremely intelligent, all of them, regardless of their size, they possess the intelligence of a 3-4 year-old human child. As such, if they aren't cared for in very much the way you care for a child, they end-up developing self-mutilation conditions and feather-destructive behaviors due to boredom, a lack of stimulation, and a feeling of being left-out of the "flock"....

From the sounds of it, you'd be planning on keeping your parrot in your bedroom, correct? This is a very bad idea, and typically is not fair to any parrot. Parrots should have their main-cages located in the "main room" of your home, or the room where the people who live in the home spend most of their time when they are at home. If your bird's main-cage is going to be required to be kept in your bedroom, that means that when you're not home, the bird is going to have to be locked inside it's cage, by itself, listening to people at home, knowing that their "flock" is home, but that they are not included....Forgetting that any species of parrot requires an absolute minimum of at least 5 hours each day out-of-cage-time, more is better, they also need to be among their "flock", as after-all, they are "flock" animals. And even if they aren't being directly interacted with, having their cage located in the room where the people who live in the house watch TV, read, eat meals, talk, where visitors spend time when they come over, etc., brings them a feeling of comfort, contentment, and typically this is when they are best at entertaining themselves inside of their cages (assuming that you'll be able to keep between 6-10 different types of toys inside the cage at all times, and rotate new ones in each month to prevent boredom)...It's quite common for a bird locked inside a cage is kept in a back bedroom, and they can hear that people are home in the house but that they aren't included, that this is when the constant screaming and squawking starts, along with the feather-destructive behavior.

And as far as their life-spans, it doesn't sound like you quite understand how long a properly cared-for Budgie or Cockatiel will live. You're now 13, so you only 4-5 years until you start college, but you made a statement of "If the bird is healthy and survives that long..."...The fact is that the average lifespan of an American Budgie that is on a healthy, low-fat, varied diet and who is given adequate attention and love is between 15-20 years, with the record for the oldest American Budgies age being 29. And Cockatiels on-average are about 5 years or so longer than that of a Budgie...Unfortunately a lot of people think that a Budgie and/or a Cockatiel will only live to be 5-6 years old, and the only reason that this happens is because they aren't well-cared for, usually fed an all-seed diet that causes Fatty Liver Disease, and they aren't given nearly enough attention or out-of-cage-time each day. There should be NO DIFFERENCE between the way you care for a Budgie or Cockatiel and the way you would care for a Conure, a Pionus, an Amazon, or a Macaw. Budgies and Cockatiels are extremely intelligent, much more so than any dog, and as such they become very bored very quickly.

My concern here is what happens when you do start college? Who is going to allow your bird to get at least 5-6 hours each day of out-of-cage time? Who is going to make sure that your bird is not just being fed seeds and pellets, but also fresh veggies every single day? And forgetting college for the moment, you're now only 13 years old....There is a huge difference between the social life of a 13 year-old and a 16 year-old, and then again between that of a 16 year-old and an 18 year-old...and there should be! You are going to need to live your life, and there is no shame in that! This is why it's so very difficult for teenagers and young adults who have human children, they either essentially give-up their teenage and young-adult years to be responsible parents, or they don't, and their child suffers for it, or ends-up being raised by their parents/relatives. And though a parrot is not a human child, it's also not a dog, a cat, a guinea pig, a reptile, etc. You wouldn't lock a dog inside of a cage for 7-8 hours a day in your bedroom, so why would you do that with a parrot who has the intelligence of a 3-4 year-old child? That's the way you need to start thinking about this decision...

***As far as the financial part of this decision goes, I understand you bring-in some money from the pet-sitting...However, I have 2 questions about the pet-sitting gig....Firstly, how much of your time is taken-up by the pet-sitting and would be taken-away from being with your own parrot, and then secondly, do you bring-in enough money to not only buy food for your bird every month, but to pay for Avian Vet care? This is something that a lot of kids/teenagers who have pet birds, reptiles, etc. get into and have a huge issue with, because even though their parents allow them to buy the pet and bring the pet into the home, the parents rarely agree to pay for the very expensive specialty Vet care that exotic-pets require. You absolutely cannot take a parrot to either a General Vet or an "Exotic's Vet" who treats ALL species of animals, as they usually end-up doing much more harm than good. You must find either a Certified Avian Vet (CAV) or an Avian Specialist Vet who only treats birds and who has extra education, training, and experience doing so. Exotic's Vets typically do not have any special training or education in treating birds at all.

So figure that buying your parrot a high-quality pellet, high-quality and low-fat seed-mix, and then fresh veggies/fruit will cost you around $40 a month, give or take. You should not ever just buy cheap parrot seed at a grocery store or Walmart, they should eat a daily staple of a high-quality, Natural pellet (no fruit pellets), along with a low-fat, varied seed-mix as a supplement which contains no sunflower seeds, no nuts/peanuts, and no corn. And then they need fresh veggies every day, and fresh fruit 4-5 times a week as a treat...The pellets and the seed is obviously the bulk of the cost.

***However, what people don't ever think about or plan for is specialty Avian Vet care. Your bird should see either a CAV or an Avian Specialist Vet at least once every year for a "Wellness Exam" which includes routine blood-work and fecal cultures, and a plain-film x-ray is also a good idea. But figure the basic Wellness-Exam with routine, baseline blood-work and fecal cultures will cost you around $200. However, whenever your parrot becomes ill, this is where there is usually a problem...All birds possess a natural, innate survival instinct where they hide all outward signs of illness/pain for as long as they possibly can. This protects them and their flock-members from being the target of predators. So by the time we as people see visible, outward signs that our birds are sick or in pain/injured, they've usually been sick for weeks, if not months, and getting them to a CAV or Avian Specialist immediately is not optional, as little time is left, even for something as simple as a Bacterial or Fungal Infection, as by the time we know they have one, they can be close to Sepsis/Systemic Infection and death. This is where young people/teenagers typically have to go to their parents and beg them to take the bird to the CAV, because they don't have the hundreds to thousands of dollars this costs. My Green Cheek Conure recently developed an infection that started in his toenail and had spread to his foot by the time I was aware of it. And this was the result of a simple toenail-clipping, where one of his toenails bled and bacteria entered into his toenail. Such a freak, simple thing almost killed him, as by the time I was aware that there was a problem, the infection had almost spread to his bloodstream. He had to have blood-work, a culture/sensitivity and microscopy of a swab taken from his toe/foot tissue, and a plain-film x-ray to diagnose that it was an infection, what type of infection it was, what specific microbe was causing the infection, and what specific Antibiotic would treat the bacteria that was causing it, and to make sure that the infection had not spread into the bones of his foot/leg, which would have most-likely required amputation to save his life. Luckily it hadn't, and we were able to clear-up the infection with antibiotic injections and oral antibiotics. So the office-visit/exam with my CAV, all of the lab tests and the x-ray, and the medications cost me just under $1,000. And had he needed surgery, the total cost would have been easily between $2,000-$3,000...So the question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you'll have that kind of money on-the-spot, at any moment, if your bird becomes sick or injured, and if not, will your parents be willing/able to pay for it? If not, then it's not a good idea to bring home a bird...

You just need to carefully examine these questions/situations that can occur, and decide whether or not you're going to be able to provide the proper time, care, attention, and financial needs that any species of parrot requires. If you're not sure, and your parents are not on-board and willing to help you, then it's probably not a good idea...
 
EllenD's post is VERY good----she is 500% correct.
In addition to the issues she mentioned, there is also the expense of travelling or boarding a bird if you take a trip as a family...You can't just bring it to a friend's house because a friend won't know about dangerous Teflon and other fumes from cleaning/cooking etc....My life has had to change SO much since I adopted my bird.
As stated previously, your parents will have to OVERHAUL their entire cleaning routine...no nail polish/remover/perfume/hairspray/candles/freshener...NO STANDARD CLEANERS (No Bleach, Windex, Lysol etc)...and then there is the hidden Teflon/PTFOA/PTFE----they will have to call anytime they purchase a product that heats up (blow-dryer, curling iron, space heater, etc etc because Teflon hides in LOTS OF THINGS!)
 
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If your parents are in doubt, forget it. You might need to wait until they're not the bosses of you.

Lots of brothers share rooms. Do you share a room? Has your family ever had any other pets?
 
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Do you not like dogs/cats? They are cheaper, quieter, and WAYYYYYYY easier...I would sooner buy a Great Dane for a pre-schooler, than a cockatiel or parakeet for anyone still in school. Dogs and cats are like 2+2=4, whereas parrots are like college calculus.....If your parents won't let you get a dog, they have NOOOOOO IDEA what they are getting into with a bird. A bird may sleep in a cage, but that should be it....
 
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Here’s some insight: if you must get a bird, I think the best choice would be a pair of budgies. Why? Because if you find yourself too busy to spend enough time with your birds, they could keep each other company. Birds are very social and need interaction with others to be happy; if you get 2 budgies, the need for human attention will be replaced by bird company. However, this would mean your birds would most likely never bond with you, as budgies prefer other birds to humans given the choice. They could potentially become semi-tame if you spend tons of time trying to gain their trust, but it would never be the same as having only one bird. Of course, this would only work if your parents are willing to care for your birds when you go to college, and parrots are very high-maintenance pets. It would still be best to wait because your parents aren’t 100% committed. You do sound very responsible though!
 
You sound so mature for your age!

Personally, I would wait. I am 21, and although I have had family birds in an aviary since I was 17, I have had my three hand-reared birds for just over a year. While I had a lot of time on my hands at 12 to care for a bird, I was extremely busy in high school, and only after school did I have more flexible hours as a university student to care for my birds.

I spend a lot of time at home, as many of my university lectures are recorded, and physical attendance is only necessary for small group tutorial classes. This is a luxury that I did not have in high school, where I was usually at school from 7 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon.

As members have said, birds require a lot more attention than other pets, and if your family is not totally on board, then you may run into issues, because when you are at school the bird may not get enough attention. It also depends on whether there is always someone at home to be there for your bird.

Birds also live for a very long time. You do not know where you will be in 15-20 years time if you get a cockatiel, or 8-10 years if you get a budgie. My life has changed enormously over the past 10 years since I was your age. My living situation has changed, my schedule has changed, etc, and it will still continue to change over the course of my life. Right now, you may not know what you want to do with your life. What you want to study, where you are going to study (you may leave home and have to live in student accommodation where pets often are not allowed), and what your career plan may be.

When I was 12, I thought I knew that I wanted to be a professional musician (I've been doing music since I was 7), but now I am studying History and English, and going into academia, which is completely different! So even if you feel sure of what you want to do, that can change, and more often than not, tweens and teenagers really aren't sure of what they are passionate about.

These are just some of my thoughts. So yeah, I would wait until, at least, you are out of school. You will have a better idea of your direction in life, and whether a bird would suit your lifestyle.

Here’s some insight: if you must get a bird, I think the best choice would be a pair of budgies. Why? Because if you find yourself too busy to spend enough time with your birds, they could keep each other company. Birds are very social and need interaction with others to be happy; if you get 2 budgies, the need for human attention will be replaced by bird company. However, this would mean your birds would most likely never bond with you, as budgies prefer other birds to humans given the choice. They could potentially become semi-tame if you spend tons of time trying to gain their trust, but it would never be the same as having only one bird. Of course, this would only work if your parents are willing to care for your birds when you go to college, and parrots are very high-maintenance pets. It would still be best to wait because your parents aren’t 100% committed. You do sound very responsible though!
I could go into the whole list of reasons not to get a bird but won't. The above quotes say it all.

I asked about family pets and your space, because that adds two other whole twists.

You'll probably go to college. I learned fast that PET FRIENDLY doesn't always include birds!

I got a parakeet at 15. I had an advantage though, my parents had some large birds older than me and were prepared for the responsibility and already had a bird-friendly house.

OMG, even so, my life changed! I no longer got to hang and party with my friends, work after school or enjoy extracurricular activities because I had another creature to care for. Sadly, my BFF found a different BFF fast. Saturdays were tough because I learned fast why my parents dreaded cage cleaning day. No longer was I out riding horses and playing with dogs on Saturday morning.

As discussed in those quotes, you seem quite responsible, but parents generally know best. The entire family would change!

A nonbird friend told a teenager wanting a parakeet, "Birds cost alot to care for. They take up most of your free time. Change the lives of you, your family and your friends. Stick to dogs and hamsters." This was a NONbird person!


Best wishes for the future. In time, a bird will be right for you!

Leslie
 

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