If you’re thinking about getting a pet bird or two for your home, grab your calculator and start budgeting – this is the cost of purchasing and caring for a pet bird.
Although raising a bird is certainly not going to make or break your budget, there are certain costs associated with raising a bird.
It’s no secret that owning a pet bird can be expensive.
The cost of purchasing and caring for a pet bird is not always straightforward, but you can do it without breaking the bank with some planning.
Whether you want to buy or adopt your new feathered friend, there are many options to choose from when it comes to price points.
Here’s what you need to know.
Costs for Housing, Care, and Food for a Pet Bird
Generally speaking, housing, feeding, and caring for a pet bird will be less costly than if you were trying to care for a cat or dog.
However, those costs are entirely variable, and they can fluctuate depending on the lifespan, age, and health of your bird.
Some species of pet birds live just as long as people! Plus, if your pet has any unique healthcare needs, you could wind up paying much more for your pet bird than you might for any other kind of pet.
The average first-year cost of raising a pet is around $300, with an annual cost thereafter of around $200 (don’t forget, you’ll have to factor in the price of buying the bird somewhere in there, too).
The average lifetime cost of a bird that lives for one or two decades is around $2,000 to $4,000.
Although that’s still less than what you might pay for other kinds of pets, it is substantial – and something to be considered.
When it comes to caring for your pet bird, don’t forget that you’ll need to pay for things like food, treats, toys, cages, routine vet checkups, and more.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the average cost of pet birds by the type of expense.
While some of them are one-time purchases, it’s important to keep in mind that some are recurring costs that you’ll have to cover every week, month, or year.
Plus, things do break and wear down. While you can often get several years out of many of these items, the wear and tear will be more aggressive if you raise larger birds (or multiples).
A Breakdown of Pet Bird Supplies
- Cage: $50-$1500
- Food and water bowls: $10-40
- Toys: $25-$150
- Perches, ladders, swings, and play stands: $75-$300
- Nests (for smaller birds): $5-$15
- Birdbath: $10
- Grooming items (nail clippers, powders, wing scissors): $60-$100
- Cleaning supplies: $30-$40
- Bird food: $10-$50
- Travel carrier: $30-$100
- Veterinary costs: $50-$500
Many of these costs are one-time expenses.
There are numerous ongoing costs you’ll have to pay for, including new toys, cleaning supplies, routine veterinary exams, fruits and vegetables, vitamin supplements, bird seeds and pellets, and grooming.
As you can see where, even a tiny, inexpensive bird will have serious monetary commitment. This breakdown of costs doesn’t even factor in the purchase of the bird itself!
Remember, the larger or more exotic your pet bird is, the more expensive it will be not just to buy outright but also to raise.
Before bringing a pet bird into the home, make sure you have the time to devote to its care – and the financial resources.
You don’t want your bird to suffer simply because you made an impulse buy!
How Much Does a Vet Cost for a Pet Bird?
Some bird owners are surprised to learn that their pet needs an initial visit by an avian veterinarian along with regular checkups.
These checkups will allow your vet to detect and treat any potentially life-threatening diseases early on.
There are various veterinary expenses that you will need to pay to care for your bird properly.
While some of these are one-time expenses, others require annual visits – and annual fee payments.
You’ll need to pay for a test for psittacosis along with vaccinations and microchipping. Some of these can be negotiated in cost or are optional.
A good vet will take the time to do any vaccinations needed and check your bird’s eyes, throat, and nares.
If your pet requires additional testing or treatment, you’ll pay at least $100 or more.
After The initial visit, the visit to the veterinarian will usually cost around $25 to $35 per bird.
The good news is that you probably won’t need to take your pet bird to the vet as often as you might need to bring other kinds of birds.
Typically, about once every three years is plenty.
Average Cost of Purchasing and Caring for a Pet Bird: Breakdown By Species
Curious about which kind of pet bird is the most economical to raise?
Here’s a species-by-species breakdown to give you an idea of what sorts of costs to factor in.
Parakeets are some of the smallest birds you can raise, so it makes sense that they might be some of the most affordable.
Also known as budgies, parakeets cost around $10 to $40 per year to raise.
You won’t spend a ton of money on food – since these birds are so diminutive, you will need to give them affordable foods like leafy greens, fresh fruits, and pellets.
2. Canaries and Finches
The canaries are also tiny birds, so they’ll require about the same level of care and overall expense as parakeets.
However, when it comes to raising canaries, you’ll also have to make sure you provide them with plenty of room. These birds get bored easily, too, so toys are essential.
This can increase the cost of raising your pet to up to $150 per year, depending on what kind of cages and toys you select.
Similar to the canary is a finch. These birds require similar care as parakeets and canaries, but they get lonely easily.
Because of this, you’ll need to keep them in small flocks – so your costs will automatically be multiplied just by population size alone.
Expect to budget around $100 per year or more for a flock of finches.
Next on our list is the parrotlet. Parrotlets, which are essentially tinier versions of regular parrots, can live for two decades or more.
Because of this, your costs are going to triple. You’ll need a bit more space than you might for finches, parakeets, and canaries.
Since these birds live so long, you’ll want to have around $300 or so set aside to devote to their care.
Cockatiels are social birds, requiring regular interaction either from you or with other birds. Therefore, you’re going to see your costs rise, too.
It would help if you handled these birds often. Expect to spend around $150 to raise these birds.
Conures have particular dietary requirements, so you’re going to see costs rise substantially when raising these birds.
While they are relatively self-sufficient in the wild, able to eat all kinds of foods like nuts, fruit, and seeds, captive conures require a more balanced diet of pellets.
Pellets that are supplemented with occasional fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. You might spend anywhere from $200 to $600 to raise these pet birds.
Doves are pretty easygoing, so they don’t cost a lot to raise despite being somewhat larger.
You’ll want to make sure the cage you select for your doves is large and airy.
Also, consider bird proofing a room in your home so that there is room for your doves to fly around during the day (remember that bird proofing does come with some additional costs, however).
This room should have plenty of escape routes and be free from household hazards (like wires or open windows).
You can expect to spend anywhere between $25 and $125 to raise doves.
Lories are members of the parrot family, so it might not come as a surprise that they are some of the costliest pet birds to raise.
These birds are unique in that they need nectar in their diets. In the wild, this is the primary source of nutrition for these animals.
The good news is that you can purchase these nectar formulas at local pet shops and from specialty breeders.
The bad news? It’s not cheap. It would help if you fed this formula out with edible flowers, vegetables, and fruits. All in all, you can expect to spend around $500 to $1000 per year to raise lories.
8. African Greys
African Greys are parrots that are known for their emotional intelligence and mental acuity.
Since these birds are so sharp and in tune with their own feelings, they can also be quite needy. You’ll need to exercise and socialize with your parrot frequently.
Because of this, the costs are quite high. As with doves, you’ll need to bird-proof your home.
Expect to spend around $700 to $2000 to raise an African Grey.
Macaws, like African Greys, are large birds that require lots of space and stimulation.
When macaws get bored and don’t have enough stimulation from their owners, they can chew on things and engage in other destructive behaviors.
These pets are expensive and high-maintenance and also tend to require more veterinary care.
If you decide to raise macaws, you must have the financial resources (and time) to care for them appropriately.
The average macaw will cost anywhere from $1000 to $5000 or more to raise.
Last but not least are cockatoos – perhaps some of the most expensive birds you can raise.
Cockatoos aren’t necessarily larger or more high-maintenance than any of the other birds on this list. However, what you need to watch out for with cockatoos is their weight.
These birds are prone to obesity, so you will need to monitor your cockatoo carefully for fat intake.
Feed your bird a small amount of seed mix and high-quality pellets along with daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
The dietary expenses alone that are associated with these birds are sure to add up!
Of course, cockatoos also need a time out of the cage each day.
At least three to four hours per day is recommended by most veterinarians. They’ll also need plenty of toys and things to chew on to prevent the likelihood of destructive behaviors.
As with macaws, you can expect to spend anywhere between $1000 and $5000 or more to raise these high-energy yet rewarding pet birds.
How to Save Money on Owning a Pet Bird
Many people enjoy owning pet birds, but it can be expensive to keep them happy and healthy. Some unexpected costs of owning a bird are veterinary care, food, cages, toys, and more.
There are a few ways you can save money. One is to build your own birdcage, aviary, or bird room. In some cases, you may be able to raise your bird outside.
But this isn’t recommended for most tropical species unless you live in the right environment.
You can use homemade toys and accessories, such as perches made out of fruit tree branches (be sure to wash them well and not use branches sprayed with pesticides).
Other DIY toys you can build or gather include things like piles of dead leaves, pine cones, and more.
You may be able to grow your own food for your birds by setting up a mealworm colony or creating a garden that you grow just for your pet birds.
You can even sprout your own seeds at home. Collecting insects or growing your own food will provide your bird with plenty of variety in its diet without requiring you to spend a ton of money in turn.
Ultimately, there are plenty of ways to save on the cost of pet bird ownership.
You have to get creative! That said, it’s important to recognize that owning a pet bird does require a financial commitment.
It’s one you should recognize in full before shopping for your next pet.