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Six Hidden Costs of Having a Pet Parrot

Before bringing your parrot home, you probably remembered to budget for the basics: a cage, food, vet bills. But there are hidden (and potentially substantial!) costs you may have forgotten about.

Whether you’re new to the world of bird keeping or a seasoned budgie expert, it’s easy to get caught off guard by surprise expenses. Below, we’ll discuss six of the most common hidden costs of having a pet parrot so you can build them into your budget.

Heating/Air Conditioning

When no one is home, most people turn off the heat and air conditioning to save energy and lower utility bills. However, with a parrot at home, you’ll need to keep the temperature indoors within a comfortable range (about 70-75° F). This might mean higher utility costs if your heater or air conditioner has to run all day long. Add this into your budget so that you’re not caught off guard during the hottest and coldest months!

Lights

Parrots rely heavily on their vision to navigate their environment and maintain their circadian rhythms. Most homes are relatively dark compared to what is ideal for birds, especially inside their cages. Typical household lights are also usually not the right color, quality or flicker type for pet birds.  Adding proper lights to their cages and to the home and maintain a high brightness and light quality is key however these lights are usually more expensive than normal light bulbs. We  use the M&M Cage Company Lights for our setups. 

Air Purifiers/Filters

Parrots have highly specialized respiratory systems, making them sensitive to poor air quality. Their feathers also produce a dust which can cause allergies in some people.  Budgies are not a powder down bird and are quite small, but even chronic exposure to smaller birds can result in allergies and respiratory illnesses in their owners. In order to keep the air quality high and also to protect your lungs from the dust, an air purifier (or several in a large home) is a must.

Check out a few parrot-safe picks on our Amazon Storefront. Beyond the purifier’s initial cost, remember to budget for regular filter changes. 

Emergency Fund/Insurance

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Budgies, like any other pet, need regular vet care throughout their lives. When medical emergencies pop up, they often do so at the worst times. It’s a good idea to put away a bit of money each month to prepare for vet bills in the future. For some owners, it makes financial sense to purchase insurance for their pets, which is also a monthly recurring cost. Nationwide offers several different insurance plans for exotics. Ask for pricing options and see if it would be financially right for you. 

Shipping Costs

One of the caveats of owning exotic pets is that good products for these animals typically aren’t available from big box retailers. You may find yourself having to order multiple products from different small businesses. Not only can these products be more expensive, but their shipping costs can add up quickly. Include shipping costs in your budget to help you get a more accurate estimate of the cost of your bird’s supplies. 

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Extra Time/Mileage

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It can be hard to find veterinarians and pet stores that cater to exotic pets. As a result, you might have to drive much further to get to an avian vet or specialty bird shop. Appointments are also not as readily available so you might have to take off work to be able to make the available slots. If you make these trips regularly, that time and mileage can accumulate, leading to some hefty gas bills and lost income. These are a bit harder to budget for precisely but leaving some room in your budget is always wise. 

Birds bring us so much joy–but the cost of caring for them can certainly make our wallets unhappy! Budgeting carefully for expenses, even the unexpected ones, can help ease the financial strain. For more tips to make budgie care a breeze, check out our other articles at The Budgie Academy. And don’t forget to follow us on social media to catch our latest posts! 

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