Parrot type best for me

by Karina
(South Africa)

Hi,I want to know what breed of parrot is best suited to me. As im a student with roommates I need a bird that doesnt scream and which will accept them too, i dont want it to be lonely because it doesnt like other people. I was thinking on getting a blue-fronted amazon but I see on the comparison chart theyre loud? Im not fond of african greys as they tend to accept only one person. Please help. Karina

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Jun 09, 2011
Parrot type best for me
by: Linda

Karina, please do not even consider getting a parrot to be kept in a dorm room as this will not work now or ever. All parrots make a lot of noise, and they also make a lot of mess sometimes all over the place. They do not like all humans either and will be very nervous in a situation like this.

The other issue here is all birds have to be examined by an Avian Vet during the first few days we have them. If you do not know where an Avian Vet is, then this is another reason a parrot is not for you. The Amazons are way too large a bird for a beginner to have in the first place. You have to start small and work up to the larger species later. You also have to know what you are doing, learning as much about parrots as you can learn from books and the internet. They have needs and are not toys. They need very large cages which will also not work in a dorm room.

My suggestion is for you to consider a small aquarium with a few small fish in it for your room. The aquarium does not have to be really large, and limit fish to just a few in a smaller tank. Here again, you'll need to learn all about keeping fish healthy and fed properly. They also need full spectrum lights during the day on top of their tank. Lights need to be turned off during the night so they can rest.

An aquarium would be beautiful and relaxing in your dorm room and your roomates could learn how to help you keep it clean and fish fed. Please consider this instead of a parrot who is going to be unhappy left alone, will scream more and more because of that and will hate being in this situation.

Thanks for writing,

PS fish are very good pets. I had some Koi Carp years ago who would come up to top to be gently touched with my finger and would take food from my fingers too. Fish are beautiful and when provided the needed basics will be very happy in your dorm room.

Jun 09, 2011
Why I am so sure about the above...
by: JJB

Hi again,

I'm so sure of the above because my African Grey came from a student, who panicked and gave her to me after just a few weeks. She'd already been rehomed once before and was only a few months old.

Parrots are rehomed on average 7 times in the first 10 years (source - 'Of Parrots and People' - a good book I would recommend before getting a parrot!).

This is because it is VERY hard to keep a parrot well. They are wonderful companions, yes, but much more work than 'normal' pets and quite hard to understand. Mine bonded with my partner, not me (though we get on OK) and this could also happen with a housemate!! Parrots are moody, picky and really emotional beings :)

I think the fact that you've asked for advice is great, you are clearly giving this some thought and doing your research - well done!

Jun 09, 2011
Student house not a good environment for a parrot
by: JJB


I would say that a student house was a totally unsuitable environment for a parrot and a student lifestyle not suited to parronthood.... here are just some reasons.

1) Late night noise - parrots need to roost at least 12 hours per night in dark and quiet. Student houses are not quiet.
2) Safety - the usual home contains many hazards for birds. Could you 100% be sure none of your room mates used teflon coated pans or other products, air fresheners, chemical cleaners, nail polish remover (this is a small list of things which can kill a bird EVEN WHEN USED IN ANOTHER PART OF THE HOUSE). Housemates may also not understand the importance of being vigilant, not leaving windows open or other hazardous things around.
3) Parrots need a secure, safe environment and a solid routine or they develop all sorts of problem behaviours - not just screaming but feather pulling, biting, refusing to come out of the cage. Lots of people coming and going, change, noise - these are all normal in a student house but distressing for a parrot.
4)Parrots are expensive to keep - vets bills, proper diet, regular change of toys, cages, carry cages (we had to buy three before we found one ours would go near!). A student budget may struggle to stretch far enough, and the bird will suffer.
5) Rented accommodation and parrots don't mix well - parrots chew EVERYTHING, no matter how closely you supervise them when they're out, they will destroy furniture, tops of doors, take plaster out of the ceiling......
6) Parrots live a long time. A long, long, long time. Are you sure at this stage of your life that you're ready for that level of commitment? Life changes a lot after you study!
7) Parrots take a huge amount of time and energy (and patience). If you're studying, you may not have much time or energy as you'll be working very hard.
8) Even one of the quieter breeds won't be quiet when they wake up - at sunrise. This is not going to go down well with housemates!!

I would seriously consider a smaller bird such as a Budgie or Parakeet (though both are pretty noisy - all of the parrot family are noisy it's just the volume which changes!). Perhaps consider waiting until you're more settled, when you can give a bird a very good, permanent home?

PS If you do get a bird, please consider a rescue rather than giving lots of money to a breeder. There are MANY birds needing good homes.

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