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Does a Parrot Make a Good Pet?

Learn if parrots make good pets in this Howcast video featuring veterinarian Laurie Hess.


Doctor Hess: Why would you have a parrot as a pet? We get asked this all the time.

Obviously we love parrots and we both have quite a few of our own. But people who have not been raised around birds wonder, you know, "Why would you want to have something like this? You can't walk it. You can't cuddle it, but you can. It's not, it doesn't jump up and down. It doesn't necessarily come to the door when you come home."

But you'd be amazed at how much unconditional love you can get from a parrot. They are so smart. They recognize their owners. They will talk to their owners. They interact with them.

They live, many of them live dozens and dozens of years. In fact, they're passed down from grandparents to parents to children. They become real parts of the family.

I love my parrots. I have little ones and big ones. And I know you have parrots too. What's so special about having a parrot?

Sarah: They're just a completely different type of affection and of pet. I mean I don't know anybody who has a cat or a dog that talks to them when they come home.

Doctor Hess: And I think that's something special that you can do with birds, you know, when they mimic you and they talk to you. It's a whole different connection. It's almost like connecting with a tiny little person.

And the intelligence level is completely different. You know, while dogs are very smart, birds seem to have a very different way of processing things when they listen to you talk.

And you can see them listen to you talk. And it's, you know, I think they make you work a little bit more for it too. Rather than a dog who will just accept you. Birds make you earn it. And that's, that can be even more satisfying.

Sarah: And birds absolutely will talk in context. It's just not mimicking all the time. I know that they say things at the appropriate time. And it's really exciting to work with a bird.

You get a lot of reinforcement as an owner. I mean, if you're talking to a bird and suddenly that bird starts talking back to you, what an amazing thing.

I love cats and dogs. I have my own. I have lots of other kinds of pets as well. But my bond with my parrots is especially strong. I mean, these are animals that live dozens and dozens of years.

You can imagine if you've grown up with a bird. He or she's been a part of your life for so many years. This animal's really part of your family. And really it's a special bond that really you can't find with any other kind of a pet.

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