One of the things that make African grey parrots so unique is not only their incredible intelligence, striking gray plumage, and charming personalities but also their ability to mimic sounds (including human voices) exactly. In fact, my African grey had me answering the door and my phone more times than I could count. These fascinating parrots hail from the rainforests of Central and West Africa and are known for those very mimicry skills in addition to their social nature. They normally stand just under 13 inches from tip to tail.
If you’ve been considering welcoming an African grey parrot into your home, join the club. The species is among the most sought-after parrot pets in the avian world. But, before diving into this feathered companionship, knowing what costs are involved is crucial. Beyond the initial price of the bird itself, which can be significant, don’t forget to factor in housing, maintenance, food, and vet expenses. Let’s take a closer look at the real deal when it comes to the price of owning an African grey parrot.
How Much Does an African Grey Cost?
The cost of bringing an African grey into your home depends on whether you adopt one, buy one at your local pet store, or go to a breeder — not to mention your location. At times, you could find these types of parrots for free through online marketplaces or the classifieds because large parrots are a lot of work, and not everyone is up for the responsibility. If you decide to take on a grey in this manner, be careful, as they could have health or behavioral problems to contend with that can be difficult to overcome. Setting aside the rare possibility of a free African grey, you could adopt one surrendered by its owner. You can find those in similar places and even in pet stores. They can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,500+.
Popular pet store chains like Petco or PetSmart might carry surrendered African greys, but you typically wouldn’t find a large parrot available at these shops. The biggest parrot offered online is a conure, which is significantly smaller than an African grey, and even they can cost up to $900 at PetSmart. Your local pet store might carry bigger birds, but it takes a lot of space to properly display and care for an African grey, so most shops opt for smaller birds. If your area carries a grey, the price will likely be over $1,000, given the price of the conures.
But all is not lost if you want to add an African grey to your household. There are breeders who offer greys either in person or online. Good breeders spend a lot of time hatching, raising, and caring for their parrots so that they make good pets for bird lovers like you. If you want to buy an African grey from a breeder, be sure they have a good reputation and raise their animals by hand. Also, check out the facility if you can and meet the breeder. The environment can tell you a lot about the animal you’re about to buy. Depending on your location and whether you choose online or in person, buying a grey this way will likely cost between $2,000 and $7,000+.
Here are some places you could buy an African grey online:
Personally, I went with a local breeder when purchasing my African grey. I was able to meet the breeder, see the facility, and bond with my grey well before he was old enough to come home with me. Although all avenues available to buy an African grey can be a great experience, I recommend doing so in person — if that option is available to you.
How Much Does an African Grey Setup Cost?
Before you decide on bringing home an African grey parrot, it’s crucial to consider the expenses of setting up their habitat. Your intelligent feathered companion will need a suitable living space, toys for mental stimulation, a proper diet with food, perches for resting, and bowls for food and water. Plus, having some first aid supplies on hand for potential injuries is a wise precaution that many people don’t consider. Here’s a closer look at each of these costs to ensure your African grey parrot has a happy and healthy home.
How much is an African grey cage?
African greys need plenty of room in their cage. Although they don’t have lengthy tails to think about like macaws, they require space to play, eat, sleep, climb, and flap their wings. You want to buy a cage that is at least two feet wide, three feet deep, and four feet tall. You also want the bar spacing to be between .75 inch to 1-inch. Given the strength of an African grey’s beak, you want to stay away from plastic cages and opt for stainless steel instead. Also, consider a cage that will lock, as greys and parrots, in general, are master puzzle solvers and will open their cages at will.
The cage will likely cost a minimum of $100 and could run up to $900 or more. The pricier ones might have features like a play area on top, multiple access areas, a lock, as discussed above, easy feeding doors, and cleaning trays at the bottom to simplify changing the cage. Overstimulation can stress your African grey, so be sure they have plenty of room and a private area of the room to call their own while also staying a part of the family.
Even though you want your grey to spend lots of time out of their cage, their home should be a place of comfort where they can be content and feel at home.
Other African grey accessories and how much they cost
Now that you have the cage specifications sorted, it’s time to furnish it for your African grey parrot. Make sure to provide perches, toys, food dishes, and water dishes to cater to their needs. Additionally, stock up on essential supplies such as food, treats, cage liners, and first aid items, and create a designated play area. To help you get started, here are the average prices of these items. Your African grey will appreciate a well-equipped and engaging environment.
- 5-pounds of bird seed: $17 to $40
- 3.5-pound bag of bird pellets: $24 to $30
- Fresh fruits and vegetables: varies by season and location
- Food and water bowls: $10 to $16
- Cage liners: $35 to $60 for 100 pre-cut sheets
- Cage cleaner: $10 to $35
- Toys: $14 to $25 each
- Perches: $15 to $60 each
- First aid: $15 to $28 for BleedStop
- Treats: $8 to $12
- Play area outside cage: $30 to $70+
The initial cost for all accessories for your new feathered friend will be between $270 to $600 and up.
Monthly Expenses of an African Grey
Once you have the cost of setting everything up accounted for, you want to consider the monthly expense you will incur to take care of your African grey. These curious and amusing birds can live between 40 and 60 years in captivity, so these ongoing costs will go on for quite some time. Greys are often a lifetime commitment, so plan accordingly.
With that in mind, here is an estimate of how much you can expect to spend on your avian friend every month.
- Food: $45 to $75
- Toy replacement/rotation: $20 to $50
- Cage maintenance: $10 to $50
- Vet bills: $50 to $250 depending on health issues and location
- Grooming: $5 to $50 (more if you have your vet assist)
Also note there are other expenses involved in caring for greys, or any other pet for that matter — like emergencies and vacations. Urgent trips to the vet can cost you a minimum of $300 at the emergency vet and could balloon into the thousands, depending on the issue. As for vacations, you will probably pay hundreds for a sitter who specializes in bird care. You might consider using a bird-specific facility to ensure your feathered friend gets proper care while you’re gone. To ensure the best care and your peace of mind, the cost will also be in the hundreds, depending on the length of your vacation.
Before purchasing a grey, or any other parrot, be sure there are expert avian veterinarians in your area. That’s not always the case, and you don’t want to find out there are no qualified health professionals in the area when you have an emergency. The truth is not all vets have the ability to take care of birds.
The monthly cost for your African grey will likely be between $130 to $500 or more. However, that figure doesn’t account for emergencies, vacations, or medications your vet might prescribe.
Budget for Your African Grey
As you can see, owning an African grey parrot isn’t exactly a budget-friendly endeavor, but it’s essential to approach this new journey with full awareness. Your initial investment for your new feathered companion will probably amount to a few thousand dollars, and you’ll have ongoing monthly maintenance costs of a few hundred dollars — barring emergencies and such.
Incorporating these costs into your budget will eliminate surprises and provide you with the assurance that you have the necessary funds to provide proper care for your beloved pet. While African greys may not come cheap, they are delightful, smart, and funny and would likely make a great addition to your family.