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8 Reasons why birds aren’t always the best pets

Birds are undoubtedly amazing animals. They come in many different vibrant colors and can have unique and expressive personalities. Some are even capable of speaking! So it’s no wonder that many people are drawn to the idea of having a pet bird. Having a pet bird can be incredibly rewarding and they can make amazing pets. However, they have specific requirements and traits that may not make them the best pets for everybody. If you are considering getting a pet bird, be sure to carefully weigh out the pros and cons and refer to this list of reasons why birds aren’t always the best pets. 

8 Reasons why birds aren’t always the best pets

There are many reasons why birds make great pets, but there are also many reasons why they aren’t the best pets for some people. They can be very specific, meaning they require very specialized care which not everyone is able to provide. Their needs may not match up with your lifestyle or what you are able to provide. Here are 8 important things to make sure you consider before getting a pet bird.

1. They live a long time!

While of course most people want their pets to live a long time, some pet birds have a particularly long life span, which is definitely something to keep in mind. While some birds, like parakeets, may have a relatively short life expectancy and live between five and ten years, larger parrots and some other species can live for several decades!

Some species can easily outlive their owners depending on when you decide to bring one into your home. This long-term responsibility can be overwhelming for some people who may experience significant life changes over the years.

2. They can be demanding

Some pets are relatively low maintenance and don’t require much else from their owners than food, water, and a clean place to live. Birds on the other hand, require a considerable amount of care and attention to thrive. They need a mentally stimulating environment, a nutrient rich diet and social interaction to remain healthy and happy. Spending daily time out of the cage is important as well for many bird species. For out-of-cage time, 2 hours is typically recommended for smaller parrots, and that goes up to 3 hours for larger parrots. And it’s best if you are close by to make sure they don’t get into too much trouble.

Neglecting these needs can lead to behavioral issues, health problems, and even depression or anxiety in pet birds. If you have a busy schedule or want a pet that does not require as much attention, then a pet bird might not be the best fit for you.  

parrot chewing bars

3. They can be messy

Birds are not known for being the tidiest pets. They can be messy eaters and may scatter seeds or food around their cage. They can also be destructive, so they may tear up their bedding or other items in their cage. Not to mention, their droppings are messy (and frequent) and may even travel outside their cage at times. If cleanliness is of the utmost importance in your home, or you dislike keeping up with constant cleaning, then a bird might be a little bit too much to keep up with. 

4. They are noisy!

Birds are quite vocal and can be noisy, especially during certain times of the day. This constant chatter or loud squawking might not be the best for people who live in apartments, have young kids, or for people that work at night and need the day to sleep.

Singing and vocalizing is part of a bird’s nature, and not something you can train them out of. So if constant noises would bother you and you’re not really someone who likes having background sounds in their home that you can’t control, a bird may not be a good fit. 

5. There are a few health concerns

There are a few health concerns to consider with pet birds. Birds can pass on a disease called psittacosis to humans which can cause some mild symptoms like fevers, chills, and flu-like symptoms. Moreover, some individuals may have allergies to bird feathers or dander that they weren’t even aware of.

In addition to having the ability to pass on illnesses to their owners, birds are susceptible to a few health issues themselves. Pet birds are prone to respiratory illnesses and diseases that affect their feathers and beaks, amongst others. Due to their health issues, pet bird owners may find themselves making more regular trips to the vet which can become expensive and stressful over time. Plus, finding a local vet that has experience with exotic birds isn’t always as simple as vets well-versed in dogs and cats.

african grey play ball

6. They can be challenging 

Birds, particularly certain parrot species, are very intelligent! While this intelligence can be intriguing and a reason why people may choose them as pets, it also means they can develop complex behaviors. Aggression, screaming, and anxiety induced feather-plucking may occur if not adequately stimulated or socialized. Correcting or managing these behaviors requires time, effort, and knowledge about bird psychology, which not every owner has the patience for. 

7. They are flight risks

While most pets have the ability to go missing or run off, pet birds obviously have the ability to fly and therefore can fly away to never be found again. Even with the best intentions and secure enclosures, some birds can be escape artists. Being able to fly in a controlled environment is great for their physical and mental well-being, but it can also be a risk, especially in urban or non-bird-friendly environments. The loss of a pet can be heartbreaking, and if you are considering a pet bird, this is certainly something to keep in mind. 

8. They are sensitive animals 

Birds are known to form strong bonds with their caregivers. When they become attached, any change in their environment or the people around them can lead to stress and behavioral issues. This emotional sensitivity can make it difficult to rehome a bird or introduce them to new situations, such as moving to a different home or leaving them with a pet sitter. If you are an avid traveler and anticipate needing to hire a petsitter often, then a pet bird might not be for you. 


While birds can make wonderful and rewarding pets for the right people, they are not suitable for everyone. Their long lifespan, demanding care needs, potential health concerns, challenging behavior, messy nature, and emotional sensitivity are some factors that potential bird owners should consider before bringing a feathered friend into their lives. Like with any other pet, people interested in owning a bird should take the time to consider the challenges associated with having a pet bird and see if it is something they can fit into their lives before making the commitment.