How much does it cost to keep a Parrot?

Parrots are often seen as affordable pets but there are upfront and ongoing costs new owners tend to overlook.

Table of contents:  Buying a parrot - parrot cost and set up | How much do parrots cost? | How much does it cost to insure a Parrot? | How much does a parrot cage cost? | How much do parrot stands, perches and toys cost? | How much does parrot food cost? | How much is an Avian Vet?

Parrots can make great pets and at first glance they can look like one of the cheaper animals to own.

Although it’s true some Parrot species do not cost much to buy, there are other expenses related to their care that must be considered such as cages, toys, food, vet visits and insurance.

This article aims to give you an idea about what you’ll need to buy for a bird and costs involved.

Buying a parrot - parrot cost and set up

As a rough guide, we estimate you’ll need a minimum of £810 to £1,120 to buy an African Grey Parrot and all the basic supplies and equipment. They’ll also be ongoing costs you’ll need to meet to give it a happy home.

The most obvious expense is the cost of the parrot itself.

How much is a parrot?

We’ve created a table of parrot prices in the UK. It is only a rough guide because the price will depend on the age and health of the Parrot and where it is located. 

Parrot speciesAverage price
African Grey
£638.50
Macaw£1,264.50
Blue-fronted Amazon
£462.50
Conure £169
Indian Ringneck£124.50
Quaker £202.14

Parrot species Average price
Orange-winged Amazon
£364.29
Senegal £280
Alexandrine £300
Lovebird£32.60
Budgerigars£20.50

The average price for the parrots on our list was calculated using the most recent 10 birds (or as many birds as we could find if there were fewer than 10) advertised on Pets4Homes.co.uk in November 2016.

If the price you are offered varies massively from this list it may be worth asking the breeder or seller why.

Some birds are often sold as pairs and previous owners may include the cage, which can be better value or add to the initial cost.

Written by expert Dot Schwarz you may also like: Caring for a parrot - an owners guide

How much does it cost to insure a Parrot?

Here’s a rough guide to how much insurance costs for an African Grey parrot, a Blue & Gold Macaw and an Indian Ringneck parrot (prices correct on June 2nd, 2017):

Parrot ExoticDirect's Basic cover Essential cover Premier cover 
African Grey worth £600
10 monthly payments of around £7.85
10 monthly payments of around £18.60
10 monthly payments of £21.52
Blue & Gold Macaw worth £1,300
10 monthly payments of around £16.08
10 monthly payments of around £23.70
10 monthly payments of around £26.61
Indian Ringneck worth £100
10 monthly payments of around £4.28
10 monthly payments of around £15.69

10 monthly payments of £18.60

Pet insurance can be an affordable way to help cover the costs of accidents, illness or death.

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Alternatively you can call us on 0345 982 5505

Why should I think about insurance?

When you’re buying your first Parrot there are several essential items you’ll need. However, one expense new owners often overlook is the ongoing cost of vet fees.

Regular checkups shouldn’t break the bank but if your bird gets sick, treatments can cost hundreds or thousands of pounds.

For example, in 2016 ExoticDirect’s insurance covered £1,026 for a Blue Fronted Amazon with respiratory distress and £720 for an African Grey parrot with suspected hypocalcaemia. The cost of your insurance will depend on factors such as the type of Parrot you have, how much it is worth and the level of cover you choose.

Initial costs of owning a parrot

If you're budgeting for your first bird, there are a few unavoidable costs you’ll encounter before your Parrot arrives.

Depending on the size, amount and quality of equipment you need, you should budget between £180 and £470 for initial costs excluding the bird itself.   These costs will vary depending on the type and size of bird you buy.

In fact the cost of equipment can far outweigh the cost of your bird.  For example, many people are tempted by the cheap prices of Lovebirds and Budgerigars but be aware that some pet shops may sell them at low prices because they know new owners will have to spend hundreds on the supplies needed to house them.

How much does a parrot cage cost?

Prices on the Northern Parrots website range from basic, small cages for canaries at about £36.99 to large top opening parrot cages suitable for larger parrots costing around £329.00.  

The cage is likely to be your biggest upfront cost with costs widely varying depending on the type you choose. Some sellers may include a cage with the bird they are selling but do make sure it is appropriate for your home and the size of the Parrot.

The cage you need will depend on the size of your bird and some models come with perches either side of the bars, which creates a nicer environment for Parrots, and wheels so they can be conveniently moved around your home.

How much do parrot stands, perches and toys cost?

Play stands, perches and toys tend to be about £5 to £20 each, so you could be looking at an initial cost of £30 to £50 for all items to keep your bird happy and entertained. Northern Parrots sell a variety of toys, perches and stands.

How much does parrot food cost?

Parrot food prices will depend on the kind of mix and brand. Tidymix are a recognised brand. You can buy their seed blend for £12.99 for a 3kg bag from Northern Parrots.  You can also get Harrisons Organic parrot food for £8.99 for a 1lb bag from them.  Treats such as jelly pots cost from £3. 

You should provide your parrot with a wide variety of foods - seeds and pellets should only form a part of your parrot's diet.

Our article Parrot Food and Diet Ideas gives lots of suggestions on what you should feed your parrot. 

How much is an Avian Vet?

You’ll also need to find a vet that can treat Parrots and book an appointment. Prices will vary depending on where you live but a basic consultation will be around £30, it may cost another £20 for microchipping, £15 to £20 for DNA gender testing and if you need things like bloodwork it can cost over £100.

Other essentials

  • You can get a lot of advice about owning a Parrot online but if you want a trusted handbook written by experts it will set you back about £5 to £15.
  • There are other small essentials you’ll need before your bird arrives, such as a carrier, water bottle, food bowl, nail trimming scissors, cleaning sprays, vitamins and training sprays. Prices can vary but expect to pay about £40 to £70 in total.

However, there may be other costs related to making your house suitable for a bird. Read on to find out more.

Yearly and ongoing costs

As well as the upfront costs of owning a Parrot, you need to make sure you have enough money to pay for ongoing and yearly expenses.

Some will be replacing or renewing items or services already mentioned such as food, toys, perches, and vet and insurance costs.

You may also end up spending more on household items such as cleaning products, Ziploc bags and paper towels. You’ll need some of these for cleaning the cage and around the house if you let your bird out.

Costs will depend on the size of your Parrot and how much you treat it. You may want to take it to a professional groomer, which will obviously cost more.

But it can cost a few hundred pounds a year just for the essentials.

The cost of lifestyle and household changes

Another big expense that first-time owners occasionally overlook is adapting your home or lifestyle.

These costs will depend on how bird-friendly the environment already is and the scale of changes you’re willing to make.

A study by ExoticDirect in 2014 revealed that over 37% of exotic pet owners had to make security adaptations to their home and/or garden. This can be compared to 23% for cat and dog owners. The report Fur Free Doesn't Mean Carefree can be found here. 

If you plan to let your bird out of its cage you may want to install screens on your windows so that it cannot escape if you have the window open.

And you may need to replace your non-stick pans. This sounds like a weird cost, but the chemicals in many non-stick pans are toxic to Parrots, so if you’re cooking with one you could poison your bird.

That can be a significant expense if you want quality pans.

There are other costs that you may want to consider such as a hand-held vacuum, full spectrum light bulbs, timers for lamps and soundproofing.

It’s very difficult to estimate the costs for these changes because each house will be different. You may just need some new bulbs or you may want to spend hundreds on fitting window screens.

Parrots are affordable pets but it does cost money to keep a bird in the UK. As a responsible pet owner, it’s worth working out all the costs involved in keeping an animal so that you can give them a good quality of life.