A new pet is exciting for everyone, and birds are among the most popular, vibrant, and cheerful pets that you can own. They’re not cheap, though, even if you only get two small budgies, for example. You have to consider their purchase price, the supplies that you need (such as their cage, food, and toys), and veterinary costs. These costs can amp up to $400 a month and adopting a large bird can cost you anywhere from $500 to $5.000.
Unfortunately, the cost of owning a bird is one of the reasons that so many owners surrender them to shelters. Knowing how much your pet bird will cost before you welcome them home will help you ensure that have the means to keep them happy for as long as they live—which can be almost 100 years for some birds!1
Preparing for your new bird means carefully considering your budget. Here, we explore the most common costs and include a few tips for saving money when it comes to caring for a pet bird.
Bringing Home a New Pet Bird: One-Time Costs
The most common ways of introducing a bird to your home are by visiting a breeder or adopting from your local shelter. Either can be pricey, and you need to remember that the initial purchase cost doesn’t cover the supplies that you’ll need to set up properly.
Compared to adoption or visiting a breeder, it’s rare to find pet birds for free. If a friend or neighbor can no longer take care of their pet bird, they might let you take them instead of surrendering them to a shelter. Or, you might find someone online who’s giving away their pet.
Use caution if you do find someone giving away a free bird, and make sure that you either trust the person or know how the bird was treated and that the bird is healthy.
Many pet birds are surrendered to shelters and rescues simply because they cost too much for some pet owners to keep up with the responsibility. Adoption fees can vary depending on location and the bird that you’re planning on adopting.2
Some shelters will also include classes for you to learn how to care for your new pet, which helps ensure that you’re ready for the responsibility. This can also raise the price, though. While small birds might cost under $100, large ones can be more than $500.
The reputation of the breeder and the genetics, species, and sex of the bird play a huge part in how much your new pet will cost. When purchasing from a breeder, you’re looking at spending anywhere between $15 and $4,000.3
Some birds can cost even more depending on their popularity. Parrots, for example, are highly desired due to their vibrant coloring, trainability, and size. They will often cost a few thousand. But a finch or another small bird can cost less than $100.
Initial Setup and Supplies
Birds might seem like simple pets to look after, but they require various supplies that can get pricey. The biggest initial cost for all pet bird species is the cage. You need one that’s large enough to give your bird plenty of space to fly around while being sturdy and secure enough to keep your pet safe.
If you’re interested in keeping large bird species, like parrots or cockatoos, be prepared to spend more on initial setup costs.
List of Pet Bird Care Supplies and Costs
How Much Does a Pet Bird Cost Per Month?
- $5–$400+ per month
Purchasing your new bird and their supplies is only the first step in taking care of them. As with all pets, the responsibility doesn’t end once they’re settled in. You’ll need to add their needs to your budget for the duration of their lives.
Many birds are much longer lived than most other pets, with a lifespan ranging between 15 and 100 years, depending on the species. For pet owners up to the responsibility, your bird will be with you for a long time, and many of their care needs are ongoing.
- $5–$400+ per month
There are many things to consider before you know if you can properly take care of your bird. Healthcare is essential and one of the most expensive ongoing costs for pet owners. You need to carefully consider food, medications, pet insurance, beak care, and any routine or emergency veterinary visits.
- $5–$45 per month
The biggest ongoing cost is food. You will need to tailor your bird’s diet to the needs of their species and take into account how much they eat, which can vary depending on their size.
Different brands and the amount of food that you buy will affect the price and if you need to buy specialized diets to treat medical conditions. Food also includes treats that you might want to add to supplement their nutrition.
- $5–$20 per month
A bird’s beak doesn’t stop growing, and keeping it trimmed ensures that your pet stays healthy. You can handle your bird’s beak care at home by supplying them with tools for them to tend to their beaks themselves.
Cuttlebones are the most popular, but you should provide your bird with several different options for the best results. Ropes, wooden blocks, and beads are all ideal, and switching them around now and then can keep your bird entertained.
Medications and Vet Visits
- $10–$400+ per month
Despite spending most of their time in a cage, birds can have accidents or get sick. Certain medications, such as probiotics and vitamins, aren’t that expensive and relatively easy to keep stocked. However, emergency vet visits and ongoing treatment costs for serious health issues can cost much more.
Fortunately, healthy birds won’t need to visit a vet every month. You can help keep these expenses low by scheduling regular visits throughout the year to keep on top of your pet’s health.
- $50–$100+ per month
Few pet insurance providers cover birds or other exotic pets, but it’s possible to find a policy that suits your needs. Keep in mind that most exotic pet policies will be more expensive than an insurance plan for a cat or dog, so make sure you can afford the premium. Also, remember to do your research to ensure that you find the best deal. A pet insurance policy for your bird should be something that will help you.
- $10–$50 per month
A birdcage might seem like an easy thing to keep clean, but you also have to consider the room that your bird lives in. Birds cannot be house trained, and this means you need to protect your house against feathers, droppings, dust, and dropped food—even if your tiny canary never leaves their cage at all.
Cage liners and bedding need to be changed regularly. You also need to consider the cost of bird-proofing your home or replacing items that might be damaged by a curious parrot.
|Cage liner||$5–$20 per month|
|Bedding||$9–$20 per month|
- $5–$50 per month
Exploring their environment is something that most birds love to do to have fun. You can help them entertain themselves by providing various enrichment items for them to investigate. Many toys can be purchased from pet stores, but you can keep costs down by making toys at home, provided that they’re safe for birds.
How much you spend on entertainment depends on your budget and your bird’s personality. To keep your bird interested, have enough toys to rotate them occasionally, so they always have something new to play with. You’ll also need to replace any toys that get broken or start looking worse for wear.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Pet Bird
- $5–$400+ per month
Healthcare costs per month are usually the most important expenses, no matter what type of pet you own. High-quality food, medication, and veterinary visits are essential for keeping your bird healthy. Ongoing costs include keeping your home clean, regularly maintaining your bird’s cage, and providing plenty of entertainment to prevent your bird from being bored.
Additional Costs to Factor In
The initial and ongoing costs are the most common ones to expect when you own a bird. An additional expense to consider is hiring a pet sitter for when you’re away from home.
While you might be fine spending all day at work if you have a second bird to keep the first company, it’s a bad idea to leave them for extended periods. If you’re planning on going on vacation, you’ll need to hire a pet sitter.
On average, pet bird sitters can cost around $15 per hour. You can keep the cost down by asking a friend or a family member for help.
Owning a Pet Bird on a Budget
Managing your budget properly is essential to ensuring that you can afford to keep your bird happy. This means balancing their needs with your own. Supplies for your bird and an emergency fund for any unexpected veterinary expenses should be added to your planning for bills, groceries, and other essentials each month.
Birds aren’t the cheapest pets to keep, and you should never bring one home unless you’re certain that you can afford them. Consider setting aside spare change whenever you can as a personal fund for your pet. This can help you prepare for any unexpected costs if you find yourself having to adjust your budget.
Saving Money on Pet Bird Care
Fortunately, there are a few ways to save on bird care. When you’re looking for supplies, search for second-hand equipment. A brand-new cage can be expensive, but you might find a used one that’s still in good condition for cheaper. The same goes for perches, swings, water bowls, and feeders.
You can also use old newspapers to line the cage rather than buying bedding as an easy, effective, and free way to keep the cage clean.
Birds aren’t the cheapest pets to own, particularly if you have your heart set on owning a large, vibrantly colored parrot. You might get lucky enough to be given a bird by a friend if they can no longer take care of their pet, but it’s more likely that you’ll need to spend at least a few hundred dollars on adoption or breeder’s fees. While adoption can cost around $500 for large birds, a breeder can charge over $5,000 for particularly rare or popular ones.
Don’t forget the ongoing costs. Owning a bird requires that you dedicate part of your budget to their care needs for their lifetime, which adds up when you consider that some pet birds might outlive you. Food, healthcare, environment maintenance, and entertainment costs can be anywhere between $5 and $400 or more per month.
Once you decide that your budget can manage a pet bird, taking care of them is worth the effort. A healthy bird will be a friendly, cheerful companion for decades.