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Cost of Owning a Bird: Setup, Supplies, and Veterinary Care
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
Basic Care
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Bird Species Cost
African Grey Parrot


The cost of owning a small pet bird can add up quickly and can be much more than people expect. Depending upon the species, the cost of the bird itself can be fairly inexpensive, or reach $1,000 or more.

Parrot on a stack of species-specific bird care manualsMany people consider getting a bird as a pet since they feel most birds cost less and take less of a time commitment than a dog or a cat. This may be true if you get a canary that stays in the cage all the time and all you do is feed him. On the other hand if you purchase a cockatiel or parrot, they require a larger cage, more food, more durable toys, and more of your time. Please research the needs of any pet you are thinking about bringing into your home before you get it. It is not fair to the pet, be it a dog, cat, bird, fish, or pocket pet, to be brought to a house and then be ignored and have its needs neglected.

The following table gives the prices for the very basics needed in setting up a small pet bird in a household. These are minimums, especially for the cage. Birds would be much happier in a larger cage with room to move around. The cost for some birds like a Hyacinth Macaw can easily be several thousand dollars for the bird itself. The cages and toys for the larger birds also are larger and more durable thereby increasing the cost.

Product/Service Cost
Bird Cage 60-1000
Food/Water Bowls 8-30
Four Toys 20-100
Two Perches 12-30
One Ladder 8-18
One Swing 10-40
One Play Stand 30-200
Nest (small birds) 4-12
One Bird Bath 8
Nail Clipper 8-12
Styptic Powder 7
Wing Scissors 8
Cleaning Supplies 30
Bag of Bird Food 9-20
Travel Carrier 25-80
Veterinary Exam 50-200
Total Cost for Beginning Supplies $300 - $1,800


As this price chart shows, even a small inexpensive bird requires a monetary commitment from the owner. There are other expenses to consider depending upon the bird purchased. These include a test for psittacosis, vaccinations, and microchipping. Ongoing costs include bird seeds and pellets, fruits and vegetables, treats, vitamin supplements, cleaning supplies, new toys and routine veterinary exams which may include vaccinations and clipping wings, beaks and nails. Again, the costs will depend on the species of bird.

Before bringing the bird into the house for yourself or for children, decide if your budget can afford it. Do not make the bird suffer because you made an impulse buy. Pets of any kind take money and time. With that in mind, they can be wonderful to have.

Click here for a pdf version of this article.  See related products at Pet Supplies  
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