A Senegal as a pet?

Hi everyone,I have passed my 11+ test and so was allowed to get something. I wanted a bird. My secondary school, though, was in a different town so we had to move. As I am one of five kids, not a lot of people were willing to give over their house to us (we were renting before buying). In the end we found a little bungalow. We first thought that we would be out after six months but we’re staying for a year and the thing is, there’s a no pet policy. This means that I can’t get a bird yet. Although when we move i’ll be able to, so while i’m in this bungalow,I am doing research. I have done quite alot and have handled my cousins bird before (cockatiel). At first I wanted a cockatiel, like my cousin, but after seeing Truman’s fluffiness I wanted a cape parrot. However, after reading The Parrot Wizards blog, he said he wold not recommend a Cape Parrot to virtually anyone, so I am thinking of getting a Senegal like Kili. My family (mum, dad, elder brother,12, younger brother,9, younger sister,7 and youngest sister,6) are ok with this so I thought that a Senegal would be perfect as I’ve read that they are relatively quiet. My family wouldn’t want to handle him until he is trained not to bite and I’ve heard they are really a one person bird and develop really strong bonds, which is perfect as it’s exactly what I want. I know Senegal’s are quite a handful for beginners (I haven’t had a bird before) but I think I am up for the challenge. I have watched The Parrot Wizards videos and someone asked how hard Senegal’s bite and he replied ‘pretty damn hard’ so I think I would get one hand tamed.I am not sure whether this is the right choice to get a bird like this but I definitely think I could handle it. I am not sure to get a male or a female but I have searched the web and I haven’t found any personality differences.Sorry if this is a bit too long to read but I would really appreciate if you did as I really need advice.Thank you, Safah

Just for starters, do you realize how expensive it is to keep a Senegal Parrot? About $800 per year. Makes the price of the bird less of an issue? This is a rough ballpark of what you can expect to have to spend even if the bird were given to you completely for free:Cage - $200-$500Perches - $15 x 6 = $90Toys - $20 x 5 = $100Food - $50Carrier - $50Replace Teflon Pans with Ceramic - $50 x 4 = $200So you’re looking to spend about $850 on supplies at the same time as $800 for the bird. That’s $1650 up front and honestly that’s low balling it.Then the yearly upkeep cost:Food - $200Perches - $15 x 5 = $75Toys - $20 x 10 = $200Annual Vet Visit - $2501x Upgrade - $200That estimate came out to $925 per year. The 1x upgrade assumes you get 1 semi-expensive bird thing per year. One year it might be a training perch kit, another year a climbing tree or play gym, another year a travel cage, eventually replacing the cage, etc. Again, this is low balling it. This presumes less than 1 new toy per month, a new perch only ever few months. In reality they go through stuff pretty quickly and it costs more. This assumes you’re being really resourceful and cleaning things off instead of throwing them out and reusing everything you possibly can.Let’s take a look at the grand total. $2,575 to spend in the first year alone to get the bird, get the cage and initial items to get started, and one year of the bird living in your house. Senegals live 30+ years so around $30,000 over a lifetime. Before even getting into all of the other difficult aspects of ownership, time commitments, etc, consider if you even have those kinds of resources available. Likewise, if you think about something else like a Cockatiel, think things through in a similar manner to realize the real cost.

Hi Michael,I really appreciate the fact that you took the time and effort to reply and I am really grateful for it but cost won’t be a problem. Thankfully, my parents can afford it.At the bottom of the first list, you said replace Teflon pans with ceramic. And I have been looking in your store and under each of your perches it said shipping within constable US. Now this might sound very dumb: what do these both mean? And how many perches do you need?Also, if I was to buy it, how much mess do they make. How easy is it to clean of their poo from carpet.Thank you for your reply, Safah

I dont have carpets because of the bird droppings, also my living room where i house the bird is totally bare apart from a tv and a sofa (covered) any nice furniture will be destroyed guaranteed so i dont have any. Its also important to note that a senegal will bond with one of you and attack everyone else and its not certain you will be its chosen one. They are not family pets and ill warn you now when your family are talking, the bird will be shrieking on top of its voice to take part and get attention. Most visitors i have cant wait to get outta here. These birds are for people that live alone, they do not do well with family dynamics. Also you have to think when you reach 15 and your studies get serious having a parrot in the house is not a good idea because of the constant noise. Also what if you go off to uni or holidays with friends when you get older? What will happen to the bird?I really think getting a senegal would be a mistake, the commitment is too big for an 11 year old to fully comprehend.Now, its Not all doom and gloom regards birds, as long as you can spend lots of time with it have you considered a little budgie? They can become super tame and a treasured pet and the lifespan is not so intimidating. Also it will bond with all of you so if you have to study or something another family member can sit with him. Be aware however that they constantly chatter.Keep an eye out at local shelters for a hand tame one that needs a home, maybe its elderly owner has died or something.

Hi stevesjk,Thank you for replying, I really appreciate it.Do you know the exact life span of a budgie? Do you think maybe a Cockatiel or an Eclectus parrot would be good?I was looking for something more fluffy and bonds really well.Thank you, Safah

Welcome to the forum, Safah, and thank you so much for taking the time and putting the effort into educating yourself about parrots before you get one! Very few people do that and that’s why 99.99% of them end up been rehomed.Personally, at your age and even if you are super mature and responsible, I would not recommend getting any of the larger (and much, much, more difficult species). Because, aside from the cost (and Michael forgot to add the air purifier -I paid $300 for the last one- and the humidifier -$50 and this is every year because they are not built to work all the time so they don’t last more than one winter). I know that Senegals are not big birds but they are big in attitude and the fact that they are a one-person bird does not mean you will be this person. All companion species of parrots are one-person birds… some are more outgoing than others so they can be with other people aside from their chosen one but they will still love only one - the one they choose and not necessarily the owner. I always recommend cockatiels to first time owners because, if you ask me, they are pretty much the perfect birds! They are beautiful, intelligent, quiet, affectionate and, best of all, the sweetest-tempered of them all so even when you have a pair (which is the only way they can be moderately happy), they will both love you. But if you want something different from what your cousin has, try a pair of lovebirds. Get a handfed one first, bond with it and then get another handfed one and bond with it during its quarantine period so, by the time you put them together, they will both be willing to continue their relationship with you. But make sure you have two males or one male and one female because you can’t keep two females together -they will fight and hurt each other or one will kill the other one (it doesn’t happen in the short term but it happens in the long one).

Budgies on average live between 5 and 7 years but they can go as long as 18 years. Ive currently got a 7 year old budgie and its the longest ive had one. He follows me everywhere and he just wants to be with me, he does not like other budgies. You cannot cuddle a budgie, they just like to sit on you and be by you and they do constantly chatter. Human bonded cockatiels can be great and they wont pick a single person to bond with, they will love everyone equally similar to a budgie. You can cuddle them but cuddling any bird is not really recommended because of hormones. Lifespan 25 plus years. Can scream just as loud as senegals and will do if not getting attention. Electus i know nothing about.A bird needs loads of your time to stay happy.

Hi stevenjk,Thank you for replying this has really helped.Do you know anything about the Amazon parrot.I am starting to really like the cockatiel though

If i were you i would not go any bigger than a cockatiel. As i understand it amazons can get very aggressive when mature, especially the males but i do not have one myself.You need to make sure the cockatiel is tame because an aviary adult wont want to know you and can give a nasty bite.Pajarita advised a pair and i know where shes coming from but i think if you are home a lot and show the bird lots of attention then in my personal opinion one would do just fine.Problem with 2 is things get complicated if one gets ill or if they fight an stuff like that you have to seperate them which can be a headache but on the flip side if you did have a pair you wouldnt have so much pressure if you want to go anywhere because they have each other so theres pros and cons.Please try to adopt a cockatiel from a rescue if you decide to get one.

Hi stevenjkThank you for replying I think I will stock with a cockatiel. I have a little bit of a dumb question: what does aviary mean?Thank you, Safah