Ask any bird enthusiast what their favorite pet bird is and they will probably say the African Gray Parrot.
They are usually the favorite due to their great intelligence, which makes them incredibly talented and fun to be around.
Additionally, they are stunning to look at, with feathers of various shades of gray.
African Gray Parrots, similar to other birds, are costly, both in terms of initial expenses and ongoing monthly expenditures.
If you’re contemplating getting an African Gray Parrot, then you must be prepared to commit financially for the rest of your life.
Any African Gray Parrot keeper can attest that the cost is worth it as they are intelligent, elegant, and curious birds.
But knowing what you are letting yourself in for is vital before you decide to buy one of these birds.
Here are the average costs that you will experience when buying an African Gray Parrot.
To make it a bit easier, we have split this list into one-time costs, and monthly costs so you can get a good idea of what you will be spending.
One Time Costs
When you first get your new parrot pet, you will encounter several one-time costs.
It’s important to understand that the initial year of owning your parrot will be very expensive, as you will be buying several must-have supplies for the first time, as well as buying the bird itself, which will be the biggest cost of all.
Adoption – $500-$1000
You could try to locate a second-hand parrot that has been put up for adoption.
Individuals frequently buy these birds, then realize that they lack the financial means or time to dedicate to it.
This is why you must be sure that you can provide for all of the needs of this bird.
While the cost of adopting a parrot is far cheaper than the cost of purchasing them from breeders, it’s still a large investment.
At the absolute least, you’re adopting a parrot in need of a loving home who is already socialized with humans, which might make the transition period for the parrot much easier for them.
Breeder – $500 – $4000
If you are after an African Gray Parrot that is top-of-the-line, you must get the parrot from a reputable breeder.
While breeder prices are often higher, they frequently provide complimentary delivery, toys, and a travel cage.
The bird’s price will vary depending on its species, age, gender, and other traits, but an African Gray Parrot should cost between $500 and $4,000.
Anything lower or higher and something not quite right might be going on, so be careful that you are not getting scammed.
Shop around a bit though and try to find the best price for you.
If one breeder is asking for $3000 and another wants $2000, there is no harm in going for the cheaper option, so long as you know what you are getting.
Can I Get One For Free?
Finding a free African Gray Parrot that’s able to be adopted is impossible.
These birds are in very high demand, and unlike other animals that are typically free to a good home, like dogs, people are very careful about the breeding and selling of these animals.
Even if you spent hours looking online, it’s highly unlikely that you will find a free one.
Supplies And First Setup – $230 – $700
You’ll also need to put together the bird’s cage and environment.
To minimize disease transmission, we recommend purchasing a new cage rather than a secondhand one (unless the last owner provided the cage for your bird).
A parrot cage suited for an African Gray Parrot is usually around $120.
Additionally, you’ll need to acquire cage-related materials like perches, wood, steel bowls, licenses, permits, and transportation.
If you wish to import the bird into the USA, you must additionally pay a costly import fee of between $110 and $570.
You will almost definitely also need to pay for the health certificate of the bird as well. This is done by taking the bird to a vet for an in-depth evaluation.
This may end up being very costly as you must find a vet that is qualified to handle “exotic” animals, with these vets often costing more than standard vets.
The health certificate is essential though and you cannot skip out on this cost. The overall cost of this will be decided by the vet and where you go.
Here is a breakdown of the supplies and set up costs that you can expect:
- Cage – $120 (if the bird doesn’t come with one already, though a travel cage does not count)
- Permits – $110 – £600
- Transportation cage – $80 (bird often comes with one when purchased though)
- Cage items – $20 -$50
- Food/water – $10
Like any other pet, African Gray Parrots have regular expenses, and you can expect to be spending around $180 – $1800 a month depending on what your bird needs.
Fortunately, African Gray Parrots do not require as much monthly care as dogs do. You are mostly responsible for their entertainment, food, and, if necessary, health care.
Monthly expenses will be substantial only if the African Grey Parrot is unwell and requires vet treatment.
This is why we highly advise exotic pet owners to purchase insurance, as these costs can run into the thousands if a lot of treatment is needed.
Health Care – $0 – $250
Starting off, this could either be the most or least costly expense of the month, as it depends on whether your pet gets sick or if you have pet insurance.
A balanced diet, mental stimulation, and physical activity are necessary for a healthy African Gray Parrot.
If you feed the African Gray Parrot properly and keep the cage clean, it will be healthy and happy.
Having said that, you should take the parrot to a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals on an annual basis.
You should budget $100 – $250 each year for the parrot’s care. You should not be expected to spend loads of money on it consistently unless the bird is very sickly or is old.
Vet Trips And Medication – $100 – $1500
Similar to the above, this will either cost you nothing all month or will be a huge and sudden expense.
If your parrot falls unwell, due to the bird’s rarity, health care expenditures may climb somewhat.
Emergency treatment for African Gray Parrots is usually $300 to $1,200, though this depends on the severity of the illness.
Bear in mind though, you’ll also be responsible for the expense of the private veterinarian consultation.
Each appointment with the majority of exotic vets costs around $100 – $250.
Pet Insurance – $20 – $40
If you’ve spent lots of money to buy an African Grey Parrot, then we strongly recommend that you purchase pet insurance.
The projected annual cost is around $200 – $400 every year. This amounts to around $20 – $40 every month.
Additionally, you may start a parrot savings account. This account will be useful if your parrot is injured and also avoids the need for an insurance provider.
In either scenario, have a few backup plans in place in case your bird falls unwell!
Food – $45 – $70
Apart from health insurance, food will be the biggest monthly expense. The average monthly grocery bill for an African Gray Parrot is between $45 and $70. This is about equivalent to the monthly cost of feeding a cat or dog, or maybe even less in the case of bigger dog breeds.
Around 80% of the parrot’s diet should consist of pellets. The rest should be made up of snacks and vitamins and treats fruits and vegetables.
Grains, seeds, and nuts may be fed on occasion as a treat, but don’t do it too much.
Toys – $20 – $50
You may not be focusing too much on this expense, but having the right toys for your African Gray Parrot is vital for their mental stimulation and development.
African Gray Parrots are very intelligent birds. Because of this, they seek entertainment to remain motivated and stimulated.
If these birds are not stimulated or often get bored, then you will have a very destructive and depressed bird on your hands.
Buying toys is not a one-time purchase either, as they will do damage to the toys as they play. As a result, you will frequently have to buy new parrot toys.
Giving them new toys every month though will keep them occupied and ensure that they do not become too bored.
Total Monthly Cost -$185 – $1800
From the cost above, you’ll see that keeping an African Gray Parrot costs about the same as having a dog.
With a healthy parrot, you should expect to pay less than $200 each month.
However, if the parrot becomes unwell or injured, the price increases dramatically.
Due to the expensive cost of veterinary and medical treatment, it is recommended that these birds get pet insurance.
Establish a rainy-day reserve as a bare minimum if you do not want to go down the insurance route.
As well as the normal monthly fees, there are several other expenses to consider. For instance, each time you go away for a while, you’ll need to board the parrot.
If you’re lucky, you could have a buddy who is an expert on bird care. This, however, is a risky tactic.
Rather than that, we recommend that vacation boarding be paid for as these people are trained to look after your pet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Own A African Gray Parrot On A Budget?
If you’re on a shoestring budget, getting an African Gray Parrot is not the right choice of pet for you.
These parrots are initially very expensive, and even if you get past the costly first year, there are monthly expenses that you need to keep up with, even though the cost of this is quite low compared to the care needed for a dog.
There are a few tricks that you could use to save a bit of money though. For instance, you could adopt an adult African Gray Parrot that is in desperate need of a new home.
This is an excellent way to adopt a parrot in need without spending a fortune.
Usually, in these cases, the previous owner will gladly give you everything you need for your bird as it is going to be a good home.
How Can I Save A Bit Of Money?
Because the monthly cost of having an African Gray Parrot is already so low, it’s tough to cut it more.
However, if you stay diligent in your search for bargains, it may be even cheaper to own this pet.
The cost of food, for example, is a big expense. Coupons and special deals can be used to find discounted meals or treats for your bird though.
This is very useful when it comes to the fresh fruits you can feed your parrot.
Also, pet insurance is required while owning this kind of bird. If the parrot becomes unwell or injured, the monthly charge significantly increases.
While maintaining a monthly payment schedule may be unpleasant, it is the most efficient method of protection and will prevent any huge and unexpected costs from arising in the future.
When purchasing an African Gray Parrot for the first time, you can expect to invest a large amount of money. The bird alone might cost around $4000 in total.
The other first-time fees might add up to an extra $700 in expenditures, depending on the circumstances.
Monthly expenses for a parrot, on the other hand, are much less expensive than for other types of birds. Unless the parrot falls ill the costs should remain low.
If it does get sick or injured though, you will most likely be charged around $200 for the vet service, or even more if you do not have insurance.
We strongly advise you to obtain pet insurance to protect yourself if something like this may occur, as the cost of having to pay the vet bill when your pet is sick is not only costly but also very stressful during this time.
Spending just $20-$40 a month will help to avoid this issue.