Why Are Pet Shops That Sell Parrots Bad?

Why Are Pet Shops That Sell Parrots Bad?

Yes we’re going there, one of the most controversial topics in the parrot community and the team at Soaring Wings Training want to explain the logic behind our somewhat “bold” opinion. For many people, pet shops that sell parrots must seem like a bird lover’s dream. Who wouldn’t want to pop to their local pet shop and interact with some amazing animals? I must admit, we’re all guilty of going to our local pet shop to watch the rabbits after a hard day (because who doesn’t love bunnies!), so why does our opinion switch so drastically when it comes to parrots?

My main objection to pet shops selling parrots is they make a 10 to 90 year commitment far too accessible! We should not have the option to impulse buy an animal that may outlive us. This just adds to the strain already on rehoming centres as many people don’t realise the commitment it takes to keep a parrot. At least buying from breeders means you have to do some research and have time to think before you buy and even go to them with the intention of getting a parrot, we shouldn’t be going out for a browse and coming home with a life long commitment!

My opinion on pet shops selling parrots is then exaggerated by the lack of correct care, knowledge and understanding from the shops themselves. The majority of pet shops still only sell bad seed mixes, have a very small selection of toys, inappropriate plastic or sanded perches and only stock small cages. As someone who is passionate about parrot care this  forces me to  order appropriate products online, however many new owners  will see the products and assume they’re appropriate as they’re sold as parrot products so why wouldn’t you use them? Then comes the question of if they cant stock the correct products why do we expect them to give us correct care information and offer support after purchase? Most rescues and some breeders will offer ongoing support to help you and your parrot have a successful relationship but for pet shops this isn’t the case. This can lead to more behavioural issues in the long run as you haven’t been properly educated on how to meet your parrots demanding care needs.

The next concern is where they get the parrots from in the first place. We’ve all heard of puppy mills; well, the same can be true for parrots. Most pet shop parrots come from breeders who choose parrots they don’t want to keep as part of their breeding “stock”, yes to some people parrots are “stock”. They’re often not hand tame and have little to no experience with people, the little experience they have is usually being transferred from an aviary to the shop which I imagine isn’t a positive experience. Birds never forget and this could hinder your attempts at taming them. It’s important you do your own research on where you get your parrot from.

My final concern with pet shops selling parrots is the lack of disease testing. They have many parrots kept in a confined space without any being checked for diseases, it’s a recipe for disaster. Now I’m not saying all pet shop parrots carry diseases but the lack of testing does pose a huge risk for introducing a new member to your flock. Remember to always disease test before bringing a new bird into your home!

To summarise, we have many concerns about pet shops selling parrots and would always recommend adopting from a registered rescue. If a rescue is not an option we would always suggest to get a parrot from a reputable breeder rather than a pet shop as they can advise on proper care and offer continual support should you need it. Not all pet shops are bad or ‘evil’ but we need to stop the trade of parrots in pet shops, a lifelong commitment should not be available as an impulse buy!

Written by Hannah Green