We have had many people ask why parrots are so expensive....so we decided to put "why" on our website.
We raise parrots due to our fascination with them, due to our love for them, due to the joy it brings into other's homes, and not for the money. But, I am wanting to break down some of the dollar signs into real life.
The most expensive parrot we raise is the Eclectus. The babies sell for $1000. They usually take about 126 days to wean. So, if you take $1000 and divide it by the 126 days we have been feeding and loving on the baby, we are paid only $7.94 per day. This $7.94 covers all the handfeeding formula (the forfeiting of vacations to be home to handfeed), the multitudes of veggies and fruits we have chopped up for them, the hours of cuddling, the hours of cleaning AND the price of the parent pair, including feeding and cleaning the parent pair for the full year while we anticipate babies from them. If there are any vet bills on top of that, they have to come out of the $7.94 per day. I want to say loudly that I AM NOT COMPLAINING. Raising babies is complete joy and a huge privilege to my entire family. If someone wants a specific gender of baby, I ask for $25, but if the first baby I sex is not the one I am looking for, I have to keep sexing them and it is not charged to the buyer.
Then there is also the flip side of the dollar signs and that is what the buyer has to pay. The Eclectus who lives 70 years is costing the buyer 4 cents a day when averaged out :) Of course, there is the cage cost, the food costs, etc. Your 4 cents a day will pay for a sweet loveable companion who will also throw food at you and chew on your picture frames :)
I am definitely gaining courage when speaking to people about prices due to our babies usually selling when they are eggs or when they are quite young....Thus, when this lady calls me the other day and says she is "shopping around" to find her best price on an Eclectus, my new found courage gave me the voice to say to her that she should be shopping around for the best breeder. I tried to gently tell her that this baby was going to be with her for many years, and she ought to take the time to make sure her baby is socialized and weaned properly. Fortunately, all of our babies were reserved at the time, so I didn't sound like I was trying to sell her something <g>.
So many breeders "warehouse" (feed them, but ignore them otherwise) their babies. Baby parrots are more effected by environmental factors than by their genetics. The ability of a baby to tolerate life, face new situations courageously, be flexible and accepting is greatly impacted by what they are exposed to as weanlings. They need to be snuggled, spoken to individually, cuddled and rocked. As they mature, they need to fly, meet people and animals, go for car rides and walks, see the flowers outside. You see their excitement for life!
I also get about 15-25 emails per day from folks that want information and help with their birds. Generally, I do my best to answer them all. This is what a good breeder does. It is what people did for me when I was starting out. So much time is involved.
This is not our livelihood. This is a hobby, so my time and resources are invested in something we all enjoy. We are so blessed to hear how our babies are bringing joy into someone else's home.
The life of a breeder?? There is no going on vacations, there are late night feedings, early morning feedings, worry over babies, rushing home to feed again every 3 hours, cracked hands from so much washing and sterilizing......but there is also an indescribable joy that comes from knowing God created these fascinating creatures and we get to be part of the miracle. They are a miracle. Share it with me by clicking here.
All interactions though need to foster trust between the young parrot and humans. All care giving should be done with gentleness. This is what you want to look for when looking for a baby. Don't look for the best price.
This dialogue is not intended to sell our birds. I don't need to do this. Our birds find their new homes very quickly. This dialogue is to help the families buying birds look at it from the breeder's viewpoint. When you find a breeder you respect, know that you are getting your money's worth.