Keeping pet birds, from budgies & canaries to parrots & cockatoos

On Ireland AM this week, we discussed keeping pet birds.

Popular Pet Birds

The most popular pet birds are, from largest to smallest:

  1. Parrots
    African Grey / Amazon / Macaw / Cockatoos
    All cost over €1000 – they are a specialist field and a big investment
  2. Conure
    Sold in pairs, cost €150 upwards – like small parrots, colourful, intelligent
  3. Lovebirds
    Sold in pairs, cost €60 upwards for a pair
  4. Cockatiels
    Sold in pairs, €60 upwards
  5. Budgerigars
    €15 upwards each
  6. Canaries
    From €20 each

The Basics: What you need to keep birds

  • As big a cage as you can afford – from €40 upwards
  • Perches
  • Food
  • Water
  • Cuttlefish bone
  • Grit to eat

Budgies & Canaries

  • Budgies and canaries are the most popular pet birds.
  • Live in large flocks in the wild
  • They are very social creatures
  • Ideally, they should not be kept alone in a cage unless have constant human companionship
  • Young birds cost around €20 each
  • Canaries live for around ten years, budgies a bit less time |( 5 – 8 years)
  • Need a big cage, or ideally an aviary


  • Originally from Australia where still live in wild
  • Males have a blue “cere” (base of beak) whereas it’s sandy brown in females


  • A type of finch, originally from Canary Islands and west coast of Africa
  • Canary sexes are difficult to tell apart – until males start to sing at about 8 months
  • Only male birds sing – female birds just “cheep”

The birds on the show were borrowed from Copsewood Aviaries in Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow.

Call them on 01 2862 087. The proprietor, Eddie Drew, is very helpful and this is a good place to get a first bird.

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Please note that I am unable to answer veterinary questions in comments. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health it is always better to contact your vet.

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