What Does It Cost? Adopting a Large Macaw  - - - by Liz Davies (aka "Mom")


Every bird owner spends differently, but I thought it might be useful to you to know what we spent for our Catalina Macaw.  Here’s a list of expenses from our first 2 months: (These amounts are in US Dollars, and the figures were compiled in 2005)

The bird (3.5 month old Catalina macaw)


Day Cage


Sleep Cage


First Vet Visit ("new bird checkup”)


Second Vet Visit (wing/nail clip)


Third Vet Visit (suspected bacterial infection)


Sexing (blood test)




baby formula


veggies and fruit


adult parrot food (pellets)




table-top "T" stand


"tree" play gym


paper towels and disinfectant


"T" stands (2)


Micro chipping (vet and filing fees)





In Australia:

When we planned our move to Australia, we knew that the prices here would be considerably higher.  For example, we paid $7,000 AUD for Laka, and a cage like the one we had shipped here (which cost us $800 in the US at the end of 2006) would have cost $2,500 if purchased in a pet store.  T-Stands, carriers, and other equipment are also much more costly here.   Vet expenses are similar.  Parrot pellets can be quite expensive, but we found our vet offers a great brand for a reasonable charge

Toys are not included in the list above, but toys are a must.  They are omitted from this list because toy prices vary so much, and you have a great deal of control over your budget there (some of the best toys cost nearly nothing!).

You’ll notice that we have 2 “T” stands.  That is because our house has 2 stories, and having 2 stands allows a good perching place on both floors.  The “tree” play gym is also a kind of “T” stand, but is made of PVC pipe, with branches attached to the main bar, allowing her to climb around on it.  Depending on your circumstances, one “T” stand may be enough, but I would not recommend trying to go without at least one.

You'll also notice there are 2 cages; a day cage and a "sleep cage".  Before you decide to omit the sleep cage, do a little reading on the subject of parrot behavior and sleep deprivation.

The cost for fresh food dropped after I figured out how much to feed.  But fresh fruits and veggies every day are a MUST - and that's not cheap no matter where you are.

A special note about the vet visits; the first two visits were “normal” ones; and you need to budget for at least 2 visits in your first year.  Jesse's third visit was due to her exhibiting some symptoms which could have been a bacterial infection.  We went  through the same thing with Laka.  The cost may seem shocking, but it’s important to understand that any bird displaying symptoms of illness must see a vet as soon as possible.  Birds generally hide illness and injury; by the time you see signs that something is wrong, the bird may be gravely ill.   A guideline I would suggest for you is that you should set aside funds for lifetime vet bills that are at least equivalent to the purchase price of the bird (with a minimum of $500 - remember that birds live a long time).  You may be fortunate enough to have an unusually healthy bird, but even apparently healthy birds should have a “well bird checkup” annually.