should I bury a dead parrot?

What To Do with A Dead Parrot

When your pet parrot dies, it’s important to allow yourself time to grieve. It can be difficult to know what to do with the bird’s body. But it’s important to make a decision soon, ideally within 1-2 days of your parrot’s passing.

If your parrot dies, you can bury it or have it cremated. If it’s legal where you live, you can bury the bird’s body in your yard. Otherwise, you can purchase a plot at a pet cemetery. Alternatively, you could have your bird cremated. Private cremation is more expensive, but you will be allowed to keep your parrot’s ashes.

Most owners opt to bury the parrot in their yard. But while most states allow pets to be buried on private property, some do not. For example, it is legal in Alaska, but not in Arkansas.

My Parrot Died: What Should I Do?

It’s natural to be distraught when you discover that your beloved parrot has died. You don’t have to decide what to do straight away. But as decomposition can set in quickly, there are some steps you must take.

Wrap your parrot’s body in a towel or blanket, and place it in a tightly tied plastic bag. Keep it in the refrigerator while you decide what to do. There are three main options when it comes to dealing with a deceased parrot:

  • Bury your parrot in your yard (local laws permitting)
  • Purchase a burial plot at a designated pet cemetery
  • Have your parrot cremated

You can also contact your local animal control for advice. Some cities offer a deceased animal removal service. For example, the City of Albuquerque will pick up and dispose of a pet’s body for free.

If you wish to, it’s also perfectly legal to dispose of your parrot’s body with your household trash. However, most owners dislike this idea, as it can be seen as disrespectful to the bird’s memory.

Before doing any of the above, consider whether you want to have a necropsy done on your parrot. This is an examination performed to determine the cause of death.

how to bury a parrot

How Much Does a Bird Necropsy Cost?

An avian necropsy (also known as a post-mortem) involves:

  • Inspecting the body to check for obvious causes of death, such as injury
  • Examining internal organs for malformations, defects, or signs of disease
  • Running tests for viruses or bacteria, if no cause of death is found

According to Veterinary Clinics of North America, companion birds can carry many types of viral diseases. It’s a good idea to have a necropsy done if you own other birds. This is because your other parrots may also be carrying the same disease. Necropsies can also help give you peace of mind.

An avian necropsy can cost anywhere up to $500. This depends on the size of your bird, and which tests need to be done. Some veterinarians will perform them for free, or at a low cost.

Necropsies should be carried out within 24 hours after the bird’s death. Place your parrot’s body in the refrigerator, in an airtight plastic bag, until it’s time for the examination.

Should I Bury a Dead Parrot?

When your pet bird dies, you may like the idea of burying it in your yard. It doesn’t cost anything, and is a dignified and respectful way to say goodbye to your pet. You’ll be able to visit your parrot’s grave whenever you like.

But before you bury your parrot, ensure it’s legal where you live. There are no federal laws on burying pets in your yard; each state has its own regulations. In some cases, these rules can vary between cities and counties.

StateCan you bury a pet bird on your property?
AlabamaYes, minimum of 2 feet underground
AlaskaYes
ArizonaThere are no state-wide laws, so check with your city
ArkansasNo
CaliforniaNo
ColoradoYes, if the bird is not carrying an infectious disease
ConnecticutYes, if grave is sufficiently deep to avoid being unearthed by wildlife
DelawareYes, but not near a water source
FloridaYes, if the grave is sufficiently deep to avoid being unearthed by wildlife
GeorgiaYes, if the grave is sufficiently deep to avoid being unearthed by wildlife
HawaiiYes
IdahoYes, minimum of 3 feet underground
IllinoisYes, if the bird is not carrying an infectious disease
IndianaYes, minimum of 4 feet underground
IowaYes
KansasYes, provided the burial does not endanger the ecosystem
KentuckyYes, minimum of 4 feet underground and not within 100ft of water
LouisianaYes, minimum of 6 feet underground and bird must not be carrying infectious disease
MaineYes, if bird is not carrying infectious disease, and not buried near a water source
MarylandYes, minimum of 4 feet underground
MassachusettsThere are no state-wide laws, so check with your city
MichiganYes, if the burial is not near a water source
MinnesotaYes, if the grave is not near a water source and sufficiently deep to avoid being unearthed by wildlife
MississippiYes, minimum of 2 feet underground
MissouriYes, minimum of 300ft away from your neighbor, and not near a water source
MontanaYes, minimum of 2 feet underground
NebraskaYes, minimum of 5 feet underground and 500 feet away from a water source
NevadaYes, minimum of 3 feet underground
New HampshireYes, minimum of 75 feet from a water source
New JerseyYes, minimum of 2 feet underground
New MexicoYes
New YorkThere are no state-wide laws, so check with your city
North CarolinaYes, minimum of 3 feet underground and within 24 hours of the bird’s death
North DakotaYes, minimum of 3 feet underground and bird must not be carrying infectious disease
OhioYes, but specific regulations vary from city to city
OklahomaYes, minimum of 3 feet underground
OregonYes, minimum of 3 feet underground
PennsylvaniaYes, burial must take place within 48 hours of the bird’s death
Rhode IslandThere are no state-wide laws, so check with your city
South CarolinaYes, minimum of 1 foot underground
South DakotaYes, minimum of 3 feet underground, and within 36 hours of the animal’s death
TennesseeYes, minimum of 3 feet underground and not near a water source
TexasYes, minimum of 3 feet underground
UtahYes, burial must take place within 48 hours of the bird’s death
VermontThere are no state-wide laws, so check with your city
VirginiaYes, burial must take place within 48 hours of the bird’s death
WashingtonThere are no state-wide laws, so check with your city
West VirginiaYes, minimum of 3 feet underground
WisconsinThere are no state-wide laws, so check with your city
WyomingYes, but some counties require you to seek approval beforehand

Before burying your bird, always check with your town board or city council. In some areas, local ordinances are in place with restrictions on how and where you can bury dead animals.

You can only bury your parrot on your own property. You can’t bury any kind of pet on public or government-owned land. According to Bay News 9, a Florida woman was forced to remove the body of her dog after she buried it in a public park.

For rented properties, you’ll need permission from the landlord. And if your neighborhood has a Homeowner’s Association, you must also seek their approval first.

How To Bury A Parrot

Aim to conduct your parrot’s burial as soon as possible after your parrot passes away. Ideally, keep the bird double-bagged in a refrigerator or freezer until the time comes to bury it. This is particularly important if you’re planning to wait longer than a day.

Choose a Burial Plot

You can only bury the parrot on your own property, or private property with the permission of the landowner. Most people choose their backyard.

Your state may have certain laws on where you can and can’t bury a dead animal. For example, in several states, you may not bury your bird near a water source. If there are any wells in your neighborhood, check that your burial site is far away from it.

Once you’ve chosen a suitable spot, clear away any plants and weeds. This will make it easier to dig the grave.

Dig the Grave

Use a shovel or spade to dig a large hole, wide enough to contain your parrot. The majority of states have regulations defining how deep your pet’s grave should be.

Most states, such as Idaho, Oregon and Texas, require the animal to be buried at least 3 feet underground. In Maryland, the grave must be a minimum of 4 feet deep, and in Louisiana, it’s 6 feet. Check with your city council or town board if you’re unsure.

Choose an Appropriate Casket

You don’t have to bury your bird in any sort of casket or container. If you’d prefer, you can place your parrot’s body directly in the grave.

If you would like to use a casket, choose one that’s made out of a natural, biodegradable material. Don’t use a plastic box, as this will not decompose over time. You can use a wooden box, or a cardboard box such as a shoebox.

Another alternative is to place your parrot’s body inside a bag. Again, the bag must be made of a natural material that will biodegrade. For example:

  • Cotton
  • Hemp
  • Jute
  • Bamboo
  • Linen (made from flax)
  • Rayon (made from natural cellulose fibers)

Don’t use a plastic bag, or a bag made of a man-made fabric such as polyester. According to Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, most plastics (such as polyethylene) aren’t biodegradable. These plastics take hundreds of years to break down, and could end up polluting the ecosystem.

Bury Your Bird Safely

Place your parrot’s body in the hole, and cover it with the dirt that you dug up. Ideally, wear gloves while you do this. If you wish, you can say a few words in memoriam of your pet bird.

Pack the dirt down firmly, so it isn’t easy for scavengers to dig up. You can also cover the top of the grave with stones or slabs, for extra protection. In addition, you may also mark the spot with a grave marker (such as a headstone or wooden cross).

Once you are finished burying your parrot, wash your hands thoroughly. This will get rid of any bacteria or germs that may have been present on the body.

can parrots be cremated?

Can You Bury a Parrot at a Pet Cemetery?

Instead of burying your parrot in your yard, you may wish to look into local pet cemeteries. Pet cemeteries are licensed, registered graveyards that deal exclusively with non-human animals. Though they are usually associated with dogs and cats, they are also suitable for pet birds. If you want to lay your parrot to rest at a pet cemetery, you will have to pay for:

  • The casket (most pet cemeteries insist that all pets are buried in a casket)
  • The burial plot
  • The fee for digging the grave

In total, this may cost anywhere between $500 and $4,000. You will have to pay extra if you want a headstone or a memorial service for your parrot. Some pet cemeteries will also offer a grave maintenance service for an additional fee. 

Can Parrots Be Cremated?

If you can’t or don’t want to bury your bird, you could have it cremated. Some pet cemeteries have crematoriums on-site. Organizations such as the Animal Humane Society also offer pet cremation services. There are three main types of cremation available for parrots:

  • Private cremation. This costs around $85, depending on the size of your bird. Your parrot will be cremated privately, and you will be able to keep its cremains (ashes)
  • Communal cremation. This is the cheaper option, costing around $35. Your bird will be cremated together with other people’s pets. You won’t be able to keep the ashes
  • Witnessed cremation. This means you get to visit the crematorium and view your pet being cremated. This usually costs at least an extra $30 on top of the fee for the private cremation. Not all pet cremation services offer this

Your veterinarian will be able to recommend a cremation service that will suit your needs. They may even offer to organize it and send your bird’s body away for you.

After your parrot is cremated, you can scatter the remains, or keep them in an urn or decorative box. You could even have jewelry or a glass ornament made from your pet’s ashes.

Seek permission from the landowner before scattering your parrot’s ashes on private property. If you want to scatter the ashes on public land, check with your city first.