Parrots need to have variety in their life and to be occupied. They need entertainment, attention and a regular, non-stressful routine.
Preventing boredom in parrots
- House in the biggest cage possible
- Let them out of the cage frequently, ideally allowing them free flight
- Provide a variety of toys and rotate them on a daily basis. Toys offered must be parrot safe and free from any paints, varnishes or metals which may be toxic.
- Move the cage around to change their view of the room
- Provide edible fruit tree branches with differing diameters as perches. This also helps prevent pressure sores on their feet.
- Make sure they aren’t alone for long periods
- Insufficient attention from owners or in some cases too much!
- In extremely social species such as the Budgerigar and Cockatiel (either house in pairs or provide with a mirror or a plastic replica bird)
- Foraging and Feeding
In the wild parrots spend a large part of their day foraging for food. It is a good idea to schedule specific feeding times and to stimulate foraging activity.
Parrots love to destroy things and this desire can be utilised by making simple inexpensive foraging toys. Some ideas are hanging ropes with fruit and vegetables tied in and cardboard boxes stuffed with shredded paper and their favourite foods, you can get as creative as you want! Make sure your bird is supervised during destructive play.
Ask for a copy of our supplementary feeding sheet.
All birds should have a period of light from 8-12 hrs. It is advised to cover the cage for at least 10 hours at night.
UVB is an essential part of sunlight that helps birds convert vitamins into their active forms. Placing the cage next to a window does not work as the glass filters out the beneficial UVB from sunlight. It is important that our pet birds receive UVB from artificial sun lamps. These specially coated fluorescent tube lights and compact bird lamps provide the correct levels of UVA and UVB, which improve your parrot’s health, appetite, feather condition and more. They can be attached to the bird’s cage and switched on for 10 hours a day.
Allow your parrot to either bathe in shallow water or be sprayed daily. Especially appreciated by African grey parrots who tend to get very dusty.
A dark box should be provided as a ’hide’ into which the bird can enter and feel secure.
Some frequent causes of behavioural issues
Changes to their regular routine may result in instability, neurosis or other behavioural problems.
Behavioural problems usually relate to boredom or anxiety states (neurosis), but another trigger may be due to disturbances or changes at home which may unsettle the bird such as:
- A recent move
- Additions to the family, frequent visitors or another pet in the same house
- Frequent arguments within the house
- Long periods away from the owner
In the wild, the dominant birds have the highest perches, in a domestic situation you need to be the ‘dominant bird’. The highest perch in the cage should be no higher than your eye level. Whilst standing you will be above the bird but this hierarchy will dramatically change when you sit down. This issue can be combated by sitting the cage away from chairs where you often sit. It is best to avoid an overly dominant bird sitting on your shoulder or head, in other words raising its position above you.
This care sheet is a basic guide only. Further information must be sought before you decide to take responsibility for any exotic pet.