10 Ways To Keep Your Parrot Happy
Our feathered family members mean the world to us and we want to make sure they are healthy and happy! Here are 10 ways to ensure your parrot is a happy camper!
This is always my first point because it is so important for their physical health but can also impact behaviour. Sometimes switching from a seed diet to a wholesome veggie diet can significantly improve behavioural issues. Make sure your bird gets a lot of variety. Their daily diet should consist of a healthy chop with plenty of veggies, some beans, legumes and grains mixed in as well as a high quality, cold-pressed pellet. In addition to this, you can offer some treats during training and because you can’t resist their cuteness. Treats include nuts and seeds, this should be offered in moderation and in the right size portion based on the size of your parrot. For example, you wouldn’t treat a budgie or conure with an entire almond but rather 1/4 of an almond, where a macaw could enjoy an entire almond for something they did really well on. Parrots also love fruit! This is a sweeter treat that should be offered 3-4 times a week but not every day because of the sugar. Be sure to also avoid foods that are toxic or harmful to your parrot.
2. CONDO SIZE
By condo, I mean their cage or aviary. You want to get them the biggest cage you can afford, the bigger the better. Think about it, if you lived in a room would you want a Harry Potter closet or a big master bedroom with a walk-in closet and bathroom? Master bedroom it is! The same goes for your feathered friend, every size parrot has a minimum size requirement - a quick internet search on your type of parrot will show you the minimum size but always goes bigger than the minimum. The bigger the better, your bird will love you for it. A cage cannot be too big, it can only be too small! Parrots need to have plenty of room to move around and exercise. There should also be enough room to accommodate perches, bird toys and several food dishes.
3. FREE TIME
Your bird needs to get plenty of exercise and time outside of his/her cage each day. They require 4-6 hours of our cage time because even a large cage will not allow for sufficient physical and mental stimulation. You can set up bird stands with a jungle gym in areas that you or your family like to hang out. Free time to roam can make a big difference in a parrot's quality of life.
There should be a variety of different types of perches in your bird’s cage. Perches are where they sleep, hang out, observe, play with toys, and so on. A variety of sizes and types helps to exercise their feet as well which is very important as well. Position the perches around the cage so your bird can move around from perch to perch. Smaller birds usually enjoy a tree-like setup whereas larger birds tend to prefer horizontal perches.
A variety of toys are so important for a parrot's mental stimulation and fun! Toys are to provide enrichment and playtime. Toys should be changed up and rotated often but removed once destroyed. If your bird is destroying the toys they have it means they LOVE THEM, the goal is for them to love it so much they destroy it to pieces. A variety of toys also prevents boredom, when birds experience boredom they can start feather plucking or other undesirable behaviour. Additionally, toys also help file your bird's beak!
Just like us our feathered friends need a good night’s sleep every night. Parrots require 12 hours of dark, uninterrupted and quiet sleep time. Enough sleep is vital to a pet bird’s well-being and immune system. Set up a consistent schedule for your bird’s sleep time, for example from 8 pm-8 am or 7 pm-7 am. In the wild birds perch up and go to sleep after sunset and wake at sunrise. Sunset to sunrise is not always ideal depending on where you live, time of the year and your own schedule. Choose a sleep schedule for your bird that will work for both of you and be consistent with it.
Sunlight is very important for parrots. Sunlight is great for their feather health but also provides them with vitamin D. Light exposure is important for parrots so make sure to expose your parrot to natural light outdoors or full-spectrum lighting indoors. Sunlight also kills germs and bacteria on their skin and vitamin D from the sun helps them absorb everything properly. Sunlight also stimulates a healthy appetite, prevents hormone imbalances, makes them more cheerful, and stimulates a natural molting cycle.
Your parrot should be given regular opportunities to bathe. Regular bathing promotes feather and skin health. It also helps to reduce any itchiness during molting periods. Different birds like bathing in different ways. Smaller birds may like a shallow dish filled with room temperature water. But some birds like to "shower" underneath the faucet while others prefer to be misted with a clean spray bottle of water and some like to join in when you shower!
9. SOCIALIZATION & LOVE
Parrots are social creatures by nature and don’t like being alone. They thrive in the company of other living beings around them. Make sure to spend quality time with your parrot and if you have more than one parrot they will keep each other company. In our case, Mango loves Lambo and enjoys spending time around him. Lambo naps in the same room that Mango hangs out in during the day so he always has his furry companion around.
10. AVOID CLIPPING WINGS
The truth is a bird with clipped wings can still fly away if they are spooked. Taking away their freedom of flight is unfair and can negatively impact their physical and mental health. Contrary to common belief, clipping a bird's wings will not keep them “safer”. The lack of exercise from flight usually leads to muscular atrophy (the breakdown of muscle fibers) which can result in pain, immobility and prevent them from ever flying. Birds are happiest when they can do what comes naturally to them, flying is what makes a bird, it is their superpower.
Let’s keep our feathered friends HAPPY and HEALTHY! :)