In the wild,
birds spend a great amount of time looking for food and consuming
it. In captivity, we put their food in a dish, right in front of
them and hang all their toys within easy reach of a perch. Could
it be that by making life so easy for them, we have brought on boredom
and psychological problems that may accompany this? Perhaps it's
time that we look at enriching their enviroment.
There are many
things we can do to make everday life more challenging and interesting
for our pet birds.
very easy thing to change is the toy placement. In the wild, a bird
would hang from a flimsy branch to reach either a delectable treat
or something that it just wanted to explore. It might have to hang
upside down to get this, or stretch far beyond what we think possible.
Moving toys to harder to reach places within the cage is a simple
matter. Put them away from the perches. Put some where the bird
will need to hang upside down to play with it.. How about adding
some natural branches (please check for bird safe branches at http://www.exoticbird.com/gillian/perch.html)
for them to hide and play in and to chew up.
will serve to make playing a more active behavior will enrich the
life and possibly the health of your bird.
is the food and the food dishes? Why do we think they just want
to stand beside a dish and eat? This is not very natural. We have
taken away the foraging they would do in the wild, that would consume
a great part of the day. We can add some of this back into our birds
lives. Use a few more food dishes, just putting a few different
things in each one. This way they will have to move from dish to
dish to get their favorite foods. Hang fruits and vegetables from
a skewer. Weave greens through the bars. Make or buy some foraging
containers/toys. (see links at bottom) You could put a nut or a
treat into a small cardboard box and let your bird find and get
it out. Or use a small dixie cup. Some people use small tupperware
or rubbermaid containers where the bird will have to remove the
lid to get the treat. Any way you can hide a food treat or just
food will encourage foraging. Remember, at first you may need to
show your bird where things are hidden, you may have to teach him/her
To get you
started, an example taken from ItsAGreysWorld
Take a washed, large leafy green (ie Kale, Mustard Greens, Beet
Greens) and take some leftover Brown Rice (white rice will do as
well) and pour it into the center of the leaf. You can add some
Cranberries, Sprouts, Raisins, or Blueberries. Try not to over fill
the leaf. Now grab the ends of the leaf and tie them together to
form a pouch. If you would prefer to make a veggie or fruit mash:
Take some of their favorites and throw them in the food processor
and use that in your Pouch Surprise! Use something that you know
they love and can smell. Some birds like a whiff of cinnamon or
the smell of parsley. Take about a foot of 100% Natural Cotton Rope
and tie a knot and make a loop at the end to affix it in the inside
of your bird's cage. Note: Keep the rope trim and knotted tightly.
They will be very curious of this new fun and healthy toy you placed
in there and will rip apart the leaf and find the little surprises
you have tucked within.
article was put forth in Science Direct displaying a link between
foraging and a reduction of feather picking in parrots. If interested,
this article can be read by following
You can find
some foraging toys and units at the following url's.
Some are pricey but give ideas of things we could do.
Foster & Smith
Just Wanna Have Fun 1
Just Wanna Have Fun 2
Have fun, use
your imagination, and I'm sure it will add another dimension to
your birds life and increase his agility and normal inquistive nature.
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