A Parrot's Security and Well Being

 

 

There are several things that can add to a parrot's security and well being. A secure parrot, large or small, will show it by their physical condition, mental condition, and behavior towards you and others.
 

A Sense of Security

This determines a lot on how your parrot behaves. Many people don't realize what goes through their minds when they scream, call, bite, or pluck their feathers. Birds in the wild generally do not bite unless provoked, they don't pull out their feathers, and they only scream for short periods in the day to communicate with their flock. The same applies to a normal, healthy pet bird.

A bird's sense of security derives from several things, and are all equally important.

Necessities:

  • Nutritious food and clean water. Bowls should be washed daily, and nutritious foods be fed.

  • A large cage & the location of the cage. Your bird needs a large main cage to accommodate at least 3 bowls, several perches and toys. Some species like a birdie bed or enclosure for resting.  The cage should have a grate to protect birds from stepping on their poop, and all cage papers must be changed at least once a day.

  • The ability to take showers often and receive exposure to sunshine or indoor full spectrum lighting.

  • Like a human child, they need daily exercise, toys and activities to stimulate their minds.

A Routine
Nature provides them a routine, which includes having 10-12 hours of dark, uninterrupted sleep every night and sunlight . Your schedule has to correspond with theirs, for this to make sense.

A Flock
One person birds don't exist naturally in the wild, except for the humans who create and encourage it. Birds by nature are flock animals. They feel safe around their flock and they need to know who they are and where they stand, within their flock. They need to spend time with their flock. This means spending a good amount of time with them.  An hour or so a day is not enough for a parrot's security and well being. They need both direct and indirect attention, not one or the other. Place playpens strategically around your house to keep them involved in your life.

Understanding their flock
Your bird must know and perform step ups as soon as you can teach them. Use the command always, even after they know what it means. This command is very important in building the first human to parrot bond. Always talk to them like you would a young child, slowly, and use consistent words. Use the step up command to also reestablish the hierarchy of the flock. More on the step-up command in the Training sections.

Mate
Most parrots in the wild pair up with a mate. Just like humans, mates are needed by most, but not always for everyone. Mates alone, are not enough for a bird to be fulfilled and happy. They need their flock, with or without a mate. A bird that only has one person to bond with may develop territorialism. If everyone treated you badly or ignored you, except for one person, you'd be protective of that person to no end. The bird might suffer a lack of self esteem too, not to mention other psychological problems.

Environment
In the wild, the bird chooses its environment. They stay in environments where they can be with their flock and feel safe. If a situation calls for danger or chaos, they can fly away. As pet birds, they don't have a whole lot of options in your home. It's important that you provide them with the same secure and non-chaotic environment. Their perches and cages should not be totally exposed to large windows, busy areas or corners. Calm your children and other loud activities around them. Give them the peace and quiet they need when they are resting during the day and at night.
 

Love and Affection

A pet parrot needs love and affection, just like other pets and humans do. They are birds and need what birds need, to be preened, heads scratched, nuzzled and other things that birds do in nature. A bird is not an ornament to look at.
 

Give Assurance

The Alert Mode

This body position shows a bird in "alert mode". A bird with its feathers held closely against its body feels either threatened, startled, or nervous about something around it. Talk to your bird and help it understand that everything is OK, or change whatever's upsetting your bird to help him or her calm down. Do not allow your bird to be in this position any longer than it has to.

 
Give them the crucial things they need, and you will have a loving, trusting, and loyal companion for life.


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STARescue, Inc.

Copyright 2004 [Southeast Texas Avian Rescue, Inc.]. All rights reserved. Revised: 12/10/11