Parrots belong to the order of birds. It is possible to distinguish between the actual parrots and cockatoos, which have an openable spring hood.
There are approximately 350 species and 850 subspecies within these two families.
The parrots originally spread on all continents except Europe and the Antarctic. Even if parrots differ in size, color and habitat, they have some important things in common: they are highly intelligent animals with distinctive social behavior.
Scientific research has shown that the intellectual abilities of African gray parrots are roughly equivalent to those of a three-year-old child. Impressive, isn’t it?
Parrots in the Wild
When you are thinking of the best way to keep your parrots occupied in a species-appropriate manner, it is worth taking a look at the natural behavior of parrots living in the wild.
Essentially, parrots deal with three things in the wild:
- Social interaction,
- Plumage care.
All of this takes place either with the partner, the group, or within a large crush.
The daily routine looks something like this:
- In the morning after getting up, the plumage is put in order.
- The parrots then fly off their sleeping trees to find their feeding grounds a few kilometers away.
- After breakfast, it is time to cultivate social contacts.
- After the ensuing afternoon nap, the animals go looking for food again in the afternoon.
- In the evening they fly back to their sleeping places together.
- After the last game and conversation, they clean each other again (also with their partner).
- Then the animals go to sleep.
Problems of Keeping in Human Care
As you have already read, parrots are very busy animals that travel a lot. These behaviors are innate in parrots, they run in their blood. And that is also the case with animals that have lived in captivity for many generations.
You may already recognize the problem with keeping parrots individually in cages. That almost always goes wrong. Because it’s like putting a three-year-old child in an empty corner and expecting them to sit there peacefully all day.
- Foraging, which would take hours in nature, can be done in five minutes or less.
- The social interaction is even completely eliminated with individually kept animals.
- In the worst case, the parrot will begin to pull itself bald because it has no further occupation.
So that it doesn’t get that far in the first place, you should make your birds’ daily routine as natural and varied as possible.
The most important point is an adequate social partner:
- So a bird of the same kind
- If possible at a similar age,
- And of the opposite sex.
Even if it is often said: Humans can never replace a birding partner, not even if you spend several hours a day with the bird!
Imagine you were on a desert island with just a group of rabbits. Certainly, you would not be alone then, but in the long run, you would certainly be very lonely.
Foraging is an important part of your birds’ agenda. In order for them to spend as much time as possible, you always have to come up with something new.
- In the cage or in the aviary, for example, you can hide the food under a newspaper in different places. Great food hiding spots are also toilet paper rolls stuffed with kitchen rolls and hollowed-out coconuts. There are also special parrot toys in which to hide the food.
- You can skewer fruits and vegetables on small branches and hang them in different, hard-to-reach places.
If your birds are tame you can of course hide the food in your hands or go on a hunt with them.
Parrot toys are now available in a wide variety of materials. You can buy it ready-made or you can do it yourself. Untreated natural materials such as wood, cotton, cork, and leather, but also acrylic and metal are suitable.
The most popular are often toys that can be destroyed really nicely or that are particularly colorful. It’s best to try out what your birds like the most, as parrots have different preferences too.
Don’t use mirrors and plastic birds!
A good way to keep yourself busy with your birds is to train them together. Parrots are at least as easy to train as dogs.
You can learn all kinds of tricks, but also lots of very useful things like:
- Voluntary boarding in a transport box
- Or walking on the scales for regular weight control.
- Coming on-call (can be very practical if your bird accidentally escapes through an open window!).
No matter what you teach your birds, whether somersault or recall, it challenges and encourages your animals. If you want to get into parrot training more intensively, there are even workshops that you can attend with your birds.
Parrots need their daily free flight to stay healthy. On the one hand, the animals simply have a lot of fun flying, and on the other hand, it keeps them fit. The entire body of the bird is set up to fly, so it is necessary to fly.
- Check the room in which the birds are allowed to fly for various sources of danger.
- Close all windows and doors.
- Remove poisonous plants and all things that must not be destroyed. Curiosity and the desire to nibble and try do not stop at anything.
- Cover all vessels filled with water, such as aquariums or vases, so that the birds do not drown.
- Secure all cables and sockets to avoid electrical accidents.
- No matter how fond or disinterested they are in the birds, do not let dogs or cats in the room during the free flight.
Despite all caution – always supervise your birds when they are in free flight. The creative and intelligent animals are sure to find something that you forgot to save.