One of the things about parrots that can be easily forgotten is their natural need to chew and forage. In the wild they spend about fifty percent of their time foraging for things such as grass seed and the other half they spend chewing off the husks. It takes a lot of work to chew all the way down to the kernel and finally eat it. It’s all about the work to get that kernel.
So when people have a parrot as a pet, they are usually just given bowls of seed. This makes it extremely easy for the parrot to eat more than it needs in a short period of time. So what is the parrot to do with its natural instincts to chew? What do they have in the cage to entertain themselves? If it’s just metal bells and a dowling perch they will certainly turn back to the seed and overeat.
This is why it is so important to create the proper environment for your parrot. They need to have access to entertainment in the form of nice green leafy branches and other such “wild” edibles to quell their natural instinct to forage. They need to feel alive within their cage! They need to have the opportunity to forage and chew within their little home. This is absolutely essential for the mental and physical health of your parrot.
If they have nothing to do, they will eat and become obese and have all of the health problems associated with that. It is the responsibility of the owner to make sure that the cage isn’t just that, a jail cell for the bird. They need natural perches, knotty branches that they can chew on, not the usual manufactured and rounded perches that you often find in pet shops. They need carefully selected weeds, wild seed pods… Indeed to own a parrot in captivity means you have to forage for them!
If you are unsure about exactly what you need to provide your parrot so they don’t just have a life, they have a great one – contact a Brisbane bird vet.
Some things to keep in mind. When it comes to perches, they shouldn’t be thought of as a rounded dowel that you just put in the cage and that’s that. In fact, never use a rounded dowel as a perch. Perches for parrots should be natural branches that they can chew on and basically destroy – they are disposable and should be replaced often. Aside from the fact that parrots like to chew, rounded dowels are hard for a parrot to stay perched on, it causes problems long term for your bird.
You want to have branches that have rough bark from native Australian trees to ensure they are non-toxic to the parrot. It’s much easier for them to chew rough bark and also provides them with a nice foot massage while they are on the perch.
Overall, know your perch – your parrot will most certainly love you for it!
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