Guest Author - Heather Thomas
Youíve heard children and teenagers complain of boredom. And the phrase, boredom is simply a lack of imagination, is a familiar one. Pet birds suffer from boredom and depend on your imagination and creativity to keep their environment interesting and stimulating.
A bored bird often exhibits behavior many would classify as ďbadĒ behavior. Feather plucking, destructive chewing, aggressive behavior and excessive vocalization are all manifestations of boredom. Boredom is not the only cause of these behaviors but it should always be considered as a possibility.
Rotate toys and Redecorate
Consider your individual circumstances. If your bird spends much of its day inside its cage or home alone, make its cage a stimulating and interesting place to be. Provide many different types of toys. Foraging toys cause your bird to spend time problem solving. Hanging toys provide exercise and stimulation. Toys, such as a Boing, allow swinging and bouncing while maneuvering around interesting shapes. Be sure your bird has plenty of chewing or shredding toys to occupy their busy beaks. To further prevent birdie boredom, rotate toys, rearrange perches and toys monthly, in essence creating a new environment for your bird each month.
Although a well-appointed cage does provide some measure of entertainment for your feathered friend, it is no substitute for personal interaction. Birds are flock animals and require flock interaction for their mental well-being. In the wild, birds spend their entire life interacting within the flock. Since you are your birdís flock, you must provide the interaction it needs by spending time daily. Some ways you can spend quality time would be trick training, clicker training and behavior training. Even if you donít have large blocks of time to spend on intensive training, your bird enjoys simply hanging-out with you. Share your breakfast together; allow your bird to sit on your shoulder for some head scratching while you check your e-mail or watch television. If itís unsafe for your bird to be out of the cage, while youíre cooking or washing dishes for example, call to your bird from another room, this is flock behavior they really enjoy.
Play gyms provide a mobile extension to your birdís habitat. They come in all shapes and sizes providing a flexible extension to your environment. Some are made to sit on top of your birdís cage. Very large tree-like versions provide a more natural experience for your bird. Play gyms on wheels allow you to move your bird to where you are, such as near you while you work on the computer or on your favorite hobby. Natural woods provide a comfortable foot feel and chewing media for your bird. Some people devote entire rooms as playrooms for their birds, building elaborate structures to entertain their feathered family members for hours.
Put thought and consideration into your pet birdís environment to effectively combat birdie boredom. These enrichments will also create a stronger bond between you and your feathered friend as you build a bird friendly habitat within your home.