Seven Important Aspects of Parrot Care
P is for Play

“The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression.” -Brian Sutton-Smith

While this quote was originally written with humans in mind, the same is true for the birds we love. All too often, I hear about birds with plucked feathers. While not all feather plucking is caused by boredom and depression, sadly, this cause of plucking is relatively easy to prevent.

Many bird toys are available in the market today. However, the things your bird thinks are most fun are those he sees you using regularly--he thinks you're playing and wants to enjoy that same toy--the keyboard, pen, car keys, phone, remote control, etc.

Most people who get a puppy immediately purchase things so they can play together. Dog toys often include balls, frisbees, and tug-of-war toys and some birds will fetch or play a gentle game of tug-of-war. But most commercially available bird toys are intended for the bird to play with alone.

If we can't purchase ready-made games for human and bird to enjoy together, we can create games to play with our birds. Common kids games such as working a wooden puzzle, Jenga towers, or Dominos are great "together" activities--OK, for a cockatoo and many other birds, it's more like the human puts the pieces together and the bird takes them apart or knocks them down, but this is social time for your bird and a great opportunity to bond as well as prevent depression. Peek-A-Boo is another game that is good for birds plus it has the added benefit of helping to prevent separation anxiety (and subsequent screaming).

What percentage of the day do you spend playing with your bird?

Remember, you are the only social life your bird has.

Play. Prevent depression. Enjoy your bird.


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