Pet Advice: Bird Enrichment

Adopt a Pet Pet Care Pets Pet Health Animals Birds Posted Dec 1, 2020
How can I tell if my bird is happy? We’ve got some pet care tips that will help ensure your pet bird lives a happy and fulfilling life at home through enrichment.
Wild birds can fly and forage whenever the need takes them. So how can we ensure our domestic birds get that same freedom?

Everything that makes a bird unique is relative to their physical and behavioural attributes. Mostly inherited since birth, many skills and traits are learnt through life spent in their natural habitat, emphasising the importance of social learning.

As bird owners, we have the ability to improve our feathery friend's life by modifying their environment, food, and exercise through enrichment. Enrichment for birds can be broken down into different categories: social, life, and environmental.

Social Skills
What many domesticated animals lack compared to their wild counterparts is the ability to comfortably interact and socialise with one another. Within a domesticated setting, social enrichment relates to any interaction between animals. This doesn’t necessarily mean your bird needs to touch another animal, but allowing safe interaction with the outside world is beneficial.
Life Balance
Life enrichment highlights the many normal, daily ‘birdy’ things that your companion lacks from being domesticated. Along with foraging and construction of nests, birds should also be accustomed to flapping, preening, bating, vocalising, chewing, and digging. All of these can be learnt through common exercise.

In a perfect world, your pet bird should be encouraged to fly as often as possible. If not possible, providing birds with obstacle courses and toys such as ladders, bungee ropes and swings will not only provide your bird with exercise, but also applicable life lessons. You can find a range of pet bird toys at RSPCA World for Pets to spice up their aviary! 

do it yourself bird toys and enrichment

Home Enrichment
In the wild, birds spend the majority of their days foraging for food. They also then have to crack into nuts and peel fruits. Conversely, life as a domesticated bird can eliminate these behaviours.

We shouldn’t let our feathery friends get lazy! By simply handing over food that is ready to eat, your companion is stripped of crucial skills that could potentially result in abnormal behaviour.

An alternate approach is through making environmental enrichment! You can purchase or build your own foraging devices to develop your bird’s intuitive skills.

All of this can be achieved by using regular household items: egg carton food puzzles, cardboard tubes, covered dishes, and even newspaper.

keeping your bird happy
What do I feed my pet bird?
Feeding pet birds a balanced diet is not just important for their health, but can also be a source of entertainment. Birds often fail to recognise new foods as something they can eat, so introduce new food gradually and in your bird’s usual feeding area

Try feeding your bird:

  • Leafy greens
  • Coloured vegetables
  • Small portions of fruit
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, and peas)
  • Small amounts of grasses and sprouted seeds

For more advice on your pet bird’s diet and what to feed them, check out the RSPCA knowledgebase here.

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