By Diane Burroughs
A huge part of keeping Peachy, our frisky Moluccan Cockatoo, content and well is to offer plenty of exercise. Exercising our parrot helps provide for his needs and is part of the strategy we use to help him be his best. Have you ever wondered how to exercise a parrot? Just like you, your bird needs to have regular exercise to maintain it’s health. Wild parrots are guaranteed , birds are guaranteed loads of exercise as they got about their daily activities of flying to food sites, foraging for food and climbing about trees. Sadly, pet birds must rely on their owner for everything, including getting out of cage time, providing exercise and foraging activities, even socialization. Read on to learn how to exercise a parrot so that your parrot can be content as well, too.
- Provide bird toys that promote movement. Some of the best bird toys for promoting exercise include bird bungees, ladders and climbing nets. Bird swings also require movement and balance. Chunky bird toys with a lot of chewing parts are a good option too as your bird navigates to the bird toy to bite a chunk off and then back to its perch to whittle it away. Most birds enjoy foraging buckets, too, where they have to figure out how to get at the toys inside of the bucket.
- Get a bird stand to provide a safe out of cage play area. Whenever you’re at home and can reasonably supervise your parrot, have it out on a bird stand to play. Peachy’s bird stand is in front of his open cage when we are home. Pet birds love socializing on a bird stand. Just like you’d do when purchasing a bird cage, buy the biggest bird stand that you can afford. By biggest, we mean the length of perch and climbing area. Some bird stands offer multiple levels to promote climbing. With a little ingenuity, you can mount Java Perches to your bird stand to offer many climbing areas. Get into a routine of having your parrot out on a bird stand as much as possible when you are home. We highly recommend that you view the DVD Captive Foraging get the best use out of your bird stand.
- Create games to play with your parrot. Clever parrots love games. We play catch with Peachy! I throw a small wiffle ball and he tries to catch it. He puts on quite the fanfare as he climbs about his bird stand trying to catch the ball and he is rewarded with whistles and hoops and hollers when he does indeed catch the ball. Peachy also enjoys chasing a wiffle ball that we roll across the floor . Share your parrot games in a comment below!
- Teach your bird tricks. Some of the bird trick props at AllBirdCares.com encourage movement and exercise, like the roller skates and bird basketball hoop. Bird Roller Skates, for instance work out foot, leg and torso muscles. Not only will your parrot have fun learning bird tricks, it will enjoy the the attention it gets from entertaining you.
- Dance with your parrot! Parrots are capable of dancing with rhythm and they love the socialization of dancing with you. The more vigorous the dance, the better for both of you! See if you can get your parrot to step and stomp, flap it’s wings and judder about.
- Offer a well trained parrot outdoor time and flight. Steve Martin of Natural Encounters, Inc. states that “Owning a parrot is like driving a car … anyone can do it. However, free flying a parrot outside is like driving a car in the Daytona 500. It should be reserved for only the most experienced and talented people who have the right equipment.” If you’re not up for the task of free flying, consider training your parrot with an Aviator Bird Harness. Available in a range of sizes, these safe bird harnesses come complete with a training DVD and allow your parrot limited flight. While flying a parrot outside may offer the ultimate exercise, do your homework to determine if your parrot is physically and mentally up to the task and carefully educate yourself on how to teach a parrot to fly.
Providing Peachy with adequate exercise is an important part of our parrot care strategy of helping him to be a content and healthy pet.