By Diane Burroughs
Have you thought much about bird sleep? Do you know how much sleep your pet bird needs? Wild parrots tend to flock closer to the equator where climates are temperate with only two seasons, rainy and dry, and there is little seasonal variation in the length of the day vs. night. So, you can predict how much sleep your bird needs with just a little research into it’s area of origin. Our Moluccan Cockatoo, Peachy, is endemic to Seram and the surrounding islands. Get your globe out! This area is in the Indonesian archipelago island chain. If in the wild, Peachy expect about 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night year-round. And, if Peachy got as much exercise and enrichment as wild parrots get, he’d be worn out by nightfall. Even though Peachy doesn’t get as much exercise and enrichment as a wild parrot, his body clock is in sync with how much light he is exposed to. I’m lucky, because my own personal body clock is in sync with how much light I receive, too. So often, when the sun goes down, the pajamas go on! But, I admit, I’ve been known to enjoy having my parrots around me, even if I’m lounging in bed with the TV LED lights blaring. I put on my little light shades, but my bird may not get that luxury. Never the less, I know that there is a direct correlation between how much good, solid sleep a parrot gets and its ability to maintain a “fun to be around” temperament. Parrots require a lot of sleep. Approximately 12 hrs. a night. A parrot that doesn’t get an adequate amount of sleep is irritable and may actually feel physically compromised. Research tells us that when we don’t get adequate sleep, our immune system is compromised. Our body clocks are out of sync and our mood is greatly affected. As I’ve stated several times throughout the “Chronicles of Peachy” this Moluccan Parrot is exceptional. He has been an exceptional parrot, despite the scary reputation of Moluccan Cockatoo’s for an overwhelming amount of time that we’ve shared our lives. So, in addition to learning about Moluccan’s and preparing to meet his needs, I plan to provide Peachy with conditions that consistently allow him to attain enough sleep to feel rested, healthy and alert. Here are some tips to make sure your parrot has adequate sleep to keep it’s spirits up.
- Quiet & Dark Area: Just like a young child, your parrot needs to expect that it’s night hours are quiet and free from artificial light including LED light from the TV. The best case practice is to provide your parrot with a bird room with a door. Shut the door and darken the windows from about 7:00 pm to 7:00 am. for a good 12 hrs. of sleep. (Give or take the range of hours so that you can interact with your parrot once or twice a day if you work.) Make sure that your bird isn’t kept awake by TV noise and LED lights. If you don’t have an extra room just for your birds, consider bird cages covers. There are commercially available bird cage covers, but a blanket will do, too.
- Day Care: I work part-time in a preschool and young children and parrots have so much in common. A young child needs mental stimulation and socialization throughout the day and a great amount of sleep at night. Us parents have to figure out how to work all day, yet spend quality time with our babies. “Parronting” is very much the same dilemma of trying to make sure your parrot has enough enriching stuff to occupy it during the day and spending quality time with it during your off work hours.
- Minimize Stress Throughout Day: A well occupied and stress free parrot will sleep better at night. Plan for ways to occupy your parrot during the work week. A super resource is “Enriching Your Parrot’s Life.” This DVD will help you find very affordable ways to provide enriching, foraging opportunities for your pet bird to beat birdie boredom. There is another awesome resource available on the internet, http://foragingforparrots.com/