By Diane Burroughs
- Have you thought much about bird sleep?
- Do you know how much sleep your pet bird needs?
Most wild parrots live fairly close 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.
Where In The World Is Your Bird From?
So, you can predict how much sleep your bird needs with just a little research into it’s area of origin. Check this infographic on Where In The World Would Your Bird Sleep? to learn the sleep needs of 15 popular parrot species.
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 totally 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 Seram time. He should be getting about 11 hrs. of sleep a night.
But, I admit, in the past, I thought it was more important to have my pet birds around me as much as possible, even if I was just lounging around after dark, watching the Late Night Show. I’d wheel a bird stand into the living room and watch TV til late, not realizing that LED lights and the noise kept my parrots awake. Peachy got pretty grumpy with this routine. My parrot was screaming, nippy and over-preening. He was not fun to be around!
Your Bird Needs As Much Sleep As A Toddler
Now, 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 10-12 hrs. a night. A parrot that doesn’t get an adequate amount of sleep is irritable and may actually feel physically compromised. Parrots aren’t sound sleepers like toddlers are since they are food for many other animals. One reason wild birds nest in high, hollow tree cavities to to protect themselves and their young from intruders. A parrot needs total darkness and a sense of safety to get a good nights sleep.
Yikes! Lack Of Sleep Makes A Parrot Hormonal?
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. Parrots have all these symptoms plus one more. Their body goes into a seasonal breeding mode. And, we all know how too much hormonal activity makes one behave. What if you didn’t get a good nights sleep and then started acting like an obnoxious 16 year old? Over-sexed birds are not fun to be around.
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 and darkened shades Shut the door and darken the windows from about 7:00 pm to 7:00 am. depending on your hours, 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. Or, better yet, convert a bird carrier into a Bird Sleep Cage. Peachy uses a Wingabago Bird Carrier to sleep in.
- Birdy 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 Foraging Bird Toys and a Play Stand to occupy it during the day and spending quality time with it during your off work hours while still insuring that the bird gets enough sleep.
- Minimize Stress Throughout Day: A well occupied and stress free parrot will sleep better at night. Plan for ways to occupy and exercise 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/
Do you have some tips on how to insure your bird gets enough sleep? Let your fellow readers know in a comment.