Page 49

in the wild? • What are the actions that occupy this parrot species’ 24-hour cycle? Answers: flying, grooming, sleeping, and finding food, safe roosting spots, new territory, mates and nest sites. Wild parrots spend over 50 percent of their daily activity foraging and feeding. Now think about what your companion parrot is doing during his 24-hour cycle, and what he would be doing in the wild if he had a choice. If it is drastically different, a change is needed. Foraging is one of the most severely constrained behaviors of captive parrots

What Captivity Takes Away When parrots live in captivity, the daily challenges and choices they would have in the wild no longer exist. Food is brought to them. They always have a stationary perch to rest on. They don’t need to search for a mate or nesting site. There are no predators to evade. All this may sound great to us, but behavioral and health problems can result. By making life easier for companion parrots, we have inadvertently taken away their choices and removed opportunities for them to fulfill their instinctual desires. We have created an environment that is not conducive for their overall health and well-being. This can cause them to suffer from captivity-related stress and other maladaptive behaviors. Captive parrots need the opportunity to behave as they would in the wild

Enrichment as Prevention Avian veterinarians, parrot rescue and rehabilitation centers and individual parrot owners are acutely aware that behavioral abnormalities are common in captive parrots. Self-destructive and maladaptive behaviors such as such as excessive screaming, feather destruction, self-mutilation, phobic reactions, stereotypic behaviors, depression and aggression are all too common. Fortunately, enrichment studies have proven that these can be reduced Studies have shown one in 10 captive parrot species develop psychogenic feather plucking behavior


significantly or prevented altogether with the use of species-appropriate enrichment.

How Enrichment Helps: • Promotes naturalistic behaviors that stimulate a parrot’s mind and increases physical activity, resulting in a reduction in overall stress. • A reduction in stress promotes overall increased health by increasing the parrot’s perception of control over her environment. • Enhances the environment and stimulates the parrot to investigate and interact more with her surroundings. • Enables a parrot to occupy his time in captivity most constructively.

Enrichment promotes naturalistic behaviors that stimulate the mind and increase physical activity. Enrichment reduces stress and therefore promotes overall health by increasing an animal’s perception of control over his/her environment

The Goal of Providing Enrichment for Parrots in Captivity is to: • Increase the range of natural behaviors. • Reduce abnormal behaviors. • Increase positive ways to utilize their environment. • Increase the ability to cope with stresses and challenges in a healthier way. The goals of enrichment are to offer a sense of control by allowing animals to make choices and to stimulate species-appropriate behaviors. Enrichment is generally grouped into the following five categories. These are not mutually exclusive or listed in any order. Safety is always priority.

Cognitive/Occupational Exercise for the mind and body by offering psychological devices and/or voluntary behavioral training. The goal is to encourage

Chopin, the Moluccan cockatoo, is challenged mentally and physically to utilize his species’ natural foraging and problem solving skills to retrieve a highvalue nut from a puzzle feeder

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015


Profile for The Pet Professional Guild

BARKS from the Guild May 2015  

Published quarterly and managed by Susan Nilson, "BARKS from the Guild" presents a collection of valuable business and technical articles as...

BARKS from the Guild May 2015  

Published quarterly and managed by Susan Nilson, "BARKS from the Guild" presents a collection of valuable business and technical articles as...