Friday, 28 November 2014

Stimulus for Parrots - Made Easy

caique jadewelchbirds jade welch blog chew bottlebrush parrot
Young Black-headed Caique chewing Bottlebrush
Parrots require a great amount of stimulus. Within captivity we the keepers supply our parrots with food, water and shelter which are the essentials to survive and if required breed. All of this is often supplied without them having to do much work. It is often a case of the bird just having to fly down from the perch to access their food and water.

In the wild though finding food and water is more of a challenge. Birds may have to travel long distances, deal with droughts, watch for predators, fight for somewhere to nest, care for young and much more. Life for a wild parrot really isn't easy and poses many challenges. So what do we to stimulate our birds in captivity?

There are many ways of satisfying that need to be stimulated. These include housing birds in flock situations, providing branches and bark for chewing as well as toys and hiding food around the aviary etc. The following are just a couple of ideas that may help to stimulate your birds. They are easy to make and give the birds plenty to do.

nut pole jadewelchbirds jade welch blog chew bottlebrush parrot
Nut Poles are easy to make
Nut Pole
The nut pole is cheap and easy to make. This is just a branch from a non toxic tree, that can be cut to any size, that has a number of holes drilled it it. These holes can be filled with nuts, flowers and other food items for the birds to remove. Once hung in the aviary the birds love to go to work removing their treats from the nut pole.

foraging bowl nuts seeds leaves jadewelchbirds jade welch blog chew bottlebrush parrot
Foraging Bowls are ideal for countless species
Foraging Bowl's
Foraging bowl's are easy to make and can be easily adjusted to suit the species. They can be filled with a range of items that can be collected from around the garden/neighborhood. This includes non toxic seed pods, flowers, chew wood, leaves and much more. Added to this if one wishes food items can be hidden such as seeds or even live foods such as mealworms.

foraging bowl nuts seeds leaves jadewelchbirds jade welch blog chew bottlebrush parrot
This foraging bowl contains many items such as shell grit and charcoal
The bowl featured above is ideal for many species and contains fine shell grit, charcoal, pecan nuts, walnuts, banksia cones, leaves, bamboo pieces & eucalypt pieces. For smaller species the nuts can be totally removed or smaller nuts used. The possibilities are endless.

wood chunks macaw green-winged jadewelchbirds jade welch blog chew bottlebrush parrot
Left over wood is perfect for birds like this Green-winged Macaw
Wood Chunks
When cutting branches for perches or making nest boxes out of non toxic wood, any off cuts can be kept and used later. They can be thrown into the aviary for the birds to chew, placed in nest boxes for a hen working the nest or even threaded onto wire. Below is a combination of left over wood chunks combined with seed pods and leather that have been threaded onto wire.

foraging wire nuts seeds leaves jadewelchbirds jade welch blog chew bottlebrush parrot
This toy is easy to make and provides hours of fun.

As can be seen from the above there are many items that can be used to stimulate our birds. Many of these are simple and cheap to make and for those that are time poor there are many outlets that supply quality foraging toys for our parrots.  

Happy Birdkeeping,

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