Baby parrots (chicks) sleep for an average of 2 hours a day more than adult parrots. In the first stages of life, getting enough rest is essential for a chick’s growth and development. But how long do baby parrots sleep?
Baby parrots sleep for 12-14 hours a day, while adult parrots sleep for 10-12 hours a day. Some chicks may also nap during the day. Parrot chicks spend longer in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is a deeper stage of sleep.
If your baby parrot sleeps more often than you’d expect, sickness or exhaustion could be the explanation. This is more likely to be the case with hand-reared chicks. Also, environmental disturbances, crop burn, or night fright could be causing your baby parrot to feel particularly tired and sleep-deprived.
How Many Hours Do Baby Parrots Sleep?
Most parrots are tropical or subtropical. They live near the equator, which receives around 12 hours of darkness a night. As a result, parrots need approximately 10-12 hours of sleep each night and are usually awake from sunrise to sunset. However, this largely depends on the:
Some parrots like taking short naps throughout the day, but most remain awake when it’s light outside and go to sleep when the sun goes down. Whether your parrot naps or not comes down to its personality, sleep preferences, and the amount of energy it expends each day.
Baby parrots follow a similar sleeping pattern to adults, but as mentioned, they sleep slightly longer – around 12-14 hours at night. Again, this depends on the parrot’s age and species.
The fact is, chicks sleep as much as they need to, so the number of hours they rest varies. This longer sleeping pattern enables them to grow and develop and keeps them healthy during these vital stages of life.
How Do Baby Parrots Sleep?
Baby parrots spend more time in REM sleep. According to the National Audubon Society, birds share the same sleeping cycles as mammals, which includes the following two stages:
- Non-rapid eye movement sleep (non-REM)
- Rapid eye movement sleep (REM)
The only difference is that the cycles are shorter. Non-REM sleep averages around two and a half minutes in parrots, while REM sleep lasts around nine seconds.
Like adults, baby parrots also sleep with half of their brain awake. This is known as unihemispheric slow-wave sleep. This is essential for their safety, as it allows them to wake up whenever a predator’s nearby. Parrots adjust how much of their brains are asleep by how much they open or close their eyes.
Newly weaned baby parrots prefer to stay close to the ground while they sleep. After a few weeks, a baby parrot’s sleeping position becomes more or less the same as an adult’s. Parrots don’t lose muscle tone when they sleep, so they can rest in several different ways, including:
Sleeping on One Foot
This is normal behavior and is where a parrot tucks one foot into its feathers before it goes into a deep sleep. The other footholds onto a branch or perch.
Head Tucked Into Body
Baby parrots that frequently nap like to rotate their heads and tuck them against their back. They use both legs to stand and remain partly alert.
Baby parrots that are getting used to new sleeping positions nap while leaning forward on their perch. In many cases, this results in them landing at the bottom of the cage. This is a common reason why owners find their parrots at the bottom of the cage in the morning.
Lying on Back
Some parrot species fall asleep lying on their backs. As mentioned, this is common with baby birds. Baby parrots don’t tend to be as wary about predators and other dangers as adults, so they’re more comfortable falling asleep this way. They also tire more easily, and laying on their backs conserves more energy.
Why Is My Baby Parrot Sleeping So Much?
As discussed, baby parrots sleep more than adults because they’re growing and developing. They need to conserve their energy, and sleeping is the best way to do this. However, your parrot shouldn’t be sleeping all day, every day.
Sleeping is also easily mistaken for roosting. Roosting looks like sleeping, but it’s actually when parrots get into a comfortable sleeping position before dozing off.
Take your parrot to an avian vet while it’s still young to make sure that it doesn’t have any health problems. In the meantime, these are the most likely causes of your baby parrot sleeping for excessive amounts of time:
One of the most common causes of excessive sleeping is illness. Baby parrots are vulnerable to different health conditions as their bodies are so weak and vulnerable in the first few days, weeks, and months. Similarly, inexperienced handlers risk putting them in danger through poor feeding and handling techniques in the absence of a parent.
Exhaustion may be to blame for your parrot’s sleeping behavior. This is normal in baby parrots. They’re learning and discovering so much; it’s natural for them to tire more easily than fully-fledged parrots. You must also remember that baby parrots develop at different rates and have different sleeping requirements.
However, if your baby parrot sleeps in between naps, you’ll need to figure out if there’s something in its environment that’s affecting its sleep.
Why Isn’t My Baby Parrot Sleeping Enough?
If your baby parrot seems overly tired or struggles to carry out basic tasks and activities, it’s probably not getting enough sleep. This can have severe long-term consequences, so you must fix whatever’s troubling your parrot to ensure it gets plenty of rest. These issues are most likely caused by:
There may be environmental disturbances that are making it hard for your parrot to sleep. Factors include:
- The TV or radio’s on too loud or too late
- Your family’s up too late, making excessive amounts of noise
- There are artificial or LED lights shining on your parrot’s cage
- Your parrot’s constantly startled by noisy pets
Any of these things can prevent your parrot from getting the rest it needs. A lack of sleep is bound to affect your parrot’s development and growth in the long term.
Baby parrots are at risk of night frights because they’re experiencing new things for the very first time. Night frights are caused by:
- Dogs barking
- Cats meowing
- Babies crying
- Car headlights going past the window
- Insects flying past the cage
Night terrors can be terrifying for baby parrots. If your parrot’s scared, it could fall off its perch, resulting in injury. Covering your parrot’s cage with a sheet or blanket can reduce the amount of light your baby parrot sees and protect it from harm.
Crop burns occur when owners hand-feed their parrots formula that’s too hot. This commonly happens when the food’s microwaved and develops hotspots due to improper mixing. Not only can this physically burn the crop, but it affects the ability to empty itself, resulting in yeast infections. The discomfort makes it difficult for parrots to fall asleep.
Why Is My Baby Parrot Making Noise While Sleeping?
Many baby birds make noises while they sleep. While inexperienced owners may be concerned that this is a sign of a problem, it’s actually normal. You may notice the following sounds during your parrot’s sleeping time:
- Beak grinding
Interestingly, The Guardian reported that baby birds practice songs while they sleep by replaying them in their heads. Researchers recorded the brains of birds and discovered that they flickered with activity that corresponded to songs they’d heard the previous day. This goes some way to explaining why some birds are more prone to making noises in their sleep than others.
Don’t be too alarmed if your baby parrot sleeps for a long time, as this is normal. However, pay attention to their behavior and mannerisms, as excessive sleep sometimes indicates a health or environmental issue. For further information, read our guide to caring for baby parrots.