is it good to cover my parrot at night?

Should I Cover My Parrot At Night?

There’s no right or wrong answer as to whether you should cover your parrot’s cage at night. It all comes down to how well your parrot sleeps and whether anything in its environment prevents it from resting.

Some parrots sleep better with a cage cover because they block out ambient and natural light, replicating nest cavities. Covers can stop parrots from having night frights. However, other parrots are afraid of the dark, becoming more fearful with a cover over their cage because they restrict airflow and fail to keep out noise. 

Find out how your parrot responds to a cage cover. Sometimes, covering the cage makes parrots feel stressed and anxious, preventing them from sleeping. Other parrots will feel more relaxed during the night when covered up.

Is It Good To Cover My Parrot At Night?

Whether your parrot prefers to be covered up at night or not is all down to its personality. Some parrots like to be aware of their surroundings and become stressed because they feel trapped by the cover.

However, some parrots need help to sleep at night and rest better with a cover. If your parrot shows signs of sleep deprivation, a blanket or sheet might improve things.

There are also environmental conditions to consider, such as living in a noisy apartment block or on a busy road with lots of light pollution. These can prevent your parrot from sleeping.

If your parrot displays symptoms of tiredness, consider putting a cover over its cage for these reasons:

Replicates Nest Cavities

According to the Journal of Ornithology, wild parrots live in nest cavities for shelter. These cavities are holes in trees that offer protection from predators and bad weather.

Nest cavities are much warmer and darker than branches that stick out from trees. Therefore, using a cage cover replicates these conditions and makes parrots feel safe and secure when darkness falls.

covering parrot cage with blanket

Warmth

As described by the Journal of Experimental Biology, parrots can tolerate high temperatures but aren’t as well adapted to the cold. They normally prefer temperatures of 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the room your parrot lives in is too cold, it’ll attempt to regulate its body temperature by trapping pockets of air around its body, fluffing its feathers to lock in the heat.

However, if you house your parrot in a draughty room or you have air conditioning to cool your home, your parrot may be too cold. While temperature regulation is a short-term fix, your parrot is at risk of developing respiratory problems from prolonged exposure to the cold.

A cage cover traps heat, making your parrot feel warmer. This won’t be enough to produce the temperature it needs, but it will be beneficial.

Blocks Ambient Light

It’s not always feasible to turn out all lights in your home while your parrot sleeps.

Similarly, some lights – from a car or street lamp – can disturb your parrot’s sleep. In this instance, a cage cover with blackout properties can block out the most disruptive ambient light.

Keeps Out Natural Light

During the summer, there’s more natural light. This could lead to your parrot waking up earlier.

While wild parrots adapt their sleeping patterns based on how close to the equator they live, captive parrots find this process more significantly difficult. If your parrot struggles to get the sleep it needs, place a cover over its cage.

Protection from Other Pets

If you have other animals in the home that are interested in your parrot, a cage cover enables them to rest easy at night. For example, parrots can’t see cats, so they may feel more comfortable.

Similarly, if other animals can’t see the parrot while it sleeps, they’re less likely to be interested in staring at your parrot. This creates a more harmonious living environment for pets when darkness falls. 

Is It Bad To Cover My Parrot’s Cage?

Not all parrots take well to cage covers and become distressed. While some parrots get used to being covered up, others don’t. If so, you should stop using a cage cover altogether. You also need to consider these factors:

Parrot Dust

Most parrots produce dust, especially species with powder-based coats. The dust comes from their feathers, which are coated in a fine layer of keratin that makes barbules. This film protects from water, wear and tear, and outside damage.

Over time, the dust naturally sheds off the feathers, especially during molting season. When the first layer disintegrates, it looks like dust or powder and quickly disperses into the environment.

Larger birds, such as African greys and cockatoos, are more likely to produce parrot dust than smaller species, such as budgies and parrotlets.

While this is entirely normal, a cage cover is likely to trap dust, causing respiratory issues. The dustiest area will be your parrot’s cage, so the dust becomes isolated to this spot. To prevent this from happening, only cover three sides of the cage, leaving one free for ventilation.

Doesn’t Block Noise

If your parrot can’t sleep because of the noise levels, a cover will not resolve the problem. Covers can only protect against draughts and light. They won’t do anything to dull the noise your parrot hears.

The only fail-proof way to protect your parrot from noise pollution is to turn off all sound-making devices or move your parrot’s cage to a quieter area of the home.

If you can’t do this, your parrot will become irritable and tired, losing out on the sleep it needs to stay healthy. Other things that can block sound include:

  • Acrylic bird cages
  • Acoustic blankets or audio absorption sheets
  • Standard bird cage covers

You can also soundproof the room where your parrot lives.

Punishment

Never use a cage cover to punish your parrot. While it’s tempting to put your parrot into “time out” every time it misbehaves, you’ll do more harm than good.

For example, the cage cover is likely to trigger feelings of fear and anxiety. As a result, your parrot will struggle to sleep. You’ll also trigger stress-related behaviors, such as:

  • Feather plucking
  • Self-mutilation
  • Aggression
  • Biting
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Stereotypical behaviors, such as tongue clicking or tail bobbing

By using your cage cover as a punishment, you’ll only upset your parrot and throw its sleeping pattern out of sync.

Distress

A cover should invoke feelings of calm and relaxation. If your parrot seems sad, depressed, or stressed because of the cage cover, stop using it. As explained, not all parrots enjoy sleeping when covered up.

What’s The Best Parrot Cage Cover Material?

Choose a cover that’s made from a lightweight, breathable material. Cotton is the best fabric as it won’t block airflow.

You also need to choose a sturdy material that won’t unravel, such as a blanket or sheet that’s tightly woven. Otherwise, your parrot might ingest small pieces.

Why Does My Parrot Freak Out At Night?

Your parrot is likely having a night fright. Cockatiels are particularly prone to night terrors, as are younger parrots. Nightmares can be caused by a sudden loud noise or bright light, sparking fear and panic. All manner of things can cause a night fright, including:

  • Car headlights
  • Dogs barking
  • Babies crying
  • Cats meowing
  • Insects flying past the cage

If the parrot is scared, it may fall off its perch, causing injury. It might also become panicked, attempting to fly away from the danger, crashing into its cage instead. In the worst cases, a night terror results in a heart attack. While a cover can’t block out the noise, it can reduce the amount of light.

A cage that’s covered too densely will trigger night fright in parrots that are scared of the dark. Parrots can’t see well in the dark and become disorientated if there’s no light at all.

Covers can have a detrimental effect on the health of parrots that are scared of the dark. That’s because it makes them feel vulnerable to things they perceive as a threat. If so, you shouldn’t use a cage cover.

what time should I cover my parrot's cage?

What Time Should I Put My Parrot To Bed?

Parrots need 10-12 hours of sleep, This is most likely to happen if they get uninterrupted darkness a night. While this is a broad range, it’s best to start with more darkness and reduce it if your parrot wakes up early.

There’s no definitive time to put your parrot to bed, but you can work backward from the time you or your parrot wakes up. Because parrots sleep at the same time as you, your sleep patterns are likely to be in sync.

What Time Should I Cover My Parrot’s Cage?

Only cover your parrot’s cage during sleeping hours. Place the cover over it when your parrot’s due to fall asleep. Your parrot will begin to settle down soon after. Remove the cover when you wake up or when the sun comes out. If you don’t remove the cover soon enough, your parrot will start vocalizing and rattling around in its cage to get free.

Remove the cover gently so as not to overwhelm your parrot with light. This could make it agitated or angry. Gradually raise the blinds or open the curtains, or use a dimmer switch to make the transition from dark to light easier.

Can Birds Sleep with The Light On?

Most parrots need to sleep in darkness. While some parrots prefer a dim night light, they won’t be able to get their full 10-12 hours of sleep if there’s too much ambient or natural light. Your parrot’s instinct is to stay awake whenever there’s light to protect themselves from predators. At night, they have protection from the dark.

If your parrot struggles to sleep, use a cover for a few days to see if it improves things. Your parrot will soon let you know through its actions and vocalizations if it’s unhappy.