Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by Carrie Stephens
Whether you cover a parrot’s cage with a blanket at night depends on how well it sleeps and whether anything in its environment prevents it from resting.
Some parrots sleep better with a cage cover because they block light, replicating nest cavities in the wild.
Covers may stop parrots from experiencing night frights, which are particularly common in cockatiels and budgies. Covering the cage can also provide warmth on cold nights.
Other pet birds become more fearful of the dark when a sheet or blanket obscures their visibility.
Cage covers don’t block out external noise and restrict airflow. Sometimes, hearing scary noises that can’t be seen heightens feelings of unease and restlessness.
Covering A Parrot’s Cage At Night
Whether a parrot prefers to be covered at night depends on its personality and past treatment.
Some parrots like to be aware of their surroundings and become stressed when covered. If a bird was mistreated by a previous owner or had a negative experience, it may exacerbate the problem.
Other birds need help sleeping and resting better, so a full or partial cage cover is recommended. A blanket or sheet can also lead to longer, better sleep quality.
Consider putting a cover over its cage for the following reasons:
Replicates Nest Cavities
According to the Journal of Ornithology, wild parrots live in nest cavities. These holes in trees protect parrots from predators and extreme weather.
Nest cavities are much warmer and darker than branches. Therefore, a cage cover replicates these conditions and makes parrots feel more secure.
According to the Journal of Experimental Biology, parrots can tolerate higher temperatures but struggle in the cold. They thrive in temperatures of 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
If a parrot’s room is too cold, it’ll regulate its body temperature by trapping pockets of air through fluffing its feathers to lock in heat. If the parrot is housed in a draughty room, it may be chilly.
While temperature regulation is a short-term fix, a parrot could develop respiratory problems from exposure to dampness, mold, humidity, and low temperatures.
A cage cover traps heat, making the parrot feel slightly warmer.
Turning out all lights while the parrot sleeps isn’t always feasible, especially in the early evening. Similarly, lights from cars or street lamps can disturb sleep because they create scary shadows.
A cage cover with blackout properties can block out the most disruptive ambient light.
Protection from Pets
If you have other home animals, a cage cover enables parrots to rest more easily. For example, parrots can’t see cats stalking and staring at their cages. Predatory animals should be kept elsewhere.
Why Covering A Parrot’s Cage Is Bad
Not all parrots take well to cage covers, and some grow distressed. While some parrots adjust to being covered when it’s dark, others dislike it. If so, you should stop using a cage cover.
Here are the issues with cage covers:
Most parrots produce dust, especially species with powder-based coats, like African grays.
The dust comes from their feathers, which are coated in a fine layer of keratin that makes barbules. This film protects parrots from water, wear and tear, and external damage.
Over time, the dust sheds off the feathers, especially during the molting season. When the first layer disintegrates, it looks like dust or powder and disperses into the air.
While this is normal, a cage cover will likely trap dust inside the cage. To prevent this issue, cover only three sides of the cage, leaving one side free for ventilation.
Don’t Block Noise
Covers can protect against draughts and light but won’t dull external noise.
The only way to protect the parrot from noise pollution is to turn off sound-making devices, get double glazing, or move the cage to a quieter room.
Things that can partially block sound include:
- Acrylic birdcages.
- Acoustic blankets or audio absorption sheets.
- Standard birdcage covers.
You can also soundproof the parrot’s room.
A cover should invoke feelings of calmness and relaxation. Avoid using a cage cover if the parrot seems unhappy, depressed, or stressed.
Parrot Freaks Out At Night
A terrified parrot is likely having a night fright. Cockatiels and juvenile parrots are prone to night terrors. 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.
- Barking dogs.
- Crying babies.
- Meowing cats.
- Insects circling the cage.
A parrot may fall off its perch or fly into the cage if scared.
Time To Put A Parrot To Bed
Parrots need 10-12 hours of sleep, which is likelier in uninterrupted darkness.
There’s no right or wrong time to put the parrot to bed, but work backward from when it wakes up. Because parrots are diurnal like humans, your sleep patterns are likely in sync.
Place the cover over a parrot when it’s about to fall asleep and remove it when the sun rises. If you don’t remove the cover, the parrot will start vocalizing and grow unsettled.
Remove the cover slowly so you don’t overwhelm the parrot with bright light. Then, gradually raise the blinds, open the curtains, or use a dimmer switch to make the transition easier.
Best Parrot Cage Cover Material
Choose a cover made from a lightweight, breathable material, like cotton. You also need a sturdy material that won’t unravel, like a blanket or tightly woven sheet.
Most parrots sleep in darkness. While some parrots prefer a dim night light, they won’t get 10-12 hours of sleep if there’s too much artificial or natural light.
If a parrot struggles to sleep, cover the cage for a few days to see if things improve. A parrot will tell you if it’s feeling unsettled through actions and loud vocalizations.