Last Updated on February 17, 2024 by Carrie Stephens
Pet parrots spend much of their time caged, so we must do what we can to make their lives enjoyable. They like fun activities that involve climbing, exploring, problem-solving, foraging, and chewing.
While pet parrots are usually born in captivity and know of no other life, these clever birds must be kept entertained. Fun things to do are even more vital if they lack a same-species companion.
If a parrot grows bored in its cage, it can become stressed. Unfortunately, an unhappy parrot may develop stereotypies, like pacing back and forth, wire-chewing, and feather-destructive behavior (FDB).
Things Parrots Can Do Alone for Fun
The best ways to keep pet parrots entertained during the day include:
Parrots are skilled climbers who enjoy scaling their cages as a recreational activity. They use their beak as a third limb, gripping the bar when pulling themselves up. This is called “beaking.”
Foraging for Food
Wild parrots spend most of their day searching for food. While a pet parrot will doubtless appreciate the reliable routine of being fed twice a day, it’ll maintain a desire to search for food.
A parrot will enjoy foraging and climbing more if you hang food toward the top of the cage.
Playing with Toys
Toys give a parrot the chance to exercise and occupy its mind. Options include:
- Swings, ladders, and ropes enable a parrot to climb without using the cage bars.
- Chew toys from parrot-safe wood (pine, fir, cork, elm, and bamboo wood are non-toxic).
- Puzzles must be turned, twisted, or moved to open, especially in conjunction with foraging.
- Noisy toys, like rattles and bells.
- Balls and other small toys the parrot can roll and move around the cage.
Chewing and Destroying
Add cardboard or a telephone directory to the cage. Parrots are driven to chew, which keeps their beaks worn down. As well as chew toys, consider adding a cuttlefish bone.
Cuttlefish bone is tough and edible, so a parrot will enjoy chewing while benefitting nutritionally.
According to the Korean Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, cuttlebones are a source of calcium carbonate. Cuttlefish bones are essential for parrots’ bones, eggshells, and overall health.
Watching TV is a popular way to unwind, and many parrots will enjoy the social aspect of watching shows with you. You could also leave the TV on for parrots to watch to prevent loneliness.
Ethology believes that parrots respond to recorded audio similarly to physical interaction.
Avoid nature shows, as the sight of predators and their vocal calls may frighten parrots. Don’t play loud action movies because sudden noises startle and scare prey animals.
Parrots enjoy non-threatening shows. Children’s TV, a vintage sitcom, or game shows are good options. They’ll listen attentively, learning to say an oft-repeated catchphrase or something they find funny.
Fun Things Owners Can Do with Parrots
Parrots can amuse themselves during the day, but you should interact with a parrot one-on-one whenever possible. Parrots relish the companionship of bonded humans.
They must spend several hours outside their cage, which should be spent indulging in fun activities.
Anthrozoös stated that owners consider the parrot-human bond similar or superior to that of cats and dogs. The more time you spend with a parrot, the more you’ll be rewarded.
Parrots like to learn and develop new skills, and many species are natural show-offs who revel in entertaining owners. You can use time outside the cage to teach a parrot to perform tricks.
Use the “step up” command when encouraging a parrot to move from its perch to another or onto your hand or shoulder to transport them around the home.
Teaching a parrot to dance will be enjoyable for all. Play some music the parrot likes and move to the beat. The parrot will watch you intently and mimic your movements.
Current Biology noted that parrots are the only animals that move their body to a rhythmic beat.
Parrots love to play games with their owners. You’ll soon learn what a parrot responds best to, but here are some of the best games to play with parrots:
- Fetch and retrieve. Parrots like to play fetch with a ball or other object. This game also means you can teach a parrot to fetch small items around the house you can’t reach.
- Hide and seek. Take a parrot to an unfamiliar room and hide. Call out to the parrot, and it’ll follow your voice, seeking you out.
- Basketball. The parrot can be taught to dunk the ball if you purchase a desktop basketball hoop. Drop the ball through the hoop as your parrot watches so it’ll want to join in.
- Tug of war. Many parrots enjoy a tug-of-war game with a rope toy.
- Tag. Tell the parrot that you intend to chase it and wriggle your fingers so it expects to be petted if caught. Then, follow it around the home.
- Chess. Hide a snack under a series of chess pieces and watch with fascination as it deliberates over which move to play by knocking over the piece and gaining its reward.
Take a break from play if your parrot shows frustration, tiredness, or overstimulation.
Parrots need natural sunlight to flourish, so spend time together in the yard. You can supervise a secure cage or get a harness so it can fly in a predator-free zone without getting away.
Even if you have an excellent relationship with your parrot, never let it free-fly outdoors. If you use a harness, test out the new equipment indoors to ensure it works to your liking.
Secure the area, ensuring no neighborhood cats can access and attack your parrot. If you live in an area with birds of prey (hawks, eagles, etc), letting a parrot fly on a harness is NOT an option.
Parrots are fun-loving birds that require mental and physical stimulation. If you provide enjoyable activities for them to do, you’ll be rewarded with a happy and contented parrot.