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Why Is My Parrot On The Bottom of Its Cage?

Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Parrots seldom favor the bottom of their cages, preferring to perch in elevated positions. This mimics wild behaviors and gives parrots a wider vantage point from which to survey their terrain.

If a parrot is always on the floor, it should be considered a red flag. Some issues can be resolved through simple lifestyle modifications, while others require urgent veterinary intervention.

Why Parrots Go To The Bottom of The Cage

Here’s why parrots defy their instinct and stay at the base of the cage:

Retaining Heat

Although the laws of physics dictate that heat rises, the base of a cage is the warmest area. A parrot may head to the bottom of a cage during a cold snap to maintain its body temperature.

This is likely if you’ve lined the bottom of the cage with paper or disposable towels. A parrot may consider wrapping itself in this lining for insulation.

If you notice this behavior in the fall or winter, check the temperature of the room housing the parrot. It should be 65–80°F. If it drops below this level, turn up the central heating.

Inability To Perch

If a parrot sits near-constantly on the bottom of the cage, check its feet for soreness.

Some parrots don’t learn to perch as chicks, so they must be trained later in life. This won’t apply if the parrot formerly used a perch and has ceased doing so recently.

Foot Pain

Perching should be the most comfortable way for a parrot to relax, imitating resting on a tree branch.

If it hurts the parrot’s feet, something is amiss. Check the claws. If these have grown too long, they may be curling over a perch and piercing the soft skin of the feet.

If the claws are an appropriate length, check for plantar pododermatitis (bumblefoot).

According to Reviews in Veterinary Medicine, this is an inflammation of the footpads, often caused by bacterial infection, that makes it painful to perch.

The parrot may need antibiotics with bandages on open sores to recover.

Arthritis

As parrots age, they may show signs of joint pain and arthritis.

Arthritis can be debilitating. According to the American Journal of Veterinary Research, larger parrots suffer more due to their higher body weight.

If a parrot is growing arthritic, consider some lifestyle changes. To promote weight loss, adjust the parrot’s diet, focusing on pellets (with added omega-3 fatty acids) over seeds.

An arthritic parrot may lose interest in exercise, but encourage them to move around. The more mobile the parrot, the healthier its joints will be.

The parrot may need vet-prescribed prescription painkillers like NSAIDs or Neurontin.

parrot sitting on bottom of cage

Fear of Perch

Parrots are easily spooked and may refuse to perch because they fear this vantage point. This is likely if you’ve recently changed the perch because parrots are neophobes (fear the unfamiliar).

Check the layout of the parrot’s room and consider whether anything has recently changed. For example, you just added realistic artwork of wild animals in vivid colors.

Consider what’s inside the cage. Some parrots are startled by the sudden appearance of new toys and decorations. New items should be introduced gradually, not all at once.

Hiding

A parrot may be at the bottom of the cage because it’s hiding. Consider if you’ve given the parrot a reason to fear you, such as unwanted handling or shouting at them for bad behavior.

There may have been external factors that spooked the parrot, like loud noises from outside.

Perhaps the parrot is playing with you because they love to play games with their owners. Hide-and-seek and peek-a-boo are among their favored recreational activities.

About To Lay Eggs

While wild parrots won’t lay eggs without a mate, some pet parrots do due to their environment. Parrots are likeliest to lay eggs in the spring and summer when the days are longer and warmer.

Covering the cage and leaving the room in silence from around 5 to 7 PM onward makes this less likely. Don’t leave anything that could be used as a nesting box in its space.

Petting a parrot in certain areas, like down the back or under the wings, is likelier to result in eggs.

Changing the layout of the cage periodically will deter the parrot from laying unfertilized eggs. ThParrotsrefer to lay eggs in areas they know and trust.

Sickness or Injury

If you can’t find a compelling reason for a parrot remaining at the bottom of the cage, it may have an injury or undiagnosed sickness/disease.

Assess if the parrot could have a head injury. For example, it may remain at the bottom of the cage because it’s dazed and confused due to a collision.

Think back to any instances where the parrot may have hit its head while flying and question if it could have fallen from the top of the cage and landed poorly.

Look out for the following uncharacteristic behaviors:

  • General aloofness and reluctance to engage.
  • Drooping in one or both wings.
  • Regurgitating food (not vomiting) or declining to eat.
  • Struggling to fly.
  • Sleeping during irregular hours.

It’s also possible that the parrot had a seizure when you weren’t around.

The act of a parrot’s seizure – convulsing and jerking – only lasts a few seconds. Then, the parrot will likely spend several hours at the bottom of a cage attempting to recover.