Our feathered friends deserve to be treated as VIPs, too, as in Very Important Parrots. Add some “Pampered Parrot” days to your calendar, where the day is all about your bird. Here are five fun suggestions for pampering your parrot.
1. Offer Your Bird A “Spa Day”
Bathing is an important part of maintaining healthy feathers, and most parrots enjoy bathing in one form or another. Since summer is now upon us, and with it warmer weather, set aside some time on a sunny day to treat your bird to an outdoor spray bath. Roll your bird’s cage outside, place your bird in a travel cage or, if it’s trained to wear a harness, place it on a T-stand and give it a gentle, yet thorough drenching via a spray bottle bath. Aim just above your bird’s head so the water falls like a mist down on it, as opposed to a direct body hit with a stream of water. (A word of caution: Don’t let your bird’s wing feather trim give you a false sense of security. Some birds, especially cockatiels, can gain lift off and fly away even if its feathers were recently clipped.)
After its outdoor bath, give your bird some time to preen under the natural sunlight, which is also good for feather health; just be sure to stay with your bird while it is outdoors … you don’t want its spa day ruined by being dive-bombed by a bird of prey or pawed at by a neighborhood cat!
2. Hang Time On You
If your bird enjoys hanging out on you, offer yourself up as an edible tree. I’m not talking about enticing your bird to bite you; I’m suggesting sprinkling some spray millet seeds on your arm, shoulder or lap and letting your bird “vacuum” them up as it climbs or cuddles with you. You can also crumble up a Nutri-Berrie and spread it around you. This pampered parrot activity is more ideal for small birds (with small beaks!), such as cockatiels, budgies and small conures. Strips of cardboard, shredded paper or balsa wood pieces for your bird to find and chew up are fun to throw into the mix as well. Of course, there is likely to be a mess afterward; however, since this is your bird’s “pampered parrot” day, you can put up with a little laundering and sweeping up, right?
3. Schedule Some Silly Talk
If you haven’t had a silly conversation with your parrot lately, set aside some time for this fun yet simple activity. This is especially great for parrots that tend to be hands off — your bird might not want you to pick it up or pet it, but it will still love you taking the time to give it 100% of your attention devoted to saying how handsome/pretty it is, how much you love him/her and how smart he/she is. Talk to your parrot in a silly, enthusiastic voice — even the most seemingly standoffish parrot will start to relax and revel in the fun talk. Ideally, this setup should be free of visual and sound distractions, so you have your bird’s full attention and so you don’t have to compete with other visual and audible stimuli. Invite your bird to participate in the conversation by whistling or singing to it, too!
4. Make It Movie Night
What bird wouldn’t love to spend full-length movie time with their favorite person? There are some fabulous bird-themed movies that both you and your bird can enjoy together. For animated flicks, check out “Rio,” “Three Caballeros,” there’s also Disney’s live action “Paulie,” starring a blue-crowned conure. Two excellent bird-focused documentaries are “The Parrots of Telegraph Hill, and “Winged Migration.” Many birds also enjoy cartoons, so flip the channel to Cartoon Network, Disney Channel or Nickelodeon, or peruse the many animated selections on Netflix’s family category. Open a bag of Popcorn Nutri-Berrie Treats to give your bird a true cinematic experience.
5. Food & Games
No pampered parrot day would be complete without catering to its taste buds. Use your imagination to create a fun-to-eat treat. Imagine you and your bird having a picnic or tea together. For medium to large parrots, cut the core out of a mini apple and wedge a couple of almonds or mini carrot in it, or pull a handful of cilantro through the center.
How do you pamper your parrot? Or how do you think your parrot would want to be pampered? Do share!