Here are four ways to start your bird’s day right:
1. Be an early bird, too … or at least an earlier bird.
Are you always rushing out the door in the morning, barely leaving enough time to feed your bird, let alone allow him morning time out of the cage? Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier, and make sure you don’t keep hitting the snooze button. The earlier rise time might not be easy at first, but the payoff is definitely worth it. Spend a few minutes giving your bird head scratches or talking to him enthusiastically — “Did you have a good night’s sleep? Are you ready for breakfast!? … “You are so gorgeous in the morning!” Your bird will appreciate this focused attention, even if it’s a one-way conversation.
Extra time also allows you to swap out your commuter mug for a cup of coffee or tea sipped at home. When was the last time you sat down for breakfast with your bird before work? Invite your bird to eat his breakfast with you at the table while you enjoy a bowl of whole-grain cereal instead of grabbing a cereal bar to eat as you drive off. Birds are social eaters by nature and your bird will appreciate having a breakfast buddy.
If your bird loves his playgym, make sure you allow him time on it while you get ready (just check to make sure he hasn’t wandered off of it if he is so inclined, or move it to your room while you get dressed). If you have a shower-loving parrot, take him along in the shower with you. Even if your bird doesn’t like a direct shower soaking, many birds enjoy perching on the shower rod, within steam’s reach. Similarly, many birds enjoy the ambient attention of simply being in the same room as their people — so let your bird give you the one-eye look of approval (or disapproval) as you try on different outfits before settling on the right one.
Giving yourself more morning prep time also reduces that sense of urgency to get out the door in time for work or school. Ever been bit by your parrot as you rush in to scoop him up to go back in the cage because you are running late? Not only do parrots not like to be rushed, they also pick up on their people’s stress levels and respond accordingly. Give yourself time to finish your morning routine in a relatively sane manner; your parrot will be less stressed, too!
2. Begin with a clean slate.
Start your bird’s day with food served in clean bowls as well as fresh water. Don’t just dump more food on top of yesterday’s meal. Wash out your bird’s food bowls with warm, soapy water the night before, or have a second set ready to go for the morning. Not only does this ensure that your bird won’t be ingesting potential bacteria from food or water from the previous day, it also gives you a more accurate idea of how much feeding and how much your bird is eating. And while you are at it, switch out your bird’s cage liner — think of it like making your bed in the morning … don’t you feel better starting your day with a made bed?
3. Serve a healthy breakfast.
It’s OK to kick start your bird’s day with a favorite treat like a blueberry or a piece of almond, but keep it to this one small bit and don’t fill the bowl with treats. In the wild, morning is a busy foraging time for birds. The base diet, whether it’s Nutri-Berries, Avi-Cakes, Pellet-Berries, or Premium Daily Diet Pellets — or a combination of these, should be offered in the morning when your pet bird is hungriest to ensure that he fills up on balanced nutrition first.
4. Give your bird something to do before you leave for the day.
Use that extra 20 minutes in the morning to create a foraging area for your bird. Wrap some Nutri-Berries in paper and place them in the bowl, or place them on the cage floor if your bird likes to ground forage. Break out the toys you know your bird can safely play with while you are away, or place pieces of cardboard or bird-safe wood for your bird to chew and destroy. Give your bird something to “brag about” when you come home and ask how his day was!