You might be downright diligent about not accidentally rewarding your pet bird when he or she screams for attention. However, even the most trained and patient among us might experience moments when our pet birds are a little too vocal given the household climate. (Does covering the cage or running toward your bird to tell him/her to quiet down … or screaming back … sound familiar?) If you find yourself in need of a little quiet time and your parrot is simply not getting it, here are tips and tricks to stop the screech:
Top 5 Scream Stoppers
1. Bath time is usually followed by quiet time.
Is your bird all riled up, screeching for seemingly no reason … and driving you insane in the process? Try giving your bird a gentle spray bath. The emphasis is on “gentle.” You are not fire-hosing your bird off of his perch to stop him from making too much noise; instead you are offering him a healthy, relaxing “spa treatment” distraction. Granted, some parrots can be quite exuberant and loud while bathing, but bath time is almost always followed by quiet time after bathing. Most pet parrots will devote a good amount of time to meticulously preen their feathers after a bath, giving you some noise respite time in the process.
True, some birds can probably scream with their mouths full, but a fun food or toy to chew up will make your bird forget all about that ruckus she was happily engaging in and wreaking havoc on your ears in the process. For food, opt for those that your bird can hold and tear apart or that you can wrap up in a piece of paper for your bird to unwrap and devour, like Avi-Cakes or a few Nutri-Berries. For smaller birds like cockatiels, a bit of spray millet might just get them to pause their whistle serenade. Likewise, offer your bird a foot toy for him to play with. (Some birds like to have their foot toys handed to them, and are more likely to be drawn into a play session if you pretend like you don’t want to hand the toy over.)
3. Sing a silly song … and join along!
Give your parrot an opportunity to “get the noise out.” Sing to your bird or talk in an overly animated way before you need the quiet part of the day. Parrots are usually most vocal in the morning and again in the evening. Once you accept the notion that it is normal for your bird to be more vocal at certain times of the day, you can mentally prepare for it, and better plan your schedule around it. For example, save phoning a friend until after your bird has had a chance to have his vocal say about his day.
4. Prompt service.
A lot of parrots (especially those with hearty appetites) like to start their day with breakfast, promptly served of course. Instead of letting your parrot screech his not-so-subtle-hints that is it is his breakfast time, be in the habit of feeding him around the same time each morning. Does your bird have a tendency to screech for your attention as you get ready for work? Feed him first thing, before you get into your morning rush-around routine. Your bird will be happily chowing down and the dialed-down noise level will help you feel less stressed as you try to get out the door on time.
Do you have any secret weapons to getting your pet bird quiet down in a happy, healthy way? Do share!