Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Exercise A Necessity

Healthy birds are active for most of every day as they go about normal activities. When we choose a bird as a companion, we need to supply plenty of opportunities for stimulating physical and emotional activity that suits the unique needs of the individual bird. Because we control their environment, it's up to us to provide the opportunity for action.

Birds should not remain confined in a cage all day, every day. This results in a condition we refer to as cageosis. Cage-bound birds exhibit neurotic impulses such as feather pulling, screaming, and endless bouncing or banging their bodies on the sides of the cage. Many people mistake this behavior as happy dancing. You can compare the bird's frustration and resulting mental illness to that of a human who has been kept in solitary confinement with nothing to do for endless periods of time.

An exception to this would be small birds such as finches that are kept in flocks in large cages or aviaries. These birds carry on their daily activities much as they would in the wild. To keep them happy and healthy give them enough room to fly and interact, plenty of perching spots away from the flight paths, nutritious food and nests or nesting materials.

With other birds, though, you must provide regular activity time outside the cage as well a rotation of appropriate toys inside the cage. The best way to make sure you give your bird adequate activity time is to create a formal schedule. Every bird should be allowed out of its cage at least twice daily. If your day is busy, let your bird out of its cage for a short time in the morning and then plan the more extensive out-of-cage interaction time in the evening, centered around sharing dinner and evening pastimes.

Reference: "Holistic Care For Birds" by David McCluggage, DVM & Pamela Leis Higdon