As a human who keeps many types of birds, I have my own standards of good housekeeping. Like, if the seeds have been on the floor for less than a month, the floor is still considered clean. If the poo hits the wall behind the cage, and I can’t remove it without hiring movers, it’s clean. If the food dish only had pellets in it, and nobody pooed in the pellets, the bowl is clean and can be refilled.
Yes, that might be a little lax for some of you, and once I am free of my day job, I hope to ramp up my cleaning routines. With that in mind, I asked Maynard, my 23 year-old Double Yellow Headed Amazon Parrot to list some of his tips for improving the conditions around here.
1. Always keep lots of plastic, wood, and cardboard around for chewing. I need to be kept busy, being a very smart, thinking being. If I get bored, I could start screaming or plucking. Note: Start screaming must be a euphemism. Mom.
2. Don’t vacuum too often. When I get floor time, I like to wander around and see what treats can be found. Those African parrots throw a lot of good stuff out of their cages. Plus I may have been interrupted while eating a peanut, so give me a chance to go back to it.
3. Oops! Well, bird droppings aren’t too messy. Unless you step in it. Just watch where you are going to see where I went. You aren’t going to keep this carpet forever, are you?
4. I do not want ants in my food. You may spray that Avian Insect Liquidator stuff all over my cage, just don’t get it in my food and don’t get ants in my food.
5. My feathers never lose their charm. Keep them all! What if I need them again? And I like to chew on something once in a while. Dad thinks you could make a whole new parrot out of the feathers. I don’t like that idea.
6. Those plastic things hanging on the back of the cage block my air flow. I don’t like them. If you just painted the walls a mottled green-yellow-gray, you wouldn’t even notice what I put there.
7. Fresh food every day, please. And only for an hour or so. Take it away until I call for more. Keep the bowls clean, keep my water clean unless I am soaking papaya cubes in it. And see the earlier tip about ants.
8. I like sitting on the back of your comfy chair. If you fall asleep in the chair, I want to sit on you and chew holes in your clothes. I like to remove buttons, too. Stay awake or deal with the consequences.
9. I do not like spiders. Why do you let them stay with all that webbing hanging down? They eat moths and ants? Well, okay. But do we really need so many? You’re supposed to be the crazy bird lady, not the crazy spider lady.
10. If I can climb on it, I will. And I will chew it and I will poop on it. I am learning how to open my cage so I can get out while you are gone. You know, if you wanted a clean house, you should have said no to that first cockatiel years and years ago.
Maynard’s tips aren’t all that helpful, but he’s right about one thing. Birds are more fun than cleaning. I’ll be back on Thursday.