Parrots and most birds are happiest when their lives as pets have elements of their lives in the wild. Lots of wood to chew on, lots of fresh greens and grains, and lots of contact with their flock. Toys can also keep parrots busy and happy, but there is one better way to keep a bird occupied and not bored.
I’ve written before about my African Gray Parrot, Blind Io. He was under-socialized as a chick and can’t be handled very much. The few times I had to wrap him in a towel and move him proved to be much more traumatic than I liked. For both of us!
He knows his cage in detail, loves to play with his bells and skewer when it’s empty. After I feed him, he will let me stroke his beak without trying to bite much, and I can touch his foot and leg a little bit. He likes to make smoochie noises as a way to say good night. And his variety of sounds and whistles are so much fun.
I like to put cardboard boxes in the bottom of his cage for his amusement in destroying them. I have been on a diet plan that shipped a good size box every month. But now that I stopped that plan, I have to scrounge the house for suitable entertainment.
A very sweet clerk at a liquor supermarket let me take a huge box that had originally delivered Russian vodka to the place. Now they used it to send a person home with their drinks. Even though we bought just the one bottle, we put it in the box for the look of the thing and left.
The box is about two feet by one foot. The dividers for the original bottles were left inside. At home, I put sunflower seeds and other treats into brown paper bags, empty paper towel holders, and newspaper. These items were stuffed inside the dividers and egg flat cartons were placed in various spots. All of this was sealed off inside the box, and the box set in the usual spot in the cage.
Then I waited. I knew it would take Io a long time to destroy this offering, but more frustrating was how long he took to find it and start playing with it. At last, he went down to tap on it and start tearing it apart. But as soon as I opened the cage door to take a picture, he stopped and went back up to his favorite perch.
The next time he went to the box, I took a few shots through the cage bars. Not the best way to photograph a gray bird in a gray cage. However, it is what it is. The next day, more evidence appeared to show that he was having a good time chewing on the outer box. I certainly hope he gets to the inner treats soon and manages to realize what they are.
Putting the box together took maybe 15 minutes. Finding the time to do it took a few days. I am going to find a way to assembly line these babies so I can spread the fun to other cages. Different treats will be good, too. I had Cheerios and sunflower seeds but would like to add carrots, Nutriberries, and almonds.
Over the next few days, I will try to get more photos to show just how much he enjoys the adventure. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.