Hopefully we are all offering some sort of treats to our birds. Many times, bird owners fall under the category of believing that “food is love”. This isn’t the case, as too many treats can lead to obesity and poor health. When choosing treats, try to present treats that are healthy like nuts, fresh veggies and fruits. Treats should be small and not be used as a substitute for daily nutritional diet. Just like us, our birds are more than willing to eat the yummy treats, but too much of a good thing can lead to skipping meals that contain the nutrition our birds need.
The act of giving treats to our birds can have several purposes. Acting as the treat dispenser can build your relationship with your bird. If your bird appears standoffish with a family member or friend, have the person offer treats and the bird may come to identify that person as the source of good things thus enhancing the relationship. You can also use treats as reinforcers for training. When you use treats for reinforcing a particular behavior, you may increase the likelihood that the behavior will occur again. That is called positive reinforcement. And sometimes treats are just for fun. Be aware of who is handing out treats and be sure that if multiple people are providing treats, the volume given doesn’t increase to an unhealthy amount.
Be sure to offer a variety of treat types so that your bird gets a surprise when you offer a treat. If you stick with only one type of treat, you can set yourself up for disaster if you run out of a particular treat and that’s the only one your bird enjoys. You should also vary the times when you offer treats so that your bird doesn’t become demanding if you’re a few minutes late with your treat delivery.
Treats are great fun to provide; especially when your bird has a playful, positive reaction. Just be sure that you give treats responsibly to insure a healthy life for your feathered family member.