The term enrichment refers to things that enhance the quality of life for your companion animals. There are many different types of enrichment, but it all should be loosely based on your parrots’ activity in the wild. We know that replicating the wild environment is nearly impossible in a home setting, but doing research and mimicking portions of the wild and stimulating activities that birds do in the wild leads to a better quality of life for birds in human care.
When creating enrichment opportunities for your birds, try to address all the senses. Many times, we forget that just giving a bird a toy to chew on isn’t enough. If our birds lived in their natural habitats, they would be using all of their senses on a daily basis. In human care, a bird often only uses a few senses in the way they might in the wild. Enrichment can help expand our birds’ sensory world to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
Enrichment doesn’t just address physical needs. While our birds need to be kept active and moving, they also need to be challenged mentally. Imagine the number of choices and the problem-solving our birds would need to do each day if they didn’t live comfortably in our care. As a prey species, they are constantly aware of their surroundings. They search for food, roosting sites and mates. They fly great distances and get loads of exercise simply trying to feed themselves and stay alive. We have made life much simpler, but we still need to challenge them.
You can often take toys that you purchase and add additional enrichment dimensions. Drilling holes in a wooden destructible toy can encourage foraging. Hanging a shreddable toy from the top center of the cage can increase your birds’ activity level and exercise. You can combine toys of different textures to offer alternatives for birds that are over preening. Your level of creativity can absolutely help make your birds’ lives be more enriched.