Providing Quality Time for Small Parrot Pets
Keeping small parrot pets happy and healthy is challenging. They are active creatures with complex needs and a different sense of time than humans.
Small parrot pets need attention to thrive. Fortunately, these birds become devoted companions once they trust their human caregivers.
The challenge is finding that happy medium between keeping your bird entertained enough they don’t destroy your home and giving them enough attention, so they don’t feel neglected.
Parrot people know that time with their feathered friends is essential to their well-being, and most owners schedule time every day for interaction and playtime, along with other activities like training sessions, bath time, etc.
Depending on the individual bird’s personality and needs, this may mean more or less time than the guidelines below specify…
How long can small parrot pets be left alone?
A major misconception about parrot ownership is that they are content to remain cage bound for hours.
Small parrots are social birds that thrive on attention and affection. They also have a higher risk of developing psychological problems if they have too much time on their own.
Even though there is no set rule about how long parrots can remain alone, there are guidelines that can help determine how much time your individual parrot should be left without attention.
First: Consider the type of small parrot pet
Smaller birds, like budgerigars, conures, or cockatiels, can be alone for longer periods than larger parrots like macaws.
Second: Consider the parrot’s individual personality.
Some parrots thrive on being left alone for most of the day, while others are happier when they receive consistent attention from their owners.
Third: Is your small parrot pet displaying destructive behavior?
If you small parrot is plucking feathers or chewing its tail to that point that damage is occurring, that is a sign your bird needs more attention.
Try bringing your parrot with you during your daily activities. If you work from home and spend time in an office or spare bedroom away from your bird, get a portable perch and bring your parrot with you for an hour or two each day. They will appreciate seeing you and feel included in your day.
Bird proof you home so that your pet can safely spend time out of the cage. Keep exterior doors and screen closed. Let other family members know the bird is out, so they are careful closing doors and are not surprised if they see a bird fly by unexpectedly.
Do small parrots like to be pet?
The short answer is yes. All parrots enjoy being pet. But depending on the species, petting may not be the best way to bond with your parrot.
Spending time playing with your parrot is one of the best ways to strengthen your relationship. It allows you to get to know your parrot.
Parrots are highly intelligent creatures and can be trained as easily as a dog or a cat.
Your parrot will enjoy puzzle toys and foraging for treats. You can train them to perform exciting and amusing tricks.
For some small parrot pets, socialization can be difficult, but playing with your parrot may help them learn to trust people.
It’s important for parrots, and any small pet, to trust their owner. In case your pet gets into a dangerous predicament, it’s important that they accept rescue from the caregiver. This could prevent a severe injury for the pet and huge disappointment for the owner.
Teaching your pet bird to step up on command and then practicing that activity is one of the best ways to show affection to your bird. It’s a great way to let your bird gain confidence in you and it doubles as a safety technique when you need to retrieve your bird or quickly return the bird to its cage to escape a dangerous situation.
If you do pet your bird, be careful. Pet them briefly on top of the head and avoid stroking their back or feathers. This type of feather stroking can stimulate hormones because it mimics mating behavior. This activity in females can cause egg laying, which is stressful for your bird and can create health issues without the proper nutrition.
For the best cuddly pet bird, consider a Cockatoo.
How to know if your small parrot pet needs more attention
There are ways to tell if your parrot needs more attention.
- Do they always have a chewed-up toy in their beak?
- Are they always on your shoulder?
- Do they make eye contact with you?
These behaviors are signs that they are interested in you and want more time with you. There are things you can do to make sure that you are giving them the attention they need without overdoing it.
The first thing to check is the amount of attention your bird gets each day. Many owners are so busy with their own lives that they forget to give their parrots attention. If you feel like your parrot is neglected, try carving out some time every day to spend with them and make them feel loved.
How not to play with your small parrot
A common misconception is that parrots need playtime with by their owners to be satisfied. This is not entirely true.
Some parrot owners think they need to “play” with their parrots. This can lead to inappropriate interaction.
For example, certain parrot owners are fond of playing peek-a-boo with their parrots. While this may seem like a fun game, it may be incredibly stressful and even dangerous for your parrot.
Small parrot pets are sensitive to being prey from smaller birds and other animals. Avoid any type of play that brings out fear in parrots in this manner.
Morning Activity Session
For smaller parrot breeds, like cockatiels, Senegals, conures, and budgies, a morning session might just be a handful of interactive minutes.
For larger parrots, like macaws, amazons, and Eclectus, you may want to set aside an hour or two for feeding, cleaning, playtime, and other fun activities.
Start the morning with feeding. It is important to start the day with positive interactions.
After feeding, you can do appropriate training or playtime, or go directly to cleaning the cage.
Clicker training is a great activity for parrots and other pets. You start with treats for positive reinforcement and progress to clicks from the clicker replacing the food reward.
You will be surprised how quickly your small parrot will respond to this style of training.
Evening Activity Session
For smaller parrots, you may only need a few minutes to wind down the day.
For larger parrots, you may want to set aside an hour or two for feeding, cleaning, playtime, and other fun activities.
Look for signs of interest or dis-interest from your parrot. Their mannerism and reactions will indicate when it’s time to end training or play activities.
Try to end the day with positive interactions. You can end the day with positive playtime.
If you have a tame parrot, you can end the day with a cuddle.
Other Activities for Your Small Parrot
There are many activities that can be performed daily that don’t involve interacting directly with the parrot in a hands-on manner.
These activities can be accomplished while the parrot is being fed or has its cage cleaned.
Bathing your small pet parrot is a wonderful way to bond and make sure they stay clean. Most all small pet birds enjoy spending a few minutes in a cool or lukewarm shower. The spraying water is fund for most parrots.
You can also provide them with a bowl of water in their cage and let them play and bathe in it. Alternating showers with baths are good options. You will quickly learn what you parrot enjoys most.
Experimenting with different and varied activities helps keep up their interest level as well.
All parrots should have time outside the cage each day. This time can be for playtime, training, or bonding.
Many small parrot pets enjoy flying, or simulated flying by flapping their wings, on a play gym while others like to climb on a tree branch or small swing.
Whatever activity your parrot enjoys, it needs time outside the cage every day. Most all parrots will enjoy time spent on a wooden perch nearby while you go about your daily activities.
Being nearby while you read a book, listen to music at low volume, or watch TV in the evenings are common activities that are easy to implement.
Training – Aside from training your parrot to do tricks, you can also train them to do tasks. Check out online videos for some ideas. Many parrots enjoy playing a game of basketball, the shell game, or just shredding up some palm leaves. Your pet will respond well to small parrot food as treats for positive reinforcement.
Our green cheek conure enjoys bells, playing with small chains, small swings, chewing leather pieces, and manicuring her beak on pieces of wood.
We let our conure enter and exit the cage when we are nearby working in the kitchen, watching television, or folding laundry on the sofa.
Much like humans, parrots enjoy companionship. The activity with your bird doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply being with you or near you will keep your pet parrot very content.
You can also train your parrot to enjoy attention from you by talking to them. This helps your bird learn phrases, whistle, sing, and begin to talk.
Read our other article about talking parrots.
Keeping a small parrot pet happy and healthy is not an easy task. These birds have complex needs, and they require attention.
There is no set rule about how long parrots can be alone, but there are helpful guidelines that can help determine how much time your individual parrot should be left without attention. Here are key guidelines that can help determine how much time your individual parrot should be left without attention.
Certain parrots thrive while alone for most of the day, while others are happier when they receive consistent attention from their owners.
Different breeds require various levels of attention. Small parrot pet birds like conures, budgies, and cockatiels may be fine spending the day alone in their cage or on a perch.
An African Grey, Amazon, Macaw, and a Cockatoo, as examples, will not be content to be alone for prolonged periods. When you research specific parrot breeds for purchase, keep this in mind to prevent disappointment and needing to surrender your bird to a rescue or rehome to a friend or family member.
Consult with an avian veterinarian or someone else you trust who has experience keeping parrots for advice to help you make an excellent choice for you, but especially for the bird you choose to join your family home.
Affordability and small parrot prices have an advantage compared to the larger companion parrots. Ultimately, your decision will be driven by whether the small parrot for sale in your area is a particular breed you have in mind.
First time parrot owners often choose a budgie, lovebird, parrotlet, cockatiel, or quaker as a first parrot.
Here’s a list of the most popular and best small parrots for pets:
- Green cheek conures
- Bourke’s parakeet
- Meyer’s parrot
- Senegal parrot
If you are looking for small parrots and types of pet birds that talk, the conures and quakers are good candidates. But keep in mind that not all parrots will talk, and if they do, it might be clearly audible or on a regular basis.
In our opinion, it’s best to focus on providing the best possible care for your bird, no matter the breed and no matter whether they do talk, or ever will talk in the future.
Read our article on green cheek parrots to learn more about their amazing personalities.