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Control Bird Stress in 5 Easy Steps

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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any factors play a role in the amount of stress a bird can handle. When a stress-inducing event occurs, a series of chemical changes occur within your bird's body. In times of danger, these changes may save your bird's life. However, excessive stress in the home environment can have a negative impact on your bird's health.

proper diet
Different species of birds have very different nutritional needs. Even within the same species, diet may differ due to environment. A diet made specifically to meet the needs of your bird's species is essential. For psittacine birds (members of the parrot family), pelleted foods provide your bird with optimal nutrition in an easy-to-eat, easy-to-serve format. Each pellet or nugget contains a baked, healthy blend of grains, seeds, vegetables, fruits, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

It is also vital to offer your bird fresh vegetables and fruits appropriate for his species.

Bird Bunker

peaceful, safe environment
Cage location can be critical. Some birds are very gregarious and need to be in the middle of the family as much of the day as possible. Some nervous birds need to be in a quieter room, but one that is still occupied by the family for social interaction. Since birds are prey animals in the wild, place the cage so that one side is against a wall. This helps your bird feel sheltered and safe from predators.

Keep the cage away from ceiling fans, which can be seen as a big, flying predator. Do not place a permanent cage in front of a window, as your bird cannot relax his search for enemies, nor can he find refuge from direct sun. Be aware of your bird's cage placement at night. Nighttime shadows from a television or a blinking light can be scary to birds. Birds are also very sensitive to their “flock's” behavior. Any discord among family members – even children play wrestling – can prove upsetting to some birds.

Many companion birds, such as parrots, should receive 10-12 hours of sleep each night, best accomplished by moving the parrot to a quiet, darkened room for sleeping. A small sleep cage can be set up away from external distractions, such as lights or the sound of a TV, and left in the bird's "bedroom."

Exercise is a major factor in relieving stress. In the wild, a bird divides his time among many activities. If family members are gone to work or school all day, offer outlets for the bird's energy. Toys should be provided and rotated on a regular basis to provide new entertainment for the bird. Even food can be "worked for" by hiding it in toys, hanging it in the cage, or offering it in the shell so your bird has to break it open first.

mental stimulation
Mental stimulation is as important as exercise. This kind of stimulation can be acquired from play and training. Teach your parrot to say some phrases, or train him to "step up," nod, or spread his wings on command. This will give both you and your bird some bonding time as well as giving him much-needed mental stimulation.

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Set up a sleep cage away from distractions.
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Tent-like hideaway for birds helps ease stress.

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Give your birds the nutrition they need with no artificial colors or flavors.
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