Jenday conure choosing to play with a bell.

Why You Need To Allow Your Parrot Choices

Why You Need To Allow Your Parrot Choices

Allowing your parrot locations, materials, items and time that they are in total control of allows your parrot to be themselves. Parrots need choice and responsibility, for a healthy mental state. Instincts say a flyer does and goes where they want in the wild. A message their brain sends back to them every minute of every day no matter where they live.

Winston is our 2 1/2-year-old male cockatiel.  He is large and in charge of flock plans and planning. Winston needs final say to feel good about life. He needs to be able to stand his ground at times and claim that ownership. When the flock of cockatiels are out and about, I leave them to their own devices (within reason) and allow Winston to steer them. I consult Winston when they get themselves perched in the wrong place (on the television). I ask Winston to step up and we go to where he wants. I think we've all experienced the "parrot lean" when holding our birds. They lean toward the direction they want to go. Winston drives me like that, the rest of the flock follows.

All parrots need to feel in control, to feel relaxed.

  • Control of a moment in time.
  • Control of a location or toy.
  • The knowledge that where they left something will not change because they chose to leave it there for later.
  • Choice for a parrot is a health issue.

During the day we may find ourselves directing all the activities for our birds. It's easy to do, especially during a work week. Those precious few days on the weekend (or how ever your work week is carved up) are the opportunity to let your parrot be themselves.

Use your off days to give them on days.

  • Consider having a parrot choice day, open the day up to their ideas.
  • Don't drive the day, ride theirs.
  • Your parrot gets out and does their own thing, you may get invited to participate, and sometimes told to go away.
  • They are allowed the choices and responsibility.

This is fine nuance in the parrot lifestyle. It is an emotional dance. We humans are all about control! We love manhandling our days, wrestling life, defeating things in our opposition. It's our nature. But that is not in the nature of parrots. They are like water, seeking options and available moments, materials and food. Opportunistic only because the first one into a tree, on the ground or into a bush is the one that is taking the most chances. Survival instinct feeds their nature.

More choices and responsibility to a parrot, the more they just choose you in the end. They just wanted to do it their way.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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