Birds

Jimmy’s Blog: Enrichment Tips for Birds

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Environmental Enrichment is the term for improving a bird’s life by making his day-to-day activities interesting and stimulating. In the wild, birds spend a fair amount of time searching for and finding food, which is called foraging. When we put food in front of them in a bowl, we eliminate an important daily activity. When we provide enrichment in the form of foraging, we hide the food in interesting ways for the bird to find. Food can be hidden in commercial toys, or in simple hand-made toys such as paper cups and toilet paper rolls. The following images are ideas for foraging I’ve tried with my green-cheeked conure Jimmy. He loves foraging so much that he will often ignore food simply put into a bowl. He waits for me to hide it from him.

Be sure your materials are bird safe, and don’t contain soft metals or toxins. Metal should be stainless steel and not have sharp edges or clips that might get caught around any part of the bird’s body.

E-mail me at exoticvetclinic@gmail.com if you have comments, or want to share pictures of foraging and enrichment ideas you have found to work with your bird.

Have fun,

Corina Lennox

This is a ceramic bowl, filled with food and treats, and covered with paper towels held down with masking tape.

This is a ceramic bowl, filled with food and treats, and covered with paper towels held down with masking tape.

Once inside, Jimmy has to dig through multi-colored wooden beads to find pellets and the single treat. (In this case, it's a Nutri-berry all the way at the bottom)

Once inside, Jimmy has to dig through multi-colored wooden beads to find pellets and the single treat. (In this case, it’s a Nutri-berry all the way at the bottom)

We put the dish at the bottom of the cage so Jimmy can perch on it.

We put the dish at the bottom of the cage so Jimmy can perch on it.

Jimmy makes quick work of paper towels. You can also use newspaper to make it a little trickier.

Jimmy makes quick work of paper towels. You can also use newspaper to make it a little trickier.

When Jimmy rolls the ball around, food and treats drop out.

When Jimmy rolls the ball around, food and treats drop out.

This is a small plastic box with tape on one side to act as a hinge. Since it is clear, Jimmy will be able to see the treats and food inside.

This is a small plastic box with tape on one side to act as a hinge. Since it is clear, Jimmy will be able to see the treats and food inside.

This small box is a good strength for Jimmy, but larger birds will require bigger, stronger boxes. Be sure to watch your bird with new toys to make sure he isn't going to hurt himself.

This small box is a good strength for Jimmy, but larger birds will require bigger, stronger boxes. Be sure to watch your bird with new toys to make sure he isn’t going to hurt himself.

The roll with treats is attached to the stand. For this small bird, the strong paper clip is safe. This clip may not be safe for larger birds. In that case, try taping the roll to the perch. He has quickly ripped the roll to shreds.

The roll with treats is attached to the stand. For this small bird, the strong paper clip is safe. This clip may not be safe for larger birds. In that case, try taping the roll to the perch. He has quickly ripped the roll to shreds.