by Sandra Witt
What do we mean we say enrichment? Enrichment is when something is made more valuable, meaningful, substantial, or rewarding; it improves something. But ironically, to enrich a bird's life we have to actually make it more challenging, allow me to explain.
In their natural environment birds are flock animals. This means they travel and socialize with a large number of their own kind. They interact and preen each other, they fly around together, squabble and fight, mate and raise young, and they forage for food. Usually, companion parrots don't have a large flock to interact with; they usually don't have many of their own species in the home to interact with either, and even if there are several birds in the home those interactions are not typically what they experience in nature.
We all know the routine, up for the day, make the chop and fill the food cups, disperse to the flock and on to other things. Meanwhile our birds lumber over to the food dish and "pick" through to find their favorites. Why are they so picky? Well because they CAN be. If they don't eat the usually too large a portion we give them, then we fret and up the quantity of "favorites" so they will eat. What does that result in? This ... "My bird is really picky, he doesn't like nuts" or "My bird won't touch pellets" or "My bird won't eat greens."
Sound familiar? Why is it that a bird in the wild is happy and grateful for any morsel he can get but our birds are pampered and picky? It's because of us. Because WE have taken away the challenge of finding that tasty tidbit, we have made it too easy so it's not appreciated. Think about it, if you didn't know where you would find the next meal you would be more likely to eat the one in front of you. Right?
Ok, I know we can't necessarily recreate the experience from nature but we can try to make it at least a little more challenging. How? Well, once again our friends at the Brisbane Vet provide some great ideas and suggestions.
<-- Here is a preview of the ideas you'll find in "The Forage Book." Download this document and take a look. Thank you to the Brisbane Vet for these ideas and suggestions.
There are great and easy ideas in there that you can implement today. They may even inspire you to come up with your own foraging opportunities and challenges. Anything you can do to provide an added challenge will result in a stimulating and enriching experience for your flock.
NOTE: Use caution with paper pellet brands in the U.S.; there have been reports of glass found in certain brands.
Original blog from September 18, 2016 revised by original author and republished with permission.