Giving our Parrots Perching Options – G.E.T. Creative
by Gaye Thomasson
Close your eyes. Pretend you are a parrot (any parrot!) in the rainforest. You are perched on a thin branch. Itʼs about 20” long, maybe an inch in circumference. Youʼd like to go sit somewhere else and give your feet a break, but there is nowhere else to go. This is it. The only place in your world for you to perch. You stretch, you yawn, you pick up a foot and groom a toe…and place your foot back down. Itʼs Groundhogʼs Day and you do it all over again.
Impossible in the wild? Of course it would be. There are a myriad of places for birds to station themselves and explore with their beaks or poke at with their feet. They climb over branches, into empty knot holes, up and down trees, on rock walls, all over the ground. If they get bored or curious or hungry, off they go in flight to find other interesting spots to check out, and maybe just sit awhile. The world is their perch. But what do we see so often in captivity? Parrots are given cages with one horizontal wooden perch, side to side. Nice new shiny cage…and one perch. Thatʼs it. If theyʼre lucky, their owners enrich their cages with toys…but there may still just be that one perch. It doesnʼt have to be this way, and there are easy fixes.
If you want to make a difference for your parrot, imagine yourself to be him/her living in the cage you have provided. Picture yourself sitting on that wooden dowel. Look at your world and decide where else you would like to sit. How about a short perch up in a high corner? What about one attached to the big door? What if there were one running from the highest corner diagonally to a low point at the other side of the cage? What if there were just a strong piece of sisal rope suspended from the top of the cage (with a zip tie) to the floor to climb up and down on? (I call those birdie escalators!) And these perches that you are imagining should all be different. Because, if you were that parrot in the wild, every time you set your feet down, it might well be in new territory. It would have a different texture and a different taste. Trust me, youʼd be checking it out…at least wiping your breakfast off of your beak!
There are wonderful perch options for you to use in your birdʼs cage, giving him/her options to climb up, explore, reach and stretch, relax. There are fabulous flexible rope perches, flexible sisal perches (all difference lengths). There are manufactured perches with washers and wing nuts that easily attach to cages. There are textured perches and even heated perches for birds with special needs. There are even little shelves where senior citizen birds or ones recovering from injuries or illnesses can safely rest. There are Boings! Trust me, there are options.
Here are just a few reputable sites where you can purchase great perches for your birds:
Drs. Foster and Smith
My Safe Bird Store
Super Bird Creations:
You can also just make your own perches with natural rope, attached with zip ties. This not only creates a different texture but challenges your bird to balance and grip and strengthen muscles. Another easy perch can be quickly constructed with lengths of safe, cleaned wood, a pair of pliers, a drill, two washers, wing nuts and lag screws. These wooden perches will eventually get lovingly chewed up, but are easily replaced or repaired, and they replicate those natural perches in the wild.
Good luck with your perches. And change the calendar…itʼs not February 2nd anymore.