Parrots thrive on attention from their human flock and it is vital to their emotional well-being. Being locked up and abandoned in a cage to spend hours alone does not make for a very rewarding life. How much attention is too much? What type of attention is best?
There are three levels of attention that you should integrate into your daily routine:
Quality One on One Time (recommended 10-15 minutes twice a day) - This is where your undivided attention is focused on your bird without competing distractions. This time is great for training, cuddling and playing with your bird. Engaging in interactive play such as playing simple games with your bird will help to not only stimulate their bird brains but also foster a healthier relationship. Favorite games in our house are peek-a-boo, ball toss, hide and seek and “gonna get a bird”.
Shared Attention (recommended minimum 20 - 30 minutes a day) - This occurs any time you spend while in physical contact or close proximity to your bird while you are also engaged in other activities such as watching TV, talking on the phone, washing dishes, interacting with other family members, taking a shower, etc.
Indirect Attention (recommended minimum 2 hours per day) - Parrots love to observe other flock members and their daily routines while quietly amusing themselves with a toy on their T-stand. Just taking a few minutes to talk or hand out a treat will help remind your bird he is an integral part of the family.
Parrots also have the need for social connection thru vocalizations and contact calls. Sometimes all your parrot wants is a reassuring call back from whatever room you are in. Simple hello and goodbye greetings also fall in the category.