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Parrots are popular pets even in Singapore, with more people bringing home small parrots or even large cockatoos. However, parrots are often more complex and intelligent than we give them credit for.
Here are a few things to know about parrots if you’re considering getting one:
1. Parrots need lots of enrichment
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Being intelligent birds, parrots require mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Consistently caged and bored parrots may develop anxiety or even obsessive compulsive behaviours.
Toys made of cotton or hemp keep parrots entertained safely. Avoid bright colours as they may be disorienting.
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Parrots even enjoy solving food puzzles–you can craft your own little puzzles out of things like unbleached coffee filters and raffia string, with treats hidden inside.
2. Expect to spend lots of time with your pet
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Parrots aren’t meant to be low-maintenance or simply aesthetic animals.
Parrots build deep connections with their owner, and may even develop separation anxiety if they are left alone too long.
Expect to spend time bonding and playing with your pet. Parrots may spend around 2-3 hours outside of their cage, in a safe area, to spend time with you and take in their surroundings.
To avoid separation anxiety, try to mix up your schedule or spend time with your parrot at unfixed, varying times so your pet becomes accustomed to time alone and does not anticipate just a particular time to be with you.
Parrots may not be natural social butterflies either. While parrots may form a strong bond with one person, it may not translate to forming a connection with the rest of those at home. Have family members each spend some time to bond with your parrot!
3. Parrots are sensitive!
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Parrots have a very sensitive sense of smell, and certain substances harmless to humans may cause severe problems for your bird.
Essential oil candles, chemical air fresheners and cleaning supplies are things to keep out of your pet’s environment. In fact, the odourless fumes produced by non-stick cookware containing PFAS such as teflon, are extremely dangerous to parrots, and may even be fatal.
Choose PFAS-free and safe cookware such as those made by GreenPan, and consider whittling down certain chemical and avoid aerosol or essential oil products in your home, to keep your pet safe.
When cleaning things that may come in contact with your bird, such as feeding trays and cages, opt for a mild dish soap, vinegar, baking soda or steam to be your cleaning helpers.
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Owning a parrot may sound like hard work, but at the end of the day, iis all worth it for these lifelong feathered friends!