Our parrots love seed, nuts, cheese, chips, crisps, biscuits, crackers, and all kinds of other fatty, sugary, and salty things that aren’t good for them.
They may also love sipping on your soda, sleeping in your bed with you, getting ‘sexual snuggles,’ or chewing on something toxic.
But we have to stop them.
We play the role of parent to our pet birds, and moderate the things that our birds love. A parrot may love seeds and nuts, but could you continue to give them to him without moderation, knowing doing so will kill him by clogging his arteries, and causing fatty liver disease – even cancer? If a parrot loves being blow-dried every day, does this outweigh the risk of damaging his feathers and encouraging plucking? Say your bird is happiest sleeping on your pillow – what will his enjoyment mean if you accidentally roll over and crush him? Or those infamous cuddles, which parrots so often demand (that ‘snuggling’ being sexual for him). He wants them, but that doesn’t make it less inappropriate to deliver.
Like a parent saying no to a child’s request for one more cookie before dinner, we must – for our pet birds’ own good – we have to learn to tell them no. Saying ‘But he/she loves it,’ is not a good reason. After all, would you let a child function under the same logic?
‘My four-year-old loves eating crisps, so I only give her those for every meal.’
‘My two-year-old doesn’t want to go to bed – he loves staying up past midnight, so I let him.’
Birds instinctively seem to love what’s bad for them. Not being adapted to live in human homes, we have to moderate what they can and can’t do. I don’t like to encourage people to think of captive birds as children, but this is one of the instances where doing so has its uses. Next time a parrot demands something that’s bad for it, ask, ‘If this were a child, would I give in?’
Doing so may help owners understand that love does not equal giving in all the time.
UPDATE: I figured out how to schedule posts, haha, but apparently scheduled this one before it was properly finished? Anyway, I wanted to update it, because I also struggle with saying no. The pure pleasure that parrots get from the things they shouldn’t do is hard to deny. But I know that it’s for their own good that I have to do it. After all, I want my birds to live the longest, healthiest lives they can.
And I do truly believe that at the same time, giving in occasionally is okay (so long as it isn’t lethal!). Share a tiny piece of chip or crisp with your parrot; allow him to have a whole almond or walnut every now and again.
Life is meant to be fun!