Let's Celebrate Pet Birds!
T.J. Lafeber D.V.M.

Work and Play


Work and Play

Like the seven dwarfs in ''Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,'' birds happily start their work at dawn and continue until the sun sets every evening-and without pay! Constant activity exemplifies their way of life Even on the move searching for food defending their territory, constantly vigilant for enemies, preening, playing, vocalizing, looking for a mate-then courtship, nesting, feeding the young and migrating. No one would ever accuse birds of being lazy animals.

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Never lazy, birds like to work.

Pet birds have the same energies for work and play as wild birds. Although not as lively in captivity, pet birds still thrive on being busy.

Flying and Not Flying

The majority of the flight hours logged by birds involves their search for food-an exercise using both mental and physical activities. This may seem an impossible situation to duplicate, and indeed, even the largest aviary cannot allow for the amount of flying performed in the wild. Every cage limits flight. However, flight, while an asset, does not seem to be essential for the maintenance of normal health. Flying is a method of transportation which can be restricted without detrimental effects.


Life in captivity could easily be monotonous. Because of this, bird owners will want to help provide work and play activities on a regular basis.

Food Gathering-
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Except for actual flying, pet birds can go through all the stages of food gathering. By offering food for limited periods in the morning and evening, birds will develop the normal appetite. As feeding time approaches, excitement, vocalization, activity, and anticipation increase. These reactions continue until feeding time, and fulfill pet birds' needs for the food gathering process. Pertinent information is on pages 113 to 118.
Chewing- soft wood perches, branches, hang toys,  pine cones, clothes-pins, pencils, spoons, cardboard and bones.


foods which require beak activities-cakes, bars, nuggets, seeds, nuts and biscuits.

Feather care-

preening, lubricating, arranging, cleaning, smoothing and bathing.

Body Exercise-

with chains, ropes, ladders, swings, and rings which encourage acrobatics.

Whenever birds work they respond positively Birds who have work are much more act active communicative, responsive, observant and alert.


Birds frequently indulge in activities that seem to have no practical purpose, but appear to be simply done for its own sake-play.

In captivity, birds can concentrate on the things they enjoy-- singing, talking, acrobatics, tricks, investigating and interaction with people.

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Sure sounds like play to me!

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Playing is part of a bird's day.


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