AAV Enrichment Tips
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Welcome to the AAV Enrichment Tip Blog! There are 5 types of enrichment that can be provided to your pet bird. These include 1) sensory, 2) nutritional, 3) manipulative, 4) environmental, and 5) behavioral. Think about each category when putting together your pet’s living space! Follow #AAVEnrichmentTip posts on AAV's social media sites or subscribe to this blog for weekly posts.

 

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Top tags: toys  foraging  bath  recycle  social  contrafreeloading  manipulative  natural  penguin  positive-reinforcement  reinforce  shower  toy 

Encourage foraging behavior

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Did you know that some wild parrots spend 240-360 minutes per day foraging for food? In contrast, captive parrots only forage for 30-72 minutes. There are many easy ways to encourage foraging behavior including placing safe, non-edible objects in the food bowl that need to be moved to get to the diet or hiding your bird’s favorite treats inside chewable objects like cardboard boxes, bags, or cups. #AAVEnrichmentTip

Tags:  foraging 

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Contrafreeloading

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Updated: Thursday, May 2, 2019

 

Contrafreeloading is a behavioral term that describes the preference of an animal to work for food even when food is available freely. This behavior has been studied in a variety of animals- including birds! This is a great reason to offer some of your pet bird’s diet outside of the food bowl. In addition to homemade foraging toys using safe items such as cardboard boxes, unwaxed paper cups, cardboard egg cartons, or paper towel rolls, there are many commercial options for puzzle toys and feeders available. (Shh! Don’t tell the parrot that there is an almond in that box!) #AAVEnrichmentTip


Tags:  contrafreeloading  foraging  toys 

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Minimum Cage Size Recommendations

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Another form of environmental enrichment is offering the largest cage possible. Minimum cage sizes for different species can be found online, and you can also speak with your avian veterinarian for advice. Unfortunately, some of the cages advertised for birds are too small for these pets to exhibit natural behaviors. #AAVEnrichmentTip 

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Not just for parrots!

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Enrichment isn’t just for parrots! It is important for all avian species to help satisfy physical and psychological needs. #AAVEnrichmentTip

Tags:  penguin 

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Homemade enrichment toys

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

 

Looking for a fun, homemade enrichment toy for a bird that likes to chew wood? Drill holes into bird-safe wood, such as an untreated block of pine, and stuff the holes with nuts, seeds, or other favored treats. Larger blocks can be hung from the cage while smaller blocks can be offered as foot toys. Pre-made blocks can also be ordered to save you time! #AAVEnrichmentTip


Tags:  toys 

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Showering

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Showering is a great way to stimulate natural preening behavior—aka grooming of the feathers—and provide enrichment. Smaller birds often enjoy dipping their bodies into a bowl of water (see the video attached- just don’t tell Blue, the hyacinth macaw, that she doesn’t quite fit in her water bowl!). Larger birds may enjoy being showered with a spray bottle. Other options include offering birds an opportunity to take a dip under a running faucet or spending time in the shower on a suction cup shower perch (check out the adorable cockatoo in the second part of the video). #AAVEnrichmentTip

Tags:  bath  shower 

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Positive reinforcers

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Positive reinforcement training is a form of operant conditioning, which is where a behavior is strengthened through an association with a reinforcer (eg: a treat, being pet, or verbal praise) desired by the learner. Bird owners can use positive reinforcement training to teach desired behaviors. This also provides an opportunity for social interaction with your bird and mental stimulation. Linnaeus (“Linnie”) is a blue pied Pacific parrotlet that was recently adopted from a bird rescue and is learning to accept positive reinforcement for desirable behaviors. His favorite reward is a bite of millet! #AAVEnrichmentTip

Tags:  positive-reinforcement 

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Introduce new items slowly

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Introducing items into your pet bird’s environment or moving items can provide environmental enrichment. These actions have been shown to improve spatial memory and decrease stress to new situations in other animals studied. However, some birds get very nervous about new items, including toys. For these birds, try taking a slower approach. Place the new item across the room and allow your bird time to look at the item. Gradually move the item closer to the cage over the span of several days. Before placing the item inside the cage, try hanging it on the outside of the cage first. Hopefully this will allow your pet to become more familiar with the item before it is introduced. #AAVEnrichmentTip

Tags:  toys 

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What are your bird's favorite types or wood toys/perches?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

 

Many toys and perches provide an additional benefit of proper beak grooming and wear. Offer your pet bird a variety of safe wood types for chewing and wiping the beak. Some examples include pine, manzanita, java, and dragonwood. What are your bird’s favorite wood perch or toy types? #AAVEnrichmentTip


Tags:  natural  toys 

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Bath time

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

 

Some natural behaviors of birds include foraging for food, grooming, social interactions, and vocalization. Try to provide opportunities for your pet birds to exhibit these natural behaviors. For example, provide “bath time” using a large water bowl or spray bottle to encourage time for preening/grooming the feathers. You can also whistle back and forth with your bird to encourage appropriate vocalizations in the home.  #AAVEnrichmentTip


Tags:  bath 

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