Many like to have a parrot as a pet, and these striking and colorful birds are the perfect companions for young and old. Parrots are fun, cute, and affectionate, and with some strain known to live for many decades if cared for well and kept fit, they will often stay with you for a good chunk of your life.
However, parrots are also very delicate creatures, and parrots, parakeets, and other pet birds are very sensitive to stress and disturbances, which can have a profound effect on them, compromising their quality of life.
An unhappy parrot or parakeet can also die from stress and anxiety if particularly unhappy, so it’s important to do everything possible to make It feel good and reduce any stress or upheaval in the home and in Its life.
Do you know how you can reduce your pet parrot’s stress and how to tell if something is wrong? Read on to learn more!
Causes of Stress and Anxiety in Birds
Generally speaking, any major or even seemingly minor change in your parrot’s world can lead to the onset of stress and stress-related problems and disorders, both inaccurate factors and unstable moods of the people they love.
Parrots are very empathic animals and, just like dogs, they will take on the moods of their owners and react depending on whether they are angry or depressed. Parrots also usually form deep bonds with their family or caregiver, and changes in the home that affect their caregiver or someone they spend most of their time with can have a major impact. on them.
Some of the main causes of stress and anxiety in parrots and other birds include:
- Boredom and lack of mental stimulation
- Traumatic and frightening events
- Noisy environments or sudden noises
- Feeling threatened by another animal or person
- Lack of exercise
- Illness and poor health
- Dirty cages
- Excessive heat or cold
- Changes to their daily routine
- New arrivals in the house
- Moving house
- Changes in diet
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you an idea for identifying potential causes of stress in parrots and other birds. As with all animals, no parrot is alike; some birds are much more sensitive to stress and fidget more than others, while some birds are rather quiet and take things as they come with no problem.
Stress symptoms in parrots
Parrots and other birds exhibit symptoms of stress in many different ways, including physical indications, generally loss of appetite conditions, and unusual behaviors. Check out the following stress indicators for your pet parrot:
Development of stress bars
Stress bars are the most common physical indications in a pet bird suffering from stress. Stress bars are horizontal lines that run through the feathers and give a general indication that your bird is stressed, although it certainly doesn’t help you understand why! Stress bars on feathers still attached to your parrot can be tricky to recognize, so it’s important to check for feathers that change for any stress bars.
Loss of appetite
A parrot that suddenly over-eats, starts to eat less, or begins to lose weight may be suffering from stress. It’s important to rule out any physical problems before you think stress is the cause of loss of appetite, so get your parrot checked by your vet before moving on.
Symptoms of destructive behavior
A bird that begins tearing up soft furnishings, messing up its cage, and trying to destroy other things could suffer from both stress and boredom, or both. It’s important to assess whether your parrot is getting enough stimulation to keep active because boredom itself is a problem in birds and a symptom of stress and unhappiness.
If your parrot’s temperament has changed inexplicably, it’s almost always a clear indication of stress. Behaviors such as pouncing to passers-by, whistling, nibbling, biting, and shouting in a previously well-behaved bird can all be signs of a stressed bird, but their sudden appearance can often identify recent changes that have led to its stress.
Fear and nervousness
A bird that was previously happy and that typically appeared safe and comfortable in its home environment can undergo personality changes as a result of stress which can lead to displaying its fears and nervous behaviors in normal home situations.
Fear of a particular person can be due to an involuntary fright or injury during a previous interaction, or it can even be simply fear of a big coat, flashy shirt, or new haircut! It’s important not to put a frightened bird in the hands of those who disturb it, but with someone who approaches it slowly and carefully to create a relationship of trust and confidence with the person or persons in question.
If you are having trouble identifying the causes of stress in your pet parrot or other bird, or if exposing them to stress is unavoidable (such as moving) you should consult with your veterinarian or a parrot specialist. This can help you evaluate how to minimize any potential ailments and give you the best chance to keep your bird healthy.