To improve the lives of Companion Parrots
Five Key Steps to Better Bird Welfare (The 5 Fs)
Download the 5 F Posters (PDFs):
Some links for further reading:
10 Things You Can Do to Make Your Bird Happy
Birds are non-domesticated animals. Due to the large number of birds living in captivity which cannot be returned to the wild and the limited space available in avian sanctuaries, optimizing care of birds held in private hands can go far in reducing suffering and improving the welfare of captive birds.
The following are suggestions for caregivers of companion birds.
- Provide a healthy and varied diet — not only formulated pellets; but grains, beans, vegetables (cooked and raw), sprouts, some fresh fruit and nuts. (Harmful foods include chocolate, avocado, highly processed or overly salted foods, human junk food, and caffeine.)
- Give your bird the largest enclosure possible — no space is too big for a creature adapted to flying through jungles and across savannas. Ensure the bar spacing is appropriate for your bird and use natural, safe wood perches of varied diameters to help keep feet healthy.
- Provide daily exercise and ample out-of-cage time in a safe, supervised area (bird-proofing a room for out-of- cage time includes keeping birds away from items containing lead and zinc, and from paint chips, ceiling fans, electrical cords, cats and dogs, and open windows.) If your bird is flighted ensure it is free flying in a safe, supervised area.
- Offer a variety of bird safe toys and enrichment activities.
- Provide plenty of socialization with other birds and/or human caregivers.
- Give access to unfiltered sunlight and/or full-spectrum lighting. Birds need exposure to UVA and UVB rays from direct sunlight (windows block necessary UV rays) or full-spectrum lighting to synthesize vitamin D necessary for bone health.
- Offer daily or weekly misting with a clean spray bottle of water to promote feather and skin health and for fun! Some birds prefer to bathe in a small container (like their water dish); others enjoy being misted with water; while others enjoy the shower. It is important to allow the birds to air-dry in a warm room or in the sunshine. Morning is the best time to be sure the bird is completely dry before retiring for the night.
- Develop games and teach your bird skills (“jobs”) like foraging or treasure hunts (this can be done in the house or with creative toys in the cage), cleaning up toys by putting them in a basket.
- Provide a secure enclosure, carrier, or harness so your bird can enjoy the outdoors with you.
- Place multiple perches/stands throughout the house so that your bird can benefit from ambient “flock time” while being included in family activities like watching TV or movies, preparing meals, playing cards or games.