A bird in the wild spends a vast majority of its time foraging for food, this activity keeps the bird mentally and physically fit. A bird in captivity does not lose these natural predispositions and without the opportunity to forage the bird will most likely develop behavioral problems.
Foraging may be a natural desire but, like any activity, will take time and practice for your pet to be an expert, but it is a vital exercise!
Foraging skills use a bird’s ability to use mapping skills, pick up on environmental clues and sharpen their memory. As a bird owner, there are some steps you can take to make sure your much adored pet gets all the foraging exercise they need!
Basic Rules for Building Foraging Skills:
1. The toys should be of wide variety and should include destructible toys, puzzles and learning toys.
2. Change out and rotate these aids on a regular basis.
3. Don’t put all the bird food in one bowl. Fill the regular feeding bowl partially and put other treats in different bowls or containers in different places.
4. Introduce new foods in new ways and use things like paper cups over the food so the bird has to try harder to get the treat. Tamale rolls and cardboard rolls are other recommended ideas for stimulating foraging behavior.
5. You can use new toys as rewards instead of food or treats all of the time.
Over time, your bird will become better and better, so at that time, feel free to make it more challenging by adding toys with lids, wheels and items that include drawers.
Remember: These skills will develop slowly over time, not mere days, so keep playing and interacting with your friend! Also, observe which foraging toys they like and ones they don’t. As always, you want your toys to be clean, non toxic and in good repair.
If your pet is new to foraging start out simple by putting a strip of paper over the paper, but not completely covering it or putting holes in it so your bird can see the food or mix in a few large beads he/she has to push aside. As they get better, you can increase the complexity of foraging skills needed.
Neuroscientist Dr. Jaak Panksepp, wrote “Affective Neuroscience” that mapped the emotional systems of the human brain and these systems are shared in all mammals. The #1 system we all share is seeking, the basic need to search and make sense of our environment is how Dr. Panksepp explained it.
Birds are very much social creatures and you are now their flock, so feel free to use foraging and enrichment toys on surfaces you use often such as table tops and counters or TV trays that you eat off of.
Make sure you encourage your bird when they try foraging for new things. Praise them for any attempt and monitor them to make sure they don’t become overwhelmed or bored depending on their skill level.
Birds love colors and textures, King’s Cages foraging toys never have sharp edges or any harmful chemicals or toxic materials!
What are some of your pet’s favorite foraging games and toys? Are they more prone to these behaviors at certain times of the day?
Check out the link below:
See for yourself the wide variety of fun and safe foraging and enrichment toys that King’s Cages provides at a good price!