Do my budgies and cockatiels feel bored or depressed with their life of captivity?

yellow budgiw wearing head phone and rollerblades
Read in 7 minutes

 

She spent 22 hours a day in a cage for more than seven years with a caregiver bringing her out an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening.

 

She was in a rescue with birds of all sizes but didn’t care for the larger birds so she spent her time isolated in a smaller cage in the room with smaller birds.

 

She had her wings clipped before she ever fledged and never experienced flight.

 

For the year and a half in our home she’s never in her cage when we’re there unless it is birdie bed time.

editors note: Peaches our Senegal will sit on the headrest of my office chair. When Catherine and I start to chat Peaches joins in with unintelligible sounds but clearly feels she is part of the (conversational) flock.

For eight or nine months of the year she comes to work every day where she’s delegated to her shop cage because she’s fully flighted we can’t take the chance of her escaping with the door opening in our busy little store.

 

She enjoys her cage during the day and will begin to bob her head if she likes a particular song we have on the stereo.

The thing that makes her unhappy is me not being there. She tolerates my wife Catherine but Catherine brings her no joy.

 

I am working with Peaches, training her to fly to me under various circumstances.

If I come home and open the door and she doesn’t come out I leave her there although I can tell by her body language she really wants me to reach in and scratch the top of her head which I usually do.

 

I’ll take a seat at my desk with a high back office chair and usually within a few minutes she will fly over easily landing on the head rest.

 

From there she will make it down one of my arms to land on my main desk or side desk where I have all sorts of activities for her to engage in.

 

Flinging business cards, foraging on junk mail. Looking for treats hidden among all these paper things one will find on a desk.

It’s only when she starts headbutting the other bird’s reflection of the monitor of the desk will I shoo her away.

 

She is now learned to take refuse on top of the monitor which is quite boring, eventually flying back to her cage, having a snack returning to my desk – ad repeat.

 

In the mornings she’s free to follow me around the apartment. Popcorn a rescued cockatiel that we had for three and half years (having died of cancer) was great at flying from room to room knowing where to land in each environment.

Peaches is not so good at landing, so if I’m going into a room that she is still not certain about where to land, I’ll bring her in with me and let her fly the 12 or 24 inches or so to the play stand that we have on the kitchen table.

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Author:

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.