If You Love Them Parrots, They’ll Love You Even If They Are Two
Parrots are curious and they like to be with, nibble on and explore people – at least, that’s been my experience. The number one ingredient to create a bond with your parrot or parrots is time. You have to spend a fair amount of time with your birds on a daily bases.
Two Parrots Are Better Than One
Parrots are highly social animals. In the wild parrots live in flocks which can be as ‘small’ as 20 birds or as large as a thousand. Yes, they are accustomed to being with their tribe all of the time. They tend to help each other, preen one another and feed their mate. They are intimate with one-another and they find bonding, connection, survival, well-being and safety and security in their flock and their mate.
Yes, you can play the role of mate if you want a close bond with your parrot, but you’ll never fulfill the same zygodactyl feet (that’s what their feet are called because they are the only class of birds who have two toes pointing forward and back)! You may love your parrot and take great care of your parrot, but I don’t imagine you will regurgitate for him or her nor that you’ll preen his or her feathers with your mouth!
And, why would you? You don’t have to be a parrot to fill those toes! Just have two parrots. When you have two parrots, depending on the species, you’ll find that they play together, cuddle and engage with one another almost all of the time – and then they often sleep or nap cuddled up together.
Humans Are More Interesting Than Parrots
I always recommend getting two parrots because there are only benefits to doing so:
- If you like spending a lot of time with your parrots, then having two means twice the fun
- Your two parrots will be curious about and interested in you. If one likes you more than another then that one will engage with you, showing the other that you’re fun! The second will likely follow and decide you are fun too.
- If you have someone else at home, two parrots means that you each get to spend time with a parrot; you each get ‘your own,’ which can be special for the parrot and human which each get to have a special bond.
- If you don’t have a lot of time to bond with your parrot, you should have two. They will keep each other company and, while they may not be friendly with you — which would have happened anyway if you don’t have time to dedicate to your parrot– at least your parrot won’t be sad or lonely. Yes, this can lead to health problems like feather plucking (depending on the species, some are more prone to plucking than others) or it can lead to your parrot losing his or her well-being. The need to be social and have a flock or mate is a need. Unfulfilled, it can cause emotional and then physical issues. When people are incarcerated and put into solitary confinement, their ‘flock’ is also removed — and it is considered a harsh punishment.
- Sometimes parrots are moody or busy playing or sleeping. Having two parrots means that, if you are in the mood to play or spend time with your parrot, you are likely to have at least one parrot available!
Yes, if you engage with your parrots, they will want to bond with you. I have found that two is a magic number – and it doesn’t matter whether they are male and female or two of the same gender. When you have three or more parrots together, they tend to retain or go back to more of their ‘parrotness,’ and are more likely to lose interest in you. Of course, if you spend a lot of time with three or more, it may not matter, but most people aren’t able to dedicate several hours a day, or more, to their parrots.
What Kind Of Time Is Parrot Time?
Is there a formula for how much time you should spend with your parrot? No, there isn’t. We can generalize and say that smaller parrots require less time than larger parrots. This means that the largest of parrots, like Macaws, need more time and engaging time spent with them. My Macaws want to be held, be played with, spoken to… Whereas our Parrotlets want to be with us, but just being with and around us seems to make them happy.
I think of the time you can spend with parrots as two kinds of time: engaging time and co-existing time.
Parrots like to be on you, they like doing and learning tricks with you – going for a walk (or ride, they are usually on my shoulder), or being spoken to, petted. When you engage with them, you are relating with them as if they were another person or a young child. At night you could practically read them a bed-time story! This time is the kind of time “mates” would spend together – it creates a more intimate connection.
Depending on your parrot’s personality and their species, most parrots need at least 15 minutes twice a day of good, engaged time spent with them.
I also think it is important to spend time with your parrot in the same room just doing what you do. Your parrot likely has a perch or play area with toys or something they do so that you are both doing your own thing and you are near each other. This is more of a ‘flock’ behavior in the sense that the flock is together, but tending to different things.
The Most Important Time Aspect: Love
I have several parrots and I don’t have enough time in a day to give each parrot ten minutes of engaged time! However, most of my parrots like to engage with me. They want to step up, touch me with their beak (they experience life though their beak since they don’t have hands) and see what I’m doing, see if I have something interesting they can destroy (like my nice pens – ah!) or if I have something that they might want to eat.
I attribute this to their having parrots around them and, most all of them, having a cage mate. Our Catalina Macaw, Kailani, was about 10 months old when I started to see that she was bonding too much to me. Although I love her and (having hand-fed her) I’m comfortable with her (and her large beak) and I love cuddling with her, I felt that she needed a Macaw of her own! So we got a second Macaw! Sure enough, they seek each other out — and enjoy each other almost as much as they seek us out and enjoy being with us.
So, my parrots have their needs fulfilled. They have clean cages, clean water and food (including pellets and fresh vegetables) every day. They are allowed to be birds, which means sometimes they squawk loudly, bite or get territorial about a perch or a person, and we are understanding — though not tolerant of anyone being injured. We do everything we can to make sure they have good lives and they seem to know this and appreciate it. Maybe they even think we’re great flock members for it!
Have a questions about parrots?
As the author of “The Parrot Bliss Bond,” I love and welcome questions about having a parrot and creating one of the best experiences of your life!
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