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How To Beat The Winter Blues With Your Pet Birds

Lighting, moisture and healthy foods go a long way to making the long, cold winter days more bearable for you and your bird.

Rebecca K. O'Connor

Senegal parrot
With the heater running and the air becoming drier, the lack of moisture can also make us all uncomfortable. Itchy skin in the winter is not just a human problem--it's a parrot problem too. You can help this by bathing your bird regularly.

Winter is coming and, for some of us, so is the winter blues. People aren’t the only ones that enjoy sunnier days. Our parrots can suffer from long dark days in gloomy rooms. There are some simple things that you can do to make winter a little more livable, however. And it’s not just the parrots that will benefit from doing a few simple things to bring a little bit of summer into your home.

Lighting 
As the cloudy days cast a gloom on our homes and we turn up the lights, we aren’t always getting the kind of lighting that we need. Seasonal Affective Disorder affects many people who are lacking a reasonable amount of sunlight during the winter. Although parrots may not suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, there is no question that receiving a proper amount of sunlight is beneficial to all living creatures. However, we simply don’t get the full spectrum of light we need under the florescent bulb we spend most of our days.

In many parts of the county, getting parrots into an outdoor aviary during the winter isn’t possible because of the frigid temperatures. What we can do, however, is make sure everyone is spending a bit of time under more natural lighting. Too much UV can be harmful to the eyes, but there are many lights available that offer a natural spectrum of light without UV and can help beat the winter blues. I have been using Verilux lights with my parrots in the last month and have found that when I work in the bird room next to their cages, I feel more upbeat and energized as well.Some good lighting is a simple fix that can put everyone in a better mood. (Just don’t forget that we all need some UV for health as well!)

Moisture
With the heater running and the air becoming drier, the lack of moisture can also make us all uncomfortable. Itchy skin in the winter is not just a human problem. Parrots need a bit of moisture in the air as well. Humidifiers can help make the air more comfortable, but don’t forget about a good old-fashioned bath. It may seem counter-intuitive to be bathing parrots in the winter, but they still need a good shower to keep feathers clean and their skin from getting too dry.

Don’t forget to bring your feathered buddy into the shower with you if your bird enjoys a shower. If your bird doesn’t enjoy showers, then it’s time to do some training and work on giving it some positive experiences with a bathing. Keep the room warm and your bird away from drafts, but don’t shy away from giving your parrot a healthy spritz!

Healthy Snacks
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that food needs to be dull. Just like during the rest of the year, be sure that your parrot’s bowl and foraging possibilities are full of a colorful array of vegetables.With less sun, more than ever we all need to eat our fruits and veggies and have fun with our meals. It’s easy to get into a boring food routine when the garden has gone dormant and the Farmer’s Markets are closed. Make use of leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, apples, winter squashes, sweet potatoes and every safe nutritious food you can share with our parrot.

Beat the winter blues with these three simple little hacks. More natural lighting, moisture, and plenty of nutrient and vitamin rich foods will make everyone, not just the parrots a little healthier and happier.

Previous: Why You Should Focus On Positive Parrot Behaviors

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Posted: December 5, 2014, 2:15 p.m. PDT

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