Parrots, just like us humans, can suffer from stress caused by elements in their surrounding environment. In minor cases, the problem will correct itself and your parrot will go back to his or her "normal" behavior.
However, more severe cases of stress can lead an otherwise healthy parrot spiraling downwards, affecting their health, mood and physical activity. The bottom line is that owners need to monitor their parrots for signs of stress on a regular basis to prevent this from happening.
#1) Stress Bars
One telltale sign of a stressed parrot is the formation of long vertical lines running horizontal across the shaft of the parrot's feathers. They are usually thin, making them difficult to spot from afar. Upon close inspection of a stressed parrot, though, you'll likely notice several stress bars running across their feathers.
#2) Reduced Vocal Activity
It's no secret that parrots love to sing and dance. From the moment you first walk into the door, you'll likely hear them singing a storm in hopes of getting your attention. Singing, talking and dancing are all signs of happiness. And when a parrot ceases to perform these activities, it could be a sign of stress.
Encourage your parrot to sing by talking to them and rewarding them homemade snacks and treats for their good behavior. When a parrot grows lonely, however, this desire begins to fade, at which point they will simply stand in their cage and stare off into space.
#3) Lack of Appetite
Of course, another sign of a stressed and lonely parrot is lack of appetite. Has your parrot stopped eating their food? Parrots suffering from high stress levels may no longer feel the desire to eat, leaving them vulnerable to malnutrition and a weakened immune system. Sure, they may peck away at their food just to stay alive, but the general drive and eagerness to eat is gone.
Keep an eye on your parrot's feeding times and make a note of how much they are eating. A parrot's health will go downhill fast if they aren't eating, so don't underestimate the severity of this problem.
Unless they start eating within a couple of days, you should take them to an avian veterinarian for a more thorough checkup. They'll be able to perform a routine examination of your parrot to ensure there's no parasite, disease or illness that's suppressing their appetite.
#4) Trying To Hide
Parrots that constantly try to hide from their owners may be suffering from stress. Parrots thrive on the social interaction between their owners, but a stressed bird may attempt to cower or hide in the corner when a family member approaches.
Tips To Help Your Parrot Overcome Their Loneliness
- Place a mirror (or two) inside their cage. Seeing their face in the mirror will give them the sense of being around other parrots.
- Take your parrot out of their cage on a daily basis.
- Talk to your parrot each time you walk by.
- Keep the television or radio on when you leave the house.
- Consider purchasing a companion parrot to give them company.
Note: rescued parrots who were previous abused in their homes are most likely to exhibit this behavior.
#5) Being Destructive
Last but not least, destructive behavior can be an indicator of stress. If your parrot constantly knocks over the food bowl, tears up their toys, or makes a mess in their cage for no particular reason, they could be suffering from stress.
Parrots are social creatures that crave the attention of others. In the wild, most species fly together in small-to-medium-sized flocks where they can communicate, bond and forage food together.
Unfortunately, many owners seem to overlook the social needs of their parrot, resulting in depression along with other health problems. Read on a recent post where we discussed on how to tell if your parrot is sick. Whether you own a large Macaw or a small parakeet, you need to make sure they given daily attention to prevent this from happening.