Play stands are essential for keeping a happy, healthy parrot. The reasons for owning one are countless, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an argument against play stands. But let’s just focus on three really good reasons:
A play stand is an easy way to accommodate your bird’s urge to leave the roost.
In the wild, parrots do not spend all of their time in the same place. Each morning, the flock gathers to go out and forage for food and explore the environment. This serves several purposes: most importantly, they leave to find food; additionally, it keeps their roosting area safe from predators because they do not linger around the roosting site to attract attention to it. The flock is kept busy with exploring their environment throughout the day, which also gives them an opportunity to exercise their bodies and their brains.
However, in captivity, parrots do not always have this ability. Parrot owners lead busy lives with work and children, etc. and parrots are often relegated to their cages for a large portion of the day. Boredom can easily set in, as well as anxiety over having to remain in their roosting place throughout the day. This can result in behavioral issues such as screaming or feather picking, which are often difficult to reverse. Play stands are an easy way to prevent this. They can be placed in any room of the house, keeping your parrot where the action is when the family is home. Most stands are designed to prevent your parrot from leaving the play stand, which is great because it allows bird owners to go about their business while still giving parrots time out of their cage. Very few people would be willing to supervise every minute of their parrot’s out-of-cage time, but having a stand which the parrot cannot leave helps to alleviate any concern over a wandering parrot who may get into trouble.
Play stands make it easier to interact with your parrot.
We love our birds and our birds love us, but as much as our birds might enjoy it, we can’t carry them around the house with us when we’re trying to get things done – we need our hands, and some birds become aggressive if allowed to ride around on shoulders. Allowing your parrot to play on top of his cage may result in similar aggression if the cage top is higher than eye level, and it’s nearly impossible to interact with a parrot when he’s in his cage – toys and perches get in the way, not to mention the fact that some birds are territorial and don’t want anyone in their cage anyway! So what’s the solution? A play stand.
As already mentioned, they can be moved to any room in the house, freeing your hands for daily tasks while allowing your parrot to remain within sight of you. Play stands are designed to sit lower than a cage so you do not risk any “I’m bigger and taller than you” aggression. And, on a play stand there are no obstructions – just face-to-face interaction with your feathered friend. They are a perfect platform for training and bonding if kept uncluttered, but can become a complete no-humans-necessary activity center if toys and treats are placed on the stand to keep birds occupied.
Play stands are essential for mental and physical health.
Birds require a varied diet for optimal health, but some of their favorite foods are very messy. Offering these foods in their cage or putting them in a food dish will sometimes result in fruit juices or bits and pieces of things being flung all over the cage (and any surrounding walls or furniture). A play stand is the perfect place to offer these messy foods to your birds. The stand can be rolled outside or into the kitchen to save your walls and furniture, and the stand itself is typically designed to be easily wiped down and cleaned off.
In addition to a healthy diet, birds need sunshine. They really do – birds need sunshine! This is one aspect of care-taking that tends to get overlooked by many parrot owners. The indirect sunlight that birds get indoors (even if their cage is located right next to a window) is not enough to allow for optimal vitamin absorption. Glass windows filter out 90% of UV rays while screens filter out 30%. Vitamin D is manufactured in the body only as a result of exposure to direct sunlight. Vitamin D is required to regulate calcium absorption as well so it is very important that birds have access to direct sunlight at least for a few hours each week. Play stands make it easy to have your bird outside with you. They can be placed near a patio chair so you can enjoy some sunlight as well. But please, never leave birds unattended outside. Whether it be predators, strong winds, or overexposure to heat or cold, the great outdoors offers many dangers for pet birds.