The Easter holiday is just around the corner! For many of us that means chocolate and jelly beans, baskets and toys, colored eggs and Easter egg hunts. It truly is a joyous holiday – a celebration of spring and of life. For some, the holiday holds deep religious meaning; for others it’s all about the adorable baby animals and the candy. But whatever the reason for celebrating, spending the day with family is often what makes it worthwhile. Bird owners will understand that it’s pretty darn impossible to keep a parrot and not consider him part of the family. They want to be in on everything! So we thought we’d offer a few easy, inexpensive ideas for making this Easter enjoyable for your birds.
Red, green, yellow or purple, pale or bright, colored eggs are an indisputable symbol of Easter. The process of dying and decorating eggs is one tradition that children have long enjoyed. We don’t recommend letting your birds help with the coloring (unless you’ve been meaning to redecorate anyways) but they will definitely enjoy eating them! Eggs are delicious and healthy too. They are an amazing source of protein, as well as offering antioxidants that are essential for the eyes, and boosting the immune system, among other benefits. Birds are naturally attracted to bright colors so even the pickiest eater might be tempted to try a colored egg. Birds can consume all parts of an egg – including the shell, which is composed of 85% calcium. Females (especially egg-layers) will greatly benefit from the extra calcium. And don’t worry – as long as your egg dying kit says “non-toxic,” the dye is safe for your birds to ingest. If you’re really worried about the safety of commercial dyes, simple food coloring can be used instead.
THE EASTER EGG HUNT:
Birds were born for this! In the wild, birds spend the largest chunk of their day foraging for food. This is precisely what an Easter egg hunt is! Bits of hardboiled egg (colored or uncolored) can be placed inside small bowls in your bird’s cage. Or, if you have a play gym, pieces of egg can be placed in the bowls on the gym, balanced on branches, or hidden in and on toys. The point is to make them look for it. Just remember where you hid all the pieces so that anything uneaten can be removed later. If your bird is new to foraging, you can show him where you’re hiding the pieces and then watch to see if he goes looking for them – sometimes they need a little help when they’re new to the game. Because of the perishable nature of eggs, we recommend cleaning up any remaining pieces or dropped crumbs after no more than 1-2 hours.
For the creative-minded and the lovers of arts and crafts, this is the fun one. (For those not so craft-inclined, don’t worry its easy!) An Easter basket is simply a collection of goodies all wrapped up into one package. Think of things that your bird enjoys chewing on and playing with. Some examples include plastic drinking straws or bottle caps, wooden beads, foam letters for children’s bath time, cardboard tubes/rolls etc. – anything found around the house that can safely be given to your bird. After you have your items, you’ll need the basket to put them in! Plastic baskets or buckets can be purchased at the dollar store, but you may need to drill holes through these. For a simpler option, utilize the green plastic baskets that strawberries come in at farmer’s markets and some grocers:
These can be attached to the side of a birdcage by running C-clamps through the holes of the basket. Include edible goodies for your birds such as whole nuts or dried fruit, animal crackers, etc. Shredded newspaper can also be included to simulate “Easter grass” which is typically used to fill commercial baskets for children but can pose a hazard to pet birds. Watch your parrot’s eyes as he rummages through the basket. You’ll know when he’s found something he likes when his pupils dilate and flash. This foraging basket idea can be used year-round, as many parrot owners already know. Birds are naturally inclined to explore their environment in search of food and fun items. Simple things found around the home can be added daily to offer enrichment for your birds. If you’d rather buy the goodies for your Easter basket, this link will take you to our store’s toy page, and this link will take you to a pre-made basket.
What’s one of the best parts of any holiday? The food! Feasting and drinking & conversation with friends and family are some of the biggest reasons most of us even bother with holidays. There is perhaps no other holiday tradition that is as easy to include our pets in. If you have a play stand, place it near the table (as long as your bird is well-behaved) when you sit down to eat. This will allow him to feel like one of the “flock.” In the wild, the entire flock gathers together to eat. It is a social occasion, much like it is for humans. Including him in the dinner party is sure to make him feel special. Small portions of almost anything you’re eating can be given to your birds in their cage. Just remember that these foods will be perishable and any uneaten items must be removed after a few hours to keep them from spoiling. A few things your bird absolutely should not have include chocolate, avocado, coffee/caffeine, and alcohol.
We hope everyone has a safe and happy Easter. If you spoil your birds with any of the things on our list, please tell us about it! Send pictures if you have them – anything! We love feedback. If you have questions or concerns, give us a call.
* Note: Spare a thought for the cousins of your feathered friends this Easter and buy cage-free, organic eggs. Not only does this support more humane care for the hens that lay the eggs, organic eggs are generally healthier for you, too. Battery hens – the hens that lay the inexpensive eggs found in large batches at the supermarket – are confined to tiny metal cages with no place to perch or roost, and barely enough room to turn around. To prevent fighting, they are de-beaked. They are denied natural sunlight and their immune systems suffer. Diseases and bacteria are passed from the chicken to their eggs, some of which may survive the pasteurization process. Factory-farmed eggs have been proven to contain arsenic, which comes from an additive used to speed-up growth of the hens. Organic eggs, on the other hand, come from hens that are not treated with antibiotics or weird chemicals. They contain more Omega-3, vitamin A, and vitamin E than non-organic eggs.