Animals, particularly those that are kept as pets, can suffer from severe boredom and under-stimulation – and if this is a prolonged state, it can even lead to self-harm.
Parrots can be especially affected by this. When the boredom gets too much, they begin pulling out their own feathers – an abnormal behaviour known as stereotypy, which can occur due to boredom burnout syndrome.
The condition also occurs in humans, but in animals, it only occurs in those held in captivity, as they are unable to fulfil their natural behavioural needs.
Parrots spend much of their time in the wild looking for food, a task that is very stimulating for the birds, as it requires good navigation skills and the ability to remember where certain fruit-bearing trees are located.
In captivity, the parrots spend no time looking for food, as it is usually always in the same place, within easy reaching distance.
For parrots, the best thing to prevent boredom burnout and stereotypy is a feathered companion. Additionally, the parrots should be given lots of stimulation in their aviary, such as swings, branches and twigs to chew on.
Parrot owners can also hide the birds’ food about the aviary, so that they can enjoy searching for it. — dpa