Foraging is an instinctive behaviour for birds, involving searching for and finding food. It is the major activity for birds with wild birds spending 50%-70% of daylight hours foraging.
Why do birds forage? Well mainly it is to feed themselves or to care for a mate or a hatchling. Migrating birds will often forage more heavily before migration to build up their energy reserves for the journey ahead.
So what about birds in captivity? Most birds are provided with a comfortable cage and their food in a bowl. Captive birds only spend about 15-30 mins per day eating. Without foraging for food, boredom ensues and with that a whole load of behaviour problems – feather plucking, destructiveness, self mutilation and screaming.
So what is the solution? Captive foraging – providing birds with a way to actively find food and develop methods to obtain the food, much like they would do in the wild. For “novice” foragers, start off easy and then make the hunt for food a little more complex when your bird becomes more curious and adept with foraging.
Methods for Captive Foraging:
Hiding – burying a small amount of food in a bowl under wood shavings, shredded paper etc.
Wrapping – wrap food in something safe for a bird like paper or large leaves and loosely close the ends with twine.
Covering – cover the bowl with paper so the bird has to remove the paper to obtain the food. Need something a little more challenging? Tape the paper to the bowl or lightly tuck the paper underneath the edges of the bowl.
Foraging Toys – there are literally hundreds of these toys available at your pet store to keep your birds busy and mentally challenged.
Come & have a look at our new range of Kazoo bird toys