Dr. Laurie: So birds in the wild fly around all day. They get a lot of exercise. They have to fly from tree to tree. They have to spend their days foraging for nest sites, for mates, for food. They spend a lot of time flying and birds in captivity don't get that opportunity.
But it doesn't mean that birds have to just sit around and do nothing. It's really important for birds to get some exercise at home, whether it's just flapping their wings or running across the floor. It's important cardiovascularly, just as it is for us, for their heart muscle to stay developed and for them to have some stamina. It's important to keep their cholesterols down.
We know that there are some species like Amazon parrots and Quakers that are much more prone to obesity. They need some added exercise and activity, so we encourage owners to really exercise their birds. Even though we trim wings, I mean what can we do at home to encourage them to get out there?
Sarah: Well, some people even go so far as to dedicating entire parts of their home, to almost what I would call, a birdie jungle gym. Ropes and swings and ladders and all kinds of things that the birds can play on. While they're playing they're also getting exercise. They're climbing. They're flapping their wings. They're hanging upside down. They're having a good time. Things like that are actually good for them exercise-wise.
Dr. Laurie: So we're providing them when we give them sort of a jungle gym situation or even just a simple swing in their cage, they're getting interaction with us, if we're watching them and playing with them. They're getting exercise and they're moving around.
Again, just as it's important for us to exercise to stay healthy and strong, to keep out muscles fit, to keep our weight down and our cholesterol and our triglyceride levels low, it is for birds, as well. It's very important that they exercise, and just because they're not flying around in the wild, doesn't mean that they can't have exercise indoors as captive birds, as well.