Birds are creatures of habit. In the wild, they know the best places to get good eats, hide out during a storm, or retreat when predators are nearby. Companion birds may not have to forage for their own food or hide from hawks, but it’s still coded in their DNA to prefer the familiar. It is normal to see signs of stress in your bird when anything or anyone new is in his environment. This can be true when you bring home a new toy or even have new people over to visit. You must consider your bird’s feelings when new things enter its environment as you don’t want to cause your pet extended periods of unnecessary stress.
If you’re having guests for a few hours or even a few nights, you should consider your bird’s comfort level. It may not like its space being encroached upon, so you must be ready to deal with heightened stress and anxiety levels.
You can do some things to keep the peace while you have visitors. Keep reading to learn how to calm your bird when expecting guests.
The 7 Tips to Calm Your Bird When You Have Guests Over
1. Speak Calmly
Birds can pick up on the subtle (and not-so-subtle) emotional cue you send them. So it’s always important to speak in a calm voice whenever something or someone new is in your bird’s environment.
Try not to raise your voice, even if happy or excited. If you can, try to keep the volume level in your home similar to what your bird is used to.
2. Read Their Body Language
One of the best things you can do as a bird owner is learning how to read your pet’s body language. Then, as you get to know your pet better, you’ll be able to read its body language to determine what he’s feeling and know what might upset him or cause a stir.
You can use your body language reading expertise to determine your bird’s thoughts on the guest in your home. If he’s starting to display behaviors or body language you know means he’s upset or stressed, you and your guest should back off. You should trust your bird to tell you when he’s ready to meet someone new.
3. Let Your Bird Guide the Introduction
It would be best never to force your bird to step up onto a stranger. Chances are your bird won’t want to step up onto someone they don’t know in the first place, but forcing them into a situation they’re not comfortable in will not end well for anyone.
Instead, let your bird decide if they want to see the new person or not. If they run into hiding or fly away when your guest comes near them, it’s time to back off. If they act curious about your guest, you might let them decide if they want to step up or not.
When your bird becomes curious about your visitors, make every interaction, no matter how small, positive. Provide plenty of encouraging words and treats after your pet shows brave behavior. This will help him learn that strangers equal positive reinforcement.
4. Train Your Guests
Instead of focusing solely on your bird, try switching your focus to your guests. We can appreciate that they’re excited to meet your pet, but a bird is not like a dog or cat and should not be treated as such. For example, you wouldn’t force your dog into climbing onto a stranger’s lap if she was uncomfortable, so you and your guests shouldn’t expect your bird to step up onto someone it doesn’t know.
Instead, tell your guests that you’re letting your bird set its own boundaries. Let them know you’re not going to force him into situations he’s not comfortable in, so they should be prepared not to hold or even meet your bird just yet.
5. Try Calming Supplements
Calming supplements are another possible way to calm your bird in times of stress. There are many different options on the market, so you should do some reading to see which would be best for your bird.
Please note that we don’t recommend trying any new supplement without first asking your avian vet for their opinion. They can provide recommendations for products and let you know which to steer clear of.
6. Give Them Space
If guests upset your bird too much, it might be best to give him space. Keep your pet in a room away from where the guests will be spending most of their time. Be sure to provide plenty of enrichment in the cage to keep them occupied while entertaining your guests.
7. Play Music
If you and your guests are getting a bit rowdy or loud, play music in your bird’s room to drown out the excessive noise. Pick a YouTube channel or Spotify playlist with serene, peaceful, and quiet music to encourage peace.
Signs of Stress in Birds
Birds show stress in many different ways. You should know the signs of stress to determine what your bird is feeling and know if you need to give it space when you have guests over.
Not every bird will love meeting new people. It may be that yours never becomes keen on strangers at all. Let your pet guide the introduction process by learning how to read their body language and never forcing any interaction your bird is uncomfortable with. If they show clear signs of stress, anxiety, or aggression, back away and give them the space they desire.
Featured Image Credit: mf evelyn, Unsplash