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Home > Birds > Parrotlet in a Harness: Advice, Ethics & FAQs

Parrotlet in a Harness: Advice, Ethics & FAQs

Harness Parrotlet_

Parrotlet owners know that their birds are energetic little creatures that love to move around. You’ve probably seen your bird flitting around your living room and wondered if it would be a good idea to harness your parrotlet and take it outdoors.

But should you buy a bird harness and give your pet bird a change of scenery?

The short answer is yes, you can purchase a harness for a parrotlet and bring your bird outdoors. However, there are many factors to consider and steps you should take before doing so. Keep reading to learn about the types of available harnesses, precautions, potential problems, and pros and cons of taking a parrotlet out on a harness.


Types of Harnesses

Parrotlet Harness

If you think your bird would enjoy some outdoor time, there are a few options you can consider. The most important thing to keep in mind with any of these harnesses is size. You’ll need to make sure you buy the right size for your bird, otherwise, they will be uncomfortable or, even worse, they may slip out and escape. The most common types of bird harnesses include the following:

Types of Harness
  • Flight suits: Flight suits are made from cloth and look like little jumpsuits for your bird. There are holes for the head, legs, and wings. They are secured around the bird with hook and loop style fasteners and can also be attached to a leash. Some even come with diaper attachments to catch the bird’s droppings.
  • Single-loop harnesses: A single-loop harness is the simplest design. It consists of a piece of braided nylon that forms a collar loop. You can slip this over the parrotlet’s head. It’s connected by another nylon piece to a waistband that you clip around the bird’s waist. You can then attach the harness to a leash.
  • Buckled harnesses: A buckled harness is shaped like the capital letter “H”. Similar to the single-loop design, it is made from nylon braids. It has metal buckles that close over the chest, abdomen, and legs. There is also a collar loop and waistband that get secured around your bird. You can attach a leash to the front or back of the harness.

Proper Precautions

It’ll be tempting to take your parrotlet out right away once you have your harness, but there are precautions you need to take.

  • Try it on. Have your parrotlet try the harness on in a secure, indoor space. If your bird is comfortable wearing it, check the entire apparatus for proper fit. You want to make sure they cannot slip out.
  • Practice. Once you’ve ensured you have a properly fitting harness, you’ll want to allow your parrotlet to get used to wearing it. Practice indoors several times before you consider taking the bird outside.

You should walk around your house with the bird in the harness and carefully observe how they react. Are they calm? Agitated? If your bird is agitated or stressed, remove the harness and try again at a different time.

  • Start young. A parrotlet is more likely to enjoy a harness if they are trained with one from a young age. Older birds can be taken out in harnesses in some cases, but they are more likely not to take to wearing one.
  • Speak to your veterinarian. Before taking your bird outside, you should also check with your veterinarian to see if they recommend doing so. Your veterinarian can also check to make sure the harness you have fits your parrotlet properly.

Potential Problems

The reason harnessing pet birds is somewhat controversial is there are risks associated with taking your bird outside. These include:

Potential Problem
  • Loud noises that spook your bird
  • A loose harness allows for escape
  • Your bird flies into a tree
  • The leash slips from your hand

While you can’t prevent loud noises, significant practice and properly securing the leash and harness can lessen the likelihood of other problems occurring.

The other thing you’ll need to be careful of is damage to your bird’s body. If they get spooked while in their harness, they can pull at the leash and harm their skin and feathers.


Pros and Cons of a Parrotlet Harness

Now that you know the different types of harnesses available, the preparation necessary, and the associated risks, let’s summarize the pros and cons of a parrotlet harness:

  • Prevents cage boredom
  • Good for exercise
  • Fresh air and sunshine
  • New sights and sounds
  • Potential for escape
  • Injuries can occur
  • Exposure to bacteria outside

Alternatives to Harnesses

If your parrotlet isn’t comfortable with a harness or you aren’t comfortable with the risk, there are carriers that you can purchase that allow you to securely take your bird outside. Look for one that is large enough for your bird, has sunlight openings, and is escape-proof.

divider-birdsFinal Thoughts

If you think your parrotlet would benefit from some outside time, you should speak with your veterinarian to get their opinion. Then, make sure you purchase a harness that is the right style and fit for your bird’s safety and comfort.

Spend plenty of safe, indoor time practicing so your bird is used to the harness. When you do get outside, monitor the situation carefully and remain cognizant of your parrotlet’s mood, bringing them in if they show any signs of stress.

Feature Image Credit by: Gabrielle Trouton, Shutterstock

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