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How important is enrichment?

We hear a great deal about enrichment these days and how it is important in our lives, whether man or beast? But how important do we really think enrichment is and what can we do about it?

Enrichment, by whatever means, provides us with pleasure, and pleasure makes our lives more fulfilling, so it is important that we are able to enjoy the things that make us happy and more content. Some will say that a happy person, or animal, is a more healthy one, as depression can be extremely detrimental.

On page 30 of the April edition of Parrots magazine we have an article on enrichment, and I hope all who read it will take careful note. Try to imagine what life would be like shut in a room with meals turning up from time to time, and then sometimes food that you can’t stand. Well, some environments in which birds are kept are just that, with nothing but boredom to contemplate. Aviaries with yards and yards of concrete and wire mesh to look at all day, and if indoors, row after row of flights, all in regimented order, cannot be enriching. They might look good to the eye, but not for living in. They can look more like intensive rearing stations rather than ‘environments’, which provide the things to make lives more interesting for the occupants.

I have heard various breeders over the years complain that their birds are not producing, while other peoples’ are. Of course, the reason could be one of many things, but are these birds happy? Could it be because they are sitting on a boringly uniform dowel perch and looking at a lot of wire and brickwork - no stimulation at all! I have seen many birds that appear to be bored out of their minds, looking as though the world is coming to an end! I urge all those who are breeding parrots and parakeets to read this article.

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