Captive Foraging

we recommend people practice the concept of “captive foraging” or the art of mimicking the natural environment and providing a foraging area for both enrichment and nutritional purposes. How you feed is as important as what you feed. Foraging opportunities for captive parrots are necessary to maintain their mental and physical health. Part of the art of captive foraging is giving your bird things they like to chew. The selection of good chewing material is essential for good beak health.

In the wild birds spend considerable time and energy looking for their food. How you feed is as important as what you feed. Failure to occupy your bird can lead to behavioural problems such as plucking. Encouraging foraging can enrich your birds life.

The ideas of captive foraging is not new, sadly very few people practice it. Here is a short video that explains the concept.

Captive foraging can mean different things to different people depending upon the types of birds and their circumstance. Cockatiels are in nature largely ground foraging granivores. Simply by supplying a forage area and making your bird sort through green vegetation to find seed or pellets will provide mental stimulation.

Things that can be used to encourage foraging include.
  • feeding out of a tray instead of a bowl
  • feed green seed hung around the cage, wild mustard, rocket seed, green millet, grass seeds
  • providing a chewable floor (I use paperbark) and placing forage greens over a small amount of seed or pellets
  • hiding food in the larger gum nuts (I split these large nuts in half)
  • providing lots of edible chewable plant material bottlebrush gravillea and banksia are ideal for this
  • provide hard chewable perches and other chewable material like seeweed roots, plant roots
  • provide forage toys

A List of Safe Forage Plants