Animals love the outdoors.
Whether we are talking about cats, dogs, pigs, or mice, all animals thrive when they have time outside – and parrots are no different.
After all, parrots in the wild live outdoors.
When wild, parrots don’t have access to indoor amenities like they do when they are kept as pets.
Rather, they have to find their own food, shelter, and safety.
And if they can survive outdoors in the wild, then by way of reasoning, they should also be able to survive outdoors in captivity, right?
And this leads us to the question – can parrots be kept outside?
The answer to this question is yes, parrots can be kept outside. In fact, there are many benefits that come along with having an outdoor aviary for your parrot. Having said that, there are also some risks that come along with being outdoors and some precautions and considerations that need to be taken if you are going to be keeping your parrot outside.
Today we will talk about some of these precautions and considerations, as well as some of the many benefits and risks that come along with keeping your parrot outdoors.
By the end of the article we hope to give you more insight so that you can make an educated decision as to whether an outdoor aviary is the right choice for you and your parrot – so let’s not waste another minute!
Table of Contents
- 1 Benefits of Keeping your Parrot Outdoors
- 2 Risks of keeping your Parrot Outdoors
- 3 How to Keep your Parrot Outdoors Safely:
- 4 How much cold can a parrot tolerate?
- 5 Can parrots withstand extreme heat?
Benefits of Keeping your Parrot Outdoors
Being indoors is not a natural thing for your parrot.
In the wild, parrots are never indoors.
They fly through the sky with freedom, and live by their instinctual behaviors.
In return, it’s not natural for your parrot to be stuck in a cage or in a house.
Just as we thrive in our natural environments, so do parrots.
As a result, parrots love spending time outdoors.
Not only can being outdoors give them a mood boost, but the fresh air can be beneficial, as can the sunshine.
In fact, sunshine is vital to the overall health of your parrot.
Not only does it help to produce strong bones, beaks, and feathers, but it also helps to boost the immune system.
In addition, sunlight can help to kill germs and bacteria on the feathers of your parrot, and can even help to enhance their vision.
On top of all that, most outdoor aviaries are larger than indoor cages, allowing your parrot to be more active during the day.
Most companion parrots expend 50% less energy than parrots in the wild.
The main reason for this is because parrots in the wild have to search and forage for their own food, while parrots in captivity get their own room service.
The problem with this is that though captive parrots are being well fed, they are not getting the amount of exercise that they need to thrive.
A large outdoor aviary, however, provides them with more room to fly, climb, and exercise throughout the day, which is beneficial to their overall health and happiness.
Risks of keeping your Parrot Outdoors
While there are many benefits that come along with keeping your parrot outdoors, there are also many risks.
Included within these are:
Extreme Weather Situations
Extreme weather, both hot and cold, can be detrimental to the health of your parrot.
Unfortunately, protecting your bird from harsh weather can be difficult, and even the most well-built aviaries can be tricky to effectively insulate.
If your bird gets too hot or too cold, it could be at risk of fatal illness.
Other harsh weather events like hail, snow, and lighting can also put your bird at risk.
Parrots that live outside are often exposed to illness and disease that they probably wouldn’t encounter when kept indoors.
While there are some products available to help protect your parrot from viruses, outdoor parrots will always be more susceptible to things like the avian flu, bacterial diseases, and parasites.
Whether we want to admit it or not, there are hundreds of toxins that we are exposed to on a regular basis.
Many of these toxins are in our outdoor environments, and many can be harmful to our parrots.
Pollution, for example, can be very harmful for a parrot over time.
Insects, which can fly into your parrot’s cage, can also carry toxins from pesticides and other chemicals.
If your parrot were to eat them, they could be exposed to the toxins as well.
Many of these concerns can be avoided by keeping your parrot indoors.
While we can protect our parrots from predators within our home, we can’t always do the same outdoors.
Unless your cage or aviary is securely confined, your parrot may become the unwilling victim of a local cat, dog, snake, or larger bird when living outside.
And because they are in captivity, your parrot has not honed the skill of escape, which can put it at even further risk of being harmed.
How to Keep your Parrot Outdoors Safely:
If you have read about the risks, and still think that you would like to keep your parrot outside, you’ll want to make sure you do so safely.
Consider your Climate
As said previously, any drastic changes in weather can be harmful to your parrot.
As such, this is the number one factor that you should consider when deciding whether to keep your parrot inside or outside.
If you live in an area like Southern California, where weather conditions are relatively stable, then building an outdoor aviary may be a possibility.
But if you live in an area like Canada, which is subject to extreme cold and heat, then keeping your parrot outside is unlikely a good choice.
Make sure your cage is secure
Parrots are extremely intelligent birds, and it wouldn’t be unspeakable to think about them trying to escape.
Always make sure your cage or aviary is well-secured and locked so that your bird can’t plot its way out – and don’t underestimate them – parrots can pick locks!
Protection from Predators
As mentioned previously, predators are one of the biggest risk factors of keeping your bird outside.
Because birds are prey for so many different types of animals, any parrot living outside will need secure protection.
Always make sure your aviary wiring is thick enough to prevent chewing by a) your parrot, and b) rodents, and ensure that you have fine mesh screening to reduce the intrusion of insects and bugs.
Know your parrots personality
Not all parrots are suited to living outdoors.
If your parrot is used to living inside, chances are it won’t do well with the sudden change.
In addition, if the parrot has been bonded with its owner, it probably won’t be happy living outside.
Only birds that are not adapted to living indoors should be considered for outdoor cages or aviaries.
How much cold can a parrot tolerate?
Most people think that parrots can only live in climates with warmer weather, but this isn’t necessarily true.
In fact, parrots have been found to acclimatize themselves to weather as cold as 40 degrees F.
Remember, parrots have a lot of feathers, and these feathers can serve as insulation to the cold.
When cold, parrots can fluff themselves up to produce insulating air pockets, thereby keeping their bodies shielded from the more frigid temperatures.
In addition, parrots have scale covered feet that can retain heat.
During cooler weather, they can use this warmth to help regulate body temperatures.
Having said that, this is only true of parrots that have been acclimatized to cold weather.
In other words, a parrot that is used to living in colder weather can adapt the mechanisms needed to stay warm.
A parrot that is used to living in warmer weather, however, would not have the same adaptations, and would not be able to survive in cooler weather.
While some parrots can live in the cold, most are not acclimated, and do best with tempratures between 65-72 degrees F.
Can parrots withstand extreme heat?
Because parrots are generally found living in warm or hot environments, they do pretty well at withstanding the heat.
Having said that, when extreme heat conditions are present, parrots are at a huge disadvantage.
As humans, we have sweat glands.
When we get hot, these glands make us sweat.
This sweat than turns to moisture on our skin and helps to keep us cool.
Parrots, however, don’t have this same advantage as they are lacking any sweat glands whatsoever.
Most animals that lack sweat glands will then resort to panting to keep them cool.
This helps to produce evaporation in the mouth, which helps to regulate body temperature.
Again, parrots don’t have this advantage.
Rather, they have dry mouths.
So even though we often see parrots panting, this is a reaction to heat stress, it’s not a successful method used to cool down.
In return, parrots have no protection from the heat.
In extreme heat conditions, they are at increased risk of illness, or even death.
So can parrots be kept outside?
Yes. With that being said, I don’t highly recommend it.
Unless you live in an environment that is stable year-round, putting your parrot outside could put them at risk of extreme climate conditions.
Not only that, but keeping them outside can increase their risk of disease, and put them at risk of potential predators.
Keep your parrot inside, and take them outside as an occasional treat.