Should You Cover A Parrot Cage At Night?

I can’t go to sleep without some sort of cover, be it a blanket, a quilt or even a sheet on those hot summer nights. I also need the light off and the door shut. Are parrots the same? Do they need their cage covered at night?

The answer is: it depends. There are a number of factors which we must take into account as pet owners when deciding whether or not we want to cover our pet’s cage at night or not.  Things such as our own circadian rhythms, light exposure, sound, environmental factors and even individual differences will all play a significant factor, in determining whether you should leave your pet parrot’s cage exposed, or covered up.

Do they actually prefer to be left out to view the open space? Perhaps to enjoy the freedom and the comfort of knowing there are no lurking predators, or maybe they’re just like us, and there’re nothing they want more than to have a cover placed over their cage in order to secure a completely full night’s rest. Whatever pre conceptions you may have with your own bird’s cage, today I’m going to give you all the facts about whether or not you should cover your bird’s cage at night.

So you’re probably still thinking at this stage that you’re not sure if you should leave your parrot’s cage covered or uncovered at night. So today, I’m discuss the following:

  • Arguments FOR covering the cage of your parrot.
  • Arguments for NOT covering the cage of your parrot
  • Some practical tips when covering your parrot’s cage.

Sound good? Let’s not waste any more time.

Why you should cover your Parrot’s cage

On average, parrots need about 12 hours of good quality sleep per night, like humans, this number can be affected by noise, bright lights and other environmental stimuli.

The most common reason why bird owners purchase covers for their parrot’s cage like this one from Great Companions, is so to stop environmental factors (such as light), from interfering with their sleeping patterns.

The problem with most households is that whilst the parrot may need a lot of sleep, the parrots owner may not need as much. This means that in most cases, when there are lamps, televisions and reading lights on, the parrot cannot maximise the quality of its sleep.

These parrot cage covers are often particularly useful during the months of the year when there is more light, for example, June, July and August in particular.

This is because once again, the external light which poses little problem to our own sleep schedule, can massively interfere with that of the parrot.

One important point that should be emphasised is that using parrot cage covers is not cruel. It is exactly the same as a parent using a noise machine for their child. It is a tool that can be used to aid their sleeping patterns, and help maximise the quality of their sleep.

Not only can parrot cage cover’s aid the quality of a parrot’s sleep, but on top of that, it gives the owners the power to dictate what times the parrot is going to sleep and rise at.

For example, you may have been faced with the highly irritating experience of being woken up by your feathery friend before your alarm. Thankfully however, using a cage cover like this one from great companions, would simply make the parrot believe that it is still night time, and trick them into either falling asleep again or keeping quiet. (If this has happened to you before and it doesn’t make you buy a cage cover instantly, then I don’t know what ever will!)

Adequate sleep amounts reduces the issues of irritability which can arise such as excessive squawking and other forms of aggressive behaviour. This will ultimately lead to healthier and happier parrots and parrot owners too.

Another reason why a parrot cage cover may be beneficial, is because of its usefulness with regard to temperature. Now again, it’s very easy for us humans to be picky with regard to the temperature of our bedrooms, without giving any thought to how our feathery friends might be coping. However, it is crucially important that give at least some attention to our pet parrot with regard to its own comfort and temperature.

Unfortunately for our parrots, they just are not large enough to create enough body heat to sustain  a warm temperature, due to all of the space between them and the covers of the bird covers. However, the use of a cover can prevent the formation of drafts within the bird Cage, which may help to regulate temperature and create a more comfortable sleeping environment for our pet parrot.

The quality and the thickness of parrot cage covers may also play a role in the quality of the sleep your parrot is getting. It largely goes without saying, that the thicker the cover is, the better it will be at insulating heat, and therefore can keep your parrot warmer during the night.

When not to use parrot cage covers.

The simple answer, is that covers should not be used when they cause any form of distress or discomfort to your parrot. The use of parrot cage covers in any way that doesn’t allow them to achieve a higher quality level of sleep is wrong. Use of a parrot cage cover outside of sleeping hours, or regularly as some kind of punishment, in the same way a parent would “ground” their child, would constitute mis-use, And can result in various negative side effects.

One such side effect is irritability. Like we discussed previously with regard to lack of adequate quality sleep, the same effects can be seen if a parrot is placed inside their cage cover at a time when they shouldn’t be. This will result in symptoms of aggressive behaviour such as feather plucking for example, (for more information on feather plucking, feel free to check out our other article on the matter). The lack of predictability this would cause the parrot may even result in mild depression. In a similar way to how humans may not cope well with the changing of light levels in the winter months (SAD Disorder), the temporal darkness episode a parrot experiences underneath the cover of a cage would result in symptoms not too dissimilar from a condition like SAD.

Parrot cage covers should always evoke a calming response from the parrot, not one that will trigger feelings of panic and anger. If you do begin to use a parrot cage cover, you may find that your parrot does display these kind of responses to the cover. In this case may your may want to find ways to calm your parrot before placing the cover over it’s cage. Perhaps by spending more time with it during the day, or allowing it to socialise more, may put the parrot at ease, and allow it to fall sleep with ease once the cover has been placed over their cage.

If you have tried to use a parrot cage cover multiple times, and have used multiple attempts at relaxing your parrot before covering it. It is just very possible that your own parrot doesn’t like it. In the same way us humans each have our own unique and individual tastes and preferences, many parrots will either prefer to have their cage covered, or some may simply prefer to sleep in the open. What’s most important however, is that the owner (you), respects this, and creates optimal sleeping conditions for your pet parrot to remain in peak condition, based off its own individual needs.

Additionally, if you do try and use a cage cover for your parrot, you may notice that it begins to peck the inner surface of the cover. If this does happen at the beginning, do not worry, it is highly likely that it is just a sign of the bird adjusting to its new environment. However, once this routine has been established for a while, it may be a behaviour in response to the fact that the bird has been covered up for too long.

Also, it is not uncommon for parrots to become so adjusted and so used to having a cage cover, that they simply struggle to adapt to sleeping without one. This means that owners who regularly travel with their parrot should make sure they take it with them when away.

In conclusion then, I hope that I’ve helped you make a decision as to whether or not you think you should allow your parrot’s cage to be covered at night, or whether you think that leaving it out in the open, is best for maximum sleeping quality and maximum health for your feathery little friend.

Like I have said, both will come with their own advantages and disadvantages , and it is up to you, as the owner, to take these into account. And come to a conclusion with regard to what is best for your pet, having considered their own personality and individual differences.

Thank you very much for reading, and I hope to see you again soon!

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