45 Life-Hacks for Parrot Owners

A collection of tips (‘life hacks’) for people with parrots in their lives, making those days just a little easier.

Parrot life hack #1: The office mat


Mop up messes with ease.

Parrot life hack #2 Drop cloths out of old flat sheets


Contain (some of) that mess.

Parrot life hack #3 The only cleaning agents you’ll ever need: White distilled vinegar, steam, mild dishwashing soap, and GSE (grape seed extract).
095Parrot life hack # 4 Build your own aviary – try checking out the Parrot’s Workshop for ideas and advice


There are all kinds of benefits to having an aviary for your parrots.

Parrot life hack # 5 UV lights and direct sun


UV light promotes good health and feather condition, plus improves mood and therefore helps behavioural issues like biting, screaming, and plucking. AND it helps parrots try new foods.

Parrot life hack # 6 Chop (which you should freeze in ice cube trays)

Ptak and Maverick's Arrival 052

As per Parrot Nation and the Parrot’s Pantry, chop consists of finely chopped veggies. Picky parrots will often eat this!

056Parrot life hack # 7 Homemade toys as per the Parrot’s Workshop… or, let your parrot be your shredder.


Parrot life hack # 8 Recall training

Screen shot 2012-07-13 at 19.19.41

The equivalent of teaching a dog the ‘here’ command.

Parrot life hack # 9 Station training


Otherwise known as ‘stay.’

Parrot life hack # 10 Homemade harnesses

Homemade parrot flight suit/jumper/sweater.

Use at your own risk. Pattern by Island Parrot Sanctuary

Bobo the Umbrella CockatooParrot life hack # 11 Fruit frozen in ice cubes

Fruit in ice cubes

Photo credit: VisualPhotos.com

Parrot life hack # 12 The bath in a sink (in a bowl)
Charlie in a bathParrot life hack # 13 Grain bakes – picky parrot’s delight


Hint: Try feeding it to wild birds in the extreme cold weather when food is hard to come by, too.

Parrot life hack # 14 Foraging skewers and balls


You can also replace nesting birds’ bowls with skewers and other foraging toys.


Parrot life hack # 15 Foods as toys

Fruits and Vegetables 081

Stuff a bell pepper or mini bell pepper with your parrot’s meal.

Parrot life hack # 16 Hemp seed


Organic hemp seed is good for parrots (in moderation). We’ve been using pre-shelled, as we can mix it in new foods to tempt them to taste it.

Parrot life hack #  17 Coconut Oil


Safe for cooking – and good for us and our parrots.

Parrot life hack # 18 Sweet potato mash


Most birds will eat this warm delicacy (best NOT fed in the spring), and you can hide all kinds of veggies in it.

Parrot life hack #  19 ‘Parrot Wine’ and syringe training


Watered down Ribena or fruit juice can help syringe train a parrot, or give a sick bird a boost of energy enough to get it to the vet.

Parrot life hack #  20 Removing stains (hint: get them while they’re fresh!)

Parrot life hack # 21 Unused popsicle sticks and coffee stirrers as toys

Parrot Life hack #22 The cat carrier


You can modify the cat carrier by adding a wood perch. Also note that washed dandelions and roses without the thorns are safe toys!

024Parrot life hack # 23 ‘Parrot T.V.’

Birds' Arrival 256

It’s as simple as this – Maverick is entertained for hours.

Parrot life hack #24 Buy many, many extra bowls. Dozens. More than you think.


Breakfast bowls.

Parrot life hack # 25 Clicker training. Not so much a ‘hack,’ as a must-try.099Parrot life hack # 26 Cheap toilet roll (paper)


Cheaper for mopping up poop, spills, and other messes, plus they make a fun toy.

Parrot life hack # 27 Hide medicine or veggies in almond or peanut butter whole-grain toastIMG_3954

Parrot life hack # 28 Wrap millet or nuts in some plain computer paper


Parrot life hack # 29 Iceberg secrets a calming substance

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Not very nutritional, but it makes a good toy for beating up – and the white substance it secretes will calm them. (Island Parrot Sanctuary tip.)

Parrot life hack # 30 Different styles of perches


Not every parrot wants to sleep on wood; not every parrot wants to perch. Mishka loved sleeping on a corner perch – we got her a chinchilla platform.

Parrot life hack # 31 Lightly spray the bottom of the cage/the papers before pulling them up


Keeps the dust and cage debris from flying into your face as you clean

Parrot life hack # 32 Skewer a box full of paper and treats for foraging. Put this in the cage before you have to leave the house to keep them occupied


Not so big as they can nest in it, but it still counts as foraging fun.

Parrot life hack # 34 Grapes, cored apples, and other watery/sugary fruits are good for travelIMG_1479

Parrot life hack # 35 Buy up too-small or round bird cages and make them into travel cages or art sculptures


Sanitise travel cages first, to prevent the accidental spread of disease


Just remember that this can’t be used as a cage anymore.

Parrot life hack # 36: The water-fountain bath by Thun Fisch

Life hack # 37 Cornstarch, not styptic powder, for wounds!


Styptic powder can burn on an open wound (bleeding cut) and actually cause further damage, but is okay for broken nails, beaks, or feathers.

Life hack # 38 Your blender’s food processor attachment


Your new best friend.

Life hack # 39 Baby toys whose parts can’t be broken off/aren’t toxic can be sanitised and given to parrots


Life hack # 40 Courtesy of BirdTricks: Freeze several bowls half full of water and place these beneath the birds’ regular dishes of fresh food, as if stacking them. Keeps it fresh a little longer in hot weather.

Life hack # 41 Stainless steel pans


The parrot-safe alternative to non-stick, as are earthenware and glass.

Life hack # 42 In your emergency birdie first aid kit, add some organic baby food pouches


Should you have a disaster and run out of food, or simply need to convince a sick bird to eat, this often works.

Life hack # 43 Spice their food up


Click for a list at Cockatiel Cottage full of safe foods and herbs for parrots.

Life hack # 44 Use a blanket in aviaries to provide a shaded place


Island Parrot Sanctuary

Life hack # 45 Vacuuming means bath time?

Bath in a bowl

For some reason, many parrots are stimulated into bathing by the sound of a running vacuum cleaner. Just make sure you swap their bowl after!


Quinoa Pops

Sweet Potato Quinoa Pops – perfect foot toy by Lisa Southerland at the Parrot’s Pantry. (Click to go through.)

What are your tips for making life a little easier with parrots?


27 thoughts on “45 Life-Hacks for Parrot Owners

  1. Some great tips! We used to give tied up paper to our Quaker and it kept him entertained for ages! We had a tiled floor that did for his bath (in a flan dish) but putting it in a sink could have been a good idea…although he didn’t like the sink too much because that was usually where he had an enforced bath! 😄 We had carpet protectors too which came from IKEA…save wiping the carpet perpetually.

    • I love floor protectors…even if you don’t have carpet, they are a lifesaver. I know some people who put floor tiles on part of their bird’s cages, too, for ground-foraging species. I wish I had a tiled floor, period, though, haha.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • I use Urinary incontinence pads, the washable ones like they use in hospitals and nursing homes. They are sold at any drug store and walmart for like $8. I have a bunch. Just throw one in the washer and put a new one down

  2. Love it….great information! UV lighting? My dove’s cage sits by the window, but the Amazon hates it and wants to be by the kitchen table as center of attention. She can see out the family room sliders and kitchen window but is not near them. There’s the kitchen light but it’s not UV. Do you think I should get a small UV lamp and put it on the table directed at her? Chop recipe or direct me to a link? If it is frozen, I take there is a liquid to bond everything? Harness…..ha ha. I bought a arm protector when I got her and she refused to get on my arm. I bought a parrot harness and she is quicker at getting it off before I can get it on. That darn foot! I like the idea of frozen fruit but she is so darn picky. Once again, what substance to freeze it all together, juice or water? The grain bakes look interesting, will have to try your recipe. #37 Cornstarch, not styptic, but then you have cornstarch can burn wound. Do you mean that styptic can burn wound? Thanks for all your ideas and help!

    • There are conflicting opinions. Too much isn’t good, but like a lot of treats, in moderation it’s fine – particularly red, or romaine, and anything that’s not iceberg (which is basically nutritionally devoid.). Hope that helps!

  3. I am definitely going to try the aviary today I tried to put the bird harness on my cockatiel he FREAKED OUT HE HATES the harness but he loves going outside idk he is stubborn

  4. I use a paper towel and smear coconut oil on it and wipe the clean racks on the bottom of the cage (both sides). It prevents the poop from sticking to the racks as much. Some still sticks after a few days when it dries up a bit. Just makes clean up a little easier.

  5. Pingback: All the World’s a Cage – In Loco Parrotus

  6. Hi!

    My tip is never close a bird in a cage at all. They born to be free and fly free. My Grey never had a cage. He is gorgeous and happy. The whole house is his playground. Little toys-treats everywhere even if we have to go to work.
    Yes, it’s a pain, loads of damage caused, but this was our choice to keep them.

    Great tips, thank you very much. He loves the pepper 🙂

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