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Leaving a parrot alone - how long is OK?

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Leaving a parrot alone - how long is OK?

Postby miajag » Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:09 pm

Hi everyone, new member here, not a parrot owner yet but considering getting one (probably a smaller one like a Quaker or conure).

I've done a good bit of research in preparation for becoming a parrot owner, and I'm well aware that parrots require lots of human attention and care. I'm wondering though, how long a parrot can safely tolerate being alone without health or behavioral consequences - for example, if I go out of town for one night, would it be OK to just leave the parrot with food and water or would I need to leave him with a friend or have someone come over to feed/play with him?

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I haven't been able to find a good answer elsewhere.
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Re: Leaving a parrot alone - how long is OK?

Postby Michael » Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:42 pm

I've left my parrot home for up to two full days without attention and she did just fine. She'd get super excited and happy to see me after though.

However, the parrot has to be able to use a water bottle cause water in a dish has to be replaced at least daily if not twice. Water bottle can last a few days. Also it has to be able to eat non perishable foods like pellets. By all means it's better to leave the bird with someone but if it has lots of toys in its cage, isn't spoiled, and well socialized, I think they can take 48 hours alone ok.
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Re: Leaving a parrot alone - how long is OK?

Postby miajag » Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:32 pm

Thanks very much - good to know.
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Re: Leaving a parrot alone - how long is OK?

Postby Michael » Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:49 pm

Now by no means am I saying that they should be left alone or that it will always work out, however from personal experience it's not too bad. If you can take the bird with you or leave with someone else it's always better.
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Re: Leaving a parrot alone - how long is OK?

Postby miajag » Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:59 pm

Oh yeah, I figured as much and certainly don't plan to leave him alone on a regular basis. Just wanted to know if it was acceptable to do on occasion or if an emergency comes up.
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Re: Leaving a parrot alone - how long is OK?

Postby triplebbirds » Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:11 pm

Well i think were missing part of the info. you asked about leaving for a night, correct? Like are we talking a day and a night? a night and 2 days? How long are we talking about here. Also how old is the bird? If it would be alone for just the night then yeah i dont see it being different than when i go to sleep at night. If its a night and a day then there is the food issue and what kind of diet its on. If the bird isnt fully weaned, definatly not a good idea, then no dont leave it that long. It really depends. In an emergency you dont know how long you will truely be gone, if its a true emergency. Then you would need to have a bird sitter in mind before hand. example, trip to the emergency room would be an emergency, you never know how long you will be in that hospital. So you would want to have a person in mind to be able to watch your bird when need be. Just my humble opinion.
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Re: Leaving a parrot alone - how long is OK?

Postby Michael » Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:45 pm

When someone becomes a parrot owner for the first time, they aren't going to be weening their parrot themselves. Leaving a parrot for 2 full days is within tolerance in my opinion as long as the bird hasn't been conditioned to be too needy. 2 full days as in:

Leave on saturday morning after providing food and water, spending saturday night away, spending all of sunday away and coming back sunday night before the bird went to bed or even coming back monday morning by the time it wakes up.

This of course is only if the parrot is on a pellet diet and has a water bottle (I would put 2 water bottles as backup in case one failed for over 24 hours gone). The pellets don't go bad and water in the bottle is good for a few days no problem.

The only real factor is if the bird can handle the separation. I'm sure a parrot could live in its cage for a week straight on a couple full bowls of pellets + couple water bottles. Would I do it? No. Do I think it's a nice thing to do? No. Can the bird live through this? Most likely. For this reason a few days is ok but like I said, don't get a bird if this will happen all the time. And make sure you don't condition the bird to be too needy all the time. Practice a day of pretend you are gone when you are really home all day and don't interact with bird at all and see how it does. This will also teach it to keep itself occupied and be less attention demanding.
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Re: Leaving a parrot alone - how long is OK?

Postby triplebbirds » Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:51 pm

Also another thing to put into consideration is if the bird is used to being covered at night, and also doing a very through inspection of the toys. Also to an extent what kind of bird would possibly make a difference here.
Unfortunatly some breeders will sell an unweaned baby to a first time buyer. Do i agree with this no not at all. But that is a whole different thread.
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Re: Leaving a parrot alone - how long is OK?

Postby Michael » Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:20 pm

Really? Most of what I hear is breeders flat out REFUSING to sell unweened babies to VERY experiences buyers...

Leaving an unweened baby for any great duration of time would clearly be irresponsible. Leaving a newborn infant would be analogous.

My solution to being covered at night is that I have free standing lamps in my bird area and they are all on timers (a few glow all day but some shut off during the sunny parts of day to save electricity). The bulbs in the ones that glow all day are full spectrum bulbs. The lights are on 10AM - 10PM and off for the night. This keeps my Senegal Parrot on a year round 12 hour sleep cycle without seasonal fluctuations. The only reason I cover the cage at night is because some of my lights are on but naturally if no one is home, it will go dark as soon as the lights go out. So there's a solution for anyone wondering about that.

I would not leave a parrot all day without timed lights though because let's say it is used to being awake 10AM-10PM. What would suddenness happen is that without lights or cover it would be forced to be awake from 7AM - 5PM which would suddenly send its habits crazy and the bird might freak. The important thing about leaving a parrot for some time is to make sure its habits and routine all remain the same aside from the mere fact that you are gone.
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Re: Leaving a parrot alone - how long is OK?

Postby miajag » Sun Dec 06, 2009 1:39 am

Just to address a couple of the replies, I ended up getting a 6-month old Quaker who needed to be rehomed due to allergies in the previous owner's family. She is weaned (onto solid food that is, the previous owner unfortunately had her on an all-seed diet which I am gradually switching to pellets). Naturally I would never consider leaving an unweaned bird alone for any significant length of time. I don't cover her cage at night, just turn the lights off (there's still a little light in the room from the lights I leave on in the kitchen, which adjoins). In fact, she seems to be able to sleep perfectly well with the lights on when she takes a nap during the day.

The most likely scenario would be something like me leaving Friday evening (after feeding and playing with her) and coming home sometime Sunday afternoon. My only concern at this point is that she isn't trained to drink out of a bottle, so I'd have to have somebody stop by on Saturday to change her water dish.

Thanks again for the helpful replies.
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