Parrots are free creatures by nature, and most parrots typically love coming out of the cage to spread their wings and enjoy some playtime and exercise.
Sometimes, however, an open cage door is met with a stubborn refusal to budge.
While owners may find this perplexing, there is always an underlying reason that, when addressed correctly, will resolve itself over time.
Why isn’t my parrot coming out of the cage? A parrot may refuse to leave the cage due to territorial instincts; illness; fear of people, objects, or other pets; lack of socialization; or past negative experiences, injuries, or trauma. A quiet location, gentle encouragement, and treats often help.
A parrot that refuses to come out of its cage is one suffering from a certain kind of phobia.
Agoraphobia, for example, is a condition that refers to a generalized fear that cage-bound parrots have in leaving their safe sanctuary.
Several factors could contribute to this anxiety disorder, but there are ways parrot owners can adopt for coaxing them out.
In this article, we will share deep insights into what could make your parrot refuse to leave its cage and some effective ways in which you can help your pet overcome its fears.
6 Common Reasons a Parrot Refuses To Leave the Cage
Companion parrots commonly display certain cage-bound behaviors, such as refusing to leave their cage even if owners coax them too.
Always behind such a display is a purpose or a past difficult experience.
This is why as owners of a parrot, caretakers must delve deep into their pet’s behavior and try to analyze the reasons that are responsible for the apprehensions or fears the bird shows.
While extensively researching common reasons for this behavior, I reached out to a professional to get their opinion of why a healthy parrot would refuse to leave the cage.
According to Zuri L., parrot expert:
…your little one could just be a little shy to come out of their cage. It’s called being cage bound, the generalized fear of a bird to leave his or her home or a small familiar “safe” area. This anxiety disorder is usually caused by a lack of socialization and long-term neglect.
Now that we’ve seen an expert’s opinion, let’s look at some of the most common reasons why parrots display cage-bound behaviors.
1. Protecting Their Turf
If you study the avian world deeply, you’ll note how territorial instincts are one of their unique characteristics.
You will find this element even more prominent in the mammalian species.
For example, Quaker parrots, large macaws and lovebirds especially possess this characteristic, and a parrot from this category will likely show refusal in exiting its cage.
Sometimes, birds possessing the behavior characteristic even turn aggressive and attack those who try to coax them out of the cage.
Hence, aggressive territoriality is a reason that could make your parrot refuse to budge out of its caged sanctuary.
This scenario will make more sense to us if we try to understand how the parrot may want to protect its minuscule realm where it has spent most of its life and regards it as its very own.
This condition refers to a generalized fear your parrot may have in refusing to come out of its familiar safe space.
Perhaps the absence of socialization could be the reason this developed in your parrot.
Initially, you may have been providing your new pet some out-of-cage time but as the novelty wore off, you may have become less consistent in keeping up with that routine.
What happened as a result is that spending all its time in the cage made your parrot accustomed to little or no interaction at all.
Even the lack of providing toy birds or alternate means of entertainment made your parrot used to being all on its own inside the cage.
Eventually, this practice developed a deep fear of the outside world in your pet, and the thought of leaving its protection now terrifies the little creature.
If you encounter screaming, flapping wings, aggression, and more unwanted behaviors when trying to make the parrot come out, remember that it is happening because of fear.
3. Confronting Terrifying Objects or Subjects
A lack of gentle and proper taming could also be a reason behind a parrot’s refusal to venture out of its cage.
When a parrot has not received proper weaning, it is quick to decide that it is most safe in its cage and not outside.
This behavior is quite common in domestically bred parrots, like the young psittacine birds that will not allow handling till they form a strong tie with humans.
For example, if your parrot has come from a pet store (which usually only have a minimum understanding of parrots), then a refusal behavior is quite expected.
Hence, parrots who have not really been tamed correctly or been handled well will possess a fear of confronting objects and subjects they find terrifying.
If your parrot fears your rambunctious, fast-moving and loud children, then their presence might very well be the reason why your pet does not want to come out.
4. They’ve Experienced Trauma
Trauma is a highly plausible cause for making your parrot refuse to go outside its cage.
A parrot can experience all sorts of traumas, such as suffering an injury or accident, flying into a window or oncoming vehicle, accidental imprisonment in a small space, etc.
Traumas have a way of establishing long-lasting fears in just about anyone, even birds.
For a parrot, even a loud appliance at work in the household, such as a drill machine, blender, vacuum, etc., could be a traumatic experience.
Any of these can turn into a negative connotation for your parrot and discourage it from wanting to go outside the cage.
This simply happens because the parrot now relates the outdoor world with the horrible experience it once suffered.
5. Parrots With a Past Injury
Many parrots are very cooperative when their owners want them to come out of the cage for a while.
If you find it unusual for your parrot to refuse to come out of its cage, then perhaps it has had some injury of which you don’t know yet.
Any injury in the legs, feet, and wings of the parrot may make it unwilling to exercise or come out of its cage. You must look out for certain signs when this happens to verify.
6. Other Pets in the Household
Many parrots, especially the diminutive ones, can develop a fear for other animals in their surroundings.
They may think of the other household pets as predators and a fear of becoming their prey may be keeping your parrot inside the cage.
Cats are particularly quite capable of making parrots feel unsafe. They’re more sinister and sneaky creatures and love stalking parrots.
Dogs are slightly less terrifying than the cats, but their curious sniffing or mere presence could very well unnerve your pet parrot.
If you’ve got other pets in the household, your parrot may be seeking refuge in its cage all the time out of its fear of them.
Even if you keep other animals away from your parrot, it could still be impossible for the little creature to look past the danger.
Steps for Coaxing a Parrot Out of the Cage
Now that you understand the reasons that could cause your parrot to refuse to come out, it is time to learn about the ways in which to coax the creature out gently.
As a parrot owner, you can employ several techniques for coaxing it out, but always be slow and steady in your movement.
The most important thing to remember is to match your parrot’s pace so that you do not further frighten or aggravate the already troubled bird.
Let’s look at how you can encourage your pet to come out of its cage.
1. Look for Signs of Injuries
First of all, you must rule out whether or not an injury is a reason the bird is refusing to budge.
You can look for the following signs to gain some insight in such a situation:
- Inability to stand
- Drooped wing
- Discoloration or poor color of feathers
- Dull eyes
- Poor appetite
- Lameness or limping
If you spot any or more than one of these signs, it is best to call in some professional help. Once your parrot is back to good health, it should cooperate in coming out of its cage.
2. Place the Cage in a Quite Location
Placing your parrot cage in the open is a grave mistake, and if you have been doing this unintentionally, it is time to relocate the cage.
Being prey animals, bird suffer undue stress when they are positioned in high-traffic areas.
Every time a predator, human, child, loud appliance, etc. comes in close proximity, it is going to terrify your parrot.
Ideally, try to locate the parrot cage in a place that has two walls behind it.
A corner in the house would be good because it will make the cage feel like a nest and increase your pet’s feeling of security.
Parrots that feel safer will more readily walk out of their cage than those who’re always terrified.
3. Make Use of Positive Reinforcements
As a pet owner, you’re surely aware that the most effective training technique is positive reinforcement.
You could offer treats to your parrots to make it come out. Try nuts, seeds, its favorite fruits, etc.
Remember your goal is to encourage the pet bit by bit, so leaving the treats by the open door or hand-feeding is a good start.
Soon you could start leaving a trail of treats to encourage it to come out of the cage.
Your parrot may take its time in plucking up the courage, but time and patience will make it comfortable enough to leave the cage entirely.
4. Choose the Largest Cage You Can
Giving your parrot the largest cage possible is a good way of coaxing it out too.
A cage that has a larger door will make it easier for the bird to come in and go out whenever he/she is ready, and this might encourage it more.
5. Pet Your Parrot and Acclimate It to Humans
Perhaps your parrot is not ready to trust itself without protection in human presence just yet.
So, instead of simply reaching in and drawing it out, you must build a good rapport with your parrot first.
Invest a few minutes every day to stroke it gently and show it some love.
Try to make friendly conversation with it in a high-pitched yet soft voice so that it assures your parrot there is no danger.
Once it starts trusting you more, you can gently try drawing it towards the cage door.
If your parrot still shows aggressiveness or struggles, don’t pressure it anymore, and leave the attempt for another day.
Your parrot will need time to get ready, so let it have its time, but persevere in your efforts.
6. Give Your Parrot a Safe Environment To Experience
Remember to let the parrot take the first step in coming out of the cage. It is crucial for you not to force it because what it does at its own pace will last for life.
Your goal is to reassure the parrot that the environment is absolutely safe.
For this, you must first remove anything that poses a potential danger for your pet or could scare it. Once you have cleared all such objects/subjects away, then open its cage door.
Then start leaving treats by the door, both close to the entrance and farther off, to entice the bird out of its cage.
How To Safely Get Your Parrot Back in the Cage
When it’s time to put your parrot back into its cage, remember to lower your energy first.
Parrots can catch on to your frantic behavior and decide to play away if they feel you’re high on energy.
A good tip is to remember how the bird is observant of your body language.
Hence, when it’s time to lead the parrot back into its quarters, you must slow down yourself first and speak softly to it before gently taking it back to the cage.
Another effective way of leading your parrot back to its cage is to put its food inside along with a special treat to coax it to return.
Remember to make the treat something your parrot will only get when it returns to its cage and not otherwise.
One special treat will become the symbol of return time, and in the future, it will work quite effectively in beckoning the parrot back to its cage.
How Long Should a Parrot Be Out of the Cage?
How long you allow your parrot to remain out of the cage depends on how much it loves being outside. Ideally, 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise twice each week is a good idea.
As for daily playing time, smaller parrots would do well with two hours of outside time while larger parrots may need three hours.
How Long Does It Take To Train a Parrot?
For speaking, every species of parrot trains differently. It depends on how much and how often the owner talks to the bird.
The training time frame could be anywhere from three months to four weeks.
Let Your Parrot Out of Their Cage!
Parrots are highly observant and smart creatures, but often, a difficult past experience or fear could make them terrified of their outside surroundings.
It is because of these things that a parrot could refuse to come out of its cage.
With a few recommended actions, owners can help their pet parrots overcome their fears and gain confidence in exploring outside their cages.