How to Prevent a Parrot from Chewing Furniture

How to Prevent a Parrot from Chewing Furniture

Having a pet parrot can be a tough but highly rewarding experience. Larger parrots are some of the most intelligent pets out there, with their ability to learn to talk being a highly sought-after trait among pet lovers world-wide. Due to their bright and playful yet exotic nature, however, parrots are quite high-maintenance pets that love to chew wood.  They've even been known to chew furniture to toothpicks.

The need to chew is an innate characteristic that parrots have to meet one way or another.  If you have a parrot chewing furniture, remember, it can learn and practice new behaviors, good or bad, quite easily.

Parrots Need To Chew

Parrots need large cages with plenty of space to exercise and play, plus plenty of wood chewing toys to keep them busy, if left alone for longer periods of time.

I've had people come to me worried, asking for help and saying things such as "My bird chews everything around our house!" In such cases, it's easy for the owners to fail to address the underlying problem at hand. Chewing serves the purpose of filing down the beak and exercising the jaw. The beak is a major component of how wild parrots forage for food and go about daily life. Chewing toys relieves domestic parrot boredom.  It helps a lonely parrot whittle away the day.

However, there’s also a rather dark side to chewing, which comes about with birds that do not receive enough stimulation or they haven't learned manners. Parrots, particularly larger ones, are very social creatures and thus require daily attention from their keepers. Just like dogs, your bird needs training and early interaction in order to grow up into a well-behave pet. As adults, parrots require plenty of time spent outside the cage, preferably on special bird stands tailored to theirs size. 

Save your furniture by training your parrot to stay on it's bird stand.  If it climbs down, simply walk over to it calmly and place it back on the stand.  This needn't go on for hours, feel free to put your bird back in its cage if it won't stay on the stand.  But, even more importantly, offer your bird lots of attention and treats when it is staying on its stand.

Questions to Ask Yourself

If I see that my bird chews everything around him, the first step I take is to think about my daily schedule.

  • Do I offer enrichment activities when I have leave my parrot alone?
  • Do I allow him out of cage time to socialize on a daily basis?
  • Have I provided my bird with plenty of safe toys to chew and forage?
  • Have I trained my parrot to stay on its bird stand?

Parrots can easily get bored when they lack stimulation and, due to their high intelligence, they can even experience a range of human-like psychological disorders such as high stress, anxiety and even depression. In these cases, chewing becomes a way of coping for the affected birds and, if their symptoms are left untreated for a longer time, it can lead to quite dangerous self-destructive behaviors such as aggression, loss of appetite and feather plucking.

In order to keep companion parrots stimulated, one of the best solutions is to surround them with all sorts of safe bird toys for them to chew on or to play with and plenty of foraging toys.

Wood toys are obviously the best of both worlds, as they keep your bird busy and satisfy the need to chew and destroy. Choose wood bird toys from known manufactures and pick the correct size for your parrot as the wood density is designed for large through small birds.  Parrots are also instinctive foragers and love searching for food in places that are tough for them to access. Think of it like opening up a present or solving one of those challenging puzzle toys. Foraging bird toys keep your birds mind and body busy. Simply hide some delicious treats or even your birds diet inside and then feel good that your parrot will be occupied.

Regardless of your life style, not many of us today can afford to be home and provide time and care for our parrot on a full-time basis. For those of us with a more demanding schedule, chew toys and foraging bird toys are necessary additions to the household in order to keep our little companions both physically and mentally healthy.


Join Facebook Group for Feather Plucking Parrots

Diane Burroughs, LCSW

Located in Denver, I'm a Mile High author and parrot feather plucking expert. I've always been a devoted animal lover with a special passion for parrots, Diane is also a behavior specialist. Make sure to join my Facebook group, UnRuffledRx Parrot Feather Plucking Help now!

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  • Diane Burroughs, LCSW
Comments 5
  • Cat

    My cockatiel has SEVERAL chewing toys, toys to pull paper out, foraging toys. He is out of his cage almost 100% of the time (we use it like a crate would be used with a dog, and he can come and go as he pleases as long as someone is home,) – and he has literally chewed a giant hole in the couch. We’ve covered it, he pulls the blanket away. We’ve tried to keep him out and away from it, and this resulted in a new hole getting started. Furthermore, he eats all wood trim but has been easier to discourage his reign of destruction upon that kind of material. While the couch is ruined, until I can get him to stop I can’t buy a new one. He also LOVES pulling out the stuffing, which scares me, because he there is a pretty fair chance that won’t digest it if he swallows some. He is the master of destruction, and he’s lucky that we love him all the same. I am not a novice parrot owner, – some real advice as to how to stop a little evil destroyer parrot (i’ve Had parrots, but he’s the king of destruction,) would be very helpful. Toys and stimulation are not a problem. He is a spoiled little butthead. ;) He’s smart and has relatively good manners…it’s not a lack off training or attention.

  • Mahmood Khan
    Mahmood Khan

    For all of u who have this problem I suggest you get your bird a beak scratcher so your birds beak can become sharp because birds beaks sorta need to be sharp so that might be the reason and maybe get a toy for them with fabric on it so they can chew on that instead. My bird always chews my headphones but not usually my furniture If your bird is chewing on something small like a phone charger I suggest you just hide it or cover it. It shouldn’t be that hard to keep the item safe if it’s small. Also if this happens a lot to you maybe consider feeding your bird a bit more. I hope I helped you.

  • Donna Treadway
    Donna Treadway

    I have put clear packing tape on some doors and trim. he still goes to those areas but, feels the tape and walks away. Then looks for something else to chew on!

  • Robbie

    Yup exactly what I was going to say…please answer the question…my African grey has a large cage with another grey, things to chew on and out of cage time and likes it when I Let her…but she still chews on the bottom of my couch…

  • harry d
    harry d

    with all due respect, you havnt answered the question: “help parrot chewing furniture [problem]”
    Youve just explained WHY they do it, pretty obvious to any parrot owner.

    How do you stop parrots who have already developed a taste for a particular furniture piece from chewing said furniture, without upsetting them or stressing them out.

    Thats the million pound question.

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