Part 2 of this Series can be found here.
Did you know that a single baby hatchling, without mates in the nest, shows less leg, foot and hip health after fledgling than a group of hatchlings? By being crammed together in a small nest the jostling and inadvertent leaning, pushing and climbing helps build a healthy bone structure from the soft structures. Did you know that wing muscle structures are connected to the air sac structures influencing oxygenation, respiration and heart health?
Did you know that a cardio workout is more beneficial for humans if it includes working the largest muscle groups with weights, rather than just aerobic movements? Literally, squats with weights produce better cardio results and muscle endurance than jogging.
Did you know oxygenation, respiration, heart health, muscle health, strength and mass all affect hormones directly for both parrots and humans? Now you do.
Flight is the most challenging of all aspects of companion parrots. It challenges us through behavior, personal opinion, beliefs and starts many a disagreement in conversation. I am not writing this article to pick a fight about clipping or not clipping a parrot. I am writing this article to reveal a truth that doesn't get much conversation inside that other conversation. Flying uses the largest muscle group and is the center of the interdependent systems of a parrot.
Flight is important to the health, hormones and mental well being of a parrot. It is, there is no getting around this point. Fully flighted parrots, with freedom of safe choice and flock support tend to fair better over all. But that makes sense. It stands to simple reason. Health, human or parrot, requires us to use our body as it was meant to be used and at times challenged in use. The healthiest people are not the ones sitting in chairs 9 hours a day, then going home sitting on couches. Parrots who sit on perches, sit in cages, and flap their wings in the shower can not have the same physical health as a fully flighted and roaming parrot.
When it's impossible to give full flight to a parrot. How do we facilitate balancing the interdependent systems? You don't actually. Hormones are literally regulated by interdependent systems requiring use and aerobic challenge. The endocrine system needs other systems to work as prescribed. Here at home our parrots fly for a total of an hour two per day, because they are out mucking about approximately 6-8 hours a day. But that's not enough. Not for what a parrot was created for and how their systems function. But look at how long humans live working at desks 8 ours a day, sitting in cars another hour and finally sitting at home in front a TV. We endure. We have aches and pains, we may be overweight, and we may be on some prescriptions to accommodate that lifestyle, but we endure.
This is a reality we all have to acknowledge. Because part of the "hormone issues" starts here. And here is not fixable. It just needs to be acknowledged. Can we balance this loss with other options? Somewhat. Much like humans who start eating better. It's the "at least" practice.
We have invited an exotic flying being into our home. It's easy to forget the exotic part. It's mandatory to keep it in mind.