Using a harness and leash makes it easier and safer to train your bird, or take it out for a walk. When it comes to choosing a harness, the key is to make sure that your bird feels comfortable in it, and not distressed about wearing something new over its body.
How does a bird harness work
A harness with an attached leash helps keep your bird safe, especially during its time outside the cage, outdoor exercise sessions, and training. The straps and buckles in the harness keeps the bird firmly attached to the leash, giving you full control of its movements. It is essential to use whenever you take your bird outdoors, even if your bird has its wings clipped, as some birds, particularly parrots, may still drift away, and carried by a gentle breeze for up to about 100 meters.
What to look for when buying a harness and leash
Go for the ones that are:
- Escape-proof, meaning it cannot be removed by the bird.
- Free of additional buckles, clips, hooks and rings as it might be uncomfortable for your pet.
- Flexible in size and fits your bird snugly, especially if you have an exceptionally large or small bird.
- Strong and sturdy so that it cannot be reduced to bits if your bird tries to chew it.
4 of the Best Harness with Leash for Birds
1. The Aviator Pet Bird Harness and Leash [for parrots (Quakers, Senegal), budgies, lovebirds, pigeon, parakeets (alexandrine, rose-ringed, indian ringneck), conures (sun, blue crown, jenday, nanday), cockatiel, macawsAn escape-proof harness made from a high-quality knitted material with a flexible strap. Check Price
- Plus pointsIt is quite sturdy, so it doesn’t get damaged easily with picking and biting. There are minimum clips and buckles, which make it easy to put on, and also less likely to catch bird feathers. The Instruction DVD in the package is useful as well. The small size is suitable for tiny birds weighing below 75 grams like love birds, parakeets and parrotlets.
- DrawbacksIt is quite expensive, and the sizes recommended by the brand might not fit properly, especially for smaller birds. For example, when buying for a Green Cheek Conure, you need to choose the ‘XS’ instead of the ‘S’.
2. Premier Feather Tether Bird Harness and Leash [for Hahn’s macaw, large quakers, and conures, blue-headed poinus]Comes with a non-restrictive harness-body and a 48-inch long leash. It is available in a large variety of colors. Check Price
- Plus pointsIt is sturdy and durable, being quite easy to put on
- Drawbacks There are quite a few hooks and metal rings, with some people finding it a bit difficult to put on. Moreover, it is not recommended for smaller birds like cockatiels, and parakeets as the thick, heavy rope may cause them to lose balance.
3. Avianweb EZ Bird Harness with Leash [for Amazons, cockatoos, lovebird, caique, cockatiel, Eclectus parrot, green cheek and other small conures]Has a PVC-free Polyurethane faux leather vest. The leash is elastic throughout, but the ends are made of nylon to withstand intense biting. Check Price
- Plus pointsThe shoulder straps sit comfortably over its body, not sliding off when it flies, but stays lose as it rests. Additionally, the elastic part of the leash prevents exertion of pressure if the bird suddenly reaches the end of the line. There is a carabiner that allows you attach the leash to your clothes to keep a closer eye on your bird.
- DrawbacksThe sizes recommended may sometimes be too large or too small.
How to put a harness on your bird
Proper training, along with patience, and supervision is what you need to put the harness on, without your bird making much of a fuss. Instead of getting to the harness directly, you can first try accustoming your bird with strips of ribbon, similar to the color of your harness. Once it accepts the ribbon, introduce the harness gradually. Treats and praises may help encourage your bird to keep it on.
Essential points to keep in mind while using a harness for birds
- Never let the bird be by itself with the harness on, rather unleash it and put it back to its cage or dwelling.
- Use a carabiner to clip the harness to your belt or clothes as this allows you to monitor your bird’s movement.
- Never use the harness as a tether whether your bird is inside or outside, as it might increase chances of injuries. There is an additional risk when outdoors because if a crow or any big bird tries to attack it, your bird might get tangled in the leash, or crash against the ground in an attempt to fly away.
- Always go for a full-body harness instead of a foot or ankle leash that is just tied to its legs, as the latter has an increased chance of accidents.