Branding and Growth – Day 1 – Goals!!!

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As part of the WordPress U courses, I was directed to set 3 goals for my blog… I’ve also signed up for the poetry course, along with a few others… I have up to day 5 in my email but yet I’m still on day one… More work than I thought hahaha… So my 3 goals…

Goal #1 – To eventually be at 1,000,000 followers ( A bit over the top?? No I don’t think so… I said eventually I haven’t set an actual timeline on it) Let me also set a 2016 goal – Have 50 followers by the end of the year.

Goal #2 – To post blogs at least three times a week

Goal #3 – To publish my e-book and market it through my website (January 2017)

I will have to check this every year and see how close to my goals I’ve come…

Parenting Parrots!

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A Bird’s need

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H2O is what we need
Water helps us to succeed
H2O helps plant our seeds

Owners forget we need it fresh
yes, we did make the mess
Doesn’t mean you clean any less

Soup water is what we make
Bacteria growth we can’t take
Please don’t put our life at stake

Clean it, clean it, keep it clean
Do it fast, don’t be mean
Without it clean, I will scream

H2O is what we need
Water helps us to succeed
H2O helps plant our seeds

Parenting Parrots!

 

I Write Because….

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I write because…

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I want to be heard. I want others to learn from my mistakes and avoid my errors. I want to help those who may be lost at any point in time and hopefully they can find their solutions, within my pages of errors and guidance. Writing is my truth. My way of peace. I made plenty of mistakes along the way of being a parrot parent and I probably still do but I’m trying to be better at it while learning and teaching at the same time.

Parenting Parrots!

Piper – Quaker a.k.a Monk Parakeet

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Piper

So…. Do you think Piper is a girl or a boy?!? Post a comment and let me know…

We purchased Piper from a family that had an ad on kijiji.ca, they had quite a few birds. Piper was in a cage with pineapple sided conures and sun conures. I honestly was not going to take any birds from them as the cages were unkept. It was my son’s birthday and he wanted us to add another bird to the flock, I agreed and that’s how we ended up at this house. Junior Jay liked how Piper looked and got all excited. I tried to talk him down but he was eight at the time and was barely hearing my reasons. Anyhow I decided to go ahead and get Piper despite my better judgement. Piper was not tamed and to my poor ears VERY LOUD! I worked from home at the time so I had to get the noise level under control. Well it’s been two years and Piper is still here talking off our heads lol. Piper is still loud however definitely not as loud as when we first came home with our quaker.

Name: Piper

Type of Parrot: Quaker parrot a.k.a Monk Parakeet

Sex: Unknown…

Birth Date: 2014

Wings Status: Clipped – letting wings grow back

Favorite food: rice and spray millet

Noise Level: Loud

Training progress: Loves training sessions

Tricks: Can step up and currently doing the Turn around trick

Talking ability: “Piper”, “step up”, “peek-a-boo”,“hi Piper”, “hello”. Sings bits and pieces from the song, “stuck like glue” by Sugarland. Loves attention so will talk around people.

Favorite toys: Are toys that can be shredded ex. ball full of paper

Fears: Afraid of a lot… Handheld perches, unknown objects – cage territorial

Diet: Harrison’s Pellets with fruits and veggies. Eats table food – Chicken, rice, pasta…

Treats: Spray millet and sunflower seeds

Cage Size: Playtop cage. 24 x 22 height is 34.5″ not including the stand or the playtop. With the playtop it is 54″. With the stand it would be higher.

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Last Vet visit: August 12th, 2016– Wellness check – Dna test – avian bacterial and viral – fecal gram stain =  Everything clear! Healthy parrot! *Found out Piper’s gender but want to see what you think first… I will share piper’s gender on Oct. 1st, 2016*

Next Steps: getting used to the handheld perch and perfecting the turn around trick

Parenting Parrots!

Grayson – African Grey

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Grayson

I purchased Grayson from a reputable breeder in Oshawa when he was 4 months old (Oct. 2012). I would recommend her to anyone because Grayson is the perfect companion and I can only give her the thanks for that. If you want her information click here: Contact Us and send me a quick message and I’ll connect you to her. Her place isn’t the tidiest however her birds love her so she must be doing something right. Grayson choose me when I went to visit the first time. I sat with the breeder as all 3 greys moved around. Grayson was the one that showed me all the interest. I took note of his band number and told the  breeder he is who I wanted. Originally I had asked her for a female. Once she got the dna back and told me Grayson was a male, I told her I will pass on the female and still take him. BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE! I read in this book (if you want an african grey or have one please buy this book, it is so great!) to never take an african grey that is cowering in the corner of the cage and growling, well let me tell you… That was Grayson when I went back to pick him up. I was nervous as hell after having that experience of him growling however Grayson is a beauty. I brought him to the vet when I first got him and he got a clear bill of health. The breeder already clipped his wings. I’ve been his only owner. He will go to other people but sometimes like with my partner, he will fake it and then bite, so we are working on that but for the most part if you are not nervous then he will step up to you no problem. For the past 4 years he wouldn’t go to anyone but me however this year (officially an adult – 2016) he will now go to people – a complete 360 but I’m loving it. I can talk on and on about him but I have nothing negative to say. I was working full time when I got Grayson and everyone told me NO, you can’t have an African Grey and work a full time job… Well guess what?!?! I did it and Grayson is not a plucker or afraid of everything bla bla bla. He doesn’t have all those behavioral problems you get warned about. I believe it is all about the love you show your parrot and in return they will love you back.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F1FloeticJustice%2Fvideos%2F10153119770610375%2F&show_text=0&width=400>Video of Grayson’s first words

Name: Grayson

Type of Parrot: Congo African Grey

Sex: Male

Birth Date: June 2012

Wings Status: Fully Flighted

Favorite food: Pine Nuts

Noise Level: He can be loud when he mimics the other birds. Otherwise I would say he is moderate when he is talking and making sounds. He is overall quiet when he is just relaxing.

Training progress: He loves training sessions

Tricks: He can step up, Turn around, do pet, stick up his wings, wave hi, say doggy go wolf, wolf

Talking ability: Everything! He says his name – “Grayson”,  “Lola “- our late galah cockatoo, “Piper” – our Quaker’s name, each member of the family’s name, “step up”, “stick them up”, “peek-a-boo”,”doggy go wolf, wolf”, “hi”, “hello”, “what the”, “whats up grayson”, he laughs, does the clicker sound, telephone sound, microwave sound, whistles and my least favorite the squawking of other birds… I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. He is shy to make noise around people but after about 30 minutes of him observing you, he then starts to make noise.

Favorite toys: He is a banger – best toys for him have been his hanging toys that he can swing on and make noise with. He also likes his foraging toys (be prepared to lose a lot of pellets as he removes them though – HELPFUL HINT I put it over his food bowl so if it falls, it falls in his bowl)

Fears: Can’t think of anything he is really afraid of right now besides my partner – they don’t get along.

Diet: Harrison’s Pellets with fruits and veggies. He eats table food – Chicken, rice, pasta…

Treats: Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Walnuts and Brazil nuts

Cage Size: Dome cage. 36.5 x 28 height is 57″ not including the stand. With the stand it would be higher. I was thinking of switching him into a cage with less length and more width as he doesn’t use the bottom of the cage, haven’t found one I like though.

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Grayson’s cage

Last Vet visit: December 2012– Wellness check – Everything clear! Healthy baby! Is in need of a vet visit… Hopefully I’ll take him in September 2016

Next Steps: Getting him to do the bat – hang upside down, getting him use to the harness and shower perch

Parenting Parrots!

Ringo – Indian Ringneck

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Ringo was formerly named Pepper. We got Ringo a.k.a Pepper when he was 3 months old (we were told) from his 1st owner. Before us, he was with the breeder and then to his 1st family and now us, so we are his 2nd official owner. He is banded but it’s just a random number and its an open band, so not sure what it stands for but definitely not his year of birth as we can tell he is truly just a baby. We were told he is a male but still waiting for the paperwork to prove it.

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Ringo

Name: Ringo a.k.a Pepper

Type of Parrot: Indian Ringneck

Sex: Male

Birth Date: April 2016 (we were told)

Wings Status: Currently clipped by previous owner – will let it grow back

Favorite food: Still trying to figure that out

Noise level: Fairly quiet except for his once a day outbursts (however he is still a baby so could change)

Training progress: He can step up

Tricks: None as yet

Talking ability: No words as yet

Favorite toys: He is a chewer who likes to challenge his beak – best toys for him have been his wood toys

Fears: He still runs away from us so right now… Humans

Diet: Harrison’s Pellets with fruits and veggies

Treats: Spray Millet, Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Walnuts and Brazil nuts

Cage Size:Dome cage (The link is a smaller cage but I think the space is still good for an Indian Ringneck) His cage is 32 x 23 height is 46″ not including the stand. With the stand it would be higher. However I recommend a playtop over a dome, only because when I want my parrots to have out of cage time by themselves without me entertaining them, the playtop gives them a safe place to play.

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Ringo’s cage (Lola, our galah cockatoo’s old cage)

Last Vet visit: August 12th, 2016 – Beak and nails trim – Wellness check – fecal gram stain = Everything clear! Healthy baby!

Next Steps: Getting him to not be afraid of humans and to step up calmly from inside his cage (updated monthly)

Parenting Parrots!

Where to buy Parrots

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Before I write this, I want to say…. Please know what you are getting into before acquiring a parrot. I live in an apartment so technically I don’t think I should have as many parrots as I do, but I make it work because I keep their minds stimulated HOWEVER it’s not an easy task.

So options of where to buy parrots IF your heart is set on it…. (Not in any order)

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Not actual prices

1) Adoption – Rescues

2) Rehomes

3) Breeders

4) Pet Shops

1 – Adoption – Rescues 
You can research in your area for foster homes. These are homes where people keep the bird until they find a forever home. Now this option is a good option because it’s giving a home to a bird that unfortunately was dashed to the side for whatever reason. I personally have not went this route only because I’m impatient, so filling out all that paperwork turns me off. Also I prefer getting a baby over an adult but rehabilitating a bird is very rewarding from what I’ve heard. I imagine that to be true because when I get an untamed baby bird and turn them friendly, it’s the greatest feeling in the world. This is the best option for experienced bird owners. Most likely if you go this route, you have to be aware that you may get a bird with a history of abuse or neglect, etc. so be prepared to put in more work. For a first time bird owner, I say to look into this option but only take a young bird because if you don’t have the experience, it would be very hard for you to deal with an adult bird that has a load of issues. Now the chances of finding a baby via this method may also be slim but not impossible.

Another option would be to become a foster bird owner especially if you don’t know what parrot would be right for you. This would give you exposure to different parrots without the long-term commitment and it would be helping a bird in need. Food for thought!

2 – Re-homes

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This is the picture I seen on kijiji of Nyx, our black capped conure

My black capped conure was a re-home. Her previous owner was the only owner she had. He gave her up because he was working nights and was about to start going to school during the day. I’m very happy he gave Nyx up because she is a joy to have around!  I go on kijiji a lot to see what is going on with the bird community. I don’t necessarily go on there to find a bird, I just like to look at the different birds and look at reasons why people re-home. I wasn’t even into conures however something made me contact  Nyx’s owner and I couldn’t imagine my life without her.

You have to be careful getting a re-home though because sometimes the story doesn’t end as well as mine. Our Indian Ringneck which is a baby was also a re-home. We are working to try to get him comfortable with us but he is still a good story. I have a friend who bought a blue and gold macaw off of kijiji and unfortunately it was sick. The bird died and my friend was completely depressed. This is a risk you take when getting a re-home because it is just owners’ selling their birds. You can’t get warranty so you can bring back the bird and get your money returned if you find out something is wrong with the parrot. This is a hit and miss situation, some are great to get like our black capped. She was already tamed, all the work was done for us. Some are not so great, like the story of the blue and gold macaw.

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This is the way I go, only because I like getting the parrot when they are a baby so I can train them with no previous training. By me doing this though, it is helping breeders to continue to sell parrots, which is what we want to stop right?  IF you decide to go this route please find a reputable breeder. Go to their house, look at how the birds interact with the breeder, how their living quarters are kept, etc.

The  breeder I got my African Grey from, didn’t have an organized place. However once I seen how the Greys just absolutely loved her, I couldn’t say no. I found out about her through a worker at my favorite parrot shop. The breeder I got my Quaker parrot from seemed to be amateurs. They had very untidy cages, I would have left the Quaker but my son really liked him. I found them on kijiji. The breeder I am getting the Green-Naped Lorikeets from lives about 40 minutes from me. I haven’t seen her place however she has been very informative and answers all my questions whenever I come to her with one. I also found her on Kijiji. The breeder I had gotten Lola, my Galah Cockatoo from, was very nice and her living quarters were clean. The cages could have been kept better but she had a very well socialized healthy Galah. Lola was a case of the parrot choosing me, she came right on me and wouldn’t leave. I found this breeder from a worker at P.J Pets.

When I’m looking for a breeder, I go to this website: http://www.parrotplace.ca/ontario.htm

Also when looking for a breeder, talking to people who have parrots in your area is another option and of course searching the internet is always full of resources.

4 – Pet Shops

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Image of a pet shop from the internet

When I was first looking into getting  a parrot, the first place I looked was pet shops. My experience with pet shops was horrible and if I can stop another person from almost meeting my faith, I’ll be happy. Stay away from this option as much as possible. I attempted to buy 3 birds from P.J. Pets and they were all unhealthy. I was able to purchase a  budgie for my niece however it died within 4 months. I don’t know if it was due to the care it was receiving or because it came from a pet shop but regardless all my experiences especially with P.J. Pets was negative.

Do not buy at a pet shop, if you can avoid it. The random people coming and touching the bird is great for socializing however the amount of people who mistreat that parrot in that brief interaction is also many. Pet shop workers are usually not well-informed about the birds and will do whatever is needed to make the sale. If you must purchase through a pet shop, I would recommend having some kind of agreement that if you get the bird checked out by a vet within 48 hours of purchase and something is wrong that you can get your money back. You would have lost the money spent on the vet visit however better safe than sorry in the long run. (I will post my video about shopping at a pet shop shortly.)

The lists above are just a few options to help you get started in your search of finding your perfect feather friend. IF you are indecisive than do not get a parrot as it is the same as having a toddler.

Parenting Parrots!

 

 

 

 

Nyx and Boss go to the Vet

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I decided with Lola passing and the new parrots we got recently, that it would be a good idea to have everyone checked out. So on Monday August 8th, 2016 (my son’s 10th birthday) I called my original vet but they had no openings until that Friday, so I turned to the internet. Since I don’t have average birds, I can’t just bring them to any type of veterinarian. When looking for a vet you have to find an exotic birds/Avian vet. I live in Toronto, Ontario so the only vet for parrots I knew about was The Links’ Road animal Clinic and The Hospital of High Park. From researching, I have found many more. This just goes to prove how far along parrot ownership has come over the years. Anyhow I found one in Mississauga called Britannia Animal Hospital;.’

. They were able to see Nyx and Boss that afternoon. So I packed up my three kids and off we went!

We arrived approximately 15 minutes late for our appointment. It’s a nice spacious building located right on the main street, it would be hard to miss especially if you’re looking for it. The staff was friendly and we didn’t have to wait long for service, I would say about five minutes after I completed the paperwork.

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This is the reception area. Not my picture, it is off their website.

We were shown to the avian exam room. Nyx was removed from her carrier with a towel. They weighed her, listened to her heartbeat and looked her over. I didn’t want her wings trimmed so they only did her beak and nails. (I had just done the nails so there wasn’t much needed there but it was included in the charge.)  Advised me of dangerous foods, for example told me to barely ever give grapes and if I do only in small quantities. I never knew grapes was an issue so this was a surprise to me. Nyx appeared great.

Next the doctor did the same thing for Boss. The side of his beak could not be done because there is a big blood vessel there. Boss also appeared to be in great health.

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Their avian exam room off their website but this was the room we were in.

No blood work was done as they both weighed under 100 grams and because of their small size, it’s a risk factor. I was advised to do a fecal exam but passed as it was 70 bucks (almost the price of the examination itself). For the visit I was charged 210 for everything. The vet recommends you bring your parrots to them every six months for a checkup however I’ll be honest, I only bring mine once a year, if I feel like its needed… Now don’t condemn me, I know people who never bring their parrots to the vet so I think I’m doing pretty good. Let me explain this for a second….

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If my parrots’ diet hasn’t changed, nor has my routine then I don’t feel the need to check in with the doctor. I clip their wings if needed, like when they’re getting hormonal otherwise they stay flighted. I trim their nails every six weeks and I check their poop every day. So unless I see a need for the vet like a change in their appetite or energy level or poop, I don’t see why I should bring them. The same goes for me and the kids, we go to the doctor when something is wrong.

Plus taking all my parrots to the vet for their annual checkup runs me about 1500 CAD each time. Yes, if I can’t afford it then maybe I shouldn’t have parrots and that is why unfortunately my flock is not open to any more.

God forbid one of my parrots actually get sick then the cost would be even more but I have a credit card devoted only for my parrots (just in case :)).  Parrots are fun but the visits to the vet ARE NOT! Definitely can put a dent in your pocket. I’m hoping one day they will come out with Parrot insurance but for now only dogs and cats get that option in Canada.

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Parenting Parrots!

 

How to Train Love birds

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Day one 

Our peach-faced lovebird was born in our house a year ago (May 2015). He was parent raised and was left in the cage that he was born in. We would come home to see him flying around the house. Somehow he was always able to escape no matter how much we tried to make sure the cage was locked. Eventually we came to realize that he would move the food bowl and come out of the hole that was made in the cage for the nest box. In doing so, he damaged his beak. It looks like the needle got stuck in the beak and he broke it. Lots of blood in his beak. He finally healed but I can still see where the beak had been damaged. Poor little guy :(. We brought him to the vet, there is nothing that they can do to fix his beak as there is a big blood vessel right there so all we can do is monitor the growth. If you look closely at the below picture, you can see the raised line down his beak.

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How to train a lovebird

I finally decided enough was enough and put him in our Quaker’s old cage and moved the Quaker to a new cage. Well he didn’t like that very much because that meant no escaping anymore but it was the safest thing for him as he was fully flighted.

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training a love bird

After a year of neglect ( I say this with lots of shame but I was pregnant, was tired all the time and just couldn’t find the energy for parrots or anything else for that matter), we finally named him…. He was “Boss“.

We named him Boss because he was definitely a boss in his own right. He was aggressive. You couldn’t put your hand near his cage without him trying to lunge at it from the inside. He didn’t even want us changing his water or giving him food. I was discouraged as I was not used to small birds. In his defense, even though he grew up with us, he was not used to hands.

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It took me losing my Galah Cockatoo, Lola (R.I.P) for me to smarten up and realize that all parrots whether big or small MATTER!! I was determined to make Boss feel as part of the flock and I was determined to show Lola, that mommy cares about all parrots. I started to grow our flock and videotape our progress with each bird. I decided to make a YouTube channel (please subscribe!).  There are a lot of training videos out there but if my flock can help another person, even just one person with their own flock then MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!

Day Two

We would open the cage and Boss wouldn’t even come out. Every day we opened the cage for 1 hour and went about our business. After a week Boss would come out on his own however he didn’t want to be handled and he wouldn’t eat from my hands. I tried target training him and because he wouldn’t eat from my hands it was difficult however if he was sitting on the food bowl he would tap the stick and then I would put the treat (sunflower seed) in his food bowl. He seem to get the concept but he still wouldn’t follow the stick anywhere except for around the food bowl.

Checkmark for getting him out the cage and half a checkmark for target training.

Day Three (used loosely)

He would fly away anytime we got close and we would have to chase him around. So I clipped his wings. For him, I cut the first eight. Then we attempted stepping up. He would do it  but it seemed he was doing it by force and I didn’t like that.

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Day four

Same as day three, we worked on stepping up.

Day five

I searched YouTube for clues – for me, nothing helped. so I’m hoping my YouTube channel  (please subscribe) will help someone like me. I was still at stage one with no progress. I whacked my brain… How can I train a bird that wouldn’t accept treats from us? The first two days, my son would pet him and say “good bird Boss”, however I felt like that wasn’t a good method because he doesn’t like hands so he wouldn’t/couldn’t be enjoying that. Obviously this method wasn’t working.

Day six

Time for a change. I had Boss step up and then I held him to my chest and stroked him over and over and over and over and over again, for about 10 minutes while singing and talking softly. I then put him down and told him to “step up” and put my finger under his belly right by his legs. When he did I clicked on my clicker and put a spray millet piece in front of his face. He was not taking the millet and we both sat there and waited and waited and waited. He tasted it. Checkmark! He just ate a treat from my hand! I continued this for 10 minutes. Each time it was a long wait for him to take the treat. I put him back in his cage and called it a day. (sorry for the blur it was hard trying to capture the picture while training)

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Day seven

Same thing as day six but this time there was less resistance. He was accepting the millet after a short pause and after the 10 minutes of training, there was no pause. He would step up, take the millet and let me hold him to my chest and caress his whole body without squirming or trying to  bite or get away. This was only day two of this type of training and I would say mission accomplished. He would still sometimes hop off and wander off, but overall the aggression had decreased.

I’m happy, my little feisty Boss was now eating from my hand and allowing me to hold him, pet him and was stepping up!!

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P.S.

In two days I had decided to introduce him to another member of our flock named Nyx. She is a three-year old Black capped Conure (fully flighted). To introduce them I put them in the same room without their cages and just did regular things with them. My son would bring them near one another and say praises to each for not showing any aggression. Day two, I had them both on my shoulders one on each side. I trained Boss while Nyx was on my shoulder, making sure to only be focused on training Boss at that time. Once I was done training Boss I put him on my other shoulder and they came together on one shoulder by themselves ( I wouldn’t recommend having them on your shoulder though. Just have them in a mutual area away from each of their cages, an area that is fairly new to both of them. If they decide to fight, it would be harder to intervene with them on your shoulder). Anyhow,they kissed while on my shoulder so I knew they were good. I can now have them both out of their cages at the same time.

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Remember when doing this never leave them unsupervised.

I will continue to keep you updated on our training progress. Thanks for the support!!

Parenting Parrots!