When I first got my lorikeets, it was hard to figure out how to train them because they are such high energy parrots but also because I was so used to training with seeds and knew that wasn’t an option for them. I took to YouTube for advice and found nothing so I wacked my brain a bit and decided if they only eat wet nectar in two feedings and it’s their favorite, why not use that for training and then do a smoothie/wet nectar mix for in their cage time? I found the Facebook Lorikeet group but they don’t really talk about training so then I began to wonder… Do people train their lorikeets??
Well, it’s been a year since I’ve had Rasta, my green naped lorikeet and although I wish he was more cuddly, I see us getting there. He wrestles with my fingers while on his back, his vocabulary is amazingly strong and he steps up, turns around, gives kisses, lets me touch his beak, waves hi, gives high five and gives his feet when asked. He tries to avoid biting and only uses his beak when he has too. So how did I do it?
I took lots of breaks hahaha especially when I felt myself getting frustrated. Clicker conditioning and target training was easy, the same with any parrot. It was the more hands on stuff that was difficult like stepping up, getting to touch his beak without being bit, wrestling with my fingers. I did what I usually do, had a clicker, his nectar for his reward and I let him dictate the situation. Meaning, I followed his lead. If I asked for him to step up but he refused, I left him alone, not providing him with any nectar. I waited 10 seconds and would come back and cue something he did know like target training a few times and then re-ask for the step up behavior and 9 out of 10 times I would get it. This is how most of our training sessions went.
Rasta is an explorer, he doesn’t like to be confided to one place so I also broke our training sessions up to give him a break and let him explore. I found that I got more results by doing a five-minute training session, then a 10 minute break then a next 5 minute session over an hour than I would get doing 20 minutes straight. Patience, is very important when dealing with these guys. I got quite a few nips until I learned to respect his option to say no. Now, it’s very rare. I wouldn’t change Rasta for the world and I’m so excited to see where and what we will be able to accomplish next year.
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