Toy Making May Mondays!

Image

So this was the end result of the original toy, it had foam pieces between the plastic toy and the bell. Purrain loved the foam pieces, so I re-made it in my version of course.

I took these butterfly foam pieces and pierced a hole through them. Then I added the wooden bead in the middle, folded the butterfly foam piece and put another hole on the other side and slide it on this toy. I wanted to make sure there was lots of different textures for Purrain to explore with so I added the loofah piece from a different worned out toy on top. Purrain went after this right away! I was so happy but she didn’t care for the loofah piece, only the foam and the wooden bead appealed to her.

These are great observations because now I know don’t bother giving her loofah toys. She is more of a foam and wood toy bird for now…. I will continue experimenting with her to see which items she truly enjoys so I can make sure my “making toys” are always appealing to her even though they might not actually be appealing to our eyes. HAHAHA

Parenting Parrots

Advertisements

Parrotenrichment.com

Image

I can not recommend this site enough. Go to www.parrotenrichment.com for your creative DO-IT-YOURSELF toys! I love Kris Porter’s ideas! I have just recently started paying attention to her e-books and her website but it opens you to all these ideas and definitely has gotten my own creative juices working. You can see this in my Toys, toys, and more toys section.

copying pics

Kris’s picture

What I have learned over the last decade of interacting with parrots is that you NEVER stop learning and this is one of the many things that draws me to them. Their personalities, responses, beauty, intelligence and talent. No two birds will ever be the same despite how you interact with them. Kris Porter has turned my little apartment into a hide and seek playhouse for my birdies. She has made me feel better about leaving them at home and has definitely helped keep my toys cost low! I can’t recommend checking out her site enough! She also took the same program as me with Susan so I know her desire and heart strings are in the right place. Her activity books are free so there is no excuse not to get them.

parrot

Kris’s Picture

All this time, I assumed Kris was a boy but I just found out that Kris is actually a girl and I found that out by going on her website. It really didn’t matter but I guess because I seen “Kris” I just assumed, this just goes to show even names can be misleading at times. What I hate is seeing a “still” parrot. Kris promotes Parrot movement, activity and fun. She is all about parrot enrichment, which makes me feel connected to her. She may never know who I am but I will always be a fan!

kris

Kris Porter

I also just found this site http://blog.parrotenrichment.com/ which is apparently her blog so I haven’t checked it out as yet but I definitely will because I’m a HUGE admirer. I have never met her but I feel like we share a bond. She is my “unknown” best friend. If your desire is to enrich your parrots more, I would recommend – following me of course hahaha but I would also recommend following Kris Porter and getting her activity book. If you go to her website and scroll to the bottom she has volume 1 and 2 right there to be downloaded. I haven’t checked out volume 2 as yet as I’m still working on volume 1 but I say GO GET IT NOW!!!

Parenting Parrots

 

T & T Aquariums – Don’t and Don’t Shop!

Image

T & T Aquariums is located maybe 10 minutes away from me so the other day I decided to stop in because I noticed on Kijiji they have a lot of ads but I remember that store being pretty small so where and how were they keeping all these parrots??

My heart broke! It was a Saturday afternoon when I decided to run to the store. I got there about an hour before closing and the first thing I saw was two Caiques sitting on a bird stand, an African grey on top of a white cage and a Sun Conure interacting through the bars with another Sun Conure (Yes, I’ve learned my birdies over the years). To the outside eye, this is great, they are getting out of cage time – perfect situation but my eyes are keener and I’m not afraid of interacting with stranger birds. The first thing I did was walk straight to the Caiques, slowly presented my hand and asked for a step up, they leaned away. Okay so they were taught how to step up but at least they didn’t fly from me, not that they could as their wings were clipped.

Next, I went to the baby African Grey, the cage was really small but seeing how he was out of it maybe it’s just a sleeping cage. The baby grey shivered away from me and I thought and someone is going to come in here and pay $1,800CAD for this baby and they will have a hard time because of upbringing. Behind him were two lutino Quakers in the same size cage as the african grey’s. I checked out their conures, parrotlets, linnies and finches but I wasn’t only taking in the fact that all birds were scared of the visitors, I took in their dirty water bowls, the pooped in food bowls that looked like it’s been there all day and some. All of them had seeds in their diet even the quakers (who can suffer from the fatty liver disease) and there were no toys in their cages to keep them occupied.

The biggest pain came when I turned the corner and was surprised with two greys in a small cage together, one was growling on the bottom of the cage and the other was a bit more interactive sitting on the perch. The problem was the cage was covered with flies and I had to keep fanning my hand, wondering where the flies were coming from but I didn’t have to search long. At the bottom of the cage was lots of poop and old fruits and veggies – YUCK! My stomach turned! This store hikes up their prices for their birds but yet their birds are kept in HORRIBLE quality. There is no love for the parrots there. As much as I want people to save the birdies, if you buy from this store you will have a lot of work on your hands regarding health, diet change, socializing and just interacting with your parrot.

One woman bought a pineapple conure from here being told it was super friendly and tamed when she got home she hasn’t been able to handle it… 😦 But yet, I offer my services and people don’t want to pay 30 bucks for an hour consultation because they feel they can do it which they can but do you have the eye for realizing the problem, the patience, and the knowledge? While I was there a family came in and was buying all these bird stuff when the salesperson went to get the bird and teach them I wanted to yell, “NO! Please don’t do that to your bird!!!” But I bit my tongue and just said a little prayer. The man that runs the store put on garden gloves, took the family to the conure cage, asked which one and proceeded to tell them to wear gloves on both of their hands and grab and remove the parrot from the cage. Then hold it firmly and force pet it’s head. 😦 Where is the EMPOWERMENT!?!? Where is the choice?! Where is the option!?! Not only that but he didn’t mention to not hold it around the chest area or make sure they are holding it lightly because of their diaphragm which you can kill them that way. This poor family is going to end up rehoming this bird…

T & T Aquariums is the only bird selling store I know in my area so I’m sure they are getting lots of business but I’m asking you guys please take in re-homes or even go to rescues but if you really want a baby than go to breeders but please, please avoid supporting these horrible stores – This store needs to stop selling parrots!!!

This is my review on Don’T and Don’T Aquariums.

Parenting Parrots

Toy Making May Mondays!! – The Cutlery

Image

Toys! GRRRR… The birds go through them so fast, I’m actually happy for out of the cage time as they can explore and do other things then damage their toys. When buying toys for parrots, this is what you expect them to do and what you WANT them to do because at least you know they are being stimulated and are taking out any type of energy out on their toys but it doesn’t make the facts any less true! I just spent 30 bucks on that toy and it lasted a day IF I’m lucky (this is especially true for Grayson) so now that I’m following Kris Porter’s Parrot Enrichment vol 1 – I’m a bit more happy because it’s not breaking my pocket to stimulate my parrids (parrot kids).

So today, I focused on reconstructing an old toy. I don’t remember what this toy originally looked like however, this was the end result.

I’m really not creative so I wasn’t sure what to do, anyhow I went to my pile of items and said let’s try these wooden cutlery pieces. I punctured a hole in them and made a tiny slit and slid 6 pieces onto it and BAM! I was done, totally new toy! I gave this toy to Purrain, my violet Indian Ringneck.

FYI – It lasted 2 days!

Parenting Parrots


Bird Carriers

Image

I was going through my bird things, you know “trying to be organized” and I realized I have a LOT of bird carriers. I do have a lot of birds but do I really need so many different types of carriers?

1) I have two of those cat/dog carriers – they are in different colors hahaha. I know one is from what Kodak, my black lory was shipped in but why do I have the other one??

2) I have my travel hotel and that is pretty much Grayson’s. It’s for when we go out overnight and he needs a place to stay in. I used it as a temporary cage for my black lory when we first got him because I wasn’t sure of his size. You can’t see the whole cage in the below pictures but it gives you an idea. The cage is collapsible so that’s why I didn’t just go take a picture of it for you.

3) Then I have the wingabago but I have it with the acrylic door. I really want the wire door so I’ll be able to take the birds who aren’t harnessed trained out in it and they can get the benefits of the sun. Oh and my bowls somehow got removed so I need to reconnect those.
2_shot-Wingabago-ssdoor-plastic-door-p

4) I have a pak-o-bird. It’s a nice backpack but I want the stroller part to place it in but of course, as usual, bird stuff are expensive so I’ll probably have to save for that. The bad thing about my bag is somehow it ended up on the balcony so it got sun-dyed in a sense, basically not making it that bright orange anymore. I’m a little bit disappointed about that HOWEVER, they are too expensive to throw away so as long as the inside is good… I’m good!
pakobird

So those are my many different carriers. Each has there different advantages like the pakobird looks like a backpack no one needs to know there is a bird in there if you have all the flaps down so good for hiding. The travel hotel is great for a “mini” cage situation when you need to sleep out but it is also great for them to go outside and be able to get the sunrays in. The Wingabago is just a typical carrier. I can’t say I love it but I think if I had the wired door, I would be more happy with it. But it does get the job done. The cat/dog carriers are just there, nothing special. The one Kodak came in has an inside perch so I like that and again it’s a “no one has to know” situation. So different carriers for different situations.

Parenting Parrots

Parrot Work

Image

I think the biggest mistake any parrot owner can make is thinking your parrot is a pretty ornament. Sometimes we don’t realize how much “work” owning a parrot is but “Work” is exactly what it is. I love my birdies just like my own children but one day my children will grow up and leave me. My feathered friends do not have that option unless it’s through death. It truly is a “Til death do we part” relationship or unless the parrot owner decides to give up on that relationship.

The work I put into my parrots is time-consuming, tiring, brain-stimulating but for me it’s rewarding. I stress “for me” because what I see as being worthy you may not. When I see a parrot change their hesitation towards me, it brings joy to my heart ex: a parrot who you can’t get to step up or do anything you ask it to suddenly decides to let you pet them all over or starts stepping up every time makes me happy. Makes me know all my time and effort wasn’t in vain, it is being received.

Parrot work isn’t instant. It’s trial and error and it requires a lot of patience. Patience is something I truly lack but having parrots is teaching me how to deal with it. I’m always looking to learn more, blog more and keep putting information out there as I come across it because I feel people really need to understand EXACTLY what is the commitment when owning a parrot. Unfortunately, it is not an easy task.

Curiosity, love and a cage with food and water are just not enough to keep a parrot happy. Trust me, I’m almost 10 years in and I’ve made LOTS  of mistakes along the way. I’ve also lost a few parrots who never even entered old age. A parrot dying young is hard for me because of the fact that I automatically blame myself and it takes me a while to get over that lost because they aren’t ornaments, they are my family. So a parent’s parrot work is NEVER done!!

Parenting Parrots

What to do with Those Paperbacks??

Image

You read a book and it’s not worthy of a second read, what do you do with it? Pretty simple, add it to your birdie’s cage and let them have a field day with it. It makes a great shredding toy and will keep them busy forever! This same idea goes for phone books. This is cheap, so it’s very affordable for any parrot parent.

Parenting Parrot

Switched on Me

Image

When researching about parrots, its always been said that when they mature, they may switch their favorite person. I have never experienced this until now. Rasta, our green-naped lorikeet has switched on me. He no longer cares for or desires my companionship. He has decided that my son is more his type of person. Which is great for my son, they run up and down together, laugh and play, whisper to one another. It’s a great relationship but what happened to our bond? Why can’t he like both of us? I don’t want to take away my son’s bond at all but I still want Rasta to interact with the whole family. I’m assuming I did something that he didn’t like and I’m being punished. It just sucks because I have no idea what I did wrong. Anyhow, I still try to interact with him although he will call my son’s name for most of the day, my son doesn’t get him until after 5pm and it would suck for him to have to wait until my son gets back in for him to come out and enjoy life. I love Rasta and will continue to attempt to work on his bond with the rest of the family when Junior Jay is not around because if he is around, Rasta only sees him.

15259650863742048024954
Parenting Parrots

Broke but Birdies still needs Toys!

Image

After taking all the birds to the vet to do physical checkups plus bloodwork and fecal tests while being on maternity leave, you can imagine my pockets are quite deficient right now. What am I going to do? I also went to Bulk Barn and bought 15 dollars worth of training seeds, this was a combination of Pine nuts (the most expensive, spent $12.16CAD), sunflower seeds raw in-shell and out and walnut pieces. In March, I spent $327.00CAD at the bird store that covered nectar, Harrison’s Adult lifetime fine 5lb bag, Harrison High Potency 5lb bag and Harrison Pepper 1lb bag plus some toys and perches. Those toys are over a month old now so my birdies need more stimulation. So again, I asked what am I going to do? I definitely do believe in rotating toys but eventually, the toys just get mashed up and either become garbage or need some serious reconstruction.

I’m going to devote May to be my toy making month. Oh, I can call it “Toy Making May“, hahaha. Over the years I bought so much toy making stuff from the parrot shop but never used them so I definitely have items here that I can play around with. Also, I’m learning how to turn household items such as cereal boxes like I did in this post to make toys. I have cereal boxes, egg cartons, pop bottle caps, etc so I’m sure I have a lot of items to turn into toys that the parrids can love and enjoy.

DSC_0363.JPG

I definitely lack the creative gene so I have to research and research to find ideas, talk to other parrot owners etc. I found Kris Porter, who has now become a MAJOR influence in how I care for my birds. Simple ideas like getting a bin and putting plastic lids and containers in it and placing it on the counter or somewhere so the birds can throw the items on the floor were excellent for me. Not only was the idea cheap but it was with items I already had!!!  Parrots are just like kids I tell you! You know when the baby throws the toy on the floor and says “UH OH”, you pick it up and give it back to them and then they do it, again and again, making it into a game? Yup, this is the exact same concept. Kris also recommends making food items and leaving it out for them to find and enjoy, just like they would in the wild, I fell in love with that idea because it definitely stimulates foraging at it’s finest. I’m impressed!

Why didn’t I consider these options before? Who knows, but I am now so that’s all that matters.

Parenting Parrots

My Dream Bird

Image

If I had all the time in the world, I would probably have at least one of every parrot but the reality is I don’t, can’t, so won’t. But I do want my dream bird and since they could live until they are 50, I better get it now. Right now I have:

Grayson, the African Grey
Kodak, the Black Lory – specialized diet
Ringo, the grey Indian Ringneck
Rasta, the Green-Naped Lorikeet – specialized diet
Purrain, the violet Indian Ringneck

I re-homed:

Boss, the Peach-faced Lovebird
Marlee, the Green-naped Lorikeet

I just lost:

Piper, the Quaker Parrot
Nyx, the Black-Capped Conure

Also, let’s not forget:

Lola, the Galah Cockatoo

I’ve babysat/ been around other parrots such as:

Budgies
Cockatiels
Black Headed Caiques
Linnies

I feel I have some good/bad experiences there and they each taught me a lot…
Lola taught me Birds must be flighted, Piper taught me that death can happen very quickly and Nyx taught me that no matter how down or depressed I am, I can not neglect my birds as it can have fatal consequences.

Now I want to add (Drumroll Please) a HAWK HEAD PARROT to my flock!!! Am I crazy? Maybe just a little. This bird is making me have to save, as it’s not an easy purchase. It will cost me the same amount as Lola, my Galah Cockatoo did but I’m still willing to save and get the bird because it is my dream bird and I want to be able to actually enjoy it before I get too old. Since I started seeing grey hairs already, I will assume that this is the best time… Now or never!
hheadp

Research, research, research!!! I’ve contacted two breeders, I’m waiting to hear back if any of their eggs were fertile, I have my fingers crossed.

Wish me luck!!

Parenting Parrots