Foraging is Easier than We Thought

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A very simple concept, foraging! For parrots, this is a very important process to include in our captive parrots’ lives. However for some of us it seems like a struggle to always have to think of some way to make toys into foraging options.

Well, when I first got into foraging, I thought to myself, “I have to do this every day?” And to be honest the answer is yes. Some days I just want to give them their food bowls and walk away but what am I doing to them if I do that?

Foraging is extremely important to add into your parrots’ life. Even if you think your bird doesnt need it, trust me they do. Imagine never being stimulated? Entertained? Taught? Challenged? Kept busy? What would happen to your mind? Its never too late to start even if your parrot is 50 yrs old.

The easiest way to provide foraging options is simple and fast. The picture I have above can start with just fruits and veggies hanging on it. The stimulus would be how to eat the food off of the skewer, easy right? To add complexity add the cardboard, paper etc. Just add stuff that can keep the food hidden so they have to work to see and get to the food.

The next option is to put a nutriberry or whatever they like in a water filter paper cup and just crush up the top so they have to RIP up the cup to access the nutriberry.

Another option, which I’m sure you’ve already heard me mention before is covering their food dishes with paper. Now if this is new to them I would rip a huge hole so they can see that there is food behind the paper and everyday the hole gets smaller and smaller until you can completely cover their food bowls with no holes in it and they will know what to do.

So, as you can see it’s easy to start.

Do you make your parrot(s) forage? If so, how did you start? Please let everyone know by putting how you started in the comments.



  • Parenting Parrots


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    Preservatives To Avoid in Pet Foods

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    Some pelleted diets are better than others but how does one make that decision? Have you ever taken the time to look at the ingredients list? To be honest, I went by what was suggested to me and sounded good. Never once have I taken up a bag of bird food and truly read the ingredients…. until this year, that is. This year I’ve learned so much and started to pay attention to the back of parrot food bags.

    First, you want to pick a bag that has the most natural ingredients. Next, you want to focus on how the food was processed (Currently, I’m being told TOPS is the only pellet company that is cold-pressed. Cold pressed processing helps to keep the most of the nutrients inside of the pellet instead of losing it in a hot pressed process.)

    When looking at the ingredients of a bag, look for the type of preservatives they use. Synthetic ones aren’t good. BHT and BHA are two that I try to keep out of our own human lives so why would I want my birds to have it? Ethoxyquin, is another one that some have said to be dangerous for our birds. And of course another debate is Propylene Glycol. This is very sweet tasting so it makes sense for it to be put into the parrot food however I personally do not want to eat anything that is used in antifreeze for a car. You can also find it in brake fluids.

    At the end of the day, I feel a bird’s diet should not consist of anything “fake” but with that being said some preservatives are needed to keep contained food fresh. Just make sure they are safe.

    Parenting Parrots

    Parrot Cage Bedding/Lining

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    One thing about having birds is cleaning up after them. How does one choose the best bedding for your parrots’ home? For me it’s all about the easiest to clean up and the cheapest for my pocket but yet the safest for my little friends. So there are quite a bit of options:

    Corncob:
    I personally have never used the stuff but it’s a bedding I’ve actually heard about quite often. Not because it’s any good but because it can kill your parrot. As a matter of fact, I believe it was this bedding that was put into the famous African Grey, Alex’s cage which got him sick and unfortunately ended his life. I could be wrong but it was a corn something that shouldn’t have been used. Corncob is deadly if ingested as it absorbs moisture. So please don’t use it.

    Nothing:
    Yes, this is an option if you know for a fact that you will be washing the tray down everyday.

    Doggy Pee Pads:
    I used to use these but then I heard there were chemicals in it that weren’t safe for the birds and since I couldn’t guarantee that my birds would never come in contact with it, I stopped using them.

    Betta Chips:
    Can be scooped like kitty litter and won’t fly around like shavings. I have never tried this but definitely something I will consider.

    Paper:
    I believe this is your best option, as it’s safe, cheap and it’s easy to clean. Plain newspaper, paper towels, moving paper (can be bought from a moving company like U-haul).

    Cardboard:
    This was just recently suggested to me off of my youtube video on this topic by a subscriber named budgieyy. This individual said they cut a cardboard the same size as the tray, cover it with plastic and tape it with packing tape. That way s/he picks up the cardboard, dusts it off and places it back into the cage tray. This has definitely got my attention, I do believe I will be trying this!

    For more options, please watch the below video:

    Parenting Parrots

    Parrot Podcasts

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    Ringo and Pookie

    Learning is always a positive thing to do. One of the many ways I stay updated and informed about parrots is by listening to parrot podcasts. When I would be at work, I would put in one earpiece, go to my podcast and click play. Many times, I had to stop working to take down notes. My cleaning routine was created off of a podcast.

    The definition of a podcast based off of Dictionary.com is:

    pod·cast/ˈpädˌkast/

    1. a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically

    I’m not sure if there are paid for podcasts but all the podcasts I’ve listened to have been free. Which I love! hahaha. So if you’re looking for other ways to expand your knowledge, definitely consider listening to podcasts. Parrotdise Perch is suppose to be offering podcast sessions every Sunday (don’t quote me as it hasn’t started yet). The podcasts on parrots that I completed was https://petliferadio.com/wingspg.html. I will continue to look for more podcasts I believe Lara Joseph has a facebook group called Level 1 and she has some podcasts in there. I’m only a part of her Parrot Project so we don’t have access to them.

    If you know of any parrot podcasts please list them in the comments below so we can all continue to learn how to better our companions’ lives.

    Parenting Parrots

    African Grey Is Learning Animal Sounds

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    Grayson, 7 yr old CAG

    I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve hindered my Grey’s intellect. So now I’m trying to play catch up and teach him things I never bothered to before. Why didn’t I teach him sounds, colors, numbers, alphabets? I teach it to my kids so why should teaching it to an African Grey be any different? To be honest, it shouldn’t have been. I just never truly realized their mind span or maybe I just thought if he wanted to learn he would pick it up some how…

    Well now I feel guilty but I’m hoping at the age of 7, it isn’t too late. Grayson has currently learned “Wolf, Wolf” and “meow” but I’m trying to get him to say it on cue which has been my most difficult part. I say “What sound does the doggy make?” and he is suppose to respond with, “Doggy go wolf, wolf”. Yes he does say that part just not right after I’ve asked the question. He has chosen to say it when he feels like it which is still great because at least I know he has learned it so now it’s just putting it on cue.

    Next I want to hear him repeat the sounds of a cow, pig, frog, rooster, duck and donkey. If you can think of any other animal sounds I can teach him please comment them below.

    Parenting Parrots

    Male Parrots Talk Better Than Female Parrots

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    Purrain, female indian ringneck

    So, this myth goes around that males talk better than females. Maybe there is some truth to it, as Purrain is truly my only female and she hasn’t spoken a word since I’ve had her but I know plenty of female talking birds. For example look at Einstein, the African Grey parrot you can find on YouTube. Yes, with a name like Einstein you would think she was a male but she isn’t and she is truly an amazing talker. Grayson’s vocabulary is no where near hers however in his defense she does have quite a bit of years on him. The only way to see if this has any truth to it would be to get two birds at the same time, same age, same upbringing and compare but just like humans that still won’t prove anything because it could be an one off based on those particular individuals. Regardless that doesn’t stop me from seeing Einstein’s vocabulary and wondering if I hindered Grayson’s some way, some how. Or is he still learning and growing his vocabulary and will it be more extensive than hers one day? This raises the question, does talking matter? I love to hear my birds talk, I feel the same way I feel when I see them gliding throughout the house, PURE JOY! But just like accepting a child for whatever they become in life, the same goes for parrots in my eyes at least. So the myth doesn’t matter. I don’t have a preference over male or female parrots. It’s just that the parrots I got all turned out to be male except Lola, Nyx, Purrain and Bonnie. Purrain and Bonnie are all I have left and unfortunately as I said earlier, they make this myth seem true but I’m not counting them out of the race yet. If they never talk, so be it but it would definitely be an added bonus. Don’t pick a male or female bird based on this myth please because you could end up regretting it.

    Parenting Parrrots

    Poicephalus Family… Some I Have Never Seen

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    Pookie, 1 years old (Brown Headed Parrot)

    If you truly follow my blog you would know by now that the very first poicephalus bird I had the pleasure of knowing was a beautiful Senegal parrot named Chico. After Chico, my son constantly asked for a senegal parrot but my heart wouldn’t allow me to replace Chico. I think that turned my son away from birds a little because although he engages with them, he isn’t as connected to any as he was bonded to Chico.

    Pookie, our brown headed parrot came to us in September of 2018 and he is part of the poicephalus family. Apparently brown heads are rather rare which I never knew. He is sweet like Chico was but he doesn’t mess with the kids too much which all comes down to training and interactions. Anyhow these are the two poicephalus parrots I have been lucky to encounter but there is so much more.

    The Poicephalus parrots I’m aware of are:
    Senegal
    Meyer’s
    Brown Heads
    Cape
    Ruppell’s
    Yellow-faced
    Red-bellied
    Jardine’s
    Niam Niam

    On this list there is a few I have never seen so if you have seen them please send me a picture because I would LOVE to see them. I have NEVER seen a yellow-faced parrot because every time I google them, the only thing that comes up is yellow headed amazons. A yellow-faced parrot apparently looks like a Jardine’s parrot except it sports a lighter green and of course yellow around the face. They can be found in Ethiopia. I would love to see one.

    Next on this list that I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting or seeing is the “Niam Niam Parrot”. They are similar to Brown Heads but bigger in size. They only exist in the wild.

    Every other bird on this list, I have seen, interacted with or met. However I think I would like a Ruppell’s parrot but trying to find one in Canada is like looking for a needle in a haystack but if it’s meant to be than it will be.

    So that is it for the Poicephalus family. I like this group of parrots. They have good demeanors, friendly dispositions and are not considered to be loud vocally. They can learn words and tricks and in my opinion, they are a great family parrot.

    Internet pic of a Ruppell Parrot

    Parenting Parrots


    Indian Ringneck training FACTS!

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    I’m fairly new to owning Indian Ringnecks. I have a beautiful grey IRN who came to me very scared of people/hands etc. He still would prefer to be without me I’m sure but I have come a long way with him since I first got him. The first thing I attempted to do with him was this training method which worked for us. However I come across so many people complaining that they can’t tame their IRN or it’s so scared of them etc. I guarantee that the above method works because it worked for me, this method can work in and out of the cage. Of course I did trust building exercises first which involves me sitting and reading, singing and talking softly by his cage ( I will write a post on trust building exercises). The next thing to worry about is consistency. If you start this process, make progress but then stop or get busy – your IRN will revert back to the way he/she was. As I say to my son “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Your time, PATIENCE and love is what it will take to turn your IRN around. But it is well worth it.

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    Ringo, the Ringneck

    After I got him to learn step up other tricks came easy. If you find the above method isn’t working for you or it worked but you still can’t get your IRN to step up on you, I would implement Target training but before target training would be clicker training.

    After I did the above method, I had to implement target training and getting him to take treats from my hands as he wouldn’t do that either so another task to work on but with that being said it took me 3 days to get him to actually eat the treat that I presented to him. Remember I didn’t know him that well so I had to learn what he likes. I tried: Apples, grapes, sunflower seeds, millet, pine nuts, safflower – I was getting discouraged as I always do because patience isn’t my strong suit. (I’ll make another post about that)

    Once target training and taking treats from my hands were accomplished, I moved on to actually teaching him things like “Fly to me on command”, turn around, wave hi. He is extremely smart but he also is hard to train at times because he likes to have his own way. He enjoys bothering the other birds and he likes to be chased. Those are things I have to work on with him.

    Indian Ringnecks are active learners once you have learned how to teach them. Yes, they can be stubborn, aloof, always want their own way but if you can get passed that to have an actual relationship with one – YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT! It will be harder than any other parrot and it does require consistency but find a way to connect with your IRN and you will have an everlasting relationship.

    Parenting Parrots

    Beginning of My African Grey Search

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    Yes, this story began with Chico, the Senegal parrot but it doesn’t end there. I thought Chico was an one off, well it turns out, I’m about to find out different. I continued to go to the mall to spend time with the little African Grey that is perched on my shoulder in the above picture. All seemed well and she was getting to know us. I would go there every day on my lunch break, after work and on the weekend to spend time in the nursery with her.

    This one was a little girl but as the universe would have it, she wasn’t meant to be mine. I remember this like it was yesterday. Early Saturday morning, my phone rang and I got the worse news ever. The employee had entered Pj Pets to find my African Grey dead, lying on the bottom of her cage. WHY??? I dropped the phone and started crying. At this point she had already become a part of me, making sounds that were definitely going to be words and interacting with everyone who approached her. She was my girl and I was all ready for her. Her cage was set up with toys and food bags were waiting to be opened. I was excited even though we lost Chico, we still had her. Well, I guess that just wasn’t meant to be the case. When she died, I thought my life with birds was a DEFINITE NO as how could 2 birds both be ill and not be able to live with me? PJ Pets gave me their condolences and although they didn’t know what happened, they said if I could find another grey at one of their other locations, they would have it sent to that location so I can get time with it. I needed a few days before deciding what to do. The deciding factor was I had bought toys from other stores and they were not allowing me to return them so I needed a bird to use them. About a week later, I started on my journey to try and find another grey to replace the one I had already bonded with.

    I went to a few PJ Pets’ locations and only one in Scarborough town centre had another grey but something was wrong. Yes, I was still a newbie to parrot ownership but my senses were going off. I contacted Sherway regarding the grey in town centre and they did the transfer. When I observed her in the nursery I had the same conerns. I had expressed my concern to them prior to the transfer and they dismissed me saying, that’s a common behavior for Greys.

    This little grey spent 90% of the time shaking her head. Having a grey for many years now I can say yes shaking their head like they are shaking something off or saying no is common but not so often as this grey was doing. I made the same proposal as I did with Chico: have the bird checked out by your vet, if it’s healthy I’ll pay the bill. What do you think happened next??

    I got the phone call… They couldn’t sell the Grey to me, it had a liver issue. I have no idea what happens to birds that they deem unsaleable. I was thankful that I paid attention to signs and never let myself build another bond to this latest grey. I got to return the cage but was still left with toys and food. One of the co-workers who I had become very close with told me about a breeder with a Galah Cockatoo. He had gotten a few of his macaws from her and highly recommended her. A Galah Cockatoo is beautiful… Maybe I wasn’t meant to have a Grey, maybe a Rose-Breasted Cockatoo is what I needed. I took her information to contact her but I still deep down wanted my grey so I started looking into breeders. The parrot shop I had bought toys from advised me of a few breeders who had Greys. This is how I made the transition from store buying to breeder shopping.

    Parenting Parrots

    My 2nd Attempt at Parrot Ownership

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    After my scare with the gray cockatiel named Sky, I was certain birds were not for me. However, I was drawn back to parrot ownership a few years later and decided this time I was going to an actual pet store to purchase a bird. There, I fell in love with a Senegal parrot who we named Chico. He was just a baby at PJ Pets in Sherway Gardens Mall and I was certain he would be mine. I was torn between him and a baby Congo African Grey so I purchased both of them from PJ Pets and was content with my decision. They were both babies so I had to wait for them to be weaned before I could take them home.

    Chico was ready to go home before the African Grey so we took him home first. Within a week of having Chico, he could say “JayJay (my son’s name)” and “Chico“. I was so IMPRESSED! Every morning I would get up and take Chico out of his cage and let him hang out on a stand at the bottom of my bed as my son and I would cuddle back to sleep. Chico would come on the bed, walk up to my son and say “JayJay”. It was GREAT for all of us and we were enjoying the time so much but our happiness wouldn’t last. Before the first week was done, my intuition kicked in that something may be wrong with Chico. I was new to parrot ownership but I had read and researched so much, I just felt that things weren’t normal.

    Chico was losing his tail feathers. Why? I called the store and they told me Chico was most likely molting and it was nothing to be worried about. My response was, molting at 3 months? That doesn’t seem right. I spoke to the manager and made a deal that I would bring Chico in to be seen by their vet and if nothing was wrong with him, I would pay the vet bill. That was the last time we ever seen Chico.

    Chico had a liver problem so they refused to sell him to me. I told them, I was okay with them prescribing medication and letting me take him after he was better. There was no getting better for Chico it was just a countdown. I was devastated. We missed Chico and I didn’t know what to do next. I returned his cage and never got another Senegal again.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I would love a Senegal but I just don’t want to take away from Chico’s memory. So instead of a Senegal, we got the next best thing… A BROWN HEADED PARROT!!

    Parenting Parrots