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


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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!!

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A New Parrot

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So if you follow our YouTube or our Instagram, you already know we got a new Parrotlet. Very sweet boy. He was hatched on March 11, 2019 and is our very first store bought bird.

I got him from Ziggy’s Feathered Friends in Dorchester, Ontario. I’m so against getting birds from pet stores that I keep worrying something may be wrong with him (bad past experience). Ziggy’s is great so I’m sure nothing is wrong but my anxiety can’t help it. He is quarantined from the rest of the birds and I wash my hands after interacting with him. He is parent-raised so I’ve been slowly engaging with him. He is very energetic and has such a beautiful personality. I’m recording our interactions for our “Training and Taming Tuesdays” segments on our YouTube channel.

This first week with him, I’ve asked my YouTube and Instagram families for help naming him. The top 5 names have been: Ziggy (my name suggestion), Cloudie, Sky, Pisces and Azure. First name to get 10 votes will be his name. So please pick one. Once a name has been chosen this will be updated.

Parenting Parrots

Lorikeet Love

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Out of all my birds, the Lories/lorikeets are by far my favorite. They are very energetic and keep me on my toes however they also make me worry a lot. I’m always wondering if they are healthy, if I left the nectar too long, if I’ve given them enough fruits, etc… The list of worry goes on and on. Through all those worried thoughts are smiles, laughters and sometimes tears.

Building a relationship with Kodak, our Black lory was by far the hardest thing I had to do. He would screech, lung to bite me and I was ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of his bite. All I remember thinking is maybe I met my match, he is the bird that’s going to show me I suck at bird ownership. He is going to be my “fearful” bird. Kodak is quite the opposite. I kept trying to teach him to step up, turn around, station and I thought this parrot is just not getting it and I was losing my patience until one day it just happened. He stepped up and our bond has just blossomed ever since.

Rasta, Green-naped Lorikeet

Rasta went from being a bird that didn’t really care for us to being almost caught up to Grayson, our African Grey’s training level.  He has impressed me beyond words. His vocabulary is strong and clear. He is energetic and enthusiastic about training and interacting but yet he also wants to have things under his control. Rasta went from not interacting with my son to only wanting to interact with him. An absolute 360 degree turn around but one that I welcomed and encouraged. Rasta is the only bird in the house that prefers my son but I’m happy about it because my son now considers Rasta to be his. They do a lot together, play around in the bed, watch tv, play video games even when my son is doing homework Rasta is right by his side. My son can get Rasta to step up from anywhere. For me? Not so much.

I absolutely have nothing bad to say about Lories/Lorikeets. I haven’t met one that I didn’t adore. I would be happy with a houseful of Lories but I can imagine it would get quite noisy and I have enough noise to last me a lifetime hahaha. With all that being said though, they definitely aren’t for everybody especially the green-napes. I have heard so many complaints about them, it saddens my heart because it really comes down to patience and understandings. I’ve had people offer to surrender their green-napes to me and I’ve had to turn them down as I just don’t have the living space unfortunately. These guys can be very nippy and very demanding if you are a passive individual so you need to know the type of person you are before getting one.

Parenting Parrots

Parrots = Social Status??

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Back in the day, parrots used to show a person’s social status. So one of the reasons to get one would be to show that you are in a very wealthy financial spot. I figured that changed over the years however as my financial status changed, I come to realize maybe there is still truth behind it. Look at it like this, in Canada there is no pet insurance for parrots and the care for an exotic bird is way more expensive than the care for a dog or cat. I’ve been reading about all these horror stories of people having to take care of their birds and the vet bills being astronomical and inside I can feel my heartbeat starting to pump fast and my breathing becoming harbored because if this happened to me what would I do? I don’t only have 1 bird, I currently have 8.

I took out a credit card that I put aside only to be used for my birds but that’s only 1000 dollar limit. I would have to increase it. I remember when I tried to save Nyx, the price I was quoted was 1,600 CAD. So as I take all this in…. I start to think maybe parrots is still a show of social status. Anyone can own a parrot but only the wealthy will be able to maintain them through extreme illness and anything else that may come their way.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the future of my birds because my financial status is definitely not one that’s in the higher end category. But as with anything else, you never know how my wheels may turn in the near future and I just pray that it becomes one where time and money will no longer be a worry for my efforts with my birds. Does the average parrot owner worry about these things or am I just a weirdo? Please let me know in the comments below.

Parenting Parrots

Info on Green-Naped Lorikeets

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I’ve now shared my home with a Green-Naped Lorikeet for 3 years and let me tell you… It’s been an interesting 3 years. Green-Naped Lorikeets are a part of the Rainbow Lorikeet subspecies. So often times, people will say rainbow and they will be referring to the green-naped or they could be referring to one of the other lories that also fall under a rainbow ex. Swainson lorikeet.

As you can see from the image above a Green-naped lorikeet is not very big often around 28 cm in length. The body is mostly dark green with the exception of the head, chest and a bit of yellow streaks through the legs. The head is a beautiful dark blue and the chest is red with blue-black stripes. The beak is a bright orange but when they are young their beaks are black. As they get older the beak changes from black to orange. Their eyes are a reddish-brown color and their feet are grey. Also let’s not forget that their nape is a lime greenish-yellow color. Other subspecies that fall under the “rainbow” family may look very similar but there will be differences for example: the chest is red but doesn’t have the blue-black stripes, that is NOT a Green-naped.

Green-napes are one of the easiest lorikeets to find to be able to share your home with but that doesn’t make them easy to care . They are very similar to Indian Ringnecks in the sense that they require DAILY Interactions or else they will revert back to an “untamed, wild” state. It’s amazing how widespread these parrots are but yet I can’t find solid information on them. I find that these birds are AMAZING talkers, I put them in the top 10 alongside Quakers. I have yet to meet a green-naped that doesn’t talk. Ours specifically dances and jumps up and down with us, plays “peek-a-boo”, plays with my son by turning over and chasing his fingers to wrestle. He likes to be involved and not stuck in a cage. He greets us with “good morning”s and how are you’s and says good night when it’s lights out.


Let’s quickly discuss their diet. My diet care for my lories is not looked upon as the greatest variety because I refuse to provide an assortment of veggies just so they can have a ‘variety’. Unfortunately after losing birds you become more and more strict with what you allow. For me the risk to my lorikeet’s life isn’t worth it for me to provide a low sugar content diet. Green -Naped Lorikeets in the wild eat mostly nectar, pollen, unriped grass and weed seeds along with soft fruits (Matthew Vriends, Lories and Lorikeets, 1993). I try to mimic that as much as possible although I have yet to find and try unriped grass and weed seeds.

My recommendation for a pet owner considering a Green-naped Lorikeet is simple. As long as your not a “push-over” then you may be able to handle one of these birds but keep in mind they are the “ADHD” birds of the parrot world. They are similar to Caiques but more active and they can be very stubborn and come across mean if they feel they can have power over you. When considering a lorikeet, you need to be mindful that they are completely DIFFERENT than other parrots. My training with them has to be more upbeat and short, quick sessions as they get bored very easily. A lot of people struggle with training them because they have adapted themselves to training other parrots and think the same can be done with a lorikeet. I say NOPE, try again!

Lorikeets do have a watery form to their poop at times but I find that they do also have a bit of formed substance in it… The good thing is if you clean the poop as soon as it happens it just wipes right off, if you don’t you might have a bit of scrubbing to do but no more than any other bird poop. They can shoot their poop everywhere so it’s important to have a consistent daily or every other day cleaning routine or protect your walls and floors with some other material that is easy to wipe or just pick up and throw out. I used to use shower curtains from the dollar store, now I just scrub daily…

Overall I love having a Green-naped lorikeet and I wouldn’t change my “Rasta” for the world.

Parenting Parrots

Microgreens = Healthy Parrots

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On this quest of a natural raw food diet for my parrots comes the addition of Microgreens. Getting into the microgreens was a fear of mine just like sprouting, although I can sprout, I’m definitely not an expert (yet). Microgreens presented the same type of fear because I can’t keep plants alive so I thought for sure I wasn’t going to be successful at growing microgreens.

6 days of growing

The above picture was taken after 6 days of growing these radish microgreens. I had them on my window sill and as you can see they look all wild, just growing all over the place. Also I only read the directions that were on the outside of the box not the inside at this time. I wasn’t impressed with this outcome, it was just like “okay, great, so when can the birds have them” type of feeling. I had to ask the avian group I’m in on Facebook to find out when they could be served. I was advised that once they have leaves they can be served. So these were ready. I recorded the below video but still didn’t feel satisfied with the results so I decided to follow the instructions that were inside the box to see if it would make a difference and BOY, YES IT DID!!!

So, only after a day of following the instructions on the inside of the box, I went from feeling like it’s whatever to O.M.G I’M IN LOVE!! I absolutely love them growing straight up and looking so beautiful. I’m impressed and now excited to add this to me and my parrots’ diet.

The above picture is day 8 of growing these radish microgreens. I already chopped some off as you may have seen in the video but they are still growing and looking stunning! I attempted to grow 3 different microgreens: Radish, Sunflower and Argula. Out of the 3, Radish has been the easiest to grow as there were absolutely no complications or worries. My parrots accepted the little bit of microgreens they received with no issues, so that also showed me that this was definitely an addition I would like/want to continue. With that said, you better believe Microgreens is a MUST when doing a raw whole food diet for parrots.

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Frustrated to say the Least!

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I want my parrots on a whole raw food diet! IS there actually such a thing? Because right now it feels like everywhere I turn to for help, education, suggestions and ideas is basically selling PRODUCTS!!!!! So now I need to take a step back and say HOLD UP!!! Is it or is it not possible to feed parrots a whole raw food diet??!


I thought I found the perfect group on Facebook that is run by Dr. Jason Crean. He is a very nice man and I’m sure has very good intentions but since joining that group, I’ve spent at least $1,000 dollars (not including appliances I bought) trying to follow their recommendations and I’m still no closer to feeling like I’m on the right path then I did in the beginning. I purchased their suggested teas (which I still love btw, hahaha), raw nuts (which I already bought anyways so no different than usual), freeze dried worms and crickets (now that was new), Texas Naturals Freeze Dried ($83.20 for 3 little containers with shipping and handling – see picture below), Tops Organic Dream mix bundle ($189.34 plus 52.77 for custom fees) and I’m waiting for Abby Amazon to get the China Prairie products for the rest of this dry food mix. Then I will mix it all together and pray that it lasts me a few months since it will only be given to them once a day. However with all that being said, of course they are not forcing anyone to purchase the products, it is just their recommendation. With this dry mix, pellets are still included regardless of the fact that it is cold-pressed vs. being heated. As I stated before, the African Greys, I met that were in their late 50’s, early 60’s, their owners stated they never knew what a pellet was etc. So I was striving for the same concept ( I wish I took their information now) because they obviously are doing something right. I’ve never seen Dr. Jason Crean’s birds except for his babies so I can’t really say anything about their condition, I can only go off of what he claims. As for his partner, Lou from Parrotsrus on Instagram she has a great flock that includes a Toucan, 2 hyacinths macaw, a Harlequin Macaw and an African grey. All are in great shape as she shows them all the time. The Congo African Grey has plucked his chest feathers when he was about 7 years old and he is 25 now but he is still bare unfortunately however she just started feeding her flock this way about 3 years ago I believe.

Anyways after spending nearly $500 CAD to try and make their dry food mix, I got discouraged. I still have toys, fruits and veggies that I need to buy for them so this dry mix just wasn’t feasible for the Canadian dollar. When I complained about it not being more financially manageable they suggested I duplicate what I can within my country. When I see a recipe or something I’d like to follow, I like to follow it EXACTLY the way it is before changing anything so that suggestion didn’t work for me. Not to mention, I’m already busy with training, cleaning and coming up with foraging ideas that I don’t have the time to sit down and try and figure out how I can duplicate a mix within my own country. OH well, IF this mix lasts me a few months it will end up being worth it but thats a BIG IF!

Next, I joined another facebook group that advertised their name as REAL RAW FOOD. When I first inquired with the owner I was extremely excited about the group so much so that I even recommended it to another avian fellow of mine but within a few interactions I realized this lady too is pushing her product line. Now, I understand that everyone out here needs to make a dollar. HELL, if I’m spending 500 dollars just to feed my flock a dry mix, I need to find a way to make those dollars back too but with that being said, does no one want to just help out fellow parrot owners?!?

So with all this being said, I’m still feeding my parrots Harrison pellets plus a fruits and veggie chop with sprouted items and soaked nuts. I also now offer them the avian teas and that’s currently where I am regarding their nutrition. I will be stopping Harrisons completely and I’ll explain all about that in another post but let me just say I have enjoyed feeding Harrison’s over the past 7 years. Grayson, my 7 year old African grey has never plucked a day in his life and he has been through MANY, MANY changes. Now was that due to Harrisons or just me being the great parrot parent I am? Hahaha, who knows but I give Harrisons credit for that. Now, I do feel that Harrisons is NOT a good option for parrots who can suffer from fatty liver disease. I lost my 2 parrots who both were on Harrisons and both were prone to fatty liver disease. Now was Harrisons to blame? Maybe NOT! But these are little things that I take notice of.

Anyways I have more data on that, that I will post another time. So if you are interested in hearing about that, definitely follow our blog as we go through being a parrot owner.

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