My African Grey is Selfish

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It breaks my heart to see Rasta, our Green-Naped Lorikeet trying to make friends with everyone and being turned away. He is such a nice, little guy I don’t understand why none of the birds play with him.

He has found a way to “bond” with Grayson or at least so he thinks. Rasta will fly to Grayson’s cage and preen Grayson through the cage bars but if I let Grayson out with Rasta, Grayson will attack.
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It’s like Grayson is only using Rasta for his own gain. Poor Rasta, really thinks he has made a friend.

Why is Grayson so selfish? He won’t return the favor so why keep getting the pleasure? When I first got Grayson, Lola was here but yet he still hasn’t learned about sharing. He was never an “only” parrot, so why?

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The Selfish Grey

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How can I teach a parrot about sharing? If you have any ideas or suggestions please leave them in the comments below.

Parenting Parrots

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All Parrots are Different Species!

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All dogs are from the same species but different breeds.

All cats are from the same species but different breeds.

All birds are from different species.

See, I can read a book about dogs or cats and apply the information to any dog or cat I may own but I can’t do that for parrots. Every time I get a different parrot, I have to research all over again and buy books on that specific bird because I know each bird has different needs. This is why I love to have the variety of parrots that I do because each brings something different to the flock.

If you google the topic of parrot ownership it tells you to find the best bird for you and your lifestyle because each bird has different needs. For example an African Grey parrot needs to spend a lot of time out of its cage (some pamphlets say 4 hours a day) while a lovebird would be content with a little bit of time out (1 hour maybe less). So if you are barely home, you would automatically look towards getting a lovebird.  When I was looking to get an African grey everyone was advising me against it because I was working full-time and they said I would never be able to manage having a grey. Well not to brag but Grayson is now 5 years old and very active, not a screamer, talks a lot, does tricks and does not pluck! Gives me kisses and overall I can say a happy parrot. Stereotypes are put on birds just as they are put on humans. Take all the information in but truly decide for yourself and don’t let anyone else make that decision for you.

I can take care of an African Grey parrot with no issues however because birds are different species, this does not mean I would be good at taking care of other type of birds. I suck at taking care of Linnies. I bought two linnies from a breeder who was downsizing his stock and they died after I took them to P.J pets for a wing and nails trim. I thought the guy gave me sick birds however I did a necropsy and it came back saying Stress. I thought what?!?! I’ve been around lots of birds and never had an issue… Well for me, small birds are not my thing. I’m managing to take care of the lovebird but Linnies, Parrotlets and budgies I stay away from. Even the lovebird, I’m hesitant on keeping because I lost her parents so obviously I wasn’t good at taking care of them either.

I think it is very important for people to realize that birds are DIFFERENT SPECIES NOT JUST DIFFERENT BREEDS. So do not pick a bird because oh it has pretty colors, really see if they match you and your lifestyle.

What type of bird matches you? There may be multiple… For me…

I’m an African Grey type of gal because he needs time out of the cage but doesn’t want to spend all that time cuddling. A hug and kiss here and there is cool. Doing training is cool. He likes to chill close to you but doesn’t have to be all over you, that is totally just like me.
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I’m also a black capped conure type of gal because she knows what she wants, how to warn you about what she doesn’t like. Very expressive like me hahaha. My issue with my black capped conure is she loves to be on you 24/7, for me that’s a con because I need to be able to move around as my household is very hectic. However her and I have come to an understanding so we are definitely getting better as she will just chill on my shoulder as long as she knows I will be moving around at the same time.
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I’m also a quaker type of gal because piper LOVES music and his own space just like me.

I love my Indian Ringnecks’ independence but I miss their “need” for me so I’m not sure if I can call myself an Indian Ringneck type of gal as yet… Only more time will tell (but I have 2 of them now so I must be, right? lol)
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I DEFINITELY AM A LORY/LORIKEET TYPE OF GAL! I’m absolutely in love with their personalities, although opposite of me, they keep me on my toes and remind me of my son in a way.


Anyways, what I’m trying to say is PLEASE do your research before selecting your parrot. A lot of people don’t and this is how these beautiful animals ends up in shelters.

Parenting Parrots

The Conure Escapes

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She is such a doll. I love her vibrant colors and the way she is so easily trained. I would definitely recommend a black-capped conure to anyone who was interested in a parrot that was trainable. She is definitely a smart cookie!

So I was home and she was in her cage, where she never wants to be! She always wants to be with me. I love it but sometimes I need her to be in her cage for safety purposes. I guess on this particular day she was like nope I had enough and she came flying out her cage right to my shoulder. I was shocked!

I had downsized her cage as it was rusting and she is currently in one of those small white cages that the doors slide up and down. I don’t know how she managed to keep a door open long enough for her to fly out but she did! I’m just grateful that it didn’t come slamming down on her head! She came out of her food bowl door and as soon as she did, the door shut! So I was happy everything worked out but this is why I don’t like these kind of cages because I’m afraid of this exact thing happening except more fatal.

This was also a wake up call to me though. This told me that she needed more of my attention and was feeling a bit neglected because she risked her life to come to me. I apologized to her and told her never to escape the depths of hell again hahaha, no, I’m joking but I did agree to make sure I gave her a bit more attention as Conures do need.

You will have some birds who like their independence. Doesn’t mean they don’t want to be out and about with you but they don’t require physical contact as much. Then you will have parrots who thrive on a personal level with you. For example my black-capped conure, african grey, black lory and female indian ringneck – they need my one on one attention basically anytime they are out and about with me. However my rainbow lorikeet, male indian ringneck and the quaker (r.i.p) likes my attention but can manage if I’m busy for a few, they definitely find ways to entertain themselves.

I’ve taught all the birds the importance of independent play but doesn’t mean they want to do it if they don’t have to. Anyhow, so back at the issue at hand my black-capped conure escaped her cage and flew to my shoulder, makes me feel special to know she personally seeks me out. I mean, she could have flown out of her cage to the potty perch, the java tree or the activity stand but instead she came to me. I think this deserves an AWWWW!

Parenting Parrots

The Love Is Real

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The Love is Real” was a comment posted on this site when I first started blogging by my late uncle/twin. I laughed and was like yup but I never really thought twice about those 4 words until now.

Why today? I have no idea, maybe I’m just in a loveable mood but the statement couldn’t be more true. I never knew how much a pet could mean to a person. Growing up we weren’t allowed pets, well, we had some fish but I was never into them and wanted a rabbit or a parrot. I never wanted a dog because I don’t like the cold and there was no way I was going outside regardless of the weather to let a dog relieve itself. It’s weird because I never understood how people could talk so much about their pets, like do they lack an entertaining life? Or are they that lonely that they can only talk about their beloved pet? Pathetic!

Look at me now…. I blog about my parrots haha, you want to get me talking bring up parrots and I will never stop! I can completely understand those people who spoke such passionate words for their pets now. When someone’s pet would die in the office, I was the one standing there listening to them but rolling my eyes inside my head like, “seriously, it’s just an animal go buy a new one.” I’m now that person who will shed tears for my parrots. I guess you truly can never understand or relate to a person until you have experienced a similar situation. I sympathize with all those co-workers now.

My sister has a dog, a cat plus a bearded dragon, a catfish, a turtle and her 3 kids and she will passionately talk about her dog and cat (the others are really her husband’s and the kids). I can relate, so I listen and talk to her regarding training, vets and sicknesses. It’s funny because we talk more about the animals when they are ill than we do the kids haha. But it’s the passion that captures me.

Here, I share my love for parrots with cyber space and I’m glad I can. So to my uncle Brandon and all the other non-pet owners out there that can’t grasp why people devote so much time and energy to their pets, I have four words for you, “The Love is Real“.

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Parenting Parrots

A Very Popular Hookbill

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I usually like to get things that most people do not have, like a funky pair of tights or a limited exclusive edition of a Jordan shoe. In this case it seems I went the opposite way and followed the crowd. The most popular medium-sized hookbill in today’s society seems to be the…. (Drumroll  please!)

African Grey Parrot

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My Galah cockatoo would have kept me in the “rare” category but unfortunately she isn’t with us anymore (R.I.P LOLA). Grayson, my Congo African Grey is extremely popular and although I think it’s great because having a CAG (Congo African grey) will definitely have an impact on a person’s life, I can’t help but be a little disappointed that I fell in the crowd with obtaining a popular parrot that everyone seems to have. Everywhere I go, I meet someone who has a grey parrot.

After I obtained Grayson and my dad was showing him off to his family in the states, we came to find out that 2 of his sisters owned African Grey Parrots. An African grey lives across the street from my son’s elementary school. About a month ago I was at a car wash and a man pulled up with his grey in the back seat. POPULAR!!! I could probably start an African Grey club in my neighborhood and have a great turn out.
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Besides being the most popular, they are also considered to be the smartest. They are not only known for their talking ability but for the capability of using words with understanding. This is shown through Alex, Dr. Pepperberg’s grey. Greys can talk in front of strangers but it has to be trained to. My African Grey will not but I’m hoping to change that soon. Greys’ need to be treated like a child vs. as a pet because of their intellectual level.

The best way to teach a grey is through modelling, reinforcement and repetition. Physical punishment should not be used as they can hold a grudge. I felt the need to share this information because these parrots are very popular and I want them all to strive like Alex did.
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Parenting Parrots

Scaredy Cats

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I have to dedicate this post to my beloved older sister of 7 years and her wonderful 18-year-old daughter, who you can follow on YouTube @KiCassanova. They come here like once a month but when they do, they make me laugh so hard because they are absolutely terrified of the parrots. Why? I don’t know. I keep the parrots in their cages when they come over even though I feel so bad because the parrots love their time out of their “mini” homes. Anyhow these two freak out over anything!

For example today, I took Grayson, my 5 yr old African Grey out of his cage and he decided to flap his wings! Such a beautiful site to  see however apparently these  two didn’t think so. They covered their heads and screamed, so scared that he was going to  fly. It’s funny but the poor Grey bird doesn’t understand why these two humans are making such obnoxious noises. So what do you do when you have guests over who are scared of your birds?

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On one hand, I don’t want to terrify my visitors anymore than they already are by having the parrots out but I don’t want the parrots to feel like they have to be confided to their “homes” because of the strangers who are over.

On the other hand, I want my parrots to be socialized to people but how can I get in any proper interactions if the visitors are scaredy cats because that could be a foundation of danger and my birdies will become afraid of all strangers if anything goes wrong.

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3 yr old feeding treats to an Indian Ringneck

We always say “Prevention is better than Cure” so I rather prevent a negative experience from happening vs. having to try to fix the issue after the fact. I’m stuck, as I don’t know how to help people overcome their fear of birds so therefore I have no way of making a positive interaction occur. The only thing  I can think of is to lead by example but I’m sure their response will be, “Well they are like that with you because they are yours.” So I feel like I’m in a no win situation.

Scaredy Cats can be very entertaining but what damage could they be causing to your little feathered friends by their reaction? Will my parrots ever trust these noisy creatures or has permanent damage been done by the multiple times they have seen these humans act a fool over nothing?  Certain times we are oblivious to the fact that these little encounters may have an everlasting affect on your parrids. Moral of my story is the next time you have a “scaredy cat” over be more in tune to your parrots’ body language so you can see exactly how the interaction is affecting them.

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Parenting Parrots

 

Grayson’s first word

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The first time a parrot ever spoke to me was Grayson, the grey! We had had him since he was 4 months old and I thought that I may have lucked out and gotten a grey that wouldn’t speak because at 12 months I still didn’t hear him utter a word. Then one day, I was walking past his huge white cage and all I seen is him standing very tall and straight by the front of his cage and he whispered, “Grayson”. I stopped and starting jumping for joy, so excited for the revelation that my Grey did in fact have a voice and his first words were his name, “Grayson”. It sounded like a little baby whispering.

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I would say “What’s your name?” and he would respond with his name.
Absolutely amazing!! This was our start to a wonderful vocabulary. He is 5 now and very shy to talk in front of strangers and although I think his vocab should be further along, I’m still in awe when I hear him respond correctly to a question, or singing a tune that we’ve played or calling out another parrot’s names and telling them to step up.

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Grayson saying his first word gave me the same feeling as hearing a baby talk for the first time. Joy, excitement and nervousness because  you now realize your little baby has hit another milestone and is growing up. I’ll never forget Grayson’s first words, not just because I have it on video but because he was the 1st parrot to talk to me and there was an innocence about him that unfortunately he no longer has hahaha.

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Grayson eating an orange

 

 

Parenting Parrots

Bird Show and Expo Review

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I will give you a brief rundown, please watch the below video for a more detail review.

I went to the bird show on the Sunday of  the  event and it had a good turn out. Everyone was talkative and interactive. They had bird cages,  stands, play gyms, toys, food, parrots for the bird show and birds for sale. Everything seemed reasonably priced. For an example, they had a huge bird cage one that I could fit a macaw in for 300 CAD. Can’t find that type of deal anywhere!

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Cockatoos!!!

I’m really scared of my parrots catching a disease so the show allowed you to bring your own birds, I didn’t as people who were bringing in their birds were not required to show  proof of a recent vet visit. Even when we got back home, we stripped off our clothes and washed our hands before interacting with any of our flock.

I did purchase a few toys however they were all made of plastic so I would be able to disinfect them before giving them to my parrids.

Overall, it was a great experience and I would go back again in 2018 just to see how much more it evolves.

Please don’t forget to hit that follow button located at the bottom of the page and definitely subscribe to our YouTube channel as we have lots more videos on there way! Also, you can follow our journey through Instagram.

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A Golden Crowned Conure -My 1st time seeing one

Parenting Parrots

Potty Training Your Feathered Friend

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This. Like all topics regarding parrots is a touchy subject. Some believe that potty training your parrot will harm them causing them to hold their poop until you give the approval to go. I say yes, this is possible if you train your parrot to only go on command. I don’t train them by using a word or even a cue. All my parrots have the free will to go when they please just like my kids. I don’t expect my kids to hold it until I say its okay to go, so why would it be any different for my parrids.

I think this is an issue because people forget how intelligent these creatures are. They are, after all little toddlers. So how do I train a parrot to be potty trained? My answer is very simple, the same way you train a child.

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You watch when your parrot goes. So let’s say at 10:15am he used the potty wherever he was sitting. 15 minutes later he went again and then 15 minutes later he went again. At about 13 minutes, I’m going to ask the parrot to step up and bring him to where I want him to go, keep him there until he poops, make up a big commotion and give him a treat. Remove him from that perch and do it again right before he hits the next 15 minutes. So what I’m doing is bringing him to the designated spot at his timed intervals, praising and giving a treat. I still use the clicker as soon as he/she drops that poop, I click, praise and give a treat. This is the exact method I use for my kids minus the clicker hahaha. “Timed Potty Training“. I do this consistently every time the parrot is out of their cage until they start going on their own. I still click, praise and give a treat but I slowly diminish all three until the bird just goes on it’s own and comes back to resume the previous play/activity. If there are any accidents, just ignore it and resume as usual until the next interval. I find this method of potty training to be very successful just as it works for toddlers, it will work for a parrot. Please see below for our video from our Instagram page – feel free to follow us there also :).

This way the parrot isn’t waiting for me to tell them WHEN to go, they go when they need to. This method just teaches them WHERE to go. So we teach our toddlers to use “The potty” and from there, the big toilet, this is no different except it’s not a potty, it’s a potty perch hahaha. Some people train them to go back to their cage and that is also perfectly fine as it teaches them that releasing in the cage is appropriate. I have never had an issue with any of the parrots stopping the use of their cage and waiting for me to let them out before they go to the washroom however if it is something you are afraid of than once they learn where to go, you can also praise them when they are in their cage and they release, so they learn that is appropriate too.

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Next issue, what if you are on the road and you don’t have a potty perch? I, again have never had to worry about this because somehow they knew if I put them down on the floor that they were allowed to potty as long as it wasn’t on me. However to avoid them holding it in, once they are well established using the potty perch, ever so often you can use a word cue or hand signal to let them go poop. I do not recommend making it consistent as you don’t want them waiting for that cue before they  go to the washroom but you want them to still associate it as one of the signals just in case you are on the road and don’t have the potty perch. This isn’t really a worry because this method doesn’t make them hold it for you, just makes them not potty on you!

For an example, I went out with Nyx, my black-capped conure (she was on the harness)  and I realized damn, it’s been 25 minutes and I haven’t stopped for Nyx to use the washroom. Nyx usually goes every 14 minutes. So I stopped at a red light, opened my door, placed Nyx on the road, she automatically released herself, I praised her and put her back in the car, waited for the light to turn green and continued on our way. This was our first time in this situation and it worked out perfectly! We were out all day and no poop accidents. In this case, she held it until she was some place she could go but that is okay, just like when you are out and about and have to find a washroom before you can release yourself. As long as holding it in isn’t a habit, the fact that they do learn to, is a plus in my eyes.

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If your question is how is your parrot going to always make it to the potty perch then I’m going to assume your parrot has clipped wings and if that’s the case, YOU will always have to bring them. The parrids I’ve potty trained are all fully flighted. I’ll be playing with them,  not paying attention to the time and they will fly off, go to the perch and come right back to continue playing. This is just one of the many advantages to having a fully flighted parrot.

I hope this helped and if you like what you see please don’t forget to hit that follow button so you can stay posted on everything we post. Please follow us on YouTube (Information is posted in our about us page).


Parenting Parrots

Birdtricks’ Steps

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I have to put all these training methods to the test before I can recommend them to my followers, so if you know of any other training methods out there please let me know… This one is www.birdtricks.com run by 2 brothers who have no formal training but claim to be able to change any behavioral issues your bird may have. As long as your parrot isn’t sick, they believe any problems can be fixed using their methods. Great!! So I have 7 parrots but I’m also trying out the Parrot Wizard’s methods so I have to be careful not to intertwine the two. The funny thing is I just found out the parrot wizard used to work for Birdtricks so I’m sure they are going to have some similarities.

If you look at my training for the Parrot Wizard I had 3 birds that I was trying the method on: Grayson, who is a 5 yr old African grey. Piper who is a 3 yr old Quaker parrot a.k.a monk parakeet and Marlee who was new to our flock at the time and was only a 4 and a half months old green-naped lorikeet. I didn’t stick to that training so I’ll be re-starting it over and some birds will have to be changed as Marlee was rehomed.

I will put Grayson and one of our new members who has yet to be introduced to you guys, a female baby violet Indian Ringneck on the Birdtricks program and the other new member which is a black lory along with Piper on the Parrot Wizard Program. I’m leaving out Rasta, Nyx and Ringo for now just in case I come across other bird training programs that I want to test out or that you guys find and want me to test out. Of course one for my own program which may have a combination of all the programs I test out or it may be something completely different, who knows but only time will tell.

So back to Birdtricks, right now I’m reading their pamphlet called New Parrot Care and I was told this is the first thing I should read and it is titled “How to get my parrot to love me“. Chapter one is setting up your parrot for success: Cage, diet, toys, perches, showers. Great! Grayson and the female Indian Ringneck (although she hasn’t gotten the bath thing down as yet but she’ll learn) is ready.

Chapter two covers things you can change without training such as the things I mentioned from chapter one. If you don’t have those already set for your parrot now is the time to fix it. I find that Birdtricks really focuses on the diet aspect of things and I do agree with them on that, a varied healthy diet with an organic based pellet is essential for optimal health for your parrot. They cover sleep, controlling your reaction, end all interactions on a positive note and learn to read body language. So Far I don’t disagree however they seem to stress on not letting the parrot be dominating, showing the parrot who is in charge and I’m sure they mean it in a nice way but that has rang a bell of warning for me. REMEMBER I BELIEVE IN EMPOWERING THE ANIMAL. So let’s see how this keeps going, I’m still keeping an open mind as they do talk about positive reinforcement being better than negative and I’m all for that!

Let’s move on as I know all these things about Grayson and the new IRN (Indian Ringneck) is pretty transparent as a baby right now. Chapter 3, they call it the most important step: Putting your bird on a training diet. They explain how to do it, why it works and to weigh your bird every day. I somewhat do this already although I don’t call it the training diet but I give them only enough food that they will eat in one sitting and I train before feeding them their main meal. You only need to do this if your reward for your parrot doing the right thing is a food reward, if not then implementing the training diet is not necessary. On my own note, if the rewards you are feeding is not in their regular diet then they should work for it whether or not they are on a training diet but I do understand you are NOT starving your parrot so what’s wrong with monitoring their intake? Also if you feed before their next meal you know they are almost getting to that hungry point where they start feeling peckish but their not fully hungry yet. It does help in the motivation process. You never want your parrot to be starving when training because let’s be real, I learn NOTHING when I’m hungry hahaha and I’m sure parrots are the same… Anyhow back to chapter 3. They end off chapter 3 with an introduction to my favorite bridge tool – The Clicker! They give you a clicker game to try on other humans to learn how to master using the clicker which I thought was a BRILLANT idea!! So yes Chapter 3 is on the same baseline as me, I am ready to move onto Chapter 4.

In Chapter 4, we actually learn more about using the clicker in your training. How to clicker train a bird that won’t take treats from your hand or one that is scared of your presence. As you know I’m a big advocate for the clicker, if you didn’t know please read my clicker training post ( which also has a YouTube video attached to it). It’s a very short chapter as it just focuses on getting your parrot to  know the clicker.

Chapter 5 is training the first behavior which is Target training, you have heard me talk about or seen me do YouTube videos showing this. So this is nothing new but I still did a 5 minute training with Grayson and the new IRN (Indian Ringneck) just to implement their first training session. Both of these birds are a pro at target training so this was easy and quick repetitions for them. You can read about my target training methods here.

They end off this book with a summary of things that you learned and why trick training is an important aspect to your bird’s life.

My Overall Thoughts: I would recommend getting this pamphlet for the first time bird owner or for a bird owner who is just starting to take an interest in training their parrots. I don’t know if it is available by itself as I got it in a package called “Basic Parrot Course: stop biting” which cost me $54.95USD. However if you know how to train your parrot and what’s needed in their development then this particular pamphlet may not be for you. I haven’t gotten through the rest of the course yet but will keep you posted.

I am just going through the package that they emailed me before anything else so the next one on the list I received is: How to Potty Train Your Parrot“. I truly don’t think it’s very important in the beginning of training your parrot however having a potty trained parrot saves you a lot of dirty clothes, dirty sheets, floor scrubbing etc. So look out for my review on that.

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Parenting Parrots!