Making Food Fun!

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Frozen Food

There is something about watching parrots work for things that personally warms my heart. So I’m always looking for ways to enrich their lives. Parenting Parrots has so many things going on, I can barely find the time to inform you guys of everything but I will try to be more consistent. If we think about the parrots in the wild, what do we know about them? We know that food isn’t just given to them freely, we know that they spend a great deal amount of time foraging for food while making and protecting babies. Now, as much as I would love to mimic the wild environment, I unfortunately can’t BUT what I can do is try to come as close as possible to making them be fully stimulated, enriched and engaged.

The above picture is something that I can give to all my parrots including the Lories. I took little containers, filled them up with fruit. You can use whatever type you like. For this mix I used raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, mangoes and some cashews and almonds (I eliminated the cashews and almonds for the lories). Once I finished putting the food in, I filled it up with coconut water and put them in the freezer. So the next morning, I took them out, removed them from their containers and gave one to each parrot. Since it was frozen the birds got to lick and suck on the cold coconut water and while it defrosted right there, they got access to the food bits. It wasn’t a lot of work but at the same time it made it interesting and engaging for the birds especially since they kept at it for a while before realizing it needed more time to defrost.

Frozen Cube

This was a tasty little treat and definitely a way to make food more fun and get your parrots that are picky to start trying. I can’t guarantee that they will still eat whatever they are refusing but always introducing items in different ways can get a bird interested in a food item that they previously neglected. Making this cube was quick and easy, less than 5 minutes to prepare and put together. I will offer more cubes like this, more often during the summer months.

Fruit Cube

You could also substitute the coconut water for whatever type of liquid you like, the options are endless. I hope you will try this and please leave me a comment down below and let me know how your birds liked it. Also if you are going to give this to your lories/lorikeets please remove the nuts. I will be making this again, if you would like a YouTube video on it, please let me know so I can do that for you.

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Thank you for everything! I hope together we can enrich out fids’ lives.

Parenting Parrots

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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?

Grayson

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

To Clip or Not to Clip? That is the Question

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I will be completely honest, I blame clipping of my Galah Cockatoo’s wings to be the cause of her death(Will be a storytime on our Youtube channel). Overall, she felt incomplete as a bird and because she barely had learned how to fledge at that time, she never understood the importance of her wings hence her breaking them every time they grew in. A lot of people clip their birds’ wings and justify it for different reasons, I don’t argue with anyone. I listen and understand their point of view but you know what my thought on it comes down to?!? THEN DON’T GET A BIRD!!

A bird is meant to fly, are you still a bird if you can’t fly?? I think that makes them a chicken or a turkey or a rooster but definitely not a bird…. I will never tell someone they are wrong for clipping but is it not selfish to clip a bird because you can’t take the proper precautions to keep them safe? Wouldn’t it be better to leave them in the pet store or at the breeder’s house so someone who doesn’t have to risk their “winglyhood”, for safety can take them? I’ve heard about many accidents with parrots who have flown away or flew into a fan, etc :(. But couldn’t those have been prevented?  Such as making sure windows and doors aren’t opened when the bird is out or by turning off that fan? Maybe I just don’t understand as I’m not in those situations to have to make those type of decision but regardless let’s think about the bird.

To Clip

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Part of a bird’s anatomy is their wings just like humans, it’s their legs. Let’s say someone broke my legs and said no worries it will fix, it’s only temporary. In that time frame I’m paralyzed, I can’t move like I want to – I am at the beck and call of others. I have to rely on others as I can’t do for myself like I normally would, this is the same for clipped birds. Now some people may say nope! It’s not like that. Clipping wings is more like getting a haircut as it doesn’t hurt the bird and it will grow back. Yes that is all true however it is still temporarily paralyzing them from making the decision to flight or fight.

I have clipped birds but they are only clipped because they came to me that way so I patiently wait it out until their wings grow back in. I used to clip my parrots’ wings all by myself, I have also went to the vet to get it done. I never thought anything more about it until I started watching and observing my birds and realizing how BEAUTIFUL it was to see them spread their wings and fly. I love it! I haven’t clipped my African grey in 4 years and although he barely flies whenever he does, I feel like a proud mommy.

Wings

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A lot of behavioral issues can arise from having a clipped parrot because of the lack of exercise. Flying is so important to parrots, it’s how they release all that built up energy so if you add flying plus foraging plus training and the perfect diet – YOU CAN ACQUIRE THE PERFECT PET! But without the flying aspect, what exercise can you give a parrot that would release the same amount of exercise that flying for 30 mins a day would help them release? One thing I used to do when Grayson’s wings were clipped is have him come out of the cage, I would hold on to his feet and tell him to flap his wings. He was great at it but it definitely was not releasing the same amount of energy that flying would have.

Once, I clipped Piper’s wings because people said it would make him easier to train and manage. Well let me tell you – I received a MONSTER from that. He went from never biting to always biting. He was miserable being clipped and now that he isn’t clipped anymore, he is back to his normal self. Yes, he flies from me but I understand that is his way of communicating to me to let me know he either had enough or is bored with what I’m doing etc….

There will always be pros and cons to clipping and not clipping your bird’s wings. It truly comes down to a personal preference. Do what’s best for you and for your parrot so you can both enjoy all that life has to offer.

 

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5 yr old Grayson

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Parenting Parrots!

DIY Foraging Toy

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I wish I could take all the credit here but I can’t. I stole this idea off of Facebook from Patricia Anderson who has a few Quakers and a Blue headed Pionus (They are perfectly trained and so gorgeous to look at). Anyhow I have always been one to believe in foraging as an important aspect for any parrot and recently I realized I spend a lot of money on toys – even more than I thought. Sometimes my toy bills (most of the time) are running me 2 to 300 dollars a shop. So I really wanted to find things I could make myself and wouldn’t break my pocket. So when Patricia posted the foraging cereal box I was all excited because being a family of 5 we go through cereal boxes as often as we change our underwear, hahaha daily.

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You see the red thing? It’s the Zip tie I used to attach this to the cage

I have a whole bunch of stuff I bought for foraging but if you are anything like me then you don’t have the creativity behind your belt to do it yourself so I have to steal ideas from others but that’s why they post them online right? To share? Once I get their basic ideas then sometimes ways to “fancy” it up comes to me… Only sometimes though.

So why do I find foraging to be important or why is it very high on my list? BECAUSE in the while food is not just handed to your parrot. They search for their food causing them to release energy and stimulate their brain cells. Now by no means does this mean starve them. I still use my food bowls but I do cover my food bowls with paper every now and then and have them rip through the paper to get to the food. I find the days I do that my house is quiet as a mouse because everyone is busy ripping through the paper for their pellets. Otherwise some mornings I’m crying about wanting more sleep. IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE! I/We can’t provide the wild environment for our parrots but we still need to find ways to keep them stimulated, motivated, entertained and I find that foraging toys do that….

It’s really simple, all I did (Now Patricia may have used different items inside of hers, I didn’t look into all of that) was take my cereal box put some timothy hay at the bottom, wrap up a few almonds into newspaper balls, put a few sheets of regular newspaper over, come nice crinkled purple (my favorite color) paper sticking out at the top and the inside was done. Then I pierced a few holes into a face and had treats sticking out. 2 Sunflower seeds for eyes, an almond for a nose and baby carrots going across to make a smile.

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I used a big cereal box but it was for my Indian Ringneck so I should have bought those cereals that are small that come in those packs of 10 and use that size. I think the big cereal boxes are too overwhelming for Ringo, that size is PERFECT for Grayson, my african grey.  So far Ringo hasn’t teared apart the box hence why I say the size is too big. But he has removed the carrots, almonds, sunflower seeds and some of the crinkled paper at the top…. Slowly but surely he is getting there.

Oh I attached it to the cage using a zip tie. My parrot shop sells them. I will be doing another one of these for Grayson and I think at the bottom of it I will make a small hole on each side and have a rope going from one end of the bottom to the next and tie a “Top toy” out of each side to make it more pretty with more accessories. I want to make lots of foraging toys and you can find GREAT ideas on Facebook DIY bird toy groups or by going on Pinterest or of course by following me! All you have to do is sign up where it says follow Parenting Parrots and you can go through this journey of toy making with me! I’ll post a YouTube video on making this toy next weekend and I’ll add it here but if you want to make sure you don’t miss that then go to my YouTube channel and Subscribe so you can see all the important videos we post there.

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Some people are visual learners vs. being a reader so that’s why I like to cover a video on what I write about here too.

Parenting Parrots!

All About Pets Show

I went to the “All About Pets Show” for the 2nd year in a row and I must say it’s a busy place however it’s a great place to educate your kids and yourself and see all the different animals in the world. This year I went with my partner, my son and my godson. Last year it was only my son and myself. Last year I was able to find everything I wanted and needed so easily however this year I felt overwhelmed and confused because I couldn’t find what I was looking for as easily. This year we interacted more with other people so I must say both years were well worth it and I would recommend it to others to attend. I will be going again next year.

So I bought the family pass which was 48.00 CDN. We got there by 1:30pm and left at 5pm so a good couple of hours spent. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted and given a bag and was on our merry way. Although this is a “PETS” show I feel the dogs dominate. We went straight for the cats since that’s not really of interest for us, I figured it was the fastest section to get through. The cats are mostly in carriers and are not out for touching by the public however the few that were out, were very nice.

We then found the reptilia truck, which we enjoy admiring every year. My son and godson got to hold a crested gecko. They also got to touch an alligator and see a snake wrapped around a woman’s body. The downfall with the reptiles this year is that I never seen any other reptile section :(. Last year we had reptilia but there was also other little reptile set ups around and my son truly enjoyed that. This year they fell short on that, I hope next year they bring them back.
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Next, was the bird section but again it seems they fell short in that area because I never seen as many vendors as I did last year. We seen the typical parrots like the conures, macaws, African greys, various cockatoos and so forth. Maybe I’m just being greedy but I wanted more. My son and godson got to hold ringneck doves but last year we got to help in bottle feeding babies and listen to parrots talk and watch them do tricks. I also went there in hopes to find unique toys for my African grey and galah cockatoo but I left empty handed. I wanted to grab some Harrison’s food and they weren’t available at any of the stops.

We went to the petting area and this section was more advanced which was great. They had all the horses in their stalls but at least we still got to peep at them through the stalls. If we stayed and watched a horse show then of course we would have seen more but no petting of horses this year. They had goat, sheep, llamas and of course just like last year baby chicks. My son and godson got to hold the baby chicks which I think is great for the kids to experience but their most enjoyable moment was feeding the Llamas. My son was calling the Llama “his buddy” as he feed him his food from the palm of his hands. You have to pay for the feeding but it wasn’t too bad as it was only 2 dollars for a small ice cream cone filled with pellets.

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There was a section for exotic pets (or something like that they were called) and their price I thought was ridiculous as it was 10 dollars for each person to enter the pen and play with the animals. The deal they had wasn’t too bad as it was 25 dollars for 4 but since I nor my partner wanted to go in, it didn’t seem worth it to pay 20 dollars for the two boys when I could have paid 25 for 4. They had a kangaroo, some muskrat looking thing… It’s like a monkey but looks like a stunk… You would have seen them in the movie the Madagascar and some other animals that I can’t remember their names.

We then were surrounded by dogs however although they did have a designated area for dogs they were all spread out all over the whole exhibition. Watching my son with the dogs made me wonder if a dog is the right pet for him…. I’m not sure. He was so patient and loving and even after petting and talking to everyone, he wanted to go back to see the little dogs and then the BIG leonbergers. I must admit I will be doing research on teacup Pomeranians and pomchi’s and Havanese dogs BUT I will not go back down that road unless I know it is the absolute best! Also I can’t have dogs in the apartment I live in so it will have to wait :(. I will be researching the best pet for a child who may have a mild case of adhd.

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I left feeling like my money was well spent and I had more knowledge than every! Especially when it came to a Havanese dog because it has real hair no fur, so hypo-allergic, small but not fragile and odorless of course…. Adult size is 12 lbs… I will definitely be looking into them….

I bought the kids food on our way there and right after we left we went straight to pizza pizza to buy a family meal. I refused to buy anything in there because for a bottle of pop it was $3.20 CDN 😦 but I expected that so that’s why I fed them on our way there!

It’s definitely a show I enjoy and I will be making it part of my yearly routine. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I would suggest making it apart of your outings for next year.

Parenting Parrots!

How to Treat your Parrots to a Healthy Snack

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Good Morning!

Today I decided to have something quick for breakfast as I’m running out the door to do laundry. I live in an apartment where we are not allowed to have washers and dryers in our unit, so I have to take the elevator all the way down to the ground level to share a washer and dryer with the other tenants of this building. I HATE IT BECAUSE I CANT TAKE ANY PARROTS WITH ME!!! 😦 Well I guess I could but don’t want to risk people complaining and maybe the bird getting in their way. Anyhow back to the topic at hand….

BREAKFAST!!!

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Being on maternity leave has really left my fridge empty. HAHAHA after 10 months with living off of 55% of my income, I am ready to get back to filling my fridge again but I will miss my kiddies and parrids (parrot kids) so much. This is a bitter sweet moment!! Today we are having a whole wheat slice of bread with jam! THAT’s it!

Something so simple and I can share it with my parrids.

A slice of lightly toasted whole wheat bread with jam spread on top, cut into four sections. I give one section to each bird. I do two slices because I have 7 birds. All the birds can eat this, even my lorikeets!

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Rasta enjoying his jam

So I’m not quite sure how the calories in a slice of toasted whole wheat bread may affect a parrot’s health however it has 75 calories but if you’re only giving a parrot a quarter section, I don’t think you should have to worry at all (for those that may be concerned).

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Parenting Parrots!

 

Boss’ near Death Experience!

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Boss, our 1-year-old lovebird has truly been through a lot this past year and unfortunately she had to encounter another problem before this year was over. I have to say for a small parrot she has enormous strength and determination. Boss has really shown that she is a fighter against all odds.

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Love birds images

Boss has always been ms. Houdini but this time I think someone forgot to lock her cage properly because I just can’t see how she would have been able to escape. Anyhow she did and for some odd reason, she decided to go to our African Grey’s cage. I had just put him back in his cage and was cleaning his water bowl when I heard him banging something in his cage. He is a banger so this is normal. I walked back and he had something yellow… WAIT… Grayson’s only yellow toy I had just thrown out so what is he banging?? As I approached his cage to put back the water, he dropped his yellow package and the package ran out of the bottom of his cage. To my horror, it was Boss, our one year old peach-faced lovebird. I didn’t even know Boss could fit through the gaps of Grayson’s cage until I seen her run out. MY HEART DROPPED. I screamed at the top of my lungs as what just occurred slowly registered in my head. I wanted to cry! At that very moment, I was petrified.

I went to find Boss who was huddled in a corner. I picked her up and examined her. I was so afraid I was going to lose her. Boss has some blood coming out one of her ears and her beak was purple and blue.  I wrapped her in a rag and held her. I wanted to bring her to the vet but silly me just used their credit card to cover a purchase and had said I would put back the money off my next pay not realizing that something would come up and I would be needing it (talk about bad timing). So bringing her to the vet at this time, was out of the question. I tried to nurse her back to health but I was worried about her internal organs. I set up a “get well cage” which is really small but felt it would be perfect for her under the circumstances.

I gave her a bath everyday, kept her warm, served her warm baby food with her pellets mixed in it, fresh clean water and weighed her all the time. Birds like to hide their sickness so there is no way of knowing if they are ill until it is too late. Weighing Boss daily let me know that she wasn’t losing weight and was eating as she normally would so she probably wasn’t going to die.

It’s now been almost 2 weeks and her beak is back to a light peach bone like color with no purple or blue marks. She is vocalizing again (she had stopped for a while). She is moving all over her “get well cage” and she is back to training!

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Boss doing “touch/grab” taming. I call it the hovering method.

Til this day, I don’t know what exactly  happened on that day or how it happened but all I know is please double-check your locks when closing your pets’ cages especially if you have other pets around.

Parenting Parrots!

The Cons/ The Negatives / The ugly

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Just like having kids, you love them one minute and questioning why you had them the next haha, same goes for having parrots. There are pros and there are cons to owning parrots. Whether you have multiple or one, these negatives may still apply. Hopefully with the right type of training and time with your parrids (parrot kids), these negatives may be minimized.

Every parrot owner or wanna-be parrot owner should know that parrots are messy. You may have a parrot that throws its food out of the cage, meaning it could end up on your walls, your floor, your furniture etc… Parrots who aren’t potty train will poop anywhere and everywhere. Could be on you, on your furniture, your floor, your wall etc… My African Grey will poop out of his cage. Don’t forget the feathers / dander dust that parrots produce, that is also messy and makes you need an air filter. Some parrots make less dander than others so if you are worried about that, you got to do research. Let’s remember to think of the toys that they destroy because that’s what they do. They don’t “play” with their toys, they DESTROY them haha.

Parrots make noise. You can get a parrot that is known to be more on the quieter side of the noise scale but they will still make some type of noise. It could be them making normal bird noises or mimicking human speech or copying household noises or other pets etc… Noise will be there. Also there are some parrots that turn into screamers which makes it even worse for your ears.

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Parrots are “beakers”. Meaning they use their beaks for everything! To test things out, to eat, to BITE, to check the balance stability of perches. So biting may happen, it doesn’t have to but it can. Nipping will definitely be a stage they go through. As a parrot owner you have to understand the risk. You might even have a parrot who will literally charge and attack! Some bites can send you to the hospital depending on the bite force and the type of beak you are dealing with.

Parrots are time-consuming. They can not just be left in a cage or else they will become very lil’ destructive, unmanageable monsters. You got to give them some time, especially to train them and tame them. They need to shower and stretch. Like I always say, ” parrots are toddlers just in parrot form“. So all the work you would put into a toddler, you need to do the same for your parrot. Bathing them, cleaning up after them, making them meals, putting them to sleep, waking them up, taking them to the doctors, playing with them, teaching them, giving them outside time that I call “Park time”.

Parrots are expensive. The cost of the bird, the cage, the food, the treats, the training tools, the perches, the toys, the vet bills and these are all on going costs minus the bird and the cage. You will always be buying food, treats, toys. Perches will get worn out and eventually need to be replaced. Vet bills  – you are supposed to take your parrot to the vet every 6 months and they cost way more than taking a dog or cat. So you have to take all of the money you will be dishing out for the rest of your parrot’s life into consideration. Now there are ways to minimize these costs  but that means more work and time on your part.

Information on specific species is HARD to find sometimes. I recommend always doing research and reading on your specific species. As a matter of fact, one of the required items you should have in your household when owning a parrot is a book on that specific species. Here is a link to some of the books I have in my collection: http://astore.amazon.ca/parentingparrot-20 (check it out, you might find a good book for yourself that you can order).

And last but not least that I can think of is MOOD SWINGS! Parrots just like kids, grow and go through a hormonal stage. A lot of parrots get re-homed at this stage because owners don’t understand what is going on to their parrot and just gets rid of it. Parrots aren’t perfect and they can get mad, sad, upset, happy, frustrated… etc just like we can. They can throw temper tantrums just like toddlers. They will test your limits just like kids do.They are very intelligent and have emotions and feelings. Treat your parrot like a family member because that IS exactly what they are – one of your kids.

Below is my video on my 5 cons to owning a parrot.

Parenting Parrots!

Parrot Wizard’s Guide to the Test

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Hey everyone!

So I found the Parrot Wizard on YouTube and absolutely fell in LOVE with his two parrots, mostly his Senegal as he was displayed more often. Anyhow he apparently tamed a re-home macaw in 6 months, that’s what really caught my attention. I decided to buy his book – The Parrot Wizard’s Guide to Well-Behaved Parrots. I haven’t finished reading it completely however I have decided to put him to the test. There are things in there that I don’t agree with however just like parents of kids have different views and opinions on raising kids, I feel the same thing applies when raising parrots.

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The Parrot Wizard’s Guide to Well-Behaved Parrots

Whether I agree with him or not the end results still speak for themselves, he has two very well-trained (behaved) parrots that all of us dream of having. I consider most of my parrots to be well-behaved however let me be honest there are times that they make me want to jump off a cliff hahaha or at least make me question if they have a split personality. So what I decided to do is take 3 out of 7 of my parrots to follow his book instructions to the tee.

In the first chapter he talks about getting a parrot, I feel he spends a lot of time trying to tell people not to get a parrot although he claims otherwise. If I wasn’t already a parrot owner, I would have been turned off of owning one. With that being said though, he isn’t wrong in his description of how much work owning a parrot is. He also talks about getting as much information as you can on that specific species – I’m TOTALLY an advocate for getting a book on the bird you have or want. I so agree! Number One recommendation!!!! So there is nothing I need to implement from chapter one as I already have a parrot, I have a book on the parrot and I have brought my parrot to the vet, so health check – DONE!

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The Parrot Wizard with the re-home macaw

Let’s move on to chapter two. In this chapter he talks about your living arrangements. All hazardous items have already been removed from my household, each parrot has its own cage with the correct bar spacing. I have the list of things he requires and all my parrots have perches and toys. The transition from carrier to cage was different for all my parrots however it’s already been done so moving on…. Chapter two – DONE!!

Chapter 3 is called early interactions, he briefly covers trust building (which I do agree is the Number one thing needed in order to have a great relationship with your parrot – this is what my e-book will be about). This chapter also includes desensitization methods, nutrition, treats and sleep. Okay, so I already have my parrots on a healthy diet, I know their treats and although he recommends 12 -14 hours of sleep – my parrots are getting 10 – 12 hours so I still think that is good. As for desensitization – I believe this area is an ongoing section, as you will always be trying to desensitize your parrots to things. In regards to not being afraid of you, yes I got that down so chapter three – DONE!!

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The Parrot Wizard with his two parrots

Chapter 4 is where I am going to start putting his methods to the test. This is his taming and training chapter. He discusses positive reinforcement, motivation, food management, clicker conditioning, target training, step up, touch/grab, towelling and turning on back.

So I have elected 3 parrots to do his methods: Grayson, piper and Marlee. I choose these 3 because they are the most different in behavior right now.

Grayson has already been trained but I will be going back to the basics and seeing how he reacts to each of the Parrot Wizard’s methods. Maybe I can improve his training, who knows. **UPDATE** Grayson will be trained using Birdtricks methods!!

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Grayson

Piper loves to train but likes to be in control so we’ll see if he will change under these circumstances.

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Piper!!

Marlee is the newest one to the flock. She has learned to step up and started showing that she gets potty training but I haven’t done much more with her than that. **UPDATE** Marlee has been rehomed and is doing great in her new home

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Marlee @ 18 weeks and 4 days old ( 4 and a half months old)

I will do reviews on their weekly progress. Today, Saturday November 5th, 2016 is our first day….

**UPDATE** This training will still be done on Piper and I will be using one of our newest members a Black Lory

Parenting Parrots!

The Hard-boiled Egg

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I eat it, the kids eat it, so why wouldn’t the birds eat it?

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Put on a pot to boil. Once the water starts boiling, you put in the egg. I boil the egg for 10 minutes when I’m making it for the parrots. Take it out, let it cool and then SMASH IT!!! Don’t remove the shell, you just mash it all up together. My birds eat this all up.

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You can feed eggs to your parrots twice a week (no more than twice in one week) however I only feed it once a week. I’m not sure why but I have never done it more than once.

The benefits of eggs for your parrots are:
It helps their bones, beaks and feathers while also improving their eye vision

Parenting Parrots!