How to Solve your Parrot’s Behavior Problem!

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Good Bird, a guide to solving behavioral problems in companion parrots by Barbara Heidenreich is a wonderful book to have in your collection. Whether or not you have a parrot with behavioral problems doesn’t matter because this book gives you the knowledge to understand why the behavior may happen and solutions to solve it. By reading this book, you can start to know the signs and see if a problem may be arising before it actually arrives.

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Barbara Heidenreich has actually been in our shoes, she is a parrot owner. Who else to learn from if not one of our very own. She has also been a parrot trainer and have helped many families with behavioral issues in parrots.

So how do you solve your Parrot’s behavior issues? Simple! POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT! Barbara tells us this in the very 1st chapter, the introduction. If you have no idea what I am talking about, I explain all about training in my post called “What time is it??“.

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But before you start implementing positive reinforcement, there are a few things you must first learn about: Body language! The first communication you will always have with a companion parrot is body language. Learn how to read it and what certain signs mean and you will be able to connect with your parrot better. In this book, Barbara explains their body language and gives you some insight in how to read them and what it means. What I love in this section is that she does her best to include pictures of birds that are displaying the body language she is describing.

She dedicates a chapter to each behavior issue you may come encounter with so you can either read the whole book (which I recommend) or you can just jump to the chapter that you may need help with. Her chapters go like this: Introduction – Chapter 1: Preparing the Companion Parrot Owner – Chapter 2: Screaming – Chapter 3: Biting – Chapter 4: Bonding to one person – Chapter 5: Cage Bound Bird – Chapter 6: Feather Picking and her closing chapter her Final Thoughts. Each chapter is filled with possible scenarios, why it may be happening, what you can do and a detailed explanation. I read this book about once every two years just to refresh my mind.

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I can confidently say that I do not have to worry about any screaming issues. For her biting chapter, now that I have Marlee, the lorikeet and she tends to nip, I will be practicing this chapter and hopefully by the new year, I will be completely bite-free! Next is the bonding to one person – This refers to my African Grey, he is completely bonded to me however when I am not around he will go to others – Barbara’s methods do work! I haven’t been able to test her cage bound theory or her feather picking theory as none of my parrots have  any of these issues  but I’m sure it works also.

You can follow her blog and check out her stuff at http://www.goodbirdinc.com/. She offers e-books, dvds, books, blog posts and seminars. I haven’t had a chance to check out her stuff as yet but I do give this book a 5 star rating as it’s an easy read with pictures and very straight to the point. From front to back it is a total of 81 pages. Really can’t go wrong.

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Parenting Parrots!

Grayson – African Grey

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Grayson

I purchased Grayson from a reputable breeder in Oshawa when he was 4 months old (Oct. 2012). I would recommend her to anyone because Grayson is the perfect companion and I can only give her the thanks for that. If you want her information click here: Contact Us and send me a quick message and I’ll connect you to her. Her place isn’t the tidiest however her birds love her so she must be doing something right. Grayson choose me when I went to visit the first time. I sat with the breeder as all 3 greys moved around. Grayson was the one that showed me all the interest. I took note of his band number and told the  breeder he is who I wanted. Originally I had asked her for a female. Once she got the dna back and told me Grayson was a male, I told her I will pass on the female and still take him. BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE! I read in this book (if you want an african grey or have one please buy this book, it is so great!) to never take an african grey that is cowering in the corner of the cage and growling, well let me tell you… That was Grayson when I went back to pick him up. I was nervous as hell after having that experience of him growling however Grayson is a beauty. I brought him to the vet when I first got him and he got a clear bill of health. The breeder already clipped his wings. I’ve been his only owner. He will go to other people but sometimes like with my partner, he will fake it and then bite, so we are working on that but for the most part if you are not nervous then he will step up to you no problem. For the past 4 years he wouldn’t go to anyone but me however this year (officially an adult – 2016) he will now go to people – a complete 360 but I’m loving it. I can talk on and on about him but I have nothing negative to say. I was working full time when I got Grayson and everyone told me NO, you can’t have an African Grey and work a full time job… Well guess what?!?! I did it and Grayson is not a plucker or afraid of everything bla bla bla. He doesn’t have all those behavioral problems you get warned about. I believe it is all about the love you show your parrot and in return they will love you back.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F1FloeticJustice%2Fvideos%2F10153119770610375%2F&show_text=0&width=400>Video of Grayson’s first words

Name: Grayson

Type of Parrot: Congo African Grey

Sex: Male

Birth Date: June 2012

Wings Status: Fully Flighted

Favorite food: Pine Nuts

Noise Level: He can be loud when he mimics the other birds. Otherwise I would say he is moderate when he is talking and making sounds. He is overall quiet when he is just relaxing.

Training progress: He loves training sessions

Tricks: He can step up, Turn around, do pet, stick up his wings, wave hi, say doggy go wolf, wolf

Talking ability: Everything! He says his name – “Grayson”,  “Lola “- our late galah cockatoo, “Piper” – our Quaker’s name, each member of the family’s name, “step up”, “stick them up”, “peek-a-boo”,”doggy go wolf, wolf”, “hi”, “hello”, “what the”, “whats up grayson”, he laughs, does the clicker sound, telephone sound, microwave sound, whistles and my least favorite the squawking of other birds… I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. He is shy to make noise around people but after about 30 minutes of him observing you, he then starts to make noise.

Favorite toys: He is a banger – best toys for him have been his hanging toys that he can swing on and make noise with. He also likes his foraging toys (be prepared to lose a lot of pellets as he removes them though – HELPFUL HINT I put it over his food bowl so if it falls, it falls in his bowl)

Fears: Can’t think of anything he is really afraid of right now besides my partner – they don’t get along.

Diet: Harrison’s Pellets with fruits and veggies. He eats table food – Chicken, rice, pasta…

Treats: Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Walnuts and Brazil nuts

Cage Size: Dome cage. 36.5 x 28 height is 57″ not including the stand. With the stand it would be higher. I was thinking of switching him into a cage with less length and more width as he doesn’t use the bottom of the cage, haven’t found one I like though.

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Grayson’s cage

Last Vet visit: December 2012– Wellness check – Everything clear! Healthy baby! Is in need of a vet visit… Hopefully I’ll take him in September 2016

Next Steps: Getting him to do the bat – hang upside down, getting him use to the harness and shower perch

Parenting Parrots!