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!

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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!