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!

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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!

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!

Parrots Shower too, you know??

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Piper on the shower perch

People always seem amazed when they find out exactly how much work goes into taking care of a parrot, but yet these same people are not amazed at how much work goes into taking care of a dog. Why the different reactions?

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I think because dogs have been domesticated and is a “normal” pet to have, everyone has adjusted to the way of living with them. Parrots are becoming more and more popular as each year goes on however they are still far from being able to declare as domesticated and maybe because of that, misconceptions have followed them for years. “Birds are pets that stay in a cage all day long and all you have to do is give it some toys, a food bowl and a water bowl”. NOT!!! Sorry to disappoint anyone however everything you do for a dog, you have to do for a parrot. So one thing that I wanted to cover today was showering. Parrots shower too, you know? They have bath time!

Some will automatically use their water bowls as their bath water when they need a good washing. Others may decide when you are washing dishes is a good time to jump on in. You may have to force some to take a bath until they learn how to enjoy it however either way it has to happen, it has to happen just like having a dog.

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Grayson, african grey

How often you decide to bath your parrot is really a personal choice but because we are Parenting Parrots we treat our parrots as close as possible to how we treat our toddlers. So technically bathing everyday is what should be happening but of course it doesn’t, as I want to give them a chance to do it themselves. Which means… I bathe them as often as possible usually that’s once every other day. In the summertime, I try to stick to this and I like to do it in the morning around 11am after their morning training and breakfast. So then they have all day to preen and dry off, help keep themselves busy. In the winter time I only shower them twice a week. When I have to go to work obviously this is not an option and I work too early to even give them a quick bath so that sucks but if your parrots bathe themselves anyways then you really don’t have to worry about this.

I used to spray mist them in their cages but then other stuff would get wet and it just seemed like a disaster. So I’m trying this shower perch. Right now they’re all timid on it and act shy. The size I have is a small which seems to work okay for most of the parrots however Grayson, my african grey needs a bigger size (medium) as there’s not enough room for him to stretch out his wings and enjoy himself. Boss, the lovebird needs a smaller perch as she just falls right off and since Nyx always takes her showers when I’m washing the dishes she doesn’t use the perch.

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Boss and Nyx in the sink

Bathing your parrot helps to keep the dander down. Lovebirds and African Grey parrots can make a lot of dander (I think Indian Ringnecks do too). Dander is an informal term for a material shed from the body of various animals, including humans, which have fur, hair, or feathers. The term is similar to dandruff, when an excess of flakes becomes visible. Skin flakes that come off the main body of an animal are dander, while the flakes of skin called dandruff come from the scalp and is composed of epithelial skin cells. Quote from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dander.

The main thing to consider here is that dander can cause allergies if not controlled. I have an air filter for this but i still need to control it by making sure that the birds are constantly taking baths. IT HELPS OUT A LOT!!!

Every now and then I will see Grayson take a bath in his water bowl, which is too small for him to bath in but I love the fact that he is taking his hygiene into his own hands. I especially see this when I’ve been at work the whole week. Boss always uses her water bowl or she will go visit Piper and bath in his water hahaha. Nyx used to bath in her water bowl but now that I have her with me every time I wash dishes, I haven’t seen her use her water bowl in a long time. Piper and Ringo use their water bowl just not as frequently as I would like. Marlee and Rasta bath every day in their water bowl so sometimes I don’t bath them as I make sure I give them fresh water first thing in the morning and as soon as they bath I switch it out but I will be getting them another bowl of water just in case they bath one day and I’m not home to change it. Sometimes I turn on the vacuum to see if they will go bathe in their water on their own, I have yet to be successful with this. But rumor is, to encourage a parrot to bath, turn on the vacuum.

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Ringo in the shower

My biggest pet peeve about this shower perch is that I wish it had grooves. When the birds first go on it, they slip and slide before getting their balance. This seems like the typical shower perch as every one I look at lacks grooves or if it doesn’t lack grooves it costs almost 50 bucks. I will continue to use this perch as once they get a grip they don’t fall off. I keep it low now and very close to the tub so if they do fall it’s not a far drop. My favorite Parrot shop has shower perches that do have texture on the actual perch so if I get really annoyed I might try one and then I can do a comparison review.

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Sorry Rasta wouldn’t stay still so I could get a good picture

Otherwise I have no complaints as it beats having them in the actual tub. I would recommend every parrot owner to invest in a shower perch but of course some people prefer just having them in the sink or misting or letting them bathe themselves. Whatever your method is please just pay attention that your parrot is bathing or getting a shower at least once a week at the very minimal. I know people who take their parrots into the shower with them and have them sit on the railing to catch the mist from their actual shower. That’s cool, if you don’t mind being watched hahaha. I’m shy, so I like my own shower with no eyes but its a good way to bond with your parrot by bathing together…

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Marlee, green naped lorikeet

There is bath soap out there for parrots however I don’t use any because if they were in the wild, they wouldn’t be using it. So there you have it, parrots shower too!!

 

Parenting Parrots!