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

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The Arrival of the Brown Headed Parrot

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I did not want a brown headed parrot. As a matter of fact, I was totally against bringing one home. I contacted the breeder for a blue headed Pionus and although she had a pair on eggs, she kept talking to me and sending me pictures of her brown heads. I first made contact with her in February when she told me, she doesn’t put the breeding boxes up at this time of year. I waited and messaged her again in June stating I found another breeder but I think they want too much for their blue heads and I really wanted one of her babies. We started speaking from there.

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My little man is the smallest one that’s in the middle

She just kept sending me pictures of the growth of her brown heads and forgot to inform me of the Blue heads not hatching. Finally, I said that’s all great for your Poicephalus but what about the Pionus’. That’s when she informed they didn’t hatch. We continued to talk about the brown heads but I informed her I wasn’t interested so she found other homes for her babies. She added me to her Facebook group where I meant other poicephalus and pionus owners. I fell in love with the pictures and videos people would post of their Poicephalus. The weird thing is, I’m used to seeing all sorts of cuteness when it comes to parrots but brown heads was something special.

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This picture did me in! A female from facebook owns this little beauty

I contacted her personally and was like I changed my mind, I fell in love, can I have one, please tell me you still have one left. She kept asking me why, what changed your mind, etc, etc…. In my head I was saying IF she still had one it was a sign but if not I wouldn’t pursue getting one. Well, if you follow our YouTube Page, you would know that for the past month our house has been shared with a little baby poicephalus.

A Brown head is so different than my other parrots. I feel like I have so much to learn but our little Brown Head is here. He was hatched on June 3rd, 2018 and we named him Pookie. I will be updating our flock page and going into more details about him shortly.

Don’t forget to follow us on here to keep updated, I’m back to posting 5 days a week. Also our YouTube channel is updated 5 days a week so you should subscribe to us there and follow our instagram!!

Parenting Parrots

The Flying Parrot

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I do not believe in clipping wings anymore. I used to do it more out of convenience for me than for any other concern so I haven’t clipped wings in a long time. I love seeing my birds open their wings and take off!

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I truly am disappointed to live in Canada because I see those birds in Australia having such a delightful time and I wish my birds could do that. If I trained them to live outside especially during the winter than that dream could become a reality but facts are they would have to be born in those conditions and kept in those conditions in order to be able to handle it. I do not want to wake up one day to see that my parrot froze to death so that idea is a BIG No, no!

I see my birds fly indoors, within my little apartment and it keeps me in “awe” to watch the natural beauty of the flying parrot. Today the weather was beautiful and all I could think of is how would it be to be able to see my birdies fly outdoors. This brings me back to harness training. In order to get a bird on a harness, it has to trust you and love you and let you do things a regular bird that didn’t know you, wouldn’t let you do. If Nyx was here, she would be that bird for me. But she’s not and I have to accept that. Maybe this was a blessing in disguise because I always turned to her to do stuff like that instead of any of the other parrots so now I will work on getting them all more trusting of me and therefore building on our relationship more.

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From arcticwingsfreeflightclub.com

Having a free-flighted parrot would have been AMAZING! Although I would always be afraid of it flying off somewhere but the training guarantees that, that won’t happen if the bond is there. What I was saying before was if their body was conditioned to the cold then I could teach them free flight but since it’s not and I don’t plan on trying to get them used to the cold, the option is out for me. You may be asking why? Why not let them be free-flighted during the spring and summer and just have them indoors not flying during the colder months? Well, that was my thought exactly but I was made aware that once you start free flying them you have to keep it up or else you will cause a whole lot of issues such as plucking and screaming etc.

Free-flying parrots don’t have the issues, that parrots who are locked up in a cage, have. But unfortunately, not all of our lives allow for that option so we have to do the best we can. Harness train them so they get outside time free of a travel cage and they can stretch their wings and exercise. It’s not exactly the same but it is the closest option. However, getting a parrot to put on a harness willingly, isn’t such an easy task but it is doable so follow our Youtube channel to eventually see a video on how to properly harness train your parrot. I’m hoping to have it up by the end of June! I will still have my flying parrot outside just not freely.

The latest in Aviator Harness Fashion model by Zoey

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Parenting Parrots

Purrain – The Indian Ringneck Parakeet

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I purchased Purrain from a breeder in Ajax when she was 2 months old (Sept. 2017). I found this breeder on the Facebook Canadian breeder site. He posted a picture of her and I jumped up right away saying I want her. I didn’t have all the money so I had to do a payment plan and then I had a death in the family which pushed things even further back. I didn’t end up getting her until she was 14 weeks old (Oct. 2017)

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baby Purrain, 8 weeks

Name: Purrain

Type of Parrot: Single factor Violet Indian Ringneck

Sex: female

Birth Date: July 2017

Wings Status: Will be fully flighted, her wings were slightly clipped when we got her but they are growing in.

Favorite food: Pine Nuts

Noise Level: she can be loud when she wants attention. Otherwise I would say she is moderate when making sounds.

Training progress: She loves training sessions

Tricks: She is target trained. She can step up and turn around

Talking ability: Haven’t heard her talk yet

Favorite toys: She tackles every toy I put in her cage.

Fears: She is afraid of sudden movements

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

Treats: Safflower seeds, Pine nuts and sunflower seeds

Cage Size: Playtop. 22 x 24

Last Vet visit: I haven’t taken her yet. i know 😦 bad mommy

Next Steps: Getting her to let me put her on her back and  harness training.

 

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Purrain, about 5 months

 

Parenting Parrots!

 

Want a Parrot? Probably NOT!

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Parrots are the perfect pet! NOT! For me, they are but I constantly have to remind myself that not everyone is like me…. So let’s discuss their cons:

challenging
misunderstood
messy
aggressive
biting can happen
noisy
Intelligent
time and patience is needed

African Grey

Messy Parrot

Let’s be real at least one item on this list does not match with your personality but yet you want one anyway… Why would we do this to ourselves?

Is it for the “WOW” factor – “OMG you have a parrot?!? That’s so cool!”
Is it for the fancy color patterns that are so often seen in the Macaws?
Is it for the challenge of proving to ourselves that we can do it?

Green Naped Lorikeet

Must Touch Everything

Why? Why take on more work? As if you don’t already have to deal with the horrible boss at your 9 – 5. Or the annoying, nosy neighbor that always wants to borrow sugar. Or the kids who don’t listen. Or what about your own cleaning? As if you don’t make enough mess in your own household that you are constantly cleaning that you want to add more work for yourself? Why?

To be honest, I don’t even know if I have the answer. Parrots are A LOT of work, some days I don’t want to deal/interact with them especially if I’m down but on other days I couldn’t imagine my life with just one. They fill a void in my life, I’m not quite sure what the void is but something about being around parrots makes me happy.  It’s like being around my kids, when they aren’t  driving me up the wall, they make me smile and so happy to have them around me but I still worry about them same as with my parrids.

Quaker Parrot

Hi

So if you are thinking of getting a parrot, great choice! Just make sure you are ready for that lifelong commitment. Understand that they go through stages just like humans. They are a very hands on pet, cage bound is NOT the way to go with them and they talk back and you don’t always like what you hear hahaha. Sometimes I wonder how my life would be without them – Peaceful, I would have more money, more me time, less cleaning, more travelling, less education hahaha. Oh man the list can go on and on but one thing stops me – I would miss my companions too much. I love when my house is clean, their cages are clean and I can spend some actual quality time with each and every one but still think twice about a parrot purchase because that quality time could have been “me” time or going out time etc…

So you think you want a parrot? hmm.. PROBABLY NOT! If you consider all the work you have to put into a parrot to keep them well-trained/well-tamed. However in that same breath, if all the above doesn’t scare you then maybe you are ready to move further along in your process of obtaining a feathered toddler.

Unpredictable

I think he wants to bite my tongue off lol

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

 

What is Positive Reinforcement?

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It dawned on me the other day as I was thinking of how I can implement this successfully with my kids that we all use positive reinforcement and probably didn’t realize it.

I used positive reinforcement for training my kids to use the potty. When they would use the potty, I would do a big song and dance number and follow-up with a candy, making the chances for the behavior to be repeated more likely. How I didn’t realize this before, is crazy to me but it is definitely positive reinforcement. I gradually decreased the song and dance and candy-giving once the behavior became habitual and the kids continue to use the potty because the reward of not messing up themselves was just as great/rewarding as receiving a candy was because now they can be considered, “a big kid.”

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When you and your grey have a bond…

Meanings of Positive Reinforcement:
From http://www.study.comPositive reinforcement is the addition of a reward following a desired behavior.

http://www.dictionary.comthe offering of desirable effects or consequences for a behavior with the intention of increasing the chance of that behavior being repeated in the future

http://www.businessdictionary.comCondition where the introduction of a stimulus (challenge, penalty, reward, etc.) increases or maintains the likelihood of the recurrence of the same response (behavior or output).

https://www.alleydog.comA stimulus which increases the frequency of a particular behavior using pleasant rewards.

As you can see 4 different sites, written in their own words regarding their views on positive reinforcement however it all comes down to the same thing. The subject does something you like (desired behavior), you give them something they like/love (reward/the reinforcement) and that increases the likelihood (future behavior) of it happening again in the future. Pretty easy right?

So why is it so hard for people to comprehend that positive reinforcement is better than positive/negative punishment? Regardless of  how many times, I try to tell people we need to “EMPOWER” the animal, child, subject (whether husband/wife or co-worker) people revert back to negative behavior needs to be punished. Think about this, if you get a raise at the end of the year for good behavior what are the chances you will perform bad behavior knowing that you will lose that raise if you do? We go to work and do the work that is required (desired behavior), we get a pay cheque (reward/consequence), which increases the likelihood that we will continue to show up for work until we find something better where the reinforcement is either the job is more to our liking or better pay. This is the exact same concept!!!!!!

Positive reinforcement EMPOWERS while Negative punishment FORCES. Just ask yourself which would YOU prefer?

If you know of a way that you use Positive Reinforcement in your life already please leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to fill out the follow our blog info at the bottom of this page and our YouTube channel is up and running so please remember to subscribe!

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My 3 yr old feeding our violet female Indian Ringneck

Parenting Parrots

Home Alone

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Would you leave a two-year old child home alone? I would hope not! So if I say parenting a parrot is like having a toddler than how does that work when you have to leave the house and can’t take your precious birdie with you? GOOD QUESTION!

Some people like the idea of training their parrot to be “home – trained” so it can be out and about in the house all alone and therefore they  won’t need a cage.  This is my own opinion but I think that’s a bad idea as an unsupervised parrot regardless of how well home trained it may be can still get into trouble. Leaving it in a parrot room or cage is more ideal then having it free-range in the house.

So when you do leave it alone, what can you do to make sure the hours of loneliness will not drive them crazy…. There is so many different ways to keep your parrot stimulated that do not involve you having to be there:

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1) Provide toys
2) Provide foraging opportunities – don’t just free form feed
3) Leave the tv/radio on – just make sure it’s an appropriate channel and make sure the tv is far enough from the cage not to damage their eyesight
4) Record a recording of your voice reading stories or talking to your parrot

Also take in consideration that parrots do take naps during the day. You can also give them a nice shower before you leave so they will spend some of the time preening and drying off.

With all of these things to do, your little Parrotler (get it? Parrot toddler lol) should be okay to be left home alone without the chance of becoming bored and without the risk of damage being done to your household.

Grayson, the grey!

Grayson, The Grey

If there are other things you do when you leave your parrot alone please leave it in a comment below. Don’t forget to check out our other posts and click that like button if you like the posts! Please remember to follow us on here just fill out the below follow us option and we do have a YouTube channel (info is under the about us page).

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Target Training

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You have just finished clicker training your parrot. You see it looking for the treat after it hears the click, so now your ready to move on…. NOW WHAT? WHAT’S NEXT?

Target training is your next best bet. Why? If you target train your parrot it will be easier to get your parrot to move from one place to another or get him/her to go where you want him/her to go. This is a convenient tool to have in your back pocket regardless if you have an amazingly obedient parrot. This is great to even teach tricks with, I’ve taught turn around with it several times. Another example of its use is if you have a parrot that doesn’t want to come out of its cage, you can target it out with the stick once it learns target training. It’s very useful!

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To start target training you need 3 items not including yourself and the bird.
1) A clicker (only needed if you are doing clicker training)
2) Target stick (I use a chopstick)
3) The bird’s favorite treat

You start by placing the target stick as close to the bird’s beak as possible (I would start this training in the parrot’s cage) but far enough that the bird has to open its mouth and touch it. Now different things can happen here, your bird can fly away to the other side of the cage or it can lean away from the stick or it can ignore it or just automatically touch it. Hopefully it’s the latter but if not, that’s okay. If your parrot flies away then we need to work on Trust exercises before this. Usually I would have just said to keep moving the stick to wherever the parrot goes until it finally touches the stick.  Then you would click, remove the stick and give a treat however this wouldn’t be very good for your parrot in the long run because it would be exposing them to”Flooding” and we want to stay away from that. So if your parrot is flying away, you need to stop here and go read this post first.

If your parrot is leaning away, you can keep the stick there and wait for the parrot to look at the stick (the parrot makes an acknowledgement of it) then click, remove the target stick and give a treat. You will continue doing this until the bird gets comfortable enough that when you do put the stick in front of its beak, it will nip at the stick. BINGO! Once the parrot does that, we are on the right track….

If your parrot ignores it, you can touch the stick to the parrot’s beak, click and give a treat. You want to be careful with this one, don’t overdo it because you don’t want the bird thinking your suppose to touch him/her and that’s how it receives the treat. So make sure you only do this a few times and give the bird a chance to touch the stick on its own.

Hopefully you are lucky and the parrot just touches the stick but that’s a hit and miss, it all depends on how well your parrot was socialized before you. So you place the stick in front of the parrot, he/she touches it, the exact moment they touch it, you click and give a treat. (If the parrot won’t take a treat from your hand – go back to the previous mentioned post or just drop the treats in the food bowl – your choice!). Once your parrot gets the hang of touching the stick when it is right in front of it, you’re going to slowly put more distance between the parrot and the stick therefore causing the parrot to have to move two or three steps to touch the stick then you’ll click and give a treat. Gradually extending the distance until you are able to put the stick anywhere in the cage and the parrot will move around the cage to touch the target stick. VIOLA! You have succeeded in teaching your precious feathered friend how to do target training!

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