Kodak Goes to the Vet

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On April 27th, 2018 I brought Kodak to the vet to get his wellness check done and have a physical. He passed everything with flying colors and I was a happy mommy. Well if you read my sneezing post that was about him. I didn’t want to but I had to bring him to the vet because I didn’t want to risk losing him after the year that I had with losing birds. So to be on the safe side, I ran to the vet.

She looked him over, opened his wings, looked into his eyes, into his mouth, felt his vent basically did another physical and couldn’t find an issue with him at all. So she prescribed Rheumocam 1.5ml every 12 hours. Rheumocam is an anti-inflammatory drug which I believe is usually used for dogs but I guess can be used for any animal. The issue here is that she couldn’t find any evidence of an infection or issue but felt that just in case he came in contact with an irritant that he may be allergic to, we should use this Rheumocam. We could also be in the very early stages of an infection but she didn’t want to treat for an infection when he didn’t have one. So even though he wasn’t showing any proof of an inflamed throat or anything, she felt this may help open up any issues he may be having and stop the sneezing. I don’t like giving drugs period but I have seen a decrease in his sneezing already even though we haven’t made it to 48 hours since seeing the vet yet.

I think the issue is Grayson. My spray bottle broke and I haven’t gone to the dollar store to buy another one so Grayson is very dusty. The reason I say it’s Grayson because I moved Kodak but Rasta is now where Kodak was and I hear Rasta doing some sneezing (now he could just be mimicking Kodak). I’m going to put Grayson in the shower even though he hates that because my shower perch is missing a suction cup so he has to go in the actual tub which he is not a fan of. But I’m hoping Rasta stops and Kodak is good and this scare of SNEEZING will be a thing of the past.

Sorry, I never expected this post to be this long but the real reason I wanted to write it is because in April I spent 353 CAD dollars for Kodak, this most recent visit on July 10th, 2018 cost me $170 CAD and let’s not forget Kodak plus shipping was almost 1200 CAD dollars. In less than a year that’s $1,723 CAD and that’s not including his toys or food. I can’t stress enough how much birds can cost and how they are not cheap. I was always working before so I never watched my money as much as I am now and with currently 5 parrots, I’m now seeing the financial burden that parrots can put on your pocket but I love them so much, I’m willing to be broke for them (well I make my sacrifices for them). However, I would be lying if I didn’t say I hope I don’t have to go back to the vet until next year when Kodak needs his checkup. I seriously wished pet insurance included parrots I would DEFINITELY buy it.

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All Parrots are Different Species!

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All dogs are from the same species but different breeds.

All cats are from the same species but different breeds.

All birds are from different species.

See, I can read a book about dogs or cats and apply the information to any dog or cat I may own but I can’t do that for parrots. Every time I get a different parrot, I have to research all over again and buy books on that specific bird because I know each bird has different needs. This is why I love to have the variety of parrots that I do because each brings something different to the flock.

If you google the topic of parrot ownership it tells you to find the best bird for you and your lifestyle because each bird has different needs. For example an African Grey parrot needs to spend a lot of time out of its cage (some pamphlets say 4 hours a day) while a lovebird would be content with a little bit of time out (1 hour maybe less). So if you are barely home, you would automatically look towards getting a lovebird.  When I was looking to get an African grey everyone was advising me against it because I was working full-time and they said I would never be able to manage having a grey. Well not to brag but Grayson is now 5 years old and very active, not a screamer, talks a lot, does tricks and does not pluck! Gives me kisses and overall I can say a happy parrot. Stereotypes are put on birds just as they are put on humans. Take all the information in but truly decide for yourself and don’t let anyone else make that decision for you.

I can take care of an African Grey parrot with no issues however because birds are different species, this does not mean I would be good at taking care of other type of birds. I suck at taking care of Linnies. I bought two linnies from a breeder who was downsizing his stock and they died after I took them to P.J pets for a wing and nails trim. I thought the guy gave me sick birds however I did a necropsy and it came back saying Stress. I thought what?!?! I’ve been around lots of birds and never had an issue… Well for me, small birds are not my thing. I’m managing to take care of the lovebird but Linnies, Parrotlets and budgies I stay away from. Even the lovebird, I’m hesitant on keeping because I lost her parents so obviously I wasn’t good at taking care of them either.

I think it is very important for people to realize that birds are DIFFERENT SPECIES NOT JUST DIFFERENT BREEDS. So do not pick a bird because oh it has pretty colors, really see if they match you and your lifestyle.

What type of bird matches you? There may be multiple… For me…

I’m an African Grey type of gal because he needs time out of the cage but doesn’t want to spend all that time cuddling. A hug and kiss here and there is cool. Doing training is cool. He likes to chill close to you but doesn’t have to be all over you, that is totally just like me.
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I’m also a black capped conure type of gal because she knows what she wants, how to warn you about what she doesn’t like. Very expressive like me hahaha. My issue with my black capped conure is she loves to be on you 24/7, for me that’s a con because I need to be able to move around as my household is very hectic. However her and I have come to an understanding so we are definitely getting better as she will just chill on my shoulder as long as she knows I will be moving around at the same time.
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I’m also a quaker type of gal because piper LOVES music and his own space just like me.

I love my Indian Ringnecks’ independence but I miss their “need” for me so I’m not sure if I can call myself an Indian Ringneck type of gal as yet… Only more time will tell (but I have 2 of them now so I must be, right? lol)
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I DEFINITELY AM A LORY/LORIKEET TYPE OF GAL! I’m absolutely in love with their personalities, although opposite of me, they keep me on my toes and remind me of my son in a way.


Anyways, what I’m trying to say is PLEASE do your research before selecting your parrot. A lot of people don’t and this is how these beautiful animals ends up in shelters.

Parenting Parrots

My ♥ Valentine!!

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Today is Valentine’s day and although I don’t usually celebrate. This year I want to say Happy Valentine’s day to my late uncle/twin as he never made it to 2018 to see today and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but I miss him so for me it makes me feel even more lonely.

I want to say Happy Valentine’s and Happy birthday to my sister who is older than me by 7 years. She was born on this precious day. So I’m wishing her all the best.

But the best part of this post is who I decided will be my 2018 Valentine!

I’ve struggled with this decision, it was definitely a hard one but I’ve decided to choose KODAK BLACK to be my valentine! For soooo many reasons:

1) He turned 2 in December so his age represents 2 like for twins (for me and my uncle/twin)
2) He is the newest member of the family
3) He is very loving – likes to give me his tongue when we kiss so I have to fold my lips as I’m not into tonguing a parrot lol but also because I don’t want him exposed to my saliva
4) He loves me, I can see it and feel it
5) He is so entertaining I think he makes a GREAT 2018 valentine!

So please join me by leaving a comment below saying HAPPY VALENTINE’s DAY KB (kodak)!
Parenting Parrots

The Conure Escapes

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She is such a doll. I love her vibrant colors and the way she is so easily trained. I would definitely recommend a black-capped conure to anyone who was interested in a parrot that was trainable. She is definitely a smart cookie!

So I was home and she was in her cage, where she never wants to be! She always wants to be with me. I love it but sometimes I need her to be in her cage for safety purposes. I guess on this particular day she was like nope I had enough and she came flying out her cage right to my shoulder. I was shocked!

I had downsized her cage as it was rusting and she is currently in one of those small white cages that the doors slide up and down. I don’t know how she managed to keep a door open long enough for her to fly out but she did! I’m just grateful that it didn’t come slamming down on her head! She came out of her food bowl door and as soon as she did, the door shut! So I was happy everything worked out but this is why I don’t like these kind of cages because I’m afraid of this exact thing happening except more fatal.

This was also a wake up call to me though. This told me that she needed more of my attention and was feeling a bit neglected because she risked her life to come to me. I apologized to her and told her never to escape the depths of hell again hahaha, no, I’m joking but I did agree to make sure I gave her a bit more attention as Conures do need.

You will have some birds who like their independence. Doesn’t mean they don’t want to be out and about with you but they don’t require physical contact as much. Then you will have parrots who thrive on a personal level with you. For example my black-capped conure, african grey, black lory and female indian ringneck – they need my one on one attention basically anytime they are out and about with me. However my rainbow lorikeet, male indian ringneck and the quaker (r.i.p) likes my attention but can manage if I’m busy for a few, they definitely find ways to entertain themselves.

I’ve taught all the birds the importance of independent play but doesn’t mean they want to do it if they don’t have to. Anyhow, so back at the issue at hand my black-capped conure escaped her cage and flew to my shoulder, makes me feel special to know she personally seeks me out. I mean, she could have flown out of her cage to the potty perch, the java tree or the activity stand but instead she came to me. I think this deserves an AWWWW!

Parenting Parrots

Training a Lorikeet

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When I first got my lorikeets, it was hard to figure out how to train them because they are such high energy parrots but also because I was so used to training with seeds and knew that wasn’t an option for them. I took to YouTube for advice and found nothing so I wacked my brain a bit and decided if they only eat wet nectar in two feedings and it’s their favorite, why not use that for training and then do a smoothie/wet nectar mix for in  their cage time? I found the Facebook Lorikeet group but they don’t really talk about training so then I began to wonder… Do people train their lorikeets??

Well, it’s been a year since I’ve had Rasta, my green naped lorikeet and although I wish he was more cuddly, I see us getting there. He wrestles with my fingers while on his back, his vocabulary is amazingly strong and he steps up, turns around, gives kisses, lets me touch his beak, waves hi, gives high five and gives his feet when asked. He tries to avoid biting and only uses his beak when he has too. So how did I do it?
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I took lots of breaks hahaha especially when I felt myself getting frustrated. Clicker conditioning and target training was easy, the same with any parrot. It was the more hands on stuff that was difficult like stepping up, getting to touch his beak without being bit, wrestling with my fingers. I did what I usually do, had a clicker, his nectar for his reward and I let him dictate the situation. Meaning, I followed his lead. If I asked for him to step up but he refused, I left him alone, not providing him with  any nectar. I waited 10 seconds and would come back and cue something he did know like target training a few times and then re-ask for the step up  behavior and 9 out of 10 times I would get it. This is how most of our training sessions went.

Rasta is an explorer, he doesn’t like to be confided to one place so I also broke our training sessions up to give him a break and let him explore. I found that I got more results by doing a five-minute training session, then a 10 minute break then a next 5 minute session over an hour than I would get doing 20 minutes straight. Patience, is very important when dealing with these guys. I got quite a few nips until I learned to respect his option to say no. Now, it’s very rare. I wouldn’t change Rasta for the world and I’m so excited to see where and what we will be able to accomplish next year.DSC_0039

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A Lorikeet Dry Mix

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I found this recipe in the lorikeet group on Facebook and thought it would be great to share for those who want to try their hands at making their own lorikeet mix. My hands aren’t this talented unfortunately so I can’t tell you how your feathered friends would like it at the moment but hopefully one day I’ll be able to try (it does seem pretty simple enough):

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Parenting Parrots

In the beginning of my Lory/Lorikeet Adventure

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Lories/lorikeets can be one of the most frustrating birds to own, hardest to train and quick to use their beak however they can also be the most entertaining, trusting and loveable bird you will ever meet.

When I got my first set of lorikeets I was overly excited. There isn’t a lot of data out there on them but there are a few books and some information on the internet that you can try. I thought I was ready but nothing prepared me for the struggles of the months ahead and I was almost ready to give up. I’m writing this post because I was inspired by an email question I received earlier this week asking for help with a female’s rainbow lorikeet.  I want to help other lorikeet owners out there that might be experiencing the same thing so I’m going to be doing a whole lorikeet set on them and this is the perfect time to do it as I have a brand new lory and a year old rainbow/green naped lorikeet. Both are in the process of training, obviously the green naped is a little more further in his training sessions but not too late to document. If you are a lorikeet owner that needs help please follow me here but also subscribe to our YouTube channel

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Rasta has become more friendly with other birds

So when I first got my lorikeets they were babies right from the breeder and it was a brother and a sister, Rasta and Marley. Rasta was calm, cool and collected but Marley was a “I’m not having it type of gal”. I went on bird forums, Facebook, everywhere I could think of for help because the breeder told me to keep them in the same cage but I was getting nipped left, right and center anytime I tried to interact with any of them. The bird forums told me to separate them so I did. It got a bit better but Marley seemed to control Rasta  meaning I would be dealing with Rasta and Marley would  be in her cage, telling him what to do. For an example: Rasta is training with no problem, all of a sudden we would hear Marley make a noise and the next interaction with Rasta, he would try to bite! WHAT?! WHAT HAPPENED?!? The only change was Marley had spoken hahahaha.

Marley was more manageable too but she was definitely more independent and wanted her own way. We were able to start training her but she wanted her brother at all times. So that’s when I made the hardest decision, to separate them permanently. I’m not saying you can’t have brothers and sisters together just that it is a harder challenge especially if they are bonded. So I ended up re-homing Marley. The change within Rasta was almost immediate but for the following weeks I missed Marley.

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Training Rasta

At this point though is when I got to truly know, understand and fall in love with the lorikeet species and I wouldn’t turn back. Look out for part 2 tomorrow on How I started training Rasta, with what training tools and to show you what worked and what didn’t. To stay up to date on this process, please click on that follow button so you too can have a fun, friendly rainbow/ green naped lorikeet like me!

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Rasta, Green naped Lorikeet

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Birdtricks’ Steps

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I have to put all these training methods to the test before I can recommend them to my followers, so if you know of any other training methods out there please let me know… This one is www.birdtricks.com run by 2 brothers who have no formal training but claim to be able to change any behavioral issues your bird may have. As long as your parrot isn’t sick, they believe any problems can be fixed using their methods. Great!! So I have 7 parrots but I’m also trying out the Parrot Wizard’s methods so I have to be careful not to intertwine the two. The funny thing is I just found out the parrot wizard used to work for Birdtricks so I’m sure they are going to have some similarities.

If you look at my training for the Parrot Wizard I had 3 birds that I was trying the method on: Grayson, who is a 5 yr old African grey. Piper who is a 3 yr old Quaker parrot a.k.a monk parakeet and Marlee who was new to our flock at the time and was only a 4 and a half months old green-naped lorikeet. I didn’t stick to that training so I’ll be re-starting it over and some birds will have to be changed as Marlee was rehomed.

I will put Grayson and one of our new members who has yet to be introduced to you guys, a female baby violet Indian Ringneck on the Birdtricks program and the other new member which is a black lory along with Piper on the Parrot Wizard Program. I’m leaving out Rasta, Nyx and Ringo for now just in case I come across other bird training programs that I want to test out or that you guys find and want me to test out. Of course one for my own program which may have a combination of all the programs I test out or it may be something completely different, who knows but only time will tell.

So back to Birdtricks, right now I’m reading their pamphlet called New Parrot Care and I was told this is the first thing I should read and it is titled “How to get my parrot to love me“. Chapter one is setting up your parrot for success: Cage, diet, toys, perches, showers. Great! Grayson and the female Indian Ringneck (although she hasn’t gotten the bath thing down as yet but she’ll learn) is ready.

Chapter two covers things you can change without training such as the things I mentioned from chapter one. If you don’t have those already set for your parrot now is the time to fix it. I find that Birdtricks really focuses on the diet aspect of things and I do agree with them on that, a varied healthy diet with an organic based pellet is essential for optimal health for your parrot. They cover sleep, controlling your reaction, end all interactions on a positive note and learn to read body language. So Far I don’t disagree however they seem to stress on not letting the parrot be dominating, showing the parrot who is in charge and I’m sure they mean it in a nice way but that has rang a bell of warning for me. REMEMBER I BELIEVE IN EMPOWERING THE ANIMAL. So let’s see how this keeps going, I’m still keeping an open mind as they do talk about positive reinforcement being better than negative and I’m all for that!

Let’s move on as I know all these things about Grayson and the new IRN (Indian Ringneck) is pretty transparent as a baby right now. Chapter 3, they call it the most important step: Putting your bird on a training diet. They explain how to do it, why it works and to weigh your bird every day. I somewhat do this already although I don’t call it the training diet but I give them only enough food that they will eat in one sitting and I train before feeding them their main meal. You only need to do this if your reward for your parrot doing the right thing is a food reward, if not then implementing the training diet is not necessary. On my own note, if the rewards you are feeding is not in their regular diet then they should work for it whether or not they are on a training diet but I do understand you are NOT starving your parrot so what’s wrong with monitoring their intake? Also if you feed before their next meal you know they are almost getting to that hungry point where they start feeling peckish but their not fully hungry yet. It does help in the motivation process. You never want your parrot to be starving when training because let’s be real, I learn NOTHING when I’m hungry hahaha and I’m sure parrots are the same… Anyhow back to chapter 3. They end off chapter 3 with an introduction to my favorite bridge tool – The Clicker! They give you a clicker game to try on other humans to learn how to master using the clicker which I thought was a BRILLANT idea!! So yes Chapter 3 is on the same baseline as me, I am ready to move onto Chapter 4.

In Chapter 4, we actually learn more about using the clicker in your training. How to clicker train a bird that won’t take treats from your hand or one that is scared of your presence. As you know I’m a big advocate for the clicker, if you didn’t know please read my clicker training post ( which also has a YouTube video attached to it). It’s a very short chapter as it just focuses on getting your parrot to  know the clicker.

Chapter 5 is training the first behavior which is Target training, you have heard me talk about or seen me do YouTube videos showing this. So this is nothing new but I still did a 5 minute training with Grayson and the new IRN (Indian Ringneck) just to implement their first training session. Both of these birds are a pro at target training so this was easy and quick repetitions for them. You can read about my target training methods here.

They end off this book with a summary of things that you learned and why trick training is an important aspect to your bird’s life.

My Overall Thoughts: I would recommend getting this pamphlet for the first time bird owner or for a bird owner who is just starting to take an interest in training their parrots. I don’t know if it is available by itself as I got it in a package called “Basic Parrot Course: stop biting” which cost me $54.95USD. However if you know how to train your parrot and what’s needed in their development then this particular pamphlet may not be for you. I haven’t gotten through the rest of the course yet but will keep you posted.

I am just going through the package that they emailed me before anything else so the next one on the list I received is: How to Potty Train Your Parrot“. I truly don’t think it’s very important in the beginning of training your parrot however having a potty trained parrot saves you a lot of dirty clothes, dirty sheets, floor scrubbing etc. So look out for my review on that.

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Shhhhhh….. They need to sleep too!!

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Indian Ringneck sleeping – sorry I was trying to take these pictures discretely

So I forgot to write-up my post for you guys last night and I jumped up this morning thinking OH NO! Felt like I was late for a school assignment deadline lol. As usual I get up between 5am and 7am to use the washroom, this pregnancy has me going every 2 hours it feels like… Anyways every time I get up I have to be mindful of the sleeping creatures around me.

The kids and their reptile (although I just looked at him and he is wide awake) lol, The Rabbits and the birds. That’s A LOT of creatures to try to not wake up when making your way to the washroom in a small apartment. I find that the rabbits will sleep through noise as mine seem to be nocturnal or something, as they will be up with lots of energy at nighttime and sleep through the noise in the day. My parrots however are a different story. One little noise and they will be up looking. I can’t even turn on my light or else I know they will be up wanting to inquire about what is going on. Now, to avoid this issue most people cover their birds at night, it also apparently helps with them getting their full 12 hours sleep. I do not cover my parrots even though I wonder if I should. Their personalities seem fine. I don’t really have to encounter any grumpiness but what if they are missing out on 12 hours, could I be depriving their life span by maybe 5 years or something?

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The flash obviously woke her up

I’m not sure but definitely something to research and look into. All I know is every night/early morning I get up and walk on my tippy toes saying to myself, “Shhhhh….Do not wake the parrots, they need sleep too!” (Maybe I should get a tattoo like Rihanna saying Shhhhh)….I never thought that I would think of an animal with such respect before. If you knew me when I was little, you wouldn’t picture this to be my life now hahaha. I was a “chicken” of every living creature that could move, if it wasn’t human, I didn’t want anything to do with it.

It’s funny because I’m here talking about how they need at least 10 – 12 hours of sleep at night and how to have respect and be mindful of their needs BUT our they mindful of mine?? When I want to sleep until 12pm do you think they are sitting around saying, “Shhhh… She needs to sleep?” I’m living proof, that’s a NO! Some days they wake up so early, I’m putting the pillow over my head thinking why did I get birds? Am I crazy? Imma sell them all! Once I actually get up, all those negative thoughts disappear and I remember how much I love them. I could probably get more sleep if I covered them at nighttime so I have no one else to blame for the early morning wake up alarms but myself.

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Sleeping Quaker, I think I woke him

They are actually convenient when you think about it…. As long as I have to get up after sunrise, I don’t need to set an alarm because I have a few personal alarm systems that will never fail. At least not as long as they are alive and well. Right now it is 7:55am and Ringo, my Indian Ringneck is the first one up. He isn’t actually making any noise however. He is playing with the foraging toy I made with the cereal box. That idea was inspired by Patricia Anderson. I absolutely LOVE HER! She has been such a strong mentor in my life even though it’s only been through social media. Any ways she posted her foraging idea on Facebook so I copied and I will be making one for every parrot! So convenient and cheap hahaha. After I post this, I’m planning to head back to bed, I want at least an hour’s more of rest. That might be wishful thinking though because I can see the early morning tint of blue shining through the curtains already which means it’s only going to be a matter of time before the birds start chirping.

The moral of this post hahaha just in case I didn’t make it clear is that Parrots need at least 10-12 hours of sleep in order to be able to function at their full potential so when you need to be up early just be mindful of…. “Shhhhh… They need sleep too”.

 

African Grey sitting on his food bowl when he should be sleeping
He never seems to sleep lol


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