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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Grayson, The Grey…Chose Me!!

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WELCOME TO OUR NOVEMBER FEATURE OF THE MONTH – GRAYSON, THE GREY!!!!

When I first got Grayson, I was a newbie to the parrot world but I had done extensive research and knew I wanted a grey. Everyone told me, if you don’t work from home then do not get a grey. I got one anyways! (Can you say stubborn?)

Grayson chose me! I got to the breeder’s house with no clue about what to expect and there were 3 baby greys all playing around a cage. I wanted a female but they weren’t DNA tested yet so I had to wait for the results. I got first dips as I was the first customer. As I sat there, this beautiful grey kept coming over to me, kept interacting with me, I just couldn’t resist. I took notice of his band (a band is a ring of identification that they put around the bird’s feet) and told her I was very interested in that one. Their hatch dates were June 9, 11, 13, 2012. Their parents were Lady and Miata. Grayson I believe was born on June 11th or 13th, 2012 since I can’t remember we celebrate his birthday on June 12th.

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I contacted the breeder in the beginning of August and I went for my first visit on August 24th, 2012. She was very knowledgeable, she tested all her breeder birds for the 4 most common diseases and she was very concerned about the babies getting properly socialized. She discussed everything with me, from temperament to cage sizes to harness training. She was just a book full of information. My son and I spent a good amount of time there before we left.

In this batch, there was 1 girl and 2 boys. Grayson turned out to be a boy and I decided since he chose me, I’m going to take him. The day that I actually went to go pick him up he was growling at me. Now they say never take a growling bird so I became hesitant at that time but I said he chose me so regardless of why he is growling now, we’ll get through it and I took him home. I took him to the vet right away as to not void her health guarantee and he got everything checked (blood work and all) and he received a clean bill of health. I think back to that day and say if I had listened to what that book said, I would have missed out on a beautiful relationship. Follow certain advice but other times you might have to go against that advice and go with your instincts.

Grayson has been through a lot with me from losing other birds, bringing home new birds, having babies in the house, me never being home, etc… But he has never changed on me. No plucking or excessive screaming or phobia to new toys. The only issue I have is, I want him to become more social with others, so we’ve been working on it.

He has come a long way, he now lets my son step him up from his cage and train him even if I’m sitting right there so progress is being made, just got to make sure it remains consistent.

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If you can, let your parrot choose you….It’s not always possible but I can see the difference between the bond I have with parrots who chose me vs. ones who I just picked. Animals in general are good at sensing if they will mesh with you so better they choose.

Anyhow this was how Grayson, the grey came to live here!! Love you Grayson!!

Parenting Parrots!

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?

Black Capped Conure sleeping

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.

Quaker Parrot being disturbed while Sleeping

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


Parenting Parrots!


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The Test -Chapter 4 – Week one and week two update

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Week one was pretty straight forward, I just made sure my “parrids” ( get it??! Parrot kids – PARR from parrots and IDS from kids lol… My new word – I’m going to have to start an index if I keep this up.) knew everything they needed to and were ready to start the The Parrot Wizard’s Guide to Well-Behaved Parrots

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The Parrot Wizard’s Guide to Well-Behaved Parrots

Chapter 4 is called “Taming and Training”. He covers the different type of punishment and reinforcement terms he will be using. He has sections on Motivation, Food Management, Clicker Conditioning, Target Training, Step up,  Touch/Grab, Towelling and Turning on Back. I refused to look at Chapter 5 until I spent at least 2 weeks in Chapter four. I also want to say before doing all of this it is important to have done some trust building exercises because I feel that makes or breaks your relationship with your parrots.

Day one (Saturday November 5):
         Today, I weighed and monitored my parrids making sure I watched how much they ate in a serving, how much they didn’t eat etc. I implemented the first two sections: Motivation and food management. I did absolutely no training with them as I wanted to follow the book as close as possible and not fall back into my old habits of training. So a pretty boring day.

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Ringo on our scale

Day Two (Sunday November 6):
          Today was clicker conditioning day, making sure all my parrids especially my focus subjects knew what a clicker was. I took them out in the morning, did 10 minutes of clicker training and then put them back in their cages for them to enjoy their breakfast. I did a second training session in the evening before bed. All the parrids already knew the clicker but some became stronger trainees after this. Maybe it is just my mind playing tricks on me but I think by spending the time to really make them understand what a clicker’s purpose is, did in fact help me with training Marlee. Everyone else I didn’t see a difference as they were properly introduced to the clicker. I think with Marlee, I must have missed a step because I believe she never truly understood the sound of the clicker. Also with Ringo, (Even though he isn’t part of the focus subjects) I was still using the clicker far away from him as he was afraid of the sound, I now can use the clicker right by him. So call me crazy but I think by really taking the time to introduce the clicker versus just starting to train with it, makes a difference. Check out the video below of how to properly clicker train your parrot which can technically work for any animal that can be trained.

Day Three and day four (Monday November 7 & Tuesday November  8):
   
     Today was target training day, my parrids also already know target training so it was another easy task for me to do.  I did two 10 minute sessions a day. Day three I focused on doing target training inside of the cage. Day four was target training outside the cage. All parrots were very successful as expected. For those who don’t know what target training is. It is a “Chopstick”, clicker and a treat. You put the stick some where, the parrot moves towards it and touches it, you click and give the treat. If your parrot doesn’t know target training, you put the stick right in front of them and wait until they touch it. Do that a few times and slowly move the stick further and further out of their reach until they have to actually move to touch it.


Day Five and day six (Wednesday November 9 and Thursday November 10):
       “Step up”, “Step up”, “Step up”. I tried to follow all his instructions but I have to admit for the parrots that already knew step up, I had to kind of just go over my previous step up sessions. What he says in the book makes sense though because there are times that I go to step up a parrot and it moves away from me. He recommends to teach your parrots to step up by targeting – I think that’s a great idea however I was having a difficult time with it. I did what worked for me and all my parrots were successful except… I found that Marlee is actually afraid of hands so I had to revert back to trust building exercises and target training her inside of her cage. Piper is afraid of perches, so I slowly been introducing him to different perches. I couldn’t do step up by targeting so I taught step up the only way I know how by simply asking the parrot to step up on different perches.

Day 7 (Friday November 11):
            I read over the sections of touch/grab, towelling and turning on back. I was already familiar with towelling as it is something I do every now and then with Grayson, my african grey. The touch/grab method is going to need more time for me to grasp the concept and the turning on back, some of my parrids already do however it wasn’t taught to them as he describes it so I will also have to work with them on this. Basically my training session on Friday was simply just going over target training and stepping up. This concluded my 1st week of trying to train my parrids off of The Parrot Wizard’s Guide to Well-Behaved Parrots

Conclusion: So far, so good. He covers the basics which is important to be successful in the training process and he is teaching things that will help with the basics that parrots are exposed to such as vet visits, grooming etc… If you teach your parrot towelling that eliminates the fear of when the vet wraps them in a towel. If you teach touch/grab that eliminates the fear of when they have to be grabbed out of their carrier and held for the vet. If you teach turning on back, that eliminates the stress of when the vet is checking them out and grooming them. Step up helps you be able to transport your parrot whenever you want. Target training is just a basic method needed to continue the training process in my eyes anyways. Clicker training is the perfect “bridge” to let a parrot know they did an excellent job and will be rewarded for it.    

Week Two:

Day 8 ( Saturday November 12) – Day 14 (Friday November 18):
        This week I continued doing target training in and out of the cage. I continued teaching step up however not by the book standards but by my way of teaching it, getting them used to hands and different perches. I really focused on trying to teach touch/grab, towelling and turning on back however I only got to do touch/grab and even that I didn’t finish. Hovering your hand over a parrot’s head is something that we are taught from the very beginning not to do, as it is like a predator for them but this is exactly what touch/grab is telling you to do. I was able to touch some of the parrids but Piper and Marlee are not that strong in stepping up with different perches and especially Marlee who doesn’t like hands – I didn’t even bother to attempt this with them. So the only test subject that was exposed to this was Grayson and I’m now really close with my hand over him however I started off really far away but I’m still not touching him. I also did this with Nyx, my black-capped conure who I can touch on her head and back with my hand hovering over her. He does tell you in the book that these methods are taming methods and may take a while before you are able to reap the benefits so as of Saturday November 19, I will be reading chapter 5 and moving on while continuing to work on “taming” my parrids more.

Update (Thursday November 30th, 2017: This was started November of 2016 and then I  had stopped implementing it well I started this process all over and I can hover my hand over Piper and Purrain (irn) but did a good distance away. Towelling, I might try teaching it the way I taught it to Grayson as The Wizard’s way seems as though it would take longer. Turning on back – I am only able to do with Nyx (even though she is not one of the test subjects.)

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!