Broke but Birdies still needs Toys!

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After taking all the birds to the vet to do physical checkups plus bloodwork and fecal tests while being on maternity leave, you can imagine my pockets are quite deficient right now. What am I going to do? I also went to Bulk Barn and bought 15 dollars worth of training seeds, this was a combination of Pine nuts (the most expensive, spent $12.16CAD), sunflower seeds raw in-shell and out and walnut pieces. In March, I spent $327.00CAD at the bird store that covered nectar, Harrison’s Adult lifetime fine 5lb bag, Harrison High Potency 5lb bag and Harrison Pepper 1lb bag plus some toys and perches. Those toys are over a month old now so my birdies need more stimulation. So again, I asked what am I going to do? I definitely do believe in rotating toys but eventually, the toys just get mashed up and either become garbage or need some serious reconstruction.

I’m going to devote May to be my toy making month. Oh, I can call it “Toy Making May“, hahaha. Over the years I bought so much toy making stuff from the parrot shop but never used them so I definitely have items here that I can play around with. Also, I’m learning how to turn household items such as cereal boxes like I did in this post to make toys. I have cereal boxes, egg cartons, pop bottle caps, etc so I’m sure I have a lot of items to turn into toys that the parrids can love and enjoy.

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I definitely lack the creative gene so I have to research and research to find ideas, talk to other parrot owners etc. I found Kris Porter, who has now become a MAJOR influence in how I care for my birds. Simple ideas like getting a bin and putting plastic lids and containers in it and placing it on the counter or somewhere so the birds can throw the items on the floor were excellent for me. Not only was the idea cheap but it was with items I already had!!!  Parrots are just like kids I tell you! You know when the baby throws the toy on the floor and says “UH OH”, you pick it up and give it back to them and then they do it, again and again, making it into a game? Yup, this is the exact same concept. Kris also recommends making food items and leaving it out for them to find and enjoy, just like they would in the wild, I fell in love with that idea because it definitely stimulates foraging at it’s finest. I’m impressed!

Why didn’t I consider these options before? Who knows, but I am now so that’s all that matters.

Parenting Parrots

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To Clip or Not to Clip? That is the Question

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I will be completely honest, I blame clipping of my Galah Cockatoo’s wings to be the cause of her death(Will be a storytime on our Youtube channel). Overall, she felt incomplete as a bird and because she barely had learned how to fledge at that time, she never understood the importance of her wings hence her breaking them every time they grew in. A lot of people clip their birds’ wings and justify it for different reasons, I don’t argue with anyone. I listen and understand their point of view but you know what my thought on it comes down to?!? THEN DON’T GET A BIRD!!

A bird is meant to fly, are you still a bird if you can’t fly?? I think that makes them a chicken or a turkey or a rooster but definitely not a bird…. I will never tell someone they are wrong for clipping but is it not selfish to clip a bird because you can’t take the proper precautions to keep them safe? Wouldn’t it be better to leave them in the pet store or at the breeder’s house so someone who doesn’t have to risk their “winglyhood”, for safety can take them? I’ve heard about many accidents with parrots who have flown away or flew into a fan, etc :(. But couldn’t those have been prevented?  Such as making sure windows and doors aren’t opened when the bird is out or by turning off that fan? Maybe I just don’t understand as I’m not in those situations to have to make those type of decision but regardless let’s think about the bird.

To Clip

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Part of a bird’s anatomy is their wings just like humans, it’s their legs. Let’s say someone broke my legs and said no worries it will fix, it’s only temporary. In that time frame I’m paralyzed, I can’t move like I want to – I am at the beck and call of others. I have to rely on others as I can’t do for myself like I normally would, this is the same for clipped birds. Now some people may say nope! It’s not like that. Clipping wings is more like getting a haircut as it doesn’t hurt the bird and it will grow back. Yes that is all true however it is still temporarily paralyzing them from making the decision to flight or fight.

I have clipped birds but they are only clipped because they came to me that way so I patiently wait it out until their wings grow back in. I used to clip my parrots’ wings all by myself, I have also went to the vet to get it done. I never thought anything more about it until I started watching and observing my birds and realizing how BEAUTIFUL it was to see them spread their wings and fly. I love it! I haven’t clipped my African grey in 4 years and although he barely flies whenever he does, I feel like a proud mommy.

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A lot of behavioral issues can arise from having a clipped parrot because of the lack of exercise. Flying is so important to parrots, it’s how they release all that built up energy so if you add flying plus foraging plus training and the perfect diet – YOU CAN ACQUIRE THE PERFECT PET! But without the flying aspect, what exercise can you give a parrot that would release the same amount of exercise that flying for 30 mins a day would help them release? One thing I used to do when Grayson’s wings were clipped is have him come out of the cage, I would hold on to his feet and tell him to flap his wings. He was great at it but it definitely was not releasing the same amount of energy that flying would have.

Once, I clipped Piper’s wings because people said it would make him easier to train and manage. Well let me tell you – I received a MONSTER from that. He went from never biting to always biting. He was miserable being clipped and now that he isn’t clipped anymore, he is back to his normal self. Yes, he flies from me but I understand that is his way of communicating to me to let me know he either had enough or is bored with what I’m doing etc….

There will always be pros and cons to clipping and not clipping your bird’s wings. It truly comes down to a personal preference. Do what’s best for you and for your parrot so you can both enjoy all that life has to offer.

 

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5 yr old Grayson

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