Making Food Fun!

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Frozen Food

There is something about watching parrots work for things that personally warms my heart. So I’m always looking for ways to enrich their lives. Parenting Parrots has so many things going on, I can barely find the time to inform you guys of everything but I will try to be more consistent. If we think about the parrots in the wild, what do we know about them? We know that food isn’t just given to them freely, we know that they spend a great deal amount of time foraging for food while making and protecting babies. Now, as much as I would love to mimic the wild environment, I unfortunately can’t BUT what I can do is try to come as close as possible to making them be fully stimulated, enriched and engaged.

The above picture is something that I can give to all my parrots including the Lories. I took little containers, filled them up with fruit. You can use whatever type you like. For this mix I used raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, mangoes and some cashews and almonds (I eliminated the cashews and almonds for the lories). Once I finished putting the food in, I filled it up with coconut water and put them in the freezer. So the next morning, I took them out, removed them from their containers and gave one to each parrot. Since it was frozen the birds got to lick and suck on the cold coconut water and while it defrosted right there, they got access to the food bits. It wasn’t a lot of work but at the same time it made it interesting and engaging for the birds especially since they kept at it for a while before realizing it needed more time to defrost.

Frozen Cube

This was a tasty little treat and definitely a way to make food more fun and get your parrots that are picky to start trying. I can’t guarantee that they will still eat whatever they are refusing but always introducing items in different ways can get a bird interested in a food item that they previously neglected. Making this cube was quick and easy, less than 5 minutes to prepare and put together. I will offer more cubes like this, more often during the summer months.

Fruit Cube

You could also substitute the coconut water for whatever type of liquid you like, the options are endless. I hope you will try this and please leave me a comment down below and let me know how your birds liked it. Also if you are going to give this to your lories/lorikeets please remove the nuts. I will be making this again, if you would like a YouTube video on it, please let me know so I can do that for you.

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Thank you for everything! I hope together we can enrich out fids’ lives.

Parenting Parrots

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Switched on Me

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When researching about parrots, its always been said that when they mature, they may switch their favorite person. I have never experienced this until now. Rasta, our green-naped lorikeet has switched on me. He no longer cares for or desires my companionship. He has decided that my son is more his type of person. Which is great for my son, they run up and down together, laugh and play, whisper to one another. It’s a great relationship but what happened to our bond? Why can’t he like both of us? I don’t want to take away my son’s bond at all but I still want Rasta to interact with the whole family. I’m assuming I did something that he didn’t like and I’m being punished. It just sucks because I have no idea what I did wrong. Anyhow, I still try to interact with him although he will call my son’s name for most of the day, my son doesn’t get him until after 5pm and it would suck for him to have to wait until my son gets back in for him to come out and enjoy life. I love Rasta and will continue to attempt to work on his bond with the rest of the family when Junior Jay is not around because if he is around, Rasta only sees him.

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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

To see videos of Rasta, join our YouTube channel and I also post pictures of him on Instagram.

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Parenting Parrots

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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Lorikeet_Mix

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

Parenting Parrots

 

Top 5 Things you should know about the Lorikeet Parrot

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Here is my list for the Top 5 things you need to know when having a Lorikeet as an owner lol.

1) Lorikeets make an EXCELLENT alarm
They are easily awoken and they wait until they sense danger and will send out a high pitch squeal to alarm the rest of the household. Even when they’re in their own world of playing, they can make noise. It’s amazing to watch them roll around on their backs with a ball in their mouth but yet they are still able to make lots of sounds.

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2) Lorikeets need to play
This is very important as Lorikeets are extremely intelligent and can get bored very easily. They have a very high energy level and needs constant supervision. Whether it is two or more lories playing, a lory playing with the toy in their cage or a lorikeet playing with you… Playing needs to be included someway, somehow.

3) Loud Volume
The noise level isn’t so bad if you can tolerate a loud pitch every now and then. With that being said, they are the most vocal and the highest pitch parrots I have EVER owned. But my green naped talks my head off lol and I can always see him listening so intensively to every word I say.

4) Specialized Diet
It’s true, they do require a specialized diet but to be honest it was hard at first but now after having them for a year, it’s almost (ALMOST LOL) like 2nd nature. They eat fruits and veggies along with wet and dry nectar.

Rasta - green naped Lorikeet

My 1 yr old Rasta!

5) Lorikeets have watery poop
This is just a given since their specialized diet is in a liquid form versus the pellet food that is for other birds. I don’t find this to be a negative though. Yes, they squirt their poop all over (YUCK) so it messes up your walls, floors, EVERYWHERE! But it’s a simple wipe off unlike other parrots’ poop that gets hard and you have to scrub it off with some elbow grease. Now the downfall can be if you don’t clean it daily (like a quick wipe off every day) then it can be more difficult to clean but at that point, I put the cage in the shower under hot water pressure and the cage usually washes right off without any more effort from me.

BONUS) LoriBites/ Nips are normal
This is not to say your bird should be biting you all the time however Lorikeets tend to nip/bite more than other parrots(I’m a bit on the fence about this one especially since I wrote a bite is YOUR fault). They might bite out of displeasure, out of frustration or because they are overly stimulated. Most times they are really excited and that’s why it happens once they have a bond with you, it isn’t to hurt you. The bite is not always a bad thing coming from a lorikeet, it just sucks for the person who is receiving the bite because of their narrow beak, they can draw blood pretty easily. My green naped uses his mouth on me a lot but most times it’s just exploring. I can tell the difference between him BITING and him playing with his beak on me. If you are a new lorikeet owner with time you will be able to tell the difference too.

With all this being said… I love having a green naped lorikeet and I can’t wait to see what else we do together and what else he may teach me or I him…

Green naped Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet aka Green Naped

Parenting Parrots!

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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Parenting Parrots!

Can’t Have Just One!?!

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Why do you have so many birds? Why not sell them all and have just one?

Good questions and good points but why have more than one child? Why not tie your tubes after one? Is it fun being alone? Sometimes one is best and I wonder when I see people with one parrot how it would be if I had stopped at just Lola or just Grayson but then I feel the same way when I see people with one child. What if I never had any more children after my son? Why didn’t I just stop at one?

There are pros and cons to both sides. When you have one child/parrot you have more time to devote to that one child/parrot. You have more money to spend on that one child/parrot. Life is easier with one, it’s more manageable having that solo dependent but for me I yearned for more. I wondered about what would it be like if I had a girl or a different type of parrot… Did I have to have 6 more parrots on top of my one bringing my number to 7 – definitely not! But did I have to have 3 more kids on top of my one bringing my children to 4 – definitely not! I look at my parrots like my children, each one brings something different to the table. Yes, there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough and stop and I have finally gotten there. 7 is my lucky number, it’s God’s number.

Lorikeet and Monk Parakeet

Rasta and Piper

I have come into obstacles and had to make decisions to rehome parrots. Some parrots have come into my life and I realized this parrot isn’t for me but I do my best to find them a good home and 9 out of 10 times, I’m taking a pay lost to put them into a good family. I rather take a lost in price and feel secure about where I’m housing them then stick to my price and feel like I’m putting them in a bad situation.

Re-homing is never easy and I do talk about re-homing some birds in this article however I think the major problem is a lot of people don’t see their parrot as a part of their family. My parrots are a part of my family. Grayson is 5, Nyx is 4, Piper is 3, Ringo is 18 months, Rasta is 16 months and I added 2 more members to my flock who I haven’t told you about yet but if you are on my instagram then you would have already seen pictures of them.  I don’t have names yet hence why I haven’t posted information about them yet however one is 23 months old and the other is almost 16 weeks old this Sunday. This is my flock and I won’t be changing it unless I decide to get into breeding which is still up for debate.

Male Cockatiel

Chiko – was with me for 2 months before being re-homed to a good home where I still go and see him and Maro (the female pied cockatiel) every now and then

I did try to downsize my flock to 5 but for some reason, somehow my number always comes back to 7 so I’m calling defeat and staying at 7.

Each of my parrids (parrot kids) offer something different to the table, no 2 are alike and I love that! Piper is very independent but wants to make friends within the flock, Rasta is very hyper and likes to play fight but doesn’t like to be touched around his head, Ringo is very aloof and doesn’t want to engage with anyone unless he is being trained. Then we have Nyx who wants to always be with me and Grayson the most jealous bird of them all and is open to anything! They all talk and say different things and I just love watching a child/parrot grow, I love seeing their growth.

So to the question of why can’t I just have one? Because one was just not meant for me! I need and want the different personalities and learning styles around me. It keeps me on my toes and helps keep my mind stimulated. I’m constantly thinking of their learning styles and how to teach each one, kind of like a mini classroom hahaha. This is my family!

Parenting Parrots!

New to the Lorikeet World

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I’m a new lorikeet owner and it has been the most challenging experience I could have ever imagined. I believe my experience would have been different if I only had one lorikeet vs. the two. They are very social birds and because I had the two of them together, they didn’t want to love me the way I wanted to be loved. The female, Marlee slowly accepted me and that wasn’t until I put her in a different cage than her brother, but regardless biting me was becoming a bad habit.

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Her brother, Rasta was very open to being my friend. He barely bit unless he was in the cage with his sister. When I got them I had them in the same cage but quickly joined an avian forum and asked for advice. They advised me to separate them which I did, things were working out great however they kept flying back and forth to each other every time I took one out of their cage, making training them difficult. So I attempted to put them back together and ended up separating them again because I wasn’t even able to get in the cage to clean it, give them food/water.

I then decided one had to go, so I re-homed Marlee especially since she didn’t do well with me being away for those few months. I’m still very new to the Lorikeet world but I think I’m getting better! I stopped feeding the Harrison’s to Rasta as they have iron storage issues and I didn’t/don’t want anything to happen to Rasta.

I’ve gotten the nips down to a bare minimum – rarely happens now. I found a new food provider who makes his food from scratch and he doesn’t use any preservatives. I’ve learned how to make a puree fruit/vegetable smoothie and I now know what exactly to use for training. I’ve only owned a lorikeet for 13 months however it has been the most mind-boggling experience ever! It really took me back to school and I’m still learning. Every day that goes by I get more and more knowledgeable, I have met so many people who breed lories/lorikeets or who just have different types as pets. People who have different training methods or recipes for their lory food – it’s absolutely a WHOLE NEW WORLD on its own. I can honestly say even though I have so many other parrots, I believe owning a lorikeet has REALLY put some icing on my cake! It has been a rewarding and challenging experience mixed up all in one  but I wouldn’t change it for the world!!!!

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Rasta Approved!!


Parenting Parrots