Lost Piper, our Quaker Parrot

Image

So I did the stupid month of no pellets and everything seemed fine however I forgot about Piper. His diet should have been monitored a little more closely because he is prone to the fatty liver disease. The last week of “no pellet month”, he started refusing to eat his food, he was still eating his treats when trained but otherwise the fruit, veggies, pasta, rice, bread etc was not being touched.

He somehow managed to maintain his weight of 99 kg so I wasn’t too worried and I knew it was just a matter of days before I would go to the store to buy pellets. I continued to monitor him. His poop was hard to monitor because of all the fruit and veggies being incorporated into their diet, so it was very watery. Anyhow he was still training and activity level remained the same, until that Thursday, he came out of the cage and started training but refused the treat at one point. Piper has NEVER refused a safflower seed EVERY! My red flags immediately went up! He flew away from everyone on to a stand that’s in a corner. If you know Piper, he is a social butterfly and never wants to be alone. The Wednesday he weighed 97kg but it was still close to 99 so I wasn’t concerned but that Thursday he weighed 91kg I immediately was scared. He flew away from me and wouldn’t fly back when called, I was scared.

dsc_0464.jpg

Friday came and he was at the bottom of his cage, not being able to lift his head up for long. He weighed 81kg. He mustered up all his energy to fly once or twice when out otherwise he would find a dark spot and hide. I was in trouble. My credit card for the birds were maxed and I was in negative in my bank account (being on maternity leave is not easy :(). I was devastated over the fact that Piper needed me and I couldn’t bring him to the vet because I was broke! I made sure to provide him water via my finger so he wouldn’t be dehydrated and put him in his cage with a cover so he could rest.

Saturday morning, I was scared to uncover him but I did and he was still alive. I sent for pellets, milk thistle and a syringe. I made the pellets into a mash with the milk thistle and fed him through the syringe 1ml every hour. He seemed to be doing better. In the night I tried to give him 4ml of the mash and when I went to weigh him he became unbalanced, fell to the floor, I believe hitting his kneel (I made have that spelt wrong) bone and died.

I feel like I failed Piper, Lola, Parenting Parrots, my kids and myself. I’m so sorry, I don’t know where I went wrong but I know just like with Lola I feel an empty space in my heart.

IMG_20171007_063426_892

Piper was amazing beyond words. Every morning I was greeted with “Good Morning, How are you?” and I would respond with “Good Morning Piper, I’m good how are you?” He would then say, “I’m good, how are you?” I believe he was waiting for me to teach him what to say next but I never did. Every evening we ended our night with a wonderful, “Good night”. Piper would sing Sugarland – Stuck like Glue. It was his favorite song, even when we would be singing a different song he would jump in with Sugarland lyrics. He knew all the kids’ names and would call each one. He especially loved to call Shennai because she would bring him a treat every time he called for her. He would be the starter of our “peek-a-boo” games. He would say it first and the other birds would follow. He just learned “Peek-a-Boo, I see you”. So if I said Peek a boo he would respond with I see you. He was just so talented. He loved interacting with people and other birds.

Piper would fly to the other parrots’ cage and let them out.  I was planning on having a video on YouTube called “Prison Break – Parrot edition” and it was going to show Piper letting out Rasta or Ringo or himself as those are the only 3 cages he could open. I would turn my back and all of a sudden I would have Piper and Rasta out doing nonsense hahaha. I miss those days now. The house doesn’t seem the same without him – he was the glue that truly kept the flock together.

IMG_20171006_143643_727

He would always engage with all our visitors. He is going to be missed so much! I loved watching his green and blue wings soaring through the house, I was so excited to get him harness trained so I could take him outside and now I will never have that chance. NEVER  in a million years did I think I would lose Piper so soon. I was always so careful with him and his diet. I don’t know what exactly went wrong but I take full responsibility. Life will never be the same without Piper here to stir things up but this has gotten me doing further research into the other parrots’ diet because it’s the only thing I could think of that went wrong.

I’m sorry for the long post but I’m still hurting. I sit and watch the videos of him every night, it feels unreal and I’m to blame because I didn’t have money saved for their emergencies like I recommend others to do. I feel like a hypocrite, I tell everyone to make sure they do it and here I am with their credit card maxed so I couldn’t do what needed to  be done. Maybe if I had the funds, I could have saved his life. I will still be blogging about things to do with Quakers because now more than ever do I feel the need to share how they should be taken care of and how precious they are. I feel like I took Piper for granted and I’m experiencing that feeling of: “You never know what you have until it’s gone.” I have a video of Piper, the Friday before he died but it’s sad.

IMG_20171007_063856_200

I will not be obtaining another quaker parrot a.k.a monk parakeet unless I somehow inherit one. It hurts when you lose a member of your family.  We got Piper the same time my 1st daughter was born maybe that’s why they were so close. She keeps asking me for him, so far I told her he is at the doctors. I don’t know how to tell her he is gone. At first, I was wondering if I could get another quaker and re-teach it all the things Piper knew so she wouldn’t know the difference but financially it’s not an option so I’m hoping with time, she will slowly become unattached and I can then break the news.

Please don’t judge me, I just know Piper was her favorite and I don’t want to see her heartbroken. The below video was a brief video that isn’t complete, it was shot in the end of December 2017, I started it for our YouTube channel but changed my mind and used a different footage.

Parenting Parrots

Advertisements

Top 5 Things You Need to Know About the Quaker Parrot

Image

115

Piper!!

Quakers (Scientific name is Myiopsitta Monahus) are fun medium-sized parrots (11 – 13 inches) that come in the colors of green, blue, pallid blue and pallid yellow (amongst other colors). Their normal color is green. They are intelligent and a handful if you don’t know how to interact and manage them. I made this list up because anytime someone hears that I have a Quaker parrot their first comment is “OMG, now that’s a squawker! Don’t you find it to be loud?” I feel a lot of parrots get stereotyped wrong and Quakers are one of those that are misunderstood. So here is my list of the top 5 things you need to know about the Quaker parrot.

These are things that every Quaker parent needs to know:

1) Quakers are known to be vocal
– Yes, they are on the list as one of the top 10 talkers however talking is an ability that a bird will either care to do or not. It strictly depends on the individual parrot. Our Quaker, Piper talks a lot however we talk to him a lot so I’m sure that made a difference.
– When we first got Piper he would make noise at the top of his lungs. I thought OMG what did I get myself into? I was certain my neighbors would complain and I was ready to get rid of this noisy bird. So screeching is something this parrot will do – it all depends on if you have the time and patience to train it out of it’s noisy calls. I don’t have that issue with Piper anymore.

2) inquisitive
– They are very curious birds. If you want a bird that wants to know and see everything, you found it. Nothing will get passed a quaker. With that being said, I literally mean nothing, so if you are missing items or can’t find something shiny, don’t be surprised if you find it with your Quaker.
– This also means that they will want to be able to see and be involved in everything, so don’t leave them out.

3) Independent
– Quakers are known to be independent birds. Our Piper has no problem being around us but he isn’t demanding for attention (at least not physical attention). He will play nicely on his play perch and as long as he is near us, he is content. He doesn’t need to be physically on you.
– They have a bit of an attitude to them and they are not afraid to tell you their mind. They are very bold and can be aggressive when needing to make a point. I found when we clipped Piper’s wings is when he became bitey as that was his only defense mechanism. Once his wings grew back, the aggressiveness disappeared.

4) Time consuming
– This I believe goes across the board for all parrots – They need time! However I think a lot of people get so caught up with they need a certain amount of time that if they find they can’t give them that 3 hours a day, they put them up to be re-homed. Quakers would benefit from being out of their cage for minimum 2.5 hours a day however Quality over Quantity comes into play here. If you can only have your Quaker out for an hour one day, that is okay as long as you make that hour count. It’s better you have them actually out for a complete hour with you than have them out for 5 hours and they are just sitting on a perch, bored. When my parrots are out but feel I am not spending any time with them, they fly right back to their cages. A cage is their home, just like your home is your home. Do you go outside every day? As long as you are stimulated at home then you are okay. This is by no means saying it is okay to keep a parrot caged, all I’m saying is if one day a week you are too busy to give your parrot their usual time out of their cage – Don’t panic just make sure you do make the time that you do have together count regardless if it is 10 minutes or 10 hours. Make it count!

5) Training
If you’ve been following my blog (if you don’t follow me, then please do) then you know I’m a big advocate for training parrots. This doesn’t change when it comes to Piper. As a matter of fact, I think Quakers are so much fun to train as they have the drive to learn and can be very enthusiastic about it. There is this article that talks about how the author trained her Quaker parrot to go from being a biter to a painter, so you see training is a very important aspect to possibly all your problems.

 

How to Clean with a Parrid (Parrot Kid)!

Image

Question: How can you include your parrot in your day-to-day activities?

I think this is a common inquiry by lots of parrot parents because they understand the need to interact with their parrot but not sure how to do it on a regular. Coming from a parrot parent that has multiple parrids (parrot kids), I can say it isn`t always easy. Some days my African Grey may have gotten more out of his cage time than one of the other birds or vice versa. However if people really started looking at parrots as their toddler, this task would be so much easier.

Today, I cleaned my washroom (pretty small) and decided to share with you how to clean with a parrid a.k.a parrot kid. What I do is gather all my supplies, a pocket full of treats, my clicker and a bird perch. I do this two different ways: clean each room with a different parrot or clean each section of one room with a different parrot. Today it was cleaning each section with a different parrot.

indian-ringneck-cleaning

Ringo

I started off with the tub and Ringo, our Indian Ringneck. Put him on the perch did a 5 minute training and started doing my tub. The perch is situated right outside the washroom door. I put on gloves and scrubbed down my tub while doing this I’m calling out and talking to Ringo the whole time. Once I’ve completed cleaning everything to do with the tub, I go back to another 5 minute training session with Ringo before putting him away to get another parrot to clean with. (I remove my gloves, wash and dry my hands before interacting with the parrot). If you clean with harsh chemicals than this method isn’t a good idea for you. If you know your cleaning with parrot safe items than doing this is a great way to incorporate your parrot into your cleaning.

quaker-parrot-is-inspector-gadget

Piper

Next, I took out Piper, our Quaker parrot. I did the same thing, train for 5 minutes and then clean the toilet. I trust Piper to not fly out of the blue so that is why I can trust him to clean the toilet with him however even with that I still leave the perch outside the washroom door. While I’m cleaning, I am still talking to the parrot the whole time so they are not just sitting there bored.When I am done, I do another 5 minute training session and put him back in his cage.

green-naped-lorikeet

Rasta

Then I brought out Rasta, our male green-naped lorikeet. He likes to perch on the shower rod so he gets a choice: either the perch or the shower rod. I usually train for 5 minutes, put him on the shower rod and then go to clean the washroom sink and sweep the floor. While doing this, I never forget to interact with Rasta via words. Once that is completed he gets another training session and back in his cage.

When I mop the floor, I do not have any parrots out as I leave the mop bucket without supervision and do not want any accidents. Also parrots can still do things out of character and sometimes their behavior is not always predictable so I don’t want to take any chances.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of how to clean an area with your parrots. Cleaning the house or a certain room has to be done, so why not make it fun!?! I enjoy cleaning with the presence of my parrots because I get to have one on one time while doing housework.

lorikeet-approved

Rasta Approved!!

If I was doing a full day of cleaning then having one parrot out for cleaning the washroom would work but I would have to take slight breaks to do a bit of physical interaction with the parrot. Sometimes I even stop halfway to remove them from that perch to a play stand or the wood tree etc… The possibilities are endless. Just make sure you are keeping your parrot entertained while cleaning or else it won’t look forward to the time spent with you and that would defeat the whole purpose. Every interaction with your parrid (parrot kids) needs to be a fun one!

Parenting Parrots!