Indian Ringneck training FACTS!

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I’m fairly new to owning Indian Ringnecks. I have a beautiful grey IRN who came to me very scared of people/hands etc. He still would prefer to be without me I’m sure but I have come a long way with him since I first got him. The first thing I attempted to do with him was this training method which worked for us. However I come across so many people complaining that they can’t tame their IRN or it’s so scared of them etc. I guarantee that the above method works because it worked for me, this method can work in and out of the cage. Of course I did trust building exercises first which involves me sitting and reading, singing and talking softly by his cage ( I will write a post on trust building exercises). The next thing to worry about is consistency. If you start this process, make progress but then stop or get busy – your IRN will revert back to the way he/she was. As I say to my son “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Your time, PATIENCE and love is what it will take to turn your IRN around. But it is well worth it.

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Ringo, the Ringneck

After I got him to learn step up other tricks came easy. If you find the above method isn’t working for you or it worked but you still can’t get your IRN to step up on you, I would implement Target training but before target training would be clicker training.

After I did the above method, I had to implement target training and getting him to take treats from my hands as he wouldn’t do that either so another task to work on but with that being said it took me 3 days to get him to actually eat the treat that I presented to him. Remember I didn’t know him that well so I had to learn what he likes. I tried: Apples, grapes, sunflower seeds, millet, pine nuts, safflower – I was getting discouraged as I always do because patience isn’t my strong suit. (I’ll make another post about that)

Once target training and taking treats from my hands were accomplished, I moved on to actually teaching him things like “Fly to me on command”, turn around, wave hi. He is extremely smart but he also is hard to train at times because he likes to have his own way. He enjoys bothering the other birds and he likes to be chased. Those are things I have to work on with him.

Indian Ringnecks are active learners once you have learned how to teach them. Yes, they can be stubborn, aloof, always want their own way but if you can get passed that to have an actual relationship with one – YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT! It will be harder than any other parrot and it does require consistency but find a way to connect with your IRN and you will have an everlasting relationship.

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!

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!

He Came on it!!

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I read a lot. I watch a lot of Youtube videos. I surf the internet often. However sometimes when looking for solutions, it seems as if there are no answers.

This was me once I brought the Indian Ringneck home. Beautiful, is the only word I can use to describe his grey coloring but that’s where the pleasure ended. The thrashing around his cage every time we walked by or the struggle to try and remove him even though it’s been weeks was extremely discouraging. I googled every thing I could think of but nothing was hitting my problem on the nail so I sat down and talked to myself. Literally.

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I did what any new owner would do with a bird that was a scary cat. I made noise before I entered the room so he would know I was coming. I sat and read by his cage and would sing soft songs. Put treats in his bowl every time I passed his cage… I knew all those things would work to get him to stop running when I came around, so that wasn’t my issue. My issue was our wonderful, amazingly grey, beautiful Indian Ringneck was so afraid of hands! He would step up from the ground but would look around frantically for ways to escape the very “perch” that would transport him from one spot to another. So I had to fix that!

I brought him to the training perch and I stood a good amount of distance away and when he fluffed up and went back to normal, I would click and step back. ( This method can be done with him in the cage) ( You only want to go as close as you can without him freaking out – You do not want him to actually exhibit any fear once you see him about to start, you freeze and wait for him to calm down. This is very important because if you let him exhibit a fear response then you just ruined the whole process and will have to start over from even further back than before) Wait a few seconds and then approach him again, I would stand closer than I did last time and wait for the same reaction. Once he fluffed and went back down, I would click and move farther away. Wait a few seconds and then come closer than the last time. Stand and wait. I did this over and over again until I was able to stand right beside him and he would be comfortable. This took me a week to master with him, that goes to show you how scared he was. After I mastered that, I was on cloud nine that I could be beside him and him not panic. Imagine living somewhere and your afraid of the very people who you share a house with? It would be ABSOLUTE torture! I could never put anyone through that so I had to get this parrot to be comfortable. This was a big step for me. I’ll be honest, it has never taken this long to train any of my parrots so I was beginning to feel a bit hopeless as each day went on. Once I realized that the time it would take for him to be comfortable with each step closer was getting shorter, I knew we were getting somewhere.

So here I was with this parrot who would let me stand beside him however DO NOT MOVE MY HANDS OR TOUCH HIM or that comfort zone would be over… What do I do?? I had to figure something out so I decided to try the same method I did with my body with my hands. I had no idea if this would work!

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Ringo not liking my hand

 

I would put my hand on the farthest part of the perch and wait for him to fluffed up and back down. I did this over and over again until I was able to place my hand right beside his foot and have him not panic. His fear worked in my favor to get him to at least step on my hand and that is how I got him to be comfortable with my hands (Seems contradicting right??… Hear me out). He would step on my hands to run to the other side of the perch and when he did I would click and remove my hand. I did this over and over until finally when I would put my hand on the perch, HE WOULD COME ON IT!! Just automatically come on it and STAY! WOW! GREAT! I was overly excited!

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He came on it!!!

I would slowly lift my hand off the perch and click and then put him back on the perch and give him some space. Again, I did this over and over until I was able to transport him anywhere in the house without him looking around frantically. This procedure took me 9 days, twice a day, 10-15 min. sessions.

Parenting Parrots!