All Parrots are Different Species!

Aside

All dogs are from the same species but different breeds.

All cats are from the same species but different breeds.

All birds are from different species.

See, I can read a book about dogs or cats and apply the information to any dog or cat I may own but I can’t do that for parrots. Every time I get a different parrot, I have to research all over again and buy books on that specific bird because I know each bird has different needs. This is why I love to have the variety of parrots that I do because each brings something different to the flock.

If you google the topic of parrot ownership it tells you to find the best bird for you and your lifestyle because each bird has different needs. For example an African Grey parrot needs to spend a lot of time out of its cage (some pamphlets say 4 hours a day) while a lovebird would be content with a little bit of time out (1 hour maybe less). So if you are barely home, you would automatically look towards getting a lovebird.  When I was looking to get an African grey everyone was advising me against it because I was working full-time and they said I would never be able to manage having a grey. Well not to brag but Grayson is now 5 years old and very active, not a screamer, talks a lot, does tricks and does not pluck! Gives me kisses and overall I can say a happy parrot. Stereotypes are put on birds just as they are put on humans. Take all the information in but truly decide for yourself and don’t let anyone else make that decision for you.

I can take care of an African Grey parrot with no issues however because birds are different species, this does not mean I would be good at taking care of other type of birds. I suck at taking care of Linnies. I bought two linnies from a breeder who was downsizing his stock and they died after I took them to P.J pets for a wing and nails trim. I thought the guy gave me sick birds however I did a necropsy and it came back saying Stress. I thought what?!?! I’ve been around lots of birds and never had an issue… Well for me, small birds are not my thing. I’m managing to take care of the lovebird but Linnies, Parrotlets and budgies I stay away from. Even the lovebird, I’m hesitant on keeping because I lost her parents so obviously I wasn’t good at taking care of them either.

I think it is very important for people to realize that birds are DIFFERENT SPECIES NOT JUST DIFFERENT BREEDS. So do not pick a bird because oh it has pretty colors, really see if they match you and your lifestyle.

What type of bird matches you? There may be multiple… For me…

I’m an African Grey type of gal because he needs time out of the cage but doesn’t want to spend all that time cuddling. A hug and kiss here and there is cool. Doing training is cool. He likes to chill close to you but doesn’t have to be all over you, that is totally just like me.
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I’m also a black capped conure type of gal because she knows what she wants, how to warn you about what she doesn’t like. Very expressive like me hahaha. My issue with my black capped conure is she loves to be on you 24/7, for me that’s a con because I need to be able to move around as my household is very hectic. However her and I have come to an understanding so we are definitely getting better as she will just chill on my shoulder as long as she knows I will be moving around at the same time.
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I’m also a quaker type of gal because piper LOVES music and his own space just like me.

I love my Indian Ringnecks’ independence but I miss their “need” for me so I’m not sure if I can call myself an Indian Ringneck type of gal as yet… Only more time will tell (but I have 2 of them now so I must be, right? lol)
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I DEFINITELY AM A LORY/LORIKEET TYPE OF GAL! I’m absolutely in love with their personalities, although opposite of me, they keep me on my toes and remind me of my son in a way.


Anyways, what I’m trying to say is PLEASE do your research before selecting your parrot. A lot of people don’t and this is how these beautiful animals ends up in shelters.

Parenting Parrots

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A Very Popular Hookbill

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I usually like to get things that most people do not have, like a funky pair of tights or a limited exclusive edition of a Jordan shoe. In this case it seems I went the opposite way and followed the crowd. The most popular medium-sized hookbill in today’s society seems to be the…. (Drumroll  please!)

African Grey Parrot

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My Galah cockatoo would have kept me in the “rare” category but unfortunately she isn’t with us anymore (R.I.P LOLA). Grayson, my Congo African Grey is extremely popular and although I think it’s great because having a CAG (Congo African grey) will definitely have an impact on a person’s life, I can’t help but be a little disappointed that I fell in the crowd with obtaining a popular parrot that everyone seems to have. Everywhere I go, I meet someone who has a grey parrot.

After I obtained Grayson and my dad was showing him off to his family in the states, we came to find out that 2 of his sisters owned African Grey Parrots. An African grey lives across the street from my son’s elementary school. About a month ago I was at a car wash and a man pulled up with his grey in the back seat. POPULAR!!! I could probably start an African Grey club in my neighborhood and have a great turn out.
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Besides being the most popular, they are also considered to be the smartest. They are not only known for their talking ability but for the capability of using words with understanding. This is shown through Alex, Dr. Pepperberg’s grey. Greys can talk in front of strangers but it has to be trained to. My African Grey will not but I’m hoping to change that soon. Greys’ need to be treated like a child vs. as a pet because of their intellectual level.

The best way to teach a grey is through modelling, reinforcement and repetition. Physical punishment should not be used as they can hold a grudge. I felt the need to share this information because these parrots are very popular and I want them all to strive like Alex did.
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Parenting Parrots

Grayson’s first word

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The first time a parrot ever spoke to me was Grayson, the grey! We had had him since he was 4 months old and I thought that I may have lucked out and gotten a grey that wouldn’t speak because at 12 months I still didn’t hear him utter a word. Then one day, I was walking past his huge white cage and all I seen is him standing very tall and straight by the front of his cage and he whispered, “Grayson”. I stopped and starting jumping for joy, so excited for the revelation that my Grey did in fact have a voice and his first words were his name, “Grayson”. It sounded like a little baby whispering.

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I would say “What’s your name?” and he would respond with his name.
Absolutely amazing!! This was our start to a wonderful vocabulary. He is 5 now and very shy to talk in front of strangers and although I think his vocab should be further along, I’m still in awe when I hear him respond correctly to a question, or singing a tune that we’ve played or calling out another parrot’s names and telling them to step up.

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Grayson saying his first word gave me the same feeling as hearing a baby talk for the first time. Joy, excitement and nervousness because  you now realize your little baby has hit another milestone and is growing up. I’ll never forget Grayson’s first words, not just because I have it on video but because he was the 1st parrot to talk to me and there was an innocence about him that unfortunately he no longer has hahaha.

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Grayson eating an orange

 

 

Parenting Parrots

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!

How to Clean with a Parrid (Parrot Kid)!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!