Lorikeet Love

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Out of all my birds, the Lories/lorikeets are by far my favorite. They are very energetic and keep me on my toes however they also make me worry a lot. I’m always wondering if they are healthy, if I left the nectar too long, if I’ve given them enough fruits, etc… The list of worry goes on and on. Through all those worried thoughts are smiles, laughters and sometimes tears.

Building a relationship with Kodak, our Black lory was by far the hardest thing I had to do. He would screech, lung to bite me and I was ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of his bite. All I remember thinking is maybe I met my match, he is the bird that’s going to show me I suck at bird ownership. He is going to be my “fearful” bird. Kodak is quite the opposite. I kept trying to teach him to step up, turn around, station and I thought this parrot is just not getting it and I was losing my patience until one day it just happened. He stepped up and our bond has just blossomed ever since.

Rasta, Green-naped Lorikeet

Rasta went from being a bird that didn’t really care for us to being almost caught up to Grayson, our African Grey’s training level.  He has impressed me beyond words. His vocabulary is strong and clear. He is energetic and enthusiastic about training and interacting but yet he also wants to have things under his control. Rasta went from not interacting with my son to only wanting to interact with him. An absolute 360 degree turn around but one that I welcomed and encouraged. Rasta is the only bird in the house that prefers my son but I’m happy about it because my son now considers Rasta to be his. They do a lot together, play around in the bed, watch tv, play video games even when my son is doing homework Rasta is right by his side. My son can get Rasta to step up from anywhere. For me? Not so much.

I absolutely have nothing bad to say about Lories/Lorikeets. I haven’t met one that I didn’t adore. I would be happy with a houseful of Lories but I can imagine it would get quite noisy and I have enough noise to last me a lifetime hahaha. With all that being said though, they definitely aren’t for everybody especially the green-napes. I have heard so many complaints about them, it saddens my heart because it really comes down to patience and understandings. I’ve had people offer to surrender their green-napes to me and I’ve had to turn them down as I just don’t have the living space unfortunately. These guys can be very nippy and very demanding if you are a passive individual so you need to know the type of person you are before getting one.

Parenting Parrots

All Parrots are Different Species!

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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

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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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.

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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…

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Rainbow Lorikeet aka Green Naped

Parenting Parrots!

Re-Homing

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So, I’m finally able to start posting again and I don’t ever want to stop. I never realized it before but I truly enjoy sharing my knowledge with other people. Now this is more of a sad post than anything else… I re-homed 2 of my parrids :(.

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Story:

I found myself in a financial bind and needed to find a way out so I started working 2 fulltime jobs :(. I did that for almost 6 months straight (hence why I couldn’t post). I only had time to sleep and shower whenever I was home. I still had 2 days off a week but those were my only 2 days to clean, spend time with the kids, catch up on sleep as I was only sleeping about 3 hours a day during the week and get errands done. So my parrids were being neglected. Literally they were in jail and only being fed pellets. Even the cleanliness of their cages were suffering. I felt guilty but what could I do? I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. My kids were suffering too: weren’t getting mommy’s home cooked meals anymore, couldn’t help my son with homework, so his grades dropped. There comes a time when a person has to choose family life over paying off bills…. I finally made that decision.

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Family First (internet pic)

6 months of being away was enough for me plus I was pregnant at the same time (this I didn’t find out until later) so you can imagine how drained I was. I finally left one job and stayed with my night job but then my night job became more stressful as the day person wasn’t doing their job and my pregnancy couldn’t handle the stress so the doctor put me on sick leave. I was sad because my financials would definitely take another hit but on a more positive note – My family could see me again.
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As I’m sure you know Lovebirds who are not interacted with daily can turn away from being hand tamed very quickly which is exactly what happened with our Peach-faced Lovebird, Boss. Now with that being said, Boss always had a bit of attitude in her anyways, hahaha. I could have definitely spent the time to re-train her but I knew what she wanted. She was really showing breeding tendencies and at this time she was sharing a cage with her best friend, Piper, our Quaker parrot but he couldn’t satisfy her needs, so I decided to rehome her into a breeding program. I always knew that I might have to do that with Boss as she was parent raised and I seen her wants long before it became completely obvious. I put an ad up on Kijiji for her and within a day found a man in Brampton who was trying to breed lovebirds. We spoke for a bit and I gave her to him. It warmed my heart to hear his feedback on her. He loved her, she was completely tame with him. He was so impressed with her that he wanted to know if I had more birds I could give him. Unfortunately not, but I was happy to know he was happy and that she would be happy. I do miss her from time to time but I know she is getting what she wanted so my heart is at ease.

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Boss doing “touch/grab” taming. I call it the hovering method.

The next parrid I had to say bye too was one of my rainbow lorikeets. I still very much miss her but again the home where she was given too had nothing but positive feedback to say about her. Lorikeets are just like Lovebirds in a sense, where if you don’t interact with them daily they can revert back very quickly and that’s exactly what happened with Marlee. Rasta was more trusting of us so it wasn’t long ’til I was able to get him back around. With Marlee now, she didn’t want anything to do with me or the kids or anything. She was giving me a hard time to even clean her cage, change her food bowls or anything. Within a few days I had several inquiries for her but one inquiry stood out more than the rest. So I gave her to that household. Marlee kept flying back to me like she didn’t want me to leave her and that broke my heart but I spoke to the female and she said Marlee is doing WONDERFUL. She was nipping when I first dropped her off but soon stopped. The family loves her and she gets a lot of out of the cage time.

Rehoming parrots is not easy when you truly care about their well-being. Piper, our Quaker was down for a while when Boss first left but since then he has come around and is very happy. I can’t remove her favorite toy out of his cage or else he will get upset so I know he hasn’t forgotten her but he has moved on from the heartbreak. Rasta, our green-naped lorikeet kept calling for his sister for a few days after she was gone but he too has come around and doesn’t call for her anymore. Marlee has only been gone for 2 week from this post being posted.

Talk about hidden blessings though because when this was all happening a female contacted me asking if I could take her 2 cockatiels named Chiko and Maro. At first I was just going to give them to a friend of mine who wanted a cockatiel but they are new to the parrot world and I think two parrots would be a lot for a new owner, so we’ve added them to our flock. They came with their cage and a new bag of food. I bought them some new toys and they are very happy joining the flock. Still not sure if I will give them to my friend however I told them to do a bit more research before I would be willing to even consider it so we’ll see.

We lost 2 parrids but we gained two more. Rehoming love ones is never easy but if you must please try and find them the best loving home possible.

Parenting Parrots

What to feed a Lorikeet?

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Marlee and Rasta go through nectar pretty fast so I’ve been trying to find a way to make it last longer. So what can you feed a lorikeet?

img_7321 I always buy the big bag of Harrison’s potency fine so I decided to try that with them. On the bag it says mix the Harrison’s with 2 TBS water and 1/2 tsp corn syrup for lories. The first time I tried it with them, I mixed it with some nectar however I haven’t used it with nectar again.

I like it but I find that it firms up their poop and since they should have watery poop, I was a little hesitant about continuing its usage. What I found was by letting the Harrison’s soak in the mixture before giving it to the lories, made it come out like a mash and therefore their poop was still watery just a little more visible. I can live with that.

So I put 3 tsp of Harrison’s potency fine in their food bowls.

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3 tsp of Harrison’s potency fine

Then I put 1/2 tsp of corn syrup on top.

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1/2 tsp corn syrup

Added 2 Tbs of hot water.

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2 tbs hot water

Let it soak for about 3 – 5 mins and stir.

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Soaking

What I have been doing is giving them mango chunks in the morning for breakfast (they say a fruit on an empty stomach keeps cancer at bay – now that saying is for humans… Not sure if it works for birds but I do it anyways.)
Then for training, I use nectar. If I am giving them a morning training then it’s nectar for training and for their breakfast and then fruit for dinner. But I try to give them the fruit for breakfast and give them an afternoon training with nectar as their treat. Whatever nectar is left over goes in their cages with them and then I do the Harrison’s mix for dinner and nectar for their evening training.

I want to get them accepting more veggies so I may have to rotate the Harrison’s and veggies every other day….

IF you have a lorikeet, tell me if you have tried Harrison’s and whats your opinion or what other foods do you give them besides the nectar and flowers.

***UPDATE*** I have now made more lorikeet friends and got a few books on them so I have discontinued any further use with Harrison’s for my lorikeet. As lorikeets have an iron storage issue and Harrison’s unfortunately does not cater to that.

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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!