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

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Parenting Parrots

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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

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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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(Internet pic)

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

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!

How to Solve your Parrot’s Behavior Problem!

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Good Bird, a guide to solving behavioral problems in companion parrots by Barbara Heidenreich is a wonderful book to have in your collection. Whether or not you have a parrot with behavioral problems doesn’t matter because this book gives you the knowledge to understand why the behavior may happen and solutions to solve it. By reading this book, you can start to know the signs and see if a problem may be arising before it actually arrives.

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Barbara Heidenreich has actually been in our shoes, she is a parrot owner. Who else to learn from if not one of our very own. She has also been a parrot trainer and have helped many families with behavioral issues in parrots.

So how do you solve your Parrot’s behavior issues? Simple! POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT! Barbara tells us this in the very 1st chapter, the introduction. If you have no idea what I am talking about, I explain all about training in my post called “What time is it??“.

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But before you start implementing positive reinforcement, there are a few things you must first learn about: Body language! The first communication you will always have with a companion parrot is body language. Learn how to read it and what certain signs mean and you will be able to connect with your parrot better. In this book, Barbara explains their body language and gives you some insight in how to read them and what it means. What I love in this section is that she does her best to include pictures of birds that are displaying the body language she is describing.

She dedicates a chapter to each behavior issue you may come encounter with so you can either read the whole book (which I recommend) or you can just jump to the chapter that you may need help with. Her chapters go like this: Introduction – Chapter 1: Preparing the Companion Parrot Owner – Chapter 2: Screaming – Chapter 3: Biting – Chapter 4: Bonding to one person – Chapter 5: Cage Bound Bird – Chapter 6: Feather Picking and her closing chapter her Final Thoughts. Each chapter is filled with possible scenarios, why it may be happening, what you can do and a detailed explanation. I read this book about once every two years just to refresh my mind.

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I can confidently say that I do not have to worry about any screaming issues. For her biting chapter, now that I have Marlee, the lorikeet and she tends to nip, I will be practicing this chapter and hopefully by the new year, I will be completely bite-free! Next is the bonding to one person – This refers to my African Grey, he is completely bonded to me however when I am not around he will go to others – Barbara’s methods do work! I haven’t been able to test her cage bound theory or her feather picking theory as none of my parrots have  any of these issues  but I’m sure it works also.

You can follow her blog and check out her stuff at http://www.goodbirdinc.com/. She offers e-books, dvds, books, blog posts and seminars. I haven’t had a chance to check out her stuff as yet but I do give this book a 5 star rating as it’s an easy read with pictures and very straight to the point. From front to back it is a total of 81 pages. Really can’t go wrong.

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Parenting Parrots!