The Flying Parrot

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I do not believe in clipping wings anymore. I used to do it more out of convenience for me than for any other concern so I haven’t clipped wings in a long time. I love seeing my birds open their wings and take off!

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I truly am disappointed to live in Canada because I see those birds in Australia having such a delightful time and I wish my birds could do that. If I trained them to live outside especially during the winter than that dream could become a reality but facts are they would have to be born in those conditions and kept in those conditions in order to be able to handle it. I do not want to wake up one day to see that my parrot froze to death so that idea is a BIG No, no!

I see my birds fly indoors, within my little apartment and it keeps me in “awe” to watch the natural beauty of the flying parrot. Today the weather was beautiful and all I could think of is how would it be to be able to see my birdies fly outdoors. This brings me back to harness training. In order to get a bird on a harness, it has to trust you and love you and let you do things a regular bird that didn’t know you, wouldn’t let you do. If Nyx was here, she would be that bird for me. But she’s not and I have to accept that. Maybe this was a blessing in disguise because I always turned to her to do stuff like that instead of any of the other parrots so now I will work on getting them all more trusting of me and therefore building on our relationship more.

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From arcticwingsfreeflightclub.com

Having a free-flighted parrot would have been AMAZING! Although I would always be afraid of it flying off somewhere but the training guarantees that, that won’t happen if the bond is there. What I was saying before was if their body was conditioned to the cold then I could teach them free flight but since it’s not and I don’t plan on trying to get them used to the cold, the option is out for me. You may be asking why? Why not let them be free-flighted during the spring and summer and just have them indoors not flying during the colder months? Well, that was my thought exactly but I was made aware that once you start free flying them you have to keep it up or else you will cause a whole lot of issues such as plucking and screaming etc.

Free-flying parrots don’t have the issues, that parrots who are locked up in a cage, have. But unfortunately, not all of our lives allow for that option so we have to do the best we can. Harness train them so they get outside time free of a travel cage and they can stretch their wings and exercise. It’s not exactly the same but it is the closest option. However, getting a parrot to put on a harness willingly, isn’t such an easy task but it is doable so follow our Youtube channel to eventually see a video on how to properly harness train your parrot. I’m hoping to have it up by the end of June! I will still have my flying parrot outside just not freely.

The latest in Aviator Harness Fashion model by Zoey

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Parenting Parrots

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How to Treat your Parrots to a Healthy Snack

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Good Morning!

Today I decided to have something quick for breakfast as I’m running out the door to do laundry. I live in an apartment where we are not allowed to have washers and dryers in our unit, so I have to take the elevator all the way down to the ground level to share a washer and dryer with the other tenants of this building. I HATE IT BECAUSE I CANT TAKE ANY PARROTS WITH ME!!! 😦 Well I guess I could but don’t want to risk people complaining and maybe the bird getting in their way. Anyhow back to the topic at hand….

BREAKFAST!!!

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Being on maternity leave has really left my fridge empty. HAHAHA after 10 months with living off of 55% of my income, I am ready to get back to filling my fridge again but I will miss my kiddies and parrids (parrot kids) so much. This is a bitter sweet moment!! Today we are having a whole wheat slice of bread with jam! THAT’s it!

Something so simple and I can share it with my parrids.

A slice of lightly toasted whole wheat bread with jam spread on top, cut into four sections. I give one section to each bird. I do two slices because I have 7 birds. All the birds can eat this, even my lorikeets!

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Rasta enjoying his jam

So I’m not quite sure how the calories in a slice of toasted whole wheat bread may affect a parrot’s health however it has 75 calories but if you’re only giving a parrot a quarter section, I don’t think you should have to worry at all (for those that may be concerned).

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Boss’ near Death Experience!

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Boss, our 1-year-old lovebird has truly been through a lot this past year and unfortunately she had to encounter another problem before this year was over. I have to say for a small parrot she has enormous strength and determination. Boss has really shown that she is a fighter against all odds.

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Boss has always been ms. Houdini but this time I think someone forgot to lock her cage properly because I just can’t see how she would have been able to escape. Anyhow she did and for some odd reason, she decided to go to our African Grey’s cage. I had just put him back in his cage and was cleaning his water bowl when I heard him banging something in his cage. He is a banger so this is normal. I walked back and he had something yellow… WAIT… Grayson’s only yellow toy I had just thrown out so what is he banging?? As I approached his cage to put back the water, he dropped his yellow package and the package ran out of the bottom of his cage. To my horror, it was Boss, our one year old peach-faced lovebird. I didn’t even know Boss could fit through the gaps of Grayson’s cage until I seen her run out. MY HEART DROPPED. I screamed at the top of my lungs as what just occurred slowly registered in my head. I wanted to cry! At that very moment, I was petrified.

I went to find Boss who was huddled in a corner. I picked her up and examined her. I was so afraid I was going to lose her. Boss has some blood coming out one of her ears and her beak was purple and blue.  I wrapped her in a rag and held her. I wanted to bring her to the vet but silly me just used their credit card to cover a purchase and had said I would put back the money off my next pay not realizing that something would come up and I would be needing it (talk about bad timing). So bringing her to the vet at this time, was out of the question. I tried to nurse her back to health but I was worried about her internal organs. I set up a “get well cage” which is really small but felt it would be perfect for her under the circumstances.

I gave her a bath everyday, kept her warm, served her warm baby food with her pellets mixed in it, fresh clean water and weighed her all the time. Birds like to hide their sickness so there is no way of knowing if they are ill until it is too late. Weighing Boss daily let me know that she wasn’t losing weight and was eating as she normally would so she probably wasn’t going to die.

It’s now been almost 2 weeks and her beak is back to a light peach bone like color with no purple or blue marks. She is vocalizing again (she had stopped for a while). She is moving all over her “get well cage” and she is back to training!

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

Til this day, I don’t know what exactly  happened on that day or how it happened but all I know is please double-check your locks when closing your pets’ cages especially if you have other pets around.

Parenting Parrots!

How to Train Love birds

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Day one 

Our peach-faced lovebird was born in our house a year ago (May 2015). He was parent raised and was left in the cage that he was born in. We would come home to see him flying around the house. Somehow he was always able to escape no matter how much we tried to make sure the cage was locked. Eventually we came to realize that he would move the food bowl and come out of the hole that was made in the cage for the nest box. In doing so, he damaged his beak. It looks like the needle got stuck in the beak and he broke it. Lots of blood in his beak. He finally healed but I can still see where the beak had been damaged. Poor little guy :(. We brought him to the vet, there is nothing that they can do to fix his beak as there is a big blood vessel right there so all we can do is monitor the growth. If you look closely at the below picture, you can see the raised line down his beak.

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How to train a lovebird

I finally decided enough was enough and put him in our Quaker’s old cage and moved the Quaker to a new cage. Well he didn’t like that very much because that meant no escaping anymore but it was the safest thing for him as he was fully flighted.

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training a love bird

After a year of neglect ( I say this with lots of shame but I was pregnant, was tired all the time and just couldn’t find the energy for parrots or anything else for that matter), we finally named him…. He was “Boss“.

We named him Boss because he was definitely a boss in his own right. He was aggressive. You couldn’t put your hand near his cage without him trying to lunge at it from the inside. He didn’t even want us changing his water or giving him food. I was discouraged as I was not used to small birds. In his defense, even though he grew up with us, he was not used to hands.

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It took me losing my Galah Cockatoo, Lola (R.I.P) for me to smarten up and realize that all parrots whether big or small MATTER!! I was determined to make Boss feel as part of the flock and I was determined to show Lola, that mommy cares about all parrots. I started to grow our flock and videotape our progress with each bird. I decided to make a YouTube channel (please subscribe!).  There are a lot of training videos out there but if my flock can help another person, even just one person with their own flock then MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!

Day Two

We would open the cage and Boss wouldn’t even come out. Every day we opened the cage for 1 hour and went about our business. After a week Boss would come out on his own however he didn’t want to be handled and he wouldn’t eat from my hands. I tried target training him and because he wouldn’t eat from my hands it was difficult however if he was sitting on the food bowl he would tap the stick and then I would put the treat (sunflower seed) in his food bowl. He seem to get the concept but he still wouldn’t follow the stick anywhere except for around the food bowl.

Checkmark for getting him out the cage and half a checkmark for target training.

Day Three (used loosely)

He would fly away anytime we got close and we would have to chase him around. So I clipped his wings. For him, I cut the first eight. Then we attempted stepping up. He would do it  but it seemed he was doing it by force and I didn’t like that.

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Day four

Same as day three, we worked on stepping up.

Day five

I searched YouTube for clues – for me, nothing helped. so I’m hoping my YouTube channel  (please subscribe) will help someone like me. I was still at stage one with no progress. I whacked my brain… How can I train a bird that wouldn’t accept treats from us? The first two days, my son would pet him and say “good bird Boss”, however I felt like that wasn’t a good method because he doesn’t like hands so he wouldn’t/couldn’t be enjoying that. Obviously this method wasn’t working.

Day six

Time for a change. I had Boss step up and then I held him to my chest and stroked him over and over and over and over and over again, for about 10 minutes while singing and talking softly. I then put him down and told him to “step up” and put my finger under his belly right by his legs. When he did I clicked on my clicker and put a spray millet piece in front of his face. He was not taking the millet and we both sat there and waited and waited and waited. He tasted it. Checkmark! He just ate a treat from my hand! I continued this for 10 minutes. Each time it was a long wait for him to take the treat. I put him back in his cage and called it a day. (sorry for the blur it was hard trying to capture the picture while training)

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Day seven

Same thing as day six but this time there was less resistance. He was accepting the millet after a short pause and after the 10 minutes of training, there was no pause. He would step up, take the millet and let me hold him to my chest and caress his whole body without squirming or trying to  bite or get away. This was only day two of this type of training and I would say mission accomplished. He would still sometimes hop off and wander off, but overall the aggression had decreased.

I’m happy, my little feisty Boss was now eating from my hand and allowing me to hold him, pet him and was stepping up!!

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P.S.

In two days I had decided to introduce him to another member of our flock named Nyx. She is a three-year old Black capped Conure (fully flighted). To introduce them I put them in the same room without their cages and just did regular things with them. My son would bring them near one another and say praises to each for not showing any aggression. Day two, I had them both on my shoulders one on each side. I trained Boss while Nyx was on my shoulder, making sure to only be focused on training Boss at that time. Once I was done training Boss I put him on my other shoulder and they came together on one shoulder by themselves ( I wouldn’t recommend having them on your shoulder though. Just have them in a mutual area away from each of their cages, an area that is fairly new to both of them. If they decide to fight, it would be harder to intervene with them on your shoulder). Anyhow,they kissed while on my shoulder so I knew they were good. I can now have them both out of their cages at the same time.

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Remember when doing this never leave them unsupervised.

I will continue to keep you updated on our training progress. Thanks for the support!!

Parenting Parrots!