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!

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).

(Please follow. We are trying to get 50 followers before the end of 2016. Thank you in advance.)

 

Parenting Parrots!

 

The Cons/ The Negatives / The ugly

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Just like having kids, you love them one minute and questioning why you had them the next haha, same goes for having parrots. There are pros and there are cons to owning parrots. Whether you have multiple or one, these negatives may still apply. Hopefully with the right type of training and time with your parrids (parrot kids), these negatives may be minimized.

Every parrot owner or wanna-be parrot owner should know that parrots are messy. You may have a parrot that throws its food out of the cage, meaning it could end up on your walls, your floor, your furniture etc… Parrots who aren’t potty train will poop anywhere and everywhere. Could be on you, on your furniture, your floor, your wall etc… My African Grey will poop out of his cage. Don’t forget the feathers / dander dust that parrots produce, that is also messy and makes you need an air filter. Some parrots make less dander than others so if you are worried about that, you got to do research. Let’s remember to think of the toys that they destroy because that’s what they do. They don’t “play” with their toys, they DESTROY them haha.

Parrots make noise. You can get a parrot that is known to be more on the quieter side of the noise scale but they will still make some type of noise. It could be them making normal bird noises or mimicking human speech or copying household noises or other pets etc… Noise will be there. Also there are some parrots that turn into screamers which makes it even worse for your ears.

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Parrots are “beakers”. Meaning they use their beaks for everything! To test things out, to eat, to BITE, to check the balance stability of perches. So biting may happen, it doesn’t have to but it can. Nipping will definitely be a stage they go through. As a parrot owner you have to understand the risk. You might even have a parrot who will literally charge and attack! Some bites can send you to the hospital depending on the bite force and the type of beak you are dealing with.

Parrots are time-consuming. They can not just be left in a cage or else they will become very lil’ destructive, unmanageable monsters. You got to give them some time, especially to train them and tame them. They need to shower and stretch. Like I always say, ” parrots are toddlers just in parrot form“. So all the work you would put into a toddler, you need to do the same for your parrot. Bathing them, cleaning up after them, making them meals, putting them to sleep, waking them up, taking them to the doctors, playing with them, teaching them, giving them outside time that I call “Park time”.

Parrots are expensive. The cost of the bird, the cage, the food, the treats, the training tools, the perches, the toys, the vet bills and these are all on going costs minus the bird and the cage. You will always be buying food, treats, toys. Perches will get worn out and eventually need to be replaced. Vet bills  – you are supposed to take your parrot to the vet every 6 months and they cost way more than taking a dog or cat. So you have to take all of the money you will be dishing out for the rest of your parrot’s life into consideration. Now there are ways to minimize these costs  but that means more work and time on your part.

Information on specific species is HARD to find sometimes. I recommend always doing research and reading on your specific species. As a matter of fact, one of the required items you should have in your household when owning a parrot is a book on that specific species. Here is a link to some of the books I have in my collection: http://astore.amazon.ca/parentingparrot-20 (check it out, you might find a good book for yourself that you can order).

And last but not least that I can think of is MOOD SWINGS! Parrots just like kids, grow and go through a hormonal stage. A lot of parrots get re-homed at this stage because owners don’t understand what is going on to their parrot and just gets rid of it. Parrots aren’t perfect and they can get mad, sad, upset, happy, frustrated… etc just like we can. They can throw temper tantrums just like toddlers. They will test your limits just like kids do.They are very intelligent and have emotions and feelings. Treat your parrot like a family member because that IS exactly what they are – one of your kids.

Below is my video on my 5 cons to owning a parrot.

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!