Dear Lola,

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If words could express my disappointment in losing you, they would fill up the world. I never knew a person could feel such a deep lost for a companion animal until the night I laid with you in my arms, begging you to live but knowing you were taking your last breath. I still consider that day to be the worst day of my life because I failed you. Lola, I could never know what happened with that vet clipping your wings but you definitely set me on the path to realize how important wings are to a parrot especially if that parrot is already a timid parrot. Although that clip was against my will, I regret using that vet because another may have listened to my demands of no and you would still be here with me. I’m sorry and I hope you are happy wherever you may be and realize that I loved you as if I had given birth to you myself.

Lola, was my Galah Cockatoo. I consider her to truly be my first introduction to the parrot community and I bought her with no knowledge of what it meant to be a parrot owner. Just knew I liked how she looked and I wanted a bird. I don’t regret having Lola, I just wonder if she would have been better off with someone else. Would she have lived longer? Been happier? OR was she destined to be with me, who would fail her in the end? When I got Lola I drove 4 hours to pick her up and 4 hours to bring her back. When we met she stepped up to me with no problem and had no hesitation even the breeder said we were meant to be. Lola spent most of her days out of her cage and with me wherever I went. She was kept in a very tiny cage at the breeder so I suspect she didn’t truly get a chance to learn how to fledged as she never flew. I would see her open her wings and flap but she never took off. I started doing research on parrots and came across Birdtricks.com, they were my first introduction to parrot training and taming. I immediately bought their dvds and went to work. Before her first vet visit which would change her forever she had already learned how to step up perfectly, wave and turn around.

I didn’t want to bring her to a vet for fear she may catch something so I had the vet come to me. This vet ignored my wishes for a fully flighted parrot. Proceeded to tell me, it was better to clip her wings as she would be more manageable and it was a safer option but I wasn’t having any problems with training Lola so I still said no thank you. She asked me for a towel and I went and got it, by the time I got back, the damage was done. She had clipped one wing already so I had no choice but to continue with the procedure. Then she trimmed Lola’s nails so short, my poor Lola no longer was able to grip her perches. So with no nails and no wings to help her balance as soon as they put Lola back in the cage, she fell straight to the bottom. I was devastated. The vet told me to put pillows and towels at the bottom and that she would stop after a day or two. I did what I was told but I wasn’t happy. All of Lola’s bloodwork came back perfect. But Lola no longer wanted to come out of her cage, she didn’t want to train, she didn’t want to be interacted with and the worst part is she never let her wings grow back.

Lola was my first bird. A Galah Cockatoo. She was suppose to be so full of life and she was until she seen the vet. I tried everything I could think of and nothing worked. I finally brought her to another vet to see if they could help. Re-did bloodwork, looked her over and was told absolutely nothing was wrong with her. She wasn’t plucking but she would damage her wings as soon as they grow back in. I started treating her like a plucker and I would give her toys that were for pluckers, hoping she would ignore her wings, bathed her with water mixed with aloe vera to try and help if she was experiencing any itches from the wings growing in. I even bought her a mop head that I would put on top of her cage to help distract her. Nothing worked. The new vet advised me that it must be psychological but had no other suggestions for me. I was lost, hurt and confused. I considered re-homing her wondering if a new environment would help but could never go through with it as I was too attached. I contacted an animal psychic in hopes that she would be able to communicate with Lola and get to the bottom of the issue once and for all. That psychic either was fake or for some reason just couldn’t connect to my birds.

Lola would live for 3 years with us. It was me, my son, Lola and Grayson, our African Grey. She didn’t come out to play or interact with anyone. I left her cage door open 24/7 and she remained inside. The day that Lola passed, we had left the house and came home to find her on the floor of my living room, looking like she was having a seizure, bright green poop coming out of her. I fixed up the travel carrier with towels and stuff to make it warm and comfortable for her. I brought her in my room and monitored her activity. She was dying and I knew it. All vets were closed so I called on the same vet, I blamed for Lola’s behavior but even she was unavailable to help. I couldn’t go to the emergency vet as I had just had a baby girl, wasn’t fully healed and had no access to the car at that time. Lola would live to the wee hours of the morning and pass on the blanket.

My lack of parrot ownership and trust in a vet, took my Lola from me. Since then I have been adding to my flock in order to help more birds to try and make up for the guilt I felt losing Lola. I have since lost 2 more birds unfortunately and although I know they weren’t as bad as Lola, I can’t help but continue to strive for a better tomorrow for the companion birds that are still alive.

Each parrot I lose has taught me something new. Lola taught me that birds need to learn to fledged and are better off being fully flighted so now all my parrots are. Piper taught me that I need to remove fresh foods as soon as possible and keep the cages spic and span in order to avoid pesticides from infecting the parrots. Nyx taught me to demand bloodwork from vets be done because she was sick from before she was rehomed to me and we should have realized that by how quick her beak would grow but again a vet denied my request stating that conures just didn’t take good care of their beaks. I’m glad to have known each and every one of these birds and although I miss them dearly they have made me a better me, a better parrot owner, a better companion to my parrots.

Lola, you will forever be in my heart and I hope I can continue to make you proud.

Parenting Parrots

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Killing My Eardrums!!

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I love my flock, overall a quiet bunch even though they can be noisy at times, it’s not an everyday thing or an all the time thing… Then I added to my flock.

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I have never had to actually train any of my parrots to be quiet until now. It sucks because I can’t introduce her into the same room as the rest of the birds until she learns how to be a little less noisier.

She makes noise all day long until I turn her lights off. I know she’s lonely and wants to be included but I also have to be mindful of what her vocals may teach the others. So I said if  I can get her to realize that she will only get my attention when the noise levels diminishes then I can move her to be around the other parrots.

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So I came up with a game plan:
Goal -Quiet for an hour straight

First day: I waited and timed how long between screams was she quiet for? 11 seconds (That’s not very long).
Aim – If she can make it to 15 secs of silence I would click, enter the room, give her a treat and talk to her for a bit. Once she finishes the treat, I would leave the room and wait for 16 secs, 17 secs, 18 secs, 20 secs then 25 secs, 30, 35,40, 45, 50, 55 and then  1 minute.
It was a success!!

Second day: I waited for 15 secs again then 20, 25, 30 and 1 minute. Once we got to the 1 min mark, I started waiting for 1 min and 15 secs, 1 min and 30 secs, 1 min and 45 secs, 2 mins. Went to 2 mins and 30 secs, 3 mins then 4 mins and 5 mins. It was a successful day!!!

Third day: No quiet session training

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Fourth day: I waited for 5 mins – it didn’t come after a hour of waiting. Then I waited for 4 – nope then 3, nope and finally 2. Click, entered the room and gave a treat. However she didn’t stop making noise after that, I think she was panicking that I was going to leave her alone always… I’m not sure. So I went back to 30 seconds of silence hoping to progress fairly quickly back to 5 minutes at least. Even 30 seconds was a struggle so I reverted back to 15 seconds. I did 5 sets of 15 seconds then I did 5 sets of 30 seconds, at this point the other parrots were getting noisier in response to her so having her remain quiet was definitely becoming a harder task but I know you have to be persistant when it comes to these types of things.

I know where I went wrong in this and it was missing the 3rd day. But I’m not giving up and I won’t miss another day hahaha. It’s weird because she is so smart so I assumed after the first few repetitions she would remember and  we would pick up where we left off, I guess not. What I should have done was just start back at 5 seconds and jump every 5 instead of doing the 5 sets of the same time frame and jumping to 15 sec intervals… At this point we were a hour and a half into her 2 hour focus time and she only made it to 45 seconds of quiet once. Definitely unfortunate but it is, what it is…. Tonight before dinner time will be another attempt. I usually only do this once a day but to make up for yesterday I will attempt it again later tonight. She won’t get any personal one on one time in this session it looks like but hopefully later tonight will be a better session. With 15 minutes left of her 2 hour focus time she finally started progressing! I did the 5 sets of 45 seconds, 3 sets of 1 minute and then I was able to start jumping after 1 set on each timeframe. We went to 1 minute and 15 seconds then 2 minutes, 2 minutes and 30 seconds! I wanted to be at 10 minutes today but by the time we were moving on to the 3 minute mark we ran out of time in the session so the goal will be to get there tonight. If we only make it to 5 minutes, I will still be happy.

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After a week I’ve trying to teach her how to be quiet I was unsuccessful making it to a hour straight, so just like any other training method I  had to re-think my approach. I took a leap of faith and wondered if my current parrots could teach her how to be quiet. So, I took a chance and moved her close to the other parrots, she still goes on her rampage of noise BUT it’s only in the morning and afternoon now. Definitely decreased in frequency. She still is the only nosy one in my flock and no other parrot has copied her. My philosophy is: they see that her noise is not benefitting her (getting her any extra attention or reinforcement) so there is no point in copying her actions. Unfortunately none of them have chosen to tell me so I can only speculate at this point but it’s been months and I haven’t heard anyone mimic her.

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Parenting Parrots

Birdtricks’ Steps

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I have to put all these training methods to the test before I can recommend them to my followers, so if you know of any other training methods out there please let me know… This one is www.birdtricks.com run by 2 brothers who have no formal training but claim to be able to change any behavioral issues your bird may have. As long as your parrot isn’t sick, they believe any problems can be fixed using their methods. Great!! So I have 7 parrots but I’m also trying out the Parrot Wizard’s methods so I have to be careful not to intertwine the two. The funny thing is I just found out the parrot wizard used to work for Birdtricks so I’m sure they are going to have some similarities.

If you look at my training for the Parrot Wizard I had 3 birds that I was trying the method on: Grayson, who is a 5 yr old African grey. Piper who is a 3 yr old Quaker parrot a.k.a monk parakeet and Marlee who was new to our flock at the time and was only a 4 and a half months old green-naped lorikeet. I didn’t stick to that training so I’ll be re-starting it over and some birds will have to be changed as Marlee was rehomed.

I will put Grayson and one of our new members who has yet to be introduced to you guys, a female baby violet Indian Ringneck on the Birdtricks program and the other new member which is a black lory along with Piper on the Parrot Wizard Program. I’m leaving out Rasta, Nyx and Ringo for now just in case I come across other bird training programs that I want to test out or that you guys find and want me to test out. Of course one for my own program which may have a combination of all the programs I test out or it may be something completely different, who knows but only time will tell.

So back to Birdtricks, right now I’m reading their pamphlet called New Parrot Care and I was told this is the first thing I should read and it is titled “How to get my parrot to love me“. Chapter one is setting up your parrot for success: Cage, diet, toys, perches, showers. Great! Grayson and the female Indian Ringneck (although she hasn’t gotten the bath thing down as yet but she’ll learn) is ready.

Chapter two covers things you can change without training such as the things I mentioned from chapter one. If you don’t have those already set for your parrot now is the time to fix it. I find that Birdtricks really focuses on the diet aspect of things and I do agree with them on that, a varied healthy diet with an organic based pellet is essential for optimal health for your parrot. They cover sleep, controlling your reaction, end all interactions on a positive note and learn to read body language. So Far I don’t disagree however they seem to stress on not letting the parrot be dominating, showing the parrot who is in charge and I’m sure they mean it in a nice way but that has rang a bell of warning for me. REMEMBER I BELIEVE IN EMPOWERING THE ANIMAL. So let’s see how this keeps going, I’m still keeping an open mind as they do talk about positive reinforcement being better than negative and I’m all for that!

Let’s move on as I know all these things about Grayson and the new IRN (Indian Ringneck) is pretty transparent as a baby right now. Chapter 3, they call it the most important step: Putting your bird on a training diet. They explain how to do it, why it works and to weigh your bird every day. I somewhat do this already although I don’t call it the training diet but I give them only enough food that they will eat in one sitting and I train before feeding them their main meal. You only need to do this if your reward for your parrot doing the right thing is a food reward, if not then implementing the training diet is not necessary. On my own note, if the rewards you are feeding is not in their regular diet then they should work for it whether or not they are on a training diet but I do understand you are NOT starving your parrot so what’s wrong with monitoring their intake? Also if you feed before their next meal you know they are almost getting to that hungry point where they start feeling peckish but their not fully hungry yet. It does help in the motivation process. You never want your parrot to be starving when training because let’s be real, I learn NOTHING when I’m hungry hahaha and I’m sure parrots are the same… Anyhow back to chapter 3. They end off chapter 3 with an introduction to my favorite bridge tool – The Clicker! They give you a clicker game to try on other humans to learn how to master using the clicker which I thought was a BRILLANT idea!! So yes Chapter 3 is on the same baseline as me, I am ready to move onto Chapter 4.

In Chapter 4, we actually learn more about using the clicker in your training. How to clicker train a bird that won’t take treats from your hand or one that is scared of your presence. As you know I’m a big advocate for the clicker, if you didn’t know please read my clicker training post ( which also has a YouTube video attached to it). It’s a very short chapter as it just focuses on getting your parrot to  know the clicker.

Chapter 5 is training the first behavior which is Target training, you have heard me talk about or seen me do YouTube videos showing this. So this is nothing new but I still did a 5 minute training with Grayson and the new IRN (Indian Ringneck) just to implement their first training session. Both of these birds are a pro at target training so this was easy and quick repetitions for them. You can read about my target training methods here.

They end off this book with a summary of things that you learned and why trick training is an important aspect to your bird’s life.

My Overall Thoughts: I would recommend getting this pamphlet for the first time bird owner or for a bird owner who is just starting to take an interest in training their parrots. I don’t know if it is available by itself as I got it in a package called “Basic Parrot Course: stop biting” which cost me $54.95USD. However if you know how to train your parrot and what’s needed in their development then this particular pamphlet may not be for you. I haven’t gotten through the rest of the course yet but will keep you posted.

I am just going through the package that they emailed me before anything else so the next one on the list I received is: How to Potty Train Your Parrot“. I truly don’t think it’s very important in the beginning of training your parrot however having a potty trained parrot saves you a lot of dirty clothes, dirty sheets, floor scrubbing etc. So look out for my review on that.

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Parenting Parrots!

Target Training

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You have just finished clicker training your parrot. You see it looking for the treat after it hears the click, so now your ready to move on…. NOW WHAT? WHAT’S NEXT?

Target training is your next best bet. Why? If you target train your parrot it will be easier to get your parrot to move from one place to another or get him/her to go where you want him/her to go. This is a convenient tool to have in your back pocket regardless if you have an amazingly obedient parrot. This is great to even teach tricks with, I’ve taught turn around with it several times. Another example of its use is if you have a parrot that doesn’t want to come out of its cage, you can target it out with the stick once it learns target training. It’s very useful!

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To start target training you need 3 items not including yourself and the bird.
1) A clicker (only needed if you are doing clicker training)
2) Target stick (I use a chopstick)
3) The bird’s favorite treat

You start by placing the target stick as close to the bird’s beak as possible (I would start this training in the parrot’s cage) but far enough that the bird has to open its mouth and touch it. Now different things can happen here, your bird can fly away to the other side of the cage or it can lean away from the stick or it can ignore it or just automatically touch it. Hopefully it’s the latter but if not, that’s okay. If your parrot flies away then we need to work on Trust exercises before this. Usually I would have just said to keep moving the stick to wherever the parrot goes until it finally touches the stick.  Then you would click, remove the stick and give a treat however this wouldn’t be very good for your parrot in the long run because it would be exposing them to”Flooding” and we want to stay away from that. So if your parrot is flying away, you need to stop here and go read this post first.

If your parrot is leaning away, you can keep the stick there and wait for the parrot to look at the stick (the parrot makes an acknowledgement of it) then click, remove the target stick and give a treat. You will continue doing this until the bird gets comfortable enough that when you do put the stick in front of its beak, it will nip at the stick. BINGO! Once the parrot does that, we are on the right track….

If your parrot ignores it, you can touch the stick to the parrot’s beak, click and give a treat. You want to be careful with this one, don’t overdo it because you don’t want the bird thinking your suppose to touch him/her and that’s how it receives the treat. So make sure you only do this a few times and give the bird a chance to touch the stick on its own.

Hopefully you are lucky and the parrot just touches the stick but that’s a hit and miss, it all depends on how well your parrot was socialized before you. So you place the stick in front of the parrot, he/she touches it, the exact moment they touch it, you click and give a treat. (If the parrot won’t take a treat from your hand – go back to the previous mentioned post or just drop the treats in the food bowl – your choice!). Once your parrot gets the hang of touching the stick when it is right in front of it, you’re going to slowly put more distance between the parrot and the stick therefore causing the parrot to have to move two or three steps to touch the stick then you’ll click and give a treat. Gradually extending the distance until you are able to put the stick anywhere in the cage and the parrot will move around the cage to touch the target stick. VIOLA! You have succeeded in teaching your precious feathered friend how to do target training!

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Parenting Parrots!

Top 5 Things You Need to Know About the Quaker Parrot

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Piper!!

Quakers (Scientific name is Myiopsitta Monahus) are fun medium-sized parrots (11 – 13 inches) that come in the colors of green, blue, pallid blue and pallid yellow (amongst other colors). Their normal color is green. They are intelligent and a handful if you don’t know how to interact and manage them. I made this list up because anytime someone hears that I have a Quaker parrot their first comment is “OMG, now that’s a squawker! Don’t you find it to be loud?” I feel a lot of parrots get stereotyped wrong and Quakers are one of those that are misunderstood. So here is my list of the top 5 things you need to know about the Quaker parrot.

These are things that every Quaker parent needs to know:

1) Quakers are known to be vocal
– Yes, they are on the list as one of the top 10 talkers however talking is an ability that a bird will either care to do or not. It strictly depends on the individual parrot. Our Quaker, Piper talks a lot however we talk to him a lot so I’m sure that made a difference.
– When we first got Piper he would make noise at the top of his lungs. I thought OMG what did I get myself into? I was certain my neighbors would complain and I was ready to get rid of this noisy bird. So screeching is something this parrot will do – it all depends on if you have the time and patience to train it out of it’s noisy calls. I don’t have that issue with Piper anymore.

2) inquisitive
– They are very curious birds. If you want a bird that wants to know and see everything, you found it. Nothing will get passed a quaker. With that being said, I literally mean nothing, so if you are missing items or can’t find something shiny, don’t be surprised if you find it with your Quaker.
– This also means that they will want to be able to see and be involved in everything, so don’t leave them out.

3) Independent
– Quakers are known to be independent birds. Our Piper has no problem being around us but he isn’t demanding for attention (at least not physical attention). He will play nicely on his play perch and as long as he is near us, he is content. He doesn’t need to be physically on you.
– They have a bit of an attitude to them and they are not afraid to tell you their mind. They are very bold and can be aggressive when needing to make a point. I found when we clipped Piper’s wings is when he became bitey as that was his only defense mechanism. Once his wings grew back, the aggressiveness disappeared.

4) Time consuming
– This I believe goes across the board for all parrots – They need time! However I think a lot of people get so caught up with they need a certain amount of time that if they find they can’t give them that 3 hours a day, they put them up to be re-homed. Quakers would benefit from being out of their cage for minimum 2.5 hours a day however Quality over Quantity comes into play here. If you can only have your Quaker out for an hour one day, that is okay as long as you make that hour count. It’s better you have them actually out for a complete hour with you than have them out for 5 hours and they are just sitting on a perch, bored. When my parrots are out but feel I am not spending any time with them, they fly right back to their cages. A cage is their home, just like your home is your home. Do you go outside every day? As long as you are stimulated at home then you are okay. This is by no means saying it is okay to keep a parrot caged, all I’m saying is if one day a week you are too busy to give your parrot their usual time out of their cage – Don’t panic just make sure you do make the time that you do have together count regardless if it is 10 minutes or 10 hours. Make it count!

5) Training
If you’ve been following my blog (if you don’t follow me, then please do) then you know I’m a big advocate for training parrots. This doesn’t change when it comes to Piper. As a matter of fact, I think Quakers are so much fun to train as they have the drive to learn and can be very enthusiastic about it. There is this article that talks about how the author trained her Quaker parrot to go from being a biter to a painter, so you see training is a very important aspect to possibly all your problems.

 

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 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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Parenting Parrots!

 

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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Love birds images

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!

Lets Scramble It up!

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“What’s for breakfast?” You asked.
“Well I’m thinking scrambled eggs” I replied.
“HAHAHA, for parrots?!” You exclaimed.
“Umm, yea they need to eat” I said.

I know parrots have pellets that are very well balanced and should be able to offer them all the nutritional values they need, however how would you like to eat the same food over and over again? I would HATE it, eventually you would get sick of it so why wouldn’t parrots? Sharing my table food is something I enjoy doing with my parrots (as long as it’s not my actual plate, hahaha). I stay away from the no-no’s like avocado, alcohol, caffeine and chocolate. I feel the variety gives them a better palate and they always get pellets, so this is just to give them options.

I introduce my kids to different types of food because I want them to be open-minded and be able to try everything so I treat my parrots with the same mindset. Sharing your table food is actually common amongst parrot owners, I think the surprise comes more from people who do not have parrots than the actual owners themselves. So this morning, scrambled eggs were on the menu. I made the batch for the kids first and then I started on the parrots. Technically I could use the same batch for the kids, for the parrots as long as I minimize the salt and remove using egg shells and the crushed red peppers. But I chose to separate just to make sure the parrots get the shells for the calcium points.

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This may not be neccessary but sometimes being new to the parrot world, you might feel uncertain about making things for your parrot, so I thought I would post what I use to help anyone who may need it.

The ingredients I use:
Stainless steel frying pan
Spatula
Bowl and fork to mix with
2 eggs – use the shells too (I use 2 because I have 7 parrots however I don’t serve this to the lorikeets as I’m still learning about their diet so technically it’s only 5… I think going forward I will use one because 2 makes a lot for these guys)
1/4 tsp of milk (too much dairy isn’t good for parrots but a little is okay. If I was only using one egg I would do 1/8 tsp)
1 tsp of crushed red peppers
butter (Used for frying)

So I mixed the eggs, milk and crushed red peppers in the bowl with the fork while heating the butter in the pan.  All the white you see is the egg shells, you can barely see any milk.

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The ingredients in the bowl

Once all the ingredients are mixed and the pan is heated, you put your mixture in it and you keep scrambling it until it is well done. Fyi I used no oil.
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For the sake of the pictures, I made the eggs a bit more well done then usual however you have to make sure it is well done as you don’t want to risk giving your parrots anything that isn’t fully cooked. I put paper towel down to soak up the butter that was used to cook the eggs.

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It’s a quick breakfast and gives your parrots something different. The egg shells help to give a bit of calcium so still a healthy choice plus minimizing the use of oil definitely is a plus! I use the crushed red peppers to give it a little spice as parrots do like things a little hot.

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I gave piper a bit too much so he didn’t finish his food however everyone else ate it all up. Let the food cool and serve!! Don’t serve your parrots HOT food.

As always scrambled eggs were a success!!

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!