My African Grey is Selfish

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It breaks my heart to see Rasta, our Green-Naped Lorikeet trying to make friends with everyone and being turned away. He is such a nice, little guy I don’t understand why none of the birds play with him.

He has found a way to “bond” with Grayson or at least so he thinks. Rasta will fly to Grayson’s cage and preen Grayson through the cage bars but if I let Grayson out with Rasta, Grayson will attack.
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It’s like Grayson is only using Rasta for his own gain. Poor Rasta, really thinks he has made a friend.

Why is Grayson so selfish? He won’t return the favor so why keep getting the pleasure? When I first got Grayson, Lola was here but yet he still hasn’t learned about sharing. He was never an “only” parrot, so why?

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The Selfish Grey

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How can I teach a parrot about sharing? If you have any ideas or suggestions please leave them in the comments below.

Parenting Parrots

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Re-evaluating My Parenting

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Life in general is hard but when it is up to you to take care of others, it becomes extra hard. Have I grown my babies right? Can I change my parenting style now? Do my babies have so much more potential than what I’ve allowed them to express?

The scary thing about these questions is that they are real questions that I am considering. I want to change my parenting, I feel like I haven’t got my parrots to their complete potential. I’ve sheltered them and border-lined them. MEANING! I treated them like my babies but I also treated them like pets. It would switch between the two. Well, honestly Parenting Parrots is about “Parenting Parrots” so why do I push my human kids to their upmost potential but keep my bird kids to a lower standard? It’s time for a change!

I don’t even know where to start… I compare Parenting Parrots to parenting kids so I have to look at the life cycle of an infant to a toddler to a preschooler to a school ager to a preteen to a teenager to finally an adult…. It may be late but it’s not TOO LATE as long as my parrids (parrot kids) are still alive, I can still strive to make the change I need to make. So I have to make a whole list of steps that I want to take and take it one day at a time.

Some examples:
1) Grayson, my African Grey can only count to 4 however by now he should be able to count to 10 and identify numbers and I’ve kept him to the basics.
2) All my parrots should be able to be out of their cages with the others and not fight.
3) They should be able to hold basic conversations
4) They all should be harness trained
5) They all should be potty trained
6) They should be socialized better

So, the question I ask myself is, “Why aren’t they?” and the answer I get is because “I’ve slacked on them.”

So my first order of business is making my living room more stimulating. Instead of just having two bird stands for them to go to plus the potty perch maybe I can get an atom to hang from the ceiling with more toys or I can make my own bird stand or I can add a large seagrass mat on the wall for them to climb with stimulating foraging options surrounding it, I know the possibilities are endless but I needed this organized yesterday! I just really want to enrich my parrots’ lives and I will do so step by step, day by day.

Oh just to let you guys know I ordered a parrot cookbook so once I receive it, I’ll let you know. I already have Birdtricks.com’s cookbooks but I wanted something different to work with.

Anyways, if you aren’t following me please do so, so you don’t miss this process. I’m excited to see if there will be any change in my parrots by adjusting the little things I can.

Parenting Parrots

The Beginning – First Parrot

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We started our journey by seeing my niece’s cockatiel being so nice and tamed and thought aww, how sweet. The following week I was in the mall and this guy was set up outside of a store with two cages full of cockatiels. Even though, I always wanted a parrot growing up, my actual knowledge was null, to the point I didn’t even know a cockatiel was considered a parrot. As I was standing there deciding which of these birds we were going to bring home, I knew the set up was wrong. It was crowded with so many birds, I felt sorry for them but not knowing any better I purchased a cockatiel from him for 100 dollars. I got a good little cage with a stand, some food and off to home we went.

 

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The guy told me, the bird I chose was a female so we named her Sky but Sky wasn’t welcoming of us at all and as much as I tried, it just wasn’t working. I turned to my sister as they had Jake and he was nice. They came over and helped me clip her wings but Sky still was not having it. She would bite, scream, lunge after us  and just scared us. I regretted getting this bird. After about a month, I convinced my sister to take Sky so she could learn how to behave from Jake. Unfortunately, Sky taught Jake and not the other way around :(. My sister ended up giving Jake and Sky back to Jake’s breeder and within moments of him first meeting Sky she was putty in his hands. To the point he would just have her sitting on his chest and she would willingly stay.

Jake actually turned out to be a She and her name became Jacqueline and Sky went on to have many clutches. For me, I was adamant that a bird WAS NOT the pet for me!! And I continued on my pet journey as you can read about here.

Years later not realizing that Sky was a parrot and not just a bird. I ventured off to obtain my first (what I thought to be my first) parrot, a galah cockatoo that costed me 2,500 CAD and only ended up staying alive for 3 years. Click on that follow button so you don’t miss out on my next post ( My Galah Cockatoo – the parrot that started it all).

Parenting Parrots

Kodak Goes to the Vet

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On April 27th, 2018 I brought Kodak to the vet to get his wellness check done and have a physical. He passed everything with flying colors and I was a happy mommy. Well if you read my sneezing post that was about him. I didn’t want to but I had to bring him to the vet because I didn’t want to risk losing him after the year that I had with losing birds. So to be on the safe side, I ran to the vet.

She looked him over, opened his wings, looked into his eyes, into his mouth, felt his vent basically did another physical and couldn’t find an issue with him at all. So she prescribed Rheumocam 1.5ml every 12 hours. Rheumocam is an anti-inflammatory drug which I believe is usually used for dogs but I guess can be used for any animal. The issue here is that she couldn’t find any evidence of an infection or issue but felt that just in case he came in contact with an irritant that he may be allergic to, we should use this Rheumocam. We could also be in the very early stages of an infection but she didn’t want to treat for an infection when he didn’t have one. So even though he wasn’t showing any proof of an inflamed throat or anything, she felt this may help open up any issues he may be having and stop the sneezing. I don’t like giving drugs period but I have seen a decrease in his sneezing already even though we haven’t made it to 48 hours since seeing the vet yet.

I think the issue is Grayson. My spray bottle broke and I haven’t gone to the dollar store to buy another one so Grayson is very dusty. The reason I say it’s Grayson because I moved Kodak but Rasta is now where Kodak was and I hear Rasta doing some sneezing (now he could just be mimicking Kodak). I’m going to put Grayson in the shower even though he hates that because my shower perch is missing a suction cup so he has to go in the actual tub which he is not a fan of. But I’m hoping Rasta stops and Kodak is good and this scare of SNEEZING will be a thing of the past.

Sorry, I never expected this post to be this long but the real reason I wanted to write it is because in April I spent 353 CAD dollars for Kodak, this most recent visit on July 10th, 2018 cost me $170 CAD and let’s not forget Kodak plus shipping was almost 1200 CAD dollars. In less than a year that’s $1,723 CAD and that’s not including his toys or food. I can’t stress enough how much birds can cost and how they are not cheap. I was always working before so I never watched my money as much as I am now and with currently 5 parrots, I’m now seeing the financial burden that parrots can put on your pocket but I love them so much, I’m willing to be broke for them (well I make my sacrifices for them). However, I would be lying if I didn’t say I hope I don’t have to go back to the vet until next year when Kodak needs his checkup. I seriously wished pet insurance included parrots I would DEFINITELY buy it.

Parenting Parrots

 

Parrot Work

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I think the biggest mistake any parrot owner can make is thinking your parrot is a pretty ornament. Sometimes we don’t realize how much “work” owning a parrot is but “Work” is exactly what it is. I love my birdies just like my own children but one day my children will grow up and leave me. My feathered friends do not have that option unless it’s through death. It truly is a “Til death do we part” relationship or unless the parrot owner decides to give up on that relationship.

The work I put into my parrots is time-consuming, tiring, brain-stimulating but for me it’s rewarding. I stress “for me” because what I see as being worthy you may not. When I see a parrot change their hesitation towards me, it brings joy to my heart ex: a parrot who you can’t get to step up or do anything you ask it to suddenly decides to let you pet them all over or starts stepping up every time makes me happy. Makes me know all my time and effort wasn’t in vain, it is being received.

Parrot work isn’t instant. It’s trial and error and it requires a lot of patience. Patience is something I truly lack but having parrots is teaching me how to deal with it. I’m always looking to learn more, blog more and keep putting information out there as I come across it because I feel people really need to understand EXACTLY what is the commitment when owning a parrot. Unfortunately, it is not an easy task.

Curiosity, love and a cage with food and water are just not enough to keep a parrot happy. Trust me, I’m almost 10 years in and I’ve made LOTS  of mistakes along the way. I’ve also lost a few parrots who never even entered old age. A parrot dying young is hard for me because of the fact that I automatically blame myself and it takes me a while to get over that lost because they aren’t ornaments, they are my family. So a parent’s parrot work is NEVER done!!

Parenting Parrots

What to do with Those Paperbacks??

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You read a book and it’s not worthy of a second read, what do you do with it? Pretty simple, add it to your birdie’s cage and let them have a field day with it. It makes a great shredding toy and will keep them busy forever! This same idea goes for phone books. This is cheap, so it’s very affordable for any parrot parent.

Parenting Parrot

Switched on Me

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When researching about parrots, its always been said that when they mature, they may switch their favorite person. I have never experienced this until now. Rasta, our green-naped lorikeet has switched on me. He no longer cares for or desires my companionship. He has decided that my son is more his type of person. Which is great for my son, they run up and down together, laugh and play, whisper to one another. It’s a great relationship but what happened to our bond? Why can’t he like both of us? I don’t want to take away my son’s bond at all but I still want Rasta to interact with the whole family. I’m assuming I did something that he didn’t like and I’m being punished. It just sucks because I have no idea what I did wrong. Anyhow, I still try to interact with him although he will call my son’s name for most of the day, my son doesn’t get him until after 5pm and it would suck for him to have to wait until my son gets back in for him to come out and enjoy life. I love Rasta and will continue to attempt to work on his bond with the rest of the family when Junior Jay is not around because if he is around, Rasta only sees him.

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Parenting Parrots

Broke but Birdies still needs Toys!

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After taking all the birds to the vet to do physical checkups plus bloodwork and fecal tests while being on maternity leave, you can imagine my pockets are quite deficient right now. What am I going to do? I also went to Bulk Barn and bought 15 dollars worth of training seeds, this was a combination of Pine nuts (the most expensive, spent $12.16CAD), sunflower seeds raw in-shell and out and walnut pieces. In March, I spent $327.00CAD at the bird store that covered nectar, Harrison’s Adult lifetime fine 5lb bag, Harrison High Potency 5lb bag and Harrison Pepper 1lb bag plus some toys and perches. Those toys are over a month old now so my birdies need more stimulation. So again, I asked what am I going to do? I definitely do believe in rotating toys but eventually, the toys just get mashed up and either become garbage or need some serious reconstruction.

I’m going to devote May to be my toy making month. Oh, I can call it “Toy Making May“, hahaha. Over the years I bought so much toy making stuff from the parrot shop but never used them so I definitely have items here that I can play around with. Also, I’m learning how to turn household items such as cereal boxes like I did in this post to make toys. I have cereal boxes, egg cartons, pop bottle caps, etc so I’m sure I have a lot of items to turn into toys that the parrids can love and enjoy.

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I definitely lack the creative gene so I have to research and research to find ideas, talk to other parrot owners etc. I found Kris Porter, who has now become a MAJOR influence in how I care for my birds. Simple ideas like getting a bin and putting plastic lids and containers in it and placing it on the counter or somewhere so the birds can throw the items on the floor were excellent for me. Not only was the idea cheap but it was with items I already had!!!  Parrots are just like kids I tell you! You know when the baby throws the toy on the floor and says “UH OH”, you pick it up and give it back to them and then they do it, again and again, making it into a game? Yup, this is the exact same concept. Kris also recommends making food items and leaving it out for them to find and enjoy, just like they would in the wild, I fell in love with that idea because it definitely stimulates foraging at it’s finest. I’m impressed!

Why didn’t I consider these options before? Who knows, but I am now so that’s all that matters.

Parenting Parrots

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

Warms My Heart

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It warms my heart when I’m watching a video or reading a book and one of my daughters comes out of nowhere and says, “Piper!” or “Grayson” or any of the birdies’ names. Basically what happens is if they don’t know the type of bird it is but we have one, they identify it by our pets’ names. So Piper goes for all Quakers. Ringo goes for all Indian ringnecks and so forth. They know that African greys are African Greys. I thought about teaching them their alphabets through parrot types for example:

A for apple would be A for African grey
B for Boy would be B for Budgie
C for Cat would be C for Caique
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However just because Parrots are MY thing doesn’t mean it has to be their thing and I accept that. That’s why if they express an interest in a different type of pet, I’m open to looking into it. My son has a bearded dragon for years now. When the rest of the kids get older they will have their option of either investing more time with one of the parrots we already have or choosing their own pet. I can’t lie though, to see them take an interest in my parrots does warm my heart and makes me a proud little mommy.

Parenting Parrots