After my scare with the gray cockatiel named Sky, I was certain birds were not for me. However, I was drawn back to parrot ownership a few years later and decided this time I was going to an actual pet store to purchase a bird. There, I fell in love with a Senegal parrot who we named Chico. He was just a baby at PJ Pets in Sherway Gardens Mall and I was certain he would be mine. I was torn between him and a baby Congo African Grey so I purchased both of them from PJ Pets and was content with my decision. They were both babies so I had to wait for them to be weaned before I could take them home.
Chico was ready to go home before the African Grey so we took him home first. Within a week of having Chico, he could say “JayJay (my son’s name)” and “Chico“. I was so IMPRESSED! Every morning I would get up and take Chico out of his cage and let him hang out on a stand at the bottom of my bed as my son and I would cuddle back to sleep. Chico would come on the bed, walk up to my son and say “JayJay”. It was GREAT for all of us and we were enjoying the time so much but our happiness wouldn’t last. Before the first week was done, my intuition kicked in that something may be wrong with Chico. I was new to parrot ownership but I had read and researched so much, I just felt that things weren’t normal.
Chico was losing his tail feathers. Why? I called the store and they told me Chico was most likely molting and it was nothing to be worried about. My response was, molting at 3 months? That doesn’t seem right. I spoke to the manager and made a deal that I would bring Chico in to be seen by their vet and if nothing was wrong with him, I would pay the vet bill. That was the last time we ever seen Chico.
Chico had a liver problem so they refused to sell him to me. I told them, I was okay with them prescribing medication and letting me take him after he was better. There was no getting better for Chico it was just a countdown. I was devastated. We missed Chico and I didn’t know what to do next. I returned his cage and never got another Senegal again.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I would love a Senegal but I just don’t want to take away from Chico’s memory. So instead of a Senegal, we got the next best thing… A BROWN HEADED PARROT!!
Out of all my birds, the Lories/lorikeets are by far my favorite. They are very energetic and keep me on my toes however they also make me worry a lot. I’m always wondering if they are healthy, if I left the nectar too long, if I’ve given them enough fruits, etc… The list of worry goes on and on. Through all those worried thoughts are smiles, laughters and sometimes tears.
Building a relationship with Kodak, our Black lory was by far the hardest thing I had to do. He would screech, lung to bite me and I was ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of his bite. All I remember thinking is maybe I met my match, he is the bird that’s going to show me I suck at bird ownership. He is going to be my “fearful” bird. Kodak is quite the opposite. I kept trying to teach him to step up, turn around, station and I thought this parrot is just not getting it and I was losing my patience until one day it just happened. He stepped up and our bond has just blossomed ever since.
Rasta went from being a bird that didn’t really care for us to being almost caught up to Grayson, our African Grey’s training level. He has impressed me beyond words. His vocabulary is strong and clear. He is energetic and enthusiastic about training and interacting but yet he also wants to have things under his control. Rasta went from not interacting with my son to only wanting to interact with him. An absolute 360 degree turn around but one that I welcomed and encouraged. Rasta is the only bird in the house that prefers my son but I’m happy about it because my son now considers Rasta to be his. They do a lot together, play around in the bed, watch tv, play video games even when my son is doing homework Rasta is right by his side. My son can get Rasta to step up from anywhere. For me? Not so much.
I absolutely have nothing bad to say about Lories/Lorikeets. I haven’t met one that I didn’t adore. I would be happy with a houseful of Lories but I can imagine it would get quite noisy and I have enough noise to last me a lifetime hahaha. With all that being said though, they definitely aren’t for everybody especially the green-napes. I have heard so many complaints about them, it saddens my heart because it really comes down to patience and understandings. I’ve had people offer to surrender their green-napes to me and I’ve had to turn them down as I just don’t have the living space unfortunately. These guys can be very nippy and very demanding if you are a passive individual so you need to know the type of person you are before getting one.
On this quest of a natural raw food diet for my parrots comes the addition of Microgreens. Getting into the microgreens was a fear of mine just like sprouting, although I can sprout, I’m definitely not an expert (yet). Microgreens presented the same type of fear because I can’t keep plants alive so I thought for sure I wasn’t going to be successful at growing microgreens.
The above picture was taken after 6 days of growing these radish microgreens. I had them on my window sill and as you can see they look all wild, just growing all over the place. Also I only read the directions that were on the outside of the box not the inside at this time. I wasn’t impressed with this outcome, it was just like “okay, great, so when can the birds have them” type of feeling. I had to ask the avian group I’m in on Facebook to find out when they could be served. I was advised that once they have leaves they can be served. So these were ready. I recorded the below video but still didn’t feel satisfied with the results so I decided to follow the instructions that were inside the box to see if it would make a difference and BOY, YES IT DID!!!
So, only after a day of following the instructions on the inside of the box, I went from feeling like it’s whatever to O.M.G I’M IN LOVE!! I absolutely love them growing straight up and looking so beautiful. I’m impressed and now excited to add this to me and my parrots’ diet.
The above picture is day 8 of growing these radish microgreens. I already chopped some off as you may have seen in the video but they are still growing and looking stunning! I attempted to grow 3 different microgreens: Radish, Sunflower and Argula. Out of the 3, Radish has been the easiest to grow as there were absolutely no complications or worries. My parrots accepted the little bit of microgreens they received with no issues, so that also showed me that this was definitely an addition I would like/want to continue. With that said, you better believe Microgreens is a MUST when doing a raw whole food diet for parrots.
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I want my parrots on a whole raw food diet! IS there actually such a thing? Because right now it feels like everywhere I turn to for help, education, suggestions and ideas is basically selling PRODUCTS!!!!! So now I need to take a step back and say HOLD UP!!! Is it or is it not possible to feed parrots a whole raw food diet??!
I thought I found the perfect group on Facebook that is run by Dr. Jason Crean. He is a very nice man and I’m sure has very good intentions but since joining that group, I’ve spent at least $1,000 dollars (not including appliances I bought) trying to follow their recommendations and I’m still no closer to feeling like I’m on the right path then I did in the beginning. I purchased their suggested teas (which I still love btw, hahaha), raw nuts (which I already bought anyways so no different than usual), freeze dried worms and crickets (now that was new), Texas Naturals Freeze Dried ($83.20 for 3 little containers with shipping and handling – see picture below), Tops Organic Dream mix bundle ($189.34 plus 52.77 for custom fees) and I’m waiting for Abby Amazon to get the China Prairie products for the rest of this dry food mix. Then I will mix it all together and pray that it lasts me a few months since it will only be given to them once a day. However with all that being said, of course they are not forcing anyone to purchase the products, it is just their recommendation. With this dry mix, pellets are still included regardless of the fact that it is cold-pressed vs. being heated. As I stated before, the African Greys, I met that were in their late 50’s, early 60’s, their owners stated they never knew what a pellet was etc. So I was striving for the same concept ( I wish I took their information now) because they obviously are doing something right. I’ve never seen Dr. Jason Crean’s birds except for his babies so I can’t really say anything about their condition, I can only go off of what he claims. As for his partner, Lou from Parrotsrus on Instagram she has a great flock that includes a Toucan, 2 hyacinths macaw, a Harlequin Macaw and an African grey. All are in great shape as she shows them all the time. The Congo African Grey has plucked his chest feathers when he was about 7 years old and he is 25 now but he is still bare unfortunately however she just started feeding her flock this way about 3 years ago I believe.
Anyways after spending nearly $500 CAD to try and make their dry food mix, I got discouraged. I still have toys, fruits and veggies that I need to buy for them so this dry mix just wasn’t feasible for the Canadian dollar. When I complained about it not being more financially manageable they suggested I duplicate what I can within my country. When I see a recipe or something I’d like to follow, I like to follow it EXACTLY the way it is before changing anything so that suggestion didn’t work for me. Not to mention, I’m already busy with training, cleaning and coming up with foraging ideas that I don’t have the time to sit down and try and figure out how I can duplicate a mix within my own country. OH well, IF this mix lasts me a few months it will end up being worth it but thats a BIG IF!
Next, I joined another facebook group that advertised their name as REAL RAW FOOD. When I first inquired with the owner I was extremely excited about the group so much so that I even recommended it to another avian fellow of mine but within a few interactions I realized this lady too is pushing her product line. Now, I understand that everyone out here needs to make a dollar. HELL, if I’m spending 500 dollars just to feed my flock a dry mix, I need to find a way to make those dollars back too but with that being said, does no one want to just help out fellow parrot owners?!?
So with all this being said, I’m still feeding my parrots Harrison pellets plus a fruits and veggie chop with sprouted items and soaked nuts. I also now offer them the avian teas and that’s currently where I am regarding their nutrition. I will be stopping Harrisons completely and I’ll explain all about that in another post but let me just say I have enjoyed feeding Harrison’s over the past 7 years. Grayson, my 7 year old African grey has never plucked a day in his life and he has been through MANY, MANY changes. Now was that due to Harrisons or just me being the great parrot parent I am? Hahaha, who knows but I give Harrisons credit for that. Now, I do feel that Harrisons is NOT a good option for parrots who can suffer from fatty liver disease. I lost my 2 parrots who both were on Harrisons and both were prone to fatty liver disease. Now was Harrisons to blame? Maybe NOT! But these are little things that I take notice of.
Anyways I have more data on that, that I will post another time. So if you are interested in hearing about that, definitely follow our blog as we go through being a parrot owner.
It sucks that a lot of people end up getting a parrot just because they are cute and they are not aware of the fact that having a parrot is a lifestyle change. Store owners just want to sell the bird so they tell you they are easy, just give them pellets and water and change the paper at the bottom of the cage once a week. HAHAHA, if this was true, we wouldn’t have so many re-homes. I would have 20 instead of 8 birds and I would be rich because I wouldn’t be spending money on toys, perches, food, sprouts, feeding equipment, air filters, cages, vet bills, travel carriers, training tools, seeds and nuts for training, cleaning products, paper towels and I’m sure I’m missing a few other things.
I’ve had to adjust my life SO much to accommodate my parrots and I still am everyday. I went from working full 10 hour shifts to only 6 hours so I can have more time with the birds. I changed my non-stick cookware to stainless steel pots (very costly switch). I had to remove all air fresheners from my house and find homemade, safe options. All cleaning solutions have been removed so nothing remains except bleach, vinegar, dawn dishwashing liquid and good old water options and some bird cleaning products. I buy LOTS of paper towels and have to stop my “night owl” tendencies to make sure I’m being sensitive to their 10-12 hour night rest. I have to get up earlier in the morning to make sure I feed and change their water bowls/bottles before I go to work. So now that I have to be at work for 7am and I have to leave home by 6:30am to make it on time. I usually wake up at 5am so I can have an extra 30 minutes to accommodate them. I usually like to train before breakfast but unfortunately I just can’t find the extra time to do that in the mornings now except for on weekends. So I now train before lunch or before dinner depending on how much they ate from breakfast.
I have to consider how long I’m going to be out of the house if I’m leaving to go somewhere. I haven’t had a vacation since acquiring my birds because I haven’t lined up a sitter and I’m still concerned about leaving them with others to care for them (worried mommy). Your life will never be the same. Having parrots is a lifestyle change. I used to work from home answering the phones hahaha I can’t do that with parrots in the house, they are just too unpredictable regarding when they will decide to vocalize. I have to retreat from my living room at a certain time so they can get to bed on time. EVERYTHING and ANYTHING I do includes how it will affect my birds. They are just like having kids. I should know I have quite a bit of both hahaha.
This type of change is NOT for everyone, definitely think twice before deciding if you truly want a bird. No more using the oven self-cleaning option for an easy clean, no more sleeping in or being lazy, DEFINITELY more cleaning and then more education. My learning NEVER stops when it comes to having parrots and if you are seeking the best for your birds, yours won’t stop either. So just think about all these things BEFORE you add a bird to your life. Are you ready for a lifestyle change?
If so please comment below with what birds you have decided to make this change for example an African Grey parrot, Amazon, Macaw, Cockatoo? Which bird has captured your heart and what other type of lifestyle changes did you have to make that maybe I forgot to mention?
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There is something about watching parrots work for things that personally warms my heart. So I’m always looking for ways to enrich their lives. Parenting Parrots has so many things going on, I can barely find the time to inform you guys of everything but I will try to be more consistent. If we think about the parrots in the wild, what do we know about them? We know that food isn’t just given to them freely, we know that they spend a great deal amount of time foraging for food while making and protecting babies. Now, as much as I would love to mimic the wild environment, I unfortunately can’t BUT what I can do is try to come as close as possible to making them be fully stimulated, enriched and engaged.
The above picture is something that I can give to all my parrots including the Lories. I took little containers, filled them up with fruit. You can use whatever type you like. For this mix I used raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, mangoes and some cashews and almonds (I eliminated the cashews and almonds for the lories). Once I finished putting the food in, I filled it up with coconut water and put them in the freezer. So the next morning, I took them out, removed them from their containers and gave one to each parrot. Since it was frozen the birds got to lick and suck on the cold coconut water and while it defrosted right there, they got access to the food bits. It wasn’t a lot of work but at the same time it made it interesting and engaging for the birds especially since they kept at it for a while before realizing it needed more time to defrost.
This was a tasty little treat and definitely a way to make food more fun and get your parrots that are picky to start trying. I can’t guarantee that they will still eat whatever they are refusing but always introducing items in different ways can get a bird interested in a food item that they previously neglected. Making this cube was quick and easy, less than 5 minutes to prepare and put together. I will offer more cubes like this, more often during the summer months.
You could also substitute the coconut water for whatever type of liquid you like, the options are endless. I hope you will try this and please leave me a comment down below and let me know how your birds liked it. Also if you are going to give this to your lories/lorikeets please remove the nuts. I will be making this again, if you would like a YouTube video on it, please let me know so I can do that for you.
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Thank you for everything! I hope together we can enrich out fids’ lives.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.