The Love Is Real

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The Love is Real” was a comment posted on this site when I first started blogging by my late uncle/twin. I laughed and was like yup but I never really thought twice about those 4 words until now.

Why today? I have no idea, maybe I’m just in a loveable mood but the statement couldn’t be more true. I never knew how much a pet could mean to a person. Growing up we weren’t allowed pets, well, we had some fish but I was never into them and wanted a rabbit or a parrot. I never wanted a dog because I don’t like the cold and there was no way I was going outside regardless of the weather to let a dog relieve itself. It’s weird because I never understood how people could talk so much about their pets, like do they lack an entertaining life? Or are they that lonely that they can only talk about their beloved pet? Pathetic!

Look at me now…. I blog about my parrots haha, you want to get me talking bring up parrots and I will never stop! I can completely understand those people who spoke such passionate words for their pets now. When someone’s pet would die in the office, I was the one standing there listening to them but rolling my eyes inside my head like, “seriously, it’s just an animal go buy a new one.” I’m now that person who will shed tears for my parrots. I guess you truly can never understand or relate to a person until you have experienced a similar situation. I sympathize with all those co-workers now.

My sister has a dog, a cat plus a bearded dragon, a catfish, a turtle and her 3 kids and she will passionately talk about her dog and cat (the others are really her husband’s and the kids). I can relate, so I listen and talk to her regarding training, vets and sicknesses. It’s funny because we talk more about the animals when they are ill than we do the kids haha. But it’s the passion that captures me.

Here, I share my love for parrots with cyber space and I’m glad I can. So to my uncle Brandon and all the other non-pet owners out there that can’t grasp why people devote so much time and energy to their pets, I have four words for you, “The Love is Real“.

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Parenting Parrots

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Grayson, The Grey…Chose Me!!

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WELCOME TO OUR NOVEMBER FEATURE OF THE MONTH – GRAYSON, THE GREY!!!!

When I first got Grayson, I was a newbie to the parrot world but I had done extensive research and knew I wanted a grey. Everyone told me, if you don’t work from home then do not get a grey. I got one anyways! (Can you say stubborn?)

Grayson chose me! I got to the breeder’s house with no clue about what to expect and there were 3 baby greys all playing around a cage. I wanted a female but they weren’t DNA tested yet so I had to wait for the results. I got first dips as I was the first customer. As I sat there, this beautiful grey kept coming over to me, kept interacting with me, I just couldn’t resist. I took notice of his band (a band is a ring of identification that they put around the bird’s feet) and told her I was very interested in that one. Their hatch dates were June 9, 11, 13, 2012. Their parents were Lady and Miata. Grayson I believe was born on June 11th or 13th, 2012 since I can’t remember we celebrate his birthday on June 12th.

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I contacted the breeder in the beginning of August and I went for my first visit on August 24th, 2012. She was very knowledgeable, she tested all her breeder birds for the 4 most common diseases and she was very concerned about the babies getting properly socialized. She discussed everything with me, from temperament to cage sizes to harness training. She was just a book full of information. My son and I spent a good amount of time there before we left.

In this batch, there was 1 girl and 2 boys. Grayson turned out to be a boy and I decided since he chose me, I’m going to take him. The day that I actually went to go pick him up he was growling at me. Now they say never take a growling bird so I became hesitant at that time but I said he chose me so regardless of why he is growling now, we’ll get through it and I took him home. I took him to the vet right away as to not void her health guarantee and he got everything checked (blood work and all) and he received a clean bill of health. I think back to that day and say if I had listened to what that book said, I would have missed out on a beautiful relationship. Follow certain advice but other times you might have to go against that advice and go with your instincts.

Grayson has been through a lot with me from losing other birds, bringing home new birds, having babies in the house, me never being home, etc… But he has never changed on me. No plucking or excessive screaming or phobia to new toys. The only issue I have is, I want him to become more social with others, so we’ve been working on it.

He has come a long way, he now lets my son step him up from his cage and train him even if I’m sitting right there so progress is being made, just got to make sure it remains consistent.

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If you can, let your parrot choose you….It’s not always possible but I can see the difference between the bond I have with parrots who chose me vs. ones who I just picked. Animals in general are good at sensing if they will mesh with you so better they choose.

Anyhow this was how Grayson, the grey came to live here!! Love you Grayson!!

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!

 

Green naped Lorikeets

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So my last addition to our flock is a handful but because there is two of them, I decided to put their information together as usually what I do with one, I would do with the other. With that being said, they are still like night and day. In the picture below Marlee is the one furthest from the camera. I find her to be more standoffish, harder to tame and truly just wants her brother. Whereas in Rasta (the one closest to the camera) is all about having fun. It doesn’t matter if he is with us or his sister as long as he is having a good time. He gives me kisses and doesn’t mind the human interaction. Separately, I don’t find them noisy however together…. Makes me crazy! HAHAHA

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Green – naped lorikeets at 9 weeks old!

There isn’t a lot of information available online about these parrots, I guess because they are known to be really messy and loud, most people stay away from them. They aren’t as popular as the other parrots but they are a blast and although at times I wonder if I should have only stuck with one, I do love them both.

I think of them like bees as I have to make them nectar which is their main source of food however I am learning about their diet as each day goes on and it’s actually fun to try different foods with them. I haven’t found a great book on them but  I have read this book. It gives very basic information but it’s not expensive so a good buy if you want to get a better idea of what this species is about (or you could just click that follow button and learn with us as we go along hahaha – no pressure).

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Almost 6 weeks old

I also got this picture book for my kids to look at before we got our lorikeets. It was a nice way to get them involved.

I followed them from 5 weeks old until the day I got to bring them home. The breeder was very informative and sent me pictures of them every week. I had also given her a harness ( I highly recommend harness training) to start training them but I have since ceased using that, as I need them to get completely comfortable with me first. When I purchased them, I was told to put them in the same cage but no matter how many times I took them out, I found that they were still very protective and always wanted to be together. Which in turn left us with getting nipped a lot. I joined a bird forum which discussed lorikeets and was told to separate them, so I did. I switch their cages every week as one cage is bigger than the other. It eliminates them getting protective over their cage but also doesn’t make one feel like I favor one over the other hence why he/she got the bigger cage. This way they both get a turn. Since then, the nipping has stopped or at least lessened.

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9 weeks old

I have trained them to step up even though Marlee still needs work on that concept. I am trying to potty train them but Marlee doesn’t want to stay with us so she will fly off and end up pooping wherever it lands so until she gets the hang of step up, I doubt I will be successful with potty training her. Rasta has started target training but taking my time as I want to get it on video for you guys.

They  are definitely a more high maintenance type of parrot. I like having them because they have amazing personalities so that makes up for all the extra work however I’m still trying to learn to adjust to living with them regarding cleaning, feeding and just overall day-to-day activities.

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Marlee @ breeders

I don’t feel like I have unlocked their full pet potential as yet but we have to remember they are still only babies and as of today, Nov. 2nd, 2016 I have only had them for 2 months. There is so much to learn and understand about these little guys, some days I feel overwhelmed with all the information I am trying to go through. As I find out more I will keep you guys updated.

One thing about green naped Lorikeets is that they are amazing flyers, watching them soar is just astonishing.

Parenting Parrots!

Parrots Shower too, you know??

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Piper on the shower perch

People always seem amazed when they find out exactly how much work goes into taking care of a parrot, but yet these same people are not amazed at how much work goes into taking care of a dog. Why the different reactions?

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I think because dogs have been domesticated and is a “normal” pet to have, everyone has adjusted to the way of living with them. Parrots are becoming more and more popular as each year goes on however they are still far from being able to declare as domesticated and maybe because of that, misconceptions have followed them for years. “Birds are pets that stay in a cage all day long and all you have to do is give it some toys, a food bowl and a water bowl”. NOT!!! Sorry to disappoint anyone however everything you do for a dog, you have to do for a parrot. So one thing that I wanted to cover today was showering. Parrots shower too, you know? They have bath time!

Some will automatically use their water bowls as their bath water when they need a good washing. Others may decide when you are washing dishes is a good time to jump on in. You may have to force some to take a bath until they learn how to enjoy it however either way it has to happen, it has to happen just like having a dog.

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Grayson, african grey

How often you decide to bath your parrot is really a personal choice but because we are Parenting Parrots we treat our parrots as close as possible to how we treat our toddlers. So technically bathing everyday is what should be happening but of course it doesn’t, as I want to give them a chance to do it themselves. Which means… I bathe them as often as possible usually that’s once every other day. In the summertime, I try to stick to this and I like to do it in the morning around 11am after their morning training and breakfast. So then they have all day to preen and dry off, help keep themselves busy. In the winter time I only shower them twice a week. When I have to go to work obviously this is not an option and I work too early to even give them a quick bath so that sucks but if your parrots bathe themselves anyways then you really don’t have to worry about this.

I used to spray mist them in their cages but then other stuff would get wet and it just seemed like a disaster. So I’m trying this shower perch. Right now they’re all timid on it and act shy. The size I have is a small which seems to work okay for most of the parrots however Grayson, my african grey needs a bigger size (medium) as there’s not enough room for him to stretch out his wings and enjoy himself. Boss, the lovebird needs a smaller perch as she just falls right off and since Nyx always takes her showers when I’m washing the dishes she doesn’t use the perch.

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Boss and Nyx in the sink

Bathing your parrot helps to keep the dander down. Lovebirds and African Grey parrots can make a lot of dander (I think Indian Ringnecks do too). Dander is an informal term for a material shed from the body of various animals, including humans, which have fur, hair, or feathers. The term is similar to dandruff, when an excess of flakes becomes visible. Skin flakes that come off the main body of an animal are dander, while the flakes of skin called dandruff come from the scalp and is composed of epithelial skin cells. Quote from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dander.

The main thing to consider here is that dander can cause allergies if not controlled. I have an air filter for this but i still need to control it by making sure that the birds are constantly taking baths. IT HELPS OUT A LOT!!!

Every now and then I will see Grayson take a bath in his water bowl, which is too small for him to bath in but I love the fact that he is taking his hygiene into his own hands. I especially see this when I’ve been at work the whole week. Boss always uses her water bowl or she will go visit Piper and bath in his water hahaha. Nyx used to bath in her water bowl but now that I have her with me every time I wash dishes, I haven’t seen her use her water bowl in a long time. Piper and Ringo use their water bowl just not as frequently as I would like. Marlee and Rasta bath every day in their water bowl so sometimes I don’t bath them as I make sure I give them fresh water first thing in the morning and as soon as they bath I switch it out but I will be getting them another bowl of water just in case they bath one day and I’m not home to change it. Sometimes I turn on the vacuum to see if they will go bathe in their water on their own, I have yet to be successful with this. But rumor is, to encourage a parrot to bath, turn on the vacuum.

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Ringo in the shower

My biggest pet peeve about this shower perch is that I wish it had grooves. When the birds first go on it, they slip and slide before getting their balance. This seems like the typical shower perch as every one I look at lacks grooves or if it doesn’t lack grooves it costs almost 50 bucks. I will continue to use this perch as once they get a grip they don’t fall off. I keep it low now and very close to the tub so if they do fall it’s not a far drop. My favorite Parrot shop has shower perches that do have texture on the actual perch so if I get really annoyed I might try one and then I can do a comparison review.

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Sorry Rasta wouldn’t stay still so I could get a good picture

Otherwise I have no complaints as it beats having them in the actual tub. I would recommend every parrot owner to invest in a shower perch but of course some people prefer just having them in the sink or misting or letting them bathe themselves. Whatever your method is please just pay attention that your parrot is bathing or getting a shower at least once a week at the very minimal. I know people who take their parrots into the shower with them and have them sit on the railing to catch the mist from their actual shower. That’s cool, if you don’t mind being watched hahaha. I’m shy, so I like my own shower with no eyes but its a good way to bond with your parrot by bathing together…

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Marlee, green naped lorikeet

There is bath soap out there for parrots however I don’t use any because if they were in the wild, they wouldn’t be using it. So there you have it, parrots shower too!!

 

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!