Lost Piper, our Quaker Parrot

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So I did the stupid month of no pellets and everything seemed fine however I forgot about Piper. His diet should have been monitored a little more closely because he is prone to the fatty liver disease. The last week of “no pellet month”, he started refusing to eat his food, he was still eating his treats when trained but otherwise the fruit, veggies, pasta, rice, bread etc was not being touched.

He somehow managed to maintain his weight of 99 kg so I wasn’t too worried and I knew it was just a matter of days before I would go to the store to buy pellets. I continued to monitor him. His poop was hard to monitor because of all the fruit and veggies being incorporated into their diet, so it was very watery. Anyhow he was still training and activity level remained the same, until that Thursday, he came out of the cage and started training but refused the treat at one point. Piper has NEVER refused a safflower seed EVERY! My red flags immediately went up! He flew away from everyone on to a stand that’s in a corner. If you know Piper, he is a social butterfly and never wants to be alone. The Wednesday he weighed 97kg but it was still close to 99 so I wasn’t concerned but that Thursday he weighed 91kg I immediately was scared. He flew away from me and wouldn’t fly back when called, I was scared.

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Friday came and he was at the bottom of his cage, not being able to lift his head up for long. He weighed 81kg. He mustered up all his energy to fly once or twice when out otherwise he would find a dark spot and hide. I was in trouble. My credit card for the birds were maxed and I was in negative in my bank account (being on maternity leave is not easy :(). I was devastated over the fact that Piper needed me and I couldn’t bring him to the vet because I was broke! I made sure to provide him water via my finger so he wouldn’t be dehydrated and put him in his cage with a cover so he could rest.

Saturday morning, I was scared to uncover him but I did and he was still alive. I sent for pellets, milk thistle and a syringe. I made the pellets into a mash with the milk thistle and fed him through the syringe 1ml every hour. He seemed to be doing better. In the night I tried to give him 4ml of the mash and when I went to weigh him he became unbalanced, fell to the floor, I believe hitting his kneel (I made have that spelt wrong) bone and died.

I feel like I failed Piper, Lola, Parenting Parrots, my kids and myself. I’m so sorry, I don’t know where I went wrong but I know just like with Lola I feel an empty space in my heart.

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Piper was amazing beyond words. Every morning I was greeted with “Good Morning, How are you?” and I would respond with “Good Morning Piper, I’m good how are you?” He would then say, “I’m good, how are you?” I believe he was waiting for me to teach him what to say next but I never did. Every evening we ended our night with a wonderful, “Good night”. Piper would sing Sugarland – Stuck like Glue. It was his favorite song, even when we would be singing a different song he would jump in with Sugarland lyrics. He knew all the kids’ names and would call each one. He especially loved to call Shennai because she would bring him a treat every time he called for her. He would be the starter of our “peek-a-boo” games. He would say it first and the other birds would follow. He just learned “Peek-a-Boo, I see you”. So if I said Peek a boo he would respond with I see you. He was just so talented. He loved interacting with people and other birds.

Piper would fly to the other parrots’ cage and let them out.  I was planning on having a video on YouTube called “Prison Break – Parrot edition” and it was going to show Piper letting out Rasta or Ringo or himself as those are the only 3 cages he could open. I would turn my back and all of a sudden I would have Piper and Rasta out doing nonsense hahaha. I miss those days now. The house doesn’t seem the same without him – he was the glue that truly kept the flock together.

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He would always engage with all our visitors. He is going to be missed so much! I loved watching his green and blue wings soaring through the house, I was so excited to get him harness trained so I could take him outside and now I will never have that chance. NEVER  in a million years did I think I would lose Piper so soon. I was always so careful with him and his diet. I don’t know what exactly went wrong but I take full responsibility. Life will never be the same without Piper here to stir things up but this has gotten me doing further research into the other parrots’ diet because it’s the only thing I could think of that went wrong.

I’m sorry for the long post but I’m still hurting. I sit and watch the videos of him every night, it feels unreal and I’m to blame because I didn’t have money saved for their emergencies like I recommend others to do. I feel like a hypocrite, I tell everyone to make sure they do it and here I am with their credit card maxed so I couldn’t do what needed to  be done. Maybe if I had the funds, I could have saved his life. I will still be blogging about things to do with Quakers because now more than ever do I feel the need to share how they should be taken care of and how precious they are. I feel like I took Piper for granted and I’m experiencing that feeling of: “You never know what you have until it’s gone.” I have a video of Piper, the Friday before he died but it’s sad.

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I will not be obtaining another quaker parrot a.k.a monk parakeet unless I somehow inherit one. It hurts when you lose a member of your family.  We got Piper the same time my 1st daughter was born maybe that’s why they were so close. She keeps asking me for him, so far I told her he is at the doctors. I don’t know how to tell her he is gone. At first, I was wondering if I could get another quaker and re-teach it all the things Piper knew so she wouldn’t know the difference but financially it’s not an option so I’m hoping with time, she will slowly become unattached and I can then break the news.

Please don’t judge me, I just know Piper was her favorite and I don’t want to see her heartbroken. The below video was a brief video that isn’t complete, it was shot in the end of December 2017, I started it for our YouTube channel but changed my mind and used a different footage.

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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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To Clip or Not to Clip? That is the Question

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I will be completely honest, I blame clipping of my Galah Cockatoo’s wings to be the cause of her death(Will be a storytime on our Youtube channel). Overall, she felt incomplete as a bird and because she barely had learned how to fledge at that time, she never understood the importance of her wings hence her breaking them every time they grew in. A lot of people clip their birds’ wings and justify it for different reasons, I don’t argue with anyone. I listen and understand their point of view but you know what my thought on it comes down to?!? THEN DON’T GET A BIRD!!

A bird is meant to fly, are you still a bird if you can’t fly?? I think that makes them a chicken or a turkey or a rooster but definitely not a bird…. I will never tell someone they are wrong for clipping but is it not selfish to clip a bird because you can’t take the proper precautions to keep them safe? Wouldn’t it be better to leave them in the pet store or at the breeder’s house so someone who doesn’t have to risk their “winglyhood”, for safety can take them? I’ve heard about many accidents with parrots who have flown away or flew into a fan, etc :(. But couldn’t those have been prevented?  Such as making sure windows and doors aren’t opened when the bird is out or by turning off that fan? Maybe I just don’t understand as I’m not in those situations to have to make those type of decision but regardless let’s think about the bird.

To Clip

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Part of a bird’s anatomy is their wings just like humans, it’s their legs. Let’s say someone broke my legs and said no worries it will fix, it’s only temporary. In that time frame I’m paralyzed, I can’t move like I want to – I am at the beck and call of others. I have to rely on others as I can’t do for myself like I normally would, this is the same for clipped birds. Now some people may say nope! It’s not like that. Clipping wings is more like getting a haircut as it doesn’t hurt the bird and it will grow back. Yes that is all true however it is still temporarily paralyzing them from making the decision to flight or fight.

I have clipped birds but they are only clipped because they came to me that way so I patiently wait it out until their wings grow back in. I used to clip my parrots’ wings all by myself, I have also went to the vet to get it done. I never thought anything more about it until I started watching and observing my birds and realizing how BEAUTIFUL it was to see them spread their wings and fly. I love it! I haven’t clipped my African grey in 4 years and although he barely flies whenever he does, I feel like a proud mommy.

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A lot of behavioral issues can arise from having a clipped parrot because of the lack of exercise. Flying is so important to parrots, it’s how they release all that built up energy so if you add flying plus foraging plus training and the perfect diet – YOU CAN ACQUIRE THE PERFECT PET! But without the flying aspect, what exercise can you give a parrot that would release the same amount of exercise that flying for 30 mins a day would help them release? One thing I used to do when Grayson’s wings were clipped is have him come out of the cage, I would hold on to his feet and tell him to flap his wings. He was great at it but it definitely was not releasing the same amount of energy that flying would have.

Once, I clipped Piper’s wings because people said it would make him easier to train and manage. Well let me tell you – I received a MONSTER from that. He went from never biting to always biting. He was miserable being clipped and now that he isn’t clipped anymore, he is back to his normal self. Yes, he flies from me but I understand that is his way of communicating to me to let me know he either had enough or is bored with what I’m doing etc….

There will always be pros and cons to clipping and not clipping your bird’s wings. It truly comes down to a personal preference. Do what’s best for you and for your parrot so you can both enjoy all that life has to offer.

 

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5 yr old Grayson

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Can’t Have Just One!?!

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Why do you have so many birds? Why not sell them all and have just one?

Good questions and good points but why have more than one child? Why not tie your tubes after one? Is it fun being alone? Sometimes one is best and I wonder when I see people with one parrot how it would be if I had stopped at just Lola or just Grayson but then I feel the same way when I see people with one child. What if I never had any more children after my son? Why didn’t I just stop at one?

There are pros and cons to both sides. When you have one child/parrot you have more time to devote to that one child/parrot. You have more money to spend on that one child/parrot. Life is easier with one, it’s more manageable having that solo dependent but for me I yearned for more. I wondered about what would it be like if I had a girl or a different type of parrot… Did I have to have 6 more parrots on top of my one bringing my number to 7 – definitely not! But did I have to have 3 more kids on top of my one bringing my children to 4 – definitely not! I look at my parrots like my children, each one brings something different to the table. Yes, there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough and stop and I have finally gotten there. 7 is my lucky number, it’s God’s number.

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Rasta and Piper

I have come into obstacles and had to make decisions to rehome parrots. Some parrots have come into my life and I realized this parrot isn’t for me but I do my best to find them a good home and 9 out of 10 times, I’m taking a pay lost to put them into a good family. I rather take a lost in price and feel secure about where I’m housing them then stick to my price and feel like I’m putting them in a bad situation.

Re-homing is never easy and I do talk about re-homing some birds in this article however I think the major problem is a lot of people don’t see their parrot as a part of their family. My parrots are a part of my family. Grayson is 5, Nyx is 4, Piper is 3, Ringo is 18 months, Rasta is 16 months and I added 2 more members to my flock who I haven’t told you about yet but if you are on my instagram then you would have already seen pictures of them.  I don’t have names yet hence why I haven’t posted information about them yet however one is 23 months old and the other is almost 16 weeks old this Sunday. This is my flock and I won’t be changing it unless I decide to get into breeding which is still up for debate.

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Chiko – was with me for 2 months before being re-homed to a good home where I still go and see him and Maro (the female pied cockatiel) every now and then

I did try to downsize my flock to 5 but for some reason, somehow my number always comes back to 7 so I’m calling defeat and staying at 7.

Each of my parrids (parrot kids) offer something different to the table, no 2 are alike and I love that! Piper is very independent but wants to make friends within the flock, Rasta is very hyper and likes to play fight but doesn’t like to be touched around his head, Ringo is very aloof and doesn’t want to engage with anyone unless he is being trained. Then we have Nyx who wants to always be with me and Grayson the most jealous bird of them all and is open to anything! They all talk and say different things and I just love watching a child/parrot grow, I love seeing their growth.

So to the question of why can’t I just have one? Because one was just not meant for me! I need and want the different personalities and learning styles around me. It keeps me on my toes and helps keep my mind stimulated. I’m constantly thinking of their learning styles and how to teach each one, kind of like a mini classroom hahaha. This is my family!

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Shhhhhh….. They need to sleep too!!

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Indian Ringneck sleeping – sorry I was trying to take these pictures discretely

So I forgot to write-up my post for you guys last night and I jumped up this morning thinking OH NO! Felt like I was late for a school assignment deadline lol. As usual I get up between 5am and 7am to use the washroom, this pregnancy has me going every 2 hours it feels like… Anyways every time I get up I have to be mindful of the sleeping creatures around me.

The kids and their reptile (although I just looked at him and he is wide awake) lol, The Rabbits and the birds. That’s A LOT of creatures to try to not wake up when making your way to the washroom in a small apartment. I find that the rabbits will sleep through noise as mine seem to be nocturnal or something, as they will be up with lots of energy at nighttime and sleep through the noise in the day. My parrots however are a different story. One little noise and they will be up looking. I can’t even turn on my light or else I know they will be up wanting to inquire about what is going on. Now, to avoid this issue most people cover their birds at night, it also apparently helps with them getting their full 12 hours sleep. I do not cover my parrots even though I wonder if I should. Their personalities seem fine. I don’t really have to encounter any grumpiness but what if they are missing out on 12 hours, could I be depriving their life span by maybe 5 years or something?

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The flash obviously woke her up

I’m not sure but definitely something to research and look into. All I know is every night/early morning I get up and walk on my tippy toes saying to myself, “Shhhhh….Do not wake the parrots, they need sleep too!” (Maybe I should get a tattoo like Rihanna saying Shhhhh)….I never thought that I would think of an animal with such respect before. If you knew me when I was little, you wouldn’t picture this to be my life now hahaha. I was a “chicken” of every living creature that could move, if it wasn’t human, I didn’t want anything to do with it.

It’s funny because I’m here talking about how they need at least 10 – 12 hours of sleep at night and how to have respect and be mindful of their needs BUT our they mindful of mine?? When I want to sleep until 12pm do you think they are sitting around saying, “Shhhh… She needs to sleep?” I’m living proof, that’s a NO! Some days they wake up so early, I’m putting the pillow over my head thinking why did I get birds? Am I crazy? Imma sell them all! Once I actually get up, all those negative thoughts disappear and I remember how much I love them. I could probably get more sleep if I covered them at nighttime so I have no one else to blame for the early morning wake up alarms but myself.

Quaker Parrot being disturbed while Sleeping

Sleeping Quaker, I think I woke him

They are actually convenient when you think about it…. As long as I have to get up after sunrise, I don’t need to set an alarm because I have a few personal alarm systems that will never fail. At least not as long as they are alive and well. Right now it is 7:55am and Ringo, my Indian Ringneck is the first one up. He isn’t actually making any noise however. He is playing with the foraging toy I made with the cereal box. That idea was inspired by Patricia Anderson. I absolutely LOVE HER! She has been such a strong mentor in my life even though it’s only been through social media. Any ways she posted her foraging idea on Facebook so I copied and I will be making one for every parrot! So convenient and cheap hahaha. After I post this, I’m planning to head back to bed, I want at least an hour’s more of rest. That might be wishful thinking though because I can see the early morning tint of blue shining through the curtains already which means it’s only going to be a matter of time before the birds start chirping.

The moral of this post hahaha just in case I didn’t make it clear is that Parrots need at least 10-12 hours of sleep in order to be able to function at their full potential so when you need to be up early just be mindful of…. “Shhhhh… They need sleep too”.

 

African Grey sitting on his food bowl when he should be sleeping
He never seems to sleep lol


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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.

lorikeet-approved

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!

The Test -Chapter 4 – Week one and week two update

Video

Week one was pretty straight forward, I just made sure my “parrids” ( get it??! Parrot kids – PARR from parrots and IDS from kids lol… My new word – I’m going to have to start an index if I keep this up.) knew everything they needed to and were ready to start the The Parrot Wizard’s Guide to Well-Behaved Parrots

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The Parrot Wizard’s Guide to Well-Behaved Parrots

Chapter 4 is called “Taming and Training”. He covers the different type of punishment and reinforcement terms he will be using. He has sections on Motivation, Food Management, Clicker Conditioning, Target Training, Step up,  Touch/Grab, Towelling and Turning on Back. I refused to look at Chapter 5 until I spent at least 2 weeks in Chapter four. I also want to say before doing all of this it is important to have done some trust building exercises because I feel that makes or breaks your relationship with your parrots.

Day one (Saturday November 5):
         Today, I weighed and monitored my parrids making sure I watched how much they ate in a serving, how much they didn’t eat etc. I implemented the first two sections: Motivation and food management. I did absolutely no training with them as I wanted to follow the book as close as possible and not fall back into my old habits of training. So a pretty boring day.

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Ringo on our scale

Day Two (Sunday November 6):
          Today was clicker conditioning day, making sure all my parrids especially my focus subjects knew what a clicker was. I took them out in the morning, did 10 minutes of clicker training and then put them back in their cages for them to enjoy their breakfast. I did a second training session in the evening before bed. All the parrids already knew the clicker but some became stronger trainees after this. Maybe it is just my mind playing tricks on me but I think by spending the time to really make them understand what a clicker’s purpose is, did in fact help me with training Marlee. Everyone else I didn’t see a difference as they were properly introduced to the clicker. I think with Marlee, I must have missed a step because I believe she never truly understood the sound of the clicker. Also with Ringo, (Even though he isn’t part of the focus subjects) I was still using the clicker far away from him as he was afraid of the sound, I now can use the clicker right by him. So call me crazy but I think by really taking the time to introduce the clicker versus just starting to train with it, makes a difference. Check out the video below of how to properly clicker train your parrot which can technically work for any animal that can be trained.

Day Three and day four (Monday November 7 & Tuesday November  8):
   
     Today was target training day, my parrids also already know target training so it was another easy task for me to do.  I did two 10 minute sessions a day. Day three I focused on doing target training inside of the cage. Day four was target training outside the cage. All parrots were very successful as expected. For those who don’t know what target training is. It is a “Chopstick”, clicker and a treat. You put the stick some where, the parrot moves towards it and touches it, you click and give the treat. If your parrot doesn’t know target training, you put the stick right in front of them and wait until they touch it. Do that a few times and slowly move the stick further and further out of their reach until they have to actually move to touch it.


Day Five and day six (Wednesday November 9 and Thursday November 10):
       “Step up”, “Step up”, “Step up”. I tried to follow all his instructions but I have to admit for the parrots that already knew step up, I had to kind of just go over my previous step up sessions. What he says in the book makes sense though because there are times that I go to step up a parrot and it moves away from me. He recommends to teach your parrots to step up by targeting – I think that’s a great idea however I was having a difficult time with it. I did what worked for me and all my parrots were successful except… I found that Marlee is actually afraid of hands so I had to revert back to trust building exercises and target training her inside of her cage. Piper is afraid of perches, so I slowly been introducing him to different perches. I couldn’t do step up by targeting so I taught step up the only way I know how by simply asking the parrot to step up on different perches.

Day 7 (Friday November 11):
            I read over the sections of touch/grab, towelling and turning on back. I was already familiar with towelling as it is something I do every now and then with Grayson, my african grey. The touch/grab method is going to need more time for me to grasp the concept and the turning on back, some of my parrids already do however it wasn’t taught to them as he describes it so I will also have to work with them on this. Basically my training session on Friday was simply just going over target training and stepping up. This concluded my 1st week of trying to train my parrids off of The Parrot Wizard’s Guide to Well-Behaved Parrots

Conclusion: So far, so good. He covers the basics which is important to be successful in the training process and he is teaching things that will help with the basics that parrots are exposed to such as vet visits, grooming etc… If you teach your parrot towelling that eliminates the fear of when the vet wraps them in a towel. If you teach touch/grab that eliminates the fear of when they have to be grabbed out of their carrier and held for the vet. If you teach turning on back, that eliminates the stress of when the vet is checking them out and grooming them. Step up helps you be able to transport your parrot whenever you want. Target training is just a basic method needed to continue the training process in my eyes anyways. Clicker training is the perfect “bridge” to let a parrot know they did an excellent job and will be rewarded for it.    

Week Two:

Day 8 ( Saturday November 12) – Day 14 (Friday November 18):
        This week I continued doing target training in and out of the cage. I continued teaching step up however not by the book standards but by my way of teaching it, getting them used to hands and different perches. I really focused on trying to teach touch/grab, towelling and turning on back however I only got to do touch/grab and even that I didn’t finish. Hovering your hand over a parrot’s head is something that we are taught from the very beginning not to do, as it is like a predator for them but this is exactly what touch/grab is telling you to do. I was able to touch some of the parrids but Piper and Marlee are not that strong in stepping up with different perches and especially Marlee who doesn’t like hands – I didn’t even bother to attempt this with them. So the only test subject that was exposed to this was Grayson and I’m now really close with my hand over him however I started off really far away but I’m still not touching him. I also did this with Nyx, my black-capped conure who I can touch on her head and back with my hand hovering over her. He does tell you in the book that these methods are taming methods and may take a while before you are able to reap the benefits so as of Saturday November 19, I will be reading chapter 5 and moving on while continuing to work on “taming” my parrids more.

Update (Thursday November 30th, 2017: This was started November of 2016 and then I  had stopped implementing it well I started this process all over and I can hover my hand over Piper and Purrain (irn) but did a good distance away. Towelling, I might try teaching it the way I taught it to Grayson as The Wizard’s way seems as though it would take longer. Turning on back – I am only able to do with Nyx (even though she is not one of the test subjects.)

Parenting Parrots!

Parrot Wizard’s Guide to the Test

Aside

Hey everyone!

So I found the Parrot Wizard on YouTube and absolutely fell in LOVE with his two parrots, mostly his Senegal as he was displayed more often. Anyhow he apparently tamed a re-home macaw in 6 months, that’s what really caught my attention. I decided to buy his book – The Parrot Wizard’s Guide to Well-Behaved Parrots. I haven’t finished reading it completely however I have decided to put him to the test. There are things in there that I don’t agree with however just like parents of kids have different views and opinions on raising kids, I feel the same thing applies when raising parrots.

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The Parrot Wizard’s Guide to Well-Behaved Parrots

Whether I agree with him or not the end results still speak for themselves, he has two very well-trained (behaved) parrots that all of us dream of having. I consider most of my parrots to be well-behaved however let me be honest there are times that they make me want to jump off a cliff hahaha or at least make me question if they have a split personality. So what I decided to do is take 3 out of 7 of my parrots to follow his book instructions to the tee.

In the first chapter he talks about getting a parrot, I feel he spends a lot of time trying to tell people not to get a parrot although he claims otherwise. If I wasn’t already a parrot owner, I would have been turned off of owning one. With that being said though, he isn’t wrong in his description of how much work owning a parrot is. He also talks about getting as much information as you can on that specific species – I’m TOTALLY an advocate for getting a book on the bird you have or want. I so agree! Number One recommendation!!!! So there is nothing I need to implement from chapter one as I already have a parrot, I have a book on the parrot and I have brought my parrot to the vet, so health check – DONE!

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The Parrot Wizard with the re-home macaw

Let’s move on to chapter two. In this chapter he talks about your living arrangements. All hazardous items have already been removed from my household, each parrot has its own cage with the correct bar spacing. I have the list of things he requires and all my parrots have perches and toys. The transition from carrier to cage was different for all my parrots however it’s already been done so moving on…. Chapter two – DONE!!

Chapter 3 is called early interactions, he briefly covers trust building (which I do agree is the Number one thing needed in order to have a great relationship with your parrot – this is what my e-book will be about). This chapter also includes desensitization methods, nutrition, treats and sleep. Okay, so I already have my parrots on a healthy diet, I know their treats and although he recommends 12 -14 hours of sleep – my parrots are getting 10 – 12 hours so I still think that is good. As for desensitization – I believe this area is an ongoing section, as you will always be trying to desensitize your parrots to things. In regards to not being afraid of you, yes I got that down so chapter three – DONE!!

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The Parrot Wizard with his two parrots

Chapter 4 is where I am going to start putting his methods to the test. This is his taming and training chapter. He discusses positive reinforcement, motivation, food management, clicker conditioning, target training, step up, touch/grab, towelling and turning on back.

So I have elected 3 parrots to do his methods: Grayson, piper and Marlee. I choose these 3 because they are the most different in behavior right now.

Grayson has already been trained but I will be going back to the basics and seeing how he reacts to each of the Parrot Wizard’s methods. Maybe I can improve his training, who knows. **UPDATE** Grayson will be trained using Birdtricks methods!!

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Grayson

Piper loves to train but likes to be in control so we’ll see if he will change under these circumstances.

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Piper!!

Marlee is the newest one to the flock. She has learned to step up and started showing that she gets potty training but I haven’t done much more with her than that. **UPDATE** Marlee has been rehomed and is doing great in her new home

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Marlee @ 18 weeks and 4 days old ( 4 and a half months old)

I will do reviews on their weekly progress. Today, Saturday November 5th, 2016 is our first day….

**UPDATE** This training will still be done on Piper and I will be using one of our newest members a Black Lory

Parenting Parrots!

Halloween @ Parenting Parrots!

Aside

 

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Ringo on a pumpkin

It’s almost halloween and I wanted to do something special for you guys… So at Parenting Parrots we decided to really celebrate halloween this year and do something we have never done before…. (Drumroll please)

I GOT HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS!! LOL I know it’s nothing big but to me, it’s HUGE!!! I’m so excited about celebrating halloween at Parenting Parrots I can’t contain my excitement!

I GOT PUMPKINS!!! So, I’m in my 30’s and in all my years, (whispering) I have never carved a pumpkin :(. LOL I hope I’m not alone in this but anyways Junior Jay and I will be carving pumpkins with our PARROTS!!!! You can watch our halloween video here:

We had so much fun decorating and carving pumpkins I think we will have to do a halloween special every year! I hope you guys had as much fun watching us, as we had making everything! It was a first for all the parrots (not sure about Nyx) and us so a big thing to be excited about!

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Nyx on a pumpkin

Pumpkins are okay for parrots to have so we had nothing to worry about in getting their help with the decorating!

To everyone who is celebrating…

HAPPHALLOWEEN FROM

PARENTING PARROTS

TO YOU!!!!

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Our pumpkins!