Parrot Training

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I did my first training session for two cockatiels. They wouldn’t step on to the owner’s hands and always wanted to fly away. I spent 20 minutes and had them stepping up to everyone: the mom, 2 young girl kids, the kids’ friends and the older son. It was an amazing experience to see how they went from being afraid and timid towards their own birds to trusting them with just a little bit of encouragement.

I completely enjoyed it and wish I had more clients coming through that I could help have a successful relationship with their bird. I’m just starting to get comfortable in my own skin with training but by me training the client and having them interact with their parrots while getting positive results, definitely gives me a boost of confidence.

If you would like some help with your parrots please contact me. I charge 25 for the hour and in that hour we will quickly cover your parrots’ regular routine, dietary needs, last vet check and any previous medical issues, treats, training sessions and overall history. We will discuss the issue you need to be fixed and from there I’ll do an FA (functional assessment) with you and some suggestions on how we can improve your ABC’s (Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence) to get the desired response.

Contact me

Parenting Parrots

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What is Positive Reinforcement?

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It dawned on me the other day as I was thinking of how I can implement this successfully with my kids that we all use positive reinforcement and probably didn’t realize it.

I used positive reinforcement for training my kids to use the potty. When they would use the potty, I would do a big song and dance number and follow-up with a candy, making the chances for the behavior to be repeated more likely. How I didn’t realize this before, is crazy to me but it is definitely positive reinforcement. I gradually decreased the song and dance and candy-giving once the behavior became habitual and the kids continue to use the potty because the reward of not messing up themselves was just as great/rewarding as receiving a candy was because now they can be considered, “a big kid.”

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When you and your grey have a bond…

Meanings of Positive Reinforcement:
From http://www.study.comPositive reinforcement is the addition of a reward following a desired behavior.

http://www.dictionary.comthe offering of desirable effects or consequences for a behavior with the intention of increasing the chance of that behavior being repeated in the future

http://www.businessdictionary.comCondition where the introduction of a stimulus (challenge, penalty, reward, etc.) increases or maintains the likelihood of the recurrence of the same response (behavior or output).

https://www.alleydog.comA stimulus which increases the frequency of a particular behavior using pleasant rewards.

As you can see 4 different sites, written in their own words regarding their views on positive reinforcement however it all comes down to the same thing. The subject does something you like (desired behavior), you give them something they like/love (reward/the reinforcement) and that increases the likelihood (future behavior) of it happening again in the future. Pretty easy right?

So why is it so hard for people to comprehend that positive reinforcement is better than positive/negative punishment? Regardless of  how many times, I try to tell people we need to “EMPOWER” the animal, child, subject (whether husband/wife or co-worker) people revert back to negative behavior needs to be punished. Think about this, if you get a raise at the end of the year for good behavior what are the chances you will perform bad behavior knowing that you will lose that raise if you do? We go to work and do the work that is required (desired behavior), we get a pay cheque (reward/consequence), which increases the likelihood that we will continue to show up for work until we find something better where the reinforcement is either the job is more to our liking or better pay. This is the exact same concept!!!!!!

Positive reinforcement EMPOWERS while Negative punishment FORCES. Just ask yourself which would YOU prefer?

If you know of a way that you use Positive Reinforcement in your life already please leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to fill out the follow our blog info at the bottom of this page and our YouTube channel is up and running so please remember to subscribe!

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My 3 yr old feeding our violet female Indian Ringneck

Parenting Parrots

Birdtricks’ Steps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Parenting Parrots!

Target Training

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Parenting Parrots!

Birdtricks’ Potty Training Review

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Without releasing their methods or ideas I will keep this post short.

I don’t agree with how they potty train their parrots so with that being said I will not be implementing it or trying it. It’s not that it’s a bad method and they do also suggest my method but I just don’t think their way should be encouraged. We have similar starts but their finish and my finish is two different goals, so I don’t recommend buying this booklet. However the concept they use is the same across the board so if you absolutely have no idea where to start, I guess it’s not a bad option to look into. Now, like U always say, every Parrot owner has different methods so if you do buy it and think it’s the way you want to go then great but for me, it just isn’t the best option.

If you really want to know how to potty train your parrot the “Parenting Parrots” way I will be posting that in my next post so look out for that.

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Parenting Parrots!

Should I take their Advice?

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When I first started being interested in Parrots – it was hard to find parrot training videos. YouTube didn’t have a lot and the worldwide web was not very helpful either. However over the years, it has ADVANCED so much it is amazing to see where we are today. The PROBLEM IS…. Some information isn’t the RIGHT information.

As much as I would love to sit here and bash other trainers and tell you to just follow me and I’ll teach you EVERYTHING you need to know, I won’t do that. How you train your parrots/animals is a personal preference and just like me you may start to follow one type of trainer and switch it up along the way.  I look at where I came from to where I am today and I’m extremely happy. I’ve read books, purchased e-courses, googled online, joined bird forums, joined parrot groups, made connections with breeders and I just continue to try to keep my network open. A lot of people have different opinions on what is wrong and right for parrots, I compare it to having kids, at the end of the day it is your choice. Some people are very opinionated so you have to be careful on how you approach the conversation with them or else it could turn into a very bad interaction very quickly… Like having a conversation about religion – OUCH! I try to stay away. I voice my opinion and I accept their opinion, if I can help better the situation someway, some how then I am all for it otherwise I can sometimes only be an ear. I love hearing people’s passion for their birds even if I don’t agree with all of their methods.

Anyhow back to the main topic: There are some methods some trainers use that are just not giving the parrot a choice and I think this is something you have to consider when looking at different trainers. The word is getting out there that positive reinforcement is the best training method to use, doesn’t mean everyone uses it correctly and completely understands the whole science behind it but as long as you’re following someone who is trying to implement that then you are on the right path. Things to look for…. 1) The parrot is being asked for a behavior not being forced or coercion into it. 2) The parrot and trainer is enjoying their training time today and both are being respected and last but not least – 3) The training session is ended on a good note, not with a tired or worn out parrot.

For example: To get a parrot to step up, you should press against their belly just above their feet. – IF you agree then you are unfortunately WRONG! That is NOT giving the parrot a choice and it is FORCING the parrot to do something. Next option is putting your hand in front of them and using another hand to cover the bird as shown in this video below… Again another method that is WRONG.

Now this trainer isn’t a bad trainer, he just isn’t educated properly.

Now in the below video you can see that I am not applying a hand over the bird nor am I putting pressure on his belly to step up. I’m not teaching you how to teach your bird to step up in this video but this is an example of how it should look and even I should have put my finger further out so he could have made more of a choice to step up or not.

This next video below is teaching how to step up onto the hand and it’s pretty close to what you want to observe… For example it doesn’t apply any pressure to the bird and they respect the bird once the bird moves away so it’s great to see…

Out of all 3 of these trainers the last two is who I would be interested in following. The last one gets my vote because it is actually teaching the step up process so you can see that there was no force applied. Not to criticize my own work but I would have to see how I taught the step up process before committing to following me. HAHAHA, Now I know I need to make a “how to step up video”. So, it is great to see the finish product but to make sure the trainer is teaching that parrot properly, I would have to see how it was taught in the first place. This is the only way to know if you should be taking advice from a trainer or not.

For one more example if the trainer tells you, “It’s okay just keep taking the bites and eventually the bird will stop biting you.” This is a trainer you do not want to follow. Or if the trainer says, “You need to show the parrot who is boss or who is in control or show them that you are the dominant one.” This is a trainer you do not want to follow. Again these are just my opinions but I’m telling you this because I’ve been down this road already. I used to be one that would say, “If the bird sees that you do not react from the bite, it will eventually stop” because that was what I was taught. However now that I’ve gotten more informed I can see how wrong that statement was and how you could definitely be making your situation worse. The sad thing about this is that people are giving this type of advice in all the bird forums and so forth. My hope is sooner than later people will learn that this method is called “extinction“. Although “extinction” can work, it is a very hard procedure to follow as before it works the bites will get harder and harder and harder. I don’t know about you but I rather a nip over a bite that draws blood any day so how long will you be able to “take that bite” for? It’s better to find another way. This is just one of the examples that is very bad advice.

So be careful of who you decide to take advice from: trainers, friends, bird forums etc…. Just always ask yourself…. “Is this advice Empowering the bird or forcing the bird?”.

We want to always EMPOWER our pets. I hope this helps!

Parenting Parrots!

Parrot Wizard’s Guide to the Test

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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!

What time is it?? It’s Training Time!!!

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What time is it? It’s training time!
What time is it? It’s training time!
What time is it? It’s training time!

It’s Parenting Parrots’ Training Time!!

Hey everyone! I think it’s time we focus on getting your parrots trained or at least listen to me get my parrots trained hahahaha. So when I decide it’s training time which happens once or twice a day depending on my workload, there is a few things I have to make sure I have.

1) Quiet space

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Our training room

You need a quiet spot to start training as you want your parrot’s undivided attention. Now when I say quiet it may not be completely quiet but as long as it is quieter than the rest of the house with minimal distractions, it should work. I used to train in the living room with the television off and that worked perfectly.
2) Clicker

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My clicker – I’m missing the orange button in the middle but it still works

We clicker train however if you do not have or want to clicker train than you can always skip this step. I believe in clicker training as I learned about it from www.birdtricks.com. I have been very successful with using it and my birds look forward to a treat once they hear that clicker. I have this clicker currently however I have been through quite a few clickers over the years and as you can see in my personal picture, my clicker is missing the orange button. This clicker is cheaper so if I need to replace the one I currently have I would get this one, as this is what I used to have but lost it.
3) Treat

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Positive reinforcement is what we are focused on here. When you go to animal shows, you will see the animal do a trick and then receive a treat. Well if it is successful for professionals, why can’t it be for the average person? So we do the same thing. They do the trick, you click and give the reward. If your bird will not accept treats from your hands, you can put the treat in a food bowl or offer something else the bird would like. Read this post to understand what “reward” I did with Ringo to get him used to me being near him. I offered him more space when he would display calmness ( got that from birdtricks). I then removed my hand as a reward once he stepped on it (I think I made this one up hahaha). I find that a food treat works best because it’s easy to understand as it is something that they will not receive except for when training. To figure out what treat to give, do what I did in my above picture, get a variety of treats and see which one the bird picks first, second and third. This will give you an idea of what treats you can train with. In the above picture I have, (in clockwise) sunflower seed, pine nuts, peanuts (not a good option), spray millet, walnut and an almond.
4) A watch

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I train for 10 – 15 minutes. Since I don’t want to go over time, I always have a watch or my cell phone or something with the time on me, so I know when to stop. Even if the parrot looks like they would want to keep going I do not pass the 15 minute mark. 10 minutes is my time, however if I feel the parrot wants more I will do 15 but that’s it. You don’t want to “overstay your welcome”. It’s better to stop before the bird wants to stop, that way you are ending the training on a positive note instead of a restless, frustrated or getting fed up note.
5) A parrot that is ready to start eating

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Grayson eating a treat

What I do, is feed them their daily portion and if there is food still in there in the morning, I won’t train. I wait it out until all the food is gone out of their cage then I train when it is time for them to eat again. If the food is all gone in the morning, I will do a morning training session. If the bird is almost ready to eat again, food treats will be a perfect reward however if the bird is full, why would it want more food?? Even if it is their favorite food. Once your full, your full! If I’m not sure when they finished last, I do have a scale that I put them on to weigh them. I keep a chart of their normal weight and what is good training weight which is apparently 10% less than their normal weight. (If you do not have a scale – click on the link and buy one because it is SO worth it). I use a scale for monitoring their weight as it will tell me if they are sick and it comes in handy for training so a MUST BUY!!!

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My bird scale

Once you have all these things in place, you are ready to start training!!! And remember if you have any issues or questions, you can reach us by clicking on contact us. We respond within 24 h0urs!

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!