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

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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!

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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!

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!

Rasta – Green Naped Lorikeet

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Rasta at exactly 16 weeks old

I purchased Rasta from the same breeder I purchased Marlee from. I found her on Kijiji, we spent months talking and she sent me weekly pictures of their progress. I ended up taking both birds from her… definitely a challenge. I swear I must be crazy. I think they seem louder than they are because there is two of them. They are like night and day though. 

Name: Rasta

Type of Parrot: Green naped Lorikeet

Sex: Male

Birth Date: June 30th, 2016

Wings Status: Fully Flighted

Favorite food: Nectar

Noise Level:  medium

Training progress: Rasta is learning target training

Tricks: He knows how to step up

Talking ability:  Unknown

Favorite toys: Rasta loves this leather toy.

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Rasta’s favorite toy

Fears:  He doesn’t like my hand to go above his head

Diet: Quiko nectar, fruits and I’m trying to get him to accept veggies

Treats: Quiko nectar – thinking of trying maple syrup as a treat – still researching

cage Size: It’s a huge cage but I need to separate them

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Marlee and Rasta’s living quarters

Last Vet visit: I haven’t taken him to the vet yet.

Next Steps: Getting him potty trained

Parenting Parrots!

He Came on it!!

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I read a lot. I watch a lot of Youtube videos. I surf the internet often. However sometimes when looking for solutions, it seems as if there are no answers.

This was me once I brought the Indian Ringneck home. Beautiful, is the only word I can use to describe his grey coloring but that’s where the pleasure ended. The thrashing around his cage every time we walked by or the struggle to try and remove him even though it’s been weeks was extremely discouraging. I googled every thing I could think of but nothing was hitting my problem on the nail so I sat down and talked to myself. Literally.

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Internet pic

I did what any new owner would do with a bird that was a scary cat. I made noise before I entered the room so he would know I was coming. I sat and read by his cage and would sing soft songs. Put treats in his bowl every time I passed his cage… I knew all those things would work to get him to stop running when I came around, so that wasn’t my issue. My issue was our wonderful, amazingly grey, beautiful Indian Ringneck was so afraid of hands! He would step up from the ground but would look around frantically for ways to escape the very “perch” that would transport him from one spot to another. So I had to fix that!

I brought him to the training perch and I stood a good amount of distance away and when he fluffed up and went back to normal, I would click and step back. ( This method can be done with him in the cage) ( You only want to go as close as you can without him freaking out – You do not want him to actually exhibit any fear once you see him about to start, you freeze and wait for him to calm down. This is very important because if you let him exhibit a fear response then you just ruined the whole process and will have to start over from even further back than before) Wait a few seconds and then approach him again, I would stand closer than I did last time and wait for the same reaction. Once he fluffed and went back down, I would click and move farther away. Wait a few seconds and then come closer than the last time. Stand and wait. I did this over and over again until I was able to stand right beside him and he would be comfortable. This took me a week to master with him, that goes to show you how scared he was. After I mastered that, I was on cloud nine that I could be beside him and him not panic. Imagine living somewhere and your afraid of the very people who you share a house with? It would be ABSOLUTE torture! I could never put anyone through that so I had to get this parrot to be comfortable. This was a big step for me. I’ll be honest, it has never taken this long to train any of my parrots so I was beginning to feel a bit hopeless as each day went on. Once I realized that the time it would take for him to be comfortable with each step closer was getting shorter, I knew we were getting somewhere.

So here I was with this parrot who would let me stand beside him however DO NOT MOVE MY HANDS OR TOUCH HIM or that comfort zone would be over… What do I do?? I had to figure something out so I decided to try the same method I did with my body with my hands. I had no idea if this would work!

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Ringo not liking my hand

 

I would put my hand on the farthest part of the perch and wait for him to fluffed up and back down. I did this over and over again until I was able to place my hand right beside his foot and have him not panic. His fear worked in my favor to get him to at least step on my hand and that is how I got him to be comfortable with my hands (Seems contradicting right??… Hear me out). He would step on my hands to run to the other side of the perch and when he did I would click and remove my hand. I did this over and over until finally when I would put my hand on the perch, HE WOULD COME ON IT!! Just automatically come on it and STAY! WOW! GREAT! I was overly excited!

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He came on it!!!

I would slowly lift my hand off the perch and click and then put him back on the perch and give him some space. Again, I did this over and over until I was able to transport him anywhere in the house without him looking around frantically. This procedure took me 9 days, twice a day, 10-15 min. sessions.

Parenting Parrots!

Boss – Peachfaced Lovebird

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Boss

Boss was born in our home, she was never handled, just locked in her cage unless she found a way to escape. Boss looks exactly like her dad and until recently we thought she was a he.

Name: Boss

Type of Parrot: Peach-faced Lovebird

Sex: Believed to be a female (Thought she was a “he” until recently)

Birth Date: May 2015

Wings Status: Lightly clipped – wings are growing back

Favorite food: Spray Millet

Noise Level:  LOUD

Training progress: She only knows step up

Tricks: She can step up

Talking ability:  “peek-a-boo”,”poo-poo”

Favorite toys: She loves this bag looking toy that has Popsicle sticks sticking out of it. (when I buy another I will post a pic)(If you look at the bottom of her cage you will see this green thing that was the toy lol)

Fears:  She is the boss! She will just lunge after anything that might scare her

Diet: Harrison’s Pellets with fruits and veggies

Treats: Sunflower seeds,   Spray Millet

cage Size:  This is the closest cage I could find to the one I have the lovebird in.

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Boss’ Cage

Last Vet visit: August 2016 – visual examinations – Everything looks good

Next Steps: Getting her to do the turn around 

Parenting Parrots!

Piper – Quaker a.k.a Monk Parakeet

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Piper

So…. Do you think Piper is a girl or a boy?!? Post a comment and let me know…

We purchased Piper from a family that had an ad on kijiji.ca, they had quite a few birds. Piper was in a cage with pineapple sided conures and sun conures. I honestly was not going to take any birds from them as the cages were unkept. It was my son’s birthday and he wanted us to add another bird to the flock, I agreed and that’s how we ended up at this house. Junior Jay liked how Piper looked and got all excited. I tried to talk him down but he was eight at the time and was barely hearing my reasons. Anyhow I decided to go ahead and get Piper despite my better judgement. Piper was not tamed and to my poor ears VERY LOUD! I worked from home at the time so I had to get the noise level under control. Well it’s been two years and Piper is still here talking off our heads lol. Piper is still loud however definitely not as loud as when we first came home with our quaker.

Name: Piper

Type of Parrot: Quaker parrot a.k.a Monk Parakeet

Sex: Unknown…

Birth Date: 2014

Wings Status: Clipped – letting wings grow back

Favorite food: rice and spray millet

Noise Level: Loud

Training progress: Loves training sessions

Tricks: Can step up and currently doing the Turn around trick

Talking ability: “Piper”, “step up”, “peek-a-boo”,“hi Piper”, “hello”. Sings bits and pieces from the song, “stuck like glue” by Sugarland. Loves attention so will talk around people.

Favorite toys: Are toys that can be shredded ex. ball full of paper

Fears: Afraid of a lot… Handheld perches, unknown objects – cage territorial

Diet: Harrison’s Pellets with fruits and veggies. Eats table food – Chicken, rice, pasta…

Treats: Spray millet and sunflower seeds

Cage Size: Playtop cage. 24 x 22 height is 34.5″ not including the stand or the playtop. With the playtop it is 54″. With the stand it would be higher.

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Last Vet visit: August 12th, 2016– Wellness check – Dna test – avian bacterial and viral – fecal gram stain =  Everything clear! Healthy parrot! *Found out Piper’s gender but want to see what you think first… I will share piper’s gender on Oct. 1st, 2016*

Next Steps: getting used to the handheld perch and perfecting the turn around trick

Parenting Parrots!

Grayson – African Grey

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Grayson

I purchased Grayson from a reputable breeder in Oshawa when he was 4 months old (Oct. 2012). I would recommend her to anyone because Grayson is the perfect companion and I can only give her the thanks for that. If you want her information click here: Contact Us and send me a quick message and I’ll connect you to her. Her place isn’t the tidiest however her birds love her so she must be doing something right. Grayson choose me when I went to visit the first time. I sat with the breeder as all 3 greys moved around. Grayson was the one that showed me all the interest. I took note of his band number and told the  breeder he is who I wanted. Originally I had asked her for a female. Once she got the dna back and told me Grayson was a male, I told her I will pass on the female and still take him. BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE! I read in this book (if you want an african grey or have one please buy this book, it is so great!) to never take an african grey that is cowering in the corner of the cage and growling, well let me tell you… That was Grayson when I went back to pick him up. I was nervous as hell after having that experience of him growling however Grayson is a beauty. I brought him to the vet when I first got him and he got a clear bill of health. The breeder already clipped his wings. I’ve been his only owner. He will go to other people but sometimes like with my partner, he will fake it and then bite, so we are working on that but for the most part if you are not nervous then he will step up to you no problem. For the past 4 years he wouldn’t go to anyone but me however this year (officially an adult – 2016) he will now go to people – a complete 360 but I’m loving it. I can talk on and on about him but I have nothing negative to say. I was working full time when I got Grayson and everyone told me NO, you can’t have an African Grey and work a full time job… Well guess what?!?! I did it and Grayson is not a plucker or afraid of everything bla bla bla. He doesn’t have all those behavioral problems you get warned about. I believe it is all about the love you show your parrot and in return they will love you back.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F1FloeticJustice%2Fvideos%2F10153119770610375%2F&show_text=0&width=400>Video of Grayson’s first words

Name: Grayson

Type of Parrot: Congo African Grey

Sex: Male

Birth Date: June 2012

Wings Status: Fully Flighted

Favorite food: Pine Nuts

Noise Level: He can be loud when he mimics the other birds. Otherwise I would say he is moderate when he is talking and making sounds. He is overall quiet when he is just relaxing.

Training progress: He loves training sessions

Tricks: He can step up, Turn around, do pet, stick up his wings, wave hi, say doggy go wolf, wolf

Talking ability: Everything! He says his name – “Grayson”,  “Lola “- our late galah cockatoo, “Piper” – our Quaker’s name, each member of the family’s name, “step up”, “stick them up”, “peek-a-boo”,”doggy go wolf, wolf”, “hi”, “hello”, “what the”, “whats up grayson”, he laughs, does the clicker sound, telephone sound, microwave sound, whistles and my least favorite the squawking of other birds… I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. He is shy to make noise around people but after about 30 minutes of him observing you, he then starts to make noise.

Favorite toys: He is a banger – best toys for him have been his hanging toys that he can swing on and make noise with. He also likes his foraging toys (be prepared to lose a lot of pellets as he removes them though – HELPFUL HINT I put it over his food bowl so if it falls, it falls in his bowl)

Fears: Can’t think of anything he is really afraid of right now besides my partner – they don’t get along.

Diet: Harrison’s Pellets with fruits and veggies. He eats table food – Chicken, rice, pasta…

Treats: Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Walnuts and Brazil nuts

Cage Size: Dome cage. 36.5 x 28 height is 57″ not including the stand. With the stand it would be higher. I was thinking of switching him into a cage with less length and more width as he doesn’t use the bottom of the cage, haven’t found one I like though.

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Grayson’s cage

Last Vet visit: December 2012– Wellness check – Everything clear! Healthy baby! Is in need of a vet visit… Hopefully I’ll take him in September 2016

Next Steps: Getting him to do the bat – hang upside down, getting him use to the harness and shower perch

Parenting Parrots!

Ringo – Indian Ringneck

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Ringo was formerly named Pepper. We got Ringo a.k.a Pepper when he was 3 months old (we were told) from his 1st owner. Before us, he was with the breeder and then to his 1st family and now us, so we are his 2nd official owner. He is banded but it’s just a random number and its an open band, so not sure what it stands for but definitely not his year of birth as we can tell he is truly just a baby. We were told he is a male but still waiting for the paperwork to prove it.

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Ringo

Name: Ringo a.k.a Pepper

Type of Parrot: Indian Ringneck

Sex: Male

Birth Date: April 2016 (we were told)

Wings Status: Currently clipped by previous owner – will let it grow back

Favorite food: Still trying to figure that out

Noise level: Fairly quiet except for his once a day outbursts (however he is still a baby so could change)

Training progress: He can step up

Tricks: None as yet

Talking ability: No words as yet

Favorite toys: He is a chewer who likes to challenge his beak – best toys for him have been his wood toys

Fears: He still runs away from us so right now… Humans

Diet: Harrison’s Pellets with fruits and veggies

Treats: Spray Millet, Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Walnuts and Brazil nuts

Cage Size:Dome cage (The link is a smaller cage but I think the space is still good for an Indian Ringneck) His cage is 32 x 23 height is 46″ not including the stand. With the stand it would be higher. However I recommend a playtop over a dome, only because when I want my parrots to have out of cage time by themselves without me entertaining them, the playtop gives them a safe place to play.

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Ringo’s cage (Lola, our galah cockatoo’s old cage)

Last Vet visit: August 12th, 2016 – Beak and nails trim – Wellness check – fecal gram stain = Everything clear! Healthy baby!

Next Steps: Getting him to not be afraid of humans and to step up calmly from inside his cage (updated monthly)

Parenting Parrots!

How to Train Love birds

Aside

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!