Indian Ringneck training FACTS!

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I’m fairly new to owning Indian Ringnecks. I have a beautiful grey IRN who came to me very scared of people/hands etc. He still would prefer to be without me I’m sure but I have come a long way with him since I first got him. The first thing I attempted to do with him was this training method which worked for us. However I come across so many people complaining that they can’t tame their IRN or it’s so scared of them etc. I guarantee that the above method works because it worked for me, this method can work in and out of the cage. Of course I did trust building exercises first which involves me sitting and reading, singing and talking softly by his cage ( I will write a post on trust building exercises). The next thing to worry about is consistency. If you start this process, make progress but then stop or get busy – your IRN will revert back to the way he/she was. As I say to my son “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Your time, PATIENCE and love is what it will take to turn your IRN around. But it is well worth it.

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Ringo, the Ringneck

After I got him to learn step up other tricks came easy. If you find the above method isn’t working for you or it worked but you still can’t get your IRN to step up on you, I would implement Target training but before target training would be clicker training.

After I did the above method, I had to implement target training and getting him to take treats from my hands as he wouldn’t do that either so another task to work on but with that being said it took me 3 days to get him to actually eat the treat that I presented to him. Remember I didn’t know him that well so I had to learn what he likes. I tried: Apples, grapes, sunflower seeds, millet, pine nuts, safflower – I was getting discouraged as I always do because patience isn’t my strong suit. (I’ll make another post about that)

Once target training and taking treats from my hands were accomplished, I moved on to actually teaching him things like “Fly to me on command”, turn around, wave hi. He is extremely smart but he also is hard to train at times because he likes to have his own way. He enjoys bothering the other birds and he likes to be chased. Those are things I have to work on with him.

Indian Ringnecks are active learners once you have learned how to teach them. Yes, they can be stubborn, aloof, always want their own way but if you can get passed that to have an actual relationship with one – YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT! It will be harder than any other parrot and it does require consistency but find a way to connect with your IRN and you will have an everlasting relationship.

Parenting Parrots

My 2nd Attempt at Parrot Ownership

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After my scare with the gray cockatiel named Sky, I was certain birds were not for me. However, I was drawn back to parrot ownership a few years later and decided this time I was going to an actual pet store to purchase a bird. There, I fell in love with a Senegal parrot who we named Chico. He was just a baby at PJ Pets in Sherway Gardens Mall and I was certain he would be mine. I was torn between him and a baby Congo African Grey so I purchased both of them from PJ Pets and was content with my decision. They were both babies so I had to wait for them to be weaned before I could take them home.

Chico was ready to go home before the African Grey so we took him home first. Within a week of having Chico, he could say “JayJay (my son’s name)” and “Chico“. I was so IMPRESSED! Every morning I would get up and take Chico out of his cage and let him hang out on a stand at the bottom of my bed as my son and I would cuddle back to sleep. Chico would come on the bed, walk up to my son and say “JayJay”. It was GREAT for all of us and we were enjoying the time so much but our happiness wouldn’t last. Before the first week was done, my intuition kicked in that something may be wrong with Chico. I was new to parrot ownership but I had read and researched so much, I just felt that things weren’t normal.

Chico was losing his tail feathers. Why? I called the store and they told me Chico was most likely molting and it was nothing to be worried about. My response was, molting at 3 months? That doesn’t seem right. I spoke to the manager and made a deal that I would bring Chico in to be seen by their vet and if nothing was wrong with him, I would pay the vet bill. That was the last time we ever seen Chico.

Chico had a liver problem so they refused to sell him to me. I told them, I was okay with them prescribing medication and letting me take him after he was better. There was no getting better for Chico it was just a countdown. I was devastated. We missed Chico and I didn’t know what to do next. I returned his cage and never got another Senegal again.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I would love a Senegal but I just don’t want to take away from Chico’s memory. So instead of a Senegal, we got the next best thing… A BROWN HEADED PARROT!!

Parenting Parrots

Info on Green-Naped Lorikeets

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I’ve now shared my home with a Green-Naped Lorikeet for 3 years and let me tell you… It’s been an interesting 3 years. Green-Naped Lorikeets are a part of the Rainbow Lorikeet subspecies. So often times, people will say rainbow and they will be referring to the green-naped or they could be referring to one of the other lories that also fall under a rainbow ex. Swainson lorikeet.

As you can see from the image above a Green-naped lorikeet is not very big often around 28 cm in length. The body is mostly dark green with the exception of the head, chest and a bit of yellow streaks through the legs. The head is a beautiful dark blue and the chest is red with blue-black stripes. The beak is a bright orange but when they are young their beaks are black. As they get older the beak changes from black to orange. Their eyes are a reddish-brown color and their feet are grey. Also let’s not forget that their nape is a lime greenish-yellow color. Other subspecies that fall under the “rainbow” family may look very similar but there will be differences for example: the chest is red but doesn’t have the blue-black stripes, that is NOT a Green-naped.

Green-napes are one of the easiest lorikeets to find to be able to share your home with but that doesn’t make them easy to care . They are very similar to Indian Ringnecks in the sense that they require DAILY Interactions or else they will revert back to an “untamed, wild” state. It’s amazing how widespread these parrots are but yet I can’t find solid information on them. I find that these birds are AMAZING talkers, I put them in the top 10 alongside Quakers. I have yet to meet a green-naped that doesn’t talk. Ours specifically dances and jumps up and down with us, plays “peek-a-boo”, plays with my son by turning over and chasing his fingers to wrestle. He likes to be involved and not stuck in a cage. He greets us with “good morning”s and how are you’s and says good night when it’s lights out.


Let’s quickly discuss their diet. My diet care for my lories is not looked upon as the greatest variety because I refuse to provide an assortment of veggies just so they can have a ‘variety’. Unfortunately after losing birds you become more and more strict with what you allow. For me the risk to my lorikeet’s life isn’t worth it for me to provide a low sugar content diet. Green -Naped Lorikeets in the wild eat mostly nectar, pollen, unriped grass and weed seeds along with soft fruits (Matthew Vriends, Lories and Lorikeets, 1993). I try to mimic that as much as possible although I have yet to find and try unriped grass and weed seeds.

My recommendation for a pet owner considering a Green-naped Lorikeet is simple. As long as your not a “push-over” then you may be able to handle one of these birds but keep in mind they are the “ADHD” birds of the parrot world. They are similar to Caiques but more active and they can be very stubborn and come across mean if they feel they can have power over you. When considering a lorikeet, you need to be mindful that they are completely DIFFERENT than other parrots. My training with them has to be more upbeat and short, quick sessions as they get bored very easily. A lot of people struggle with training them because they have adapted themselves to training other parrots and think the same can be done with a lorikeet. I say NOPE, try again!

Lorikeets do have a watery form to their poop at times but I find that they do also have a bit of formed substance in it… The good thing is if you clean the poop as soon as it happens it just wipes right off, if you don’t you might have a bit of scrubbing to do but no more than any other bird poop. They can shoot their poop everywhere so it’s important to have a consistent daily or every other day cleaning routine or protect your walls and floors with some other material that is easy to wipe or just pick up and throw out. I used to use shower curtains from the dollar store, now I just scrub daily…

Overall I love having a Green-naped lorikeet and I wouldn’t change my “Rasta” for the world.

Parenting Parrots

My African Grey is Selfish

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It breaks my heart to see Rasta, our Green-Naped Lorikeet trying to make friends with everyone and being turned away. He is such a nice, little guy I don’t understand why none of the birds play with him.

He has found a way to “bond” with Grayson or at least so he thinks. Rasta will fly to Grayson’s cage and preen Grayson through the cage bars but if I let Grayson out with Rasta, Grayson will attack.
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It’s like Grayson is only using Rasta for his own gain. Poor Rasta, really thinks he has made a friend.

Why is Grayson so selfish? He won’t return the favor so why keep getting the pleasure? When I first got Grayson, Lola was here but yet he still hasn’t learned about sharing. He was never an “only” parrot, so why?

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The Selfish Grey

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How can I teach a parrot about sharing? If you have any ideas or suggestions please leave them in the comments below.

Parenting Parrots

A Talking Parrot

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Everywhere I look, every book I read it says the same thing: Do NOT get a bird for it’s talking ability because that bird may never talk. Although this statement is correct doesn’t it also defeat the purpose of obtaining a PARROT?!?

At one point, my goal was to obtain the 10 top talking parrots in the world. I wanted a parrot because of their intelligence and their talking ability. If I wanted a bird that couldn’t/wouldn’t talk I would go for a regular bird like a canary. Now, of course, this is not my only reason for wanting to have parrots but HELL YEA it is one of the reasons! If you happen to have a parrot and it never says a word or it doesn’t even mimic a household sound, I would seriously question what/who is it bonded too? Now whether or not that bird talks will not make me want the bird any less but the “talking” is definitely icing on the cake.

I currently have 5 parrots with 3 out of the 5 are already talking and my other 2 which is Purrain and Kodak haven’t uttered a word and it doesn’t bother me as I’m in love with our bond more than anything else. Of course, I would love to hear them both talk but Kodak I received at the age of 2 and he wasn’t talking with the breeder so I’m not quite sure if he will or not. I thought I heard him muttering words but the true words never came out so I must have been mistaken. As for Purrain, she isn’t even a year old yet so she still has time.

I have this theory, that a parrot who talks the English language is saying, “I love you, I want to communicate with you”. I could be wrong but this is just my views. Think about it. If parrots truly have the same intellectual level as a toddler than shouldn’t they be able to learn as a toddler would? Toddlers can speak (unless a medical condition), learn to identify letters and numbers, colors etc. We need to hold our parrots to those same tasks.

If you have a parrot who isn’t talking, there are steps you can try to boost that parrot up and see if it helps to encourage them to start. These steps won’t be overnight steps but with time, energy and effort, you can stimulate your parrot to want to communicate with you. You can find these steps by buying/ reading Guide To Companion Parrot Behavior Review

Here’s to wishing you and your feathered fan great success in getting your parrots to talk!

Parenting Parrots

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.

Parenting Parrots

A Very Popular Hookbill

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I usually like to get things that most people do not have, like a funky pair of tights or a limited exclusive edition of a Jordan shoe. In this case it seems I went the opposite way and followed the crowd. The most popular medium-sized hookbill in today’s society seems to be the…. (Drumroll  please!)

African Grey Parrot

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My Galah cockatoo would have kept me in the “rare” category but unfortunately she isn’t with us anymore (R.I.P LOLA). Grayson, my Congo African Grey is extremely popular and although I think it’s great because having a CAG (Congo African grey) will definitely have an impact on a person’s life, I can’t help but be a little disappointed that I fell in the crowd with obtaining a popular parrot that everyone seems to have. Everywhere I go, I meet someone who has a grey parrot.

After I obtained Grayson and my dad was showing him off to his family in the states, we came to find out that 2 of his sisters owned African Grey Parrots. An African grey lives across the street from my son’s elementary school. About a month ago I was at a car wash and a man pulled up with his grey in the back seat. POPULAR!!! I could probably start an African Grey club in my neighborhood and have a great turn out.
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Besides being the most popular, they are also considered to be the smartest. They are not only known for their talking ability but for the capability of using words with understanding. This is shown through Alex, Dr. Pepperberg’s grey. Greys can talk in front of strangers but it has to be trained to. My African Grey will not but I’m hoping to change that soon. Greys’ need to be treated like a child vs. as a pet because of their intellectual level.

The best way to teach a grey is through modelling, reinforcement and repetition. Physical punishment should not be used as they can hold a grudge. I felt the need to share this information because these parrots are very popular and I want them all to strive like Alex did.
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Parenting Parrots

New Bird – New Food

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When you get a new bird, you want to keep them on the diet they came to you on. After a few days = 2 or 3 days you can start doing 70% the food they came with and 30% the pellets you want them on and every day make the gap go smaller and smaller until you are only giving them the pellets you want them on.

This is only if you want to change their diet. Most of my parrots I do change their diet because I give Harrison pellets and a lot of breeders do not feed Harrison’s for many reasons. 1 – It’s all brown and organic so not intriguing to choose and 2 – it’s more on the expensive side of a pellet diet. If you do not want to change their diet then this process is not needed.

Now if you want to feed fresh foods, where should you start? Well, what do you have in your fridge? Let’s start with easy stuff like:

Carrots                     Apples – No seeds (it’s a complicated topic so better to just avoid seeds)
Snap Peas                Oranges
Broccoli                    Pomegranates (Very messy to clean up after)
Cauliflower             Bananas
Sweet Potato           Kiwis
Bell Peppers            Pears
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When introducing new fresh foods, you need to approach it like you would for a new baby, one item at a time for a few days. Once you realize that there is no aversive reaction to it then you can introduce another new item. I would say one new item every 3 days.

As for table cooked food, I would wait to introduce that until you are comfortable with your fresh fruits and veggies selection but some cooked food you can eventually try is:

pasta
rice, (be careful when you serve these that it’s not breeding season)
eggs
shrimp
chicken
oatmeal
shredded wheat cereal with no milk
whole wheat bread with organic jam

If you have tried feeding the fruits and veggies or pellets and your new parrot isn’t taking them, there are a few steps you can take. Fruits and veggies can be chopped, sliced, diced or pureed. Made different ways can have different results. Even giving them the foods at different times during the day can have a different effect. If that doesn’t work you can always try some Red Palm Oil on top of the fruits and veggies or pellets. A little goes a long way. Some parrots love the Red Palm oil and some don’t so it’s a hit and miss but make sure it’s RED palm oil. Pretending to eat the food first and then giving it to your parrot will work if you find your parrid to be bonding with you.
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Also, just keep trying for at least a week before giving up on that particular food type and don’t get frustrated. It’s not the end of the world if your parrot doesn’t like apples. Just like humans have specific likes and dislikes so do birds so respect your bird’s wishes. Keep in mind that just because they may not like it now doesn’t mean that two years from now they will still not like it so you can still continue to try to give it periodically and see if “Today is the day”.

Parenting Parrots

Grayson’s first word

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The first time a parrot ever spoke to me was Grayson, the grey! We had had him since he was 4 months old and I thought that I may have lucked out and gotten a grey that wouldn’t speak because at 12 months I still didn’t hear him utter a word. Then one day, I was walking past his huge white cage and all I seen is him standing very tall and straight by the front of his cage and he whispered, “Grayson”. I stopped and starting jumping for joy, so excited for the revelation that my Grey did in fact have a voice and his first words were his name, “Grayson”. It sounded like a little baby whispering.

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I would say “What’s your name?” and he would respond with his name.
Absolutely amazing!! This was our start to a wonderful vocabulary. He is 5 now and very shy to talk in front of strangers and although I think his vocab should be further along, I’m still in awe when I hear him respond correctly to a question, or singing a tune that we’ve played or calling out another parrot’s names and telling them to step up.

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Grayson saying his first word gave me the same feeling as hearing a baby talk for the first time. Joy, excitement and nervousness because  you now realize your little baby has hit another milestone and is growing up. I’ll never forget Grayson’s first words, not just because I have it on video but because he was the 1st parrot to talk to me and there was an innocence about him that unfortunately he no longer has hahaha.

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Grayson eating an orange

 

 

Parenting Parrots

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.