Positive Reinforcement Class

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Sunday, November 26th, 2017 I went to my very first in-person class for positive reinforcement. Overall, I would say it was a good experience. Everything that was taught wasn’t new to me as I just recently graduated from Susan Friedman’s LLA class but it was nice to do a personal, face to face session with a professional trainer as a refresher. What I learnt was so many people are working on delivering the same concept in their own way. POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT is becoming more and more well-known amongst animal trainers which is absolutely GREAT!

This is definitely something I would want to conduct in the future for parrot owners so I spoke to Kristi Fleming, avian behaviorist about what I needed to do to get properly qualified to become a parrot trainer/behaviorist/consultant. I also have another trainer I work with via email who has been EXCELLENT! I feel like I’m walking in the right direction.

If you know NOTHING about positive reinforcement than I definitely recommend attending a class like this.  You get a brief insight into positive/negative reinforcement, positive/negative punishment, bridging, target training, luring, shaping and a chance to hear other parrot owners’ thoughts and issues along with a professional’s opinion. There is A LOT of information out here, on the internet via blogs, Facebook groups, avian forums, YouTube etc… I am a big advocator for using them all to your advantage BUT I am also aware of all the wrong information that is being put out there. I am a part of so many of the above mentioned and honestly I hear wrong information being spit to people who ask for advice all the time. I use to try to give my two cents and correct the information but then I would get “Dogged” on so I have learned to keep my mouth shut which is SO unfortunate because the whole reason I started this blog and YouTube was to help others empower their parrots but instead I’m being silenced by “Caesar Milan” type people.

The point I’m trying to make is very little people look into taking classes like this and honestly it can only help you better your relationship with your parrot. When interacting with your parrot or when hearing advice from someone about what to do with your parrot ask yourself these two things:

“Is this trust-building or trust-destroying for our relationship?” – taken from Kristi Fleming.

Is this empowering the parrot? Am I giving the parrot a choice here or am I forcing the parrot? If the answer is yes then continue but if it is no or you have to really think about it then I would say PAUSE! Take a second and re-analyze the situation and see if there is another way to get the desire response out of  your parrot which would make your answer be a yes!

I totally enjoyed doing the class, it would have been more informative for me if I didn’t already have the education behind my belt but nevertheless I know if I was clueless this would definitely give me a lot to think about. It opened my eyes to realizing I still have a lot to learn regardless of my graduation of the LLA program.

Parenting Parrots

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Birdtricks’ Steps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

First Things to do with Your New Parrot

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You just got a new parrot, you are all excited and want to start playing with it right away. BAD IDEA!!! I don’t care if your parrot was the friendliest bird in the world at the breeder’s. The first time in a new home can be very traumatic and you should proceed with caution. If you know the bird is in a good place then this process should move by really fast for you.

1) You brought your bird home, you place the carrier or box inside the cage if you can and leave it open to let the bird come out into the cage when it feels comfortable. If you can’t put the box/carrier in the cage you have to find a way to quickly get the parrot from the carrier into the cage without any interaction.

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Purrain’s 1st time in the house

2) Leave the bird alone so it can observe it’s surroundings and get comfortable – 24 hours if you can.

3) Do trust building exercises (day 2):
Sit and read softly by the cage
Sing nursery songs
talk on your phone but quietly
eat beside the cage
Basically you want to do calming activities that don’t involve a lot of movement or loud noises and ignore the bird (I know this is the hard part but think about the long term affects over short term gain)

If you do this and see that the bird is not cowering away from you, not showing any fear but instead is coming to the side of the cage where you are sitting and interested in you then I would do the same thing but with the door open. Before opening the door though you might want to just put your hand on the cage near the bird to test out it’s comfort level with hands and if all is well then teach clicker training, target training and step up training in the cage presenting treats through the bars but if your not interested in those things then go ahead and open the door.

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Purrain listening to me read

What you are doing by opening the door is inviting the parrot to come out and explore without any pressure from you. This is the ideal situation but sometimes things aren’t so pretty and simple. If not, then you need to go back to the very beginning and sit further away from the cage until the parrot shows calming responses and you can slowly move closer.

More trust building exercises include the”Blinking game”, the”sleeping game”,  basically copying games. When you can successfully say you have accomplished these you are ready for Clicker training, target training and step up training.

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Purrain Engaged

A lot of people are impatient and want to let their bird out right away. I only say not to do this because you can open the cage door, your  parrot comes out but then wont let you put it back in. Therefore causing a good experience to turn bad and you want to avoid bad experiences.

If you are interested in seeing Purrain’s 1st days home please subscribe to our youtube channel so you don’t miss out. Also if you want to learn more about trust building exercises please click on the follow button so you don’t miss any new postings that might be able to help you and your feathered friend!

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Finally out of the cage

Parenting Parrots

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!

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

cage

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!

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!