Step Up Cooperation Exercise Practice

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There is so many things to teach our feathered kids, how does one make sure they know everything they are supposed to know? Well, I for one can say my parrots do not know everything they are suppose to know however I’m looking forward to the years to come, for them to continue learning well into their adulthood.

When I first got my parrots I was adamant that I wanted them to be the perfect pet and they would know everything and we would never have any issues. Well wishful thinking does get one far but it’s not realistic. Realistically, parrots will only dish out what you put into them so if I never teach them to say thank you, they never will. I can’t just expect them to!

Teaching your parrot to step up is very important and I will cover exactly how to do that in another post. This is about making sure you are conditioning them to step up onto a variety of different items.

First you would want to teach them how to step up regardless of if it’s on to your hand or a perch depends strictly on you and your comfort level with your bird. I usually start with my hand, if there is fear of hands then I will start with a perch. There are 7 things you want to cover when teaching your parrot to step up and you can only implement these other items once your parrot has learned to step up onto at least one.

You will teach your parrot to step up onto:

1) To and from your hand to a familiar perch
2) To and from your hand to an unfamiliar perch
3) To and from a handheld perch to a familiar perch
4) To and from a handheld perch to an unfamiliar perch
5) To and from both hands (left hand to right hand and vice versa)
6) To and from a handheld perch to a handheld perch
7) To and from a handheld perch to your hand

Once you have done this with your bird, you have successfully completed the “step up cooperation exercises.” Please see below for a video demonstrating this exercise.

Parenting Parrots

Purrain – The Indian Ringneck Parakeet

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I purchased Purrain from a breeder in Ajax when she was 2 months old (Sept. 2017). I found this breeder on the Facebook Canadian breeder site. He posted a picture of her and I jumped up right away saying I want her. I didn’t have all the money so I had to do a payment plan and then I had a death in the family which pushed things even further back. I didn’t end up getting her until she was 14 weeks old (Oct. 2017)

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baby Purrain, 8 weeks

Name: Purrain

Type of Parrot: Single factor Violet Indian Ringneck

Sex: female

Birth Date: July 2017

Wings Status: Will be fully flighted, her wings were slightly clipped when we got her but they are growing in.

Favorite food: Pine Nuts

Noise Level: she can be loud when she wants attention. Otherwise I would say she is moderate when making sounds.

Training progress: She loves training sessions

Tricks: She is target trained. She can step up and turn around

Talking ability: Haven’t heard her talk yet

Favorite toys: She tackles every toy I put in her cage.

Fears: She is afraid of sudden movements

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

Treats: Safflower seeds, Pine nuts and sunflower seeds

Cage Size: Playtop. 22 x 24

Last Vet visit: I haven’t taken her yet. i know 😦 bad mommy

Next Steps: Getting her to let me put her on her back and  harness training.

 

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Purrain, about 5 months

 

Parenting Parrots!

 

What is Positive Reinforcement?

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

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

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When you and your grey have a bond…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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My 3 yr old feeding our violet female Indian Ringneck

Parenting Parrots

Home Alone

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Would you leave a two-year old child home alone? I would hope not! So if I say parenting a parrot is like having a toddler than how does that work when you have to leave the house and can’t take your precious birdie with you? GOOD QUESTION!

Some people like the idea of training their parrot to be “home – trained” so it can be out and about in the house all alone and therefore they  won’t need a cage.  This is my own opinion but I think that’s a bad idea as an unsupervised parrot regardless of how well home trained it may be can still get into trouble. Leaving it in a parrot room or cage is more ideal then having it free-range in the house.

So when you do leave it alone, what can you do to make sure the hours of loneliness will not drive them crazy…. There is so many different ways to keep your parrot stimulated that do not involve you having to be there:

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1) Provide toys
2) Provide foraging opportunities – don’t just free form feed
3) Leave the tv/radio on – just make sure it’s an appropriate channel and make sure the tv is far enough from the cage not to damage their eyesight
4) Record a recording of your voice reading stories or talking to your parrot

Also take in consideration that parrots do take naps during the day. You can also give them a nice shower before you leave so they will spend some of the time preening and drying off.

With all of these things to do, your little Parrotler (get it? Parrot toddler lol) should be okay to be left home alone without the chance of becoming bored and without the risk of damage being done to your household.

Grayson, the grey!

Grayson, The Grey

If there are other things you do when you leave your parrot alone please leave it in a comment below. Don’t forget to check out our other posts and click that like button if you like the posts! Please remember to follow us on here just fill out the below follow us option and we do have a YouTube channel (info is under the about us page).

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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

Potty Training Your Feathered Friend

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This. Like all topics regarding parrots is a touchy subject. Some believe that potty training your parrot will harm them causing them to hold their poop until you give the approval to go. I say yes, this is possible if you train your parrot to only go on command. I don’t train them by using a word or even a cue. All my parrots have the free will to go when they please just like my kids. I don’t expect my kids to hold it until I say its okay to go, so why would it be any different for my parrids.

I think this is an issue because people forget how intelligent these creatures are. They are, after all little toddlers. So how do I train a parrot to be potty trained? My answer is very simple, the same way you train a child.

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You watch when your parrot goes. So let’s say at 10:15am he used the potty wherever he was sitting. 15 minutes later he went again and then 15 minutes later he went again. At about 13 minutes, I’m going to ask the parrot to step up and bring him to where I want him to go, keep him there until he poops, make up a big commotion and give him a treat. Remove him from that perch and do it again right before he hits the next 15 minutes. So what I’m doing is bringing him to the designated spot at his timed intervals, praising and giving a treat. I still use the clicker as soon as he/she drops that poop, I click, praise and give a treat. This is the exact method I use for my kids minus the clicker hahaha. “Timed Potty Training“. I do this consistently every time the parrot is out of their cage until they start going on their own. I still click, praise and give a treat but I slowly diminish all three until the bird just goes on it’s own and comes back to resume the previous play/activity. If there are any accidents, just ignore it and resume as usual until the next interval. I find this method of potty training to be very successful just as it works for toddlers, it will work for a parrot. Please see below for our video from our Instagram page – feel free to follow us there also :).

This way the parrot isn’t waiting for me to tell them WHEN to go, they go when they need to. This method just teaches them WHERE to go. So we teach our toddlers to use “The potty” and from there, the big toilet, this is no different except it’s not a potty, it’s a potty perch hahaha. Some people train them to go back to their cage and that is also perfectly fine as it teaches them that releasing in the cage is appropriate. I have never had an issue with any of the parrots stopping the use of their cage and waiting for me to let them out before they go to the washroom however if it is something you are afraid of than once they learn where to go, you can also praise them when they are in their cage and they release, so they learn that is appropriate too.

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Next issue, what if you are on the road and you don’t have a potty perch? I, again have never had to worry about this because somehow they knew if I put them down on the floor that they were allowed to potty as long as it wasn’t on me. However to avoid them holding it in, once they are well established using the potty perch, ever so often you can use a word cue or hand signal to let them go poop. I do not recommend making it consistent as you don’t want them waiting for that cue before they  go to the washroom but you want them to still associate it as one of the signals just in case you are on the road and don’t have the potty perch. This isn’t really a worry because this method doesn’t make them hold it for you, just makes them not potty on you!

For an example, I went out with Nyx, my black-capped conure (she was on the harness)  and I realized damn, it’s been 25 minutes and I haven’t stopped for Nyx to use the washroom. Nyx usually goes every 14 minutes. So I stopped at a red light, opened my door, placed Nyx on the road, she automatically released herself, I praised her and put her back in the car, waited for the light to turn green and continued on our way. This was our first time in this situation and it worked out perfectly! We were out all day and no poop accidents. In this case, she held it until she was some place she could go but that is okay, just like when you are out and about and have to find a washroom before you can release yourself. As long as holding it in isn’t a habit, the fact that they do learn to, is a plus in my eyes.

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If your question is how is your parrot going to always make it to the potty perch then I’m going to assume your parrot has clipped wings and if that’s the case, YOU will always have to bring them. The parrids I’ve potty trained are all fully flighted. I’ll be playing with them,  not paying attention to the time and they will fly off, go to the perch and come right back to continue playing. This is just one of the many advantages to having a fully flighted parrot.

I hope this helped and if you like what you see please don’t forget to hit that follow button so you can stay posted on everything we post. Please follow us on YouTube (Information is posted in our about us page).


Parenting Parrots

Birdtricks’ Potty Training Review

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

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

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

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Parenting Parrots!

To Clip or Not to Clip? That is the Question

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

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

To Clip

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

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

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

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

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

 

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5 yr old Grayson

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Parenting Parrots!

My Faithful People

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Hi Guys,

I have been so busy with the two full time jobs that this blog, my kids, my own life and my parrids were all neglected! GREAT news though! I promise I’m back for good this time!

You can expect 3 posts a week from me and if you follow us on YouTube – parentingparrots, we post one video a week.

So I need a favor… On my site I don’t have an option to send out a mass email so I am asking all my subscribers/followers – my faithful people to please go to my contact us page and send me a quick message so I can get your email. No, I won’t be filling up your inbox with spam LOL! I actually just want to send out my gift to you which I promised that anyone who followed me would receive something from me and I have finally got it worked out. If I already have your email then you will receive an email from me. If I don’t then please do the above steps so I can get your thank you gift to you.

FYI – I’m starting to do Parrot training/consultations and Parrot sitting. I don’t have it all worked out as yet but if interested just send me a message and I’m sure we can make some arrangements for me to assist you while getting my footing settled!

Thank you guys so much for your patience with me this past year and I hope my knowledge, my parrids and my mistakes will help give you laughs and joys and of course education.

Parenting Parrots

What to feed a Lorikeet?

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Marlee and Rasta go through nectar pretty fast so I’ve been trying to find a way to make it last longer. So what can you feed a lorikeet?

img_7321 I always buy the big bag of Harrison’s potency fine so I decided to try that with them. On the bag it says mix the Harrison’s with 2 TBS water and 1/2 tsp corn syrup for lories. The first time I tried it with them, I mixed it with some nectar however I haven’t used it with nectar again.

I like it but I find that it firms up their poop and since they should have watery poop, I was a little hesitant about continuing its usage. What I found was by letting the Harrison’s soak in the mixture before giving it to the lories, made it come out like a mash and therefore their poop was still watery just a little more visible. I can live with that.

So I put 3 tsp of Harrison’s potency fine in their food bowls.

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3 tsp of Harrison’s potency fine

Then I put 1/2 tsp of corn syrup on top.

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1/2 tsp corn syrup

Added 2 Tbs of hot water.

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2 tbs hot water

Let it soak for about 3 – 5 mins and stir.

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Soaking

What I have been doing is giving them mango chunks in the morning for breakfast (they say a fruit on an empty stomach keeps cancer at bay – now that saying is for humans… Not sure if it works for birds but I do it anyways.)
Then for training, I use nectar. If I am giving them a morning training then it’s nectar for training and for their breakfast and then fruit for dinner. But I try to give them the fruit for breakfast and give them an afternoon training with nectar as their treat. Whatever nectar is left over goes in their cages with them and then I do the Harrison’s mix for dinner and nectar for their evening training.

I want to get them accepting more veggies so I may have to rotate the Harrison’s and veggies every other day….

IF you have a lorikeet, tell me if you have tried Harrison’s and whats your opinion or what other foods do you give them besides the nectar and flowers.

***UPDATE*** I have now made more lorikeet friends and got a few books on them so I have discontinued any further use with Harrison’s for my lorikeet. As lorikeets have an iron storage issue and Harrison’s unfortunately does not cater to that.

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Parenting Parrots