On Wednesday November 6th, 2019 I was contacted by a lady I spoke with 2 years ago at the parrot supply store. I couldn’t recall who she was but she wanted to re-home her bird to me. She stated her husband had allergies and asthma that was acting up and they were under the impression that this bird was causing it. We spoke for a bit on the phone and then she sent me some pictures. I forgot to contact her back that night. On Thursday, she messaged me again. I advised her I have never paid for a rehome so I wouldn’t be able to take her in and gave her suggestions on how to help with the bird dander. She said she had tried all of those suggestions. So although I was not going to pay her asking price,something about this bird was nagging me to take her in. This little beauty was a 3 year old White Capped Pionus who was purchased from the breeder and has been in this family her whole life. She was only eating Zupreem Naturals and 2 Almonds a day. I was so hesitant. I wasn’t sure I was ready to take on a re-home again so when my friend told me she would take her in if I found it to be too much, I thought great! I agreed to take in 3 year old Maui and said I’ll come pick her up in a week but they were ready to move her so the night of Friday November 8th, 2019 @ approx. 8pm, Maui joined our flock.
Type of Parrot: White Capped Pionus
Birthdate: April 2016
Wing Status: Fully Flighted
Favorite food: Almonds (previous owner said)
Noise Level: Quiet so far
Training progress: She won’t come near me
Tricks: None yet
Talking Ability: Unknown
Favorite Toy: Unknown
Diet: Zupreem Naturals
Cage: Open Dome top – 26″ wide and 62″ high and 19″ deep (this is her cage from the previous owner) Vet Visit: Never
Next Steps: Get her used to my presence and taking treats from me.
I’ve taken in a few re-homes since starting Parenting Parrots, a set of Quakers, a pair of cockatiels and a few single birds here and there. The last ones I took in, were two beautiful cockatiels. The owner wanted me to keep them so she could come by and visit every now and then, I had no problem with that as long as they were in my care. Well my sister’s friend wanted them and after a few months of them being with me, I thought they were such good birds that they would do well with her. If a bird is too timid, shy, aggressive, I would not re-home them because they would end up being neglected or passed around. However if I can train them and get them back to a beautiful, interactive bird than I can re-home them. The cockatiels really didn’t need any work from me because their owner took really good care of them. They ended up being a girl and a boy even though I was originally told two males. They had a baby earlier this year (2019) in their new home and they get lots of out of cage time. Unfortunately, I’ve never received any pictures and when the previous owner wanted to see them, they were unavailable so I feel bad about that but I know they are still alive and well as my sister gets to see them. I will have to contact her to find out what they did with the baby but I’m happy with the progress I hear about them so far.
I stopped taking birds in because there is just too many avian diseases going around and I don’t want to risk infecting my birds so when I was contacting about another bird, I automatically thought NOPE! But my heart is too soft at times so if you follow my instagram, then you already know I took in another rehome but this will for sure be my last rehome. This little birdie got here at about 8pm on Friday November 8th, 2019. I do have an experienced bird owner lined up and ready to take her if I feel it’s too muh for me as I just had my 5th baby two months ago but her owner was adamant that she wanted her to live with me so I am definitely going to try to make this be her forever home especially after how she reacted with just this change….
So stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where I actually introduce you to this beauty and give you her background story.
Some pelleted diets are better than others but how does one make that decision? Have you ever taken the time to look at the ingredients list? To be honest, I went by what was suggested to me and sounded good. Never once have I taken up a bag of bird food and truly read the ingredients…. until this year, that is. This year I’ve learned so much and started to pay attention to the back of parrot food bags.
First, you want to pick a bag that has the most natural ingredients. Next, you want to focus on how the food was processed (Currently, I’m being told TOPS is the only pellet company that is cold-pressed. Cold pressed processing helps to keep the most of the nutrients inside of the pellet instead of losing it in a hot pressed process.)
When looking at the ingredients of a bag, look for the type of preservatives they use. Synthetic ones aren’t good. BHT and BHA are two that I try to keep out of our own human lives so why would I want my birds to have it? Ethoxyquin, is another one that some have said to be dangerous for our birds. And of course another debate is Propylene Glycol. This is very sweet tasting so it makes sense for it to be put into the parrot food however I personally do not want to eat anything that is used in antifreeze for a car. You can also find it in brake fluids.
At the end of the day, I feel a bird’s diet should not consist of anything “fake” but with that being said some preservatives are needed to keep contained food fresh. Just make sure they are safe.
One thing about having birds is cleaning up after them. How does one choose the best bedding for your parrots’ home? For me it’s all about the easiest to clean up and the cheapest for my pocket but yet the safest for my little friends. So there are quite a bit of options:
Corncob: I personally have never used the stuff but it’s a bedding I’ve actually heard about quite often. Not because it’s any good but because it can kill your parrot. As a matter of fact, I believe it was this bedding that was put into the famous African Grey, Alex’s cage which got him sick and unfortunately ended his life. I could be wrong but it was a corn something that shouldn’t have been used. Corncob is deadly if ingested as it absorbs moisture. So please don’t use it.
Nothing: Yes, this is an option if you know for a fact that you will be washing the tray down everyday.
Doggy Pee Pads: I used to use these but then I heard there were chemicals in it that weren’t safe for the birds and since I couldn’t guarantee that my birds would never come in contact with it, I stopped using them.
Betta Chips: Can be scooped like kitty litter and won’t fly around like shavings. I have never tried this but definitely something I will consider.
Paper: I believe this is your best option, as it’s safe, cheap and it’s easy to clean. Plain newspaper, paper towels, moving paper (can be bought from a moving company like U-haul).
Cardboard: This was just recently suggested to me off of my youtube video on this topic by a subscriber. This individual said they cut a cardboard the same size as the tray, cover it with plastic and tape it with packing tape. That way s/he picks up the cardboard, dusts it off and places it back into the cage tray. This has definitely got my attention, I do believe I will be trying this!
Learning is always a positive thing to do. One of the many ways I stay updated and informed about parrots is by listening to parrot podcasts. When I would be at work, I would put in one earpiece, go to my podcast and click play. Many times, I had to stop working to take down notes. My cleaning routine was created off of a podcast.
The definition of a podcast based off of Dictionary.com is:
a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically
I’m not sure if there are paid for podcasts but all the podcasts I’ve listened to have been free. Which I love! hahaha. So if you’re looking for other ways to expand your knowledge, definitely consider listening to podcasts. Parrotdise Perch is suppose to be offering podcast sessions every Sunday (don’t quote me as it hasn’t started yet). The podcasts on parrots that I completed was https://petliferadio.com/wingspg.html. I will continue to look for more podcasts I believe Lara Joseph has a facebook group called Level 1 and she has some podcasts in there. I’m only a part of her Parrot Project so we don’t have access to them.
If you know of any parrot podcasts please list them in the comments below so we can all continue to learn how to better our companions’ lives.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve hindered my Grey’s intellect. So now I’m trying to play catch up and teach him things I never bothered to before. Why didn’t I teach him sounds, colors, numbers, alphabets? I teach it to my kids so why should teaching it to an African Grey be any different? To be honest, it shouldn’t have been. I just never truly realized their mind span or maybe I just thought if he wanted to learn he would pick it up some how…
Well now I feel guilty but I’m hoping at the age of 7, it isn’t too late. Grayson has currently learned “Wolf, Wolf” and “meow” but I’m trying to get him to say it on cue which has been my most difficult part. I say “What sound does the doggy make?” and he is suppose to respond with, “Doggy go wolf, wolf”. Yes he does say that part just not right after I’ve asked the question. He has chosen to say it when he feels like it which is still great because at least I know he has learned it so now it’s just putting it on cue.
Next I want to hear him repeat the sounds of a cow, pig, frog, rooster, duck and donkey. If you can think of any other animal sounds I can teach him please comment them below.
So, this myth goes around that males talk better than females. Maybe there is some truth to it, as Purrain is truly my only female and she hasn’t spoken a word since I’ve had her but I know plenty of female talking birds. For example look at Einstein, the African Grey parrot you can find on YouTube. Yes, with a name like Einstein you would think she was a male but she isn’t and she is truly an amazing talker. Grayson’s vocabulary is no where near hers however in his defense she does have quite a bit of years on him. The only way to see if this has any truth to it would be to get two birds at the same time, same age, same upbringing and compare but just like humans that still won’t prove anything because it could be an one off based on those particular individuals. Regardless that doesn’t stop me from seeing Einstein’s vocabulary and wondering if I hindered Grayson’s some way, some how. Or is he still learning and growing his vocabulary and will it be more extensive than hers one day? This raises the question, does talking matter? I love to hear my birds talk, I feel the same way I feel when I see them gliding throughout the house, PURE JOY! But just like accepting a child for whatever they become in life, the same goes for parrots in my eyes at least. So the myth doesn’t matter. I don’t have a preference over male or female parrots. It’s just that the parrots I got all turned out to be male except Lola, Nyx, Purrain and Bonnie. Purrain and Bonnie are all I have left and unfortunately as I said earlier, they make this myth seem true but I’m not counting them out of the race yet. If they never talk, so be it but it would definitely be an added bonus. Don’t pick a male or female bird based on this myth please because you could end up regretting it.
If you truly follow my blog you would know by now that the very first poicephalus bird I had the pleasure of knowing was a beautiful Senegal parrot named Chico. After Chico, my son constantly asked for a senegal parrot but my heart wouldn’t allow me to replace Chico. I think that turned my son away from birds a little because although he engages with them, he isn’t as connected to any as he was bonded to Chico.
Pookie, our brown headed parrot came to us in September of 2018 and he is part of the poicephalus family. Apparently brown heads are rather rare which I never knew. He is sweet like Chico was but he doesn’t mess with the kids too much which all comes down to training and interactions. Anyhow these are the two poicephalus parrots I have been lucky to encounter but there is so much more.
The Poicephalus parrots I’m aware of are: Senegal Meyer’s Brown Heads Cape Ruppell’s Yellow-faced Red-bellied Jardine’s Niam Niam
On this list there is a few I have never seen so if you have seen them please send me a picture because I would LOVE to see them. I have NEVER seen a yellow-faced parrot because every time I google them, the only thing that comes up is yellow headed amazons. A yellow-faced parrot apparently looks like a Jardine’s parrot except it sports a lighter green and of course yellow around the face. They can be found in Ethiopia. I would love to see one.
Next on this list that I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting or seeing is the “Niam Niam Parrot”. They are similar to Brown Heads but bigger in size. They only exist in the wild.
Every other bird on this list, I have seen, interacted with or met. However I think I would like a Ruppell’s parrot but trying to find one in Canada is like looking for a needle in a haystack but if it’s meant to be than it will be.
So that is it for the Poicephalus family. I like this group of parrots. They have good demeanors, friendly dispositions and are not considered to be loud vocally. They can learn words and tricks and in my opinion, they are a great family parrot.
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.
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.