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parrots and children...

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steptoe91(tozie)
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« on: June 22, 2012, 02:16:13 pm »

...love the cheapest stupidest toys ever!  slaph  i've made some pretty extensive toys over the last few years. I've bought some quite expensive toys as well. But i've been trying to get more and more...uh...in-expensive with the toys that i know full well will be destroyed in a matter of hours ... or even minutes. So today i got out my paper bags...ya know, the ones ya used to  carry your lunch to school in? anyway, i puffed one out, put two almonds and a wooden ball in it and tied it with some sisal. i then tied it to skittles' totem pole... before ya ask, i dont know where the heck my freaking camera is! i've looked every where for it.  pullhair   anyway, skittles is currently having a blast playing with and ripping up that bag. first he shook the hell outta it, enjoying all the noise it produced. Then he ripped a hole in it to see what was making that noise. i guess he couldnt see inside well enough, so he stuck his head in the hole and then proceeded to turn his head this way and that with the bag stuck on his head.  laugh  next, he pulled it off his head and began ripping the bag to shreds. when it was nothing but a bit of brown paper tied to a piece of sisal, he savagely ripped a shred off and ran like hell across the top of the totem pole, across the top of his cage, and when he ran outta running room he stopped and looked at me with the shred hanging outta his beak with a look that said "hey!! did you see that???" he slung the paper across the room and ran back to finish killing the bag.  laffhrd

meanwhile, we have ollie on top of his open cage door with a wooden wheel, carefully chipping bits off the edges. he's being very symmetrical about it, turning and chipping, turning and chipping...  lol

Caleb? well, i took some tissue paper and shredded it, then i carefully stuffed the shreds into the holes of a big blue whiffle ball. When i walked in the room with it, his crest went up and he snatched it outta my hand. he then proceeded to delicately pull the shreds outta the ball and balance them carefully on his back, as he stood on one foot.

Twiggy got a bit of tissue folded up and tied in the middle with a bell attached. she's happily shaking the hell outta the bell and shaving tiny bits of tissue off the 'flower'.

marley got a bit of pool noodle but his beak isnt as strong or as sharp as caleb's so his pool noodle just has all these tiny little dimples in it as he bites it and wrestles with it.

i've also been making all sorts of forraging toys, and they really arent responding to them.  think  so i started researching round the web. i found many sources that say a captive bred parrot, especially hand raised ones, dont know how to forrage. they dont get the point. if food isnt readily available in their bowls as they've grown accustomed to, they just dont eat. This seemed to go along with my experience here. so i reversed gears and started a bit smaller. i then got my tissue paper, cut it into tiny pieces and started wrapping  pine nuts (my feathered fiends' faves) hard candy style. i then handed one to skittles, predictably he dropped it immediately. so i got it again, and peeled a bit back to show him the nut, and handed it to him so his beak would bite down on the center 'nut'. Finally he got the idea. so then i put a handful of these 'candies' in his spare food bowl. now he REALLY got the point. next step will be to hang them round his cage like little party decorations.

now that they've each had a nice vigorous playtime, a good snack, and a scritch they're all in 'nap-mode' in their favorite napping positions. nothing better than a happily satisfied and tired parrot.  loveuk
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Beth, the crazy lady who lives on the corner

Skittles - scarlet macaw, Marley - black headed caique, Twiggy - quaker parrot, Ollie - yellow naped amazon, Caleb - Moluccan Cockatoo

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Sondra
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2012, 03:00:28 pm »

Take paper and cover the food dishes, they will have to remove the paper to get to their food. Then take sisal or raffia, whatever you have handy and tie the paper on the food dish, they'll have to rip open the paper. Then use a paper plate and tie it on the food dish - thicker than normal paper. For larger birds you can use 3 or more paper plates on their dishes. Do this with only dry foods as wet food can spoil quickly when covered. You may have to cut peek holes into whatever you use to cover the dishes. Once you have them foraging into their food bowl you can start adding small sized foraging toys. An example would be a small (dish height) pool noodle with the middle stuffed with pellets and other dry foods, or a wiffle ball stuffed with shredded papers AND dry foods, or a small box with holes in it stuffed with shredded paper/ raffia/sea grass & dry foods. You can use paper towel tubes, lufa, boxes, bags, cups, ice ream cones (not the sugar cones) as foraging toys.

I bet Caleb knows where your camera is!! bugeye
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steptoe91(tozie)
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2012, 03:25:27 pm »

those are great ideas sondra but its too early in 'training' for that.  i just want any new parronts reading to remember that you MUST go slowly or the parrot just wont eat. not only have i read this, i've seen in here with my own eyes. that's why right now i'm putting the 'candies' in their food bowls. and in a few days to a week i'll be hanging these 'candies' all over the cages.  any food i've hung round the cage has ended up in piles of poo cause they dont see food anywhere BUT the food bowls. any food hung round goes unnoticed, even when its the only food offered. They have to get the idea that its okay to eat places besides the dinner bowl. and that takes time. i've also found that any manipulation of the food bowls  and they start ignoring the food bowls too. like covering them, even with holes in the paper, they just dont eat. this is because they've never had to forrage. many were pulled from their parents so even if mommy and daddy know how, they werent taught. humans have always provided food and made it easily available. if its difficult, they ignore it.

example: skittles has a bowl of pellets on the outside of his cage. he also has some in a bowl inside the cage. the one inside the cage is in the corner, farthest away from the door. it has the exact same pellets as the outside bowl. but skittles wont eat from it. why? cause he likes to eat his pellets high, and that bowl is inconvienient. now you think, just dont put any pellets in the other bowl... nope i let it go empty and he just didnt eat pellets for two days. as soon as i put pellets in it ( a handful i grabbed from the bowl inside the cage!) he immediately grabbed a mouthful, climbed to the highest point over the cage and began eating pellets. 
now i dont know why. i'm no behaviorist or avian expert. but i know what i saw, that was a parrot  who refused to exert effort for food. did he have other foods available? yup. did he just eat more of them? its hard to say, alot of what he eats has a bite or two and then hits the floor.

the moral is,   just be careful when changing routines when it comes to food. try to have fun with them and teach them to 'be birds' but make sure they get what they need. enrichment is not good if it jeopardizes their health.
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Beth, the crazy lady who lives on the corner

Skittles - scarlet macaw, Marley - black headed caique, Twiggy - quaker parrot, Ollie - yellow naped amazon, Caleb - Moluccan Cockatoo
Sondra
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2012, 04:05:51 pm »

Too right about people trying things right off the bat, I'm sorry. I should have stated try making a game out of the paper first - I actually forgot about doing this with Higgy and Powder. I'd put a treat in their empty dry bowl, cover with a piece of paper with a hole in it and say "peek-a-boo" in a sing songy voice. When they either pulled the paper off or pushed it off they got lots of praise and a treat. Now this does take a while for some birds to get the hang of foraging, especially if they don't have a favourite treat. I had to use chicken wings with Powder so it took quite a while for him to understand exactly what foraging was. Imagine a kid who is expecting a special treat and just getting rice for dinner when they are given their plate. It takes time, patience, and the ingenuity you have shown to teach parrots to forage.

You are so right about the "hand raised" babies not knowing how to forage! Our "hand raised" birds have lost so much knowledge because the parents weren't allowed to teach them many of the basics of being birds. Most don't even get to fledge, and are so imprinted on humans they think they are human. Being parent raised is so much better for the babies, not only physically, but emotionally as well. Too many breeders don't realize that they can "hand tame" the babies simply by handling them while they are still small. I'm told that birds who were wild caught as adults or older juveniles take to foraging much quicker and easier than our "hand raised" birds simply because for them it was an already learned behaviour.
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Ditty
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2012, 07:10:50 pm »

Skittles!!   laffhrd
Hey ya keep that bag on and you will be ready for a red sox game.

Another trick is to let em see ya making it and putting in the food.  You know they are watching anyway. 
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