It’s funny, two new parrots in the household, and there’s suddenly a number of specific behavioural goals that come with them.
I figured it’s worthwhile to discuss a little bit, mixed with pictures, so that people who read this and have parrots feel that if they’re having issues, they’re fixable, and second, for those who don’t have parrots, they can really comprehend what living with parrots is like.
Tlalli eats pellets, but not fresh food.
Keela eats pellets and will somewhat eat fresh food, but only if in company.
In both cases, the fix is pretty straight forward — keep providing fresh food for several hours in the morning when they don’t have other food, and eventually, they will eat it — so far, this method has never once failed, though the record was eight months before Pineapple, our previous lovebird, would eat fresh food.
2) Feather destruction.
Tlalli barbers her feathers something fierce.
She seems to mostly do it at quiet times, when there’s limited stimulation going on. She will not do so when she is wet.
Two pronged attack for that one — once she’s started molting and growing in new feathers, we will keep her damp as much as possible.
Also, we’re working on more and more playing with toys and environmental enrichment in the form of foraging, crunchy feeling things to destroy, and rope and other things that she really seems to enjoy.
We would like Tlalli and Theo to share a cage. They have an 8 foot long by 4 foot deep by 6 foot tall cage to share, so there’s plenty of room.
However, they are not ready yet. We tried, briefly, and Tlalli cornered Theo and he had to be rescued.
Plan for that is pretty simple though — both Tlalli and Theo are very food motivated, so they will be regularly reinforced for calm behaviour when close to each other, as seen below.
Both of them are on the same stand, both are showing relaxed body language.
With enough time and enough proximity, they’ll be fine together — just need to continue reinforcing calm body language when they’re near each other, and stop allowing Tlalli to chase Theo into corners, which sets back the relationship on both sides.
The next set of cohabitation is a little more challenging — Keela and Cin. Keela is very curious about Cin, approaches him politely, and seems not at all bothered by his presence. Cin clearly has a different opinion. He tightens up his feathers when she’s nearby, he will fly away if she’s too close.
Which is a shame, because she’s so pretty.
The reason this one is more challenging is fairly simple. Cin is not interested in treats, because Cin is fat. Keela would eat the world, so reinforcing her for things is very simple, but Cin will not even take nuts half the time.
He has disapproving African grey bird boobs.
There’s a whole lot of fixes here for all of this.
First, I’ve cut back on Cin’s pellets, but I am going to have to cut back further.
Second, we’re encouraging more flight as much as we can.
Third, Keela’s cage has been moved downstairs next to Cin’s so that they can see each other more frequently (and Keela can get decent amounts of sleep like our other birds).
I will also work on getting a weight on Cin so that I can monitor more closely, but I care more about physical and behavioural changes more than a number on a scale.
And finally, a fun goal more than an unfun one.
4) Flight training Keela!
Keela’s an amazingly good flier, particularly for a parrot who was very likely not fledged, and has been clipped for most of her life.
Right now, we’re working on recall to hand, which she’s gotten much better at. On the other side of things, I need to build up the value in the stand, because for the past few days, she’s been flying to me whenever she’s had a chance.
Foraging works well for the stand though.
So, in a nutshell, living with a bunch of parrots involves a whole lot of learning, teaching, and problem solving.
That, and a lot of picture taking too. :)
Want to guess what Tlalli’s doing in this picture? Feel free to leave a comment!