I have a bunch of posts previously on training goals, and then I stopped updating. But there is decidedly some news on the subjects!
Goals from May:
Done, done, done. It’s been months since all three of my newest parrots have been eating the same healthy diet as the rest of my birds. As usual, I meal feed when I transition them, and it’s easy as pie, just takes a while. So that one’s off the list.
2) Feather destruction.
When Tlalli came home, she had nearly full feathers, but the texture of the feathers themselves was very poor and felt like straw, due to lack of showers and a very poor diet. She also spent at least 30 – 40% of her time visibly destroying her feathers, and her feather quality diminished immensely. From pictures of her from her previous owner, she’s been chewing her feathers for at least 2 – 3 years.
We had her checked over by the vet, changed her diet, taught her to play with toys (she particularly loves chewing tiny pieces of straws, which she doesn’t eat, but methodically goes over in the same way as her eating her feathers), and gave her baths.
Here’s what she looks like today.
Obviously, she’s not completely done. She’s got many feathers still to replace, and she may barber some still. Her new feathers, however, are soft, unmarked, and are deeper red with a better texture. I haven’t seen her destroy a feather in forever, nor are we finding feather particles on her stand or in her cage, which is an excellent sign for a beautifully feathered parrot in the future. We’d love her beyond belief no matter what, but I have hopes that this will be a habit of the past.
When we first put them together, Tlalli and Theo seemed fine together. Theo was a little uncertain, but Tlalli was pretty happy about it. And then, after a little while, Tlalli started displaying and lunging at Theo more. I figured out (thankfully quickly enough) that my going over to check on them when she lunged at Theo was extremely reinforcing to her, enough that her lunging and screaming increased. So I started ignoring that, and rewarding both of them for good behaviour, including approaching each other, doing training sessions together, etc.
Tlalli lived in the big cage (an eight foot long, four foot wide, six foot tall cages by design cage) during this time, and Theo lived in a ‘macaw cage’ sized cage. They came out together almost every day, as long as both parties wanted (both macaws had a few days where they decided they’d rather stay in their cages, which is a completely acceptable choice in this household).
Six days ago, on October 2nd, I decided it was time to see if it would work again, and carefully put them in the same cage, then stayed downstairs for the next several hours and watched them.
They’ve been living together ever since. Neither are particularly enthused about each other yet, but Theo’s loving having the big cage, and both parties think that me rewarding them for moving towards each other is pretty okay.
Once we clean things up and rearrange it for her significantly smaller size, Keela will be moving into Theo’s old cage, going from a 24″ by 24″ to something like 42″ by 30″, which she will use every molecule of.
Not as much progress with Cin and Keela, and close to zero progress with Ky and Cody, but time will tell. The additional couple that I’m working on is Tea and Radish, which will be interesting to see if that ever happens.
4) Flight training.
Tlalli: Tons of encouragement for flapping wings has increased her stamina immensely, as well as worked to build muscle. I’m working on acquiring decent training perches that can manage her weight (and will rig something up with camera tripods shortly), and then we’ll start working on hopping and flapping. That should be fun. On one hand, I’d love to give her more ability to move around. On the other hand, I’m completely aware that she’s going to spend 100% of her time trying to get into my lap. Oh well. :)
Keela: Man, Keela is an excellent little flier. Her recall skills are improving after some work to get her more comfortable going onto and off of hands. She’ll do a short 1 – 2 foot flight on cue, and is now more regularly taking off and doing a loop of the room. We will increase this and see how it goes.
Cody, alas, is going back to remedial work because although he flies very well, he likes to use his wings to try to attack other parrots. So we’ve clipped his wings for now so that the better fliers can get away more easily, and we’ll work on that first.
Now that I’ve updated you on the previous goals, here are the ones for next time:
1) Feather destruction.
3) Flight training….
4) Trick training. I’m working on a number of tricks with several parrots, and once I get them down, I’ll tell you what they are and probably show you video. :)
That’s it for now!