The Random Picture Post of New Camera.

When one gets a new camera, one takes random pictures.

These are them. :) There are parrots. There are cats. There may even be a fish.

Cin thinks the new camera is VERY sexy.

He’s disapproving, but that’s sort of like saying he’s a grey.

Also disapproving, in a smaller grey sort of way.

This one isn’t at all disapproving — just a little rumpled.

Goldfishes!

Wing pits! And yes, she still has partially clipped wings. It does not slow her down, not even a little.

My gorgeous, beloved roseline sharks/Denisonii barbs.

The new camera is very good, but it’s not ‘flight pictures’ good yet. Or rather, we haven’t set it up right to be. :)

Theo has decided that the very, very small water dish is the right size to bathe in.

His colours are so rich and nice with this camera.

Look at how much water he threw around. Seriously.

So we took him upstairs for a real bath.

He doesn’t get into baths very often, but when he does, it’s epic.

Really epic.

Wet mohawk epic.

Man, he’s so cute when he’s all wet and silly.

He still looks a little cranky though.

Not as cranky as this though. Yes, she’s on top of Cthulhu. Yes, that’s appropriate.

Then, I went upstairs and found a basket of cats. All four of them, in fact.

We also got another snapshot of Microwave Cat(tm).

And finally, a beauty shot of Cody (with Ky’s evil in the background).

Posted in Akeelah, Cats, Cinereo, Cody, Fetch, Jellylorum, Kyklos, Macavity, Nemo, Parrots, Theodore, Tlalli | Leave a comment

Cat beauty shots!

Thanks to a new camera, there will suddenly be a ton of interesting pictures again. One of the things we’ve wanted to do lately is get some good pictures of our cats, most specifically Macavity.

Some of you may recall that a few months ago, Ch. Siam Jewels Spot On came to stay at our house for a week for a sexcation. On Monday, the 22nd, she gave birth to eight (!!) kittens, in a variety of colours and patterns. Mom and kittens are doing wonderfully, and it’s possible the rational parrot household may bring one of them home in the future. :)

But either way, we wanted pictures for Jessica to use for her webpage and for the new kitten owners to see.

And, of course, we took pictures of everyone!

The man of the hour, Ch. Siam Jewels Macavity. Mac to his friends. Mac is a 13 month old fawn solid Oriental shorthair. Epic disapproval, as usual.

It’s funny, in his profile pictures, he looks so young to me, and in the others, so much older.

He is, in fact, still pretty young, only 13 months old.

Still pretty though!

And filled to the brim with tail. Man, he has a long tail.

And the greenest eyes.

Teenagers becoming fathers! What is the world coming to? (Hopefully REALLY pretty kittens).

Next up, we have Premier Siam Jewels Jellylorum, known to her friends as ‘The Hater’. Jelly is a nearly 2 year old (two more weeks) chocolate point Oriental Shorthair.

Jelly was less pleased by this entire ‘beauty’ thing.

Despite the fact that she is, in fact, really beautiful.

And full of hatred. Man, those are some disapproving ears.

She has the most beautiful blue eyes.

And the walls set them off perfectly.

She also does ‘meerkat’ really, really well. Epic core muscle strength there.

And last, but not least, the single untitled cat (we’ll probably show him in summer), Just Oriamese Captain Nemo. To his friends, we call him ‘Oh seriously, would you get off? Do you really need love now? Can you PLEASE stop touching me?’ Nemo is, as you can tell, a fairly affectionate cat. :) Nemo is a 16 month old cream mackerel tabby Oriental Shorthair.

And quite pretty as well.

If a touch pudgy. :)

I admit, I wasn’t much of a fan of the cream tabbies, but his colouring is really astonishing, a perfectly clear cream with stripes.

And he’s quite playful.

With a great profile.

And that, for now, is our team of Orientals here at the Rational Parrot. :)

Posted in Cats, Jellylorum, Macavity, Nemo | Leave a comment

Cat Show Weekend!

As most of you know, I own a number of cats. Three of them are purebred Oriental Shorthairs, one of which is being used for breeding by his breeder.

As part of the process that started with me getting an intact stud cat, Macavity was taken to a number of cat shows. And it turns out, cat shows are my sort of thing. I know, shocking to not a single one of you.

Last weekend, there was the All About Pets show, which included a cat show. For the first time, we brought our cats ourselves. And yes, cats.

A quick primer on cat shows:

During a cat show, there are usually a number of different rings in which judges judge cats. Cats are separated into four classes — Household pets (non pedigreed cats), Alters (spayed or neutered cats), Kittens (as it says on the tin), and Champions (intact cats). Within each class, cats are judged against the others of their breed for best of breed. Once that’s done, the judges pick their top cats for the finals.

Cats get titles based on first, if they meet the standards in the opinion of four judges, and then, by how many cats in the same class they beat.

All that aside, what a cat show really ends up being is a lot of time chatting with people, intermittently running cats to various judging rings, then returning.

For this show, I had a few goals.

1. I wanted both Jelly and Macavity to get their first titles. Done and done, they are now Premier Siam Jewels Jellylorum and Champion Siam Jewels Macavity.

2. I wanted Jelly to final once. Done, done, and done. Jelly got 2nd best shorthair alter, and 2nd and 6th best allbreed alter, which was significantly better than I could have dreamt.

3. I wanted Macavity not to lose entirely. ;) Mac is still a very immature looking cat. Jelly, his relative, took to nearly 18 months before she really started looking good, and is twice as beautiful at two as she was at one. Macavity just turned 1, so we’ve got time.

And, shockingly enough… done. Macavity went best of breed once, second best of breed three times, and best of champions four times. For the best of breeds, he beat Grand Champions and some of the top Orientals in Canada, which was really impressive, and gives me hope that in eight months or so, he’ll be even more beautiful.

And finally:

4. I wanted Jelly to enjoy or at least tolerate showing. Done, but almost failed. Jelly was fine with the hanging out in the show cage, fine with the interacting with people, fine with the being mauled about by the judges. What she was NOT fine with was sitting in the open judging cages, surrounded by foreign cats. The first day, she was pretty freaked out, and sat hunched over, facing away from the crowds.

The second day, she was REALLY unhappy, to the point that I nearly pulled her from showing on day three. She backed herself into corners, grabbed at the tablecloth under her, knocked over her number, and her behaviour escalated during the day until the last ring, I finally had to remove her rather than have her hurt herself.

She did really well in the competition, and has the possibility of being an excellent show cat, if she could calm down. But getting ribbons isn’t worth stressing out my cat, so I was considering, at the end of Saturday, retiring her already.

We still had another day of showing, so I considered things that night, and decided that it was time to use my behaviourist knowledge. She clearly found the judging cages stressful, and clearly did not find the entire process very reinforcing. There was nothing in it for her.

So I changed that. Sunday, I brought a baggie full of cheddar cheese with me to the show. Jelly got a piece of cheddar before going in the judging cage, and a piece after she was done. In this case, I was hoping to use classical conditioning — associating a specific stimulus with something desirable to change her opinion on it. I was not really trying to teach her something (operant conditioning) because I fully intended on giving her the cheese even if she was squirmy.

But I didn’t have to. The first ring, she ate her cheese (a little perplexedly), then went into the cage and was calm, looked forward, meowed a few times (she is an Oriental), and was overall exceptionally good.

Her behaviour actually got better throughout the day, to the point that she was as calm as the show cats who have been doing this for years.

Behold, the power of cheese!

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend.

One of the most amusing parts of the weekend was when another competitor mentioned, as we were watching the judging, that all of the cats hated Ring 1. This was at the All About Pets Show, as I said, and Ring 1 was right next to the world of birds — a number of tables with cockatoos, macaws, and conures shrieking intermittently. To no one’s surprise, Macavity and Jelly were utterly unfazed by that. :)

I didn’t bring the good camera, but I have a few fun iPhone pictures from the weekend.

Macavity shows off his breed sign.

The two of them hanging out in the show cage.

As you can see, they clearly hate each other.

A lot.

Here’s Jelly in one of the judging cages, looking just like her father.

And finally, a few videos. :)

Apr 18, 2014 | Morning at the cat show! by stejacks on Keek.com

Apr 19, 2014 | This is what happens to cats at shows. We are terrible people. by stejacks on Keek.com

Apr 19, 2014 | Cat show day 2. by stejacks on Keek.com

Our next show will likely be in June, and this time around, Nemo may attend too. We’ll see how it goes.

Yay for cat shows!

Posted in Cat shows, Cats, Jellylorum, Macavity | 1 Comment

Spring may actually be here!

The weather is finally improving, our crocuses are blooming in the front yard, and of a sudden, all the parrots are nesty and molting like crazy.

Fun times!

We’re also rapidly approaching the Day of Macaw Cohabitation. Theo and Tlalli have been out together on the stands with minimal fuss for a while now. There’s only one real requirement left — Tlalli needs to eat fresh food happily on her own, which she’s finally beginning to do.

After that, the only thing that’s still left to do is to update all their toys, and then in a week or so, we can probably move them in together — which makes me overjoyed, because that will drop us to only 10 cages to deal with. The day when the greys (sooner rather than later) and the Amazons (who knows when) can live together will be a glorious day.

Keep in mind that if you’re ever going to house two large macaws together, you need a REALLY large cage. Our caw cage is 8 feet wide, 4 feet deep, and 6 feet tall.

Just remember, parrots who are allowed to interact with other parrots are completely untame.

I hope that one day, her feathers are as beautiful as his.

They’re so much more relaxed around each other now.

Another fun thing that’s going on in our lives is that the crazy zons went to the vet this week for a checkup — no results back yet though. In Cody’s case, he also got a beak trim to deal with the excessive layers on his beak.

This is a before shot.

And here’s an after — he looks so different to me with the different colours.

Cody’s been enjoying, with the nice weather, being parked in front of a window to watch the world go by.

The sun’s pretty nice too.

Crazy Ky got her beak trimmed too, though hers was in better shape.

This is how Ky always looks at me — vaguely murderous.

Whereas this one is always super, super sweet.

Posted in Cody, Kyklos, Parrots, Theodore, Tlalli | Leave a comment

Controversies: Baby vs adult

Since the first post on where you can get parrots from got so long, I’ve split the second thought on bringing home a parrot into a separate post.

When a person brings home a parrot, they can either get a baby bird or an adult bird. Each of those choices comes with pros and cons as well.

Baby parrots

Generally, you can get baby birds from breeders, pet stores, and occasional individual owners. I consider a baby parrot to be any parrot significantly younger than sexual maturity, which can range from a few months to several years, depending on the species.

Pros:

There’s really no such thing as a blank slate in parrots, but if you pick well, you can bring home a parrot that comes with no real bad habits, and very possibly is on their way to good habits.

You can socialize and shape the life of the parrot, as well as appropriately allowing for natural behaviours such as fledging and learning how to expertly fly.

You can generally get a good idea of how old they are, and thus how long their life will be, and you can help make their lives as long as possible by providing good care and good diets from the beginning.

Many species of baby parrots are cuter than it should be allowed, and are almost painfully wonderful to interact with. Baby cockatoos and baby macaws are some of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen, and I don’t even like cockatoos much.

Cons:

You can absolutely shape a baby parrot as it grows up, but eventually, it will grow up to be a parrot. You cannot guarantee the personality of an adult parrot when you buy it as a baby. If certain behaviours are important to you (such as talking), you can do a great deal to encourage talking, and bring home a species known to be good talkers, but you cannot be certain unless you bring home an adult parrot who already talks.

If you do not have experience with adults of the same species, the behavioural changes that come from the shift from baby to adult can be challenging. Baby macaws are super cute, but they all turn into adult macaws, who are a lot less pliant and willing to accept manhandling. This is generally not as much of a shock in smaller species who have a childhood that lasts a relatively short time as it is in larger species — a macaw is still a baby at three in most cases.

For some people and for some parrots, the shift to being a sexual creature is shocking. Adult parrots get hormonal and nesty, which predisposes them to certain behaviours during certain times of year. For a lot of people, this is a big concern, and many parrots (much like many teenagers :)), tend to be a little more extreme when they’re younger.

Of my parrots, I have brought home six parrots as babies: Tea, Ani, Artichoke, Cin, Caviar, and Ky.

Adult parrots

Generally, you can get adult parrots from rescues, individual owners, and occasionally pet stores and breeders. I consider an adult parrot any parrot who is sexually mature.

Pros

What you see is what you get. An adult parrot has a personality that is already formed. A parrot who talks a lot as an adult will generally talk a lot. A parrot who is very active will generally be very active. A parrot who is very social will generally be very social. Obviously, behaviour can always be modified, but you have a much better idea of what you’re getting with an adult parrot.

This also means that you have the ability to pick and choose things that are important to you, such as talking, etc.

Cons

You miss the cute baby ages with your parrot, and you don’t have the ability to socialize them during key times in their lives.

You may or may not know the history of your parrot, including how old they are, where they were born, how many owners they’ve had. If you do find out their history, you frequently need to do some digging. I only have two parrots in my house that I do not know their hatchdate, so it’s possible to do (particularly if the parrot is banded), but not easy.

What you see is what you get with bad habits too. Most adult parrots come with habits that you may not want, which means that you’ll need to figure out how to change those habits pretty quickly.

You cannot guarantee their health histories, which may shorten their life span. On the other hand, nothing in life is guaranteed — I had a baby parrot die very young.

In my household, five parrots were brought home as adults: Theo, Radish, Tlalli, Cody, and Keela.

In the end, the choices you make are yours. You’ll need to consider what’s best for you, for your household, and for your future. I can tell you that I prefer adult parrots, even with the list of cons, mostly because I tend to find babies very sweet, but not particularly nuanced in personality. I know many experienced parrot people who prefer to get babies and raise them correctly.

The only advice I can and always will give to new parrot owners — if you’re bringing home a baby, please make sure you’ve interacted with adults of the same species and know what their general personalities are like. Babies are cute, but they do grow up.

Posted in Controversies, Parrots | Leave a comment

Diet page updated!

Quick note.

I’ve updated the Rational Parrot Page on Diet, which you can find here: http://www.rationalparrot.com/diet.html

New details include discussion of mash diets (including chop), fixing links, and updating how I feed my parrots.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Orbit arrived!

Last week, a very large box from the US arrived for me, containing one Jumbo Orbit from Mother Pluckin’ Bird Toys. We have two of their atoms (a large and a jumbo, if I recall), and they’re absolutely awesome. The orbit is pretty cool too.

All of these toys are quite heavy, and all of them include a swivel, which implies that there will be a certain amount of force on them. We’ve hung them up (all three) by first finding the stud in the ceiling, and then screwing them directly to the stud, and not had any issues. YMMV. :)

We’re now up to six general play areas in the main area of our house upstairs (plus all the play areas downstairs), which is awesome. The nice thing is also that we can transform our main house area from Parrot Crazy to Normal People by simply removing the swings and putting the stands in a different room (plus sweeping, but that’s eternal).

The big question is always ‘how did the parrots feel about it?’

Cin’s working on guaranteeing the stereotype of the extremely neophobic grey parrot who refuses to go near anything new. Can’t you tell?

Close up and personal greys are kind of creepy looking.

Yeah, he’s traumatized. (I couldn’t manage to catch him hanging upside down to chew on the toy, as much as I tried.)

Keela is happier with her bucket — she’s not nearly as interested in the hanging perches as the other parrots at this point in time, likely due to lack of familiarity with the joys of up high.

Ky says ‘Yeah, this is okay.’

Pause for a typical view in my house. One bloodthirsty cat, ready to pounce and eat the parrot. One dog, dying to play ‘birds and retrievers’. One completely terrified parrot. (FYI, this actually does require quite a bit of training and behavioural knowledge. Don’t try this otherwise, or you may seriously regret it.)

The #1 fan of the orbit though? She’s red.

TOY! Quite a change from the parrot who just sat there and didn’t destroy anything.

A week later, that toy is essentially emptied, and I’ll be refilling it shortly.

She gets more exercise these days too. For a parrot who does not fly and almost certainly did not fledge, she’s extremely bold about going onto new things. We will teach her to fly once she’s got enough primaries to make it worth while, though.

The nicest thing about having all the play areas upstairs is that we can easily have the parrots out with us, without them needing to be on us, and they (as all of my parrots save the macaws fly) can choose where they’d rather be.

The downside is that we occasionally have to deal with scuffles where two parrots decree they want the same stand, but even that works out pretty easily with flight.

Posted in Akeelah, Cinereo, Kyklos, Parrots, Tlalli | Leave a comment

Controversies: Where to get parrots from?

I’ve spent the past many years heavily involved with animals, and I’ve tended towards groups of people online who share my philosophies. Once I started using Facebook a little more and headed out and about in Ontario, I’ve been reminded that a lot of my animal keeping choices are considered controversial by many people.

I’m going to start posting about some of them, to both explain my own logic, and to share information and hopefully create some food for thought.

And a bunch of pictures, of course, that’s a theme.

Many of these, may, in time, become part of my main webpage, which I’m going to actually update one of these days. This one is extremely long, so get yourself a drink, consider whether or not you need a washroom break, and then dig in.

(This one will be repeated for dogs and cats as well, with different though similar thoughts.)

Parrots are generally available through four sources: Breeders, rescues, pet stores, and individual homes.

I have acquired parrots from each of those sources, and they all have pros and cons.

Breeders

There’s a number of people who breed parrots in North America. As with almost every group of people, some are significantly better than others. There are breeders who focus immensely on the health and well being of their parrots, and there are some who breed simply to make money.

There are a lot of people in the world who are strongly against pet parrot breeding (as well as pet dog, pet cat, and multiple other areas). Many people believe that parrots do not belong in captivity, and that making more makes things worse, and strongly suggest to adopt from rescues.

I, personally, do not have an issue with captive breeding, however, I do think that there are some species that make better pets than others, and I wish breeders would focus more on them than on the more challenging species.

Pros for breeders:

A good breeder can provide a fantastic behavioural and physical base for you to build on. I prefer breeders who wean to a varied diet at whatever speed works best for that parrot, who allow parrots to interact with others of their species and of other species, and who allow all of their babies to learn to fly expertly before they are clipped if they must be.

In addition to that, breeders can offer ongoing support to new owners, and in some cases, even take back the parrot if something happens and they need to be rehomed.

Cons for breeders:

A bad breeder can make your life almost as challenging as a good breeder can. Bad breeders treat the breeding parrots poorly and do not set up their babies for success. Things like a bad wing clip on a heavily built parrot can cause serious issues if not managed well. In addition, a breeder is creating more parrots for pet homes, which some people do not believe that is a good thing.

My household includes four parrots from breeders. All of these pictures are from shortly after the parrots came home, regardless of what they look like now.

Anisette, a green cheeked conure, is from one of the most well known breeders of colour mutation parrots in the US. She was hand raised, but not tame when she came home, and has almost always lived with another parrot. Despite that, she loves to interact with people, particularly me. She came home unclipped, though we clipped her wings briefly a few times in her life.

Cinereo, an African grey, came from a bird farm in California. He was hand raised, good tempered, but came home with a wing clip that was so harsh that he couldn’t even glide, he fell like a rock. After re-teaching him to fly, he’s a very acrobatic and bold parrot.

Caviar, a black lory, came from a breeder in British Columbia. He came home unclipped, learned to fly well, is a really fun (if hard to photograph) parrot. I’d get another bird from his breeder if he wasn’t so far away.

Artichoke, a black capped conure, came from a breeder near London, Ontario. He learned to fly, was abundance weaned, and is still an awesome parrot. I would absolutely buy another parrot from her if I was looking to purchase a species she has.

Pet Stores

Parrots are frequently sold at pet stores, whether that be small scale, parrot-centric stores, larger independent stores, or large chain pet stores. Much like with breeders, it strongly depends on the pet store. In my limited experience, even the best pet stores tend to do things like clip wings before flight and offer behavioural advice that I don’t necessarily agree with. The worst ones can barely be imagined.

These, and breeders, are generally the only place you can find baby parrots.

Pros to pet stores:

If you want a parrot, you can walk into a pet store and buy one immediately with very little fuss. You will get to see the exact parrot that you will be bringing home, and you can likely also get all of the other supplies you might need. Pet stores often have a wider variety of parrots for sale than most breeders do. Pet store parrots are exposed to more people than almost any other situation, so they potentially can be extremely well socialized.

A speciality pet store can be a great resource for long term information on parrots.

Cons to pet stores:

If you want a parrot, you can walk into a pet store and buy one immediately with very little fuss — pet stores tend to create impulse buys, and in some cases (macaws being a really obvious one), the personality of a baby bird and the personality of an adult bird are two very, very different things. Many parrots originally sold at pet stores go through a higher number of homes than most other places, and very few pet store employees really have a good grasp on what they should be telling parrot owners.

Pet store birds have a higher disease risk because they’re exposed to more people, and can come home with worse behavioural issues due to the interactions with people who don’t know how to interact with parrots.

Pet store birds also tend to be significantly more expensive than any other places, in some cases, 2 – 3 times higher than the price from a breeder or a rescue.

My household includes two parrots from pet stores.

High Tea, a sun conure, was sold at a Petsmart in California. We fell in love with him, and instead of buying him immediately, bought a book and did our research… and then bought him anyways. He came home with a raging yeast infection and stress bars over all his feathers. Eleven years later, he’s a fantastic parrot, really fun to interact with, and completely responsible for all the rest.

Kyklos, a double yellow headed Amazon, was sold at a small pet shop in British Columbia. They took good care of their parrots, kept them away from random hands, interviewed new owners, and suggested vet visits for all new parrots.

Rescues

A number of parrot rescues have sprung up over North America in the last decade or so. They’re as varied as the pet stores and breeders, but in my experience, a few things tend to be true. They generally are anti-breeder and anti-breeding and will not adopt to people who breed parrots (or in some cases other pets), even if that parrot will not be bred. They also tend to focus on the wellbeing of the parrots over people, which is both good and bad.

Pros:

Most rescue parrots have been health checked and behaviourally evaluated, and a rescue usually has a pretty wide assortment of parrots. Many parrots lose their homes because of no fault of their own (or their people’s), and not all parrots in rescues have problems of any variety.

Most rescues come with a lot of assistance for new owners, and usually have someone who is willing to answer questions/provide assistance to people with their new pets. They also tend to allow people to adopt parrots pretty quickly, and frequently at a lower price than either a pet store or a breeder. In some cases, parrots will also come home with cages and/or toys, which is helpful.

Cons:

Because rescues tend to focus on the parrot’s welfare over the person’s, they often have strict rules on who gets parrots, which may or may not include home checks, reference checks, and may get stronger than there. Some rescues have rules about controversial behaviours (flight, free flight, pair housing, other things) that might rule out some people.

In addition to that, I’ve had at least one experience with a rescue where a group of parrots was donated to a rescue by one half of a couple, and the rescue refused to return them to the other owner until they were forced by a court order.

Rescue parrots also tend to come with very little history on their background, and they’re usually adults. For some people, that’s a pro, for others, a con.

I have only adopted one parrot from a rescue.

Theodore, a blue and gold macaw, was adopted from Mickaboo rescue in California. He was vet checked, converted to a good diet, and we had a great idea of what his personality and behaviour was like before he came home. He was dropped off at a local animal shelter and transferred into the rescue. I had some details on his past, and also contacted his previous owner to talk to him, and got some more. Theo was 14 years old when I adopted him, and will be turning 25 this year.

Individual owners

Many, many parrots are sold through word of mouth or internet advertising. Sites like Craigslist and Kijiji and many mailing lists and Facebook groups are there to help find homes for parrots who need them. Individually owned parrots are as varied as the owners. Some are in great health. Some are extremely sick. Some are well cared for, beloved pets. Others have small behavioural issues. Some may have such significant issues that only experts can deal with them.

Pros:

You can provide a home for a parrot that needs one, and generally acquire a parrot of a variety of different types in relatively short time. The price of an individually owned parrot tends to be reasonable, and the parrot frequently comes with cage and toys, which can make things easier to move them and easier for them to settle in.

Cons:

You roll the dice, you take your chances. There is absolutely no guarantee on buying an individually owned parrot, and frequently absolutely no support. Many adult rehomed parrots come with some number of habits that may or may not work well in your life. Many adult rehomed parrots come with limited histories (though there are ways to figure out some of it in some cases). If you’re not certain that you can tell the difference between a parrot who bites you because you’re a stranger and a parrot who has learned to bite everyone and a parrot who can be convinced out of that, you really should not consider buying a parrot from an individual owner without a lot of thought.

My household includes four parrots from individual owners.

Radish, a cherry headed conure, was sold to a breeder as a breeding bird, but she could not find a mate for him, so she resold him. He is plucked, and I was told that he would eat only seed, would not play with toys, and was 100% not tame. He was in an empty cage, repeating stereotypical motions, and lunged at my face multiple times when I crouched near to his cage. I watched him, and determined that even if he lunged at people, he was very interested in interacting with people, and his aggressive behaviour decreased as I sat there.

A year later, he’s still not hand tame, but he happily targets, stations so that people can work in his cage, takes sunflower seeds from the hand, no longer has stereotypical gestures, plays with toys, and eats pellets and fresh food. I’m not sure if he will ever be the sort of parrot who rides on hands, but I also really don’t care.

Tlalli, a greenwing macaw, was sold by her sixth owner. She destroys the feathers on her wings and body. When I met her, she did a huge, open winged aggressive display, lunged at my face and nipped my arm through my jacket so hard that I will probably forever have the scar. Her previous owner told us that he was selling her because she talked too much and she climbed down off her cage and chased around his mother, who was afraid of her.

Four months later, she’ll interact with almost anyone, does a number of tricks, spends all of her time talking, and we’re working on lessening her barbering. She is, in my eleven years of parrot experience, one of the most good tempered and special parrots I’ve ever interacted with, and everyone who meets her loves her.

Keela, a Timneh grey, was sold by her second owner who loved her beyond belief and who had to give her up for life reasons. She came home with no bad habits, only needing a mild diet upgrade, talks up a storm, and is joyously bossy, flies around and is a ton of fun.

Cody, a red lored Amazon, was sold by his first owner after some serious life changes. He’s fun, outgoing, social, talkative, and only mildly excitable for an Amazon. :) He’s got no issues and no real problems and would likely be a good pet for anyone who likes the Amazon personality — and red loreds seem to be significantly less excitable than say, double yellow heads. ;)

Summary

It’s probably pretty obvious that I have definite biases as to where I get parrots, and some of those biases have changed over the years. These days, I’m generally going to bring home a new parrot from an individual owner or a breeder. I’ve had some rough experiences with rescues and tend to not agree with a lot of their policies, though it also depends on the rescue. I’m also not a huge fan of most pet stores, both for their costs and their general keeping of parrots. I also feel pretty comfortable judging whether or not a breeder is a good breeder and whether or not a re-homed parrot will work well in our household. I also tend to prefer adult birds over babies, but a lot of that will be covered in the next post.

What does this mean for you? If you’re an experienced parrot owner, you will probably do well with any parrot from any place so long as you and they get along. You should examine your own feelings about all the controversies here, and determine what works best for you.

I really believe that most new parrot owners do better if they have some form of support, whether that be from a breeder, rescue, or good pet store, or from an internet group or parrot club. I don’t think that most brand new owners should consider buying a parrot from an individual owner, unless they can do so with a more experienced friend, or do so from a more experienced friend.

Much like any behaviour, if you set yourself up to succeed, you and your pets will be happier in the long run.

Posted in Akeelah, Anisette, Artichoke, Caviar, Cinereo, Cody, Controversies, High Tea, Kyklos, Parrots, Radish, Theodore, Tlalli | 1 Comment

Goals updated!

About a month ago, I wrote up a post about my various parrot related goals, which can be found here.

I’m going to keep updating these roughly monthly to show how things are going and to let people get a glimpse into my life.

1) Diet.

My preferred parrot diet is a base of pellets (I use Roudybush and Hagen Tropican mixed together) along with sprouts and chop.

We have three new parrots in the house, and all three of them easily transitioned to eating the pellets that I was feeding. One of my goals is to get all of them to eat fresh food.

Tlalli seems to have a major issue with anything wet. We’ve shifted to giving her her chop mixed with a lot of rolled oats, and she’s now eating more, though still not with the gusto I want.

Keela will reluctantly eat a little in her cage, but she’d really prefer it if we ate in company. One thing I’m going to do to encourage this is rearrange the location of the food dishes of the cages on either side so that she and Cin and Ky can eat in company.

Cody also doesn’t really want to eat in his cage, though he will eat some out with the rest of us. We’ve added another bowl higher up to encourage him to eat more, and will experiment with chop there.

2) Feather destruction

Tlalli is finally molting. Her old feathers are not great, quite worn even when they weren’t barbered. She’s having a disastrous-level molt, where we’re finding feathers all over the place all the time, which in my experience frequently happens when parrots shift to a much better diet.

She’s getting baths more or less constantly, and we’ve upgraded the level of enrichment nearly everywhere so that she can keep her beak on her toys and not on her feathers.

This beak, right here.

It seems that the barbering is decreasing, and definitely, the toy destruction is increasing, so we’re still hopeful that she’ll have actual feathers and not the tattered grey look at present.

3) Cohabitation

With the addition of Cody, we’ve added another level to the cohabitation department, so I’m currently working on the relationship between three pairs. Some of this is helped by the fact that of a sudden, every parrot in the house is nesting. Others, not so much.

Cody has decided that he’s in love with Tlalli, and is a little horrified by Ky, but we’ll continue to work on it, rewarding them for good interaction and having them better interact.

And hopefully, he’ll stop thinking that Tlalli is so damn sexy.

Mar 28, 2014 | Cody has a crush, but she is a little bigger. by stejacks on Keek.com

Why would you want the scary giant rumpled parrot when you could have this?

Cody is not convinced.

Tlalli and Theo

They’re doing a lot better together. I’m being very careful not to reinforce Tlalli with my presence when she’s acting aggressive towards Theo, and to do so when she’s calmer with him, and that seems to have made a big difference. No pictures of these two this time around though.

Keela and Cin

These two are doing really, really well, as you can see. One of the major issues I was having with Cin was related to his level of motivation and his activity when out of the cage. I cut back his pellets to a smaller amount, and it seems to have helped. What do you think?

He spent nearly an hour last night banging that swing from side to side, telling himself ‘Good bird’, and flapping like crazy.

He’s much more active, is playing more, will take treats happily from the hand, and is in general vastly happier. I don’t know if he’s actually lost any/much weight, but my focus was always on his behaviour, and it’s pretty clear that this is the right level of food for him.

He also thinks Keela is less scary.

They spent a while on the same stand, playing with toys, looking at each other, with much better body language.

The one little argument was really mild.

We’ve still got some time before they might want to share the same cage, but I’m happy about it!

Ky, in the background, is less happy.

4) Flight training

Keela and Cody both fly, though Keela is a significantly more accomplished flier.

Right now, rather than simply working on flying to hand, I’m encouraging flying all over the place, and also working with Keela particularly on having lots of fun places to fly to that aren’t just my shoulder.

Things like the fun bucket on my side table that’s significantly more entertaining than my shoulder, even if less in focus. :)

Cody’s flying significantly more too, and starting to land better. I will probably work on more formalized flight training once he’s in a little better shape. He pants if he flies too far. :)

That’s it for our updates! Fun times in our household.

Posted in Akeelah, Cinereo, Cody, Kyklos, Parrots, Theodore, Tlalli, Training goals | Leave a comment

Welcome Redditors!

Hiya people from Reddit, and welcome. That was a nice surprise, to find my post shared there. Hope you enjoy and stay around as long as you’d like.

Have a macaw eating an (empty) box of Girl Guide cookies as a reward.

Mar 28, 2014 | Tlalli disposes of the Girl Guide cookies box. by stejacks on Keek.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment