Several questions about my new conure - Talk Parrots Forums

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Thread Description: Training, treats, screaming, flight suits

 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-24-2014, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
 
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Several questions about my new conure

Hi all! I just joined to see if I can get some advice regarding my new birdie.

Some info about me:
- I have previously owned parakeets.
- I have some experience training dogs and training horses, but I don't feel quite up to speed in the parrot department.
- I'm about to get married, and my fiancé isn't so sure what he thinks about birds, so I want my little guy to make a good impression when we all move in together.

Some info about Loki:
- He is a Sunday Conure.
- I don't know if he is really a he.
- I got him as a handfed baby.
- He was just finishing the weaning process when I got him 2 months ago.
- He wants to be with people all the time. He can't stand to be left out, just like my dog and my horse; somehow all my animals have the same personality.

Okay, so here are some general questions I have regarding Loki.

What would you say all tame parrots need to know?
(Conversely, what would you say all owners of tame parrots need to know?) Loki knows step up and step down. He knows how to communicate that he wants to go somewhere other than where he is currently. He is not potty trained. He sometimes does not seem to notice the difference between my fingers and his toys that he chews on. I want to have a respectful and respectable bird, so any tips on methods of training or specific commands that you think apply to all tame birds would be very much appreciated!

Treats
In regards to training, I'm trying to find him a treat to use in training sessions that he can eat quickly and move on. With my parakeets, I would hold a single millet seed between my fingers, and they would step up or do a trick for that. Loki doesn't seem interested in the millet spray when I put it in his cage, and other bird treats I have tried are dried fruits and veggies. He enjoys tearing them up but doesn't swallow them. Is this just because he's a baby? Any treat suggestions?

Screaming
He currently lives at a friend's house where he is not in a position in the house where he can see people very often. He seems to have learned that screaming is a good way to get attention. What is the best way to address this? I've tried only taking him out when he is quiet, but he has a habit of screaming at me as I'm in the process of opening the cage door. Is this normal/acceptable or should it be discouraged?

Flight Suits
I'd like to train Loki to a flight suit. I have put it on him several times, and he is perfectly content to wear it. As happy as can be. Getting it onto him, however, is a two-person job, because he bites. Does anybody have experience with flight suits? Is there a good one-person way to get it on? Perhaps there is a certain hold I should practice with him before I try the flight suit again?

I'm all ears to any advice you all have to give!
Thanks,
Emily
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-24-2014, 09:20 PM
 
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. . . does not seem to notice the difference between my fingers and his toys that he chews on. . .
I'm interested in seeing suggetions to this. My fingers are sore right now. Our Quaker thinks she's being nice and preening my fingers after I give her "Tickles" (head scritches) She thinks she is being nice and friendly but it doesn't feel so great.

....Any treat suggestions?...
Our Sunday Conure loves sunflower seeds. Have you tried different types of seeds? Or what about other types of food? Our Conure goes bonkers over mashed potatoes. I think he would do anything for the first couple of bites.

. . . Screaming. . ..
It sounds like you are doing the right thing. When you move and have him more visable some of the problem may take care of itself. I know simple routine and cage placement changes have made a big difference in noise level with our birds.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, I'll try sunflower seeds!

As for him nipping at my fingers, with my parakeets, I would blow a puff of air in their faces, but that doesn't seem to phase Loki.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 09:07 PM
 
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Try distracting her by moving slightly. If she is on your shoulder shrug or drop your shoulder a bit and say "no bites". It will hopefully distract her and she'll learn to associate the phrase with being off balance / being uncomfortable.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2014, 12:02 AM


 
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Try safflower seed or hemp seed for treats... My birds love both especially the hemp seed!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2014, 08:43 AM


 
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From what I gather, he's about 4-5 months old? Birds do go through a "mouthy" stage, similar to babies that put everything in their mouths. One of my linnies would constantly do that, I would roll my fingers, or give her millet before she started so she had something to chew on. If that still didn't work then I would put her down. I think she finally grew out of it more than any kind of training, she still sometimes nibbles, but it's gentle.

As for screaming, what you are doing seems right, but from my understanding the type of bird you have is known for screaming. Birds in the wild are not typically alone for any amount of time and it is unnatural for them, so she is screaming to find another bird. With my linnies, they were contact calling in the morning. I would call back to them, but only when they were quiet. Then I would increase the time they had to be quiet before I called them from the other room, then uncover their cage. It worked for me.

Stitch Pikachu Thor Loki

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2014, 10:32 AM


 
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As far as playing to rough with your fingers, try making a disapproving sound, sometimes they just don't realize they are being too rough... I try to mimic an angry budgie sound (and not very well I must confess) and my birds all understand that means 'knock it off'. Birds respect other birds boundaries and rules, we just need to teach them to respect ours as well. However do not be dramatic and real loud about it, parrots love drama and if you make it fun then they will bite to watch your reaction...lol
For the screaming, have you tried putting him in a more active area or the household? He's lonely and bored. Also try giving him a little whistle back... Not a loud blast but a soft whistle.. My green cheek used to have a very loud contact call and I whistle a soft one back and now she uses that to contact with... Also if you do contact call back once in a while they know you are not gone.. Just not in sight.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-27-2014, 09:50 AM



 
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First of all, welcome to the forum! I'll try and answer your questions from my own personal experiences...

What would you say all tame parrots need to know?

Recall training, IMO, is absolutely essential. Should he ever get lost for whatever reason, you have a back up plan. You don't have to fly him outside what so ever, I know most people wouldn't, but if you can just do it within your home then it can really be the difference between never seeing him again and getting him back should anything happen. Make sure that even if you've perfected it in the home, that you also do it from some places that are higher up than yourself. Flying horizontally A-B is easy, descending however is not!

Treats

Hemp seeds. Less fatty than sunflower seeds, seem to taste just as good if not better (judging from my birds reactions to them haha) and are a bit smaller but not too small. Most birds love them once they try them. That or some very finely chopped apple!

Screaming

Distraction and ignoring. Give him tons of stuff to do and nice foods so whenever somebody is around he has plenty to get on with. If he starts to scream, ignore him. It's hard and it's painful on the ears but it will soon stop once he realises he isn't going to get a fat lot out of it

Flight Suits

This one I can't help you with. I have never used one nor do I think they even sell them here in the UK! You can clicker train a bird into a harness so I can imagine if you started working on target training with him you could get him to pretty much put it on himself without you having to do much except for fastening it up!

Hope that helps a little bit

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-28-2014, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the great advice, y'all! I'll start experimenting with treats and your advice for biting. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to work on the screaming with any success until after the new year when we're all moved into the new house.

Wyrinth, I don't know his hatch date, but 4-5 months is what I calculated as well. I haven't had a baby bird before, so I don't know what behaviors to attribute to immaturity.

Recall training is a great idea! Especially since I plan to let his flight feathers grow back in. I'll look into it.

I hadn't thought about training him to step into his flight suit. I have heard of birds being trained to hold out their wings for clipping, so perhaps I could teach him to hold out his wings for getting his flight suit put on. I'll have to look into that, too.

Thanks again, everyone!

Here is a picture of Loki right before our walk in the park the other day. He seemed to enjoy the nice weather as much as I did.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Loki in red.jpg (84.7 KB, 7 views)
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-02-2014, 05:57 AM



 
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Awh what a beautiful photo!

I forgot to ask!

Could you please read the forum rules here ~ https://www.talkparrots.com/showthread.php?t=22905

And accept them over here ~ https://www.talkparrots.com/showthread.php?t=22913

Thank you

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
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