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Quaker Parrot Training

Discuss the methods and techniques of clicker training, target training and bonding. These are usually the first steps in training a young parrot.

Quaker Parrot Training

Postby Nizzy » Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:31 pm

Hi there,

Got my new 4 month old Quaker yesterday and was wondering how long I should leave her before making an attempt at training her. She has already taken treats from my hand through the bars but when I put my hand in to change food/water she gets in a flap (if you'll pardon the pun) and runs to the other side of the cage. How should I approach this?

Thanks,

David
Nizzy
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Re: Quaker Parrot Training

Postby Wolf » Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:52 am

Well the truth is that it tends to vary from one parrot to the next. Ultimately it depends on how quickly they decide to trust you.

Parrots do not handle change very well and this probably has to do with them being a prey species as well as the fact that due to the ability to fly their bodies are simply not robust enough to fight to defend themselves. When a parrot finds itself in a new situation such as that of being rehomed whether it occurs from buying a new bird, a rescue or however it comes about, the bird is terrified in most cases. It does not know where it is or what the new dangers are or from which direction they might come from so it takes the bird some time to begin to relax in the new environment. The bird is also more often than not afraid of its new human as it does not know if they can be trusted or if they plan on having parrot for dinner. As a general rule of thumb most parrots will take at least 30 days to start to become comfortable in a new home environment although this can vary in either direction and is dependent on many factors.

During this initial phase when you have just brought your new parrot home, many people will tell you that you need to just get the bird into its new cage and then other than supplying food and water that you should leave the bird alone to adjust to its new home. I don't agree with this approach, although I do think that for the first few days, depending on the birds reactions that a hands off approach is best. By this I mean don't go reaching into the birds cage or trying to ask anything of the bird. I would spend as much time in the same room as the bird, but except to wander over to its cage now and then to drop a treat into its food dish, I would talk to the birds using its name and keep my distance and occupy myself with doing other things while in the room as this give the bird an opportunity to watch me and to begin to get accustomed to my presence and to the sound of my voice. I would talk a lot to the bird being certain to use its name and to lavish it with a lot of " Good Bird" type of praise. I would also use this time to study my new bird by glancing at it or looking at it from the corners of my eyes. I would not watch the bird using a direct look as this is the way that a predator watches a bird and it scares the bird.

My reasons for this initial approach is due to several factors. Parrots are flock animals and as such they are very social, they depend on the members of their flock for protection from predators and so they derive a certain amount of their feelings of security and well being from being with their flock members. A parrot that is in a strange new place and all alone is afraid as it knows that it has very little chance for survival. In the wild this condition is usually a death sentence for the bird.

These first two or three days give you a chance to begin to assess the birds diet, and to start to learn to read its body language and its personality.

After this period of time, I would then start to spend just a few minutes at a time, several times during the day to meander towards the birds cage paying close attention to the birds reactions to my approach and talking to the bird in a sort of coaxing tone of voice using its name and plenty of praise. If the bird remains calm and relaxed I would continue my slow approach, but if the bird begins to get nervous I would stop and even take a step or two back away from the cage. At first I would only spend 3 to 5 minutes at this. It might take several attempts or even another day or so to reach the cage with the bird remaining calm the entire time.

There are other ways of doing this that are perhaps faster, but I feel that this way is better as it teaches the bird that you can be trusted and that you do not intend to harm it.

Once you are able to reach the cage then you should, while continuing to talk with the bird with lots of praise you can begin to offer the bird a treat through the bars of the cage., if the bird comes over and takes the treat that is great and you will want to continue in this manner until the bird not only comes to get the treat but remains to eat it and to get another bite. However the bird may not come over for the treat right at first. If the bird does not come for the treat place some of it in its food dish and leave, come back later and try again. It is important that you leave some of the treat for the bird if it does not come to you for it because it teaches the bird that you are the bringer of good thing to eat and by leaving some of it the bird learns that when you offer it something that you are not going to take it away from it.

When the bird is anticipating you approach and comes towards you and is coming to get the treat from you when you offer it and also remaining calmly to get another bite you are making progress and the bird is beginning to show signs of trusting you and it is time to move to the main door of the cage. Here you will open the cage with you directly in front of the open cage door and you will continue talking to the bird using its name and in a coaxing tone with lots of praise just as before and you will again offer the bird the treat, but it is very important that you do not reach into the cage at all. Your bird needs to come to you and get the treat at the door of the cage. It is the only way to know when the bird trusts you enough to move to the next step, that of stepping up on your hand. I do this by holding the treat in one hand and placing the top of my other hand in front of the treat. I adjust the distance to the treat by moving the hand with the treat in it . I want the bird to be able to stretch enough to reach the treat but just barely. The reason for this is so that the bird will begin to step up onto my hand to get and eat the treat. At first the bird may just stretch for it, then put one foot on my hand, but if I am patient and wait the bird will eventually step up on its own to get and eat the treat.

At this point in time I usually begin target training the bird.
Wolf
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Re: Quaker Parrot Training

Postby Pajarita » Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:30 am

Your bird is a baby so you might not have to wait long for it to 'accept' your presence as babies are naturally trusting and accepting. Of course, this all depends on the amount of time you spend close to the bird, talking to it, giving it praise and treats, etc. When it comes to parrots, familiarity does NOT breed contempt - quite the contrary! It establishes a relationship. Are you allowing it to come out of its cage? Because, if you are not, you should as quakers, in particular, tend to be very defensive of their cage and act much more civilly when they are out.

Once the bird is firmly bonded to you, you can start training but you will find that you won't need to train for step up because the bird will be more than willing (eager, in fact) to be on you. :D

I don't know if you already know this but you can't keep quakers at a human light schedule, it needs to be a very strict solar one. This actually holds true of any bird but, if you know what you are doing diet-wise, you might have a bit of leeway with tropical birds but quakers are from the temperate zone of South America and HIGHLY photoperiodic so you need to be extra careful with them. Also, I hope that you are feeding it soft food every day and not just adult bird food (you don't feed a toddler, a puppy or a kitten adult food and you shouldn't do it to a baby bird, either)
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Re: Quaker Parrot Training

Postby Jakeelias93 » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:44 am

With this advice today I was able to feed nova a nutri berry from my fingers outside the cage!!! Me and my wife! We couldn't make eye contact but still!
Jakeelias93
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Re: Quaker Parrot Training

Postby Pajarita » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:05 pm

Great! We are happy we were able to help!
Pajarita
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