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How old should a parrot be to start training?

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

How old should a parrot be to start training?

Postby BillPapageorgiou » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:29 am

Hey there,

I recently bought a new African Grey parrot and actually hand fed her from the first day she arrived home. My question is ,though, how old should she be to start training her some of the basics such as step up etc. and should i start letting her out of her cage (i still have not because i am afraid she will get scared by something and get injured)?
I am new to the forum so please excuse me if this topic should be in a nother category of the site! :gray: :gray:

Thank you in advance,

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Re: How old should a parrot be to start training?

Postby Michael » Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:21 am

Training can start from the day you first bring your parrot home, however, in a very limited capacity. Most of the extensive training I teach, you should wait a few months until the bird is eating entirely on its own and well. The early stage basic training is more like exposing the bird to new foods, objects, people, places. You are inevitably teaching it about the world and how to behave in it. It's more about being careful not to teach the wrong things (bite, avoid people, fly away) than it is about being able to deliberately reach the right things yet. The bird is just a baby. Take good care of it, teach it about how to live, and the training you will slowly transition into as the bird becomes receptive to it.
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Re: How old should a parrot be to start training?

Postby Pajarita » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:55 am

Welcome to the forum, Bill and Baby Gray! You haven't said how old the baby is or how long you've had her [or her name! -was she DNAd a female?] but that is necessary for a more accurate reply. For one thing, you should not do anything but feed and cuddle when they are little babies. If the baby is very young, a cage is not really a good place for it, a large aquarium-type thing is better because you don't want the baby getting its feet or wings caught between the bars or not to have a nice 'nest' where to sleep. If the baby is old enough to be put in a cage 9it's climbing, perching, walking, etc] and you are handfeeding it [I hope that you are doing it with a syringe or a baby spoon], there is no reason not to let her out of its cage as long as you are closely supervising [it's not as if a cage is a natural environment for any animal, right?!].

As to training, Michael gave you the exact right answer! There is training [as in formal sessions, targeting, etc] and then there is teaching a baby what I call 'manners' and that is done from the very beginning because babies will step up on their own - not to a finger or a perch, mind you, but they will gladly step on your hand as soon as you put it in front of them to be fed - and, if you just use the command "Step up!" every time you do this and tell her "Good girl!" when she does and give her a couple of scratches on her head, you are already training her! Same thing after you finish handfeeding her, put your hand with her on your palm down on the bottom of the cage of container and, while giving the command "Step down!", gently slide her off your hand onto the 'ground', once she does, scratch her head and praise her with a few "Good girl!" and she will learn this command, too! See what I mean? It's not really training in terms of having a formal session with rewards, etc which she is too young for but it is training in that you are teaching her commands.

Now, one more thing and, actually, the most important thing to be said about baby parrots. They need A LOT of time spent with them and this time is all about good things like feeding, cuddling, taking a nap on your chest, etc. And by A LOT, I do mean hours and hours and hours! Baby parrots are NEVER alone in the wild and the more time you spend with her, the happier and healthier she will be because being alone in the wild means certain death and it makes them terribly anxious and stressed out -something you want to avoid like the plague as stress kills birds as surely as a gun would! This time is the foundation of your future relationship with her so use it to create a deep bond between you two. It will make everything [including training!] much easier and I promise you, you won't regret it.
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