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Taking a parrot on a bike ride?

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

Taking a parrot on a bike ride?

Postby Kirsten » Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:34 am

I've seen it on youtube and even on the boxes of some harnesses. Now that I'm getting into a rather physical career field, I've thought about going on bike rides in the morning and maybe even taking Skittles with me. She always loves looking at stuff outside, so I imagine she wouldn't mind. My issue is the harness vs clipped wings problem. From the video's I've seen on youtube, it's apparent that most people just have their wings clipped and they say that the harness would drag the bird under the bike. On the other hand, I'd like to eventually have her flighted. The LAST thing I want is for her to get caught in the spokes or something. I've also seen some people build a perch onto their bike. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that.

I understand that it is a risk, but I also feel that if I take the appropriate precautions, this could be an excellent bonding activity and I think that the idea of taking my bird with me would help motivate me to exercise. So does anyone know or have any experience regarding this?
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Re: Taking a parrot on a bike ride?

Postby patdbunny » Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:50 am

I used to rollerblade with my jenday conure on my shoulder. I never took her bike riding as I was concerned about her possibly falling off and I couldn't stop a bike fast enough to retrieve her before she got injured.

You could also rig a carrier onto your handlebars:
8110CarrierSm.JPG
8110CarrierSm.JPG (14.77 KiB) Viewed 2196 times


This particular carrier has a super small door, but the whole thing can be popped open very easily.
Roz

There are in nature neither rewards nor punishments — there are only consequences. Robert G. Ingersoll
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Re: Taking a parrot on a bike ride?

Postby Kirsten » Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:21 pm

Hmm...I thought about something like that but I figured it would be all shaky and loud. I'm considering building a perch on the handlebars and using a harness to tether her closely enough so that if she does fall, she won't get caught in the spokes. The other thought was just keeping her tethered to me and having her ride on my shoulder.
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Re: Taking a parrot on a bike ride?

Postby Vicki5280 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:39 pm

My concern with either a shoulder or perch tether is that the bird would fall in a direction where you wouldn't be able to get to it quickly, and on a bike (like in a car) if you go grabbing for a panicked, flapping, bird you cant reach, or worse, can't see either, you're at high risk for an accident which could injure both of you. If the bird is on a perch and falls forward, you're not going to reach it easily to help it right itself. If it's on your shoulder and falls back, then you can't see it either. One scenario has you pulling on the leash trying to right a wildly flapping mass of yellow and green feathers while that mass is digging talons into your neck and a beak into your earlobe. At the same time you're trying to stop on the one big downhill in the middle of summer where you get to have some speed and coast so you can cool off. Of course, it happens that every person on the block just watered their yard and the street is wet ... and, well, I could go on, but you get the idea. ;)

My thought is that if you're going to use a harness of any kind, it needs to be at least a two-point harness. Preferably a three-point. If you're not familiar with the terms, it means that the harness is secured to the base (person or perch, whichever) in two or three places. Ideally they would be front, back, and side, and short enough that even if the bird slipped and fell back, the tether in front would stop the fall, and vice-versa.

I don't know exactly how this could be accomplished - possibly with a regular flight harness and either three tethers or a three-way adaptor you rig-up somehow.

Of course, all that thought and preparation is useless if you happen to have a good old-fashioned bike accident. During my stint in the ED, I saw more than a few victims of bicycle accidents. People can get pretty banged up, and in situations like that, we're far more sturdy than a birdie. ;)

So, those are my thoughts. Take it for what it's worth, but if it were me, I'd take my birds on a walk! :)
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Re: Taking a parrot on a bike ride?

Postby sidech » Sun May 01, 2011 7:53 am

I personally think it can be done. I just harness trained Jazz and we started going outside yesterday. He is still very scared of just walking on the street. When he's comfortable, I will try to go biking with him.

My plan was to put some kind of vet wrap around my bike handles and have him sit there just near my left hand probably. Then I would wrap the end of the leash around the handles, leaving maybe 1 inch so he can move a little bit. If he falls, he'll just be falling from 1 inch, and he will be able to grab the bar with his claws and go back on. If too big, I'll just leave a piece of vet wrap hanging so he can hold on to it.

I don't see any major risk in such a set-up, even if he attemps to fly away.

We'll see.
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Re: Taking a parrot on a bike ride?

Postby Kirsten » Sun May 01, 2011 9:48 am

I like the ideas of both of you above. I also understand the concern. Trust me, this kind of bike ride would be slower and far more cautious than a normal bike ride. I even intend to move off the sidewalk and turn the bird away if a dog walker happens to pass by. Even further, I would limit these rides to non-rainy or snowy days. For the record, she isn't even trained to wear a harness yet, but I'm working on it and I appreciate everyone allowing me to bounce ideas off you.

I may use a combination of your ideas though. Thank you!
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Re: Taking a parrot on a bike ride?

Postby Vicki5280 » Sun May 01, 2011 11:54 am

The vet wrap is an excellent idea. I've used it on the plastic parts of the swing I have hanging over my sink. The birds hated it until I added the wrap - it was too hard to hold on to. Now they love it because they have the best vantage point in the house! (Not to mention access to any yummies we might be happening to prep at the moment! LOL!

And for the record, I'm quite certain that taking a bird on a ride can be done. I also know without a doubt, that if anyone will be doing it safely, it will be people who participate in this forum! :thumbsup: However, in my line of work, I've just seen too much to not raise my concerns. Statistically speaking, you're probably safer taking Skittles on a bike ride than I am taking Bucky in the car, though I don't know actual numbers on that!

I didn't intend to sound like a nay-sayer, but I did feel obligated to share what little I know. :)

In other words, Good Luck with harness training and have fun, safe, bike rides!
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Re: Taking a parrot on a bike ride?

Postby patdbunny » Sun May 01, 2011 12:18 pm

Question - do you think your bird will be absolutely freaked out and possibly traumatized if it fell (or got startled and jumped) and dangled on the end of the leash even if it didn't get munched by the tires? I suppose once you get it harness trained, you can also train it to dangle and get swung on the leash in harness so it's not absolutely freaked by when it happens bike riding.

I'm also not really a nay sayer. We take our sun conure everywhere. We haven't gotten around to biking with him. If we did bike with him, we'd probably rig a carrier. There are specifically made bike carriers for pets. Primarily for dogs, but don't see why you can't put a bird in it.
Roz

There are in nature neither rewards nor punishments — there are only consequences. Robert G. Ingersoll
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Re: Taking a parrot on a bike ride?

Postby sidech » Tue May 31, 2011 6:31 pm

Yes, I do think your bird will be absolutely freaked out if you fall with it from your bike ! Why would you ?

Oh, and by the way, Jazz got scare the first minute I put him on the bike, and he dangled for about 2 seconds from the leash (I was keeping it short). I picked him up real fast (we were nearly moving) and he was okay after that.

I have been taking Jazz bike riding for about 10 days now. He absolutely loves it, he has no fear whatsoever. I live in the city, and the noise is everywhere, but he doesn't care. I didn't even have vet wrap when we started, and it was okay. I have an old bike and the handle is not slippery, he enjoys just sitting on it. He will start talking and even grind his beak while we're riding.

The first day he came up to my shoulder, and after that he preferred staying on the handle.

Go ahead, try it, it's wonderful ! :thumbsup:
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Re: Taking a parrot on a bike ride?

Postby FatimaAndCharlie » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:53 am

Hey guys, i hope it's not too late to post a reply and I agree with everyone above. here's my opinion though:

Scared bird would fly off so do trim the wings for the first time bike ride. Do use harness but keep the leash very small so it's not dangling all over the place and you have full control over it. Last but not least, DO NOT trim the nails... so the bird can sit on your shoulder and grab onto you tightly. Birds can have a strong grip if their nails are not trimmed and won't fall off. and start off by ridding your bike REALLY SLOWLY and speed up as your bird maintains it's balance. don't press break too suddenly and you should be able to sense it if your bird is losing balance. i think shoulder is the safest place for birds to sit and cannot fall off from there unless you're on a roller coaster..... LOLz i'm exagerrating here but you get my point ;)

Summary, ride your bike slowly with bird sitting on shoulder, harnessed, and have a firm grip on the leash.... the bird should be fine (don't trim nails but trim wings when you ride with the bird first few times then you can do it without wings trimed).
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