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Quaker behavior?

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Quaker behavior?

Postby ndickey1644 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:35 pm

My Quaker is approximately 25 years old. He was given to me on Jan 1, 2020, by an 80+ lady moving away. He bit a lot at first, but after 5 or 6 days, he suddenly stopped biting and is very affectionate to me only. I am transitioning him to a fruit and vegetable diet from seed-only. He doesn't like everything I give him, but one of his favorites is "Gloop".
Question #1: Is Gloop just a different seed diet? My version has equal parts oat groats, quinoa, millet, spelt, sesame seed, flax seed.
Question #2: He has started bobbing his head and ruffling his feathers as he opens his mouth. He actually brought up some food before, but doesn't do that much anymore. Is this behavior feeding me or mating behavior? Should I discourage it?
Question #3: He rubs me in an upward motion with his beak. What does that mean?
Question #4: He does not play with toys. Is there a way to encourage him to play?

Thanks to anyone and everyone for your input!
ndickey1644
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 2
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Quaker
Flight: Yes

Re: Quaker behavior?

Postby Pajarita » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:31 am

Hi, Dickey and Quaker (you did not tell us his name :( ), welcome to the forum and I cannot tell you how glad I am (I love all animals but birds are my passion and quakers are one of my favorite species) that he ended up with you who, obviously, cares about his welfare! Now, as to your questions:

1. No, gloop is NOT another seed diet! For one thing, seeds are not grains. Grains are the fruit of the plant while seeds are the ovule from which the plant embryo will emerge - grains are the combination of the seed coat and the fruit all in one (that's why grains are healthier and more nutritious than plain seeds). Now, you did not say if you cook the grain/seed mix you mention (the grains should be cooked) or if you add veggies to it (the final result should be half grains, half veggies) but I can tell you that you should not use the same amount of flax and sesame seeds as you do of the grains (too much fat!). I use flax seeds in my gloop (which has kamut, oat groats, millet, spelt and red and black rice) but it's just a sprinkling and I only use sesame seeds just before molt all the way up to the time when they are halfway done with it (quakers molt mid summer so I would suggest you start adding them in July for about a month or so). Sesame seeds have methionine, which is good for feather production, but they have a huge amount of oil in them so one needs to be careful on the amount and, taking into consideration that he has been on a mostly all seed diet, I would HIGHLY recommend you reduce his protein and fat intake dramatically because he has been getting (and storing) much more than what is good for him so what you want to do is cleanse his body, not add to it. You should also not feed him quinoa (very high in protein!), give him millet instead.

2. Yes, regurgitating is mating behavior which he should NOT be having right now (we are in winter, not breeding season) and although I would not recommend you actively discourage it (mostly because it really doesn't do any good, just confuses the bird which doesn't understand why you are trying to prevent him from doing something that is entirely natural to him), I would suggest you ignore it until it goes away (which will only happen in the fall and ONLY as long as you keep him at a super strict solar schedule with two full hours of dawn and dusk - quakers are NOT tropical birds and they are intensely reactive to photoperiodism).

3. He loves you. Parents rub the sides of the baby's beak with their own beak for what we call 'the feeding response' and adults continue doing it as a way of showing their love. My Keku Quaker does it all the time to me and I reciprocate by doing it to her own beak (I put my index and thumb tips together -as if you wanted to pinch something- and use them to very gently caress the sides of her beak - I call this 'Piquito piquito' which means 'little beak' in Spanish). Try it, he will love it.

4. People keep on using the verb 'to play' when birds interact with toys but, in reality, what they are doing is mostly breeding behaviors or redirecting anger or frustration. Male quakers like to build so give him little sticks and see if he likes to put them together like a nest. You can also give him soft wood -like balsa-, dry yucca medallions or cardboard to chew. My Keku does not really play with anything (Quakers are not really big chewers because they do not make nests out of tree hollows like most other species of companion parrots). She is mostly out flying around, interacting with other birds (she likes to fly real fast from one end of the house to the other following Zoey Senegal or preen Davy Redbelly, her cage companion), chewing on my clothes, rubbing her beak against me or simply chilling/taking a nap either leaning against my hand or laying in it (she nests down like a chick in my cuped palm and goes to sleep in it) - right now, she is sitting on the side of my computer leaning against my left hand.

I would like to give you a recommendation. If that bird ate mostly seeds all his life, I would strongly urge you to put him on a liver/kidney detox regiment with a very low protein/fat diet and some good multivitamin/mineral supplement because he is bound to have both liver and kidney problems - have you taken him to a vet for a complete checkup? If you haven't, I would ask you to do it and ask the vet to run a bile acid test on him as well as the normal bloodwork.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17156
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Quaker behavior?

Postby ndickey1644 » Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:40 pm

Wow! Thank you! I appreciate the time you took for me! Since I posted, I searched on his behavior and found just a brief note not to pet him on his back. I was petting his back and wings all the time. I stopped this morning and he has not tried to feed me all day! Something so simple....

I tried petting his beak as you described but he's not thrilled. I'll keep it up until we both find the sweet spot. Can Quakers be potty trained? I know the larger birds can be very good about it.

I will try to find an avian vet in my area, but so far the closest is a two hour drive. Can the bird tolerate that? I don't have a travel cage either, but can improvise a tote bag that closes with velcro and has screen all the way around. He lost a bit of weight at first (4 grams) but has gained that back and now weighs 138 grams. How does that weight compare?

I will also get him a blackout blanket for his cage. Right now we turn out the lights closest to him, but light spills in from other rooms because we have an open floorplan. In all the stuff I read before and after we got him, I never saw a thing about solar schedule. Now I see it everywhere!

We started out just calling him Buddy, but a neighbor came up with Oatis. Get it? Quaker Oatis. Okay, so it's corny. But he told me he likes it.
ndickey1644
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 2
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Quaker
Flight: Yes

Re: Quaker behavior?

Postby Pajarita » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:56 am

Yes, the strict solar schedule is beginning to 'take' - and it only took 25 years of my repeating it :lol: The funny thing is that canary keepers knew all along that birds need to follow a solar schedule (canaries have been kept and bred by humans since the 1400's) but it took many years for parrot keepers to 'catch up' to their knowledge. But I think it was not only the fact that parrot breeders did not care about it as it was convenient to them that the birds were hormonal all the time but also that people thought that ALL parrots were tropical and they figured that if they lived with 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night in the wild, it was OK to do it in captivity. Of course, this did not work because, in reality, there is a 20 minute difference between the seasons in the Equator (and we now know, from studies, that birds register that 20 minute difference) but also that, in the wild, there are two more triggers, food availability and weather, which disappear in captivity.

Now, make sure that the bird is exposed to dawn and dusk for 2 whole hours without any artificial light because it is the different light that happens at twilight that turns on or off their internal clock.

The weight is good BUT weight is not everything because an out of shape bird can have perfect weight, too (fat weighing less than muscle).

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do NOT attempt to potty train your bird. In all honesty, if anybody cannot live with a little bird poop, that person should not have a bird! Birds metabolisms are too fast for potty training (they literally poop every few minutes) and they excrete everything together (urine and feces) so, when they 'hold it', the lower part of their intestine becomes compromised and there are birds that have ended up with cloacal prolapse from it. We have a member who ended up paying thousands of dollars in surgery to correct the prolapse in a cockatoo she had rescued. Birds poop is a clean poop as long as you do not feed animal protein -which you should NOT because, contrary to popular belief, they are not omnivores but herbivores and did not evolve to eat any animal protein. No animal protein means no E.coli bacteria so no human is going to get sick from it. And it washes very easily. I have a number of birds out flying every day for hours and hours and, yes, they do poop everywhere but all I need to do is scrape the dry one and then wipe or just wipe the ones that are still wet once they go back into their cages. I have a system. I sweep the floors while scraping the dry poop off the floor with a little plastic spatula (like the kind you get at Home Depot to spread compound on little holes), I spray the poop spots with warm water that has a squirt of dish detergent and a drop of Clorox (this is the same mixture I use to spray the 'dirty' spots in their cages) and I then mop with a damp cloth that has a squirt of either lemon or lavender oil. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, clean floors and nice smell!

Yes, a bird will tolerate a 2 hour drive but look for vets that treat exotics without being certified - you might find one that is near to you.

Oatis is a wonderful name BUT if you know the name he had before, I suggest you use it because birds understand the concept and use proper names of their own (there is a study that shows that parents name their babies in the nest and that the babies continue using the names all their lives). Now, there are birds that never actually learned that the name given to them by their previous owners was, indeed, their name (I have a few of those) so listen to the sound he makes when he wants attention because that IS his name. Keku Quaker was called Gryphon in her previous home but she never recognized this name as her own so I listened to the sounds she made and realized that her real name was something that sounded like Ke Kuh - and that became her name! Same thing with Cheeks Caique. His name is actually Beshe or Beshe Beh but, when I call Javi (which was his previous owner's name and which, to him, means 'human') he answers me and comes to me (because birds will 'announce' themselves by vocalizing their name first when approaching others so, when I call Javi, he thinks I am saying my name and that I want him to pay attention to me). And Condorito Caique whose real name is Epuish, according to him... or Linus Too who thinks his name is Hello and people are Hi, Linus :lol: People tend to think that parrots are like dogs and that you can change their names without a problem (something I also would not do to a rehomed dog, mind you) but it's not so.

So, if I were you, I would call his 'old' name and see how he reacts to it and, if he doesn't, listen to the sound he always makes when he wants your attention because that will be his name.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17156
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes


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