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Teaching Kiwi to Fly and Charlie to Poop

Discuss topics associated with teaching birds to fly. Training parrots recall flight, target flying, and other flying exercises.

Teaching Kiwi to Fly and Charlie to Poop

Postby charlieandkiwi » Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:47 pm

Since it's thanksgiving break and I have a ton of free time in between studying for finals, I've decided to work on Kiwi's "decision" not to fly. He's fully capable of flight- his wings are all grown out. He simply doesn't like to.

There are times when Kiwi will fly just fine. For example, he will fly across the room if we leave his cage open and walk out of the room. We know this because we've found him all the way across the room in a location that he couldn't possibly have climbed to. He just refuses to fly when humans are present.

So this is going to be my Kiwi flight training blog.

This morning I spent quite a while just trying to get him to hop off of his cage. Not fly, not even really need to flap his wings, just hop. After and hour and a half of refusing to get closer than that distance and him trying every different angle that didn't involve hopping to get onto my hand (he even tried hanging into the cage with his beak and flailing his left foot in the air at the direction of my hand. It was pretty amusing.) I finally settled for making him stretch for it, then drawing my hand away as he did so he had to flap a bit to steady himself. He was great with that.

Next, I took him into the spare bedroom and set him on the dresser. There have been several times that he's flown off of that dresser and onto me while we've been in there, so I figured my best chance of getting him to repeat it was there. Sure enough, after thirty seconds of coaxing, he flew a foot onto my hand. I clicked the clicker, gave him a treat, and cuddled him while he ate it.

He's now made about fifteen 1ft to 1.5ft flights off the of the dresser. He's still refusing to do it anywhere else.

I'm open to all tips and ideas and plan on keeping up the dresser training multiple times a day.

****************************************************************************

In other news, my boyfriend tends to get really upset when the birds poop on him and is still learning how to use positive reinforcement and ignoring bad behaviors. So we are following Patrick's (I think that's the forum owner's name) advice about potty training. Well... kind of. Patrick advises just timing out your bird's poops and putting the bird in the desired location when it's getting close to time, and only picking him up when he goes.

I'm using a clicker and treats/cuddles in addition to all of the above because 1. Charlie will just go somewhere else instead of sitting there if he doesn't have to poo. He's fully flighted and will go right back to our shoulders if he doesn't have to poo. 2. I want to speed up the process.

So far Charlie has gone nearly every time I put him on his cage door. I haven't been pooped on in 24 hours. We'll see if we can keep this up long enough to get to the point where Charlie flies there on his own.
charlieandkiwi
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 108
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: I have a 4-5 year old green cheeked conure and an 8 year old white eared conure.
Flight: Yes

Re: Teaching Kiwi to Fly and Charlie to Poop

Postby charlieandkiwi » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:19 pm

Last night one of Evan's old army buddies called him up out of nowhere and happened to be down the street at Starbucks, basically running away from his family for Thanksgiving. He spent the night at our place and right now him and Evan are playing Call of Duty.

Both Charlie and Kiwi instantly fell in love with this guy (Nate). The second Charlie was uncovered this morning he made a B-line for Nate's shoulder and put on a very adorable display for him. Kiwi bounced up and down until I put him on Nate's arm and then spent the next 15 minutes preening his face and staring at him. I wish I knew what about a person makes birds just fall instantly in love. There doesn't seem to be much reason to bird crushes.

Regardless of the Nate-Distraction, I still managed to get two quality flight training sessions in with Kiwi. The first was after his shoulder time with Nate and it was about the same as yesterday in terms of distance. He wouldn't fly further than a foot, but he was jumping off the dresser a bit more readily. I'll take whatever progress I can get :)

For the second flying session, I set him down on my bed and tried to get him to fly to me while I was dressing. He was even more reluctant to do it than he was yesterday and I was beginning to feel frustrated. I decided not to give up on the session and, instead, went and got Charlie. Charlie is an old pro at flying, but I've never had him fly for treats. I set him on the bed a foot away from Kiwi, got my clicker and about a teaspoon of sunflower seeds, and let them just touch the chopstick a few times for a click and a sunflower seed to help them remember that this was about (I haven't used the chopstick in a while, although I do use the clicker and treats for shaping).

Then I had Charlie have to step off of the bed a few times to reach over my finger to touch the chopstick. I let Kiwi watch. I did it once with Kiwi. Then I had Charlie start flying. He didn't hesitate at all. After a few time of this, I held my hand away from the bed far enough that Kiwi had to jump, but not flap his wings, to each it. He did this after a tiny hesitation. I had him do it twice more, timing things with Charlie's treats so that Charlie was eating while Kiwi was figuring it out (because Charlie is very eager for treats and is also always looking for an opportunity to attack Kiwi. I basically had Charlie go first, then worked with Kiwi while he was eating. This worked very well and they remained within a foot of each other with no aggression for the ten minute session.)

In the end, Kiwi would fly about a foot off of the bed with very little hesitation. I let him sit on my shoulder to eat the treat because he seemed to be more eager to do it again after he got that as a reward.

When I put them in their cages to start getting ready to go grab stuff for Thanksgiving, they both trilled happily, where fluffing out and shaking their tails, and played with their toys instead of screaming.

Today was over all a huge success.
charlieandkiwi
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 108
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: I have a 4-5 year old green cheeked conure and an 8 year old white eared conure.
Flight: Yes

Re: Teaching Kiwi to Fly and Charlie to Poop

Postby charlieandkiwi » Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:13 am

I did a short session with Kiwi in the bedroom, but Charlie didn't want to stand on the dresser and be a model. Kiwi seemed less and less interested, so I moved the operation onto Kiwi's cage, which is next to Charlie's.

For the first time, Kiwi did a few flights off of the top of his cage onto my hand. He wouldn't go for it if I was farther than about a foot away.

Instead of doing several longer training sessions, I had him randomly do this about 10 times throughout the day, with a click and a reward each time.

By default, Charlie is also learning how to fly to my hand. He's getting to the point where feels that he can pause as long as he wants after the command and it still counts, so I'm going to start only giving him a treat reward when he does it within a couple seconds of the command.

We didn't really focus much on the pooping thing. He did it once in the place I've chosen, but spent so much time flying around today that it was hard to keep track of how much time he was on his cage compared to how much time he was terrorizing hoodies, toilet paper rolls, and getting snuggles (he's a big fan of play fighting).

I did make two really cool foraging toys, one of which I stuffed with bits of seed twisted in toilet paper. The other is constructed of dismantled clothes pins knotted in rope, with little bells tied on, and tooth picks poked through the knots. I put fruit pieces on the tooth picks sticking out from the rope and it looks like a berry vine.
charlieandkiwi
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 108
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: I have a 4-5 year old green cheeked conure and an 8 year old white eared conure.
Flight: Yes

Re: Teaching Kiwi to Fly and Charlie to Poop

Postby charlieandkiwi » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:13 pm

Image

Kiwi after a bath. He looks like a pokemon.

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charlie under the covers in the morning.

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How Charlie helps with homework.

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this is also Charlie's idea of helping with homework

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charlie is grabbing my finger and scratching his head with it here. It makes typing difficult.

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thanks for the scratches, Mom. You know this is more fun than homework.

Image

Evan thought this was hilarious. Charlie and I eating an apple.
charlieandkiwi
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 108
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: I have a 4-5 year old green cheeked conure and an 8 year old white eared conure.
Flight: Yes

Re: Teaching Kiwi to Fly and Charlie to Poop

Postby charlieandkiwi » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:30 pm

I did two training sessions with :gcc: Kiwi and he jumped farther off his cage than he ever has before. The following picture summarizes his attitude about training when I got home after studying at Starbucks today:

Image

Apparently, Charlie can mind-read, because he didn't hesitate to fly to me even once when I called him from anywhere today.

Last of all, I saw this on facebook and had to share. Irene Pepperberg is the main reason I got into working with animals and the first peer reviewed article I ever read was about her work with Alex.

Image
charlieandkiwi
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 108
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: I have a 4-5 year old green cheeked conure and an 8 year old white eared conure.
Flight: Yes

Re: Teaching Kiwi to Fly and Charlie to Poop

Postby charlieandkiwi » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:22 am

So :gcc: Kiwi has been doing much better with readily jumping off his cage for any reason and is getting more confident in general. Today he was shaking his tail a lot more than normal, although I think that's because I've been home more. He also really likes one of the foraging toys I made :) and was doing his happy cheep while hanging upside down to carefully eat his apple off of it today.

Also no humans have been pooed on in the last 24 hours :swaying: ! I started timing Kiwi out, because his craps are much grosser than Charlie's to clean up and he of course decided he wanted to be curled up in my hair all day. He drops a turd every 25 minutes, nearly on the dot. I think he's going to be easier to potty train than Charlie, who has no trouble holding it for an hour plus and is therefore really hard to time. Regardless, Charlie did poo near his cage or in his cage nearly all day today. :danicing:

:hatched: Charlie is now extremely responsive to flying on command from anywhere. I think it's time to start phasing out the clicker and putting him on a variable schedule of reinforcement.

After reading a lot of the info on this forum about Michael's training methods, I'd decided to incorporate them in two small ways, which are nothing close to how much work he puts into it nor will they probably be as effective. However, I think they will help. From now on, my birds are going to have to work for all people food. Instead of just handing them tid-bits of everything we eat, they're going to have to do tricks for it :) We started doing that tonight and they caught on no problem. It actually works better than just one kind of treat because they see us eating something different and that's more motivating than what they get all the time.

I also am going to train them first thing in the morning when they wake up, but before they eat. I've been doing that anyway, but now I'm going to time it a little more precisely.
charlieandkiwi
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 108
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: I have a 4-5 year old green cheeked conure and an 8 year old white eared conure.
Flight: Yes

Re: Teaching Kiwi to Fly and Charlie to Poop

Postby CaitlinRice413 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:33 pm

:-D
Last edited by CaitlinRice413 on Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
CaitlinRice413
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 142
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Flight: Yes

Re: Teaching Kiwi to Fly and Charlie to Poop

Postby charlieandkiwi » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:56 am

CaitlinRice413 wrote:What a cool idea to keep a blog like this! Sounds like you're making great progress. I love the pictures too, your birds are just as pretty as you are :-D



Aw thanks! :)

This was me today:

Image

So much to do. I'm completely stressed out about taking the GRE and having finals right around the corner (TWO WEEKS!!! ONE WEEK TIL GRE!!!) I wasn't going to take the GRE right away when I graduated, but I recently discovered a PhD program I want to apply to (Prevention Science) at my current school and the deadline is January first. If I don't get in this year, I will have to wait a year and a half to start the program. In order for the GRE to process and send out, I have to take it at least three weeks from my application deadline, and that was the only date that someone was offering to proctor the GRE.

I'm hoping it wont be too bad, but I don't do well at standardized tests. I get to know a professor, the way they think about things, and am one of those people that starts off with a B in a class and finishes with an A (just about every class I've taken). I really hope that happens with the GRE testing material practice stuff, but it doesn't seem to be.

So anyway, the birds got a decent session this morning, but I didn't have time to train them later on between school work. There isn't much to report. Kiwi is jumping more and more regularly. He definitely caught on to the idea of working for human food. No learning curve there whatsoever.

..............................................................

I'm having a hard time putting Charlie onto a variable schedule of reinforcement. It turns out that yesterday was just a fluke and today he isn't paying at much attention to responding to his flight cue. I decided that instead of just making his rewards random (variable schedule of reinforcement) I'm going to slowly work up to random. Right now I'm trying to help him figure out that if he does it twice, he get's a treat. So far, he does it once, doesn't get a treat, and then stops paying attention. Tomorrow, I will work backwards a couple steps and teach him that he has to now do everything twice for a treat, starting with targeting to the chopstick. :?
charlieandkiwi
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 108
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: I have a 4-5 year old green cheeked conure and an 8 year old white eared conure.
Flight: Yes

Re: Teaching Kiwi to Fly and Charlie to Poop

Postby friend2parrots » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:41 pm

I have REALLY enjoyed reading this blog so far! it is funny, educational, and has great pictures! I can tell just from their expressions that Charlie and Kiwi have a lot of attitude.

The wonderful living arrangement that you have for your birds, with the adorable snuggle sessions and the general good company that you all keep together disproves all those people who argue that birds need to be clipped if more than one bird is going to be out at the same time. You've socialized your birds to each other so well.

looking forward to reading more entries on this blog!
Ringo - Green Cheek Conure
Toby - Bourke Parakeet
friend2parrots
Poicephalus
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 491
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: green cheek conure
bourke parakeet
Flight: Yes

Re: Teaching Kiwi to Fly and Charlie to Poop

Postby charlieandkiwi » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:32 am

friend2parrots wrote:I have REALLY enjoyed reading this blog so far! it is funny, educational, and has great pictures! I can tell just from their expressions that Charlie and Kiwi have a lot of attitude.

The wonderful living arrangement that you have for your birds, with the adorable snuggle sessions and the general good company that you all keep together disproves all those people who argue that birds need to be clipped if more than one bird is going to be out at the same time. You've socialized your birds to each other so well.

looking forward to reading more entries on this blog!


It's so good to hear that! Thank you for saying so. I think that a couple other people should start training blogs to so we can all keep track of each other and learn from each other. ;)

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The above adequately captures today. No, I didn't divide by zero, but I did make many, many equally stupid mistakes ranging from simple algebra and question reading errors on my GRE practice material (I've been waking up early every morning and doing it for time), thinking my lab meeting with the other TAs was at six tonight when it was actually at five (this is the worst thing I've done in a while), and countless other absolutely retarded choices.

As one might expect from my mental state, training did not go well today. First, I couldn't find my clicker. Then, the birds were acting very uninterested. Finally, I did a tiny bit of training. Kiwi flew farther and more consistently than he ever has before. Also, when I was holding him while doing homework, he jumped off of me, ran down the couch, and started bouncing up and down at his cage, with that near-jump motion where he tripped over his own feet a few times. I know from our recent experiences that he can fly, so I pretended that I didn't see him.

The birds were definitely giving me a cold shoulder today. For the last week, Kiwi has been glued to my shoulder. Today, I was gone for most of the day and he didn't want to sit on my shoulder for that long when I got home.

Also, I think he might have moved on from tail chewing and pulled out a blood feather on his wing. I found it under him when I walked back into the room after leaving for a second to go to the bathroom when I got home. I let him out, heard him freak out,circle the room once flying, and when I got back he was preening himself on the cage door. He had a feather in his foot and was chewing the end and under him on the ground was a blood feather with the end chewed. I don't know if he pulled it out because it got knocked loose when he landed in his cage from the fright flight, or if he pulled it out because he's doing that now.

I treated him as I normally do, and put a few more toys in his cage, hoping it would distract him if he was plucking. It seemed to work.

Today was not great for the birds or me.
charlieandkiwi
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 108
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: I have a 4-5 year old green cheeked conure and an 8 year old white eared conure.
Flight: Yes

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