Trained Parrot BlogParrot Wizard Online Parrot Toy StoreThe Parrot Forum

Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Discuss indoor freeflight and managing freeflighted birds around the house. How to live with a flighted parrot.

Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby Michael » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:45 pm

Since we are having some debate as to whether or not freeflight is possible in certain people's homes, I was hoping we could start a discussion where everyone that freeflys a parrot in their home could describe their environment, how it is suited for freeflight, and what alterations/sacrifices you had made to make the home suitable for freeflight. People who clip their parrots and explicitly choose not to let them fly because of their home environment, you can mention that here as well and describe what features make home freeflight impossible.

I think this discussion should shed some light on the kinds of homes that are suited for freeflight and what to expect.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6199
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby Suzzique » Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:58 am

We have a long kind of narrow living room where the birds are kept. The cages are in one corner across from the heater. Warmest spot in the house durning our short cold season. They each have a perch that I made for them that was hung from the ciling above each cage. On the other side of the room in frunt of the large picture window is thier playstand. I have a cover on my couch that is easy to remove and goes right into the washer then the drier. I buy a clear heavy plastic (ment for putting over a table cloth or picnic table) that I put under the cages and playstand. Our floors are unsealed hardwood so can be hard to clean bird poo off of. I have an indoor outdoor rug that is under the coffee table, that can be taken outside and hosed off to clean it. Do to a very tragic accedent with our tiel I don't want the birds to be able to go out into the kitchen. So I went and bought some of the soft flexable window screen replacement and made a very simple 2 piece screen to go over the door that goes from the living room into the kitchen. This keeps the birds in the living room unless we take them threw the screen. Though Alex will fly threw it back into the living room once in a while. As long as I'm not cooking I don't care if they are in the kitchen. It's just more so that I know they are very unlikely to come out while I am. In the office my computer monitor and keyboad are in one corner of my desk and the other side has a box full of toy parts that Alex loves to play in when he is in here with me. I do need to make some covers that are easy to take off of our desk chairs and thrown into the washer. I would have done all of this no matter what. But I love watching them fly and I know it's better for them. I also love that Alex can come to me if he feels like it or fly away from me if wants to do something else or see someone else.
Alex - cag
Martini - senegal
User avatar
Suzzique
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 137
Location: San Diego
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: CAG, Senegal
Flight: Yes

Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby Pola » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:17 pm

cookie free flights abound all day for 9 hours every day.

we have a ling corridor which leads into the living room. Cookie loves flying from the corridir and then landing onto a lamp and back. However we do not let him into the kitchen. when cookie flies upstairs he usually sits in the jungle gym thing.
Pola :D
User avatar
Pola
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 139
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Pineapple/cinnamon green cheeked conure- Tuppi
Flight: Yes

Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby entrancedbymyGCC » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:24 pm

I've been thinking about this for a few days, and I think the bottom line is that if I were to allow my bird flight, then he'd actually be cage-bound a lot more of the time than he currently is. For that reason, I don't feel that the tradeoff would be better for him. Here are the environment/lifestyle issues that I feel contribute to that.

Our home is a 50s ranch house with some modifications. The bird's cage is in the "office" where we spend a fair amount of time, sometimes even working from home for the day. Scooter is also in the living room watching TV with us fairly often, and sometimes in the master bedroom watching TV with my husband. He comes into the kitchen on a small stand or my shoulder sometimes to watch me doing food prep. Sometimes he sits with me at the dining room table while I read. The bedroom part of the house is low ceilings and lots of doorways and the corridor is fairly short. The cats have free run of the house. There are a lot of big windows and the living room has glass french doors. There are ceiling fans in almost every room and two converted-to-gas fireplaces with open chimneys, one of which has only a mesh screen closing it off. The kitchen/dining room area is a big open space and has no door to close it off. The third bedroom is being used as an exercise room and the treadmill in there seems like a pretty serious hazard, the exercise bike and other items somewhat less so. The flooring is mostly sealed hardwood or tile except in the bedroom area, but we have a fairly expensive rug in the living room and carpeting in the hall, master bedroom and exercise room. Selfish, perhaps, but I don't fancy cleaning bird poop out of the carpet. We also have a bonus room off the living room which contains the cat box and my jewelry studio, the latter being another clearly hazardous place. It does have a door, but we can't shut the cats out of it for any length of time.

Scooter has pretty much bonded to me and while he likes my husband just fine, he makes it pretty clear I'm his preferred person, so I suspect if he were free-flighted, he would tend to seek me out wherever I was and whatever I was doing.

So, I suppose we COULD close off the exercise room and living room area and enclose the cats in there to allow the bird flight, but the kitchen would still be accessible. He would have to learn about the french doors and the sliding glass doors in the dining room. We would have to be careful to have the ceiling fans off or remove them, but in this climate they are very useful. He could not be allowed out anywhere except in the office itself if I was cooking and it's a pretty small room. Cooking is a hobby for me, so that's potentially a significant restriction, normally that's a time when my husband can spend time with him. And of course there are electrical cords everywhere and all kinds of nooks and crannies to potentially get stuck in. (Our pet sitter once sat a flighted cockatiel that lived in the laundry room. One day they came to take care of him, and the poor thing had gotten down behind the washer and dryer and couldn't get out because the space was too tight to fly and there was no way to crawl out. The bird was OK, just hungry and thirsty and tired, but she is very reluctant to sit free flighted birds as a result). That can all be addressed with sufficient effort, I admit. I'm not so sure how you guys deal with the window issue, though.

The cats are also pretty clearly a deal breaker. While we could lock them up for short periods of time, with a flighted bird they would need to be kept physically seperate from each other,as it is now, we just need to supervise Scooter when he is out of his cage, the cats don't have to be locked up.

I know I'm in the minority here, but there you have it! I really don't sense Scooter feels deprived in any way -- and I am not sure I buy the argument that it makes him less of a bird. There are naturally flightless birds, after all, and it doesn't make them "not birds".

My 2 whatever the going currency is, FWIW, IMHO and all that good stuff.
Scooter :gcc:
Death Valley Scotty :cape:
User avatar
entrancedbymyGCC
Cockatoo
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 2106
Location: Southern California aka LALA land
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Green Cheek Conure
(Un)Cape Parrot
Flight: No

Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby Michael » Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:23 pm

entrancedbymyGCC wrote:I've been thinking about this for a few days, and I think the bottom line is that if I were to allow my bird flight, then he'd actually be cage-bound a lot more of the time than he currently is. For that reason, I don't feel that the tradeoff would be better for him.


I very much agree with this being a major point for concern. This is definitely a major tradeoff and I know a lot of us with flighted parrots without an aviary are forced to keep them out less. We cannot keep them out if we cannot keep an eye on them. We can debate and only guess which the bird would prefer (less time out with flight or more time out without flight). I think we should have more discussion about this because this is an important thing to consider.

entrancedbymyGCC wrote:The cats have free run of the house.


How come you don't tie the cat's legs together so that it couldn't run around the house or how about keep in the crate all day? I'm sorry (and I really am trying not to blame you or judge you as a person) but this seems to be hypocritical and demonstrates a cat-bias from you. There's no problem with that. I have no problem with someone letting a cat roam their house. But it really begs the question why get a parrot then? You've indicated that your house is a good environment for a cat but not for a parrot. Then why have a parrot?

I understand that you already have both so I'm not suggesting getting rid of any animal. I just want to understand why you thought and/or think it's ok both. Then I'd like to analyze what can be done to best enhance the parrots life without jeopardizing it. I don't know what the answers are. I don't have the same situation so it's hard to put myself in your shoes. However, establishing a clear answer I'm sure would benefit other members with similar situations.

entrancedbymyGCC wrote:There are a lot of big windows and the living room has glass french doors.


This is very important to consider and it's good that you bring it up. I just wanted to point out that Kili seems fine with windows. The way I think she learned to avoid them is because my windows are always covered with shades so it's effectively a windowless room. Kili learned the boundaries of the room when flying back and forth. Now if I open the shades she still turns around before reaching that point. When I bring her to other houses, I let her feel the windows. However, I think the previous concept is mostly what applies. She is just used to being in a limited flight environment so she doesn't fly into windows.

The other issues you bring up are obviously good things to consider. It certainly sounds a challenge at the least and it is understandable if it is too much work/expense that you are unable to do so. I think it's great at least to think about it and hear about how other people have overcome issues because it might give you the motivation to try or at least consider it.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6199
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby entrancedbymyGCC » Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:43 pm

Michael wrote:How come you don't tie the cat's legs together so that it couldn't run around the house or how about keep in the crate all day? I'm sorry (and I really am trying not to blame you or judge you as a person) but this seems to be hypocritical and demonstrates a cat-bias from you.


Geez, Michael, I'd hate to see what would happen if you didn't actually respect my opinion. ;) That said, I really think this is rather harsh. I don't think clipping a parrot's wings is analogous to tying a cats legs together. The cat would very likely injure itself trying to escape from a situation like that, and it would remove ALL freedom, not just one aspect of freedom. The cat would be unable to eat, drink or eliminate in anything resembling a natural fashion. Even a small crate would be far more confining that lack of flight combined with a large cage and a lot of out of cage time. I CAN of course contain the cats part of the time. There are circumstances in which they do get confined to a single room for part of a day or a whole day. If I kept Scooter in a lunchbox to keep him safe from the cats that were freely roaming the house you might have a point, but I think you are demonstrating a very clear ANTI-cat bias. Since you aren't pulling any punches with me, I think I shan't bend over backwards to be overly soft-worded either!

There's no problem with that. I have no problem with someone letting a cat roam their house. But it really begs the question why get a parrot then? You've indicated that your house is a good environment for a cat but not for a parrot. Then why have a parrot?


Because a parrot is not a cat. Not better, not less good, but having a parrot is different. Why should I have to choose to have only one type of companion animal in my life? Why should I not know the joy of owning a parrot simply because I also love my kitties? Should couples who have a girl not have a boy because having a second child might take some bit of attention or freedom away from the first child and their needs might be somewhat different?
Scooter :gcc:
Death Valley Scotty :cape:
User avatar
entrancedbymyGCC
Cockatoo
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 2106
Location: Southern California aka LALA land
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Green Cheek Conure
(Un)Cape Parrot
Flight: No

Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby entrancedbymyGCC » Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:53 pm

We might as well go back and forth on the same thread, so let me add a little more to why a bird.

A bird is different, in part because of evolutionary changes that are related to flight, but not because of the act of flight itself. A bird interacts with a human differently than does a cat or a dog. It is far more verbal, even if it doesn't "talk" per se, it has an innate tendency to communicate using sounds. Birds and cats both play with toys, but they play differently. My cats don't climb into my keyboard drawer and enjoy listening to the sounds echoing off the sides of the enclosure. My cats don't throw bottlecaps and balls onto the floor and get a kick out of getting me to pick them up. My cats don't sit on my shoulder and snuggle and they don't love splashing in the sink to have a bath. On the other hand, if I am angry and sad and am lying on the bed crying, Scooter is not going to rub gently back and forth on me mewing softly, then curl up with me and purr. It would under no circumstances ever be safe to have Scooter snuggle next to me and sleep. But it sure is fun when he begs me to scratch his head and then clearly enjoys it a lot.

It's not so much that they do different things, it is that they ARE different. They enrich my life in different ways.
Scooter :gcc:
Death Valley Scotty :cape:
User avatar
entrancedbymyGCC
Cockatoo
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 2106
Location: Southern California aka LALA land
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Green Cheek Conure
(Un)Cape Parrot
Flight: No

Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby Michael » Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:03 pm

Just remember you can pull the plug on this debate at any point if it's too much for you. Just say so. I'm not trying to make it offensive but just trying to specifically stick to the issues.

The details of my analogy are not the critical part. You can say tie one leg or find some other method that partially but not completely restricts the cats movement, whatever. I'm not really trying to tell you to restrict your cats. I'm just trying to point out how it is somewhat unfair that you allow the cats free roam but have a different standard for the bird. It is quite understandable that by default your house is more suited for a terrestrial pet as you yourself are terrestrial. If people had wings, perhaps parrots would find themselves at home with us more easily than cats. I'm not anti cats. Personally, I do not like them and would never want one but that does not drive any of my criticism. I'm just pro-parrot. Perhaps fanatically so. I'm just trying (for a start) to get people to treat their birds on par with their cats/dogs.

The problem is that people can get a little budgie for $20. It is small and cheap so they don't take is seriously like they do their higher investment pets. They don't care much for the bird cause they don't get much from it. They don't get much out of it because they don't much into it. This makes a cycle.

I'm not arguing against cats/dogs. I'm only stating their incompatibility. Bird=food for those carnivorous pets. Chicken is an often used ingredient in cat/dog food (not to mention some other kinds of birds as well). I'm not saying it is impossible for an owner to like both, however, being very bird sided as I am, I don't think it's a safe/fair situation to the bird. I like to be realistic, so I understand that you are in this situation whether or not you were aware of it to begin with. So I understand that it is more important to look at good ways to make it work out the best it can. However, it is my hope that future owners could at least know about some of these issues before mixing incompatible animals. It is not my place to say that people shouldn't be allowed to do this or that they are bad people if they do it. However, the least I can do is bring it up, debate it, and defend the parrot side. I think that someone that already has a parrot shouldn't be adding a cat/dog and someone who already has a cat/dog shouldn't be adding a parrot. If you already have both, we can figure out work arounds to try to make it work but I don't think we should be assuring potential owners that it is ok to keep doing this.

I wouldn't have made a parrot forum if I wasn't parrot biased. Please don't be upset by my comments and feel completely free to disagree. I'm not stopping anyone from disagreeing but I will be giving my opinion about it.

Edit: I think it's fantastic that you have such a relationship with your animals and I'd far rather people treat them with love and respect like you do than frivolously fly them or have a single pet parrot and treat it poorly. I'm just trying to see the next step from there. After all this is in the freeflight section. I try not to be too imposing about flight in other sections. I don't tell people in taming/training that flight is required for training or anything like that. Ideally, in my dreams, the entire forum would assume that a parrot is free flighted and not even have a separate section for it. But reality is different so I try to constrain flight stuff only to appropriate flight section.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6199
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby Michael » Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:43 pm

I'd like to present a bit about my layout which you may have noticed in some of my videos. I made a representitive drawing which is by no means accurate or to scale but just to get the picture

Image

My situation is probably ideal for a flying pet. With a few break out areas, for the most part my apartment is all one big room 18'x60'. The ceiling is like 12ft high and flat with embedded lights so it really couldn't be easier in that way. There are windows only at opposite ends (front/back) but they are always closed and with the shades drawn. Living in a big city it's the only way to have privacy and darkness at night. There is only one door to come in/out and there is a second door at the bottom of the stair case. Thus there is no chance of the parrot just flying out the front door. Even if both doors were open, it would take a very unlikely circumstance for her to fly DOWN a staircase and out both doors to get out.

Kili's cage is located in a little alcove that is visually separated from my living area which is toward the top of the drawing. This allows for sufficient privacy time without the bird, however, noise travels quite easily. my air conditioner is located where the red mark at the top of the drawing is so it circulate cold air straight down the room (approx the same as bird flight path line). However, the cage is nicely placed out of the draft because it is right around that corner.

Kili spends the majority of her out of cage time (90%+) on places specially for her. Two of these are the flight training stands I made. Another is the spiral boing stand I made. She also goes on the climbing tree near my computer/tv. Lastly she goes on top of her cage. All of these stands have a newspaper underneath to collect poop. I'd say that she is 95% potty trained and most of the time will fly off to go to a stand to take a poop (and I never formally trained this). To clippers, how's that for a reason to keep your parrot flighted :mrgreen:

I have rugs under all the areas the parrot spends her time in. I was afraid of getting the carpet ruined and rugs can more easily be replaced on a regular basis. However, since she mostly poops on her stands, the rugs have been doing better than I expected. However, the excessive vacuuming they get still justifies them over rubbing the carpet out quicker.

For flight and recall training the best feature is a straight line of sight flight of 60 feet from one end of the room to the other. This helps me train longer distance flights and give the bird a lot of exercise.

While my home environment is particularly ideal for flight, I could still imagine having a flighted parrot in other households. I've flown Kili at other people's houses that are by no means bird proofed and she did fine. So I know that even in a less ideal household I could still have a flighted parrot.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6199
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby entrancedbymyGCC » Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:53 pm

Michael wrote:Just remember you can pull the plug on this debate at any point if it's too much for you. Just say so. I'm not trying to make it offensive but just trying to specifically stick to the issues.

I'm not offended, I would opt out if I were, I am basically egging you on a bit. I do think what you think is sticking to the issues is to me redefining the issue in a rather narrow way.
I'm not really trying to tell you to restrict your cats. I'm just trying to point out how it is somewhat unfair that you allow the cats free roam but have a different standard for the bird.


Well, not totally. I certainly will close the door to the office if I want to let Scooter explore the floor. It's a question of degree of restriction. Even if the cats suddenly got beamed up to the Starship Entercat, and we remodeled the house, Scooter would still spend time in his cage.

Perhaps fanatically so. I'm just trying (for a start) to get people to treat their birds on par with their cats/dogs.


I believe in my case that my bird does get as much consideration of his needs as the cats do. I spend about the same amount of time on basic feeding and cleaning chores. Scooter actually gets a LOT more one-on-one attention, and I labor over his fresh foods daily. I am sure I am not the only person in a multipet household that gives fair treatment to all. There are certainly some people who would (and have) argued that keeping the cats restricted to the house is cruel and unusual.

The problem is that people can get a little budgie for $20. It is small and cheap so they don't take is seriously like they do their higher investment pets. They don't care much for the bird cause they don't get much from it. They don't get much out of it because they don't much into it. This makes a cycle.

True. No argument here. They might be fully flighted, in fact, and still moldering in a cage alone.


Bird=food for those carnivorous pets. Chicken is an often used ingredient in cat/dog food (not to mention some other kinds of birds as well).


Yes, and parrots will eat chicken and eggs as well. So do I.

I'm not saying it is impossible for an owner to like both, however, being very bird sided as I am, I don't think it's a safe/fair situation to the bird.


Here I just plain disagree with you. I don't think it is any more unsafe or unfair than the plain fact of keeping a companion animal in a house in the first place. I just don't see it this way. And I think part of the reason you do is because you don't like or really truly understand dogs and cats they way you do your bird.

I think that someone that already has a parrot shouldn't be adding a cat/dog and someone who already has a cat/dog shouldn't be adding a parrot. If you already have both, we can figure out work arounds to try to make it work but I don't think we should be assuring potential owners that it is ok to keep doing this.

Again, I disagree. One should be aware of the potential issues that may come up, and they can cut both ways. Large parrots have killed cats and maimed dogs for that matter. So one should take the whole picture into account. But MY opinion is that it is as OK to make these decisions with open eyes. And I think one difference is that I'm not trying to tell people that there is only one right answer -- I am not in any way telling anyone they should not free-flight their bird. I am merely arguing that that isn't the only right answer and defending my own stance.

I wouldn't have made a parrot forum if I wasn't parrot biased. Please don't be upset by my comments and feel completely free to disagree. I'm not stopping anyone from disagreeing but I will be giving my opinion about it.


That's fine, I'm just likely to argue back unless you as an admin want to request we table it. I'm not upset or emotional about it... if nothing else it is helping me to hone my own opinions. I enjoy argument when it is intellectual and people aren't getting upset and calling each other names. It makes me think and to attempt to be articulate about those thoughts. I do also understand that this is your place and that I am tackling the issue in an area of the forum which is set aside for free flight (but where else would be appropriate), and if this makes you unhappy, I have no problem with taking it offline, agreeing to disagree and not going on about it -- or even looking for another forum to learn from. Not everyone works in every environment. But I have learned some good stuff here.

Edit:
Thanks. FWIW, I also see that you treat Kili with compassion and respect and I appreciate and admire that. I am in no way trying to take anything away from that.
Scooter :gcc:
Death Valley Scotty :cape:
User avatar
entrancedbymyGCC
Cockatoo
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 2106
Location: Southern California aka LALA land
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Green Cheek Conure
(Un)Cape Parrot
Flight: No

Next

Return to Indoor Freeflight

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Parrot ForumArticles IndexTraining Step UpParrot Training BlogPoicephalus Parrot InformationParrot Wizard Store