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Stuff You Don't Want Your Bird Chewing

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

Stuff You Don't Want Your Bird Chewing

Postby Kathleen » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:57 am

It seems like flighted birds are very experimental and get into things very easily. Everything outside of the cage is another toy they can shred, chew and break into pieces. What do you do with a flighted bird? How do you lock up or hide all of your valuables?
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Re: Stuff You Don't Want Your Bird Chewing

Postby Mona » Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:08 pm

Hi Kathleen:

Good question. I think the easiest thing to do is have a second bird safe room for the birds to fly in. My bird room has a ton of bird toys, nets, bird stands, boxes and things for the bird to chew on so they can play by themselves (Theoretically any way..HAH) without getting in trouble.

The strategy is to reinforce appropriate chewing and try to extinguish inappropriate chewing. This sounds pretty easy, but it really is not if your bird is active, curious and mischevious (Read: GREMLINS!)

There are actually many strategies to protect objects in your house. One thing that you can do is identify an "aversive" object to the bird such as a broom. By an aversive object, I mean this should be an object that the bird wants to avoid. You can place the object in front of things that you do not want chewed. You have to be observant, because there are two types of aversives: 1) Things that the bird initially avoids and then gets over quickly and 2) Things that the bird for some odd reason, just decides to always avoid.

If you can find that "thing" that the bird just seems to always avoid...JACKPOT...You have an aversive object you can use to protect your stuff that you don't want chewed. As an example, for some reason my birds all seem to want to avoid brooms - so I put a broom in front of the door when the birds are loose in the bird room so that they avoid chewing the door frame. The broom is nice because it's easy to move around so I can re-situate it to areas that the birds seem to be particularly interested in destroying on any given day.

Another strategy is to distract the bird by using training techniques. You can play games with your bird (like all of the great videos Michael has up to demonstrate all kinds of tricks and games). The bird gets your undivided attention. The bird gets reinforced for appropriate behaviors and the bird forgets about chewing up your house.

Caging also works, of course. My strategy is to have the birds in their cages when I'm not home or cannot supervise. The birds are out every day when I can supervise. Of course, I do a lot of running interference because no matter what you do....there is always going to be that ONE thing that you overlooked that on some odd day seems irresistable to their little curious brains.

I hope others add some of their own ideas and experiences to this topic because I think every body has a trick up their sleeve and it would be fun to see what others do.

Thanks for asking!

Mona in Seattle
Phinneous Fowl (aka Phinney) TAG
Babylon Sengal
Doug (spousal unit)
Jack and Bailey (Gremlins)
Kiri (CAG)

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