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Bird only does tricks for treats!

Exchange information about how to teach specific tricks to parrots. Most of these techniques should apply to all bird species. Share your success stories.

Re: Bird only does tricks for treats!

Postby Wolf » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:52 am

Thank you for the information about your bird, I know that it will prove to be very helpful when ever you have any question as it gives me some idea of where his head is, which for me is very valuable when it comes to understanding why they are acting in whatever manner that they are.
Although I don't like pellets and don't use them because of their lack of moisture and because most of them contain soy products which can cause problems with some birds, it sounds like he has a fairly good diet. I love the fact that he gets time outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
I definitely agree that pets should not be given as gifts, at least without foreknowledge and consent of the party being gifted with the animal. It is much too easy for it to backfire and not work out in the best interests of the animal or for the human either.
You are much more knowledgeable than most of the people that come asking for help and I find that wonderful for both the bird and for you. I still am wondering why Sasuke seems to be less bonded than most of the IRN's that I have run across. Perhaps he is working on it or maybe your father is his favorite or it could be just his own personality. This was the area that I have been trying to get the clearer picture of, and the reason for my asking the questions that I did. I did not mean any disrespect to you by it, but IRN's are usually such lovers of their human that it just seemed a bit out of character for the species.
Thank you very much for sharing the information with me.
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Re: Bird only does tricks for treats!

Postby Cresseliaaaa » Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:00 am

Well I'm glad we have a lot in common.
According to several sites and IRN owners, IRN's aren't affectionate by nature, they are in fact very independent animals except during breeding season when they literally DEMAND attention (I'm not looking forward to this hah).

Sasuke is an all-rounder bird so he hasn't really bonded much with anyone but me at the moment but I guess that's because I don't have any friends so I spend a lot of time with him, my step mother isn't interested in my bird (animal activist) and my dad doesn't handle pet birds well as mentioned above ie he will shove food in front of Sasuke and startle him, not wait til Sasuke approaches him.

Besides this, as Michael mentioned before, I'll just have to try treating every second or third trick and practice more and more.
I really do appreciate all the help though. I was truly nervous wording my problem let alone voicing it at all.
If you want to provide any advice for Sasuke and I's future relationship or any tips on bonding or training etc I will take it all in!
xx
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Re: Bird only does tricks for treats!

Postby liz » Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:48 pm

Check out Marni on youtube.
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Re: Bird only does tricks for treats!

Postby Pajarita » Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:56 pm

I must have misunderstood so, please clarify:
1. You feed him for the first time on the day at noon, not early in the morning and only after he has trained?
2. He stays by himself, in a cage, outside during the day?
3. He gets only a teaspoon of pellets?
4. You started training only one week after acquiring him from a pet store?
5. You are touching his back on a regular basis?
6. He goes to bed after the sun has set?
7. He gets no interaction aside from training, no cuddling time, no games, nothing but training?
8. Your training sessions last up to 30 minutes at a time?
Pajarita
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Re: Bird only does tricks for treats!

Postby Cresseliaaaa » Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:40 pm

1. I feed him day and night. I give him a small amount of pellets because his cage is full of healthier green options which he prefers. He never finishes his pellets because he eats the greens over them.
2. Yes he stays outside for a few hours when I'm home and a majority of the day when I'm working. It's a better life than sitting in a cage at home in a quiet room.
3. Answered in 1.
4. Yes because a week is recommended for them to get use to their environment. I didn't want to rush him into things.
5. He was relax time which is his personal time to do what he wants. I'm in the room too obviously. If I'm playing Xbox or reading he will fly to me and nibble whatever I'm holding which is my only opportunity to pat him (sometimes he let's me but that's because he's occupied). He sometimes flight trains himself by flying to me and the perch occasionally. It's hard giving him affection because they arnt affectionate species and also he doesn't allow it unless were training
6. The sun is usually almost/or gone during his last free time before bed but he usually gets ready for bed during that time anyway like fluffing up and preening etc.
7. Answered in 5.
8. He is comfortable with half an hour intervals. He only gets distracted if I repeat the trick too many times or he isn't hungry.
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Re: Bird only does tricks for treats!

Postby Pajarita » Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:12 pm

Well, I think you are not feeding enough protein because a teaspoonful is too little for a bird his size and he is not even quite an adult yet so he needs more. Produce is great but there is no protein, no fat and very little carbs in them and birds need all three. Not too much of them but definitely enough. Too 'healthy' a diet can kill as much as an 'unhealthy' one. There was this poster whose IRN had dropped dead and wanted to know why. It turned out the poor animal was been fed lots of fruits, veggies, greens and just some boiled chickpeas every now and then (no fat and VERY little protein) so it died of malnutrition. I don't feed pellets because I don't think they are the best dietary option for parrots, I feed gloop but I certainly feed much more than you do pellets for birds his size (and I mostly have older ones, not a single juvenile in the bunch).

I think you started training too soon. A week is nothing. The recommendation is to allow, at the very least (and that's for either babies that come directly from the breeder or birds that had been living with humans in the past, not pet store ones), two to three weeks for the bird to start feeling more at home and then bond BEFORE you start training.

Parrots don't have 'personal' time. Nature evolved them to be always surrounded by their family and that's what they need. I understand that you work and that this cannot be helped but couldn't he stay with your father during the alone time he has now? IRNs are not 'cuddly' but they are affectionate, it's only that different species show their affection in different ways. For an IRN, this means perching on you, preening you, etc. And you need A LOT of hours of this every single day with them because otherwise, you end up with a disaffected bird that 'reverses to its wild ways' (a favorite phrase that it's always used to describe IRNs behavior).

30 minutes is waaaaayyyyy too long for a training session and he started training when he was still too young and before he bonded so it's no surprise that he is no longer agreeable to it (not that they are ever willing to do tricks without a treat as a reward - I am not talking about stepping up, they always do that, training or no training). And, although I hope I am wrong, I think he will get worse as he becomes older (he is not yet sexually mature and this makes a big difference in their attitude). I don't have training sessions with my birds, I simply direct their behavior and reward verbally and as I go along on the normal course of the day meaning my 'teaching' them depends on the behavior of the moment and what is needed at the time (I only teach them things that we need for cohabiting, no tricks at all). But, as I am extremely consistent and persistent, they understand and react to a lot of commands. I would eliminate the training sessions for now and concentrate on just spending time with him and just generally spoiling him for a couple of months and, then, when you start them again, do only 2 or 3 sessions of no more than 10 minutes each. In truth, more is not better when it comes to training birds. It's stressful to them.
Pajarita
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Re: Bird only does tricks for treats!

Postby Cresseliaaaa » Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:14 am

You sound pretty hostile over how I look after my parrot, so let's relax a little bit - maybe read a little more into my previous messages.

I feed him so little because he doesn't eat all of his pellets. He may eat half or a little a under half as he prefers going for the green alternatives. With fats etc he gets legumes if I have them for dinner and sunflower seeds at training time.
Also, I don't pump him with fruit as it's just sugar water as mentioned in Michael's book. He gets fruits on occasion, very rarely.
So, instead of telling me what I'm doing wrong how about we discuss how we fix my errors like lack of protein, carbs etc with feeding/food tips?

Again, if you read above I had plenty of time off work so I would spend entire days with Sasuke. Wondering the house, doing chores with him, showing him different foods etc then incorporated other people and noises etc which he coped perfectly well for a young, half-hand tamed parrot.

No one is home during the week. He likes to explore too. As I mentioned above when he flies to me I try my hardest to improve his hand tameness through patting his head for short intervals then eventually increase the duration when he's occupied or doesn't seem irritated/ scared.
I spend everyday with him whether I work or not. An hour, 20 minutes or even 5 minutes is better than no interaction at all
Once again, instead of saying how I'm doing wrong, actually give me some advice?

With the training sessions it's dependent on how attentive he is. When I'm at work he will never stop training sessions if he could.
He is in charge of time but if the time is too short I just have shorter sessions but multiple throughout the day or we have fewer long sessions.

Lastly please don't get angry with me because I'm not a perfect bird owner. Birds arnt black and white, they have different preferences, different tolerances, personalities etc.
We all have different opinions thus why I came on this site.
Not only do I greatly admire Michael and his training but I want to be a better bird owner, receive CONSTRUCTIVE criticism and receive all sorts of advice on all topics whether it be nutrition or taming. I want to learn and improve, not be criticized and humiliated.

If anyone wants to give me advice to help me improve looking after my bird please feel free, any advice is greatly appreciated
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Re: Bird only does tricks for treats!

Postby liz » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:04 pm

Lastly please don't get angry with me because I'm not a perfect bird owner. Birds arnt black and white, they have different preferences, different tolerances, personalities etc.
We all have different opinions thus why I came on this site.
Not only do I greatly admire Michael and his training but I want to be a better bird owner, receive CONSTRUCTIVE criticism and receive all sorts of advice on all topics whether it be nutrition or taming. I want to learn and improve, not be criticized and humiliated.



The passionate people in this forum are the ones who come off a little rough. They have given the same information to hundreds of people over the years. More like thousands. The more urgent they think their advice is will be how fast they throw it at you. You may not like how we say things but the knowledge of these birds and their care has evolved into what you hear.
Check the threads on diet and lighting. That will give you a head start on understanding what is said. We only give CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.
Welcome to the forum.
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Re: Bird only does tricks for treats!

Postby Pajarita » Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:16 pm

As far as I can tell, I did give you specific and constructive advice so I don't know exactly what it is that you want. I am critical of everybody and harder on myself than on anybody else so if you are going to take offense to straight talking, you might not want to read my postings because I don't go around apologizing or 'dressing up' what I say. I give it to you straight.

Now, as to specifics, I told you that I thought that two teaspoonfuls of pellets are too little for a juvenile bird his size (my budgies eat more than that) but I cannot tell you exactly how much it should be because it depends on the diet as a whole. You know mention his eating legumes, which are a good source of protein but you had not mentioned them before when detailing his diet. Legumes are good as a protein source but, unless you are talking about peanuts or soybeans, they don't really contain enough fat. Aside from that, I don't believe that soy is healthy for animals and, to parrots, peanuts should be a super extra special treat so would never count on them to supply them with enough fat in their diet. Sunflowers do have fat and are not too bad if they are the grey striped kind and used as rewards but it's not recommended that an important nutritional item is represented only by a training reward or an occasional extra (as in what you have for dinner that night -which he should not be eating with you unless you have dinner one hour before sunset all year round), both protein and fat should be part of the daily diet in adequate amounts. You also cannot go by what a parrot likes or dislikes because they are not instinctual eaters (like passerines might be), they need to learn and become used to a good diet and the phrase 'an acquired taste' must have been meant for parrots so, although they do have personal likes and dislikes, they also depend entirely on what we offer them day after day. It is entirely possible that he doesn't eat enough pellets because he doesn't like them. I know that if I fed pellets to my birds for dinner, I would find most of them still there in the morning but not because they chose something else, they were not hungry or they thought that they were not good for them but simply because they don't like them. Have you ever eaten a good pellet? I have and it's like putting compressed sawdust in your mouth, bland and dry to the point that you need to work it and work it so you get enough saliva to make the bolus -and parrots don't even have any saliva to speak of! Now, if you want me to tell you exactly what to feed your parrot, I would recommend the same thing I feed and which I wholeheartedly recommend to every parrot keeper: gloop (recipe all over the place here) accompanied by raw produce (a different but only one type of fruit, one veggie and one leafy green -I have found that if you give a selection of, say, fruits, the parrot will pick and choose and end up eating the same thing day after day) with a small, measured amount (for a juvenile IRN, I would use 1/4 measuring cup but only 1/3 for an adult) of a good quality, low protein seed mix (I would use a budgie or half budgie/half tiel one). I feed no people food, no animal protein, no soy. And I don't believe the malarkey about fruits having too much sugar for them. Anybody who comes from a country that has parrots and has seen them feeding knows for a fact that parrots in the wild eat fruit as often and as much as they can (we had to fight them for the figs and collect them as soon as they ripen in February because, if we waited a single day, they would leave no ripe fig on the tree in a single day feeding). Fruit is part of their natural diet and what Nature meant for them to eat. I had an argument about this with Dr. Harrison (the one that makes the pellets) because where is the sense in limiting something that is part of their natural diet and instead feed a completely unnatural diet? People talk about sugar been bad but not all sugars are created equal. I would never give my parrots anything that has sucrose in it (and lots of pellets do!) but I have no problem giving them fruits because they were created to process it effectively and the content is so diluted by the high water and fiber content that it does not make them fat (I don't have a single obese parrot, mind you! - I have a couple that are a bit chunky but they are handicapped and old). I even use honey and organic maple syrup to flavor some of their meals, I use only a drizzle in a big bowl of gloop but you can taste the sweetness in it (I alternate, one day they get spicy gloop and the next fruity and sweet).

I don't think that putting birds outside is 100% safe. The direct sunshine is wonderful and I dream of the day when I can have an outdoor aviary connected to my birdroom so they can get the benefit of it but I don't know if a single bird would feel safe out there all by itself and without a flock protecting them (I have multiple parrots). And I would worry about contagion... Australia has a big PBFD problem in its wild birds.

As to interaction, yes, 5 minutes is better than nothing and 20 minutes are better than 5 but, unfortunately, all parrots need hours. The average recommendation is 4 hours out of cage and 1 of one-on-one but certain species need more (the little phyrruras and the psittaculas, for example) and they do better when they are interacted with at the times when they would in the wild (with the exception of the English budgie, all companion parrot species are undomesticated so their needs and 'schedules' are identical to the ones the wild ones have) and that means half morning, after breakfast and bathing/preening and before the noon rest, and mid-afternoon when they become again active after the noon rest and before dinner. Psittaculas are species that do particularly bad with little time and, if you read the stories out there of IRN's that have 'turned', you will see that they all have the same reason: not enough time spent with them or not enough experience with the species. They are never recommended for first time owners because they are not easy parrots and that's saying a lot because, when it comes to parrots, they are all very difficult to keep happy and healthy. But what's done is done and this is now your bird so I am sure you will try to make the best of the situation.
Pajarita
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Re: Bird only does tricks for treats!

Postby Cresseliaaaa » Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:35 pm

Liz, there is a difference between being rude and being forward.
All Pajarita did is point my errors out harshly and not give me any advice on how to fix them.
Wolf didn't do that nor did Michael and they are passionate about birds too. Just because you're passionate about something doesn't give people the right to be rude.

Thank you Pajarita for the information though! I'm looking into other diets for my little man now.
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