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New Parrot Mom Here

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New Parrot Mom Here

Postby PacoMePica » Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:49 am

Hi everyone! I've had my male yellow sided GCC :gcc: for about three weeks, he just reached six months yesterday. His name is Paco and he's a real sweetie but boy, people aren't kidding when they say they're big parrots in small bodies! He is BOSSY!

He gets along with everyone but it's obvious that he and I are the closest. Sometimes the little brat ignores me and runs over to my husband who's a sucker and will give him a sunflower seed for a little sweet talk. He's still a little bitey, especially when he's trying to get his way (all the time) but we're working on it.

We also had our first scare last night when Paco decided hubby was good for nothing without a seed and took off and flew into the window! He's clipped (got him that way) and seems to be fine but I was in tears! He was stepping up, perching, playing and eating fine and the vet said he sounds ok and just to bring him in for his first wellness visit on our original date (this Thursday).

Anyway, happy to be here and I'm open to any and all advice y'all have! :danicing:
PacoMePica
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Green Cheek Conure
Flight: No

Re: New Parrot Mom Here

Postby Pajarita » Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:47 am

Hi, Paco's mom and Paco and welcome to the forum! He bites you, too? Because your handle says that and that's not normal with a young GCC - actually, let me rephrase that: it's not even normal for an adult GCC to bite as long as the care is the right one. And that brings me to something else: no sunflower seeds, please. Not as a treat and not as a reward. They are too high in protein and fat for them and, in truth, they don't need them, not even as a reward or a treat because they do very well with healthier (if not cheaper) alternatives (I use little pieces of nuts, like 1/8 of a walnut or an almond sliver). I hope you are not free-feeding any protein food (seeds, nuts, pellets, etc) because they not only make them hormonal and aggressive, they also destroy their liver and kidneys (these birds are mainly fruit eaters in the wild).

One more thing, they can't be up at night, they need to follow a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk (meaning, at the very least, 1.5 hours for each event without any artificial lights on). Keeping them up at night messes up their endocrine system which, in turn, keeps the immune system working well so, please, re-evaluate his (how do you know it's a male?) light schedule and adjust accordingly.

But GCC are the sweetest, most affectionate little things when happy and healthy. My Codee has never, ever, ever even nipped, much less bit anybody. She is so trustworthy in that sense that she is the only bird I allow my grandkids to handle. I call her 'my kissing fool' because the very first thing she does when I ask her to step up to my hand is climb up my arm to my shoulder and pressing her beak to my cheek make a kissy sound (smack!) and that's starts off a round of kisses that seems to have no end :lol: She kisses me so I kiss her and she kisses me again. I tell her I love her, she kisses me. I tell her she is pretty, she kisses me. And then she also kisses me for no other good reason than she likes to do it... and every SMACK! I get, melts my heart! I love that little bird!
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15248
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: New Parrot Mom Here

Postby PacoMePica » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:31 pm

The handle is kind of a joke, it's just something I say to him when he gets beaky. He really only bites when he's being stubborn. Really, he's just a little nibbly and I've been told it's normal but I don't let him on my shoulders right now because he bites my ears and goes after my fingers if I tell him to step up. But again, he's only been with me a few weeks and I imagine he's still trying to understand the dynamic.

Thanks for the advice about feeding. I was giving him sunflower seeds as a treat while doing step up/down training but I'll switch immediately! I prefer almonds anyway- we can share! And for his food, I give him chop made of broccoli, a little kale, carrots, green beans, peppers, and a liiiiiittle bit of apple (I've been told apple has a lot of sugar and they should get more veggies than fruit anyway) but I put out pellets for the couple hours I'm at work a day. I never ever give him seeds unless it's a treat but we'll switch to better treats. He's really liking banana as a treat right now.

He has plenty of out of the cage time with me and hubby but when we have to go out for a bit, he has a nice big cage with tons of stuff to explore and play with and destroy and forage and lots of different level perches in a nice, interesting room. At night, he's covered from sunset (about 8-8:30 right now) until about 7:30-8 AM in a quiet area- we don't even have the tv on low once he's in bed, we keep all the activity in another room so he gets his beauty sleep.

I say he's male because the person I adopted him from (well, her family. She lost her 18 year old bird, got a new one and suddenly passed away- her family didn't know what to do with Paco so I adopted him) had him sexed, apparently. She was also the one who had his wings clipped but I'm not going to continue that once they come back.

I will say, now that he's getting used to me and into a routine and getting enough sleep (I don't think he was getting good sleep and was eating a seed/pellet mix all the time), he's turning into a real snuggle bug. And we've been playing peekaboo which he seems to love enough to try and say peekaboo back! He's really sweet with everyone, has never been aggressive to strangers and loves to run back and forth to me and hubby while we're sitting on the couch. I get a nip every now and then when he's being stubborn but that's really it. I didn't think I could love a little ball of feathers so much but here I am lol.

Thanks for all the advice!
PacoMePica
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Green Cheek Conure
Flight: No

Re: New Parrot Mom Here

Postby Pajarita » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:21 am

I don't know who started the 'fruits have too much sugar for parrots' thing but it's bunk. Plain and simple and whoever said that fruits have too much sugar for them never observed parrots eating in the wild - that's for sure! Fruits are what parrots eat and conures are mainly fruit eaters. Yes, they also eat flower and leaf buds, leaves and seeds - but guess where the greatest majority of those seeds come from - from inside the fruits they eat! Because there is certainly not enough grass seeds to go around in the wild (grass being natural to prairies but these birds don't live in prairies or anywhere near). GCCs eat A LOT of fruit and, if I may make a suggestion, give him large chunky pieces of produce instead of the chop. To be honest, I never liked the idea of chop - it's such an unnatural thing to eat for an undomesticated species... It's funny because people is obssessed with foraging toys but then offer the bird food that is the opposite of what they evolved to eat. I do realize it's very practical for the owner but I don't make a single decision on my animals care based on my convenience but on what is best for them - and, for a conure that eats fruits off the trees in the wild, the most natural thing is to give it a nice, large chunk of whatever. Besides, if you use fresh produce for your chop and freeze it, you are not providing the best nutrition because fresh produce ain't it. It's frozen that has the most nutrition (I can elaborate on this, if you wish) which is what I use for gloop without allowing it to thaw until ready to serve - I mix the cooled cooked grains with the frozen produce, split it into daily portion, bag it and put the bags in the freezer until the night before when I take one out to thaw for the next morning breakfast accompanied by raw produce (because only raw provides the phytonutrients and good bacteria they need). For example, this morning, my GCCs got gloop flavored with ginger (a bit more than half a cup for both of them), five cherries, a chunk of yellow zucchini (I cut it lengthwise for them to expose the little immature seeds inside which is what they like the best) and a leaf of escarole. For dinner, they will get one heaping tablespoon of budgie seed with six pieces the size of a 1/8 of a medium size walnut (they don't get nuts during the winter, only during breeding season up until molt is almost done).

Now, the light schedule you have him on is not a solar one and I would urge you to do research on avian photoperiodism and the avian endocrine and reproductive systems because they need exposure to twilight for their internal clock and, if he is getting a 7:30 to 8 pm, he is not getting it. Let me explain. Birds endocrine system works based on the amount and quality of light their bodies are exposed to. The right exposure is so important that Nature gave them photoreceptors (the cells that react to light) not only in their eyes (as we and all mammals have) but also deep in their brain so, even when the bird is fast asleep, its body is registering if it's exposed to light or not. The length (daylight hours) of this exposure is what tells their bodies whether it's time to breed, to molt, to migrate, etc (photoperiodism coming from the greek photo, meaning light, and period as in what we call 'season'). BUT for their 'internal clock' (the one that marks their circadian and circannual cycles) to work, they need to be exposed to dawn and dusk because it is this different light that only happens then that turn it on or off. It's like a stopwatch - dawn turns it on and dusk turns it off, and the number of hours in between these two events tells their body what season of the year it is. When you prevent this exposure by having artificial lights on or the cage covered before the sun is all the way out on the sky in the am and after the sun reaches halfway down to the horizon in the pm, its endocrine system becomes confused and malfunctions not knowing when to stop producing sexual hormones. See, the thing with birds is that, unlike mammals, they don't produce sexual hormones all the time, only during breeding season. When the hours of daylight reach a certain number (predetermined by evolution that finetuned each species photorefractoriness point so they only produce offspring when it's the best time of the year for it), their sexual organs (gonads) become active and start producing sexual hormones. They grow in size and their body becomes ready for reproduction. When the number of daylight hours reaches another number, they stop, their gonads become dormant and shrink is size. But, when their endocrine system is screwed up, they produce them all the time, year after year, which does not only make the bird terribly sexually frustrated but also causes chronic physical discomfort and even pain (because the gonads keep on growing and end up pushing the other organs out of their place). This causes birds a lifetime of misery and ends up making the bird scream all the time, bite, pluck and even self-mutilate.

This is the best time of the year to get an endocrine system of a long day breeder (GCCs are long day breeders) back in tune with the seasons because we are almost at equinox when the night and day is of the same length and the days will start getting shorter.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15248
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: New Parrot Mom Here

Postby PacoMePica » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:45 am

That's what I've learned from reading this forum and I've given him some chunks of fruit this morning. Gave him some nice watermelon, banana, apple and mango in big chunky pieces in different places in his cage along with some fresh veggies while I'm out. I did hear about frozen veggies having more nutrition than fresh but I'll go ahead and follow the advice you've given me here, I bet he'll love it! I really have no problem putting in the time and money to make him good healthy food, I was getting a lot of different information and I've been trying to decide what's best.

I should have explained our bedtime/wake up routine better. About an hour before I put him to bed, once it starts getting dark, I turn off all the lights and just leave the blinds open. Once it's just about fully dark, I close the blinds and cover his cage. My house tends to be dark in the morning so I usually uncover him and open the blinds so it's still pretty dim and I get his food ready (in the dark and about half an hour to an hour later, I'll start turning a light or two on. I'll do more reading today though, i really do want to make sure he's got the best life he can possibly have.

This is the first bird I've had since I was a kid and the first that's MY best friend and I really want to do right by him. Thank you so much for the advice, I'm more than willing to adjust anything that needs to be adjusted for his health and comfort but, like all first time bird parents, I know I'll make mistakes. Thank you again for all the great advice! What do you think about having a cage for going outdoors on the patio for a bit when it's cooler in the day until I can get him a harness?
PacoMePica
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Green Cheek Conure
Flight: No

Re: New Parrot Mom Here

Postby Pajarita » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:18 am

My dear, don't dwell on the fact that you made mistakes because I am afraid that you will continue to make them. It's unavoidable because we simply do not know enough and, no matter how careful you are, as it has happened many, many times before, we will find out that what we thought was the right thing to do is not! I've had multiple parrots since almost day one back in 1992, ran a rescue with an average of 240 birds for 6 years, I literally quit my job because I realized that I could not care for them properly if I worked full time and have changed my entire life (and my poor suffering husband's) so it revolves around their needs, do research for a couple of hours every day except Sunday and I know that I am currently making mistakes and that I will make even more! The thing with parrots is not only that we don't know enough, it's also that they change and start doing things they never did before - things that we did not prepare for. This morning alone I almost had a nervous breakdown because I couldn't find Davy Redbelly anywhere - and I do mean ANYWHERE! I always open the blinds when the first light shows on the sky (5 am this time of the year) and open their cages a bit later (5:30 am more or less) after the dogs come back from the backyard and the cats are locked in their room and they stay out while I clean the cages and until they get the gloop in their bowls or plates when they all go back into their cages to eat their breakfast for about 1/2 hour. Now, they all know what 'Go Home!' means (back into their own cages) and 'Que rica papa!' (food) so some even go back into them by themselves while others simply fly close and I put them in with my hand or a stick. Davy never hides from me (Javi Caique does but I know where) and is always around me in the kitchen while I prepare the food (trying to steal some because stolen ALWAYS tastes better) and flies to the dining room (where his cage is), usually perching on the light fixture on top of the table but, this morning, he was nowhere to be found. I looked and called and called and looked - and when I say 'looked' I am talking going on all fours around all the rooms to look under the furniture, opening all the doors to all the cabinets, looking inside the fridge, the microwave, the bathrooms, behind the furniture, under the pillows on the sofa - I mean THE WORKS! Nothing! My screams woke up my husband and he was helping me look and trying to reassure me that he couldn't have gotten out so he had to be hiding somewhere - which I refused to believe because hiding is not his thing. Then, all of a sudden, he flies to the middle of the dining room from a corner where a window is so I am thinking that he was hiding behind the drapery (something the senegals used to do all the time with the living room draperies but never Davy). So now there will be no draperies in the dining room same as there are none in the living room.

The point of this story is that a parrot keeper should never either dwell too much on mistakes made or become complacent and think that we have everything under control because we just don't. We made, are making and will make mistakes and the only thing we can do is be ever vigilant, learn from our mistakes and be always humble about our knowledge and continue learning. You are going to do great as a parrot keeper - that I know! And I know it because of your attitude. I've been doing this for a looong time and have gotten to finetune my instincts when it comes to who has the right attitude and who doesn't (and I've gotten pretty good at predicting who is going 'to make it' and who isn't). Nobody is born knowing anything, we all have to learn but a person who thinks he can make it by cutting corners with its husbandry is never going to make a good parrot keeper.

But you do need to uncover his cage earlier, my dear, because even when it's darkish inside the home, they can still differentiate the light of dawn (it has to do with the fact that they can see UV and there isn't much at dawn so things not only look very different to them during twilight, their photoreceptors react to the extra red light that happens once the sun starts to come up)
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15248
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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