Photo by Dave
Location: Moab, UT
Flying: Congo African Grey “Cressi”
Our latest freeflight student is a 13 year old Moluccan Cockatoo named Pooh. He comes from California where he will only eat colored pellets and lots of fruit but refuses veggies.
I was disappointed in his diet but we had a ton of other things to work on so we didn’t make a big deal of it right off the bat in his training. I knew it would come at some point or another anyway, and if anything, come to work naturally making it a much easier transition for his human companion.
Just as I thought, far enough into the training, we took Pooh outside for some serious skill learning in outdoor flight training. We brought along our three macaws too, to teach Pooh a thing or two and add in some observational learning.
It worked like a charm and Pooh was flying longer than he had ever flown before. By the end of the day, both Pooh and his human were tired from all the excitement! The day before Pooh stayed in our dressing room while shows went on and every time we left the room he’d scream his head off. This day, however, after spending the entire morning flying, he didn’t make a single sound during the show. Dave and I were laughing inside because we knew how exhausted he must be from all that irregular exercise (add a little wind resistance to your flights and you’re working hard!).
Photo by Jamieleigh
Location: Cruise ship
Shown: Congo African Grey “Cressi”
As we said goodbye to Pooh and Kai, I told Kai when he got home to offer Pooh lots of veggies. “I know he has refused to eat them in the past, but with his body working as hard as it did and will be in the future through all your flight training… his body is going to CRAVE those healthy foods and nutrients so offer them and you will be blown away by what he eats!” I told Kai.
Two days later we spoke with Kai for our weekly consult and sure enough Pooh had devoured a whole thing of broccoli. Kai was shocked and I was more than happy! I told him what changes he could expect in Pooh’s attitude, energy level and body as he builds muscle, loses fat and continues to eat the good stuff.
Flight training can easily lead to a breakthrough for many birds in eating healthier. When you work out and take care of yourself, your body takes care of itself too by giving you the proper cravings for foods it needs to replenish itself so it can continue working hard and being healthy.
Photo by Dave
Location: Moab, UT
With me: Congo African Grey “Cressi”
So if your bird isn’t a healthy eater, try giving him more exercise and see what he starts eating that will surprise you!
- Feed the healthiest foods first when your bird is the hungriest.
- Stay organic as much as possible, even when it comes to the pellet you feed.
- Encourage mental and physical stimulation (trick training, puzzles, foraging toys and flight training)
- There’s more than one way to skin a cat; try serving the healthy stuff in a variety of ways from cooked to raw to shredded to baked into things and more.
- If you can, use your bird’s favorite food as treats. Our birds, believe it or not, respond better to blueberries as their reward than pine nuts!