Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Coney Island, NY Cuddled up: Blue and gold macaw "Coco"
These three things are especially important if you have a new baby bird, they go a LONG way, trust me! And these are things I try to do daily with my own birds.
- The first is training AND playing... they are different. With training there is an expectation of a reward, with playing, there are NO expectations and anything goes. It only ends when you want it to, or possibly when it gets too out of hand (but hopefully before).
- The next is touching your bird ALL over. This is so essential. It makes health issues and spotting them much easier on you, and makes a vet's job much easier too. Make sure you are constantly touching your bird, this can be used in the play time and training sessions. In play time, I roll my birds over for fun which is fun for them but also gets them used to being touched on the back and tail.
- Introducing new things DAILY. Introduce your bird to one new thing a day so it doesn't become phobic of objects. Don't go overboard and think it's so fun that you can start introducing 8 new things a day. 1 a day is perfect and will keep your bird enjoying the new things. Make sure you take it slow and try to let the bird approach the object, instead of trying to force the object on the bird. Everything can tie back into training so use training and playtime to your advantage when touching your bird in new places (like spreading their wings for them) or introducing a new object (treats always entice a bird to get close).
Some things I try to do with my birds early on and to keep up on... are things like rolling them on their backs, wrapping them in towels or blankets (hide and seek), doing every day chores like dishes (so they get used to loud noises of clanging and banging) and laundry (the vibrations of the washer/dryer and non-sturdiness of the bundle of clothes) among other things. Bathing your bird from day 1 is good too. Birds should not fear water, it should be enjoyable for them.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.