Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Las Vegas, NV In Travel Cage: Blue Throated Macaw "Jinx"
Getting your parrot to go into a travel cage can be pretty rough sometimes... especially when you haven't done it except for to take your bird to the vet, which isn't the best experience of your bird's life...
My parrots are just fine going into their travel cages, most of the time. This means I don't get bit putting them in even though they may not always want to "go away".
If you have a vet appointment and you know your bird is going to detest going inside his travel cage, here are some things I would recommend you do to make it easier on both you and your parrot:
Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Ely, NV On Travel Cage: Congo African Grey "Cressi"
Take your bird on a fun outing somewhere. This means, to the park or to work with you, somewhere he will enjoy being with you (or with others if he's the social type). I am constantly taking my birds to the park to hang out or on a picnic. If your bird hates his travel cage so much you can't even get him into it, just bring it along and keep him on a harness in the mean time. Whenever a bird is a unfamiliar place, you and everything he is "used to" will become what is called "the familiar in a world of unfamiliars" and it will become his comfort zone. For example, if I took my bird to the park and he'd never been there before he might feel intimidated and actually want to go back into his travel cage so he would feel secure and safe. The same goes for being in a new place (like at your work) and being around people he doesn't know where he might feel uncomfortable. This now makes the travel cage look pretty good to your bird and more of a "safe zone" than a miserable place to be.
Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Sagle, ID Playing on Travel Cage: Camelot Macaws "Tusa" & "Comet", Blue Throat Macaw "Jinx"
Let your parrot have its way with his travel cage! Let him sit on, around, in it if he chooses... but leave the door propped open and put fun things around, in and on it for him to play with. Almost treat it like a play gym and let your bird play in the environment of the cage without anyone locking him inside. This shows your bird that you aren't ALWAYS going to put him inside of it when it comes out. I often let my parrots out of theirs just to hang out on top of it for a while. Sometimes they even fall asleep on it or just fluff up on one foot and relax. This is a great thing for a bird to do on a cage that it may not like in the beginning.
Keep it random. You want to use your travel cage for more than one purpose and even more than two... vary up the chances that something negative will occur with it (like a vet visit could be interpreted by your bird) and make sure you are constantly "mixing it up" by using these fun excuses:
Go somewhere fun where your bird comes out to spend time with you.
Have a "take your bird to work day" if that is something your bird would enjoy or just not hate.
Take your bird on a day trip with you somewhere, where the bad stuff never happens all day.
Put your bird in the travel cage and let him come back out a minute or so later.
Reward your bird for going into his travel cage every time he does in nicely with a reward he doesn't always get all the time.
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.
This is great advice! Also, thanks for the email from your customer service team. I’m preparing to adopt a harlequin macaw this weekend and I want to make sure that the transition is as smooth as possible.
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