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RE: Parrot on Shoulder

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Posted by: PHIggysbirds at Fri Jun 11 23:07:18 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by PHIggysbirds ]  

First shoulder birds, yes it is very possible to train them that this is unacceptable but yes it can also be a pain and time consuming The first step is to only offer the hand/wrist as a "stepping" up place, not the shoulder. Many people worry about getting their hands bit so they offer the upper arm (with the shirt sleeve) as a step up point. IF this bird already accepts hands to step up on or when the bird does accept this you will already have a good start. Next you need to make it more uncomfortable for the bird to get to the shoulder. If he starts to climb to your shoulder then raise your hand higher so he has to slide down to get to the shoulder "most" birds would rather be in the higher position so will stay or return to the hand instead of going down to the shoulder. Another option is as soon as the bird starts to climb up to the shoulder place your other hand in front of him so he must climb onto it instead of going up then return that hand to a lower position and keep repeating. He may see this as a game which really isn't a problem but as long as he is friendly he should eventually stop climbing up if he is kept from climbing farther, while doing this method I would also offer a favorite treat and/or praise right after he is forced to step onto the other hand instead of climbing farther. You can also try distraction with a favorite toy etc. The "revolving hand" method has always worked great for me but sometimes it can get kind of tedious if your bird is really stubborn. It will take several times of doing this before he begins to realize he shouldn't go up higher or he will just be made to change hands and start over.

Yes diet can be changed quite easily as well with patience. You can try the add-on approach or the replacement approach.

With stubborn birds replacement usually works best. For the add on you just add in other types of foods still leaving the favorites but less of them to get your bird used to more variety. Some birds will start to see the other items as foods and change very easily others will be stubborn and only pick out the favorite treats eating nothing else.

I find the replacement method works better for those reasons. For the first several days give the macaw his favorite foods paying close attention to what times of days he is eating most and what times he is leaving his food alone. Many birds will "pick" throughout the day but will still have 1-3 main eating times. I find mine will eat most early in the mornings and then in the mid evening. So in my case this is what I would do with the sunflower diet. First thing in the morning take out his normal food and replace with fresh foods/pellets or whatever you have chosen for a healthy diet. Leave this in the cage (of course on fresh foods make sure you don't leave too long to cause spoiling) do not give any sunflower seeds or peanuts during that time. Then about 1:00pm when my birds seem to take an afternoon nap I put the sunflower seeds back in their cage (in a different bowl still leaving healthy foods) for about an hour. Then I remove and put the "good" foods back in. I leave them in until bedtime when I also add a bowl with some sunflower seed mix, which I leave overnight removing first thing in the morning. If the bird seems to be eating the good foods then great you can do away with adding the "bad" after a short time. If your bird is stubborn and slow to come around he learns that at normal eating time he has healthy foods and will eventually come to eat it, but just in case he wants to hold out for a while to keep him from starving himself he still has the sunflower seeds available just not at an accustomed eating time. I haven't had a bird that this method hasn't worked with but it does take a lot longer with some than others. Some birds can surprise you as well. We have had many that were only "junk food eaters" (according to previous owners) that the second their food was replaced with pellets and fresh foods they started in eating on the first day, others it took only a couple days yet other it was weeks. Then you can save the sunflower seeds as a once in a while special treat instead of a main diet.

Good luck!!


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