A little bit about Facebook private groups. Because they are private groups, I cannot share the content that the members post nor any of the photos or videos from that group because they are “private“.
That said, the subjects themselves are well worth sharing so the only content from the group discussion will be that of mine with just a synopsis of how the problem was related to the Facebook group.
The conversation started about what the gentleman had referred to as a “hard tip” feather that was annoying the bird. Not surprisingly he got bit when he tried to pull the feather out. Not understanding the impact of what we call a broken blood feather as innocuous as it sounds can be responsible for the death of a pet bird.
If you are trying to get at the hard tip (feather shaft) of the feather the bird needs to be towelled. The feather can be examined to see if the shaft has blood in it (blood feather) If you are comfortable with it, you can pull the feather out with a needle nose pliers, just watch for bleeding and have some sort of blood coagulant nearby – cornstarch can work in a pinch, if not you might want to take the bird to the vet because if the bird breaks the feather off he could bleed out and die overnight. Read more about blood feathers here.
Not surprisingly he was annoying the bird he got bit when he tried to pull the feather out. Biting is not acceptable in any circumstance and returning them to the cage or ignoring will have no impact on the reduction of biting. I advocated that he start with clicker training and using a millet spray which would put 6 inches between the bird’s beak and his finger thus teaching them not to bite in a positive way.
His next response was that I really didn’t understand how intelligent birds were and he related an anecdotal incident about a birds behavior in a rescue.
I replied with
Trust me I understand the intelligence of birds and give the full credit BC – the biting thing is behavioral and has nothing to do with intelligence – I appreciate your anecdotal evidence but my paradigms arrive from interacting with tens of thousands of caged bird keepers.
Our Facebook fan page has 269,000 fans all home grown over four years because they come to learn. And to be entertaining I interact with some the top avian vets in the world – the actual developers of much of the bird food that you see online – the CEOs of bird cage and accessory manufacturing facilities for the past 14 years.
I also posted this video to the group so he understood that I did, in fact, understand how intelligent birds were
When I intervene in a situation like this on Facebook my goal is to teach. I mean no disrespect to you sir but my sole role in life as a full-time gig is to be an advocate for caged birds. Correlation does not necessarily imply causation. If putting birds in a cage on a timeout solves the biting problem why haven’t we been able to stop birds from biting once and for all – just sayin’.
Biting like plucking and screaming are complex behavioral issues in part stemming from confusion caged birds have with everything from light cycles to clipped wings and poor nutrition.
Because we speak bird @ Windy City Parrot we can relate to you exactly what your bird is thinking when you lock him or her up in their cage.
At what point does the bird receive behavioral modification when placed back in its cage? Aren’t you rewarding the bad behavior?
We can get you started on clicker training for two bucks. What is it that is preventing you from moving forward with clicker training?
File under: “three ways” are overrated.
The situation involved two birds (Nanday conures) and a human. Although eclectus parrots are polygamous as in both the females and males have multiple partners exchanging regurgitation for nookie, most parrots are monogamous.
When the third party, a human enters into their space – sometimes two’s company and three’s a crowd. We need to look at it from that perspective. You may love your birds but they might love each other and only look to you as a food source. Dude, I know that’s harsh but it is a potential reality.
Do we feed chops?
In that I have several thousand pounds of prepared bird food on hand I’m not very motivated to make chop – we often seek convenience foods for our own meals. I know I’ll catch a lot of flak for this but I think chop is overall wasteful and time-consuming. More importantly, you have no idea of the nutritional value – are you covering all your bird’s nutritional needs and where is the protein coming from? That’s my biggest question?
I’ve known Mark Hagen for years – I’ve had long talks with Ed Schmidt of Goldenfeast – I’ve spoken with Ted LeFeber at pet trade shows over the years – these three men have a combined hundred years experience in research and the manufacturing of quality bird food.
I have no need (nor desire) to re-invent the wheel. I’m not going to create anything for my bird on my own that comes close to the nutritional value you’ll find in nitrogen flushed sealed bags of bird food with full ingredient and nutritional labels.
Peaches will eat pretty much anything we put in front of her. Her daily diet is either Higgins Safflower Gold or Hagen Tropimix for parrots. She gets Lafebers Nutriberries (8% pellets) and Avicakes (50% pellets) along with raw walnuts, almonds and sunflower kernels (as rewards) throughout the day. But she also eats with us at the table on her own stand so she gets part of our salad, part of our pasta, part of our vegetables and maybe a bit of chicken or fish. But at the end of the day, I’m not relying on the human food to drive her metabolism.
I’ve unfortunately been laid up with a sprained ankle for a month so we haven’t had a chance to take her to see Dr. Byron at Animal House of Chicago. We took Popcorn in twice a year for well bird checks and always had a blood workup done. Thus we knew as long as the numbers looked good we didn’t have to change her diet – no guesswork – Hope that helps
written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing
Your zygodactyl footnote