Christine B writes:
I’m having a heck of a time trying to decide.
- Which size Aviator flight harness to purchase for my Meyers Parrot who weighs about 80 grams.(for the record – most Meyers parrots wear an X-Small flight harness)
- Would buying a flight harness help after all?
This little parrot didn’t have a great home life when I bought her last July. She has since had a full vet workup in Aug.
She’s now healthy and eats a variety of pellets, seeds & veggies/fruits. She was molting when I got her. She continues to have pin feathers and until about a week ago was still losing feathers daily.
I have not continued to have her wings and nails clipped as the previous owner did. However, within the last 2 weeks, she has displayed nesting behavior. She won’t stay on a perch for more than a minute and continues to fly to a distant open staircase in our home. She chews the carpet on the stairs. I’m concerned about her safety.
I’ve been reading about how to train her to stay on a perch (she used to) but, that will take time. I’m not talking about perching for hours on end – 10 to 20 min would help. If I put her in her cage after I retrieve her from the stairs of course she screams. Anywhere I put her – my finger, arm, etc. she launches and flies to the stairs. She loves my husband but, will no longer stay with him either.
So, I was thinking a flight harness might help now? I do know that I will need to train her to wear the harness and I having been considering a flight harness for outside use for a while now. Sorry for the long email but, I value your advice and check your site frequently.
PS – she has perches in different locations in the house so, she has variety and she does have toys that are rotated. I’m retired, so I’m home with her daily and try to have her out of her cage as much as possible but, it’s getting tough right now.
Looks like you have your hands full.
Because your relationship is relatively new (especially in bird years) I would put the harness thing on the back burner. Harnesses are counter-intuitive to birds. They bind their body and rub the feathers and are only meant for short periods.
They also require a giant leap of faith in the bird’s part in terms of trust between the two of you. In my sense, the trust still needs some time to fully develop.
I also would not worry about trying to train her to stay on a single perch because you are rewarding her to not do something which once again is not helping further the relationship.
What I would like you to do is watch this video about clicker training “Building Trust With Your Bird”.
You don’t even need a clicker. A clucking sound with your tongue is just fine and five or 10 minutes a day will help get your bird to focus improve your overall relationship. This is something that your husband can participate in as well.
The stair thing – From your description, it sounds as though you have a male because, with Meyers, the males do all the digging, with the females usually directing the male on where to put the newly acquired materials. Male Meyers parrots also tend to get aggressive once in brooding mode.
He is chewing the stairs seeking nesting material. One of the things we did for Popcorn our cockatiel was to introduce a foraging box.
It’s important for your bird to have full-spectrum light over the cage with a timer set for something like coming on at eight in the morning then turning off at eight at night. The bird should be under the light during those hours to get the most benefit from the light which will help regulate hormones.
I would cover the area of the carpet she is trying to chew up because carpet fiber can have nasty things in it and can cause blockages. Place small foraging or treat areas near the perches that you mentioned you have around the house to give her something to do while she’s at these perching areas.
Meyers like puzzle-type toys. They like to work on rope and leather knots. Make sure he has lots of these to keep his mind occupied. If you are light on funds don’t forget to visit our free and DIY bird toy category.
Let us know how it goes and we’d love to see some pictures.