BEHAVIOURAL TRAINING CONSULTATIONS FOR HEALTHY PARROTS
For a new young parrot it is important to have its behaviour assessed at its first health check.
- Advice needs to be given by an avian veterinarian on the best early training for each particular species.
- Each year birds should have their behaviour and training assessed, and this knowledge should be built upon.
- The plan is to teach birds how to act and live with us in order to stop them growing up to be feather pickers, screamers, cage guarders, biters and chronic egg layers. These problems, apart from emergencies, make up the bulk of avian consultations.
Training is not designed to teach birds tricks but to teach them the rules of socialisation.
- Many parrots live close to their parents from three months of age for as long as three or four years.
- During this time their parents and other adult birds teach them how to interact and be part of the flock. They teach them what to eat, how to preen themselves and how to call other members of the flock.
- Parrots are often taken from their parents either prior to, or just after, weaning.
- Often we give these birds no specific instructions except to eat what we feed them, and to accept and enjoy cuddles and preening from us. The birds are left to decide for themselves what is appropriate behaviour and what isnít. When they try out certain behaviour we either reward them or reprimand them.
- These birds learn by trial and error how to act and, if not corrected or steered in the right direction, often learn poor habits.
Birds that live in our houses need to learn how to interact with humans.
- We can teach birds to adjust better to living with their human flock and be happy living in our environments and with our lifestyles.
- This may be achieved in a single consultation at an avian veterinarian or it may need several consultations over a period of time to assess how your bird is progressing.
Mature birds with behavioural problems have become sexually bonded to their owner.
- This was often initiated in the early training of the bird.
- These birds have not been trained to know they are birds and become very confused when their signals for affection arenít always reciprocated by their owners.
- These birds start to become frustrated confused mates when they are not allowed to build a pair bonded relationship with their owners at all times.
- Often these mature birds become feather pickers, chronic egg layers, cage guarders, screamers and are generally very demanding. They do not know how to live as if it is not the breeding season.
- Problems become so entrenched that, in some of these birds, behavioural and hormonal drugs may also be necessary in conjunction with behavioural changes.
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