September is the time of year when we start getting serious again. Gone is the freedom of the summer holidays, relaxed evenings in the garden and trips to the seaside. If you’ve got into bad habits over the summer, September is a good time to address them and get back on track.
As a parrot owner you will know that these beautiful, intelligent birds can be very demanding, but also extremely rewarding. If you don’t give them enough attention and engagement, they can very quickly become isolated, lonely and bored. Bit like humans really!
So it’s time for you and your parrot to go back to school…here’s some tips to get you both back on track and well on the way to an A* in no time at all.
1. Talk to your parrot
If you don’t do so already, it’s important for you to interact daily with your parrot. Talking, listening, teaching them tricks and dancing to music is a really good way to keep them company and increase your bond.
2. The ‘Step-Up’ command
This is the most valuable and fundamental command that you can teach your parrot. It is also the foundation for many bird tricks, so it is important to begin any training regime by teaching your bird this trick first.
- Very gently push on your parrot’s breast, right above their legs, with your finger. Place ABOVE whatever your parrot is perching on at the time
- Say “step up” or “up”, and repeat it each time
- When your parrot steps up, praise them and give them a very small treat – something they really like, but only get when they obey a command
- Some parrots may use their beaks to help them step up. If yours does, don’t pull away
After your parrot begins to learn this command, they will relate it to good things happening, such as attention from you and receiving a healthy treat.
Teaching your bird to step-up can come in extremely handy during vet visits, cage cleaning time, weekly health checks and many other aspects of pet bird ownership.
3. Play ‘Peek-A-Boo’
Everyone knows this game, but it can be a great way to interact with your parrot.
- Place a neutral-coloured towel on a bed or sofa before your parrot is in the room
- Bring your parrot into the room and place them on the towel
- Get down to your parrots level and raise one corner of the towel so it covers your face
- Say “Peek-a-boo” as you move the towel away from your face
- Do this a few times and then gently cover part of your parrots head and say “Peek-a-boo”
Many parrots learn this game after a few times and some may actually create their own games using the words.
4. Embark on an exercise regime
Keep your parrot happy and healthy by allowing it out of its cage each day for bursts of exercise. Ideally, your parrot should only use its cage for dining and for resting periods.
Hiding healthy treats around the room for your parrot to find, or encouraging it to climb up the steps one by one are just a couple of suggestions. Feel free to make up your own exercise routine and be guided by what your bird enjoys doing best!
5. Handling your parrot
Close physical contact will benefit your parrots’ self-esteem and your relationship with them.
Encourage your parrot to sit with you whilst you watch TV or to follow you around whilst you clean the house. Feeding healthy treats by hand will improve your bond.
Remember, investing some time every day will greatly increase you and your parrots happiness and wellbeing.