…And then I bought a parrot!

I’m sure you remember my post from last week about “almost” buying a parrot– well, we went back the next day and bought him. It really shouldn’t surprise anybody, since I’ve already admitted my lifelong struggle with “Animalis Fluffitis” (if an animal is fluffy and/or cute, I will most likely attempt to own it at some point in my life). Readers, I am living proof that this sickness has no cure. In fact, the only way to relieve the effects of Animalis Fluffitis is to periodically add a new pet to your menagerie.

You had to hear it from someone!

I would go cry in a corner, but I’m too busy enjoying my awesome new parrot.

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I know that’s a freakishly huge glove. That’s all Mark could find at the hardware store, and until he stops biting, I’m keeping it on! Kiwi, that is. Not Mark.

What I know about Sun Conures::

Sun Conures (or Sun Parakeets) are actually an endangered species, but since ours was captive born I didn’t feel that rescuing him from a pet store contributed at all to the further annihilation of his species (phew). According to Wikipedia, Sun Conures are native to a small area of north-eastern South America, basically northern Brazil. They are social birds and enjoy interaction both with other parrots and with humans. They are very sensitive animals and basically anything can kill them (fragranced candles & sprays, cooking with nonstick pans, perfume & hairspray, drafts, cat saliva, and the list goes on).

What I know about our Kiwi:

He is 2 1/2 years old and loves peanuts & grapes. It is impossible to tell male/female Conures apart without DNA testing (unless one lays a clutch of eggs), but he looks like a he so that’s what he is! When he wants attention he will either scream repeatedly or rub his beak across the bars of his cage. If I sing a song and “dance” (aka bob up and down) he will start bobbing up and down. He enjoys our morning coffee (for me) and peanut (for him) date. I play NPR on the radio in his room when I am not home, so he will most likely end up a democrat, haha. He is not a very loud bird, and only screams when he is left alone unexpectedly. He will say “pretty bird” but only when it is his idea:P If he doesn’t like the treat I give him, he drops it on the floor and pouts at the back of his cage until I replace it with something suitably impressive.

A video of Kiwi eating an apple as if it was a slice of watermelon:

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The gloves are because we are still new to him. He is learning that doing things well – like coming out of his cage without nipping, or being picked up off of a shoulder without nipping – earns him a reward. Eventually the promise of a reward will outweigh the urge to nip, and he’ll stop. Until then, GLOVES!

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During the night/when we’re not at home, his cage goes in our spare room (the blue bedroom). In the evenings we roll him out here so he can be social with us. Oftentimes he’ll chill out at the front of his cage, just watching. Once the dogs (aka Cruiser) stop being so darn skittish, we’ll bring the cage into the living room all the way.

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Kiwi is being a good bird so he gets a treat.

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Kiwi knows “treat time” – it’s his favorite trick so far! When he’s in his cage and hears us say “treat time” he immediately scoots to the front and waits.

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Kiwi: I said no pictures!

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Mark loves his little buddy.

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Kiwi enjoys the view from his cage-top perch.

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He’s a mature Sun Conure (they hit puberty around 2 years) so his colors are a deep orange and yellow. If you see a greenish Sun Conure, that means it a juvenile.

It’s official, I’m completely smitten! We are currently working on “step up” (stepping onto a finger from a perch), “treat time” (coming to us when he’s in the cage), and “shake it” (dancing on cue). I want to start potty training because play time is kinda gross. He doesn’t poop on our shoulders thank god, but does go frequently when he’s on our hands, and the floor becomes a minefield. He has only been with us a few days at this point, so we don’t want to push him too hard too fast. Playtime involves LOTS of treats and “good birds”, so that he becomes comfortable with us & with being out of his cage. He’s going to be just as spoiled as the rest of our babies, I couldn’t resist and ordered his Christmas present today:

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It’s a table top gym from Funtime Birdy! This way we can get him out of the cage and let him have playtime on the kitchen table instead of in the hallway like right now. Think he’ll like it?

Any time we add a new pet, it’s easy to get so enamored with playing & training it that we forget all the babies we already have. Right now we get Kiwi out and train/play with him for 15-20 minutes. Then he goes back in his cage where he can observe his new ecosystem, and that’s when the dog-pile happens:

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Emma, Luke & Leia. Think they missed me? 🙂

xo,

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8 thoughts on “…And then I bought a parrot!

  1. Hi Hannah – I applaud the idea of creating a safer home, and because there’s so much misinformation out there about the Teflon® brand, I’m not surprised that you are concerned. I’m a representative of DuPont though, and hope you’ll let me share some information with you and your readers so that everyone can make truly informed decisions.

    Just to let you know, fumes from any type of unattended or overheated cookware, not just the Teflon® brand, can damage a bird’s lungs with alarming speed. Additional information can be found on our website Pet Bird Safety (www2.dupont.com/Teflon/en_US/keyword/birds.html).

    I hope you find this information useful. Best, Sara.

  2. To help with the biting, you can try treating him when he steps up nicely. Millet is usually a favourite, and pretty handy for training. Make sure not to treat him if he nips upon stepping up, though… Another good thing to check out is BirdClicks Yahoo clicker training site – free, unlike some out there – and try clicker and touch training. These things will definitely make your life much easier. Just as a side note, you might not need the gloves – if he wanted to, he could bite straight through, and I’m guessing he hasn’t. Good luck! -S.

    • Thanks for the tips! Since we decided to stop using the gloves and let him come out of the cage on his own, well, he hasn’t. Come out, that is. He’s gotten close- I’ve lured him to the doorway of his cage with peanuts and he’s quite comfortable there. Yesterday he flew out of the doorway, bounced off my shoulder and landed on the floor. I immediately got up and closed the room door, and walked over to him to see if I could pick him up. He started climbing up my pant leg, so I reached down and said “step up” and he stepped up SO NICELY onto my finger. I immediately took him over and put him back on his cage perch, because I was alone and if he walked up to my shoulder I knew he’d be stuck there. And he didn’t bite!

      • That’s great news! Sometimes it just takes one good step up to give you both confidence. I’ll never forget our birds’ first step ups. As a side note, something that really helped us with Mishka, our ‘tiel, was letting her step up onto our wrists. We used it as a sort of bridge between teaching her to climb onto fingers. Once she figured out that climbing aboard our arms meant she got to explore, she was all for it, and eventually we just started offering a hand.

        It’s great that you let Kiwi choose to come out. I think he’ll appreciate it!

  3. Pingback: 2012: A Year in Review « Cozy Crooked Cottage

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