“ Animal Species: Birds „
Today is one of them days, like I'm sure we all get from time to time- you're sat at your desk in front of your PC or sat on the sofa with your laptop on your lap, you want to write a review, but there is one problem- you are well and truly stuck as to what to write it about- well, that is exactly how I am feeling. I'm waiting for numerous suggestions to come through so have nothing left to write about that I am eager to review so when browsing through the pet section here on dooyoo looking for some motivation, I came across this category, and opened up Microsoft Word straight away to get cracking!
Bird entertainment- well it's certainly a slightly unusual category to write in I'm sure you'll agree, but as any bird owner will know, keeping pet birds entertained is a never ending and highly demanding task. People may well use 'bird brains' as an insult, but spend just five minutes with a domesticated bird and you'll soon realise just how clever these feathered friend are, and therefore, how difficult they are to entertain.
Before I get started, let me introduce you to the gang. Firstly, there is Crackers, he is a Scarlet Macaw who will turn 11 years old at the end of this month, I've had him since has was a chick and he the nuttiest creature you'll ever come across- loves nothing more than playing fetch with the dogs or sitting watching the washing machine going round and round. Next, there is Murphy, who is every inch as nutty as Crackers, and he is a 5 year old Blue & Gold Macaw that joined the gang as a rescue bird around 18 months ago now. Finishing off the bunch of Macaws, is Chilli, another Scarlet who I have only had for a couple of weeks, he is rather quiet and reserved at the moment, but leave it a couple of months, and he'll be as crazy as the other two. Then last, but by no means least, there is Pepsi, an African Grey Parrot, who is quite frankly a damn right snob.
Now, owning 3 Macaws and an African Grey makes me one of either two things- lucky, or completely insane and I'm leaning towards going towards the last option. As lovely as all of them are, they are incredibly time consuming and need constant attention- especially the Macaws, seeing as they are not caged animals- they have parrot stands that they are trained to return to when told, to eat or drink, sleep or go to the toilet and then they have the free run of the downstairs of the cottage. Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment! I don't agree with confining large birds to cages so that is why the Macaw trio are kept in this way, and Pepsi, the African Grey resides outside in a large aviary.
Providing bird toys seems to be the bane of my life, any poor soul who has been unfortunate enough to be bitten by a Macaw, or similar sized bird, will know just how powerful their beaks are- infact, a fully grown adult Macaw in good health would be well able to break bone with their beak if they wanted to. So, in the past 11 years that I have owned birds, I have discovered one major thing, and that is that shop brought toys for large birds, are, on the whole, a huge waste of money! In my experience, they get pulled to pieces and broken with days of the birds having them and considering they can cost around £10 each time, they're just not worth the money. Therefore, in this review, I'll be sharing some ideas that I have found to be a huge success in entertaining birds, excluding shop brought parrot toys, concentrating on the needs of large birds such as Macaws and African Greys.
If there is one thing a parrot loves to do more than make a mess, it is to eat. Boy, do parrots like to eat! The proof is in my weekly food bill for the 4 of them! So incorporating tasty treats, and even their regular food, into fun puzzling activities is sure to be a big hit, and beneficial to both their mental and physical well being, as it makes their use both their mind and energy as they figure out ways to get to their grub!
If you've ever browsed the bird care isle of a pet shop, you will probably have noticed those treat bars that you can purchase for them, designed to hang from the top of your birds cage, and they generally come with a hefty price tag of around £2 or £3, so the cost soon mounts up if you have more than one bird to provide for, so why not have a go at making your own, for a fraction of the price? All you'll need is a packet of wooden lolly sticks, which can be brought cheaply from craft stores (or for further cost cutting, save and rinse the ones from your ice creams), a bottle of runny honey and a packet of parrot mix. Simply mix the honey and parrot mix into a thick, sticky mixture, pop on some rubber gloves to protect your hands and mould thickly to coat the lolly stick, leaving half an inch at the top to attach to your birds cage. Once the stick is covered, leave in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up, and you're left with a tasty treat that your parrot will love, and it'll provide valuable exercise for their beaks as they peck at the treat stick.
To vary the above method slightly, half a hollowed out coconut shell also works, as does setting the mixture in flexible silicone jelly moulds to make fun shapes- OK that one is more for your enjoyment than the parrots, but hey! To make the treat stick even more hard work for the larger, stronger birds, you could firm it up in the freezer rather than the fridge.
Next, non-bird owners would be amazed at how much entertainment a small empty plastic drinks bottle, and a few peanuts (still in their shells) can provide! Simply place a few peanuts in the empty bottle, do not put the lid on and then hand to your parrot, it'll take them a fair while to realise how to release the peanuts, and will help improve co-ordination as they hold the bottle and shake to get the food out.
Many parrots love playing in water- filling a clean, spare cat litter tray with a couple of inches of water, chopping up some fruit and vegetables into bite sized chunks and then letting them float in the water will provide a novel way of feeding fresh produce to your birds, and they'll love splashing about in the water and bobbing for the food. Although this game way best be reserved for outside play- Macaws especially, love bathing in the water, and will get their wings wet and flap it absolutely everywhere!
Small empty cardboard boxes, such as egg cartons, tea bag boxes and small cereals boxes all provide easy and simple entertainment too- either completely empty so your pet can simply rip them up or filled with a small amount of parrot seed- it makes them work for their work, which is much more stimulating than simply eating from a bowl.
In warm weather, there is no reason why pet birds cannot have supervised play time in the garden- the majority of large birds will have had their wings clipped (a painless procedure which involves removing certain feathers so your parrot cannot get enough height to fly away) and there are many games that can be played outside. Firstly, simply scattering some parrot mix into long grass will provide a hunting style game, simulating natural foraging behaviours. However, if you have a washing line in your garden (the traditional line suspended between two posts, not modern spinning washing lines), these are brilliant things for a great parrot game, which will provide lots of exercise for your bird, as well as mental stimulation. Pop your parrot up on the line, and peg various items to the line such as an empty plastic bottle attached via string, an old t-shirt, a rope dog tug toy, some tinsel (they'll love this especially seeing as it is shiny), a small branch with leaves on, an old compact mirror attached to some string, a sheet of tin foil and even some spoons tied on to some string. Birds are naturally curious animals and they'll absolutely love moving along the line investigating all the hanging items. This game also helps to build up confidence and will also stimulate wild behaviours, such as being higher from the ground than usual, you can even thread some soft fruit such as apple or pear onto some string and attach this to the line too.
Next time you come to the end of a trigger action spray bottle of cleaning solution, give the bottle a really good rinse out and keep it. When the weather is warm, fill the bottle with some cold water and take your birds out into the garden- spray the mist of water above their heads and they'll love being covered by it. This also helps keep their feathers in good condition, as in the wild most birds would be native to warm, humid countries which cares for their feathers naturally, domestic birds in cooler British climates therefore need some help in feather care and spraying them with a mist of cool water is the perfect way to do this.
Birds love the preen things- they don't care if it is another bird, a dog or even a human. My next idea is slightly nutty, but trust me, your bird will love it! Get an old sweatshirt that fits but you no longer wear and sew loads of bright, colourful buttons randomly all over the front and sleeves- the brighter the better and it you have metallic ones, even better. Then sit with your bird in your lap- he can now preen the sweatshirt- picking at and investigating the buttons- and your earrings and skin will be safe once more.
What may surprise some people is that a lot of large birds love to dig. Try filling a deep cardboard box half way with some shredder paper and bury some treats within- your bird then has to forage through the paper, and dig down to try and find the treats. Only use shredded paper however- sawdust, sand or soil can all be harmful if swallowed or they get into your birds eye.
When providing homemade toys for your bird, the key is to use your imagination! I hope I've provided some new ideas for bird owners, that have all been tried and tested with my own 4 and are proven to be a success. The sky is the limit regarding homemade bird toys and games, just be sure to always supervise use and make sure whatever you use is safe for the bird to be around.
Remember- a happy, well exercised and thoroughly stimulated bird won't be destructive or unnecessarily noisy one :)
Ohhhh what an important subject, how to keep your bird entertained. The thing with birds is that they get bored very easily so you really do have to keep them amused or they get fed up and look for a new owner. Here are a few little tips that I've picked up in my career as a bird lover: Cages Although it is sensible to keep an eye on some birds, know where they are and what they are up to, it is also worth bearing in mind that they do need a bit of freedom now and again. Keeping them caged up will lead to boredom and the first chance they get they will be off. They are wild creatures at heart so you should respect that and give them a bit of space when they need it. Don't let them stray too far though, they might not come back. The golden rule is to try to give them enough to do in their own place so as they don't stray. Seed Birds like to be given lots of seed on a regular basis. It's no use just giving them a portion of seed every now and again, you should try to give it to them as often as they require it. When they are given enough seed at home it helps prevent them visiting other peoples bird tables. Getting their seed is a vital part of their existence and should always be an entertaining and fulfilling experience. Other Food Although they like seed they can get a bit fed up with having the same seed from the same dispenser in the same position all the time. You should try moving the dispenser into different positions occasionally. Try them out with some other treats too, like giving them something to nibble on and get their claws into. Don't be tempted into falling into a pattern of giving them their seed at the same time every day, a bit of variety will keep them entertained nicely. Chatter Try talking to your bird occasionally, they seem to like that. There are no hard and fast rules about what to talk to them about, just show them a bit of respect and ultimately you will get more
enjoyment out of them. You might not always get intelligent converstaion in return, in fact it has seldom been known, but at least they'll think that you're trying. Environment Birds seem to have a bit of an obsession with their surroundings. Things like floor coverings and general decoration should be kept reasonable tidy. They will try to keep it tidy themselves, but get a bit narked when they don't get any help from you. It isn't entertaining for them to have to clean out their own cages all the time. Plummage Most birds like to be presentable and spend lots of time preening themselves. Remember to compliment them on the results. Try not to compare their plummage to that of previous pets or, heaven forbid, stray pets in the neighbourhood. Petting Birds like to be petted now and again, it makes them feel special. Pay some attention to the breast area, the legs and the tail. If you have more than one bird don't let them see you petting another, they get upset at that. Umm, thats about it, I'm fed up now. I'm going to the pub with my mates, via the bookies. I've left the telly on to keep the bird entertained while I'm out, they seem to like things like Eastenders for some strange reason.
This is an excellent toy that will keep a bird busy for days. Unfortunately my Miner Bird prefferred other avenues of entertainment that ultimately resulted in his premature death. This wheel was a lot of fun. My bird would balance something on it and then yell "Order up" and spin the wheel making the stuff fly across the room. I thought that was funny at my age. The wheel was good and it did not squeak like so many other toys we went through, and understand this, you do go through lots of toys as birds will gnawl at them when you are not home. But it was a good value and of decent construction First off, why do they call a miner bird a miner bird? They don't puts these in mines, they used to use canaries to test for unsafe levels of mine gas not talking exotic birds. I mean who under the world would use a $457 dollar talking bird to test for mine gas? Anyways I had a talking bird and I bought him all the toys and stuff. I wanted to be like the guy on the captain morgan bottle and walk around with a bird on my Schalter but you learn real quickly birds treat your shirt live a privvy. And face it, birds basically are like the kids at highschool with the exchange students from france, they only want to learn how to say dirty stuff. And you can't walk around town with a foul mouthed fowl. So basically I had to leave him at home all the time. I did take him on the train one time (I am a locomotive driver of freight trains) and it took him about 4 minutes to figure out how to key the radio with his beak and say all sorts of profanity. In case you don't know it is like a big time offense with the FCC to cuss on the airwaves (re. Howard Stern). Now when we get these relay trains from West Virginia they always look like someone had their bird with them as there are always heaps of sunflower seed shells all over the floor but the actual bird poop really annoys people. Plus my bird got totally jacked that the guy I was w
orking with was eating at a rotissie chicken he bought from Boston Market. You would think that would scare my bird straight but he just flew all over the engine biting at us and cussing. Turns out my birds,... I don't think it is right to say Mother-speak? Like how I say my MUTTERSPRACH in German? Is it mother voice? Mother language, Native tongue? Help me out in comments, OK? Anyways I thought my bird was just talking gibberish until one of the brazilians from our Jiu-jitsu club came over and busted up laughing and informed me my bird was gay and spoke Portugese. I guess it made sense cuz he was probaly from there or the people who brought him to America might have been from portugal, lots of fishermen and boat workers are. But his first words were in portugese so he is like multilingual. Now here is where everything went wrong. Like most Americans who babysit their kids by setting them in front of the telly I did the same with my bird. He would repeat some stuff and about the time every jerk in America started saying, "is that your final answer" all the time, mny bird had already gotten over it and was saying, "Ah ha, you are the weakest like, ah-ha bye-bye" He learned other stuff too. I don't use drugs but we still thought it was funny to make him say, "polly wants a crack rock" But better than the TV he loved imitating the video games we would play for hours, no not hours but literally weeks on end, one time we went 143 hours without shutting off our Sega. We had this one stupid game where you have these red and blue toy pistols and you are a cop and you start off in a bank and have to shoot the robbers and save the hostages. I forget the name. you also do an airport and a highway in this game. But anyways the bird would imitate the sound of the automatics being cocked and liked the line "Die Copper" that the one bad guy says. Now I am going to make a sweepin
g assumption that most of you do not ruitineally get your houses raided by law enforcement personell but then again you probaly do not engage in much illegal activity. But maybe you get the AMerican show Top Cops? It is wild in America, the cops go in ready for action, they have to, too much nonsense goes on on America's streets. But basically every police department has a special task force to handle big problems or bad situations. We call them SWAT for Special Weapons and Tactics or something. Just think about how the SAS goes in on their targets (although teh SAS is possibly the worlds top trained units and led by brave, intelligent, levelheaded men) well we have fat, ill trained,paranoid, trigger happy young punk cops trying to be the SAS all the time Anyways the one day we rigged up my stereo and TV and all that crap with my Sega game system. I started to play and only had one shot on my game when I paused it because I thought I had blown a speaker. So I immediately went to Wal-Mart to get a new speaker and just left all my stuff there. Pretty easy to figure out what happened. Nosey neighbors called the law, said they heard a gunshot (just so you know I had lawyers all over me trying to get me to sue the cops, but I felt it was just an honest mistake and just as much my poor parenting of my parrot as much as anybody elses negligence that led to this) I don't even need to tell you what happened. The neighbors told the cops they heard a shot in my apartment and then I went running outside and sped away (damn right I sped away, I needed another speaker). I don't blame anybody. My parrot was just too good with making that gun sound and saying "Die copper" and what would you do if you were reporting to the first potential killing in our town in 9 years and the first thing you hear when barging through the door is "Die copper" and the sound of a gun being cocked? Just buy your bird nice toys and don
39;t rely on the TV so much like I did, that is the moral of the story. Here is a joke to uplift you. FYI in the states it is unlawful to kill a bird of prey and you get heavey fines for it. A man gets caught poaching a hawk and has to go before a judge for his trial. He pleads that he only shot the bird to feed his family and had never ever done anything like that before, it was just that he was out of work and his family was hungry and he did not know it was illegal to kill a hawk and he would never do anything like it again as he had never done any hunting before. The judge was quite impressed by the man's demeanor and honesty and tale of poverty, and felt sorry for his circumstances. So the judge lets the guy off because he feels it is just an isolated incident and believes the guy didn't mean to kill a protected bird. As the defendant prepares to leave the courtroom the judge can't help himself, as he is an aavid duck hunter and has harvested his fair share of geese, "Hey buddy, I just have to know, what does a hawk taste like?" The defendant shrugs his shoulders and replies, "Usually most the young ones taste like an owl but the older ones taste more like a cross between a bald eagle and a falcon"