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Old 01-11-2016, 09:13 PM
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Question To forage or to chew, what should I do?

As I have said many times before, Skittles is a MAJOR chewer. This has on several occasions become a rather expensive behavior on my part.

I've been trying to figure out ways to reduce the chewing. I've done quite a bit of research on this and as it turns out, in the wild, suns spend a great deal of their day foraging for food. The activity of foraging can actually decrease boredom and chewing. I was not aware of this.

I don't leave treats around the house, when Skittles wants a treat he lets me know and then I give him one. Adding to that the fact that most of his chew toys are in his cage (I did this to decrease the likelihood of him chewing on his cuddle hut (which he doesn't have anymore, just his condo hut). So it would make sense that his chewing behavior would represent that.

Anyways, I'm wondering if there are other sun conure owners out there who have heard of this or have used similar methods to decrease chewing.

I don't want to undertake a new training method unless I have complete confidence in it, and making that decision based on a few articles doesn't inspire it. But hearing of success stories would.

So I'm just curious to know how others have handled the chewing and foraging issue. Have you seen any 'connection' with the two?
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Old 01-11-2016, 09:49 PM
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Re: To forage or to chew, what should I do?

EASY. Go to Home Depot (or whatever) and find the cleanest pine 2X4 and have them cut it in half to fit in car. Then take it home and cut into 4 inch pieces. Put one in the bottom of cage and you will have a pile of tooth picks as soon as your bird discovers it's chewable. If you want smaller piece you can rip the 2X4 up the length to make 1X2's. My gold cap Rocco , has been chewing up 2X4 for almost 20 years. A few of my other birds also like them. Rocco makes tooth picks and sometimes carves out pieces that look like owls or dolphins. Don't buy the best grade as they will soon be chewed to rubble. When asked what I want for a gift I request a cut up 2X4. If you don't have a work shop I'm sure you know someone who will do it for you. If you know someone building a house ask if you can have the pine scraps. Steer clear of plywood and chip board . The glue in them can be dangerous.

Yogi
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Old 01-11-2016, 10:40 PM
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Re: To forage or to chew, what should I do?

Mango also chews, a lot, and I don't think it's good idea to discourage that. When she chews, she seems happy and contented, as opposed to getting bored and start with another negative behaviours (like screaming). Yogi idea is great to get cheap safe wood. I also start to get only wood toys. Luckily it will take a long while before she manages to chew down all of them to toothpicks
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Old 01-11-2016, 10:56 PM
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Re: To forage or to chew, what should I do?

Maybe I didn't express myself the way I meant.

I'm not trying to discourage his chewing, I know it's a natural part of his species. My question is more the link between chewing and foraging. I wonder if he is chewing so much because he is bored.

Skittles doesn't have to forage, he knows where his food and water is. BUT, I don't put his 'treats' in his food bowl, I usually give them to him by hand.

I just wonder if instead of providing him the treats on his request, if I made it more of an 'adventure' where he has to find the treats - would that be more productive? I don't want to make him mad by him thinking I am teasing him by taking food away.

Should I try making it more 'fun' for him to forage for treats? Or would he see it as me teasing him?
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Old 01-12-2016, 01:06 PM
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Re: To forage or to chew, what should I do?

On days that I work, Tiki and Taco are in their cages for 8+ hours. We keep them entertained with forgaging toys. Ones they have enjoyed so far are:

1. refillable foraging tube that I stuff with various things like crinkle bedding (the ones that hamsters use as well, but made for birds. But probably no difference). After stuffing with this crinkle paper, I hide nutri-berries in there for them to find. I have also stuffed this forgaging tube with fleece strips and other bird friendly items.

2. buy a shallow dish (cat dish?) and lay a thin layer of pellets mixed with pebbles (or whatever) so they have to move things around to find the pellets. Make sure pebbles are big enough so he doesn't choke on it.

3. Same idea as the 2x4s, my husband stripped a thick tree branch and cut multiple (and I mean lots and lots of) thin notches all over it and both Taco and Tiki enjoy chewing off the thin notches. In fact, they like to rub their beaks on it and use it to clean their beaks as well. The notches are spaced so close together that their beaks just fits into each groove.

4. Holy Roller ball filled with crinkle paper, hidden treats, etc.

5. old boxes (such as paper clip boxes with treats so he can shred box to get to treat.

There are so many more ideas. I am sure one of these will catch Skittles interest.
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Old 01-12-2016, 04:31 PM
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Neotropical Pigeon - "Skittles" (born 3/29/10) Cockatiel - "Peaches" (1995-2015) R.I.P. Budgie - "Sammy" (1989-2000) R.I.P. Budgie - "Sandy" (1987-1989) R.I.P.
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Re: To forage or to chew, what should I do?

Skittles has two jolly roller balls. One in his cage and one on the playtop outside his cage. He likes to grab them and shake them. I have several videos of him doing just that. He does prefer that I play along with his jolly roller, kind of like tug-o-war.

Skittles has come to expect treats on command and I do oblige him if he is behaving, since I don't want to encourage bad behavior.

I found myself in the 'lights on, nobodys home' situation in that all his chew toys are INSIDE his cage where I put them in order to prevent him from chewing on his cuddle hut. However, he is only in his cage at night for sleeping and is only caged during the day when I am away which is usually only 2-4hrs a few days a week. So it's no wonder he was chewing on household items.

I'm gonna try two things. 1) Providing chew toys outside the cage wherever he tends to spend the most time. 2) I'm still going to give him treats when he asks for them (provided he is behaving). What he will do is screech following a certain behavior (for example, flying over to his treat bag and screeching. Landing on top of the fridge and screeching (he wants juice) or landing on the faucet, ruffling his feathers and sneezing (he wants a bath).

Maybe it's not ideal for me to wait for him to screech, but I'm not encouraging screeching, I'm rather trying to listen to his only means of communication. He is not a persistent screecher. Not anymore.

Anyways, I'm going to do the foraging trick as well as still giving him treats. Just hiding them (but showing him where they are) when he doesn't want one so that when he does, he knows where to find it. I'll see how that works.
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Old 01-12-2016, 05:21 PM
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Re: To forage or to chew, what should I do?

hello! i own an eclectus and ive been trying to teach him to forage as well, its a new thing to him and it took him awhile to catch on but here is what i do for him..

i take a toilet paper roll, and poke holes big enough to stick my finger in all around it, then i stuff a bit of newspaper in the end and fill the rest with either strips of newspaper with an almond in there somewhere, or sometimes air popped popcorn. i tie this to the bars in his cage and let him shred it to find the treat. its cheap, since its mostly made of things i was gonna throw away. the only down side is i dont go through an entire roll of toilet paper in a day, but he does lol! i also save paper towel rolls and cut them in half to do the same thing. i figure once hes caught on i wont have to poke holes. he has a blas tearing it up and its the only way ive been able to get him to forage so far. he has never been interested in destroying anything else.
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