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Old 09-10-2018, 06:47 PM
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Skitty gets an update!

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So, Skittles has been on his ProBiotics for five days now. He IS still eating his food (which has the ProBiotics).

I asked the vet about the name of the bacteria and they said the only way to know what it is would be to do a culture and they don't think thats necessary. They said that overgrowth of one bacteria is not uncommon and usually will balance out with one course of ProBiotics. They want me to send them a stool sample after the course is done and then depending on the results we'll go from there. Keep your fingers crossed that the ProBiotics work!

It just seems to me based on the follow-up emails that I received that they aren't "concerned" about his health and I shouldn't worry. This is more preventative than anything else. They DO know how much he means to me and how devastating losing him unexpectedly would be for me. I don't think I could survive that, to be honest. He is such an integral part of my day that I'd be totally lost without him.

Anyways, no morbid talk! He's doing well. That's the good thing. I've been limiting his power treats and he seems to be a little thinner already. He weighed 122grams and the ideal weight range for a sun conure is 100-120grams. He is lighter than he was last year, so he didn't in fact gain, but rather lost weight. She wants me to get him down to 119grams.

He's always been big for a sunny, so being on the upper end of the range is normal. I can feel his breastbone so he's not terribly overweight, the vet just wants him thinner (due to him being free-flighted).

Soooo, I'll keep you all updated as progression goes. On a related yet unrelated note, Skittles package from MSBS comes tomorrow! I ordered him two "blankies" for the winter. One for his day cage and one for his sleep cage. Since they hang from the cage, he is unlikely to regurgitate on them. I also ordered him the bird lights and a harness.

I've been watching harness training videos on YT for tips and I've found some of them to be VERY informative. The harness I ordered DOES come with an instructional DVD, so I'll watch that as well.

I don't expect Skittles to take right to the harness, he may very well hate it at first. BUT, the key is....treats! He used to scream at the new duster until I put a treat on it. lol. I'm gonna use the winter time to train him so that by next summer, he'll be used to it and can go out a lot more frequently. I'll keep you all posted as the training goes on.

Skittles loves fabric and ropes etc so I can't see him being terrified of the harness material. He's used to have the underside of his wings touched (wingpit scritchies) and he's also very used to be handled, petted and coddled. That should work in favor of successful training.
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Old 09-10-2018, 07:05 PM
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Re: Skitty gets an update!

Awesome news! Now you can breathe a little better! WTG Skitty!!






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Old 09-10-2018, 09:32 PM
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Re: Skitty gets an update!

Thats wonderfull update ! We know how much Skittles means to you.

HArness training - the key is indeed treats and slow measured progress. Thats a good goal - to have him ready by next summer to enjoy the great outdoors! Too many people get a harness and try to rush the process for 2 weeks and give up. Sounds like Skitty might even be ready sooner - that would be a good X-Mas present, right?
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Old 09-10-2018, 09:35 PM
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Re: Skitty gets an update!

Yay! Glad Ollie's fellow sun conure is doing well. Ollie is the runt of his species and is 105g on average and has that fatty chest bit. He's just a smaller birdie and yours is s big boy.
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Old 09-10-2018, 11:21 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: Skitty gets an update!

That is what I was reading and finding in my research, that a lot of people rushed the harness training. I found that the most helpful (and informative) training videos all center around the same factors, which makes it much easier for me to know where to start and where to go.


@Sunnyclover Thats funny, I had a cockatiel- Peaches and she was a little runt of a thing. lol. Skittles was easily more than twice her size. I could actually hold her in my hand and wrap my fingers to my thumb. With Skittles, when I hold him, my fingers and thumb both stop at the wings.
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Old 09-10-2018, 11:37 PM
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Re: Skitty gets an update!

FYI I'm one of those people who rushed harness training. I definitely understad Jim's method but mine came from needing to train Ollie ASAP to take him on a vacation where he would be outdoors for a long period of time. I literally just put it on them...they struggle a bit but none of them bite me, not even Finley which I find odd that he would pick putting his harness on as the one situation he won't bite me lol. And so yeah...and now they wear the harness like a champ. None of them are clamoring to bring me the harness or anything but that's fine. Finley especially wears it for several hours at a time because he is better behaved outside our home and loves going places with me and he and Ollie no longer chew at the harness but Paris still gives it a chew here and there. She's not really used to it yet. I made some YouTube videos on the "just put it on method" if you want to check it out.

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Old 09-11-2018, 02:16 AM
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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: Skitty gets an update!

I can certainly understand where you're coming from and while I know Skittles won't LOVE the harness, its almost fall here in Maine so I have the time available to harness train him.

Skittles actually picks things up rather quickly. I could never get him to fly onto my finger, only my shoulder. So I used treats to get him to fly onto my finger. After 2 or 3 times he caught on and now if I put my finger out the same height as my head he will fly to it. If I don't happen to have a treat, he'll then jump onto my shoulder.

Skittles is actually incredibly smart, too smart sometimes to be honest. However, he is also incredibly obedient. Literally the COMPLETE opposite of how he was the first 2 years or so that I had him. He was literally a freakin' nightmare! BUT it was because I spoiled him rotten and didn't set any boundaries. I will swear by time-outs and setting boundaries. It was INCREDIBLY successful.

Anyways, back to the training, lol. Like I said, I have the time. He does NOT like being in his 'travel' cage. But he doesn't fight me at all, amazingly. Even with the vet visits. I can hand him to the vet and he is fine (at least with me, lol) but he is actually pretty calm and compliant with the vet. Though I think this year was a little rough for him cause he needed a beak trim for the first time.

I'll get him harness trained eventually, that I know. Its just a matter of how long it takes. I'm not in a situation where I have to rush it but I'm also not going to let him think that I'm gonna back down every time. He is used to me being firm with things. He is smart, like I said, so he WILL look for moments of weakness and exploit them.
But thanks for the video links, I'll check them out anyways.
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Last edited by Skittys_Daddy; 09-11-2018 at 02:19 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 09-11-2018, 11:43 AM
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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: Skitty gets an update!

Well I got my package (or should I say I got Skitty's package, lol).

I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when I showed him the harness. He was bobbing his head up and down and making kissy noises. Down side is, I think that means he thinks its a chew toy. So that's going to take a bit of training.

I introduced him to the harness AND I almost got the head part over his head. I was like maybe an inch and a half away from his head when he flew off. I had a feeling he would do good with it.

I'm a big concerned about the leash. It doesn't look strong enough (he could probably chew right through it) so I'm gonna get either a chain or a stronger leash for the harness. I'm not risking it.
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Last edited by Skittys_Daddy; 09-11-2018 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 09-11-2018, 02:41 PM
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Re: Skitty gets an update!

Well if it's an Aviator, then don't worry about leash strength. However don't allow Skitty to chew through the harness nor the leash. And forget about a chain, you can only hurt Skitty when he'll try to run away (the elastic part is to absorb the effect of a sudden escape, without breaking Skitty's neck/spine).
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Old 09-11-2018, 03:49 PM
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Re: Skitty gets an update!

Ah, I hadn't thought of that, good thing I mentioned it. I just worry about him chewing on the elastic part of the leash and breaking it. Maybe I can put some sort of protective cover over it (without affecting the elasticity of the leash) so he can't chew through it. I will of course inspect it before and after each use, but its while its being used that I'm worried about. But on the other hand, I wonder if he'll be too busy to chew on it while outside and looking around and pre-occupied with everything going on outside.


I would feel a LOT more confident if I knew of other sunny owners who've had experience with the Aviator and any tips they might have. He's a BIG TIME chewer, so it DOES have me concerned.


Edit: PS, I'm gonna contact the vet for tips on the leash and even the MSBS people. I just want to be as safe as possible.
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Last edited by Skittys_Daddy; 09-11-2018 at 03:52 PM.
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