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Eralus 11-08-2020 12:55 AM

Help with Foraging
 
3 Attachment(s)
I have a young Indian Ringneck, roughly 5 months old, and I'm trying to get some foraging toys and activities going for him so he can be amused in his cage while I'm at work. I'm after some tips to teach him to forage.

I have very recently purchased some paper-based kitty litter (Which includes some charcoal) to put into his bowl along with seed/pellets to try and get him familiar with the concept and get him used to the sight of the kitty litter and hopefully associate it with food.

First things first, does anyone have any tips for a simple foraging bowl? or is what I'm doing with the kitty litter pretty much correct? And what is considered a healthy weight for a 4-month-old Ringneck? I am planning on monitoring his weight while he's learning.

I also have a few foraging toys and was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on teaching him to use them? Or even suggestions on how to set them up to be fun and interesting. I will include pictures to show what the toys look like.

I have a Tumbler, a wheel, and a ball. All clear plastic but the tumbler and wheel have moving parts and I'm unsure how to teach him to use them to get the food dispenced. I'm mostly worried he will get frustrated with them and wind up ignoring them if he can't figure it out quickly.

I'm very new to all this so I'm sorry if I'm missing obvious solutions. I'm happy to elaborate on anything if I wasn't clear or upload more pictures if needed. Thank you in advance to anyone who responds, any advice is appreciated.

Laurasea 11-08-2020 01:37 PM

Re: Help with Foraging
 
1 Attachment(s)
o use a green rubber ball with holes and stuff with popcorn, or millit, or shredded paoer and stuff. I get dollar store stuff to use, I git this mini plastic two drawer storage thing and out treats and stuff inside, and tge parrots pull out the drawes.

Burd trick videos on YouTube has a foraging segment. She uses parts of old toys to make up forage stuff, or stuffs millit into toys.

I wouldn't use kitty litter.

The 3 toy in your pics, the ball, I had that. But the tiny magnets kept falling out, very dangerous if the bird injests. So I threw it out.

Gemster 11-08-2020 05:34 PM

Re: Help with Foraging
 
With foraging toys, I usually let my birds figure out what they have to do for themselves. If it is clear that the bird is frustrated due to his inability to figure the puzzle out, I would give him small clues. I find it’s better to give them a few starting minutes without any indications as this gives them a chance to solve the puzzle by themselves and increase their foraging ability.
For example, when I first introduced the ‘treasure chest’ foraging toy to Gemma, she became frustrated and aggressive as she did not understand the concept. I concluded with twisting the screws without opening up the chest to indicate that they have a role in completing the puzzle. I also set the toy to the easiest level by leaving one screw out. She quickly discovered the ‘key’ to achieving the reward. It took (which might seem like a long time) two full days for her to confidently twist and pull the keys out. (other times she would pull a key out then instantly push it back in)
With the ‘food tumbler’, I’d set the tube at the lowest/easiest level and, when first introduced, set it not upside down, but facing left or right. That will just increase the chance of him completing the foraging toy, reducing the risk of frustration. Once he completes that, increase the level of difficulty until you reach the limit.

Are you using ‘kitty litter’ to further increase the difficulty?
Yes, I’ve seen multiple avian vets recommend these pellets, although I would steer clear of them as they can clump and cause internal problems if they are digested.
I sometimes use shreds of paper; you could use plastic or wooden beads that are big enough to prevent him from accidentally choking on them.

Eralus 11-08-2020 07:39 PM

Re: Help with Foraging
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gemster (Post 894881)
With foraging toys, I usually let my birds figure out what they have to do for themselves. If it is clear that the bird is frustrated due to his inability to figure the puzzle out, I would give him small clues. I find it’s better to give them a few starting minutes without any indications as this gives them a chance to solve the puzzle by themselves and increase their foraging ability.
For example, when I first introduced the ‘treasure chest’ foraging toy to Gemma, she became frustrated and aggressive as she did not understand the concept. I concluded with twisting the screws without opening up the chest to indicate that they have a role in completing the puzzle. I also set the toy to the easiest level by leaving one screw out. She quickly discovered the ‘key’ to achieving the reward. It took (which might seem like a long time) two full days for her to confidently twist and pull the keys out. (other times she would pull a key out then instantly push it back in)
With the ‘food tumbler’, I’d set the tube at the lowest/easiest level and, when first introduced, set it not upside down, but facing left or right. That will just increase the chance of him completing the foraging toy, reducing the risk of frustration. Once he completes that, increase the level of difficulty until you reach the limit.

Are you using ‘kitty litter’ to further increase the difficulty?
Yes, I’ve seen multiple avian vets recommend these pellets, although I would steer clear of them as they can clump and cause internal problems if they are digested.
I sometimes use shreds of paper; you could use plastic or wooden beads that are big enough to prevent him from accidentally choking on them.


At the moment I'm only using the litter in his seed/pellet bowls for the purpose of getting him to dig around a bit for his food. This was recommended by the avian vet when I took him in for a checkup. I've seen a lot of people use the litter in things like the tumbler so not so much food gets let out all at once too. Could that cause him problems? Is a better alternative to just cover up the food with shredded paper instead?

I also set him up with a bell pepper this morning that I cut some slits into the side and stuffed it with fruit, vegetables, nuts and leafy greens. I'm hoping he will get stuck into that while I'm at work today.

Jottlebot 11-09-2020 04:57 AM

Re: Help with Foraging
 
Also use screwed up pieces of paper in his bowl to cover his food. He'll have to throw it out or dig through it to get his food.

I have the wheel you attach to the cage, the ball and also a different style that hangs freely. My guy isn't the cleverest, but he worked them out.

Stuffing toys with shredded paper and then letting him watch you hide a big treat in it is a good way to start.

Even just putting a piece of paper of tissue onto of some treats encourages the behaviour to start.

My advice would be to not overthink it. You don't really need to spend a lot on toys, although they are fine if you have. I always stuff toys with treats or pellets, paper, bottle tops, knotted bits of safe rope, broken bits of other toys to keep him busy for longer.

I've noticed my boy is not really interested in foraging toys where he can't see the treat, but everyone will be different.

The cat litter also makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. I would be worried how the pellets were compressed and whenever I have used it (as cat litter) it can be very dusty. Also it's not that much of a challenge, the pieces are all the same so I think paper would be better.

plumsmum2005 11-09-2020 09:06 AM

Re: Help with Foraging
 
I started using just a food bowl which I added some wooden foot toys and included some pieces of walnut as her prize. I placed this on the cage floor btw. She got it and gained her prizes. Once they get the hang that there could be treasure inside it helps but also knowing what is their absolute favourite treat to put in helps too. Make it simple and easy to start with, place the treats on top of the items.


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