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Old 12-01-2009, 05:11 PM
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Thinking about it...

Signed up for this forum a few days ago. Hi everybody!

Ever since I saw them, I have been fascinated with the parrots, their colors, behavior, and ability to speak. Recently I realized that the larger parrots can be real pets - someone you would interact with a lot and be real friends with. So I've been doing some research and reading a lot of websites, including a lot of the posts on this forum. Lots of good stuff.

Here is one question that I'd like to ask to advance my understanding a little bit. I've read about potty training for the birds. Supposedly, it can be done. But what's the typical real life outcome? Do people here train their birds and are able to avoid having to run around with a towel wiping something off every 20 minutes? Or do they just get used to it and take it as a normal cost of keeping a parrot? I think it's really great that parrots are so intelligent and you can have them run around on their own and interact with you, but having them poop everywhere may concern my wife. Also, are you able to prevent it from destroying the more important pieces of furniture (like the TV), or does it end up getting to everything eventually? Unfortunately, we don't have a whole room we can totally devote to a parrot, where it would be allowed to do anything it wants.

I am in no way close to making any decision on a parrot - this would be more like "food for thought" for me. I will keep thinking about this for the next few months or maybe a year (obviously, it's a big commitment). If I do make the plunge, I will probably end up with something like a macaw, amazon, or an eclectus - knowing the answer to the above with respect to these birds would be most helpful.

Also, does anyone have any ideas on where I can get some hands-on experience/interaction with these birds? (I live in Boston). Reading the webpages and watching Youtube videos is fun, but doesn't give a complete picture - I don't think.

Thanks to everyone in advance. Nikita.
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Old 12-01-2009, 07:06 PM
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Re: Thinking about it...

Welcome to the forums,
Quote: Originally Posted by npiankov View Post
I realized that the larger parrots can be real pets - someone you would interact with a lot and be real friends with.
This is not just true for large parrots, it applies equally to ALL parrots. In fact some of the most cuddly and playful species are medium to small birds: dusky conures are the cuddlers, caiques are the playful clowns, sun conures are the playful mechanics (they will disassemble your entire house given the chance), green cheek conures are the humanaholics...

The larger parrots (as a drastic oversimplification) do tend to be better talkers, but other than that any parrot can be your buddy.

Potty training ... it is very possible. But is it very realistic? Most parrot owners accept a compromise. If finding messes on your TV or furniture is unacceptable then a bird is not for you - it WILL happen. There are wonderful stories of some parrots who are exquisitely potty trained and they never have "accidents", but these stand out as wonderful stories BECAUSE they stand out. That said it is pretty easy to keep it from being a free-for all poop-anywhere.

I do have a room dedicated for Auggie. He does get out to the rest of the house, but usually when I'm spending time with him it's in his room, and if I'm doing something else at home he has free run of his room. That room is quite a site! But he does fairly naturally keep it down to a few main spots where he goes. I have worked with that by putting a bucket or stack of newspapers at those spots and encouraged it. Really inconvenient accidents are rare but they do happen, mildly inconvenient ones are more common, but not constant.

So I suppose that can be summed up by saying that their pottying can be manageable, but you WILL be wiping up some accidents, that is just part of life with an animal that does their business like clockwork every 15 minutes.
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:23 PM
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Re: Thinking about it...

my macaw dosn't attack the furniture anymore! once he did it, put on a little of parrot safe bitter spray and BAM! no more chewing on furni for poulaki (my parrot, means greek for little bird). with poop, try to see the signals when the bird is about to poop. when he almost does, say a command such as "go potty" and then keep on using this until he does it on command. the only problem with this is that they might only poop when you say it, so try to teach them that it is ok to poop whenever they are in their cage.
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:08 AM
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Re: Thinking about it...

Hi npainkov
Welcome to a great forum.
I have an African Grey 2 years old "Mishka".
When she was 3 months old I potty trained.
When she comes out the cage, she sits on the potty.
About every 15 minutes, I place her on the potty.
She does have accidents sometimes, rarely though.
Before her 15 minutes are up I say Mishka poopy in the potty.
She walks up to the potty now and says Mishka poopy in the potty.
She is always with me in a room. When she walks up to the couch, or somewhere I know she will try and bite, I say stop it stop it. Now when approaching the couch etc. she says stop it stop it.
It's been a lot of hard work training her, but it is possible.
Must mention I would not leave her alone, I know she will go for the couch and wires etc.
Good luck in your choice
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:45 AM
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Re: Thinking about it...

Thanks for the responses. You guys are very helpful. If anyone else has more experiences to share, I'd love that.

Just FYI - to me this question is not THE question in choosing the bird or whether to get any bird at all. The bigger question is obviously whether I will have the time and be able to commit the time on a daily basis etc. But those are harder questions that are likely unanswerable until I get into it for real, so I am trying to resolve the simpler "technical" issues. Thanks again. Nikita.
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:57 PM
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Re: Thinking about it...

Hi ,
I have an eclectus named Jack. I have had him about 2 months now and he is about 6 months old. I thought I would take off with the potty training straight away being a baby. But it hasnt really happened, although at times he does tend to fly to certain areas and does it there. You have to really watch for signs just before he does it, such as twisting his tail or sort of like doing a tiny little dance with his tail, as soon as that happens you have to be pretty quick to place him where u want. But for me the best thing to do is, when you know he hasnt done it in about 10 minutes or maybe a little longer, stretching to maybe 15 minutes once you know your bird, then you just place him on his gym or where ever it is you want him to do it and keep using that certain command such as potty. I was where you were at 2 months ago , wondering if I would be cleaning his mess non stop, but it actually isnt as bad as it sounds. And looking at the companionship you get from such a gorgeous talking little boy such as mine, I would do it all over again ! I wasnt sure if my husband would take too well to little messes around the house , which isnt much , but he has come round and he actually at times DOTES on Jack too, they really warm to you and Im sure it would be so for your wife. But it is a good idea to go and check these parrots out in real life.
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Old 12-04-2009, 03:14 PM
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Re: Thinking about it...

Hi
My wife trained our last cockatoo to only do it on his cage. He was tame and we could pick him up at will but was about 7 years old when we got him. So all she did was watch for the signs (twitching tail, squatting etc) then push his tail down gently pick him up and put him on the cadge then repeat if he flew somewhere else. I did not think it would work but he did start to fly over and do the business on the cage and eventually (possibly a month) he just did it naturally I suppose it is like us all we like to relax and go to a place where nobody bugs you, and then it becomes a habit. This did not work with our Caique but he was just seemed to see it as a game as he did with everything. Caiques are great little birds and would make a great first parrot but that is only my opinion and I think you should ask a lot of opinions and read a lot before committing.
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Old 12-05-2009, 04:00 PM
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Re: Thinking about it...

I think your question is more involved than the potty training. You do not sound sure if you want a parrot. You should be ready and willing to spend time with them every day. Quality time. If you do not you will eventually have a parrot with behaviors that may not be acceptable to you. They are all darlings big or small.
Since they are not flying in the trees or getting the outdoor sunshine much we do need to provide so much for them. Especiall their socialization needs.
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