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Old 07-25-2017, 09:17 AM
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Flight harness training

Echo, my 3 months green cheek conure, has been with me for almost 2 weeks now. He is so sweet, and he loves to play with foot toys together. Every day I introduce him the flight harness and he likes to play with it. I also let it touch his body a few times. I was wondering though, to really put his head through that thing is quite a big step further than to only touch it. I don't want to scare him of course. So I'm wondering how to go from Echo playing with it, and touching it, to have it around his neck. And is he even old enough to wear it?
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Old 07-25-2017, 09:47 AM
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Re: Flight harness training

My little GCC is 3 months as well and I just started flight harness training too. According to my breeder, the earlier you train them the easier it is. She suggested that I start now. I did look up easy ways to train them how to do this and I have been giving him a treat every time the harness touches his body. Yesterday I finally was able to get it around his neck for a quick minute before he wiggled away. I'd still love to hear from GCC pros about what they think, just in case I'm doing it wrong, but Pip seems to be fine with it.
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:13 AM
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Re: Flight harness training

Hold treats so he has to reach his beak through a loop of it (not the main head loop make a bigger loop with the other fabric) so he gets used to reaching through the loop. Once he is comfortable with that you can do the same thing with the head loop which is much smaller.


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Old 07-25-2017, 10:43 AM
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Re: Flight harness training

if you have the Aviator harness watch the dvd over and over to get an idea. Also whenever you get the chance tighten and loosen the body loop to help loosen it. I'm pretty sure that was a part of what caused Rio to spook with it, I just couldn't tighten it
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:48 AM
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Re: Flight harness training

Thank you all very much. Echo does take a treat reaching through the head loop already. he does it really quick though
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Old 07-26-2017, 07:58 AM
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Re: Flight harness training

Don't use an harness. It's not necessary. I've been flying birds outdoors for a few years and have never had an issue. A few key tips: you bird has to be very strongly bonded to you; it has to be recall trained; it has to know how to fly indoors. First time you take it out make sure its a wide open space with no structures/trees for it to land on. This first outdoors trip is largely to get it used to be outdoors (sights, sounds, wind). Try to spend a few hours outside. Do not force the bird to fly. Just keep it on your shoulder for like 20 or 30 min. Then place it say on the cage top, step back a few feet and call it. Do this a few times then start moving further and further away. Dont push it. If you notice it has had enough pack up and go home. repeat, repeat...until your bird (and mostly you) gain enough confidence to be outdoors. Safety tips: always keep your bird within line of sight; use a simple, monotonic command ie: "Echo come!". Keep a little bottle with his favourite treats. When he responds to the command and lands on you say "nice Echo", shake the bottle and let him get the treat (this is equivalent to a clicker, expect i shake the bottle instead of using a clicker...works just as well).
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Old 07-26-2017, 08:20 AM
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Re: Flight harness training

Walter that is not good advice

many birds get lost every day through not wearing a harness. I know you haven't had an incident but you're insanely lucky. A tamed parrot living indoors doesn't know the dangers of the world, they can be scared by anything. A predator bird overhead, a cat, a dog, a car driving past, someone wearing the wrong colour of clothing which can spook them and set them off, at which point training doesn't matter, they're scared and working on instinct which is "get away" right then. Also if there's a wind it's a signal for a bird to fly once again causing them to fly off and not listen. Also if there happens to be a hawk or something your parrot could easily be snatched out of the air before you even know what's happening.

A harness or travel cage should always be used when outdoors and training to accept a harness is far easier and more secure than training for free-flight.

I lost maggie tonight!! here is a post from a main member who had their macaw recall trained. All this time later they're still looking for her and honestly it's heart breaking reading through and may give you an idea as to why it's just not wise to allow them to fly without a harness no matter how well trained they are

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Old 07-26-2017, 11:33 AM
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Re: Flight harness training

Ok..
Free flight is a beautiful thing when done right by the right bird/human combo. But NOT ALL BIRDS ARE GOOD CANDIDATES and NOT ALL AREAS ARE SAFE.

To tell people not to use a harness is WILDLY IRRESPONSIBLE and as a breeder I would refuse adoption to anyone who told me they were planning on this without telling me which intense training program they planned to use to prepare themselves and their birds for this.

Recall training is important for anyone with a bird and should be an obvious step for bird owners, but it does not automatically mean you should take your bird outside without safety precautions.

Even if you do intend to free fly, harness training is a great first step so you can SAFELY acclimate your bird to the outdoors. You suggest people just take their birds outside for a few hours; what happens when a paper bag goes flying by and spooks the bird during this first outing? THE BIRD SPOOKS AND FLIES AWAY because it isn't on a harness.

I'm glad you have never had a problem. I also know people who let their kids play in the street for their whole lives and they have never been hit by a car. I ALSO know a child who was simply sitting on the curb when a speeding driver rushed around the corner and hit her and her freind, severely injuring both. Does the fact that many children never get hit by cars mean it's safe or responsible to let your kid play in the street? NO.

You feel free to free fly your birds. We have several members who do this. However PLEASE be more responsible with your advice and do not tell our members to disregard one of the most basic pieces of SAFETY equipment.


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Old 07-26-2017, 12:05 PM
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Re: Flight harness training

Harness training. How well I know ye. Salty and I worked EVERY NIGHT for almost a whole year before he was comfortable enough to wear one and not freak out. First step was yes, let him be comfortable around the harness. Next, using his abso'ute favorite treat, to entice him to put his head thru the loop to get the treat, progressing further and further thru the loop, until one day it was all the way thru, and I draped the rest of the harness over his wings and body. Weeks and weeks of just that. Always use the same ON command, and the same Off command. And slowly made the wing loops larger and larger, until they were able to be slid under his wings. And then one magical day, when he had it on and under his wings, I was able to slowly tighten up the body loops. As I said, a year, 365 times at least, but Salty will wear it now no problems, and does not spend the whole time trying to bite thru it. I started the process when he was maybe 4 or 5 month old, he will be 2yrs old next week.
Be prepared to take steps back sometimes, but try for little bitty incremental steps forward. And I'm will never free fly him, I have read too many stories of parrots that were trained by the best , only to have been scared by something, or a sudden gust of wind, and never seeing their loved pet again. Good luck.
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Old 07-27-2017, 02:57 AM
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Re: Flight harness training

I have had my Aviator for about 4 days. I have hung it on the cage just out of reach so he doesn't chew it, draped it round my neck and allowed him to feel it with his beak/tongue and pick it up. Yesterday he flew with it dangling from his beak, only a foot or two and mainly because I was trying to get it off him and I was pleased to see he coped with the weight of it.
I have draped it over his back very briefly and am following the DVD which says to practice lifting his wings. Other than that I don't see us rigged and outside for a long long time. I envisage next Summer being when we might be ready if things go well. Patience patience patience, it's the only way. He will tell me when he is ready.
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