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Old 10-24-2019, 02:54 PM
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Hello, I signed up because I want to learn more about parrot care

I'm Bigbirdy, the only type of bird species I have experience with is having many chickens. I'm interested in parrots now because I've decided to build an outdoor aviary.

I'm having issues with deciding whether to put stainless steel leg rings on my parrots or not. The "closed leg rings" have to be applied before the third week after the baby parrot is born, but they don't have accurate measurements for that young age to ensure they won't be too tight in it or if it will slip off in the future.

The metal rings can be dangerous if they get caught in toys or branches, and if they're too small they can restrict blood flow to the feet. Sometimes the only way to remove them is to amputate the bird's leg. I'm also worried about electrocution when they land on power lines, but I read that stainless steel is a poor conductor of electricity.

Here's a budgie who had a leg injury from a ring.

https://www.facebook.com/melbournebi...26439977426850







Here are some studies I've researched on what are the most appropriate rings to apply to parrots.




Is it better to get closed rings that are a little loose, or get open stainless steel rings and adjust it to their size with pliers?

Here is a company that sells rings:

https://www.birdbands.com/legrings/stainlesssteel.html

My new parrots will be hand-fed and hand-raised so they can have a good relationship with me and each other. My plans are to teach them to free fly by recall training in the outdoor aviary, then putting a GPS on their tail and letting them free fly, so they can learn to go around my neighborhood and return to the aviary to sleep and eat in the evening. When I see that they return on their own before night 10 days in a row, then I'll be confident enough to remove the GPS.
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Old 10-24-2019, 11:56 PM
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Re: Hello, I signed up because I want to learn more about parrot care

There are 3 parts to your post, so I'll answer in 3 separate comments.

To address your leg ring concern, that sounds like it has different layers.

First of all, if you are thinking about leg rings on babies, are you thinking of breeding?
If so, I recommend you read the following from our experienced breeders:
Before I start to breed...
and
So you bought an unweaned baby...

Now onto the part of owning a bird with/without a leg ring.
Some people remove the leg rings from their birds due to your very concern. Which is perfectly fine if the bird will remain domestically. However, if the family ever wants to migrate, they will either need a closed leg ring or a microchip. It is also proof of ownership should you ever need to handle that with the police. An open leg ring is not really proof of ownership should someone steal your bird or if your bird gets lost (and found).

The main thing to consider is what your intention for a leg ring is. Identification for legal purposes? Or ability to get your bird back home to you if lost? If the former, closed leg ring with a unique identification number or microchip. If the latter, we put my phone number on closed C-hook.

Most people do not recommend open leg bands as they are more likely to get caught on things. All it takes is for a little thread or a small metal ring to slip through the opening of an open leg band, and your bird will get caught and likely flail, hurting themselves.
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*He grew up in a Malay-speaking family, so we have to respect his name and preferred pronunciation

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Old 10-25-2019, 12:05 AM
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Re: Hello, I signed up because I want to learn more about parrot care

It is illegal in certain countries to take a baby bird from their parents and hand-raise them. Parent-raised is promoted in certain cultures for a variety of reasons, this includes long-term physical and mental health reasons.

I suggest you read this thread:
Hand reared, co-parent raised or parent raised?

On top of that, if you are planning on hand-raising/hand-feeding yourself, please refer the comment above with the link on:
So you bought an unweaned baby...

I strongly encourage you to not attempt to hand-raise parrots yourself. It has little to no impact on the relationship/bond with a parrot, except that you might go through puberty where they want to grow apart from their parent figure (you). Some people have experienced their birds hitting puberty and deciding that the human who fed (and still feeds) them is no longer their favourite person. Completely normal. As teenagers, who wants to still be the baby of their parents? Instinctually, you're supposed to leave the nest and build your own family.
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*He grew up in a Malay-speaking family, so we have to respect his name and preferred pronunciation

@cairothedino on Instagram
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:13 AM
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Re: Hello, I signed up because I want to learn more about parrot care

Re: outdoor flying..... wow, so much to say!

Birds of prey have snatched up large birds (I know of one African Grey) before while in their backyard in urban settings before. Can you train your bird to not get taken by a hawk? No.

Crows and other predators (including humans) have chased off birds before. I have seen bng macaws getting chased off by crows and lost forever. Can you train your bird to fend off a murder of crows? No.

In fact, one of the best trainers on the forum lost his bombproof macaws to a human flailing around with a ladder - the macaw took off and was taken by another human. Can you control your bird being spooked or avoid being taken in by another human? No.

My vet doesn't even take in ff-ers. They run too high a risk of picking up diseases, and she doesn't want to put her other patients at risk of catching a disease from the ff-ers (F10 can only take care of so much). It's a known but hush-hush fact in ff-ing communities that they catch and spread diseases through silent carriers. Can you train your bird not to catch a disease? No.

Now, are you ok with all of those concerns? Can you be ok with your birds potentially getting eaten or painfully dying from a disease? If yes, read on!

...

Don’t even think about flight outside the house until you’ve done a few things first:


Recall Training
Recall in the safety of your home is complete different from recall in a new place. Parrots get distracted by new environments. Your bird will likely be hesitant to recall in a new place. Even if you bring them out to socialise in new environments all the time, you will need to train your bird to be able to recall in new settings (many default to a freeze or flight).


Desensitisation/Bombproof Training
Now, no bird is going to be bomb proof, but you have to train for anything you can think of. A batting cage sounds like a contained area, but what if it collapses, a bird dive bombs to attack, the spacing is large enough for your bird to dive through, etc? Even if you were in a gymnasium, what if the doors opened?

Those sudden sounds can spook a bird and send him out of range. A sudden light streaming in can also trigger a bird to fly. I know our little guy is alarmed when he hears crows and other birds of prey.

What if some idiot human starts distracting your bird? (Yes, I had a child throw a water bottle at Cairo before.)

These are all examples of sounds and distractions you need to train for.


Descent Training
Your bird is probably used to the height and safety of home. That means he might not know the basics of flight navigation - wind, steep descent, etc. You have to prepare him for the heights he might have to navigate from. It’s easy to go up, but it’s another to go down. A bird who doesn’t know how to descend steeply is likely to get stuck in a tree/rafter for hours or even days (yes, I’ve seen this happen).


Stamina Training
This is contentious for some, but you have to read your bird’s body language. A domesticated bird don’t have the stamina of wild birds because they just don’t get the flight time. And if they fly in the house, it’s normally in short bursts (think a sprint versus a marathon). You need to train for a marathon. And tbh, it’s easy to tell if a bird is new - they don’t glide worth a beep. But you also need to learn how to not push your bird too hard. Cairo often flies to me, checking if he can land; I’ll wave and ask him to “keep going”; if he’s tired, he hovers like a helicopter and then I have him land immediately, but if he’s got a tiny bit of energy left, he’ll go for another loop around. Now, if you don’t establish this basic communication safely, your bird will land elsewhere.


Upkeep
You must never assume your bird is fully-trained and it’s a done deal. You must keep practicing as if your bird is untrained. People who think “oh, he’s fully-trained, we’ve done so many good flights” are also the most likely to lose their birds. You keep training the basics.


Other things to look up - boomerang, ascending, contact call, etc.


Disclaimer:
Do NOT attempt flight outside your home until you have established the basics of above. And when you step outside your home to conduct training, have your bird on a harness and start with recall that just requires your bird to HOP from training perch to your hand.

The free-flying community where I live also recommends never putting your bird on a perch other than the training perch or yourself. You do NOT want your bird to think that perching just randomly anywhere is safe - they do not have the instincts/experience of wild birds. They also recommend training your bird to recall to one person and one person ONLY. The more people your bird is trained to recall to, the higher the risk.



Free flying and recall is pure training. That being said, all the pro free flyers will tell you:

Quote:
If you do want to attempt flight out of your home, you must accept the fact that your bird might get lost.
Full stop. Period. This is a risk you must be aware of and must be willing to take. No matter how well-trained your bird is, you cannot account for everything (Murphy’s Law to live by). And these free-flying folks who say this even attach a $2k GPS tracker on their birds and still expect to lose them.



How Cairo does it
Some context on where I'm coming from: my bird was a free-flyer with his previous family. Thoroughly trained with a professional guiding Cairo's previous owner. And Cairo lives to fly - I could never take that away from him. We do fly outdoors on a harness and a Kevlar line in a park where it is not a claimed territory by any predator, except for humans who show up later in the day. There are predators that occasionally fly through, like crows and a few sea birds, but we don't fly when they're in the vicinity and the moment I see them, Cairo calls out to me and I recall him in. I keep in touch with my local ff-ing communities, and I respect that they have the ability to risk losing their bird to a variety of factors. While Cairo doesn't cost as much as the macaws and other birds they fly, he means too much to me to let go. And the moment Cairo shows signs of not keeping up with his training, I stop all outdoor flights (even if we always use a kevlar line) until he is solid again. I am incredibly strict on him for his own safety.

My position on this is to neither discourage nor encourage you, but to let you be aware of the risks and basic yet mandatory steps to take.
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Parront to Cairo (pronounced chai-row, or 菜肉)*!

*He grew up in a Malay-speaking family, so we have to respect his name and preferred pronunciation

@cairothedino on Instagram
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