Finally dived into aviculture and got my first bird.

GoldenPhoenix

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Sep 18, 2014
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Vancouver, WA
I've been a member of these forums ever since I was a teenager, see my join date.
When I was young I had no idea what bird I wanted, and my experience was extremely limited. I also knew I should not get a bird until I was in a stable position in my life, in control of my own life. I also did various research over the years, I did not go into this with no idea what I was taking on.
At the age of 28 I am finally there, with my own apartment, a job I work on my own terms and I finally decided it was time to add a parrot to my family.
I already have four snakes and two cats, but I had a childhood and adult dream of having a feathered companion. Finally that has come true.

Meet Skittles:

dW5QMC6.png

She's a female Senegal Parrot.
I adopted her from a nearby bird specialty store. They had several birds available but I knew for my apartment situation I needed something smaller. She was actually on medical hold when she went on the floor, they weren't gonna home her until she was given a clean bill by an avian vet.
While we were waiting for her to get in I went in every single day for a month to spend an hour with her, getting to know her. By the end of it there were about 6 other people interested in her, but due to my daily dedication the store owners didn't even consider others and they sold her to me.
She had been surrendered to the store in early Feb, I started seeing her in early March.

That was a week and a half ago. She's been home with me since. She came with her cage, which she spends very little time in. My home is an open cage door home, she isn't shut in unless I can't watch her, its bedtime, I'm sleeping, or I'm out.
She is currently clipped, but I will be letting her grow her flight feathers out on her next molt, in the meantime I am working with her on training and in general learning who she is and learning how to be a bird mom. She has fluttered off her cage or a perch when she wants something that bad, which tells me she can and will fly if she had the feathers. This I am glad about for I believe parrots should be flighted.
I don't know how old she is, the previous owner wasn't sure either, she's had at least two previous homes that I am aware of over the last 2-3 years.
She's a really sweet bird, I have no seen any major behavior issues, she's a little disobedient when she wants something(all birds I think) and she is currently not allowed on my shoulder since she will not step up nicely when asked. We are working on that. She isn't terribly loud either, she has her moments when she sounds off at top volume, but if she's attention seeking I ignore it, and when she's quiet for a few minutes I make sure to reward her with her favorite treat, or her favorite interaction -- scritches!
She is very hormonal too as it is the season, and does her little Senegal dance for me, especially in the morning. She started doing this for me at the store too about a week before I brought her home. When she starts to display I make sure to put her back on cage.
She is currently eating volkmans hookbill seed mix, and I have been trying her on different fruits and veggies and seeing what she likes. She does like kale, broccoli and papaya. Eventually I want switch her over to a pellet and bird chop diet.
She looks scruffy because she is/was molting, and was also plucking in her previous home. Since I started seeing her, she's stopped feather plucking/barbering and her feathers are looking sooo much better since when I first met her.

Each morning I uncover her between 8 and 9, she so far is such a good bird and doesn't make a peep until she's uncovered for the morning, same at night, she goes to her sleep perch at 8 and glares at me until I cover her, I typically cover her for 12 hours or so to give her ample time to rest. That so far works for her.
Morning time gets fresh water, fresh food, and after she's eaten we train a bit, then I let her be on her cage to do whatever while I have my coffee(if I haven't had it yet) and then she comes and hangs with me at the desk while I work. Complete with scritches, chew toys and training in between.

The first week was a rollarcoaster, but now in week 2 I feel like we're starting to get into a routine. I'm seeing more personality from her every day as she starts to come out of her shell. She is adjusting really nicely, even day one when I had her in her carrier waiting for me to assemble her cage she was already vocalizing, looking around and being curious about my apartment. She's not even scared of my cats, and will confidently climb down from her cage, walk across the floor past both of them to come see me on the couch.

Overall, I think we're doing well, I will probably ask questions here and there if I need advice, and well, feel free to ask me some!
 

LaManuka

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Wow, Skittles is a spectacular bird! Congratulations, I'm so happy for you both! :D
 

Laurasea

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Aug 2, 2018
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congratulations!!! Wow you really did wait!!! My skittles have a long happy healthy life with you full of love!

Sounds like you two are off to a great start!
I look forward to hearing more!
 

WhiteFlight

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Aug 20, 2020
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Meisha: Umbrella Cockatoo | Female | 03/09/1989 Hatch Date
Congrats to both of you. Great overview! I agree and support the responsible flighted approach.

Cool photo, she is beautiful.
 

noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,141
163
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
I've been a member of these forums ever since I was a teenager, see my join date.
When I was young I had no idea what bird I wanted, and my experience was extremely limited. I also knew I should not get a bird until I was in a stable position in my life, in control of my own life. I also did various research over the years, I did not go into this with no idea what I was taking on.
At the age of 28 I am finally there, with my own apartment, a job I work on my own terms and I finally decided it was time to add a parrot to my family.
I already have four snakes and two cats, but I had a childhood and adult dream of having a feathered companion. Finally that has come true.

Meet Skittles:

dW5QMC6.png

She's a female Senegal Parrot.
I adopted her from a nearby bird specialty store. They had several birds available but I knew for my apartment situation I needed something smaller. She was actually on medical hold when she went on the floor, they weren't gonna home her until she was given a clean bill by an avian vet.
While we were waiting for her to get in I went in every single day for a month to spend an hour with her, getting to know her. By the end of it there were about 6 other people interested in her, but due to my daily dedication the store owners didn't even consider others and they sold her to me.
She had been surrendered to the store in early Feb, I started seeing her in early March.

That was a week and a half ago. She's been home with me since. She came with her cage, which she spends very little time in. My home is an open cage door home, she isn't shut in unless I can't watch her, its bedtime, I'm sleeping, or I'm out.
She is currently clipped, but I will be letting her grow her flight feathers out on her next molt, in the meantime I am working with her on training and in general learning who she is and learning how to be a bird mom. She has fluttered off her cage or a perch when she wants something that bad, which tells me she can and will fly if she had the feathers. This I am glad about for I believe parrots should be flighted.
I don't know how old she is, the previous owner wasn't sure either, she's had at least two previous homes that I am aware of over the last 2-3 years.
She's a really sweet bird, I have no seen any major behavior issues, she's a little disobedient when she wants something(all birds I think) and she is currently not allowed on my shoulder since she will not step up nicely when asked. We are working on that. She isn't terribly loud either, she has her moments when she sounds off at top volume, but if she's attention seeking I ignore it, and when she's quiet for a few minutes I make sure to reward her with her favorite treat, or her favorite interaction -- scritches!
She is very hormonal too as it is the season, and does her little Senegal dance for me, especially in the morning. She started doing this for me at the store too about a week before I brought her home. When she starts to display I make sure to put her back on cage.
She is currently eating volkmans hookbill seed mix, and I have been trying her on different fruits and veggies and seeing what she likes. She does like kale, broccoli and papaya. Eventually I want switch her over to a pellet and bird chop diet.
She looks scruffy because she is/was molting, and was also plucking in her previous home. Since I started seeing her, she's stopped feather plucking/barbering and her feathers are looking sooo much better since when I first met her.

Each morning I uncover her between 8 and 9, she so far is such a good bird and doesn't make a peep until she's uncovered for the morning, same at night, she goes to her sleep perch at 8 and glares at me until I cover her, I typically cover her for 12 hours or so to give her ample time to rest. That so far works for her.
Morning time gets fresh water, fresh food, and after she's eaten we train a bit, then I let her be on her cage to do whatever while I have my coffee(if I haven't had it yet) and then she comes and hangs with me at the desk while I work. Complete with scritches, chew toys and training in between.

The first week was a rollarcoaster, but now in week 2 I feel like we're starting to get into a routine. I'm seeing more personality from her every day as she starts to come out of her shell. She is adjusting really nicely, even day one when I had her in her carrier waiting for me to assemble her cage she was already vocalizing, looking around and being curious about my apartment. She's not even scared of my cats, and will confidently climb down from her cage, walk across the floor past both of them to come see me on the couch.

Overall, I think we're doing well, I will probably ask questions here and there if I need advice, and well, feel free to ask me some!


My home is also open-cage unless I can't supervise and I think that is huge, because in a way, it also makes them more responsible in terms of stationing etc.



I assume you know all of the seriously deadly consequences of using teflon/ptfe/pfoa/pfcs in your home, as well as the risks of using standard cleaners, aerosols, air fresheners, fumes, perfumes etc.
 
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GoldenPhoenix

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Sep 18, 2014
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Vancouver, WA
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Yes I know about all those household dangers.

I very very rarely use perfume if at all now. I don’t bother with aerosols or sprays because they bother me already, and I only use dawn on the cat boxes when I clean them. But no so much that the smell wafts around. Same with the dishes. All bird stuff(stainless steel food and water bowls ofc) is washed with dawn but rinsed WELL and dried completely before Skittles uses it again.
Cookware is all stainless steel or ceramic, I actually abandoned Teflon years ago. The coating often chips if it’s not well made and it just made us nervous to cook with. My oven I keep clean so I don’t need to use harsh chemicals or the self cleaning cycle to clean it.
You can save yourself a ton of messes if you put a raised sided pan underneath your 13x9 pan of lasagna that’s gonna boil over. :)

I’m also aware that my cats litter boxes can be a problem too, with the dust and the potential ammonia fumes from their urine. This is handled simply by keeping the boxes very clean, and when the boxes are filled I do it outside so the clay little dust doesn’t get everywhere — my cats only accept clay litter so I just take precautions.
 
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noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
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Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
good job researching! keep us posted!
 
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GoldenPhoenix

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Sep 18, 2014
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Vancouver, WA
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Well bit of an update.

She is definitely getting much more comfortable and is perfectly happy to stay on her cage and play with her toys all day if I'm busy. I notice as she learns to trust me more it takes less time to come around to new ideas and she is less fearful. She definitely sees me as "safe" for when a situation does frighten her a bit(like my cats tearing around in their games of chase) she prefers to be with me.
She likes to bathe in her waterbowl, and she does this every few days. I'm thinking of getting her that toy sink I've seen in other videos for her to take a bath in. I don't think I need to encourage her to bathe, I'm confident she'll do it herself if given the opportunity. Until then, the waterbowl is fine, I just replenish it before I go out to work for the evening.

I decided to try pellets with her, Roudybush, and she is eating those in addition to her seed, as well as whatever fresh produce I've decided to try with her. Just learning what she likes so I can make chops for her. Eventually I'd like to cut the seed out but for now I am happy that she is open to the idea of a better diet. I'm also breathing a sigh of relief that she's at least getting a little better more rounded nutrition with the pellets.

I was prepared to bring on an adult that I may need to move slowly with, to take my time with, but Skittles seems perfectly happy doing whatever, especially if its with me. I am absolutely over the world with how easy she's been so far. The more I see from her the more I feel she has been a well adjusted pet in the past and has luckily had responsible owners who put her care first and rehomed her rather than neglect her.
I had read that many many birds are simply rehomed because people don't have time for them anymore and are not always saddled with behavior problems or have been neglected or abused. I think Skittles is one such case. I know its only been a few weeks but I have had almost no issue with handling her or trying new things. She also likes to cuddle, when I'm laying on the couch watching videos on my phone she'll come and cuddle in the hollow of my neck and chin, in fact the other night we were all on the couch hanging, Kaz on the back of it next to me, Samson in my lap, Skittles cuddling in my neck. Its a quiet household we just me and the pets, so we all like to chill together.
It takes her a few days to get used to a new idea, but simply placing a new object next to her cage for a few days gives her a chance to lose fear of it, this is how I introduced her PVC perches that I built. Now she perches on them with no issue and actually likes being up there.
 

Scott

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Kudos for planning, restraint, and fulfillment of your dream. Skittles is a beauty!!

Forgive me but I must advise extreme caution with Skittles and your cats. For every example of peaceful co-existence of avians and felines there is a tale of close call, injury, or worse, lifetime of remorse. I dearly hope your situation continues without strife, but please know cats can be unpredictable and subject to hard-wired instinct. Even a seemingly shallow bite or scratch will expose Skittles to deadly bacteria requiring immediate and skilled avian veterinarian assistance with potent antibiotics. Not telling you what to do, simply passing along information readily apparent via forum search.
 
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GoldenPhoenix

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Sep 18, 2014
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Vancouver, WA
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Yeah I’m aware, and I’m always supervising when everyone is out and about.
My cats have their moments but I don’t allow any physical contact and both of them listen quite well to me, if I intervene on a situation I immediately become the focus rather than whatever has excited them. There are certain times of the day where they are calm(afternoons) and times of the day where they are running around being idiots(mornings). It’s pretty consistent and I work around it.
Even then I’m very careful even though they have shown no drive to hunt, just curiosity. I don’t trust my cats to be entirely tame and instinct is always a factor, but I know my cats.

It takes persistence to train them, but it can be done. Both of them are being taught expected boundaries around Skittles, but not with putting her at risk.
Like teaching them that my desk is off limits, both learned that quite recently. I used to have an issue where they would chase each other and jump up on my desk as part of the runway, I put a stop to that. Neither of them get up there now.
 
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GoldenPhoenix

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Sep 18, 2014
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Vancouver, WA
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Bit of an update.
Skittles has almost all her flight feathers now and she’s beginning to start flying. Loves to fly to my shoulder if I’m nearby.
Recently upgraded her to a larger cage. I felt she was quite cramped in the 18x18. The 18x18 is now a sleeping cage.
Ran into some behavior issues that started several weeks ago and were driving me insane. Screaming, being generally overly annoying, throwing temper tantrums and being uncooperative. So different from the bird I had brought home.
I often work late at night and continue to work on my PC at home with her in the same room but covered. One night she made it very plain that she wasn’t sleeping and I was clued in by the fact she wasn’t getting proper sleep. I do remember reading that parrots not getting proper rest is usually one of the first reasons for unreasonable behavior.
I made that change quick for her. She now sleeps in the spare bedroom covered in her old cage every night and I make sure she gets 12 hours. Now she’s the chill and happy bird I had brought home. I also now feel I can go about my night without disturbing her overmuch. This arrangement seems to be working for both of us.
 

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