Gross bird “cleaning” habits!

HeatherG

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My Quaker Willow has a perching basket that I used a lot when he’s out of his cage with me. The handle is wrapped in twine and the basket is lined with papers. He stands on the handle while I carry the basket or it is set on my lap or a table. There are little toys hung from the handle and a ball in the basket.

Lately I notice Willow has been climbing down from the handle into the actual basket. He will forage and peck up dropped avicake. But he has also started to pick up dried poops and crumble them in his beak. So I’ve started to change the paper every use because I don’t want him grooming or kissing me with a poopy beak. Yuck!

My guess is that Willow is treating his basket like a nest. We know Quaker parakeets are the only parrots to use their nest all year, while some other parrots return to the same nest in subsequent seasons. Maybe this is an explanation for why Quakers are so possessive of their cages, too.

What do you think? I’m glad Willow feels safe with his basket but I don’t like the idea of him mouthing his dried poops even if he might do that to clean his nest if he were a wild bird. Maybe he should try beak wash? Just kidding.

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HeatherG

HeatherG

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Willow was on his basket again today and I saw him pecking through his avicake scraps and then going for his fresh poops. I told him “no” but all I can think is that he doesn’t want his nest to be dirty. Yet I don’t want him picking up his poops!

I wonder if I need to let Willow “go” in the garbage can? In that case there’s not much use HAVING a perching basket. Maybe I should try a T-stand. He couldn’t get down as easily. This is rather compulsive. I wonder if they do this in their nests and we just don’t see it?
 

BirdyMom

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It makes sense to me to just keep changing the paper. He looks very comfortable on his basket!
 

BirdyMom

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On another quaker forum, I found a some posts from 2016 from several people saying that their quaker does this. The people in that chat thought this was part of a quaker's normal cleaning behavior.
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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It’s gotten to the point that if Willow’s out for an hour and there are four poops on the paper, he goes to pick them up. Not even dried! Ick! I told him “no!” last time but I don’t want to be scolding him for doing something he apparently feels strongly about. So that’s why I’m asking about it; maybe I should make sure there’s a thick stack of paper in there and change every hour or so, not every few days as previous.

Seems kind of obsessive…My Lucy was a Virgo and was also very PARTICULAR about the arrangement of her cage, her poops, and pooping out of her cage. Maybe Willow is a Virgo too. (Not sure if I’m kidding as my sister is also a Virgo and the most rigid little priss ever.)

I do think Willow’s comfortable on his basket, and it’s often sitting on my lap or near my face. I hear him crunch-crunch-crunching away at his beak, often even with his eyes closed. Sometimes I can feel his hot little beak breath on my cheek. Aww! That’s why I’d rather he not do that cleaning thing. He likes to drink my water or tea and I don’t want to share with a dirty beak!
 

Rozalka

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I don’t want him grooming or kissing me with a poopy beak. Yuck!
I have to worry you - he has to clean his butt somehow and then he kisses you 😝 /hj

We know Quaker parakeets are the only parrots to use their nest all year
Conures, caiques and some lorikeets do it too.
 

Cindylynn

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I don't know about the rest of it...but I'm totally stealing your idea of a perching basket!! Now I'm off to find a big enough basket... 😂
 

LeeC

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Willow was on his basket again today and I saw him pecking through his avicake scraps and then going for his fresh poops. I told him “no” but all I can think is that he doesn’t want his nest to be dirty. Yet I don’t want him picking up his poops!

I wonder if I need to let Willow “go” in the garbage can? In that case there’s not much use HAVING a perching basket. Maybe I should try a T-stand. He couldn’t get down as easily. This is rather compulsive. I wonder if they do this in their nests and we just don’t see it?
What about putting a makeshift "grate" in the basket?
1663971104589.png



Important edit: Willow is a cool-looking Quaker. :]
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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I have to worry you - he has to clean his butt somehow and then he kisses you 😝 /hj


Conures, caiques and some lorikeets do it too.
What about putting a makeshift "grate" in the basket?
View attachment 44370


Important edit: Willow is a cool-looking Quaker. :]
Thanks for the suggestion and compliment to Willow.

It’s possible to try a grate made of hardware cloth but I think he would still pick the poops off of it.

I think he’s just treating the basket as a nest and i should just change the paper a lot.
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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Conures, caiques and some lorikeets do it too.
Can you give me more information about how conures, caiques, and some lorikeets use a nest chamber outside of the breeding season? Those are three vastly different groups of parrots.
 

Rozalka

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Can you give me more information about how conures, caiques, and some lorikeets use a nest chamber outside of the breeding season? Those are three vastly different groups of parrots.
they sleep there
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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I prefer to think that Willow does not clean his behind with his beak much. I think if there’s debris left behind there may be a problem.

Just like I would not feed Lucy dried mealworms while Oscar enjoyed their crunchy goodness so much.

Yuck! I’m not kissing a wormy beak.

Willow tried to go after my used facial tissue last week when I was in bed with a cold. I felt concerned for him and threw it out. Then we had a tug of war battle with a clean napkin.
 

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