Pluto Quaker Parrot Talking Quaker Parrot

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Welcome to ‘Pluto’s’ web site. The information you find on this site is from my own experiences on learning to live with a Quaker Parrot. I am not a breeder of parrots and I am not a qualified trainer, I am not trying to sell you anything and I am sorry but I am unable to offer you professional advice on health matters and if you think something is wrong with your parrot I suggest you contact your avian vet ASAP.

I have some great plans for the future of this site where I hope to video some of the techniques I have used to teach Pluto the things he knows.

I am looking forward to hearing your comments and feedback on any posts and articles. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Pluto looooves icypole sticks

December 12th, 2009

It’s been very hot here for the last few weeks and I finally gave in to the temptation and bought some icy-poles. Pluto was calling out “Do you want some?” as of course HE wanted some. He has always loved icy-pole sticks so last night I gave him the stick and he looked so cute I took some photos to share.

pluto-icypole-stick

New Fun Video of Pluto

December 5th, 2009

I recently purchased a few items off Think Geek and one item was the famous ‘Drinking Bird’. Pluto loves to drink from a glass and as I was watching the Drinking Bird I thought wouldn’t it be funny to get a video of them together. Fortunately the drink was yummy enough to distract Pluto. LOL

Roudybush Photo Competition

July 16th, 2009

Roudybush are running a photo competition asking for us to send in a photo of our feathered friends eating Roudybush food or treats.

The winner receives a $100 check and a ‘ROUDY’ T-shirt and the winning photo will be featured in an advertisement.

Photos must be submitted by the 31st of August. I have attached the ‘Roudy’ comp flier to this post with further details.

Considering Pluto will ONLY eat Roudybush pellets I am going to attempt a photo or two. Let’s hope he feels like posing for the camera. :) I will post my ideas so you can tell me what you think! :)

Download the Roudy Bird Contest Flyer

Screaming Parrot - What to do?

June 12th, 2009

Hello all,

To start I will give you a little background into my situation and then explore the techniques I used to help curb the screaming behaviour and then on to my recent situation.

About three years ago I had my computer set up in the same room as where Pluto had his cage. Over time Pluto learned the behaviour of screaming for my attention and through desperation of peace I responded in the worst way possible - yelling back at him to ’stop it’ or ‘be quiet’ - only reinforcing the behaviour. I was going insane, couldn’t get any work done, was unable to talk on the phone in a professional way with a screaming parrot in the background and I had to find a solution to this mess I had created!

I tried a number of different things that were suggested such as:

Time Out (covering his cage when he screamed) - this did not work with Pluto. Firstly he was rewarded by getting my attention when I went to his cage and often I would need to trick him into the cage which became a game in itself and once he was covered he would just scream louder anyway.

Moving my computer to another room - I ended up moving my computer to another part of the house. Unfortunately I still couldn’t close the door and Pluto was STILL screaming. However, there were quieter patches and I was able to begin thinking again.

Leaving the Room - Pluto would continue to scream when I would be in the room where he was situated. His screaming had now become associated with wanting food or attention. I attempted a technique of leaving the room when he would scream. I would not look at him, leave the room, stand quietly behind the door and wait for him to stop or make an acceptable noise and then quietly return to the room. I continued with this technique for some time with a bit of success and I will still ocassionally use this technique as Pluto HATES to be ignored. What he has learned is that if he screams I go away and if he wants me to come back he must be quiet or talk properly.

Distraction - I tried a technique of distracting Pluto when he would scream by playing with one of his toy bells or by asking him to sing a song. Playing with his toy would work sometimes but I wasn’t always in a position to do this and often when I went away he would start again. I often felt that this was letting him get what he wanted anyhow and wasn’t actually solving the problem at hand. Talking to him would often make the situation worse. He didn’t want to talk. He wanted to play with me or receive food and he wanted it now!

Ignore - As hard as it is to do this, the best way to prevent and fix a screaming bird is to ignore them. Turn your head away from them, leave the room, don’t call out to them, talk to someone else and put simply - just don’t react to them at all in anyway.

The key to any technique is patience

The thing to remember is that it can take a long time to reverse any behaviour. Persistance, patience and repetition are key when you have a situation such as a screaming parrot. If you have done well for a few weeks ignoring your parrot screaming and then you happen to react - you have just reinforced the behaviour again. Don’t see it as the end of the world however, just remember that by reacting you have gone back a couple of steps and need to push through it again. If you feel you are about to react - remove yourself from the situation - take a break, calm down and then return.

For the last couple of years I have continued to work on Pluto’s screaming. He has calmed down a lot however I am still battling it during food preparation. Pluto can see me in the kitchen and this causes the most problems however where he is positioned is the most suitable in the house. For some reason, food is a big issue and I am still trying to figure it out but I do have a few techniques that I am still working with. Pluto has an issue with the fact that ‘his’ food even if it is the same as ‘my’ food couldn’t possibly be as good as what I have or what I am making. I will often try to give him his dinner before I begin to prepare our dinner and this keeps him happy for all of 5 seconds. :) As soon as I return to the kitchen and open the fridge he is back to the corner of his cage screaming for something else. If I go to his cage and show him his food he will go back to it and eat it for a few seconds and repeat the process. If I leave the room all-together he will happily eat his dinner but that doesn’t mean he will be full and not scream when I return to the kitchen.

So you are thinking - argh this would drive me insane! Well yes it can do. But now this is my routine:

Give Pluto his dinner. Pretend I am eating it with him and how yummy it is.

Begin preparing our dinner.

Pluto screams. I do one of four things:

a: I leave the room and wait for him to be quiet before returning. Not always possible if you are busy doing something.

b: I simply ignore him. I don’t look at him. I don’t speak to him and I wait for him to say something that is acceptable and THEN I respond to him; rewarding him talking and hopefully he will carry on talking. Sometimes he will talk to get my attention and then immediately after I have responded he will scream cause I am looking at him. 9/10 times when this happens I leave the room to show him that I am not tolerating this at all.

c: I sing to myself and dance around having a good time without paying any attention to him. He HATES this and can’t help but start to sing too. At this point I then involve him in the fun. Again this is not always something that is easy to carry out if you are busy.

d: I start talking and paying attention to others in the household. I have found when I do this he has to be quiet so he can listen in. He wants to know everything that is going on.

Often through ignoring Pluto and just continuing on with cooking he will finally retreat to inside his cage or start playing with a toy. The key to my success is not to react. My ’success’ is a parrot that screams less. I don’t believe he will ever be a non-screamer, he just screams less and less. :)

But my parrot screams when I ‘LEAVE’ the room.

A lot of owners have an issue where their parrot screams when they leave the room. Their parrot is calling for them to come back. A couple of methods you can try:

a: When you are about to leave the room for a moment, say “I’ll be right back’, leave the room for just a moment and return saying ‘See I’m back”. Give your parrot a bit of attention and then repeat.

b: Similar to above but if they scream when you leave, softly call back once “I’m just in here”. Then quietly wait for them to break from the screaming or make an acceptable noise before returning and saying ‘See I’m back”.

c: Ignore the screaming. If you have to go into the room when they are screaming, do not look at them and do not talk to them - even if they stop when you enter the room. You don’t want to reinforce the behaviour that if they scream, you will come running in.

So what brought me to writing this post today?

Well… I had thought that the screaming had calmed down a lot over the last year. Pluto was happily playing and talking all day in and around his cage. We would have the odd screaming session around meal times or if he was missing out on some attention but I have equipped myself with much knowledge and techniques to deal with it.

So…

Four days ago I decided to move my computer back to the room where Pluto’s cage is. I guessed there would be a few issues and that Pluto would scream here and there and I was willing to accept that I was going to have to deal with this as it is a change for him too. But I tell you what, I was not expecting him to scream from morning to night. lol He sat on top of his cage whining and then screaming all day long. If I happened to glimpse at him he would bop his head up and down with fury. He was absolutely furious with me. How dare I move back here.

Well as hard as it was. The first two days I was strong and simply didn’t react to his screaming. If I went off to another room he would often start talking or singing. Talk about feeling rejected! He wanted to talk and sing to me but only if I was in another room. Then yesterday he started to talk a little whilst I was in the room. I rewarded this with much excitement and went over to play with him and talk and sing up a storm. He thought this was a lot of fun but of course I don’t have time to do that all day so eventually it had to stop and unfortunately he then began to scream for more attention.

Today however, he has talked more than scream. We have played head bops across the room, sang some songs, done our animal noises and now he is taking a nap after having had a bath and preening session.

There is still a big learning curve ahead and I have to remember that this was where the whole situation began those years ago and I am now back in that same spot. We both need to adjust and it will take some time but if I don’t react to the screaming I believe things should be a lot better in the coming months.

Parrot Bite - Ouch! Body language is Important.

June 7th, 2009

Well tonight I made the mistake of telling Pluto it was “Nigh Nigh’s” time before he had decided he was ready to go. I didn’t read his body language and moved my hand toward him to have him hop up and he turned on his turbo speed legs and was viciously biting my hand before I knew it. Over a year ago I would have pulled away and told him ‘No Bite’ but since working and working and working on curbing this behaviour I kept up with the process and let him rip my fingers open as I calmly said “Well that’s not very nice is it. Don’t bite mummy” He was still very angry but he backed off and I said “Ok. Well I am going to go for a minute”. I walked across the room and as I looked at him he was bopping his head up and down - very angry quaker. It meant he needed a timeout. It meant I had to go away. So I did. I went out of sight for a little while however I knew time was getting away and he really did have to go to bed.

So after a short break of 5 minutes or so. I returned and picked up his cover and told him it was time to go to bed. He had been hanging out on top of his cage with his ‘nesting’ behaviour. I placed the cover over his cage explaining it was time to go to bed and he was in the newly created ‘Tee-Pee’ under the cover sitting on the edge saying “In your bed”, “Pluto, in your bed!” which he has made up after telling the dogs to get in their bed.

He was being a stubborn, defiant little monster. Then he decided to climb out on top of the cover where he asked for kisses and cuddles. At this point I was not going to be putting my face anywhere near him as he was still showing signs of being angry. Instead, I warned him by saying “Hop Up” as I slowly but steadily pushed my finger closer to him. He lunged to bite but my finger was in and under his chest with him hopped up before he could get hold.

Then, to change the mood I gave him a rough up and ruffled his feathers, made a bit of a game out of it. Made sure he was happy and then I said “Ready for Nigh Nigh’s” and he finally said ‘Nigh Nigh’s Time” and I placed him in his cage.

What an ordeal! But the thing to remember is they will test you ALL the time and it is so important that you try to react as calmly as you can and try your best to ignore the situation. By saying ‘Ouch’ or pulling away because you are scared is the worst thing you can do.

The mistake I made tonight was that I didn’t read his body language before I placed my hand near him - I was just thinking about putting him to bed - By not reading his behaviour he bit me which meant I then had to suck it up and make sure I wasn’t going to reinforce it (and now am left with two bites in two knuckles!) then I had to try and calm the whole situation down.

Had I have read his body language and tried a different technique by persuading him to come give me kisses on a different perch he wasn’t ‘protecting’ I wouldn’t have been bitten.

My Fussy Parrot

June 2nd, 2009

So I am going through a stage with Pluto where he has become a little fuss pot. He has always been fussy about his Pellets (must be Roudybush or else I will starve myself) but lately he is even choosing whether or not he will eat fruits and veggies that I give him. So last week I decided to get creative!

I went to the store and bought an organic bread mix, came home and cut up broccoli, green beans, fresh corn off the cob, green peas, grated carrot. I got the processor out and threw in two eggs whole, oats, the veggies and then I had this ‘bright’ idea, I’ll throw in some of those pellets he wont eat. So I mixed it all up, put it into my bread mix, put it in a tray and sprinkled some seeds on top and baked it in the oven. When i pulled it out, it was so moist and looked soooo yummy.

Parrot Bread

Parrot Bread

Moist Parrot Bread

Moist Parrot Bread

All excited, I wait for it to cool down to a nice warm bread and I cut a piece off for Pluto. At first he proclaims how yummy it is however after a few minutes he looks at me and runs down to the side of the cage asking “Do you want some?” meaning he doesn’t like it and wants something else. I check the leftovers to find he has picked out the corn and peas and left the rest!!! For goodness sake I could have just put them in a bowl on their own instead of going to all this trouble!

So what do I do? I taste it! hehehe I was thinking what on earth is wrong with it that he wont touch it, I better taste it. Well the ‘pellets’ that he hates, had flavoured the WHOLE bread. It was a complete disaster and serves me right for thinking I could get one over on a Quaker Parrot! hehehe

The next morning I had one more idea up my sleeve. Rather than toast his regular human bread in the morning I toasted the ‘new’ bread and spread a little peanut butter on it to see if I could get him to eat it. Nope! He sat there and licked the peanut butter off, ripped the bread apart to find the peas and corn and left the rest, screaming for his usual breakfast.

So lesson learnt. Never try to get one over on Pluto when you are dealing with food! And just give up and give the bread to the dogs!

Made our first Training Video!

May 25th, 2009

Hi guys,

Well last night I thought I would create a couple of practice videos and by the end I was convinced I had no chance of making a video that was even watchable. Jase thought it was hilarious and I was just plain embarrassed. Pluto seemed to have a reasonably good time though chattering away whilst I was trying to talk.

So today, I thought I would attempt to create one again. I took a couple of notes with me just in case I went blank and surprisingly only glanced at them a couple of times after being interrupted by the little green monster.

I can’t believe I actually uploaded the video however I think I am currently in denial that it is me. I guess at the end of the day, it isn’t as though you all know me personally. :)

Well I hope you enjoy the first training session with Pluto and if anything get to have a bit of a giggle. :)

Check out the training videos section and you’ll find it right there.

Welcome to Pluto’s New Quaker Parrot site

May 21st, 2009

Hi guys,

Welcome to the new site where I will be updating Pluto’s blog on as regular basis as he does or says something interesting. Feel free to browse the info around the site and check out Pluto’s videos.