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Re: Up and Down

Posted by GreyLady on 11/19/09
(7) Comments
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    Wow, sounds like the previous owner did a great job in
    raising a happy, well adjusted bird. How great for both of
    them that they found you for his next home. All parrots
    should be so lucky. I'll try to help as much as I can.
    First off, about the gender. Of course there are only two
    ways to ever be positive; the laying of an egg or a DNA
    test. But the Red Tails have at least one visual clue that I
    have found to be pretty reliable. Look at the underside of
    the red feathers. If you can see any very subtle silver
    edging on any of them, that is almost always female. No
    silver edges, almost always male. The behavior you describe
    is partly bonding, partly hormonal. Even though sexual
    maturity is around 6 years of age, they can display some
    mating/bonding behavior at any age. You will want to be
    cognizant of exactly where on his body you are petting him.
    Good rule of thumb is not to pet, tickle or stroke him
    anywhere behind his shoulders. Not on his back, not under
    his wings and of course, no where near the vent area. That
    can lead to confusion on his part as to whether you are
    his "mate" or not. The older and more sexually mature the
    bird gets, the more confusion and frustration that can cause
    and in some cases, can lead to behavior problems. I'm
    putting a link that should be helpful in teaching the step
    up. I hope it works. Just in case, here it is again.
    http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Teach-Your-Bird-to-Step-
    Up&id=2636377
    Having him learn it will be very helpful. However, working
    with him with the towel is not a bad thing either. In fact,
    you can search "playing the towel game with your parrot" and
    get more information. When they have a vet visit, the vets
    almost always "towel" them for safe restraint. Having a bird
    who does not freak out at the sight of a towel is great for
    both the parrot and the owner. So, even after he learns the
    step up, keep him familiar and at ease with the towel. As
    for the lighting, it is very important for him so I'm glad
    you asked. I use an Ott system for my flock but I'm sure
    there is more than one name brand that is good. The
    important thing is to make sure it is the proper spectrum for
    birds and not reptiles. Many pet store employees don't know
    the difference and even if they do, they will often try to
    sell you the wrong one. Some will tell you they are the
    same. Not true. It's just that most stores don't stock the
    one for parrots and they want to make a sale. Here is a link
    that I hope will help with that.
    http://www.parrot-and-conure-world.com/full-spectrum-light-
    for-birds.html
    The little bites and the holding with the foot are normal
    behavior. My Grey will sometimes hold one of my fingers so
    tight he almost pokes holes with his talon. The softer bites
    are not a problem of course as it's natural behavior. Later
    on, if he starts to add more pressure than is comfortable,
    you must nip that in the bud right away. He is not
    necessarily trying to hurt you but just won't realize the
    strength of his beak. If he adds pressure, just give him a
    firm but soft "no" or "no bite" or whatever command you
    choose. Just be consistent. Remove his beak from your
    finger and go on as if nothing happened. The most important
    thing to remember is to never reward bad behavior with any
    kind of reaction other than to ignore it. They are all drama
    queens and the bigger and louder the reaction, the better
    they like it. Learning to read all his body language is the
    best thing you can do for yourself and for him. Watch for
    pinning of the eyes, to what degree he raises his feathers
    and whether he is making eye contact with you. As you learn
    what all those things mean, you will be better able to
    anticipate what is likely to follow. I hope this helps you
    out a bit. Good luck and let me know if I might be able to
    help further.

    Step Up Training