Decided to update Winston’s cage from the janky, rickety red one that always falls apart to a swankier blue one (this involved purchasing it from a neighbor on the other end of the development and carrying it waiter-style on my shoulder ALLLLLL the way back to my house, thus solidifying my position as the resident crazy bird lady).
The only sad part was the loss of the swinging door… We stuck this epic perch onto it that doubled as an indoor/outdoor “porch” as Fletcher puts it. That was the single benefit of the old, constantly-collapsing one.
The little ones needed something. Thus, we added some “antlers” to the top of the new one and created… “The Deck”!
They dig it. 🙂
… Though Fletcher is now calling it the “Swiss Family Robinson”.
One of the hardest parts about teaching for me is that I have to leave my fids at home.
Sure, my admin *might* be open to my bringing of my feathered friends to school occasionally since they don’t leave potential allergy-inducing dander behind, but let’s be real–I teach middle school, and kids do stupid things to each other. Who knows what stupid things might accidentally happen with a bird?
Thus, the rare glory of the teacher in-service day allows me to work with one of my dinosaur companions by my side. Sure, he has to sit idly by in a small cage for the four hours of meetings in the mornings, but he gets to spend the afternoon with me, right? =)
Louie isn’t particularly helpful on these days (especially since he has determined the best place for him is smack-dab in the center of my keyboard, and he absolutely HATES with torrid passion my computer mouse and pens), but he sure is cute.
He gets to play on a desk pod away from my desk, make a GIANT mess, and receive frequent kisses while I grade and plan.
A leap of faith takes at LEAST the Holy Grail… of toast!
More progress today! …But at what cost?
I think this is a mistake that a lot of novice bird trainers (i.e. me) make–we don’t provide a reluctant feathered friend with enough incentive to take a biiiiiig leap of faith. Sure, Wa-Wa-Waddles adores toast… but even Indiana Jones wouldn’t make that leap of faith for a measly sack full of gold.
It’s gotta be big. A relic of epic proportions. Something so tempting that it is worth the risk to closer her eyes, take a deep breath, and LEAP into the unknown with both talons forward.
Thus, I give you: Behemoth Toast.
It’s at least as big as her face. xD
After another five days of feeling like we’d hit a stall, I decided to up the pay-out.
Every day she wouldn’t dare lift a toe of her second foot, my toast offerings got bigger and bigger as I moved the toast farther and farther up my arm.
Finally, today, it proved too big a temptation. I WON!
Tomorrow, hopefully, it will require less, especially since some sound or another upstairs startled her and she took another flight around the basement. Once she’s off her cage, she’s more than happy to step onto more familiar ground–my wrist. She stepped right up for me, and I held her and cooed to her, making sure she wasn’t too nervous or uncomfortable.
Several beak-grinds later, and she’d had yet another positive experience with Mom. ❤
VI LIFTED HER FOOT TO STEP UP TODAY! I MADE MY GOAL!
…The reason I am so excited about this is because I didn’t think I was actually making any progress; she was comfortable leaning against my wrist to take a chip from me, but refused, refused to even try to move her foot closer to my wrist.
But today was the day of toast. She crawled alllll the way down her cage and was looking for a way to make it to the floor–apparently, she wants toast more than she wants chips.
On a hunch, I offered her my wrist, a tiny piece of toast, and voila, Viola! She lifted her foot to step up!
…Granted, she didn’t actually set it on my wrist, but hey, that’s HUGE step. Celebrate every little victory, right?
The other excellent news is that it will be MUCH easier to give Vi her medicines; when Louie got sick, we’d only had him a few months.
Giving Meds as a Positive Experience
We could either force him to hold still (which took two of us) twice a day to force-feed him something he hated, or we could saturate tiny pieces of bread with the medicine and feed it to him a little at a time.
The latter built trust (Louie LOVES bread–not exactly good for ekkies, but there are worse things we could do), made sure EVERY last drop of medicine made it into his system (don’t just leave it in a bowl), and was a nice little ritual we had every morning and evening.
To whomever came up with the mechanisms necessary to make tasty, tasty bread, I thank you–you’ve made my bird-owning life much easier!