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He didn't get where he is today by stealing somebody else's catchphrase.

The Great Outdoors

Yesterday was a bit of a landmark day. I've been harness-training Chicken for a little while now and for the first time we went outside, as you can see from the little video below.


As you can imagine, harness-training a bird isn't an easy thing to do because they're not going to just let you slip the harness on like a dog would wear a collar and lead. The first few times she took big chunks out of my fingers, but she's got better every time and this morning I got her kitted-up in just a couple of minutes.

The intention is that when the lockdown is over, I'll take her out with me every so often. Like you walk your dog, I'll go out for a walk with my bird. Like so many other bird owners, I want her to have an enriched life beyond the cage. Whilst she flies around my house and is my velco-like sidekick whilst I potter around, I think she'd love to experience the outdoors, especially during the warmer summer months.

If you've got a parrot and want to go down this route, take a look at the Aviator Harness. They're slightly more pricey than regular harnesses you find in pet shops, but they're extremely well-made and more comfortable for the bird to wear as there's no metal bits remotely close to them. They include a tutorial DVD and you can also get lead-extenders so that you can free-flight train them.

As we get more adventurous and go a bit further afield, I'll post a few more videos of our travels.
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Ten Reasons Why

Firstly, take a look at this:


…and now you've had a chuckle, read on. Here's ten reasons why you shouldn't own a parrot. Read More...
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No, He Bloody Doesn't

This is Oz. He's my little Indian Ringneck Parrokeet and he's eighteen years old.

edge
If you look back through the dusty cobwebs of my site, you'll no doubt find a picture of Oz in his younger days. Despite his age he still looks as wonderfully green as he ever did - and I think he's still got a good few years in him yet. This is the joy of having a parrot. As life companions, he's already outlived most cats and dogs. Many ringnecks make 25. Whichever way you look at it, he's been my feathered friend for nearly half of my life.

Having a parrot isn't like having a dog or cat, for many reasons. One reason is that invariably, when I tell someone that I have a parrot, their first question is always the same:

"Does he talk?"

When posed this question, I politely respond that he doesn't.

All parrots talk is one of the great misconceptions of the animal world. Most don't. Why should they? This follows roughly the same line of logic that all humans are astronauts. Some humans aren't capable of being astronauts. Some humans don't want to be astronauts. There are also more male astronauts than female, although that's an entirely different discussion.

My parrot is a capable astronaut. He just doesn't want to be, so he makes a variety of suitable alternative noises instead. Sometimes he grumbles like an old man (no idea where he gets that from). Sometimes he makes noises that sound like flatulence (definitely don't know where he gets that from) and sometimes he just happily observes the world going by, like in this picture. Parrots, like you, have a personality and you can't force someone or something to do something it doesn't want to do. Putting a helmet on a bird doesn't make it an astronaut.

Bear in mind that should you ever want a parrot, you're making an exceedingly long-term commitment. Larger birds live longer - we're talking forty, eighty or more years in some cases. Unlike many other animals, they've not had generations of domestication and as a result the relationship you build with the bird is on an entirely different level. You're not going to train a bird to sit, stay or whatever in a few days. In fact, most things seem to take years. That's not because they're stupid and have a bird brain (another entirely different misconception), it's because that wild animal you have in your house is going to have to trust you first. Oz still surprises me by doing new things every so often. In the last six months, he thinks he's doing me a favour by pulling the stubble out of my face (ouch).

In summary, don't think of parrots as birds that talk, think of them doing a whole variety of other things. They whistle Star Wars tunes, chew your CD collection, hang upside-down from the ceiling, play football and drive buggies. Think of them as toddlers with a pair of pliers welded to their face or clowns with wings. How does that sound? Great?

If you'd like a friend with wings in your life, do your homework and find a breeder who really knows their stuff. The UK Parrot Society can help you. Or alternatively, adopt a rescued bird. Please don't go to a pet-shop.
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Plymouth Mafia

Solely responsible for the increase in organised crime in the South-West.

Thieving Bastards.

"Hand over the chips and nobody gets hurt..."
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