I just came across a really simple foraging toy that doesn’t cost and arm and a leg. I stopped by the drug store today and saw a pack of toothbrush travel covers on sale… you know, those containers you snap on over the head of a toothbrush so it doesn’t get all nasty when you travel? I bought a pack of four and filled them with NutriBerries and seeds. Stewie isn’t big into toys that he can’t chew on *unless* there are treats inside. So this is a nice foot-toy-sized plastic container that fits just a little bit of birdie yummies inside that double as a foraging toy.
Archive for October, 2007
After a couple of failed approaches, we’re back on track with learning to retrieve. I was having trouble getting Stewie to hold on to a toy I handed him (he was just beaking it) and then we’d both get frustrated when it didn’t result in treats.
What ended up working for us is for me to put him on his play stand and drop his wiffle ball into the attached food cup. Because the toy was on top of his pellets, he was motivated to grab it and move it out of the way. Every time he took hold of the wiffle ball he got a c/t. Then he got c/t’s for picking it up and lifting it.
And yesterday he picked it up from the bottom of his playstand and carried it all the way to the top and put it in his cup!
The trick for us really is for me to figure out how to make him want to do something independently and then capturing that, instead of making him do things that seem completely arbitrary to him. (Maybe in the future we’ll work on some games where he learns to be more creative, but for now I think being predictable is better for our relationship).
I think we’re well on our way to learning to retrieve!
Tip: make sure the toys you’re using are the appropriate size for your bird. Generally, anything described as “small foot toys” for conures or medium-sized parrots will work. I like the Drs. Foster and Smith website for these types of toys, but obviously each bird will have its own preferences. You’ll want to experiment to see what toys your bird likes.
A month or two ago, my conure loved, loved, LOVED his Happy Hut. Wouldn’t let me near it. Here’s a picture of him in it (isn’t he cute!) Apparently conures really like their Happy Huts.
But lately I’ve noticed that he doesn’t seem to be using the Happy Hut to sleep anymore. Stewie still crawls into it at night to signal that it’s nite-nite time, but when I’ve peeked under the covers later I see that he’s come back out.
And in the morning when I uncover him now, if he’s not already climbing around, he’s on his perch leaning against his Cozy Corner. The Cozy Corner is made of the same material as the Happy Hut, but it just hangs on the side of the cage for him to lean against (basically a blanket except it has a little hood-like thing).
Here he is with his fleece blankie after a bath:
I have yet to catch him on film as he’s sleeping with it, but trust me, it’s adorable.
Anyone else have a small parrot that has both of these? If yes, which does it prefer, the fleece tent or the fleece blanket tied to the side of the cage?
On the Bird Board discussion forum, someone kept mentioning how their sun conure loved this wooden duck, so when I saw it at PetCo, I immediately bought it. And indeed, Stewie loved it — so much so that he literally bit its head off in a matter of minutes. He was making his happy purring/chirping noises for a long time as he broke off piece by piece.
I bought him a similar toy shaped like a cat’s head from an online store, but it uses different wood that’s not as soft. So Stewie gnaws on it, but the cat doesn’t crumble into little pieces the way the duckie did. No little pieces = no adorable happy noises.
I’ve since been to every PetCo and PetSmart in the metro area (okay, I exagerate, but only a little) and several online stores and no one had the duckie!
Well, I finally found it. It’s called the Jungle Talk Duckie.
Stewie gives the wooden duck (with “lots of legs”) two enthusiastic birdie-toes up!