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Margaret <email address not displayed>
Margaret wrote on the Nanday Conure Forum message board: > I have 3 Italian greyhounds (the smallest of the sight-hounds, > instinctively chases moving objects) here along with my 23 parrots and > I don't encourage any interaction whatsoever between my birds and my > dogs. As a matter of fact, I put the fear into the dogs if they pay > any attention to the birds at all. Their first contact was when one of > the parrots let out a warning call and all the birds leapt from their > cages and started running around on the floors. This got the attention > of the dogs and one of my dogs was pawing a bird that was cornered and > she was pulling the tail feathers out one by one with her pawing > action. My voice hurt for 2 days afterwards, but I made the meanest > face I could and the deepest voice (I'm sure the dog thought I was > possessed because I am the sweet loving Mommy and my hubby is the one > they run from, where as they follow me everywhere and are always under > my feet) and I chased that dog all over the house. When she tried to > pass me, I got her chest with one hand and pushed her back in front of > me where I could give her Hell some more. Well, after that, all the > dogs thought I had lost my mind and when the birds all leap from their > cages there is no reaction from the dogs. Once in a while if the birds > leap in their direction, they bust a move trying to get away from the > commotion. I'm actually more worried about the birds getting trampled > by my blind 14 yr old dog now as opposed to being eaten or pawed. > > I also don't allow any of my birds to bully my dogs or taunt them in > any way. These animals all have instincts and I don't want to take a > chance. You know, your dog can be sweet and as gentle as can be and a > child that hurts your dog causes your dog to snap out of instinct and > all of a sudden you're in trouble because your dog bit someone's kid. > Just don't let that "kid" be your "fid". Even though it might be cute > to get a photo of the bird riding on the dog's back, or whatever, it > isn't worth the risk to me for the sake of my "entertainment". Anyhow, > those are my thoughts on that. I'm all for letting them live amicably > together, but I am not forcing any of them on any of the others (bird > on bird, dog on bird, bird on dog, etc...). My goal is safety and > order, I'm boss. > > Yesterday I sat on the couch and spent some one-on-one time with a > parrot and have had a dog (my old blind guy) come up and lay his head > in my lap. He probably didn't know I had my aggressive male pionus > with me at the time, so I just let the old dog nap on my lap while I > sat there with my Stinky Pi. Nobody came nose-to-nose and neither one > paid the other any attention. That is how I like it. If a dog gets up > in my face or comes too close to the bird, I just have to get up and > move to prevent anyone from getting hurt or upset. > > I think you have the right ideas with the play gym, too. You are right > about these birds being smart. I think being an adult living in > captivity can be frustrating enough even under the best circumstances > and the most understanding humans. Lack of mental stimulation can make > for boring days, especially when these parrots do have the potential > for such a long life. > > My guys here have a lot going on, even with nobody home, between > watching each other and communicating with each other and the dogs, > watching the sparrows outside the window (I set up a little food stand > outside), watching the neighbors, children's programming on TV, lazy > afternoons to nap and ocassionally the radio playing softly instead of > TV just for a change, but I know that not everyone's parrot has all > this "entertainment" when the humans are away. I remember back when we > just had the one macaw and the dogs, I would wrack my brain trying to > make sure Peanut stayed entertained while we were gone. He came out of > his cage for fresh goodies each morning while I got ready for work. I > put extra bribery goodies in his cage so he'd go in like a good boy > when I had to head out the door. Not only did I set him up with TV or > a radio, but I'd try to hide toys inside a piece of crumpled paper, or > put some paper towels inside his food cup so he had to unbury his > food, plus it would give him a chance to tear up the towels afterward. > I'd weave paper through the cage bars or a straw through the cage > bars. If I could get those straws with the paper wrapper still on > them, that was even better. I might position a toy outside of his cage > where he could get at it through the bars. > > Some of the things we wouldn't even consider interesting can be a big > hit with the birds. Things like plastic bottle caps, crinkly sounding > plastic wrappers, or wads of crumpled paper. For example, my Nanday > loves this piece of metal chain connected to a quick link that used to > have a toy on it. It just hangs there. It isn't pretty or colorful, > but he loves to sit under it and position it under his wing. Maybe it > is the coolness of the metal that he enjoys? I don't know. But he > grabs it with his beak and he hurks on it. He loves it. Another weird > thing he absolutely loves is those little plastic capsules that come > out of the 50 cent machines holding trinkets for children. I put a > couple of pony beads inside and it is a rattle now. He loves it. > Carries it to his food cup when he eats, carries it to the water bowl > when he drinks and carries it up onto my shoulder when I'm nearby. > He'll carry it right up to my cheek, have me hold it while he rubs his > head all over it saying "sweetheart" in his funny little voice. He's > is not a good talker. > > Anyhow, whichever toys your bird ends up liking, do keep an eye to see > how your bird plays with them. Although normally a bird won't eat > things that aren't food (like pieces of wood or plastic from a toy) it > can still happen. Somes toys that are safe with some birds are > dangerous with others depending on how they are played with. Nothing > is completely safe, it seems. > > Your bird likes bells and they can be dangerous too. The part that > holds the clapper usually has a little opening and that is where some > birds catch the tips of their beaks. But if your bird just enjoys the > noise made by the bells, your bird might enjoy the noise made by a > rattle like my bird enjoys. You don't have to let the toy roll around > on the floor. If you close the capsule over a skinny (and not too > long) piece of twine, your bird may enjoy banging it around like he > does the bells. > > I hope this helps give you extra ideas. Owning these birds are > challenging in more ways than one, aren't they? <grin> > > > Chris wrote: > > Well, I introduced my Precious to Sophie tonight, and Precious had > > the same look of terror on her face. Sophie bit her on the nose, my > > dog just sat in my lap and shook. > > They may never get along, but at least I can teach them that they > can > > both share the same space, and me equally. > > As far as the gym goes, I have some great ideas. She loves bells, so > I think > > if I build a gym with several ladders, and a skewer with her > favorite foods, > > fresh vegetables, and a toy or two with bright wooden playthings and > bells, > > she might enjoy that. It might stimulate her a little more than > just > > hanging out on my shoulder all day. To be honest, her intelligence > > and need for new ideas intimidates me. I feel like if I don't give > > her every opportunity to grow and learn, I will end up with a bored > > and unhappy bird.
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