Nanday Conure Forum

Message #2330. This is a followup to #2327.

Date:Sunday November 14, 2004 10:01:56 am MST
Subject:Re: Sophie (and "bird dogs")
Message: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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