Once you take in a foster parrot, hopefully your goal is to help that bird learn how to engage with his environment and be as prepared as possible to go to his next, hopefully lifelong home. You don’t have to train anything fancy to truly make a parrot’s world a better place. You just need to teach him to enjoy life!
Get Your Foster Parrot To Try New Foods
Many times parrots come into foster situation with a very limited idea of what is tasty and worth eating. Sometimes, this is simply because the parrot started living with people 20 years ago, back when we thought we could sustain parrots simply on a diet of sunflower seeds. Birds that were never exposed to various foods tend to be picky eaters.
Adjust your foster parrot to eating a premium pellet diet if he isn’t already on one. You can do this by mixing pellets with his current seed diet and slowly decreasing the amount of seeds. If you have a parrot that is adamant about not touching the healthy stuff, you can try soaking pellets in fruit juice or warm water to get the bird to experiment.
Of course, pellets are not a complete diet and getting parrots to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables can be the trickier part. Try presenting vegetables in a variety of ways. Hang them from various places in the cage, put them in toys or little boxes, and keep trying. Make eating fun.
If you have other parrots that already eat all their veggies, sometimes a little bit of patience is enough. Once a parrot sees its peers nibbling on the veggies, it is likely to give it a try as well.
How To Teach Your Foster Parrot To Play With Bird Toys
Another situation that often occurs with foster parrots is that they do not know how to play with a variety of toys. This can be problematic because a bored parrot is more likely to engage in detrimental behaviors. Screaming, plucking, and destroying household objects are sometimes a result of a parrot with no interest in acceptable toys.
Try offering a variety of bird toys and experiment to see what the parrot is interested in playing with. If the parrot ignores all offered toys, then you may have to teach him to play. Outside of the bird cage, you can teach your parrot to touch toys, pick up toys and carry toys in order to get a treat. Once your foster parrot is interacting with bird toys with you, it will be more likely to experiment and play on his own in the cage.
Teach Your Foster Parrot To Step Up
Don’t assume that your foster parrot will automatically step up. Even if it seems fine with hands, take the time to train a step up. Offer your hand and a treat, rewarding the parrot when he places a foot on your hand. Then get the parrot to put both feet on your hand. Then work on rewarding him for staying on your hand for a few seconds for a reward.
Go slowly and make the training session a positive experience. The more comfortable the parrot is with stepping up and the more positive experience he has, the better off your parrot will be with meeting new people and stepping up for them.
A parrot that will eat a variety of healthy foods, entertain himself with toys in his bird cage, and comfortable step up to engage with people is well on his way to being a confident and happy parrot in his new home.