For the next few weeks I have the pleasure (and I use that term loosely) of bird sitting my brothers Alexandrine Parrot named Richie. He is rather noisy and there seems to be bird seed spread everywhere as he enjoys throwing it around. But the noise, so very loud, the talking, screeching and whistling, it seems to never end (especially if you get on the phone). His favourite sayings consist of repeating “Richie birdman” or squawking “Jack, Jack, Jack” (which is his canine brothers name).

Amongst all of Richie’s chatter my eight year old asked me why do only some birds talk and how do they learn to talk, so I thought I would share the answers (and more) with you all.

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Bird1This week we have been bird sitting my brothers beautiful Alexandrine Parrot called Richie.  Richie is nearly two years old, male and has a little bit of an attitude.  He is incredibly destructive with his very strong beak easily biting through nearly anything that he passes by.  However, we are enjoying his company, talking and even his squawking and would love to have him visit anytime.

Richie is a very spoilt and well loved bird who gets everything imaginable to keep him happy and healthy.  He is currently on a diet of seed, Vetafarm Parrot Deli Treats (which he absolutely loves) and a range of fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks.  As my brother dropped Richie off he was rattling off a list of foods that he can’t have as they may make him sick.  As I was given very strict instructions to keep Richie happy, healthy and alive (as if I wouldn’t anyway) I thought I would look into what foods shouldn’t be feed to birds.  I knew of some of them but a few of them I wasn’t aware of.  Below is a list I have compiled of some of the different toxic or dangerous foods for birds to eat and therefore they should be avoided.

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Image courtesy of Ezy Dog.

Image courtesy of Ezy Dog.

One of my favourite jobs at Vet-n-Pet DIRECT is unpacking and looking at all the awesome toys that come in to the warehouse.  There are so many toys available for your pets, some things that don’t even look like pet toys and some that you would never think they would like, but they do.

Toys play a very significant role in keeping your pet happy and healthy.  Most importantly they provide stimulation which is important for enriching your pets development both mentally and physically.  Toys provide boredom relief and help ease some of the mischievous and destructive behaviour like digging, chewing or scratching, which often happens when owners aren’t home.  Toys are a great tool to encourage bonding between a owner and a pet and also for socialisation with other pets, as they make play time and interaction fun.  Toys are a great way for pets to get exercise and they can also help comfort your pet when they are lonely or going to sleep.

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This week we have been bird-sitting my brother’s beautiful bird “Richie”. 
Richie is an Alexandrine Parrot and he is about 12 months old.  My brother adores his bird and he was going away for a week and decided it would be best if I looked after him.  My girls , husband and I were more than happy to oblige as I love birds and actually would love to get a cockatoo one day.

Alexandrine Parrots are medium sized birds and are known to be friendly, intelligent and talkative, which is why my brother chose to get one.  We are still unsure if Richie is in fact a boy or not, as the way to tell is that the males develop a beautiful red and black ring around their necks as they get older and the females don’t.  This ring can take up to the age of three to develop, so Richie is still too young to be sure.   He is a beautiful colour with varying shades of blue and green with red patches on his wings and a striking orange red beak.

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In order to explain clicker training, you first have to look at its basis, which is operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is a fancy scientific term that refers to the technique of positive reinforcement by means of a conditioned reinforcer, in other words, a reward. Animal trainers have used this technique to train all kinds of animals including rats, pigeons, dolphins, birds, rabbits, dogs, cats, horses and even fish. Examples of the tasks that animals are trained to carry out include pigeons that carry messages for the military in areas where other types of communications fail, dolphins that deploy weapons to military targets in the ocean during wartime, and seagulls that find and report on life rafts and swimmers that have drifted too far away from the shoreline.

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