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Expecting IRN Parrot Parent!

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mmonce15
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:04 am

Expecting IRN Parrot Parent!

Post by mmonce15 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:25 am

Hello!

I currently have 15 parakeets, but I'm looking to add an Indian Ringneck to our family sometime in the Spring of 2016. I'm taking this very seriously, and I want to be as prepared as possible for my new buddy before they come home.

Is there any advice you all would like to give? All the videos I've watched show cuddly, playful IRNs..... but I know you have to work hard to earn that behaviour. I want to make sure I have plenty of information to stock up on the things I'll need the first year so that I have a nice cushion of things in the beginning ........
also I'm super excited and want to curb it so I don't recklessly get a IRN right this second :wink:
What will I need the first year? I'm trying to find out what toys to get (I know each bird is different!) but .... I've never bought toys for anyone other than little parakeets who like swinging and chewing.......... What do IRNs like?! I really don't want to mess this up- I want to have a bird that trusts me and I know one wrong thing can ruin it..


Any coaching you could give would be much appreciated!

MissK
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Re: Expecting IRN Parrot Parent!

Post by MissK » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:43 pm

I find my IRNs like the same type of things my Budgies like, although they are more able to destroy them quickly. It's a good idea to give them sturdier items that do the same thing as smaller Budgie toys. As with Budgies, some IRN can use a mirror and not get carried away, and others can't.

What do you need the first year? A generously sized cage. Don't even look at anything smaller than three feet either long or wide. Don't forget that tail is very long, so cage needs to accommodate it. Your beautiful bird won't look his best with a ratty tail. My cage is five feet long and three feet high, and I think bigger would be better. Of note, your bird's temperment and tameness may make a larger care the suitable minimum size. Don't expect a bird raised in a large area to downsize comfortably at your house. If your cage doesn't have an easily removable grate over the pan, just keep shopping. I would have liked it if my cages raised the grate farther above the pan, because my IRN will grab the paper below and drag it into the cage through the floor. Yukky.

A second cage that can be a combination travel or sleep cage would be a good idea. If your "travel" cage is a bit on the large size, this could work. You may not want a sleep cage right now, but desire one later. If you already got a travel cage that can do both jobs, then you are a bit ahead.

You already know about choosing items that are easy to use and easy to clean from your other parakeet experience. I would add that IRNs can destroy plastic dishes. I use stainless steel ones that drop into a ring secured to the cage. Note that some people have had trouble with their IRN using the stainless steel dish like a mirror and had trouble. I use only SS dishes and never had a problem with 2 IRN. I like Drs Foster & Smith online for my bowls. The ones they carry are easy to install and move. Also, those that use a single bolt to pass between the wires of the cage will accommodate a homemade plastic shield to protect the bars from the bird wiping his beak on them at a messy meal. I used a plastic food container lid with a hole through it and mount it with the food cup holder.

Some kind of thing for the bird to use as a play area when outside the cage is needed to keep him off your woodwork (tasty) and your furniture (expensive). My bird just used the plain top of his cage until I installed a branch on top that is working really well.

Of note, when it is time to train your IRN, I think it would be helpful to have a Budgie training session first. I am convinced that my IRN learned it was OK to go on the hand by watching one of my Budgies being trained to step up next to his cage. My IRN was not confident to step up for me, but about a month after I started working with the Budgie, the IRN stepped onto my wrist of his own accord while I was cleaning the cage. I was very surprised.

I really think my IRN considers what he has seen or been asked to do while he is on his own time, and the next time we interact, he uses whatever thoughts he had to make his next move. Some people describe this has having a "breakthrough" in training. I think it is more that the bird has had some time to think about whatever it was, and has already decided if the new action is acceptable before the next time he is asked. In other words, I think the "breakthrough"frequently happens after training, while the bird is thinking about what has recently happened, as opposed to sudden inspiration during training session, though I'm sure that happens as well.

Please select your bird carefully. Remember that the bird you get is the bird you live with. All birds have potential but not all birds live up to that potential. If there is something critically important to you, such as stepping up, speaking, or eating pellets, or whatever, the only sure way to end up with a bird who does that thing is to buy a bird who does that thing *already*. That's not to say birds can't learn, but there is no guarantee *you* will be able to teach them. Just know what your deal breakers are before you buy and act accordingly. Also, be sure you experience the range of IRN noises before you buy. Those natural noises are a deal breaker for many.

There's lots more to say, but I'll give others a chance.
-MissK

mmonce15
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:04 am

Re: Expecting IRN Parrot Parent!

Post by mmonce15 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:58 pm

Wow, thank you. That was a lot of good information I hadn't found in my other searches. I really like the idea of using the budgies as a role model... wouldn't have thought of that.
One thing that stands out ..... I need a Day cage and a Night Cage? I shouldn't get just one roomy cage for him to stay in all the time?

I considered this because it has a playtop, but I think it's too small: 36-Inch long, 24-inch wide, 66-inch high with 3/4-inch wire spacingImage

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InTheAir
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Re: Expecting IRN Parrot Parent!

Post by InTheAir » Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:00 pm

Hi and welcome to the forum.

About the cuddly ringnecks on youtube... Ringnecks are not really known for being a very cuddly species. I've also seen a lot of other species I'd consider way more playful than ringnecks. As you said, each bird is an individual. I've never trained mine to accept scratches and they don't like it at all. I've seen many threads on forums along the lines of "why does my ringneck bite me when a pet him/her"... so I get pretty cautious about people wanting a ringneck for it's cuddliness...

Check out this blog too, if you haven't already
http://goodbirdinc.blogspot.com.au/2015 ... f.html?m=1

MissK
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Re: Expecting IRN Parrot Parent!

Post by MissK » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:26 pm

The sleep cage is just an option I think it's nice to have. I did have my first IRN spend some nights in my bedroom and I think it was good for us. Without a sleep cage, I would have had to sleep in the living room because I (probably) wouldn't try to roll my big cage in there. Note, the sleep sized cage is not for taking weekends with your bird on the road. It's not big enough to vacation in, just to spend a night, mostly sleeping. It could be good for brief supervised jaunts to visit the fresh air outside. Ours is about 18"x18"x 24(?)". We really do have a separate travel cage but it is just for emergencies. He travels in his sleep cage, usually. :oops: He is *not* spoiled.

I think the cage you pictured is big enough to support life, but I would be expecting your bird to come out of any cage, really, for daily flight, exercise, training, and play. InTheAir will likely consider your cage way too small, I'm guessing. I would not, personally, put my bird in one that size unless it was a temporary thing or I had no choices. Still, it is better than many IRNs get. :evil: And it would make a great cage to keep at Grandma's house, for visits...... I got this cage http://www.amazon.com/Birdscomfort-Hq-D ... B005ZDR2GM because I couldn't afford two of the twice as high one and i knew I was going to have two IRN one day. Check out Birdscomfort.com because I liked them a lot when I bought from them and their prices are quite competitive.

Oh, and BTW- that "playtop"? Doesn't look like much playing could be done up there. Doesn't that look more like a "snack and snooze top" to you? SEARCH this site for "play tree", "play gym", "play stand". Why have a single perch on top the cage when you could build a jungle gym for him? People use buckets of concrete or christmas tree stands, very creative bunch here. I might have made a photos post... Here it is: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=18437&hilit=photos
There'll be a photo of our actual hunk of tree on top the cages. I note it to give you an idea how out of the box you can get.

Regarding cuddly - what she said. I thought you did give a nod to understanding those cuddly birds are the result of a lot of work and good luck, but it's worth repeating. Don't expect cuddly. At all.
-MissK

mmonce15
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:04 am

Re: Expecting IRN Parrot Parent!

Post by mmonce15 » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:27 am

Hmm. Thanks to both of you. A lot to consider. I'm glad you think that cage is too small.. now I can start looking into bigger ones! My budgies are currently in a 6ftx6ftx3ft walk in aviary, so I honestly can't imagine having a bigger bird in anything much smaller than that. He might get jealous of his neighbors!
And I agree, that "playtop" is a bit lame.

I'm pretty set on an IRN. Once I get a bird- I keep that bird for life ! This being said, I really want to make the right choice, for both my sake and the little IRN's.

I have a lot of time to search, choose, and make sure that this is the breed I want to give a forever home to. . Along those lines, you both mentioned the IRN temperament ... Can you tell me more about this? Or, at least, tell me if what I've gathered elsewhere online is true, and what information I'm missing.
Here's what I've learned:

1. Ringnecks can be chatty, speaking very well with a lot of training
2. They will sit on your shoulder once they learn to trust you
3. They go through a "bluffing" adolescent stage where they might not like you as much (this doesn't sound permanent though... is it???)
4. They're not SUPER loud (if you treat them right) - I expect a lot of screeching until I can teach him otherwise - in your experience, do they get "quieter" the more you tame them?

I'm not looking for super cuddly- my budgies are not really into snuggles/petting either.... But what I would very much like is a sit on my shoulder, talks to me, makes me laugh with their personality , type of bird. A buddy, who likes watching what I'm doing and being around me . Of course I know this wouldn't be instantaneous ...... but - tell it to me straight- have I got the wrong bird in mind?!

MissK
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Re: Expecting IRN Parrot Parent!

Post by MissK » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:40 am

Can you get a second 6x6x3 aviary for your IRN? If it's a cage you like and are already used to maintaining, it might work well. Also, I think when you have something big like that in the house, it makes less visual clutter when they match.

What was it that made you set your heart on the IRN? For me, it was an emotional connection. Then I did massive research to get my brain on board with the idea. It was actually the *relatively* independent nature of the IRN that gave me the final green light.

Regarding the temperment of this species (not breed), it varies from bird to bird. In our house, my green bird was living in a very small cage when I got him. He would have tolerated that cage for the rest of his life, but since it was too small, I left it in the house when I took the bird. On the other hand, my blue bird was living in a very small cage when I got him, but gave evidence through his behaviour that he needed something MUCH bigger. In fact, as far as he is concerned, he needs a whole room. We have compromised on a 5 foot cage. It was the biggest cage I could provide and he had to be in a cage. I worked very hard to make the cage friendly to him and in many months he grew to tolerate the cage. BUT. He needs a bigger cage. He is not suited to live in a mere 5 foot cage. One day I will get a bigger cage built, and it is a great source of personal shame that I have not managed that yet. That's temperment. It's who you are, what you can emotionally handle, how you'll react, etc.

What you learned -
They can be chatty, learn to speak well, or they can scream incessantly, making you regret you were ever born, as they shred your soul and literally destroy your hearing. They can be extremely loud and very, very shrill. Or they can sweetly whisper "Whatcha doin'?" Or one and then the other. My green bird is very quiet. My blue bird is very loud and shrill. Of course, my "quiet" bird can still make a heck of a noise when he wants.

They will sit on your shoulder. They may use it as a step to your head or a convenient place to sit as they bite your ear. Or they may just hang out there. They will likely be comfortable on your shoulder before they are comfortable on your hand.

Bluffing. I think that this is a myth. The thing is that as young creatures grow, they gain personal power and desire autonomy. I think "bluffing" is a myth humans have invented to explain how come docile and compliant youngsters cease to tolerate disrespectful or clumsy handling from humans. The negative feedback trains the human to act with more finesse and the "bluffing" (defensive aggression) ceases. Granted, my birds both came to me as adults so I'm not technically qualified to speak on it. Let me refer you to InTheAir who has raised two IRN and never seen bluffing. She has a lot to say about it. Use the SEARCH function to find out what!

Do they get quieter in time? Does your alarm clock get quieter? If your bird is making a lot of distress calls, then the calls may cease when the distress ends. However, the noise from a happy IRN is not necessarily quieter than the noise from an unhappy one. My blue bird used to vocalize to excess, and it was really awful. Now he has less distress, because he got more comfortable here, but those same sounds come out when he is playing. So, might your bird learn to vocalize less often? Maybe. Less loudly? Probably not.

They're not SUPER loud? I can clearly hear my birds from the street in front of my fully closed up house. I can fantasize that I can tell which is which. Is that SUPER loud or only REALLY loud? I can't tell.

An IRN *could* sit on your shoulder, make you laugh, talk for you, interact with you. Or he could cling to the back corner of his cage, shrieking, every minute you are present. I've had both types in my living room at the same time. If you need your bird to behave in a certain way, you absolutely have to buy a bird who already demonstrates the qualities you need. I don't mean to sound down on the bird, but to stress that it's up to you to know what your limits are and choose your individual bird accordingly.

Be your buddy? Depends on what you mean by buddy.

You mentioned you'd like him to watch you. In my experience the IRN watches you if you come near, if you have food, if he has nothing else to do that's more interesting than you, if you're doing something that might turn out good or bad for IRNs. If the bird is constantly monitoring your activity I would think he lacks entertainment inside his cage or he wants to come out. He should not be sitting around in his cage using you for a TV. The IRN is relatively self-sufficient, given enrichment in the cage, unless he has been trained (possibly by accident) to obsess over people. This doesn't mean you can plunk him in the cage and just leave him there. He is a social species. But if you want a bird likely to be focussed on you, I think there are more compatible species out there. Cockatoos are one, but they require a lot of attention and I personally think most people aren't prepared to keep a cockatoo emotionally satisfied. Cockatiels (different, but in the cockatoo family) are not my area of expertise, but they are a very popular parrot and worth looking into.
-MissK

mmonce15
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Re: Expecting IRN Parrot Parent!

Post by mmonce15 » Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:09 pm

I definitely can arrange for another large aviary.

I definitely do not want a "love sponge" cockatoo- that much I know. What set my heart on an IRN is a good question. I think it was the intelligence they display. It's something I adore in my parakeets. It's incredible.

I'm glad you mentioned bluffing- I read those articles and I think I understand/agree. I think whatever bird I decide to get I will learn a lot about training, and the things Barbara mentions are important.

I do not want to be the bird's TV. Of course I don't want the bird to lack entertainment, and I wouldn't let that happen. I guess I misphrased.

It sounds like I should really take my time finding the right personality. I can do that.

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InTheAir
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Re: Expecting IRN Parrot Parent!

Post by InTheAir » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:21 pm

Well, if Missk hasn't put you off ringnecks for life I'll add my 2c :wink:

I totally agree with her that "bluffing" is a myth perpetuated by people who use forceful/coercive/insensitive handling. Unfortunately ringnecks are quick movers and can be hard to learn to read at first too.
The worst thing about "bluffing" is if you follow the advice given by those very few "articles" on it, your bird will behave like that! So would I!
There are some pretty classic examples on YouTube of how insensitive handling creates aggressive responses.
I've written a fair bit about the topic on this forum already, please search. Follow the link from my above post also.


My advice for any potential parrot owner is to go visit a breeder/pet store and hear your chosen species at full volume before getting one. That's how I realised I could never live with a sun conure! Ringnecks can be quite ear-splitting. Our 2 can say "What are you doing?" at a volume and pitch which makes your ears ring (especially if on your shoulder at the time).
Their natural alarm call is quite unpleasant. Some will do it when visitors come over, but if you pair positive reinforcers with new people this can be reduced in most cases.

My boyfriend wanted a parrot for many of the same reasons as you. We only had Nila as a single parrot for a year (that was longer than I wanted). Nila was handraised from a very early age because of a medical condition. Despite being raised with other birds, he was a bit too bonded with people. We had to work quite hard at teaching him to play and hang out independently of us, we got him lots of foraging toys and rewarded him whenever he chose to be on a playstand instead of a shoulder.

I believe that flock animals should have a same species or compatible companion. This is particularly important to prey species like parrots, a lone parrot in the wild is almost a guaranteed death sentence. Leaving a single parrot at home alone while you are at work or school is in conflict with their natural behaviour. Missk's parrot seemed to benefit from budgie companions though. Nila just went to work with my boyfriend when I was working and came with us on weekend outings most of the time.

I am very interested in natural behaviour and as we learned more about parrots we both realised that the relationship we had with Nila was not what we wanted in a pet. Nila was starting to look for a girlfriend and neither of us wanted to be that. The first spring, before we got Sapphire, Nila started displaying courtship behaviour towards me. I couldn't train him without him getting excited. I already have a boyfriend and I certainly don't want a little green one on the side!

I got a parent raised girl for Nila, because I wanted a bird's bird. She's a feisty little monster, poor Nila has some trouble keeping up with her moods! I should have got a boy as 2 male ringnecks will generally get on well and girl ringnecks get obsessed with finding nest spots over spring. I spent a lot of time removing her from our speakers every 2 seconds in an effort to prevent her from chewing a hole in them as a nest spot. She can also open the pantry door, which is a pain. When she was considering it as a nest site I had to leave the light on in there to put her off (she is looking for somewhere dark). She is currently obsessed with sea grass door mats, which is great because I can give her one in her cage and she spends hours trying to turn it into a nest by chewing it. The downside is our house gets coated in bits of sea grass, but that beats having a bird chewing holes in the walls and furniture!

Anyway, Nila is much more of a normal bird now, despite his bossy girlfriend. The birds spend quite a lot of the day doing stuff together but still like to join us if we are doing anything interesting. They "help" with cleaning and sewing. Both talk alot! Nila has a much larger vocabulary, Sapphire is pretty content to say "What cha doing?" and "Love you" all day in a few different ways and with some whistles thrown in. She contact calls wild parrots through the windows too. Nila tends to use human words to greet them. I can hear both my birds talking from the street outside the front of our house when they are in the back. Sometimes they do a really high pitched squeak when they fly around, it is really unpleasant. I think Sapph is trying to learn to sing opera at the moment, she is practicing some really weird noises!

I don't really think parrots are very suited to living as pets. It is very hard to fufil their needs mentally, physically and emotionally. We spend a lot of time every day making foraging challenges for ours and they spend less time solving most puzzles than we spend preparing them...
My birds are very trainable, they are very intelligent. This means they can open a tupaware container that has been left on the bench in the blink of an eye! The fruitbowl lives in a cupboard because we couldn't find a way to make it parrot proof. Because we have encouraged our parrots to problem solve a lot, they have all the tools they need to remove a cover from a fruit bowl etc. :lol:
Parrots are built to fly and it is hard to have a cage big enough for them to do that. Ours fly around our house most of the day, the massive cages we bought them aren't big enough for real flight.
I'm saving up for a massive outdoor aviary at the moment, to provide more enrichment and sunshine.

MissK
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Re: Expecting IRN Parrot Parent!

Post by MissK » Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:58 am

It was the bit about the noise shredding your soul, wasn't it? Too much? :mrgreen:
Honestly, when I got Sinbad home, that first week, when he was in the small cage waiting to see the vet.... Oh! I promise it shredded my soul.

Talking about hearing them in person before you commit - I *used* to wonder, somewhat pointlessly, if the Galah was as emotionally dependent as the other Cockatoos. (Stop scorning them; they're very pretty!!) One day at a bird show I was admiring one at fairly close range when it sounded off. Don't think I'll be bringing any of those into my house!!!!!!
-MissK

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InTheAir
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Re: Expecting IRN Parrot Parent!

Post by InTheAir » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:46 am

Galahs are the cutest things ever! We have heaps of wild ones in our neighbourhood and I think they sound cute and quiet compared to other cockatoos, but I don't keep them in my house so the noise is not so intense. They don't have a reputation for being well adapted to captivity though. Did you know galahs form crèches? I think they are pretty cool.

Well, soul shredding was quite stong wording, but I know what you mean!

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