Raising Our Baby Toco Toucan Rocko: Making the Early Stages of Training Fun

Posted by Jamieleigh on


Photo by Dave
Location: Nampa,ID
Playing and learning: Baby Toco Toucan “Rocko”

 

There are tons of reasons for playing with your bird with things such as towels, blankets and clothing. The biggest reason to do so is so that you can towel your bird to hold it still in the event of an emergency. The other reason is so that your bird is not fearful of being covered up by a blanket or towel whether it happens on accident or happens on another account.

 

While our birds were babies, we made sure to always play with them by wrapping them up in our clothes to cuddle, or tossing a blanket or towel over them to let them figure out how to get out of it. Some of you may know our birds so well that you know this as the “woop woop” game with our male rose breasted cockatoo, Bandit. Anytime he comes out from under something (namely a pillow is his personal choice!) he says “woop woop!” which means he’s ready to play.

 

Coming up with things you always say when it’s play time is a great way to communicate what you want with your bird, and let him/her communicate what they are in the mood for with you too.

 

 


Photo by Dave
Location: Nampa,ID
Playing and learning: Baby Toco Toucan “Rocko”

 

As our baby toco toucan Rocko is growing up, we have been introducing lots of new things and making it so that he isn’t fearful of anything! This is so that as he gets older he isn’t spooked or frightening, escalating a normal situation into a scary one. When a bird is scared, someone is likely to get hurt so we work on desensitizing our birds as much as possible while they’re young and going through the natural stage of being able to handle it.

 

For our birds, loud music and noisy props and tons of people around being unpredictable is just another normal day in their lives. Elephants walking by, camels necking, horses kicking, dogs barking and running, house cats hanging around, people using big tractors to load in and out props, loud trucks turning on and off… they’re used to all of it. They’re used to bright lights like spot lights for the stage and sound effects, pyro and moving lights, kids screaming, people clapping… you name it, they’re used to it! Which is why we’ve made the effort these last couple of months we’re still on tour performing in arenas that seat thousands of people… that we let Rocko hang out backstage with the other birds to get in some “observational learning” time. Since they’re already used to it, they’re stress free back there and for them to not react when those things happen backstage is great for him to witness and helps him keep his cool as well.

 


Photo by Dave
Location: Nampa,ID
Playing and learning: Baby Toco Toucan “Rocko”

 

But we’re also doing lots of prep work in our trailer by introducing new things to him every day and letting him experience new things as often as possible. We do this by keeping him outside with the other birds as well, feeding him new foods that they are already eating and playing with him a lot while he’s a youngster.

 

 


Photo by Dave
Location: Nampa, ID
Playing with purse strap: Toco Toucan “Rocko”

 

In just one night we introduced a purse strap (the gray thing in the photos) along with my polaroid camera, my sleepy mask (always a past toucan toy favorite), a toco toucan stuffed animal and even rough housing and gently wrapping Rocko up in a blanket that was on the bed.

 

By showing him that these things are going to do no harm to him while he’s young and curious is something that will make him a better bird as he grows up.

 


Photo by Dave
Location: Nampa,ID
Playing and learning: Baby Toco Toucan “Rocko”

 

Even if you never got a chance to do these things with your bird and he’s older now and set in his ways, so to speak, it’s NEVER too late to start. Just like it’s never too late to start training your bird with our training courses offered through our store, it’s not too late to start desensitizing your bird either.

 

In our Total Transformation Course we offer tons of valuable tips for making your bird an overall better bird, the tips in that course are things we do with our birds from the beginning and continue to do for the rest of their lives.

 

I highly recommend that course for if you’re thinking of getting a new bird to if you already have a bird, even a rescue, because it really leads to the “total transformation” of your bird.

 


Photo by Dave
Location: Nampa,ID
Playing and learning: Baby Toco Toucan “Rocko”

 

Rocko responded really well to all the new things we’ve been throwing his way as of late and I just thought the pictures from his most recent adventures were too cute not to share and not to use as a demonstration for what you should be doing at home with your own bird.

 

Some sites even sell birdie houses or blankets, usually seen for rodents or conures, and can make it a little easier to get your bird used to being covered by something so that eventually maybe you can work your bird into cuddling into your clothing and then the blanket you’re using, and then a throw pillow and then a normal blanket and then different blankets and towels and clothing altogether to where it doesn’t matter what gets thrown on top of them…

 


Photo by Dave
Location: Nampa,ID
Playing and learning: Baby Toco Toucan “Rocko”

 

I often use folding the laundry as a chore I do with my birds so that I naturally play with them and throw things on them (it can buy you about 30 seconds to get as many pieces folded as possible!)

 

Get creative! Desensitizing doesn’t have to be a chore, as you can see from these pictures with Rocko, I may have been having a little bit more fun than him!


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3 comments

  • Hi to every , as I am actually keen of reading this blog’s post to be updated on a regular basis. It carries pleasant stuff.

    Lamont on
  • I’m afraid my old African Grey, Frannie, is too old and set in her ways. Towels or blankets really freak her out, and my sister swears I’m on crack because she’s never heard a peep out of Frannie, even though she talks all the time when we don’t have company!

    Kathy Salton on
  • Thanks for allowing me to l"own" a Toucan vicariously through you! LOL I LOVE reading your updates! KatrinaBrownPhotographer.com

    Katrina on

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