This Month is All About Trick Training!

I made the goal to focus hard on trick training all my parrots who don't know as much as Bondi (my lead trainee) and really try to get them to know more behaviors this month. I wanted this month's priority with my birds to be all about behavior training whether it's natural behaviors on cue, prop tricks or just trained behaviors. 

I thought some people might be able to benefit from my training schedule for 2-3 days in a row so I will explain how I did it all here. 

My training goals:

  1. Work with all 3 of my macaws on the same tricks so observational learning could take place
  2. Refresh their memories on target training
  3. Teach the spin via the target stick
  4. Teach the wave after the spin was learned on cue 

All 3 macaws progressed at different rates and not at ones I assumed. I thought Comet would catch on the slowest and Tusa the fastest with Jinx in between. In fact, Jinx learned the fastest and was able to learn both the spin and wave before either of the other macaws had finished learning the spin yet. 

Here is the thing, every bird did differently... so with the same amount of attention, same environment, same tricks being taught and same amount of training sessions, here is how all 3 macaws did in comparison to one another:

  • Jinx learned both the spin and wave on cue in 2-3 days
  • Comet learned the spin and had just begun training for the wave in 2-3 days
  • Tusa had not yet got the spin down in 2-3 days  

These macaws are all very similiar in age. Jinx is younger by less than a month and the others are only a week apart in age. 

I had around 4-5 training sessions every day with them during this time. I used almond pieces, sun flower seeds and pine nuts as reinforcements/rewards and I trained each bird individually inside their designated aviary. I actually normally house all 3 macaws together in one aviary but for these days I kept them separate in their own aviaries, which I also trained in. I designated one perch/spot inside each aviary to work on and so when I came into the cages, the birds began to run to that certain spot because they knew "this is where I train".   

 

I didn't have them on much food management. I worked with them before breakfast, lunch and dinner, and in between. The wanting for the nuts was strong since they don't get them in their every day diet and those days I gave them pellets and fruits/veggies as their meals and snacks. So they were craving the nuts! Your bird may or may not need more in depth food management.

Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.

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