Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Exercise

Rocky's exercise routine has continued, which I firmly believe is at least partly responsible for his improved behavior, especially towards me! He has been quite delightful lately -- reduced screaming, walking by me without even threatening me, etc. He's still the most high-maintenance of all of our parrots, but much less than a few months ago! As I've mentioned before, we try to get him panting at least once, and preferably several, times a day.

Here is one way that he gets exercise when I'm alone with the parrots. Thomas can grab him with his hands and they'll do assisted flying or other acrobatic exercise. Since I don't want to risk a bite, I'm relegated to using a stick.
video

We worked up to this over months -- I would not recommend putting a parrot on a stick and swinging that stick around, cold turkey! I know that he knows to hang on (as you can see in the video), and he also has full flight (though he doesn't fly) that enables him to glide and land safely on the floor, should he choose to (or just accidentally) fly off.

Right before taking this video, I'd been tossing him into the living room as part of his flight training -- teaching him to fly around corners. That's what I was trying to do the first few attempts, but he held on to the stick, so I listened to him and we did normal flapping exercises instead.

If you have a parrot that has too much energy, resulting in screaming, attacking, or other undesirable behavior, I'd highly recommend an exercise program. In fact, I'm a big believer in making sure parrots get enough exercise, even if they don't have behavioral problems. I know how wonderful exercise makes me feel and these wild creatures, built for flight, also benefit from exercising their muscles.

The big thing is finding exercise that is fun and safe for your parrot. If Rocky were clipped and inexperienced, he could have fallen off of the stick and broken a bone. With a non-flying bird unused to exercise, you could have the bird hang on to the bottom of a towel that you gently swing over a bed or couch, or some sort of assisted flying/flapping where you have control over the bird. I will try to get some videos of these methods up on the blog in the near future.

Even though all of our birds have their flight feathers, that does not guarantee they are getting enough exercise! Flying from our kitchen to living room is not very far. It does not make Max pant! We play a game of chase with our good flyers (Max, Stella, and Beeps) in order to get them panting, and figure out ways to get the others tired out.

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