Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Another foraging update

I'm reposting a picture of Steve's before food dish from yesterday so as to have a more accessible "before and after" comparison. He had 10 wrapped pellets and 10 unwrapped pellets.This is what I found when I got home:
There were 5 unwrapped pellets left, and the rest had been eaten/destroyed.

This morning, I wrapped all 20 of his pellets. 10 were placed in his food dish and 10 were hidden around his cage. By the time I left for work, he'd found and eaten 5 of his 10 hidden pellets. Of course, since he stays in his cage while I'm hiding them, he watches where I put them, so they're pretty easy to find! I'll gradually make things more complicated for him, don't worry!

This morning, the caiques were in the living room and everyone else was in the kitchen with us. I go in and check on the caiques regularly, to make sure everything is fine. I also listen and go in there when I hear flying or anything suspicious.

As I've mentioned before, my greys do not have food dishes. Their pellets are wrapped in pieces of receipt paper and hidden in their cages for them to find. The caiques and Rocky just get their pellets in their food dishes. I could give you a million reasons for this discrepancy, but it boils down to laziness on my part and the fact that the greys both have/had feather destruction issues so I try to keep their minds as active as possible.

I am going to have to quit being so lazy.

Beeps flew over to Stella's cage, found a pellet hidden in her cage, then ate it (sorry for the blurriness):The greys usually eat the pellet through the paper -- Beeps completely unwrapped it and then ate the pellet:
I gave Calypso a wrapped pellet, and he was also so happy!

Rocky would probably enjoy this as well. I should stop with the preferential treatment for the greys. I'm going to have to start wrapping pellets at night or I will never make it to work at a reasonable hour! Luckily, I have an amazing boss who would probably find it funny if I started coming in 15 minutes later due to parrot pellet wrapping and hiding!


Lisa said...


Again, I am so pleased I came across your blog. I was having a terrible time finding any useful tips/information on line. We have started feeding our Severe Macaw Samba pellet's and keeping the nuts as treats to hand feed (as you had suggested in a prior post). We are gearing up to start clicker training soon. We're discovering his favorite treats currently. Anyhow- I'm wondering about having Samba do some foraging for his Pellets. Would you recommend I just place a few wrapped pellets in his food dish and see if he has any interest in unwrapping them? Do most all Parrots enjoy foraging? I had read about Rocky and nesting behavior. Is nesting a season behavior or will he always have nesting tendencies? I had to slip just one more question into this already lengthy comment :)

Mary said...

Hi Lisa,

I hope that my experiences can be helpful to you!

As for foraging, I can really only speak to my flock, but they all love it! As I admitted previously, I have been a bit lazy about this and only did it with the greys, but in the past week, have started doing it with all of my birds, and they love it! They would much rather eat the wrapped pellets that are hidden than the ones that are in their dishes.

Plus, it gives them something constructive to do instead of being bored or plotting mischief :)

My suggestion is to start slow, as you said, and see how he reacts. Then make things more complicated as you gain confidence that he can find food. I will write more about this in today's post!

As for nesting, Rocky does minor nesting year-round, but there are periods when he is in a major nesting phase. Last year, one of his favorite nesting places was under his cage, and I swear we didn't see him for a month because he was always under his cage!

Since Rocky enjoys nesting and it doesn't adversely affect his behavior, we allow him to do so and make sure we have plenty of wood slices and newspaper for him to chip/chew!