Sunday, June 26, 2011

Latest ABK Magazine - Managing Return to Cage Behaviour

If you haven’t tracked down a copy of the latest (June/July) edition of Australian Birdkeeper Magazine then I would really encourage you to do so. In this issue we have a guest writer for the `Pet Parrot Pointers’ column – Chris Wyness from New Zealand. Chris and his wife Paula are very dedicated birdkeepers who have established a large flock of parrots with whom they interact with each day. Most of their parrots are kept as pairs or within a small species group and they benefit from an excellent 21st Century approach to their management and care. Some time ago Chris got in touch with me to discuss issues he was having with his Red-tailed Black Cockatoo `Zulu'. Over time, Zulu had become reluctant to return to his enclosure after the late afternoon/early evening communal flight time. Chris and I workshopped some behaviour theory, training philosophies and strategy approaches to help get Zulu back on track. Thanks entirely to the reflective, considered and positive reinforcement based approaches that Chris put in place he now has Zulu keen and eager to return to his enclosure each night. It's a really valuable read for all parrot owners (particularly with flighted parrots) and one that I am indebted to Chris and his wife Paula for sharing. If you have a good story to share about managing the behaviour of your companion parrot then I would love to hear about it. It may just end up helping others learn through your experience in the pages of ABK Magazine!

Aviary `Re-scaping'

It’s been a busy time over the past week with some major re-perching happening around the aviaries as well as an overdue re-substrating of the Macaw flight. I have a preference for `Decomposed Granite’ as an aviary flooring. It’s earthy in colour and texture, compacts hard, drains well, easy to surface rake and maintain and is perfectly safe for birds. Our only problem up here is limited supply and relatively high cost. The alternative, and one that I have used for many years (and many other aviculturists), is crusher dust. It has many of the same qualities as decomposed granite but in its normal form is a blue-grey colour and isn’t as aesthetically natural looking as decomposed granite. Needing to go with whatever was available I ordered a couple of cubic metres of crusher dust to be delivered and much to my surprise was greeted with a sensational looking `red’ variety.  It looks fantastic in the aviaries and is just the same as regular crusher dust but its source material is a different type of rock. The images below show the difference. The top image is the new aviary flooring with the red variety and the bottom image is another aviary with the regular blue variety.

Macaw flight with `red' variation of crusher dust for aviary floor

Amazon flight with normal `blue' colour crusher dust for aviary floor