Stop Ya Squarking!! ONE

Stop Ya Squarking!! (continued)

Night-time Curfew

Give it toys to play with.  One range of bird toys goes by the name of  ‘Jungle Talk’. They are available from your veterinarian and pet shop and are super bird toys! Kong Toys also work well for birds.

You can you train your bird to be quiet but it takes a bit of patience. Some pet birds get over attached to their owners. I have seen several that cannot tolerate being out of their owner’s sight. Sometimes the only way such tormented bird owners can keep their feather duster silent is to have it sitting on their shoulder continuously. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy – the more they allow the bird to ‘win’ by placing it on their shoulder, the more the bird will demand this attention.

The solution is to distract the bird when it is noisy, and then to praise the resulting quiet behaviour. A few tricks will help. Your bird needs to think that the distraction has nothing to do with you.

Seeing the Light and Fan Fare

When is your batty bird being ballistic? Squarking often occurs around dawn or dusk. When you think about it, such behaviour is quite normal. That’s when the early birds are out an about, all chatting about their plans for the new day. It’s a very social time for birds. Your cranky cocky wants to join in and the squarking is partly him being social and partly frustration at wanting to get out of his cage and to be part of the action.

It’s similar at dusk. The birds are going home to roost, they chatter about the day’s events, catch up on current affairs and then settle in for the night with cuddles and kisses all around.

Part of the solution to this behaviour is to reduce your bird’s exposure to these other birds. Try covering the cage or having and a ‘bedroom’ cage for your feathered foe inside  the garage or house.

A Rich Lifestyle

What about creature comforts? You can’t expect a bird to be happy in a minuscule cage that is hardly bigger than the bird’s wingspan. If the cage is in a hot, cold or windy location, your bird certainly has the right to complain too. Some folk have a comfortable cage which is in the shade in the morning but as the sun moves, the cage is torched by the afternoon sun later in the day.  That’s sure to create belligerent bird behaviour.

Giving a variety of food is useful too. Vary your birds diet and give is some environmental enrichment by providing nutritious bird snacks such as pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Cockatoos love destroying things, so through out the refined dowel perches and let it destroy a few gnarled and ugly tree branches from native Aussie trees.

One cunning technique is to place a bed lamp or fan next to the cage with the electric lead pluged into a power point near you but away from the bird. As soon as a squark occurs, turn on the light or fan for two to three seconds. This will distract and slightly startle the bird. After turning the device off, wait for about 60 seconds and if it is still quite, go to the cage and give the bird a little attention and maybe a food treat. Walk off and leave the bird for a further 60 seconds or so. If it still remains quiet, then it really deserves a reward to so give the rascal a longer period of attention or perhaps take it out of the cage.

If you want to be a bit more elaborate, get a remote door bell from the supermarket and carry the door bell button in your pocket. Place the bell adjacent to the cage. As soon as squarking occurs, press the button to activate the door bell. Reward any resultant silence as before.

Using this method, the attention is for being quiet, not for being noisy.

You can also try the ‘Bad Bird – Good Bird Technique’. As soon as squarking occurs, yell a gruff  ‘QUIET’, wait for silence for five to ten seconds and then, in a sweet, sooky voice praise your paranoid parrot saying ‘GOOD BIRD’ or whatever else you feel is appropriate. Now see if that has purchased you a longer period of silence.  If it has, go to the bird as before and give it the attention it wanted

Timing is vitally important. Immediate distraction or soft discipline is essential. If you leave the squawker to screech for too long, it has reinforced its own wrongful behaviour.

One last word – be careful what you teach your parrot to say. If you teach it phrases that are embarrassing, remember that a cockatoo can live for 50 to 70 years. That’s a long time to put up with profound parrot profanities!