Monday, November 17, 2008

Schroeder, preparing to go home

I have had Schroeder for about 5 months now. When I got him, he had extremely dry skin and feathers, to the point it sounded like someone crushing paper every time he ruffled his feathers. Because of this, he had a slight feather barbering problem on his chest. He also was not tame, with an overgrown beak, and was extremely underweight. He was very afraid of humans, especially hands, and spent most of his time sitting in the back of his cage, never playing with anything.

I do not know much of his history. The owner I got him from had rehomed many birds, taking on more than she could handle. She was therefore rehoming most of them, including Schroeder. I know nothing of his history other than that. I can say, though from his phobia of older, skinny men, and shaky males voices, that obviously someone fitting that description had abused him in the past.

After he adjusted to me, while he was still in quarantine, I started taming him. The first step was getting him to take his favorite treat, almonds, from my hand, coming forward to the front of the cage to get them. Then, I started letting him out of the cage, and giving him almond slivers. After that, I started placing the almond sliver on my (covered with sweatshirt) arm, and having him take them off. I moved the almond farther and farther down my arm, so he had to eventually put one foot, and then both, and then walk down my arm to get to his treat. After he would readily do that, I started moving my arm, very slightly, while he was on it. Once that was no biggy for him, I tried moving it more and more, until I could get him on my arm, and pull my arm away and then put him back in his cage (where there was another treat, besides the one he already had gotten, waiting in his dish). After that, I started taking him from his cage to playgyms around the house, and later just taking him around with me.

He has gotten pretty tame doing this, and absolutely loves attention. He just can't get enough. If you are slow enough, and can get your hand up to his head, he also loves head scritches, and will relax so far he falls over (and then wakes up quite upset!) He is also getting used to riding around the house on my arm or shoulder. I am now trying to get him stick trained, as well, using the same technique.

I tried various different toys to get him to play, all different kinds and sizes. The one that finally broke the ice was very simple, as they usually are, just an old fashioned clothespin, the kind with no spring. He loves those, and after he got used to playing with that, he started playing hard with bells, plastic chain, other wood, his planet pleasure toys (a huge favorite) and of course other foot toys. Between all the chewing he now does, and his almond shells, his beak is now a much better length!

To help his dry skin and barbering, I made sure he got some seed and grains every day, for the essential fatty acids, as well as baths. Fortunately, he loves being sprayed with a fine mist.

About 2 months ago, I listed him on Petfinder. After a month, I heard from Schroeder's soon to be new Mommy. I have been talking to her since then. As she is up near D.C., I suggested Phoenix Landing, since that would make it easier for her. Although she was very happy to see them, and immediately filled out a volunteer application, she had always wanted a Pionus, and really wanted to adopt Schroeder. She was very excited about the seminars, though, (who wouldn't be? They are so well done, very informative, and tons of fun) and has gone to two so far. She had her home visit this weekend, so after she gets everything all set up for him there, Schroeder will be going home! I will really miss him, he is such a special bird, but I know he will be very happy in his new home, getting spoiled.

Who doesn't love that look?

Ok, where is the almond??

Schroeder, waiting for me to finish snapping shots and play with him.


DoodleBird said...

What a sweet face. How can you part with them? I don't know if I'd be able to. I'd be the crazy old lady on the block with 500 parrots.

Meg said...

It is really hard to part with them. I find that best way to do it, for the parrot and for me, is to make sure that neither of you get too bonded to the other. So, while I tame them, and do anything else they need, give them attention, etc., I also try to make sure they do not get too bonded to me, if that makes any sense. That way, it is not as hard for them to go to a new home, since by the time they go, they have come to love people, and are simply looking for someone to give them all the time they need. Plus, I just keep in my head the whole time how happy they will be in a home that is perfect for them, ready love and spoil them to pieces.

Best in Flock parrot blog said...

Pionus are such great birds. Whoever ends up adopting him is a very lucky person.