TREAT your bird!

I know how much you love your bird. And I know how much time and effort you take to ensure they have a healthy, species-appropriate diet with all the nutrients they need. And part of that is also giving them treats.

Sometimes your bird might try to derail those plans. If they are always tying to divebomb your dinner, or steal a chip, or run off with you lunch, you might be inadvertently teaching them that nothing good ever comes from your hands. You just SHOO them away from all the good stuff!

Take some of those yummy things that they are trying to steal and work them into each day. Keep a few potato pieces, pastas, corn nibblets, or other preferred food items in reserve. Make them bird safe, and cut them small. Give them to your bird for FREE. They don’t have to do anything, they get the yummy treat. They sit on their favourite knee, they get a treat. They are on their perch, they get a treat.

African grey parrot eating a treat

Birds who are used to being shooed away may look with suspicion at this new introduction. Seriously? A small bit of potato? Are you sure?

Practice giving your bird a treat. Sound silly? It’s an exercise in both you “giving” and them “receiving”. By giving them these yummy things, we are building a history. The more positive things you put into their Trust Bank Account, the better your relationship will be. And by them receiving yummy things, they learn to trust you as a bringer of great things. This is the beginning of all our relationships.

Even longstanding relationships, like some owners have with their birds, can be strengthened by giving these freebies. Once your bird knows that you will give them the good stuff, then we can start to ask for very simple behaviours as well. A “Step-Up” is always a good thing to reinforce, even with seasoned veterans. Pick something the bird already knows really well, and add a little more reinforcement to that behaviour. It’s always good to be reinforced!

Treats can be part of their daily diet and kept in reserve to give them throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be much, but it has to be YUMMY. Make sure you are still keeping a healthy bird. But give them TREATS!

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