Are my budgies un-trainable?

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Hi Mitch!

Any thoughts on clicker training?  Any videos on your site for that?

Thanks ahead for any insight…

Rocco (Michael)

PS  And the birds love cuttlebone, I think I’m gonna need a cuttlebone holder or some such thing…the metal clip that came with the one I have doesn’t hold well…

Kudos for clicker training here you go. More clicker training videos can be found here

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Budgie Nutrition, Cage Set Up Video & Tips

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Peggie W replied – Feb 19, 8:25am

Hi, I am about to order some of the Scenic pellets for parakeets. I was just wondering how this compares to Volkman’s parakeet mix or Harrisons. I’ve been feeding my keets Volkman’s . Also, could you write more about parakeets ?

No one will write about parakeets! It’s always about the larger birds. I’d like to hear more about training an older, or stubborn bird, getting them to play more. Also, more about creative cage arrangement for smaller birds.

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I’m declaring myself THE caged bird keeper’s influencer for the Internet.

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(no one else wanted the gig)

If you follow digital trends as I do, it’s impossible to not recognize “the next big thing in marketing” called influencer marketing something that’s actually been around since 1940

All the “experts” in the many LinkedIn groups I follow and blogs I read coming across my crowded inbox have very precise instructions on how to achieve influencer marketing.

Search for influencers, connect with influencers, reach out to influencers, tell the influencers what great stuff you have, offer cash and gold bullion with the goal of a said influencer with 3 million followers on Instagram happily talking to their fans and followers about what remarkable stuff you have to say. It’s nice you have an instruction document.

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My caique chews on everything in sight – help

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I love your birdie brunch and read it first thing every Sunday. Thank you!

I hope you can help me. I have an 8 yr. old white-bellied Caique. Conrad has owned me since he was 3 months old. I am also a strong proponent of flighted birds (seems to me they were made that way), so Conrad is fully-flighted.

He’s delightful and we are strongly bonded. He’s really a great bird and good company. HOWEVER, I don’t seem to be able to stop him from chewing on everything in sight. He has numerous toys of varying types and textures in all his houses (currently 3, not including travel), but when he’s out he chews on furniture, window sills, molding, electric cords, shoes, to name a few.

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Is sugar in bird food good or bad for my bird?

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Hi Windy City Parrot.

All this blogging about food but I really need to know what you feed the budgies – and what they actually will eat. Standard seed mix? Any pellets? Avicakes? (molasses = sugar)

People food? Mine eat an uncolored mix (millet, canary seed, oats) and Harrison’s pellets, which they seem to eat more of than the corn pellet bits that come in their seed mix.

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Making your own bird cage perches

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If you are considering the making your own bird cage perches from trees in the back yard or local forest preserve, it’s important to know which wood species are safe and which ones are not. Please use the list below as a reference.

If you do introduce outside wood into your bird’s cage you should disinfect the branches with a good quality disinfectant like Mango Pet Focus – and allow them to dry completely before putting them in your bird’s cage.

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Why my bird doesn’t know what size perch to stand on

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Rant-> Why we don’t know Jack about proper perch sizes for caged birds.

All these bloody geniuses on the Internet. YouTube rock stars of bird care. “Where are you getting your information?”

Avian vets have the of ability to predict the outcome of interactions between multiple birds. “Don’t put that bird near the other bird – an attack is imminent!”

Humans with no credentials will make videos about bird care without a stitch of evidence to present that the information they present is accurate.

We have 10 year old pages on our website that will tell you precisely the diameter of perches certain size birds require. 

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Change is essential for your bird to accept it

Read in 18 minutes

Editor’s note: you will read these words later in the post:

Hi Catherine.  Peaches has always been in my small bird room with the cockatiels, lovebirds, meyers, quakers, conures and a very skittish white capped pionus I adopted last year.  It’s been a long road to get her to accept me.  Peaches doesn’t like to be near (within 2  feet) of other birds.

Otherwise she tolerates them so I am sure she is loving all the attention Mitch is giving her.  She was out of her cage (24 X 22) morning and afternoon for a total of two hours.  She also enjoyed being on the jungle gym in the kitchen area.  I have never used a water bottle with her. She doesn’t throw food in her water.  Since I am home all day.  Water dishes get changed twice a day if needed.

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OH NO someone has stolen my parrots! SunDance, Pepper and 19 other parrots: missing!

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My first medium sized parrot was a loving sun conure who spent all the years of her life with me. She chose me one day when I was in a pet shop when she was just weaned, about 8 weeks old.

Today I know I got her for the wrong reasons. I was fast learning a lot about my budgie Sydney and twice-found cockatiel Cocoa. After two cold winters in Denver, my husband and I were at last returning to Cape Canaveral for his job on the Space Shuttle. Before leaving Denver I said I wanted a bike for riding the beach and a parrot to ride with me. When SunDance picked me, little did I know she would have an absolute horror of bicycles. No matter how I worked with her, she never overcame this fear.

Continue reading “OH NO someone has stolen my parrots! SunDance, Pepper and 19 other parrots: missing!”

Why Is My Baby Senegal Parrot Plucking It’s Feathers?

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From: DEBBIE C <>

Date: Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 8:14 PM
Subject: Senegal baby plucking feathers

Hello Mitch,

I have a Senegal baby parrot, four months old. It is pulling its feathers out. I have had Senegal parrots before, and I never had a plucking problem with them. This bird has everything.

I don’t understand why it pulls out its own feathers? It is breaking my heart. I would appreciate Any advice, & help that you can give me.

Thank you sincerely. 

Debbie C

Dear Debbie,

Nora here. Mitch is tied up with tweaking the new Windy City Parrot website so he asked me to help you.

editor’s note: we do have a remarkable team 🙂

Plucking feathers is usually caused by stress or boredom. Both of these issues should not already be a problem in the case of such a young bird. Weaning and moving to a new home is, of course somewhat stressful, but life is so new for such a young baby.

Since I don’t have a picture of the parrot to see, I have to ask how you know it is plucking? Have you seen it actually pull feathers out possibly making a soft squeak while plucking?  Please read the Blog post  on determining true plucking from over-grooming or molting by clicking on this link.

senegal parrot on back on human hand

However, there could be some stresses involved in moving into the new home. Do you have young children or other pets that could be causing stress for the baby? Is he eating well? Does he have a pellet or seed and supplement diet? Is he eating people food too? Are you aware of the human food items that should never be giving to a parrot? If not, you want to be sure to read “What is bad for my parrot to smell and eat?

Did the pet shop give you a well parrot certificate indicating the baby had seen an  avian vet and received a clean bill of health? If not, you should locate a qualified AVIAN vet (not just an animal vet who also will see parrots) and explain the problem as well as everything about his diet and home life.

There are two benefits to this: not only will this rule out any health issues but you will also establish a relationship with a qualified avian vet who will have records and knowledge of your parrot in case he ever becomes ill, injured and for yearly well parrot check ups. The vet will likely want to perform some blood testing to be sure everything is in balance. S/he may want to perform a mouth swab culture and tests the baby’s poop to ensure there are no parasites or bacterial/viruses indicated. S/he’ll weigh your bird to be certain it is within normal range at this point in life. Should any problems be identified you’ll receive proper medication and treatment plan. Skin problems or allergic reactions can be identified and treated.

Should any health issues be found, proper medication and treatment can be an important part of stopping the feather plucking.  If no health issues are present, you’ll rest comfortably knowing that the issue is not caused by health.

Exotic Birds: Senegal Parrot

Because you got your Senegal from a pet shop, you did not get an opportunity to see the parent parrots. There are unethical breeders out there who over-breed and keep birds that are not good parent candidates in their breeding programs out of greed or lack of knowledge. While to my knowledge there has been no gene identified that passes along feather plucking, it is an accepted fact that parrots that pluck can have babies that pluck. Also, over breeding or poor selection or care of breeder birds result in babies that pluck or have less than the sweet personalities that are traits of babies produced by top quality parents.

Since weaning and joining a new family is stressful and you think the bird is plucking, I suggest you add two supplements to your bird’s diet. The first is Avitech Avicalm Calming Bird Supplement. This can help your baby deal with the stresses he is experiencing and the second product is Avitech Feather In Anti Pick Treatment. It is a mix of ingredients that are to be mixed with water and used in your own clean unused spray bottle, spraying only at times the baby has plenty of time to dry before bedtime. These should be used along with a good avian multivitamin if you are feeding a seed based diet; pellet diets have complete nutrition and a multivitamin isn’t usually necessary unless your vet recommends you use one.



If one of one or both of the parents were pluckers it is possible that the period of time your baby was with the parents, if any, he could have had the tiny down feathers sometimes present at birth plucked. Plucking produces slight pain and therefore releases certain brain chemicals that cause the release of endorphin’s that actually make the bird feel good. This can cause a bird to become an endorphin “junkie”, wanting to cause this slightly euphoric feeling to recur again and again.

Be sure your baby Senegal is not being stressed by children or other pets, yet has its cage located in a central part of the home so he can see what is going on, against a wall. Don’t place the cage directly in front of a large window because he doesn’t understand the protection glass provides and can be stressed by fear, thinking that the predators outdoors such as hawks, cats, dogs, snakes and other common predators found near the home can get in.

Don’t dote on him just because he is so cute and so new. He will be part of our family for many years to come. Since he is already having a desire to pluck and when life goes on and you don’t have time to spend as much time with him, he may feel sad and pluck even more.

Be sure his cage has lots of toys, interesting food items served in interesting ways such as in hanging kabobs and treats hidden in foraging toys, plenty of perches and everything needed to keep him from being bored. Because he is so young he’ll enjoy some foot toys probably as well as a wide spectrum of other types of toys. He is young and play isn’t really an instinct so be sure you teach him how to play and have fun with toys. Have toys of different textures and materials, preening toys, swings, perches of different materials and textures. A busy parrot has little time to pluck. Or be bored.

Playing with a Foot Toy

There are so many reasons a parrot can begin plucking that Mitch developed a wonderful questionnaire to help the Windy City Parrot team help people who have plucking parrots. If your avian vet finds nothing wrong that could cause plucking, the parrot has lots of foraging and preening opportunities to distract it from its own feathers, it isn’t near any large windows but is in the center of family activity, and no ideas presented here help after giving it a bit of time then please fill out the questionnaire, email it to us and we will do our best to help you further.

I do hope this helps your baby Senegal and you.

written by nora caterino
approved by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing




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Windy City Parrot Shoppers Guide

Read in one minute
white cockatoo flying toy airplane flanked by 2 black cockatoos
Banner cockatoo holding dollar bill in beak
lorikeet speaking into microphone held by a man's hand
cockatoo driving t-bird convertible
Cockatiel wearing old fashion flight helmet sitting on human hand that is drawing an antique airplane
$100 bill with african grey profile in center with eye patch
3 sun conure chicks

several male australian king parrots

We like when you visit us. We see no reason for you to dash off just to see what your college roommate (that you recently connected with after 22 years)
made for dinner. We’ve got more than 300 bird related videos on this site. How many cat videos can you really watch?
Personally I (mitchr) think parrots were the god-feathers of social media. I state my case here. If you must find us in any these noisy places, we’ll be the ones with poop stains on the back of our clothing.
popcorn white cockatiel on booda soft rope perch in her cage at the birdie boutique t
African Grey parrot hiding behind many bird toys in bird cage
czek man in costume training parrot in public plaza
pigeon looking ay smartphone gps
catherine tobsing & mitch rezman in the birdie boutique

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