How can you cram more time for your birds into a busy day? With three African Greys under my roof, I was forced to move completely out of my office and do my writing in the living room. On my days off, they see me all damned day long. And if that wasn’t enough, (And with Parker, it usually isn’t) if I go into the kitchen, one of them goes with me as long as I don’t have anything cooking on the stove. If I’m vacuuming, one is on my shoulder. There’s all kinds of little ways to spend more time with your birds and this time adds up.
If I go into my bedroom to fold laundry, one of them goes with me. I have friends over all the time. Nobody sits anywhere unless they have a parrot on them. If you sit down in my house, you get the charming company of an African Grey while you’re there.
I call this “time theft.” You can call it anything you want, but that extra five or ten minutes of ambient attention means a lot to these little guys.
When I get home, Pepper makes a big deal about sitting on my shoulder. She just adores that half hour or so and it really means a lot to her. Pepper is such a good little soul, I rarely have to move her or “shush” her, and you can tend to forget about her because she’s so good. But those minutes with me are gold to her. And if it’s that important to her, it’s important to me.
I’d love to know what ways you find to spend more time with your animal family. I always welcome suggestions!
February 9, 2011 at 10:06 am
All of our little ones (cockatiels) are used to riding around the house on our shoulders while we do whatever work we need to. Their tiny toenails can grip even t-shirts and they have learned to just hang on and adapt to whatever we’re doing. My grey, however, can’t hang on as well as they do, so we have to be more creative. Her favorite activities? Kibitzing my knifework while watching food prep before dinner, talking about how hot and good dinner is going to be while watching me cook (from a safe distance), discussing the finer points of water while watching me do dishes, pointing out that I need to put more elbow grease into scrubbing the tub, etc. I don’t use harsh chemicals to clean, so she is welcome wherever I’m trying to clean provided she keeps the poo off the clean parts. 🙂
February 9, 2011 at 10:57 am
I don’t have 3 birds Patricia but I recognize offering quality time with my one red headed Eclectus girl Miss Scarlet. I had built a T-Stand for QP “Dolce” and now it’s Scarlet’s. When she flock (fire alarm) calls, I know it’s a “Where are you Daddy?” call… So I now make it a point of having Scarlet sitting on her T-Stand near me while I am on the computer, cooking or watching TV. She just likes being near me while we are hanging out. Oh, and BTW the flock calls seem to stop! Hmmmm?
February 9, 2011 at 11:28 am
My African grey isn’t a huge snuggle bug, but she does enjoy being near me quite often. In the afternoons, while I am getting ready for work, she perches on top of the shower curtain rod and supervises as I wash my face, put in my contacts, and do my hair. During this time I do, however, have a blue crowned conure on my shoulder (Rico). If Rico is not pleased at how I am doing my hair, he will redo it!
At night, when we get home from work and are relaxing, I have the sun conure, Acro, with me. Her favorite one-on-one position is under a sweater. I have even made it a point to keep a specific sweater (the “bird sweater”) handy at all times, and I just throw it on over my tank top and she burrows in. I sometimes forget she’s there, until she pops her head out to see what’s going on. She doesn’t poop on people.
Finally, my husband drilled small holes in his computer desk to hang tiny treat dishes from. We fill one with food and the other with water, and Dizzy (our green cheek conure) can snack and play in the keyboard tray. It’s her favorite thing to do.
February 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm
I so agree with you about the small moments adding up with those of us who are gone at work all day. My macaws know that if I say “Want to help me?” they can jump on my shoulder and ride around and observe (and comment on) whatever I’m doing. My GW loves to sit on the bathroom sink and talk to the blow dryer while I’m drying my hair. My B & G insists on “helping” with laundry, which means sitting on the edge of the laundry basket and throwing everything out in all directions, or climbing into the dryer and tossing all of that after it’s done, too (and after it’s cooled off, as some things can get too hot for her to play with). We also have “laundry wars” on the couch, where I dump the clean stuff all over and they lose their minds playing with socks and underwear. They never chew anything – just pitch it. It’s hilarious when they try to move the sheets (and they are determined). And then there’s doing dishes, which means trying to climb over, turn on the tap (they know how) and jump into the sink for an impromptu bath! Batten the hatches…
February 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm
These are all great ideas and suggestions! Thanks so much for all of the terrific options!
February 9, 2011 at 7:34 pm
On my back on the couch, with the Nanday on my shoulder or chest, tucked under my chin, the Pionus on my knee – this is the only way they allow me to watch TV.
Dishes with Nanday on the shoulder, pionus on the window sill over the sink.
Not to mention they simply must accompany me to the restroom where the pionus watches from the shower rod and the Nanday, well, on the shoulder.
Are we sensing a theme here?
Love the picture 🙂
February 9, 2011 at 7:41 pm
To be perfectly honest, I taught parker a trick by taking him to the bathroom with me every time I made a visit and trained him. If you think about how many times you “visit,” and the brevity of the “visit,” it’s a perfect time to train, believe it or not. Frequent, and short training sessions are most effective.
So let me explain that you do the training first. Then you “tidy up” so to speak, wash your hands and THEN pick up your bird. But for frequent training sessions and lack of other things to do in there, it sure beats “Readers Digest” or “People Magazine.”
February 10, 2011 at 8:24 am
After reading this blog it gave me ideas on how to give more time to my parrots individually.
THANK YOU – I have a happy little Amazon (Indy) at home because last night as I made lunches she was riding on my shoulder.
This type of information I would have never thought of but it does make my bird’s day.
Keep the good ideas coming – I can use them.
February 15, 2011 at 10:15 am
Ichigo (Nanday) demands that he cuddle under a blanket with me right when I wake up. Sometimes this means that my husband gets up, brings him to me, and we cuddle in bed for a bit. Other mornings, we snuggle on the couch together. And then of course he needs to ride around on my shoulder while I’m making the birds and tiny humans their breakfast. Ichigo and Kiwi (Blue-Crown) both love taking showers with me, so I have to alternate them every few days. Abby (CAG) is not big on being held by me when my husband is not home, but she enjoys me singing to her, and since I’m always cooking and cleaning, there’s always plenty of music to sing to her. When my husband is home, she has to sit on either of our laps, and we must all be sitting close together.
February 24, 2011 at 12:37 am
I have a U2 Angel…she is a love and I have to be in her sight or else the screams start. She has a tree, a large cage and has taken over a step stool ( I wrap a towel around the top bar and she uses it as a perch) I have a lazy girl chair and the stool is a way for her to climb onto my chair and snuggle. It is so funny I could be sitting and watching TV and she comes over to snuggle. She loves to go under covers and nap with me so I semi cover her (plenty of fresh air) and we take a little nap. She is my baby.
March 3, 2011 at 12:36 am
I can relate.
Of my four amazons, two are my “wild birds.” They have been inseparable since the moment I introduced them and really just want me to be around for their food, water, and general entertainment.
The other two my “domesticated boys” seem to need my attention or at least need to physically see me at all times. Though shoulder perching is off limits now that they are sexually mature (and fighting over me as the only possible mate, no less) but I manage to work out individual time for each.
One gets morning time with me, since he seems to get up before everyone else. He accompanies me in the shower and helps me make lunches, prep the morning meals etc. The other spends evening time with me after everyone goes to bed, reading with me, finishing up the chores, and cleaning cages.
If I’m home during the day, one bird or another is always in the room with me. It’s a good thing I have them potty trained, because even when I nap I wake up with someone on my pillow. 🙂