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Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Discuss indoor freeflight and managing freeflighted birds around the house. How to live with a flighted parrot.

Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby Michael » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:24 pm

I'm not upset at all. I like this discussion. It's just hard to judge online if someone is taking a debate too personally. If people get too upset and leave, there would be no opportunity to change their mind (or solidify what they already think). I try not to make things personal and I often speak rhetorically about people like you (no flight or mixed pets, you have both so it makes for two debates) but since you are specifically talking about it, it may seem like I am constantly singling you out. It's not to make you feel bad but just because it illustrates my disagreements more specifically and you can use specific arguments if you disagree.

One reason I was dissatisfied with other forums/discussion groups was because they were either under-moderated and people would make things personal and fight. Or, the ones I hated even more were the ones that were over moderated and anyone who disagreed had their answer removed. There is no opportunity to change people's minds or make them more sure of their opinion if you cannot freely discuss it. You see, it's easy to agree. You're not going to hurt anyone's feelings by agreeing. It's the disagreements that require a certain amount of courage, going against the norm, and having reasons for it. Also there are times when you have to admit defeat. Some people will not admit they are wrong (and I'm not saying anyone is wrong in this discussion but more generally) and keep fighting a dying cause.

I completely understand that you have mixed pets and quite likely cannot allow flight. There are difficult compromises you can make to make both happen if you want to but I understand that the cost/difficulty may not be justified. However, I am still trying to get you to agree that either in theory or for potential owners. I'm not trying to make you admit that you are wrong (I full realize that if my household environment was bad for flight I would have still bought a parrot not realizing that for lack of education/experience) but I'm hoping to win you over conceptually.
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Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby Michael » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:35 pm

Say what you will about the benefit you get from having the additional pets, however, there is without a doubt no benefit to the pets. Best case scenario is that it doesn't affect them but in reality it's bound to hurt them. Aside from the physical risks there is also an emotional toll which also applies (but to a lesser extent) to additional parrots. The more pets you have, simply the less individual attention and care you can give to the rest. Two dogs or two parrots at least affords a chance that they could be companions. However, having "one of each" animal in order to have a variety hurts the animals when taken too far. I would really have a hard time believing the bird is in any way better off from the cats around. You certainly get more enjoyment from having both kinds which I understand. However, the pets pay the price.
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Michael
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Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby entrancedbymyGCC » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:53 pm

Michael wrote: I would really have a hard time believing the bird is in any way better off from the cats around. You certainly get more enjoyment from having both kinds which I understand. However, the pets pay the price.


I dunno, he seems to enjoy watching them sometimes. He doesn't seem to know he is supposed to be afraid of them.

Actually the one who is suffering at some level is my horse, but then I pay someone to take care of his basic needs including daily interaction and exercise. It is NOT the case that I have so many minutes per day that get allocated among however many creatures happen to be in the house. It doesn't work like that. They are ALL more integrated into my life than that. For the record, I have three cats, one conure and one horse (well, I think I still have half a horse in Spain somewhere, but that's beside the point). And I have a husband who shares all of them with me. I don't think the cats get significantly less attention than they did pre-Scooter, and I don't think Scooter would get substantially more of my time without the cats. Now, the computer, that one is arguable!
Scooter :gcc:
Death Valley Scotty :cape:
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Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby Suzzique » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:51 pm

I also have mutiple pets. We have a zoo really. We have 3 cats (totally indoor only), a dog (small), a snake (bull), aquatic turtle, 3 goldfish and our 2 birds. I don't feel that any of the pets lack attenchen in any way. The birds are out of thier cages as long as someone is home. They are flighted the cats and the dog are allowed to go anywhere in the house they please. The cats go out of thier way to avoid the birds (they have been bit buy Alex). The dog is only interested in what Alex will feed her. Otherwise she totally ignores the birds. Alex thinks that the dog is his pet and will watch for her to come out when he is eatting and throw food to her. Most of his first words all had to do with the dog. Is there a chance that something could happen? Sure there is. Do I feel that the small chance is worth it? Yep I do. Will I get more cats and dogs when the ones we have pass away? More than likely. Because we enjoy the different animals for different reasons.

There is nothing wrong will not wanting cats and dogs. However a lot of people have mutiple pets and there is nothing wrong with that either.

While I will never clip my birds. I respect Entranced's reasons for having her bird clipped. She does not have a way to make her house safe enough for flight.
Alex - cag
Martini - senegal
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Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby PRD » Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:17 am

I got my birds just after i moved so i could adapt my house quite easy along the way. I dont have any electric wires running along the walls, only on the ground. My kitchen is open for now, i only cook at night when the birds are in their cage. I dont even boil water or anything as long as the birds are out of their cage. End of this month the kitchen area will be closed by a wall and a door with window so i can close that area. I will also place some screens/bars before my windows so they cant fly out.
They have flown into a window on a couple of occasions. I have showed them the windows, put them against it and told them that they cant fly through the window. They seem to know they cant fly through a window. I dont know if it's cause they flew against it before or cause i put them against and told them.
They have their spots where they like to come, most high places where they can fly to, and spots where they dont come at all, like on my tv or on my coffee table.
Flock off!!
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Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby MandyG » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:15 pm

My Amazon was flighted (currently has a mild clip but that's unrelated to this discussion as he can still fly across the house when he really chooses to) and he will be fully flighted again. I don't have the most bird-proofed house in the world, meaning I would never leave him unattended in any room for any real length of time. I will leave him for short periods of time, there's nothing that he can get into very quickly. Also I'm always listening to him, I can hear if he flies somewhere and will check on him. Also I can hear him playing and talking/making noise on his play stand, if he's quiet then I know he's up to something ;)

Our lifestyle and house didn't really change much when we got a parrot, here are some of the 'rules' of our house:

- Our 120 gallon fish tank is always covered, when doing water changes Mojo is in his cage.
-Toilet seats and bathroom doors are always closed, but that was a habit we got into for the dogs' sake prior to having a parrot.
-Mojo is always put away when the stove is being used. Always. Flighted or mildly clipped he can still reach the stove.
-Most breakable objects or dangerous objects are put away in china cabinets or put away wherever they belong. Most things anyway. My house is never 100% clutter free but there's no real harm in him flying over and chewing a piece of paper or a pen. We also have pictures around the house with frames that I'm sure look like great chew toys, but he has never paid attention to them and isn't unsupervised long enough to go near them. If he was to get to them there isn't any harm for him, just the inconvenience for me replacing frames.
-Rooms with smaller/more dangerous items always have the doors closed. Such as our bedroom or our office. Again, this was something we did for the dogs. Mojo and the dogs are more than welcome in these rooms, but only when we're in there. Although he can still cause trouble with me in the room, I've had to explain to my boss and my instructors more than once why some of my papers have beak holes in them :roll:
-The door that we use most often to go outside opens into the garage. Our garage doors are always closed so if by accident Mojo escaped through the one door we would be able to get him in the garage.
-My dogs have full access to every room Mojo has access to. This will not change. When dog sitting for other people Mojo is kept in his cage the entire time, but with my dogs they are always out together.
-All mirrors and windows have been shown to Mojo and he has felt each one to know they are solid. My windows are almost always covered by blinds anyway. He did fly into my big mirror once before I showed it to him, but he was just learning to fly and didn't hit it hard.
-Designated bird areas have paper under them or are fairly easy to quickly clean if they get poop on them. For the most part Mojo will go back to his perch on his own or currently while clipped will ask to go back to his perch when he needs to go. 95% of the time he will stay in 'his' areas, he has at least one area that's his in each room.
-We have no ceiling fans.

That's just a few things I can think of right now that make me able to have my bird flighted. It may not be perfect but It's just not possible for me to live in an aviary!
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Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby Mona » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:47 am

Hi Michael:

Quickly: Two rooms. One is a bird room where the birds are out of their cages and not in our hair. The second is our family room.

Keeping them flighted means that you have to manage them when they are out. We have experimented with many different ways to do this and right now, the separate bird area with tons of bird toys, bird perches and foraging items works well. My birds all like boxes so I fill lots of cardboard boxes with bird toys and they all fly and forage.

Most important cue: Fly to your perch.

This is how they go back into their cages. Almost all of my birds that are good flyers fly immediately to me or a perch when it is time to put them away.

If I didn't have five birds (say I only had two)....they would be out and flying more in our living space. Five birds gets hard to manage so a separate bird room where they are free to fly and play makes life easier for every body in the household.

Bird cages are moved back into the family room after "play time" to be with us so the birds are also part of our flock, just in their cages. Senegals usually are very happy in their cages (another reason why "Go to your perch" works so easily)

I don't like to separate the birds from my family. I see us all as part of one big flock so when they are with the family, they are just in cages. All of my bird cages have wheels and are very easy to move around. The cages are ALWAYS getting moved around.

Babylon once pulled out half of her tail feathers when she spent the night in the bird room with the door closed and not in the living room....so, I don't separate her unless she can fly around on her own. Otherwise, she is in her cage close to where I am.

Good topic....I think I've tried to talk more about this on my website.

Thanks

Mona
Mona in Seattle
Phinneous Fowl (aka Phinney) TAG
Babylon Sengal
Doug (spousal unit)
Jack and Bailey (Gremlins)
Kiri (CAG)
http://www.flyingparrotsinside.com

youtube: Avian Flyers
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Mona
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Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby Michael » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:39 pm

Mona wrote:Bird cages are moved back into the family room after "play time" to be with us so the birds are also part of our flock, just in their cages.


A fair criticism of keeping flighted parrots is that they end up spending more time in the cage as you had indicated. Why do you choose to keep them flighted over being clipped and spending more time in the living room without being able to fly and get into trouble. It sounds like you think flight, even if brief, outways the more out of cage time that could come from clipping.
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Michael
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Flight: Yes

Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby Mona » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:02 pm

Hi Michael:

I don't clip because honestly, after living with flighted parrots I find it easier to live with them flighted than I did with them clipped. Before flight, I had to manage clipped birds just the same but I couldn't "read" them as well as I can understand and know what is going on with a flighted bird.

Birds need exercise. All of us need exercise. There is simply no way to compensate for lack of flight. A flighted bird carries their body differently. They are much more acrobatic than a clipped bird. They are far less likely to get hurt because they don't fall. They fly down. You don't have to go and get them. They fly to you. I don't have to walk to a cage and put them away. I just say "Go to your perch" and they go into their perches. Like every thing in life, there is a ying and yang. What you lose, you also gain.

Having said that, it's like any animal. You have to manage them in your home environment. A bird that flies can and will go exactly where they want to go. They also are curious and they squabble amongst the flock so it doesn't always make sense to have them smack dab in the middle of what you are doing if you are trying to actually accomplish something.

Our household routine is:

Birds are let out of their cages in the morning while we prepare their breakfasts. They tend to fly and get into what we are doing but they also fly around and visit with each other. It is a little bit chaotic but it's fun chaos. I try to make sure every body gets at least one good fly in.

Both my husband and I have full time jobs. Birds are in their cages while we are gone. This would happen whether they were clipped or not. I wouldn't have a clipped bird running around loose without supervision.

Afternoons...I move the birds in the bird room and let them out of their cages to fly and play as a flock. They fly around, forage, hang around. During this time, I try to get other things that I need done, done outside of the birdroom. I do chores...whatever and just check on them once in a while. They get a lot of exercise and they are not in my face. The big benefit to having a separate bird room is that it gets "decorated" according to the birds' tastes which aren't necessarily MY decorating tastes. I still share a lot with them in the other rooms....but the bird room is pretty much theirs.

Dinner time....they are all put in their cages. This would happen whether they were clipped or not. I don't want the birds flying in our food.... my husband won't tolerate bird footprints running through his potatos.

Evening time....Cages are moved around the couch. Doug and I tend to relax in the evenings and the birds all settle in, chew their toys or graze in their food bowls. We often watch TV and the birds just hang with us. It's comfortable and easy. Clipping wouldn't change our routine. If we let them out, they just want to hang on or with us any way....so even clipped, they'd be caged unless both Doug and I felt like playing and/or petting them.

Whether the birds are clipped or not, they STILL want to hang on and with us. Cage time isn't really any different than making a bird hang out on a play stand. They have a lot more to do in their cages than they would have to do on a playstand.

Most of the birds talk up a storm so it's fun to have them hanging around and studying your household routines. I think you can get the best of all possible worlds with just a little creative management.

Any way, that's the routine with flighted birds for work days.

Weekends, if it is nice, I try to get them out in the aviary for a few hours so they can get sun and fresh air. Of course, Babylon and Phinney often go to our fly days and we fly around an armory gymnasium on Sundays with a group that does the same with their birds.

They really do get a lot of attention and interaction no matter how you slice it....but you have to make a conscious decision to give them that.

Thanks for asking.
Mona in Seattle
Phinneous Fowl (aka Phinney) TAG
Babylon Sengal
Doug (spousal unit)
Jack and Bailey (Gremlins)
Kiri (CAG)
http://www.flyingparrotsinside.com

youtube: Avian Flyers
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Mona
Poicephalus
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrots, Congo African Grey, Timneh African Grey
Flight: Yes

Re: Indoor free-fliers: what is your home environment?

Postby Mona » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:07 pm

Here's a story about an afternoon with the "gremlins" that I posted to another forum earlier:

Bird Yoga

Without going into too much detail, I have been feeling the effects of aging
lately. I've been taking classes in Yoga to counteract - working on stretching
and flexibility.

There are a few poses that really make good bird perches. One is actually called
"tree". When I practice Yoga at home, Babylon (flighted Senegal) gets extremely
excited, ruffles her feathers and screams.

Last night, I decided to try an hour routine while the birds were all out
playing in the bird room. I let them out to fly and flock together but I also
like to peak in and check on them to make sure nobody is getting into too much
trouble. Babylon will usually stay busy feeding and preening her boyfriend Jack
for about 20 minutes or so and then she usually decides enough loving and she
wants to follow me around so she will fly around and stir up trouble with the
rest of the flock.

Last night, I opened the door a crack (which is all she needs) and she flew out
to join me so I just decided, "Hey, she's flighted. Why fight her?"...and I
continued my yoga poses but this time, I had this little green bird perched on
me and participating in the poses. She perched on my back, chewing the top of my
pants....and when I tried to balance on one leg, stretching the other one out
horizontally into three-legged dog, she scampered down the leg and perched
expectantly on the raised leg, brightly watching every thing I was doing.

Needless to say, it was very hard to remain in a focused state of mind. I found
myself doing more "laughing yoga" exercises than the recommended meditiation.
She participated in about 20 minutes of poses before deciding the bird room
really was more interesting so I could open the door and herd her back in with
the rest of the flock. Honestly, I felt like I was practicing for some sort of
Las Vegas bird act.....without the fans!

Namaste guys!
Mona in Seattle
Phinneous Fowl (aka Phinney) TAG
Babylon Sengal
Doug (spousal unit)
Jack and Bailey (Gremlins)
Kiri (CAG)
http://www.flyingparrotsinside.com

youtube: Avian Flyers
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Mona
Poicephalus
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 271
Number of Birds Owned: 5
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrots, Congo African Grey, Timneh African Grey
Flight: Yes

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