Sunday, January 11, 2009

Meet The Flock: Darwin

Darwin is the Greencheek Conure I am currently rehabbing.

Darwin is three years old now and was bred by Rick Jordan at Hill Country Aviary before ending up in a home that admitted they did not know what they were taking on in a companion parrot. So Darwin was given to me after being advertised for free on Craigslist. I was worried about who would take him, so I contacted the owners to offer advice about finding the right home. After a couple of days chatting about his problems the family asked me to take him to work on his behavioral issues and find him a home.
When I picked him up he was plucking his contour feathers and was aggressive.

The first thing I did was improve his diet from a very poor quality seed mix to a varied diet based on Harrisons pellets, a cage mix, fresh fruit, veggies etc and some cooked foods. Then I filled his cage with toys toys toys!
Much of his aggressive behavior disappeared with the introduction of toys to take out some of his energy and plenty of out of cage time. He still occasionally displays aggression, but through positive reinforcement I hope to reduce it even further.
His plucking is still something I am working on. This last summer he started removing his down feathers in places, so after a trip to the vet to rule out medical issues, Dr Davis and I decided to remove potential allergens from his diet. He was already on a preservative, colour, peanut, pesticide etc free diet, so I removed all wheat, sunflower and soy from his diet as well. The good news is that he seems to have stopped plucking his down feathers, all though he still removes his contours... he's a work in progress.

Darwin is quite the smart bird, and loves to use his moulted feathers as tools to scratch his pin feathers on his head.

He is also one of the cuddliest birds I have ever met and really loves to snuggle up to a human whenever he can.

I hope to find a forever home for Darwin who will love him and work with his plucking and aggression issues. Through positive reinforcement he knows how to step up, allows me to feel him all over, lift his wings and flip him upside down. As he is flighted (and loves to fly around my house) I am getting ready to start recall training with him, in hopes that his future home will make every effort to keep him flighted.
If someone happens to be reading this blog in the Austin, TX area who feels they would be a good match for a forever home for Darwin then please let me know.

1 comment:

  1. HI Jamie, Just a short "click" for all the work you are doing with your flock. It is very rewarding to read about owners using the best training techniques out there AND having fun and success.
    Thank you for the link to my Blog too ... Sid.