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Linda; I have a bird tale that I would like to share with you and your
readers. My 2 year old Quaker is my best friend and his name is
20 different things and mimics a lot too. Heís always on my shoulder
while I do things around the house and sometimes I forget that he is there
when he is quiet. When he was a year old he gave me a big scare. I
accidentally walked out on the porch with him still on me and a loud noise
scared him and off he flew. His wings had been clipped but apparently they
had grown back. I yelled to my friend "Prince! There goes
Prince!" They followed him into the mountains in the trees. I was
devastated As I was crying my eyes out friends searched high and low for
him unsuccessfully. Night time fell and I thought that would never see him
again. My friend had a tape with Princeís voice on it and played it by
the window as loud as could be all night long. We also left the lights on
outside so he could see his way back. The next day we continued the search
at 6AM and kept on playing the recording. I was in the bathroom with the
window open and I heard a birdís voice screaming. I knew that sound
anywhere. I told my friend and they went very carefully to check. There he
was, sitting on a pole of a fence. They picked him up and brought him
home. My baby was back and safe at home. I feel very lucky because the
temperatures were in the 40ís and the next night it went to 30. I donít
know if he could have survived the cold. Iím sure Prince feels very
lucky too! Weíre together again Now we have signs on the door with big
letters CHECK FOR BIRD. It is something I never wanted to experience
again! I was told that there are Quakers living in the wild in some
states. Is this true? Debby from West Virginia
Debby - Your experience is repeated many times except that everyone is not
lucky enough to get their beloved pet back. You thought of some original
methods to help Prince find
his way home. There are wild Quakers living in many states but most of
these are descendants of imported Quakers which were caught in the wild.
Our domesticated birds have mostly lost their ability to survive without
the care of humans. Some Quakers live and thrive in cold northern climates
but this is a condition they have become adjusted to gradually, not the
sudden change from a heated home to 30 degrees. I know that you will check
those wings carefully now. If caught in an updraft, birds can fly without
full length flight feathers, using the air currents to go amazing
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Linda; A year and a half ago I bought myself a little green Quaker that I
named "Sully." In addition I also have a Lutino cockatiel, an
African Grey, and an Umbrella Cockatoo. But I have to admit that my little
Quaker is the love of my life. I give each one of my birds the love and
attention they need every day, so that everyone has their turn. I call
Sully "my little Cuddle bug". Iíve never seen a bird, before
sully, that you can cup in your hands and shower with kisses and hold
close to you without them wanting to wiggle free from you. He really is
something else, and itís hilarious to watch him during the day. The
Cockatiel and the African Gray will hang around on Sullyís cage all day
long. But the two will know whose cage it is because periodically Sully
will let it be known. Even the Gray will get into a dispute with Sully and
they may get into a beak tapping, but the Gray will back down. Itís
truly funny. This little green bundle of fathers will stand his ground and
always wins, Theyíre supervised together and up to this point have never
hurt one another. I have just one question. When he gives kisses, he likes
to take little nips of skin. Iíve gently scolded him with the "No
bite." But it doesnít always work, and he doesnít seem to grow
out of it. Whether he sits on your arm, chest etc, if skin is exposed heíll
take a nip at times. Thatís probably the only true annoying thing about
him. Also I am curious as to why he doesnít talk. Iíve heard of other
peopleís Quakers being such good talkers. Heís never spoken yet. When
I try to teach him "pretty Sully" he moves his beak a little
like he is trying, but to no avail. I will love him no matter if he talks
or not, but what a treat if he would one day. He is extremely smart
otherwise. Watching him go about his daily bird business one can see how
intelligent they really are by how they approach certain obstacles or
problems. My favorite is when he comes to me, whether it is just to be
held or if he wants some of my food. Heíll look at me and nod,
repeatedly bobbing up and down until heís been acknowledged He knows
what he wants. And I seem to know better what he wants, as opposed to the
other birds I have. He is really a cool bird! I could go on and on!
Marlies from Florida.
Marlies; I am asked so often if Quakers will get along with other pet
birds. Your experience is an example - it is very possible but lots of
supervision and care need be taken . It is quite rare for a Quaker not to
speak at all, but it is obviously not caused by lack of intelligence. I am
so pleased to read that your love for him is not dependent on this skill.
Perhaps he is one of the rare ones who do not have the physical equipment
to create sound. I am including an article on this in this issue. As to
the biting habit, it is up to you to get the message through to him that
you are not pleased by this behavior, without making a big fuss over it.
You two are so well bonded, I am sure that he is anxious to please you and
will get the message eventually, hopefully before the action becomes a
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Linda; I have read many of your articles and several years ago purchased
your booklet on Quakers. I would appreciate your advice on a new to my
family five year old Quaker. My first Quaker died last October of
pancreatitis, a very premature death as she was only four years old. I was
devastated at her loss. My Vet called me in December, knowing my love and
my heartbreak with the loss of my first Quaker, and asked me about
providing a home for another Quaker who needed a home. This Quaker had
been a wedding gift (the couple really wanted a dog!) He has not been
given a lot of attention and at best it has been sporadic. Also he has
been passed around to family members.
been on a seed only diet with occasional people foods of bacon, sausage,
pancakes and popcorn. Please give me some advice on how I can switch him
to better foods. I have been leaving pellets in his bowl through out the
day with a small portion of seed mix and Protein 25. He does not touch the
pellets but eats the seed and Protein. In the evenings I give him either a
vegetable mixture or Crazy Corn. I sprinkle Nekton-S and Nekton MSA on
this home cooked food .Any suggestions on how to get him to eating
is very nippy. He seems to want to have loving attention but then
unexpectedly will bite the person trying to pet him. I cannot think of any
things that are being done differently or a time difference that would
cause him to bite. He will regurgitate while I am giving him attention. (I
am assuming that is part of the bonding with me as he does not seem to do
this at other times.)
this little guy and would like to be able to have a loving relationship
with him like I had with my first little Quaker. Also, I want him to be
happy and live a long, healthy life. Jan
important . . and I do mean very important. . . . Discontinue the Protein
25 and also the Nekton supplements. I cannot stress this too much. Keep
the vegie treats to a bare minimum, just at most a tablespoon full. He
will eventually eat the pellets, but not if he is stuffed all the time.
The extra supplements are dangerous when you are feeding pellets. The
extra protein is very dangerous. It is intended for breeding birds or for
birds feeding babies only. With all good intentions, you can easily
overdose with these supplements when they are added to a pelleted diet,
and cause destruction of the birdís liver and death of the bird. Do not
feed any bacon, popcorn, etc. They are all high fat which can result in
fatty liver disease. A recent article on pancreatic disease points out the
direct connection between this fatal condition and high fats and obesity
in Quaker parakeets. Feed him only a mixture of seed and pellets,
gradually decreasing the proportion of seed. Add other foods only after
this diet has been well accepted.
I am no
expert on behavior, but it seems to me that after all the unsettling
experiences before he was lucky enough to find your good home, it is
surprising that your bird is actually bonding with you so quickly. I think
time and patience will eliminate the habit of nipping. Quakers have such
excellent memories. It will take many months for yours to feel completely
secure with "his flock."
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Sirs: Before introducing myself I would like to apologize to you for any
mistakes in this letter. English isnít my strongest point. I am one of
57 members from the local Parrot Society in Piaseczno, a town situated 18
kilometers from the capitol of Poland, about 25,000 people. Our members
are breeding various species of birds from Finches to Macaws, few of them
did have success with bigger parrots as African Grays. Here in Poland we
do have one national magazine0edition about 2500) which is devoted to help
pet bird owners with developing their interests. Polish breederís market
isnít as big as yours so it is obvious that any bird magazine wouldnít
be ever professional in the way we want them to.. Of course, it as one of
the reasons why I pluck up courage to write you. The second is that after
one of the German breeders send to me a letter with comment about your
magazine with your address added Iím able to do it all.
request is very simple and natural, I hope. I would like to ask you to
send me (by post) a sample (representation) of your magazine and every
information about conditions and procedures of subscription. Mariusz
course I sent Mariusz a sample copy of The Quaker News along with a warm
welcome to join us. We have subscribers in quite a few foreign countries
which never ceases to be a source of excitement for me. There are people
all over the world who share our love for our little Quakers.
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Linda ; A friend gave me a clipping with this information. I do not know
the source, but maybe it explains why there are a few Quakers who do not
talk. Marilyn from Florida
birds can produce human vocal sounds pretty accurately, but they use
different organs. A human utters the words "Polly want a
cracker?" by using movements of the lips, tongue, and palate to
interrupt and modulate the buzzing sound from the larynx. But parrots donít
have lips or palates , and Pollyís tongue is a stiff manipulatory organ
that looks and functions something like a finger. Bird sounds are
reproduced not by the larynx but by a more elaborate sort of voice box
down in the chest that sports multiple vibrating surfaces controlled and
modulated by a complex set of muscles. A parrot can use this sound
reproduction system to imitate the wave forms of human speech - or a
ringing telephone or a flushing toilet - but the performance isnít much
like talking (or like ringing or flushing.) By coincidence, the muscles of
a birdís voice box are controlled by the hypoglossal nerve and are most
complicated in those birds that are the most accomplished talkers and
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Linda; Paco is now 14 months old and we are completely amazed at how smart
he is. He has a vocabulary (list enclosed) of over 21 sentences, using
some 60 plus words, and relates the words to corresponding actions or
needs. Occasionally he will nip me and I pretend to cry and tell him
"donít bite, you make Gramma cry." Now if he nips me he says
"Donít cry, Gramma. I sorry."
say "I love you" he gives me kisses and says "I love you
too." Our little Quaker is just loaded with fun, affection, and
surprises. Joy from Arkansas
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Linda; My Sam is a little mischief. He puts all his play toys way to the
back of his cage and dares us to come and get them. He hollers at us
"come and get them!" Can he ever run and laugh . He balances his
wood spoon on the open door across the length of the top. Stormy from
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Linda: We have three Quakers, but the last one we purchased at 6 months
old is so smart it is unbelievable. When we try to tell people the
vocabulary he has they laugh at us as if we had lost our sanity. He just
seems to pick up whatever we say. His latest is "Give me a carrot and
get out of here!" Says "Donít bite me and then gives kisses
and laughs. Gloria from Florida
at our club meeting yesterday brought in a box of the new Reynolds Cooking
Bags, made of aluminum and plastic. The manufacturers claim that you can
use the bags for temperatures up to 450 degrees. Our club member used two
bags for temperatures up to 450 degrees for thirty minutes and found her
Amazon closest to the kitchen pumping for air. Itís eyes were burnt from
the fumes A metallic odor filled the house and other birds suffered eye
note : Miners used to use canaries in coal mines to test for gas. Any
heated item that gives off a strong smell is producing gas. Remove your
bird from the area immediately and turn off the source. No Carpet Fresh,
no smelly spray stuff of any kind should be used in the area of the birds.
"GOOD LIFE" FOR PET BIRDS
Sunshine State Cage Bird Society
birds as pets or in an aviary may be more complex and somewhat different
than one imagines. Although an extremely hearty animal, birds require an
untroubled life - free of stress, fear, and anxiety. In order for birds to
perform well, they need to be content. With physical and mental health, a
balanced diet, and a pleasant environment offering some of the conditions
of nature, birds have the opportunity to reach their full potential as a
pet or as a breeding animal.
INSURANCE PROGRAM - Birds hide their problems so effectively they need
annual examinations by veterinarians. This includes a weight check and lab
tests of blood and droppings.
FOR MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE - Dietary deficiencies are the underlying cause of
many physical and behavioral problems. Balanced diets are a necessity!
OF SECURITY AND SELF ASSURANCE - Birds adjust well to people but have a
"carry-over" need for some of the conditions of nature. Once
these are satisfied, the bird is more secure, self assured, and content.
These conditions are:
No cage is large enough, but the larger the better.
Daily activity outside the cage.
Availability to climb to a high perch, preferably out of the cage.
- a retreat where he cannot be seen.
- Birds are a flock animal and need to live within a
society. Birds are willing to become a part of our flock and enjoy our
love and attention.
LIVING - For a bird to be free of fear, it must trust everyone with whom
it comes in contact. The bird needs positive reinforcement for desirable
acts, but no direct
punishment for undesirable acts.
activity - Birds need activity - keeping busy is important.
Feathers need constant care. The normal bird cleans, arranges, and
lubricates his feathers intermittently throughout the day. Daily baths
help stimulate grooming and feather care.
- In the wild the hooked beak of a bird in the parrot family is equivalent
to a carpenterís crow bar, a tool used to break things apart. When a
bird is allowed, and encouraged to use the beak to chew and tear, the
design of nature is being followed.
GATHERING - One of the birdsí major activities is searching for food. In
captivity, food gathering activities can be accomplished by feeding two
meals a day with nothing in between.
- Sufficient exercise can be achieved, without flight, through climbing,
acrobatics, swinging and other exercise. Clipping a birdís feathers to
prevent flight does not upset a bird.
activities - A number of toys are available to keep birds busy for long
SUITABLE ENVIRONMENT - Birds, probably more than any other animal, are
sensitive to their surroundings. With suitable conditions, a bird will
keep feathers smooth and immaculately groomed, like a suit of clothes
fresh from the dry cleaners.
AREA - Birds should be housed in units designed to meet their physical and
Birds can react positively and negatively to sound. Violent sounds
definitely have an adverse effect.
- Cleanliness of the cage, perch, food and water dishes rate high.
- Birds, in many ways, have their lives governed by the length of days.
- Room temperature of 60 to 75 degrees F and free of chilling drafts are
suggested. A drop of 5-10 degrees F at night is beneficial if the bird is
healthy and gradually acclimated to change.
- Birds do best on a routine schedule with daily activities - feeding,
bathing, cleaning - being performed at about the same time each day.
parrot family is a very diverse group ranging from parakeets all the way
to macaws. Each bird has very different physical and psychological needs.
Thus some birds lead happy lives without the conditions included in this
list. However, because of the large number of birds having problems,
owners should provide as many of the items suggested as possible.
Cothran, a 10 year old Quaker from Colorado
she may never say it out loud,
my heart, I know Mammaís proud.
smiles secretly whenever I nip.
glad that Iím tough, and she lets it slip.
though I am forbidden ever to fly.
what she is thinking -"What a cool guy!
is dead on, his corners so tight,
seems to soar at the speed of light."
I am squawking, obnoxious and shrill,
she complains, it gives her a thrill.
that I am feisty and learning to thrive.
wants most is for me to survive.
first met her, I was always afraid.
has helped me turn into a renegade.
what I need, I get what I want,
up for myself, my maleness I flaunt.
happy-go-lucky, healthy and strong.
try any junk food that comes along.
make no-nos somewhere I shouldnít
to me "Bunkie, I wish that you wouldnít"
not really mad, she forgives everything.
her eyes, Iím a wonderful thing!
I do what isnít allowed
I can see
in her eyes - Mama is proud.
BIRDS TO "GO Potty"
Reference Page of Bird Clubs of America
training is especially important for birds which stay out of their cages
for extended periods of time. It may not be easy for older birds.
your bird where you want him to potty. In a commanding, but gentle voice,
say it, such as "Go potty!" and stick with the phrase. Donít
change. Some prefer to have the bird go atop or in their cages. Others
prefer a newspaper, or into a waste basket. Others have a special potty
the bird where you want it to go when you think it is time. Say "Go
Potty!". Donít move the bird until it does.
itís done stroke the bird and say excitedly "Good boy!" or
girl or "Good bird!". Donít give it a treat because this might
encourage the bird to go potty more often.
Smaller birds go potty more often than bigger birds, ranging from 10 to 30
minutes. Time the sequence and adjust your timing to continue the
training. Donít be lax. Most baby birds learn fast, in just weeks.
your bird goes on command, increase the time between the sessions out of
cage. Your bird will learn to hold it longer each time.
in training is a must.
a command that can be said in polite company and be sure that it is an
exclusive word for the action. Watch your bird in its cage. Notice its
actions before defecating. A quiver of feathers, tail goes down, then up,
punish the bird for accidents. Donít scream. Just let them know your
disappointment by your tone of voice. Others say that a firm
"No" and return to the cage is effective. Be consistent. Donít
stop for a few days and then resume.
if the bird wonít go?
on a perch/stick to where you want it to go 2 - 5 minutes before it is
time. Slowly rotate the stick upward toward its chest. Heíll crouch.
Then give the command. Earlier stick training can definitely help. If it
still doesnít go, lower the stick abruptly several times so that the
bird flaps its wings and passes over the perch several times. Then turn
the stick toward its tail and give the command again.
time consuming , but with training, your bird can go with you anywhere
with your knowing that it wonít leave a mess.
note: Over the years we have included several articles on potty training.
They are basically very similar. Has anyone had any success with this? We
would all enjoy hearing from you about either successes or failures.
BRAINS ARE BUSY DURING SLEEP
WITH DREAMS OF SINGING
dream, and if so, what do they dream about? The answers are, yes, and
probably about singing, a University of Chicago study in the journal
"Science" reports. Researchers say their findings add to
evidence that dreaming helps animals, including humans,
"rehearse" things they have learned to do in the day, and helps
them perform better the next day. The discovery came when scientists
studying zebra finches noticed that when the birds were asleep, their
brains showed a burst of activity in the area known to be involved with
observed that most parrots, when falling off to sleep, have the habit of
muttering quietly to them selves, With eyes closed, in sleeping position,
there will frequently be a lot of quiet talk with only an occasional clear
word, if any. Isnít it nice to think that our Quakers, ever anxious to
please us, are rehearsing their lessons in their dreams! If Finches dream
of singing, perhaps Quakerí s dreams are of talking!