potty the parrot

laelaloo  asked:

Hi! So I've been considering getting a bird for a while now--I used to have a budgie, bless his soul--and I need a feathered companion again. So I'd been considering a cockatiel, but recently I've also been looking into pigeons--it strikes me that the two are very different. Please give me some info! What's it like having a pigeon? How do you care for them? Can you train them? Any suggestions? Please, some basic info for a gal who just started researching them!~

Intelligence-wise they’re the same, I find pigeons easier to train than psittacines because they seem to retain knowledge better and are more into people since they’re domesticated. Rex recalls, targets, stays, goes to my room when I ask, knows “shoulder” means get off my head and go to my shoulder, a bunch of “tricks” like spinning, and of course tasks related to emotional support. Pigeons are very easy to clicker train and they absolutely love to learn new things and if socialized properly look forward to new stimuli. They don’t need as intense socializing as parrots because they’re domesticated, which can be a blessing and a curse because Rex will leap into new situations without thinking it through- but at least she’s not afraid, right? Cockatiels are a lot more dexterous so they can learn to use tools better than pigeons, and can learn to say phrases and tunes (and know what they mean in context!).

In general pigeons are going to be cheaper, the bird itself, the housing, food, enrichment, etc. Depending on the size, a pigeon will need a large dog crate or a cage marketed for rabbits (these are rarely suitable for rabbits though!), which will be $30-$70 depending on if you buy new or used, where from, and the style. I personally don’t use a cage for Rex and she has the run of my room when I’m not home and the house when I am. Tiels will need a big, generally parrot specific cage, the ones marketed for cockatiels won’t do- generally you want one marketed for medium macaws or bigger, which’ll be much more expensive. They need lots of toys, perches, and other things to keep them entertained when they can’t be out. Pigeons do need enrichment but homemade toys will easily suffice, a crumbled up paper with seeds in it will keep Rex entertained for quite a while, as will music and TV.

Cockatiels do best on a varied diet consisting of seeds, pellets, and fruit/veggie chop, scrambled eggs are great weekly. They shouldn’t have too many pellets since they’ve been linked to kidney issues, probably has to die with needing the hull of the seed? Idk. Pigeons’ diets are generally more simple, they need a variety of seeds/grains generally consisting of wheat, peas, sorghum, safflower (can be fatty so be careful with this one), corn. I mix quinoa, millet, and very occasionally chia seeds in too. Her mix is 16% protein but the amount of protein you want depends on their lifestyle. It’s cheap, I get a 2 lbs bag every two months from Morning Bird on eBay. Along with feed you’ll also want pigeon specific grit, and if you have a hen you’ll need egg shells or oyster shells (I prefer egg shells). Both parrots and pigeons will need vitamin D3 supplements if they aren’t outside getting sunlight a few hours a day.

I LOVE pigeon temperaments. It can very depending on breed and individual, but in general they’re people-loving birds. Psittacines generally have to be raised by hand to like people, but pigeons can be parent raised and still adore people which is far healthier since then they get proper nutrients and social skills. Even pigeons that have been feral or neglected more often than not warm up to humans and make awesome pets. Certain breeds are friendly than others, king pigeons are big cuddle bugs bred for meat. They’re exceptionally docile and affectionate. Lucerne gold collars are gentle and even mated pairs will enjoy cuddles. Feral pigeons and homers have even temperaments and they have that bonus homing instinct so you don’t worry as much if they happen to get lost. Owl pigeon breeds are the epitome of adorable and sweet, just avoid breeds like the African owl whose beaks are too short to properly preen. Voorburg pigeons are silly and despite that big neck don’t have any health issues regarding it. There are thousands of breeds with unique looks and temperaments, so google “fancy pigeons” to find a look you like! Finding pigeons in shelters can be hard if you aren’t in an area that has one- pigeon rescues are far and few in between -so I generally promote buying from a GOOD breeder like @ramseyringnecks because the more people that know pigeons aren’t disease ridden pests the better for all pigeons! Do look for rescues first though :)

As far as keeping a pair versus a single pigeon:
Both pigeons and parrots mate for life. A single pigeon is probably the most loyal and affectionate pet you can find, but requires more work than a pair of pigeons. Since the bird is single it’ll deem you as its mate which makes for a very snuggly, cuddly, and sweet partner, but also demanding- luckily they have lower standards than most parrots. Rex is content if not all my attention is on her so long as some of it, so I can go about my day without having to stop and give her my full attention. She’ll happily ride around on my shoulder or waddle rapidly after me without demanding that I play with or touch her. So long as she can see me and be on/near me she’s pretty content. However she needs to be able to do that for at least 6-8 hours a day! She loves cuddles and snuggles. When she goes broody (which happens whether you want it to or not, with both hens and cocks) I just ask her to get off the nest every few hours to make sure she goes potty (they don’t poop in their nest- this means they can safety be potty trained unlike parrots who it can become unhealthy for) eats, drinks, and every few days bathes.

If you can’t give that then a mated pair is a better option. They won’t be as affectionate, but they’ll still consider you a flock mate and sit on you, love to learn and be trained, and enjoy doing non-cuddling activities with you. They’ll be happy and keep each other company when you’re away at school or work.

This applies to parrots too. A lot of people say so long as you have at least one hour to spend with them they’ll be fine, but all parrots are social flocking animals- even territorial ones like cockatiels or parrotlets! They need you or a feathered friend to keep them happy.

Hope that helps ❤️