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Guide to Parrot Touching and Handling

Johanne Vaillancourt, 2014
216 pages, more than 400 photos
Language: English
ISBN 978-2-923426-01-3
Translated by Marlene Picard (Mooghie)

38.95 $ / 28.95 € / 34.95 CHF / 29.95 USD  

Why are some touches, seemingly so natural to our domestic animals, not at all perceived by parrots as affectionate, or even friendly? Why do they feel they have to defend against them? Is their interpretation of our approaches so different?

The author invites you into the world of touch as a form of communication with your parrot; guiding you through his innate attitudes, helping you adjust your behaviour so as not to fall in the dreaded trap of distorted messages. Touch is one of the most valuable components in creating emotional ties with your parrot. You will discover in the reading of these pages the most effective ways to tame your animal, how to slowly take the time necessary to seduce and develop his trust, what gestures to use and those to avoid.

This book presents an approach that is all nuances, first understanding your emotions face with this complex but yet simple task of establishing a line of communication, then providing you abundantly illustrated techniques to assist you in developing your abilities in the handling of your bird (up, towel, games to develop confidence, trimming of the nails, bathing or showering, reducing the stress of the necessary restraints in time of emergency or in preparation for the visit to the vet, etc.) , helping you hopefully avoid a corrosive encounter with his beak.

Touch is the first language that can be used as a means of emotional communication. So why deprive yourself of such a valuable tool?



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The touch

"The awakening of self-consciousness is largely a matter of tactile experiences."
- Ashley Montagu

To properly socialize and train your parrot, it is best if you can touch and handle him with confidence. It has often been shown that not being touched in the early stages of life can lead early on to behavioural problems in the development and that these problems are likely to persist or amplify into adulthood. Also, according to Dr. Harnett "Gentleness fosters calm and docile behaviours in animals, whereas the absence of attentive care tends to instill shyness and irritability." Needless to say that I agree with this wholeheartedly, as I have often noted this flaw in excessively anxious and nervous parrots; parrots who demonstrated aggressiveness at the slightest attempts by a person to approach them.

It is unfortunate that in the beginning of the 21st century, many avian professionals continue to neglect this fundamental need and that there is still too many young hand-reared parrots who do not know or do not recognize this type of affectionate contact. I still believe that if people want to replace the natural parents by feeding the chick by hand, they must invest in all of the other aspects of his socialization and education, and one of these is the securing effect of affectionate touches.

To touch one's parrots necessarily mean that there will be a first time, and that first touch must be introduced with tact and gentleness, especially if the parrot seems reluctant when you approach his body with your hand. If you frighten him in your first attempts (your first attempts at anything), it will be very difficult to earn back his trust or to undo what you have just damaged. You must take the required time and work with your parrot gently while respecting his ability to adapt to new things. You should always progress a little further or at least remain at yesterday's stage, but never less. You will need to be patient and above all constant in your approaches and you will have to learn to be opportunistic in using fully those moments when the bird is more receptive to being touched. At the beginning, there is a good chance that your parrot will seem resistant to being manipulated and/or touched, not because he does not like it, but simply because he cannot understand this type of physical contact. He does not know or maybe he has never been taught; and most importantly, you are still a stranger. So it is by gently helping him that gradually he will get used to your touches, and above all will enjoy being touched.