How to train your parrot to take supplements

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How to Train Your Bird to Take Medicine & Supplements

We've all been there. You buy something new for your parrot and the bird won't touch it. Parrot supplements are no exception. Parrots are extremely picky eaters. When you sprinkle a supplement like FeatheredUp! on food, your bird is sure to notice and he may even turn up his beak as if to say, "Get that S*#% away from me!  A lot of people have trouble with this. So what do you do?

How to Train Your Bird to Take Medicine & Supplements? There are a couple of ways to get your bird to take to the FeatheredUp! or, any other supplement, for that matter. All it takes is a little training.

First, you can condition your parrot to eat the supplement sprinkled on warm, moist food, such as a mixed vegetables or sweet fruit. Birds are drawn to warm, moist food. After all, it brings fond memories of Mom and Dads "home brew." The advantage of this method is that your bird should be eating vegetables and fruits any way and FeatheredUp! sticks to the moist food, so you know your bird is eating it. As your bird becomes accustomed to the taste, you can sprinkled the recommended dosage on the amount of veggies that your pet likes to consume.

How to train your parrot to take supplements

Second, you can train your parrot to accept supplements mixed in juice or baby food and delivered from a syringe. The advantage of this method is that this is an excellent way to deliver medication should your parrot ever need treatment in the future. The disadvantages? Its more work, intrusive and, unless you're properly trained, your bird may experience deadly aspiration.

Depending on how to tame your bird is and its temperament, it's possible to train your bird to accept a new supplement in as little as one day.

 Here's how to train your bird to accept a supplement on its food:

 Needed Supplies: Frozen Mixed Veggie or Fruits

  1. Warm approximately 1/4 cup I've mixed vegetables in the microwave.
  2.  Go over to your pet, and eat one vegetable at a time, as your bird watches. The trick here, is to act like they are incredibly delicious! Pet watches you eat good warm food mix, act very excited and animated  as if each bite is the most delicious thing you've ever tasted. Make it silly fun so that your bird shows curiosity.
  3.  Show your bird the food up close, but don't let it have some just yet.   if your bird tries to get a nibble. Tell your bird, “No it's just for me!”  Spend several minutes with very animated eating. The goal is to make your bird beg for a bite. Your bird has to make the association that these vegetables are the most delicious thing on the planet. So, let the anticipation build!
  4.  Finally, when your bird is begging so badly for a bite - give in.  And, as your bird consumes those first several bites, continue eating along with him,  still oohing and aahing about how delicious and wonderful this mix is. Repeat this process several times throughout the day just.
  5. Once your bird is  excited about eating the warm food, sprinkle just a pinch of FeatheredUp! on the moist food.  Just enough that your bird gets accustomed to the look, feel, and taste of the product. Continue with the game of  eating the product in front of your bird and acting like it's just the most delicious thing in the world.
  6.  Now you can slowly increase the amount of supplement to the proper dosage for your pet, because you’ve taught it to accept the supplement.

Next, let's look at how to teach your bird to take  supplements or medication from a syringe. The process is very similar to that described above. Build curiosity, make it fun for your bird, as if he's engaging in flock behavior and reinforce the desired behavior, consuming the supplement.

How to Train Your Bird to Take Medicine & Supplements

Needed Supplies: Parrot friendly juice, like a non-citrus mango peach blend or  an organic baby food like Happa Organic Baby Food Fruit Puree and two syringes.

  1. Just like described above, fill the syringe with the fruit mix and keeping it all to yourself, eating it in a very animated way, like it's the best thing you've ever tasted.
  2.  Again, do this over and over again  until your parrot is begging for a taste.   However, don't give in too fast! Make sure that your parrot really wants in on the feast.  Let the anticipation build!
  3.  Finally, when it seems that your parrot just can't take it anymore, give in. Give him a taste! And, continue your own feast with lots of animation and excitement. You want your parrot to think that you two are the luckiest pair on Earth for having been given this wonderful treat.
  4.  Stop after about 5 minutes, but repeat the process later in the day.  When your bird is showing anticipation every time you get the syringe out, it's time to mix in a dose of FeatheredUp!  in the second syringe.  
  5.  First, give your parrot the unmedicated syringe and quickly follow-up with the medicated one.  Your parrot may notice the taste difference, but give the unmedicated food at a 5 to 1 ratio so that your parrot can't anticipate when it might be receiving the medication.

    Diane Burroughs


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    • Diane Burroughs, LCSW
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