Training Tidbit – Five Freedoms
Training is a part of bird keeping that is getting more and more attention. Training, and especially positive reinforcement training, is supposed to enrich our birds’ lives, stimulate them mentally, and provide additional outlets for energy. I really love talking about training. Every bird can do some!
More than that, training helps our birds live in our homes. Our birds need to express themselves and exhibit natural species-specific behaviours. Living in a flock, flying, searching for food, allopreening, calling to flock mates, alerting to danger, roosting, are all examples of ‘exhibiting normal behaviour’. These are ESSENTIAL for a happy, healthy bird. If you bird lacks in one of these areas, we can help with training. This allows our birds to express natural behaviour, as they would in the wild. It’s not a luxury, it’s one of the five freedoms!
- Freedom from Hunger and Thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
- Freedom from Discomfort by providing an appropriate environment, including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from Fear and Distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
One way to help increase natural behaviours in your birds is to provide foraging opportunities. Foraging means ‘searching for food’. You can hide pellets, meals, treats, or veggies, around your birds’ cage. You can buy foragers like the acrylic maze, or make your own using cardboard and some ingenuity. You can even just put 4 different food dishes around the cage, so your bird can look in a few places for their meals. Every little bit helps! Explore to see what your bird enjoys! Be creative!
- Robin Horemans, KPA CTP, Calgary Bird School