seymour pigeons (rumorofrain) wrote in caiques,
seymour pigeons

Stick training

A while ago, I asked shadowrabbit for advice on how to prepare for my caiques' impending puberty. One of the things she recommended was teaching them to step up onto a stick.

I finally started working on this recently, using an old dowel perch that came with one of my cages. (Hey, finally a good use for those things!)

At first, both birds thought I was crazy for asking them to step onto this funky, unstable perch. I braced it against another perch and lured them onto it with treats. I got one foot onto it, and finally, after some practice, the second foot onto it.

I left the dowel on top of their cage, where they play all the time, to help them get used to it. (They weren't afraid of the perch itself, just of stepping onto it.)

A few days later I worked with them again, and they were almost flinging themselves onto the perch! It's as if something had clicked in their heads in the intervening days: Hey, standing on that thing means TREATS! They would step onto it instantly, fly to it, hop onto it, step up from the floor, etc. Amazing!

Normally my guys have no problems stepping up, but sometimes when they're running around their cage top they will refuse. Enter the stick! If I offer them a hand to step onto while they're on the cage top, they'll sometimes run away. If I offer them the stick, however, they are all over it!

I'm sure this trick will come in HUGELY handy in another year or so when they become cranky teenagers.

Out of curiosity, how many of you all have taught your birds to step up onto a stick? Have you done any other work to prevent or manage puberty-related behaviors?
Tags: puberty, training
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