When handfeeding my birds, there comes a point where we begin to focus on having the babies well-adjusted and easy-going. As part of that process, we take the kids on what we call Walkabouts. This usually happens once the baby can perch on our hand. So we have the bird perched and take a walk, talking to the baby the whole time and explaining what we are seeing, much as you would for a human baby or toddler. Generally the first Walkabout consists of going from kitchen to dining room, with stops at the aquarium and at the finch flight on the wall. A loop or two around the dining room table usually completes these first Walkabouts, and then we head back to the kitchen. When all goes well, the baby will remain perched for the duration. If they fly off, we go after them and have them step up again and proceed.
The two blue parrotlets I’ve been handfeeding are at this Walkabout stage. One is now 5 weeks old and her sister is a day shy of this. They are fully feathered and gorgeous, and although they are at 3 feedings per day I am basically having to force a tiny amount of formula on them – more for my benefit than theirs. They are eating spray millet, pellets, and a seed mix on their own, and in sufficient quantities that I’d call them self-sustaining at this time. They are all over their cage; hopping from perch to perch and up to the swing and showing interest in their toys as well. They also “step up” pretty quickly when asked, though with parrotlets it really comes naturally to them once they gain control over their bodies’ movements.
Today they had their first Walkabout. I had them both perched on my left hand, with my trusty camera in my right. We walked to the dining room, with me giving a running commentary on what we were doing and seeing. Much of it – most of it, really – is talk about nothing, designed mainly to get them used to a human holding them and talking to them where, not only does no harm come to them but, they also get to see new and interesting things.
We stop first at the finch flight. There are 10 finches in the flight. It is 9′ long and the finches enjoy flying from one end to the other. It’s like Must-See-TV for the bird on the Walkabout! I bring them up close to the glass front and tell them “these are the finches. Aren’t they cute and tiny? They aren’t much smaller than you are.” And blah blah blah, LOL. Yes, I am able to talk for minutes about nothing, while I have their captive attention.
Next we head to the 29 gallon aquarium, and again I give a commentary on the “fishies” and point out various individuals.
At this point, if the birds are still on my hand I’m doing well, as are they. It’s not uncommon to have the bird fly off – whereupon I will go fetch them and resume where I left off. Today the parrotlet kids stayed put for the duration. After we admired the fish we took a loop around the table and headed back to their cage. They stepped up onto their swing, marking the end of the first very successful Walkabout.
My Etsy Shop, featuring safe bird toys made from a variety of interesting textures for your bird’s entertainment, as well as unique, handcrafted, hand-painted items such as Key Racks and Clocks. Recently added: Cribbage Boards!