April 17, 2019: Study Examines Use of Normal and Abnormal Behaviors to Affect Motivational State

The study concludes that abnormal behavior usually indicates poor welfare, regardless of whether it was initially adaptive, but points out that sometimes abnormal behavior can also be functional – including to modify motivational state. This, in turn, “makes it likely that certain changes in behavior and physiology, often associated with feelings and emotions in sentient animals, will occur.” Read study

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Know Better, Do Better

By Lara Joseph Parrots are social creatures, often flocking in hundreds or thousands in the wild. In our homes, however, we usually keep them in separate cages and amongst a mixture of species. I do this as well, and I do it for their safety due to most of them being taken in because they have lost their homes. Keeping […]

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Our Greatest Teachers

By Lara Joseph In my opinion, as trainers, our best teachers are the animals we struggle to find opportunities to effectively communicate with. Animals such as these often come to us with reinforcement histories that incorporate a variety of approaches, interactions, and consequences to behavior, meaning a lot of counterconditioning will be required. As a result, we find ourselves having […]

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Breaking the Cycle

By Lara Joseph Molly is my nine-year-old Solomon Island eclectus parrot who lost her home a few years ago. What a beautiful little bird she is and I just could not understand why anyone would not want her any more. Well, I soon found out why she was surrendered. Before she lost her home she had developed this ear piercing […]

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Successful Cage Set-Ups

By Vicki Ronchette Whether or not you are bringing home a new baby bird, a rehomed adult bird or just want to upgrade your current bird’s cage, it is important to put some thought into your cage set up. There is a lot to consider when putting together a bird’s cage. This not only includes the size and shape of […]

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Targeting Like a Pro

By Lara Joseph I have worked with several birds that have been labeled aggressive. One of the first things I teach them is to target. If I ever find myself in an accidental or uncomfortable situation, I can quickly rely on the former target training to guide that bird’s beak, or animal’s mouth or feet away from me so I […]

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New Bird on the Block

By Vicki Ronchette Over the years I have introduced several parrots into my flock of companion birds. During this time I have found there are some things that should be done early on to help shape the bird into a good companion, while also giving him time and respecting his boundaries…It is important to realize that you should always do […]

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The Freedom of Choice

By Lara Joseph Abnormal repetitive behaviors (ARBs) are behaviors you do not generally see in animals living in the wild. A few examples of such ARBs are pacing, rocking, repetitive swimming patterns, nail biting, flipping, head swinging and rhythmic screaming. Over the years, I have done a lot of digging through research papers published by Elsevier, the academic publishing company […]

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A Long-Term Solution

By Lara Joseph …the mutilating behavior was getting worse. The keepers admitted they couldn’t give their attention to creating the foraging toys I had advised, and told me Abbey was now taking his food and placing it into the hole he had created in his chest. I understood the keepers’ inability to dedicate the time to the toys. Unfortunately, I […]

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Think Outside the Cage

By Amy Martin Parrots thrive in an environment worthy of investigation. In fact, healthy parrots require this. No matter how large a parrot’s enclosure is, it is still basically a modified jail cell. There needs to be a variety of ways for each species of parrot to play and actively engage with their environment as they would choose to do […]

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