Weaning for Success: Towel Training Quakers
What gives avian caretakers more enjoyment than watching a young fledgling learn about their environment! At HARI, the avian nursery at this stage is more than just watching baby parrots grow. In previous segments of this series on Quakers Weaning for Success, HARI presents techniques and methods used in weaning baby parrots. Before the fledgling leaves HARI, the lessons learned include fundamentals that will prepare the chick for its life as a companion.
In addition to learning to eat a nutritious diet, further lessons include towel training, basic commands such as “step up and step down”-particularly useful in daily weighing on scales adapted with perches. Quaker fledglings learn to enjoy daily misting, flight harness introduction, independent foraging and more.
Why? The moment to offer guidance to these Quaker chicks begins with the pre-fledgling stage and the Nursery caretaker must take advantage of this limited to time span as the chick grows physically and mentally. If baby parrots are started on these life skills at an early age, they will transition into companion lifestyle with greater success. This is good for the future human companion and excellent for the Quaker!
Towel training is simply getting the Quaker accustomed to the touch of a towel-which perpetuates into further life lessons. The towel is introduced at an early stage for HARI Quaker chicks, usually at the Early Pin Feather Stage. A warm wet towel can be applied to a pre-fledgling during the emergence of back and wing feathers. This exercise in desensitizing the chick with the touch of the towel softens the feather shaft to soften the emerging feathers and promote easier preening, a skill that is traditionally taught by the parent bird. This soothing ritual will gradually be replaced with a dry towel as the chick ages. This can also be viewed upon as towel cradling.
At this same stage in weaning, Quakers chicks are introduced to the flight harness. Daily inspection of the chick’s body and preening session can be combined with the placement of the harness despite the fact it serves no purpose at this age as the chicks are not yet flighted.
Nutritional guidance coincides with each life lesson as the nursery caretaker nurtures the pre-fledgling with soft praises and simultaneously offers Tropican High Performance to the chicks while introducing new skills.