Preventing diseases

Phobic behavior can be a big problem! My cockatoo Zazu is a 'master' in being terribly affected..

Recently, I went to my avian vet.. He is very good when it comes to behavior. He works according to a five-step-program that is used every time you approach your avian friend.
This five step program was developed by the kliniek voor vogels in the Netherlands. If you have any questions on how to use this program, you may want to contact them, or go to the 'Behavior' forum. (I am not an expert, I am just a parrot lover!)

It has proved to be very effective in the 'war' against Zazu's fobic behavior. Now, Zazu isn't afraid of bikes anymore, he used to be terrified of them. Now we walk past them without Zazu showing just a single trace of fear.

Below, you can find the five-step-program my avian vet uses. If there is anything unclear about it, please contact the Kliniek voor vogels, as I am NOT an expert!!


Show that you have natural authority in your house, like wise parents have 'authority' over children, and the teacher has 'authority' over her pupils.
Show self confidence and self assurance. Show that you are not having a problem with things. Be a positive example.
Demonstrate this atttude without any communication (with your parrot) to your avian companion.
Don't even look at your parrot! Don't respond on your parrot's behavior! (This includes whistling, etc)
During step one, one should ignore his or her parrot like it's not even there.
Make sure you are the center of all the attention, make sure the parrot looks at you: Play with a toy, clap your hands, throw something in the air, do something your avian friend cannot do. Show you are not afraid of certain objects like a towel or toys.
Important! Show that you don't have a problem, especially not with undesired behavior!
During step one, the caretaker is paramount. In this way, the parrot's interest & respect in being 'commanded'.

Show that you think your parrot is fantastic like wise parents adore their children of 3-4 years old.
Name as many details as you can think of, showing that your parrot has a nice beak, toes, wings etc..
During step two, the parrot is paramount and direct eye contact with the parrot is made.
When your bird is very uncertain, stay on a distance at first!
Step two is a combination of a reward for the desired behavior invoked during step one and it shows that you think your avian friend is fantastic!

You are the teacher like parents teach their children and the teacher teaches his pupils. You show that you take the intelligence of your avian companion very seriously, by working with textures, shapes, details etc. A dog is not just a dog but a dog with a white tail, black nose etc..
After acquiring respect and showing you think your bird is great, parrots are inclined to find that what you offer (a pencil, toy, etc) attractive.

During step four, the parrot is offered different objects like a pencil, toy, towel or whatever object you choose. Tell your parrot it can feel, touch or bite the object. Try to play the whole performance for the bird so that it'll do what you want.
Further you can also offer a hand or branch to the bird with the message that it may step up.
In the first instance, this all concerns simple 'instructions'. Praise your parrot for every positve step and response in your direction. Often, frightened birds will bite very hard in objects, and then start to feel softly with their tongues.
In this way, the parrot will get more and more self confidence. A positive reward is a reason to choose for something willingly.

If your parrot doesn't feel the object when you tell it to do so, don't offer the object endlessly. Don't turn it into a 'must'. Just feel the object yourself and then drop it, or put it aside. Walk through the steps again and then use another object. Then follow all the steps again and use the object that your parrot didn't want to touch at first.

As a part of the intercourse with, and the education of parrots it is important that the parrot accepts circumstances that he or she won't like.
After the proceeding four steps, a situation of mutual respect and trust is built. A parrot feels that it is taken seriously and doesn't feel certain actions are threatening.
When your parrot shows it is extremely frightened of something, you should stop for a while and work with the proceeding four steps again.


The five-step-program as described above can be completed in just 1-2 minutes. It is advised that one works with this program very consciously for 3 x 5/10 minutes a day.

Further, it is advised that a parrot is kept on chest hight. Don't keep your avian companion on your or anyone's shoulder! Also the height of the cage should be considered.
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