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In issue 285 -
Sprouting for parrots. By Jamie Gilardi – Executive Director of the World Parrot Trust
In issue 285 -
Parrot Therapy – How to give your birds the best experience. By Caroline Ashbolt
In issue 285 -
What we’re learning from the Healthy Bird Project. The Holistic Parrot by Leslie Moran
In issue 285 -
The good, bad and ugly – Philippine Cockatoo conservation. By David Waugh, Correspondent, Loro Parque Fundación
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Complete Psittacine by Eb Cravens

One of the most significant factors in the bond between an owner and his or her parrot, is one-on-one touching. Both the contentment of the pet and the happiness of the keeper often depend upon it, depending variously upon the species of psittacine, its degree of socialisation and trust of humans, etc. Over the years, I have developed many different ways for “allo-preening” with my flock.

Though I seldom had to do it, because all my former chicks were left with their parents until well past the full primary feather phase, one of the first, and perhaps most important, techniques is carried out on babies taken for hand-feeding when their feather tufts are still erupting from the ends of blood-filled quill sheaths. This is a time when the owner is a substitute mother for the chicks. Excess quill shaft material must be stripped off of the tubular shafts of new pinfeathers allowing the growth to unfold smoothly.

I would use my thumb and forefinger to squeeze and twist the flaking quill ends, scraping with thumb nails to get the flakes to crack and fall away. The keeper must be careful to not begin this type of preening until the feathers are exposed at ‘long paint brush stage’ out of the quills. Chicks can be very sensitive about any pulling on quills or any attempt to preen too far up from the open end of the plume.

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