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Adventures of Spike

Spreads for web 4

By Sally Blanchard

My caique, Spikey, came to live with me in 1998 when he was 10 months old. He was, by no means, a well-behaved parrot, but he was still absolutely adorable. He had been moulting and his little black head was full of pin feathers, so I decided to name him Spike. The man who had owned him previously had set no rules and he was definitely a bird in control of his own life doing a bad job of it. He was literally a handful.

He was on a horrible diet eating pretty much nothing, but highly coloured pellets containing lots of chemicals, and occasional junk food. He seemed to have two personalities. He went from being either like an out of control whirlwind to being all fluffed up acting sick. My avian veterinarian found nothing medically wrong with him. I knew it had to do with his diet so my goal was to get him on a healthy and nutritious fresh food diet.

I also decided to set some nurturing rules for him. He insisted on running up my arm to my shoulder and then onto my head where he would begin to do what I decided to call ‘hair surfing’. I wanted to change that behaviour, so every time he started up my arm, I told him “up” and had him get on my hand. He would then try to run up my other arm and I would repeat the process with the other hand. It was clear to me that he was a very smart little guy, and he eventually learned that he wasn’t allowed on my shoulder or to ‘hair surf’ unless I gave him permission.

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