Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Play Perches

Ever Since I was in the DVD and CD ROM combination set entitled, “Train Your Parrot To Talk”, a lot of you have been asking me about my play perches.  I really like them and if you're crafty you can probably build them yourself.

The pictures are in thumbnail,
so click on them to see the "BIGGER" Picture!

My Kitchen Perch

My human, Jeff made this perch for me when I was a little chick.

It is made from an unfinished bar stool (24" tall) and a plastic plant saucer (22" diameter).  Marcia bought the toy hook from a company that is now out of business and she can't find anyone who makes one like it these days.  It mainly stays in the kitchen but can be rolled into other parts of the house.  The saucer is bolted to the stool, so it can be taken apart.  This is the perch we take to the bird sitter and when we go for a road trip in the car.  

My PVC Perch

This perch purchased at a Bird Mart in May of 1998.  It was built by the man who was selling them.  He had a whole bunch.  Marcia has never seen him at the show again, so I guess he went out of business too. 
I hope these pictures and measurements help you build one.  1" PVC pipe and fittings were used.  The measurements indicated are the cut lengths of the PVC pipe before you glue the fittings on.  I don't know what kind of glue was used.  Just be safe and be sure it doesn't "off-gas" and hurt your birdies. The measurements are close, but not exact. For example, I measured the poop tray as 17" x 25" and it's really 18" x 26".  The poop tray is a baking sheet and can be purchased from any restaurant supply. They can also be found on Click Here I suggest starting with the tray and build everything out from there.

Underside of Bowl

Tray and Tray Frame

Tray frame rests on intersecting supports


To make the PVC pipe less slippery, it looks like it has grooves gouged into it.  Most likely done with a Dremel tool.  All of the perches that I use are textured like this and I have no trouble getting around on them.

There are 10 stainless steel screw-eyes for hanging toys.  They are indicated with a red dot in this picture.

Have fun with this project and send me a picture of the perch you build!

I'm being Home Schooled now!

Yeah, that's right! Ever since Barbara Heidenreich came to visit me in the summer of 2008, Marcia has been reading and learning all about Positive Reinforcement Training.  She went to and bought a bunch of books and DVD's.  Marcia is a busy lady, but she made it a priority in her life to train me to do a few things on cue.

To date, (March 2011) I have learned learned 6 vocalizations and 2 movements on cue.  Marcia recently posted this video on YouTube and some of you have asked questions.  So watch the Video and then I'll answer the questions.

What treats do you use?
The treat used in this video are Chow Mein Noodles from Szechuan Chinese Restaurant. I also like pretzels (low or no sodium!), almonds, pecans, and Baked Lays Potato chips. All treats are cut into very, very tiny pieces!

Do you use a clicker?
A clicker can be used in Positive Reinforcement Training, but Marcia doesn’t use a clicker because I would learn to imitate the clicker sound. (Very annoying!) She uses use the word "Good!" and then follows up quickly with my favorite treat.

How much time per day do you spend in training?
Every minute of the day is a possible training opportunity. She has treats at the ready at all times. (In the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen) So if I utter the word she’s trying to capture, she can bridge & reward ASAP. Right now she’s trying to capture "Raspberry". Every time I say it, I get a treat! Pretty Cool!

Our "going through the routine" (like what is on this video) is anywhere from 5-20 minutes about 3-4 time a week. Sometimes I’m not interested, so Marcia doesn't make me. Sometimes, just the basics, like “step up” & “step down” still require treats to get me to do those tasks. Jeff, on the other hand, doesn't have to. I’ll do most anything for Jeff! He’s my favorite!

During the course of the day... every interaction with me is training in some way. When I’m given something, they tell me what it is. (Carrot, apple, sweet potato, etc.) When they do something, they tell me what they are doing. (Go computer, take a shower, gotta clean, etc.) But, I don't treated for these because it is interaction.

How long does it take to get a word on cue?
It varies. Depending on how diligent Marcia is to capture the word and how often I'm willing to say the word.  (I can really drive her crazy with that!)

Are you hungry or starving when you train?
Ha! Do I look underfed?  No, my training sessions are usually right before lunch or dinner.  I'm motivated to work for my treats at those times and they are kinda like an appetizer!

What's your favorite subject?
I like recess a lot! But, my overall favorite subject is LUNCH!!!

How can I learn more about Positive Reinforcement Training?
Just go to and click on "Parrot Store".  You will find all the DVD's and Books.   When you are ready to check out, enter the word "Einstein" in the box that says "special code" and it will give you a 10% discount!