AAV Enrichment Tips
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Welcome to the AAV Enrichment Tip Blog! There are 5 types of enrichment that can be provided to your pet bird. These include 1) sensory, 2) nutritional, 3) manipulative, 4) environmental, and 5) behavioral. Think about each category when putting together your pet’s living space! Follow #AAVEnrichmentTip posts on AAV's social media sites or subscribe to this blog for weekly posts.


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Top tags: foraging  toys  recycle  reinforce  #chickens  bath  shower  social  vocalization  #nutritional  01072020  body-language  contrafreeloading  flight  grooming  manipulative  mimic  natural  natural behaviors  nutritional  penguin  positive-reinforcement  target-training  toy  wood 

Mimicry is common in birds

Posted By Administration, Monday, May 25, 2020
Updated: Thursday, May 21, 2020

Mimicry is common in birds. Many species can closely mimic sounds heard in nature, man-made sounds, human voices, and the songs of other birds.  Did you know that a budgerigar holds the record for the largest number of words known? Meanwhile, starlings and mynahs are particularly talented at mimicking alarms and phones. Positive reinforcement can be used to encourage mimicry of noises we prefer, such as words and whistles. What mimicry sounds have you reinforced in your pet bird? #AAVEnrichmentTip

Tags:  mimic 

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Chicken Enrichment: Freeze Treats in Ice

Posted By Administration, Monday, May 18, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Chicken enrichment: Freeze chopped fruit pieces or other treats in water. A large ice block will slowly melt throughout the day revealing treats, while smaller ice-cubes can be offered in a bowl of water to help keep your flock cool and encourage bobbing for treats. #AAVEnrichmentTip

Tags:  #chickens  #nutritional 

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Food Enrichment: Treat Kabobs

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Food enrichment: “Treat kabobs” can be offered by skewering fresh or dried fruits and vegetables using a commercial stainless steel kabob or a strip of leather. This provides an opportunity for birds to obtain these food items outside of the food dish—encouraging a variety of natural behaviors including foraging, climbing, and tearing. #AAVEnrichmentTip

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Enrichment is important for all bird species—not just parrots!

Posted By Administration, Monday, May 4, 2020
Enrichment is important for all bird species—not just parrots! Backyard chicken flocks are becoming increasingly popular. Chickens respond well to both commercial and homemade enrichment items. Keep checking back on Tuesdays to learn more about how to provide enrichment to your backyard flock! #AAVEnrichmentTip

Tags:  #chickens 

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Grooming: Preening and Allopreening

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 27, 2020
Grooming is a natural behavior of all birds. Preening is the act of straightening and cleaning a bird’s own feathers with the beak, while allopreening is when a bird helps groom another bird. Preening behavior in pet birds may especially be witnessed after a bath, in an attempt to groom unruly human hair, or rarely on certain toys. When does your bird show preening behavior? #AAVEnrichmentTip

Tags:  grooming 

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Not Reinforcing Undesirable Behavior

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Not reinforcing an undesirable behavior can be one of the most difficult tasks for a parrot owner! For example, when a bird screams, it can sometimes be hard to ignore this behavior and not yell back for the parrot to be quiet. However, actions like yelling back can accidentally reinforce the behavior and make it even more challenging to discourage in the future. Check out this great article from World Parrot Trust’s PsittiScene Magazine on understanding the behavioral science behind addressing screaming. #AAVEnrichmentTip



Tags:  reinforce  vocalization 

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Reinforcing Small Steps

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 6, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, March 24, 2020
When teaching a new behavior, it is often easier to split the target behavior into smaller steps that are easier to learn.  Reinforce the smaller responses that lead to the final behavior desired. For example, if the end goal is for a bird to pick up a toy ball and place it in a bucket, provide reinforcement initially every time the bird touches the ball with its beak. #AAVEnrichmentTip

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Destructible Toys

Posted By Admin, Monday, March 30, 2020
Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2020
"Destructible toys” are meant to be chewed, shredded, crushed…and destroyed! These toys help parrots mimic natural behaviors of chewing branches, leaves, and bark. Materials best suited for destructible toys include wood, paper/cardboard, leather, and natural materials (eg: corn husk, banana leaf, seagrass, etc). #AAVEnrichmentTip

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Moving Toys

Posted By Admin, Monday, March 23, 2020
Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2020
Some toys and perches can provide sensory enrichment in the form of motion. Examples include boings, atoms, and swings. These items can also encourage exercise. Share pictures of your feathered friends enjoying their favorite moving toy! #AAVEnrichmentTip

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Sensory Enrichment: Using Metal⁠

Posted By Admin, Monday, March 16, 2020
Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2020

Many parrots, especially the larger species, enjoy manipulating metal toys. Metal provides a new texture, which many birds like using to shape and groom their beak. Some toys, like the one shown below, not only provide sensory enrichment using different shapes and color, but also provide occupational enrichment by encouraging birds to unscrew and move items! (Don’t worry! This toy is specially designed for birds so that the nuts do not come off)  #AAVEnrichmentTip⁠

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