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Monday, August 21, 2017
Care Flight Training

Flight Training

At just under 4 weeks of age, the babies become less interested in eating, and more interested in looking up and around.  While in the brooder, they flap their wings frequently, exercising the muscles they will need to use shortly.  They will also show the ability to balance their body weight properly and perch.  Before you know it, one of the group will flap and get lift off.  The first attempt is typically followed by a crash and thud, of sorts.  Once the initial shock wears off, the baby will once again try to get lift off.  Before you know it, they are gliding around like pros, turning midair and landing with grace. Soon after they typically become boomerangs - I send them off and they turn 180 degrees to come straight back to me.

Flight training involves a variety of things.

  • Working with them by gently holding their feet while they perch on your finger and raising your hand slowly up and down while they flap.

  • Giving them plenty of opportunities to perch within a cage and outside of one

  • Taking them around the safe room and having them perch on safe places (e.g., top of their cage, playstand, back of chair, etc.)

  • Flight training in rooms with covered windows and mirrors and where no doors to the outside will suddenly open.

  • Only initial flight training during quiet times in your homes. Later attempts can involve more normal home activities.

  • Setting limits on rooms they can fly to - such as my kitchen is a "no fly zone".  Most of the cockatiels will respect that early on.  Some will test the limits.

Flight training can also include teaching your bird to go back to a cage, playstand or you.  This can come in handy if there is suddenly a commotion.

Flight training does not include teaching them to fly outside and come back to you. 

The babies become much more confident, self-assured, better balanced and content as a result of the completion of flight training.  This is especially true for birds who are clipped after they are adept at flying.  If you choose to keep your feathered companions flighted in the future, they will be more competent fliers and have less coordination difficulties as a result of proper flight training. 

My own flock is flighted, but our lives allow us to ensure their safety.  One method we use is a "two-door rule" - one door must be closed to the outside door before the outside door  is opened. Our birds are given a "gliding" wing feather clip, however, before they leave for their new homes.  This is because they will be taken outside to go to their new home.  And to give them and their new human companions a chance to work out safety issues in their home.  Once they go through a moult and regrow their wing-feathers, then it is up to personal preference. 

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