I just adopted a little Quaker last night and I have a few questions about your Quaker care routines. I've had birds in the past, but I know Quakers can be a bit more temperamental.
Here's what I do know:
The bird is a male (DNA tested)
He is about 4 months old
He has been on a ZuPreem pellet diet (Is there a better quality brand?)
He tolerates hands and nibbles, and I haven't been bitten yet (I know this will change)
Here's what I would like to know/do not know:
What time do you put your Quaker to bed? My bed time is inconsistent and I know Quakers need a strict sleep schedule. My new baby boy is spoiled, because he gets rolled into his very own room at night time. (His cage is pretty large and it rolls.)
Since he is 4 months old, what would you say I should work on and reinforce at this age? He's young, and I want to set good behavior expectations now. Since these birds are a little more spirited than a Budgie or Lovebird, I want to make sure we get behavioral training/expectations down right away.
Asking which pellets are the best will likely get you as many different answers as there are brands of pellets. Many QPs like the ZuPreem Fruit Blend pellets, which my two parrots get. I also feed Higgins InTune Natural pellets, which are also fruit flavored. Some will say that Harrison's are best, others might choose Roudybush. To me, the best pellets are the ones my parrots will eat.
Step ups are the first thing that a new parrot should learn. I'd recommend reading a good book about QPs, like Mattie Sue Athan's Guide to the Quaker Parrot for other good suggestions for training. There are some articles on training on the companion site, Quakerparrots.com, that might be useful to you.
My QP Ralph chose his own bedtime when I first brought him home. He prefers going to bed between 7:00 and 7:30 PM. While parrots do like routine, they can get used to changes in schedule. Between October and April, I go to a lot of hockey games, and that means a late bedtime for the parrots on hockey nights. After the first few games, they take the late bedtime in stride.
My parrots have already been named before they arrived here and they all knew their names, so I'm not the most experienced parront at coming up with names. A lot of people choose names from favorite books, movies or video games. Names of actors or musicians are popular too, as are names related to the parrot's coloring or disposition. Human names are a good choice too. If there are names that you like, try them out and see how your new QP reacts to them. Sometimes a parrot will choose his/her own name from the ones suggested by their human companions.
Mine eat the Zupreem fruity blend and won't touch any other kind. Yours is young and might be willing to try others. You can get samples from the companies at low cost to see what he prefers. Seeds are only a treat, so it's good that he's used to pellets already. Plus you can give him almost anything you eat (no chocolate!). My Quaker won't touch most human food, but my cockatiel and cockatoo will often at least try stuff I'm eating and my cockatoo will move heaven and earth for mashed potatoes.
My little parrots have their own room and they go to bed at 8:30 year-round. Once in a great while I might let them stay up later, but if I do, they start yawning and stretching and getting grumpy. If we're going out and won't be home before their bedtime, I turn their lights down low and they go to bed on their own. Rocky, now, (the cockatoo) wants to stay up until we go to bed. I've worked and worked and finally convinced him to let me tuck him in at 9:30 most nights. His cage is in the living room so it's harder to give him the quiet and dark I can give the little ones in their own room. Consistency and a schedule is what birds need, so if it's possible to put your baby to bed at the same time every night in the dark, undisturbed, that's best for his temper and health.
Mine all have human names and Rocky already had a name when he came to us. My husband chose Clyde's name and I named Freddie, after offering Freddie several options. He liked "Freddie" best. I don't remember what the other options were now -- he joined the family at 8 weeks of age and he's 9 now -- but each name I suggested was met with stony silence until I said "Freddie," and he chirped at that one. I said, "You like that? You want to be 'Freddie?'" and he chirped again, so he's Freddie. I always do that with birds and dogs. Clyde was originally supposed to be Hubby's bird and he just foisted the name Clyde upon him, but Clyde doesn't seem to mind.
Quaker Clyde; tiel Freddie; Rocky 'Too; dog, Jack; too many fish to list.
Welcome! That's great advice from the others. We named our Bonnie after originally intending to name our quaker 'Jack' if male, or 'Jacquie' if female. But when we got the DNA test results and looked at her, she just didn't seem like a 'Jacquie' (whatever that means!). So we racked our brains for names and none seemed to be right. Then one day the tune "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean' came into my head - I'm a musician' - and I said to my husband "What about 'Bonnie'?". We both thought it suited her, as she IS very pretty! When she is noisy we call her 'Bon Jovi'.
Regarding bedtime, Bonnie wants to go to bed at 6:30-7:30pm or so every night and she is awake around 7:00am. There's no sleeping in for us...but she does need her dedicated 11-12 hours' sleep every night, or else she's feistier (AKA aggressive).
We're in Australia and only have a couple of pellet brands available. We use VetaFarm. But I have been thinking of ordering Harrison's or Zupreem from overseas, as lots of our Forum members vouch for them in terms of quality and safe ingredients.
I agree with Cnyguy about teaching the 'step up' first. Bonnie is oppositional defiant, so now I don't actually say "step up" but instead I say "come on" in a cajoling type of voice, which usually works. Make sure you give a small treat each time at the beginning.