A WELL-TOWELED BIRD IS A HAPPY BIRD!
Every parrot caretaker, big or tiny, must be ready for the event when the bird must be confined. It might be to get him out of the cage faster, to encourage him during training, to cut wings, toenails, or grind the beak. Toweling a bird is the only technique to confine him without causing damage or harm in all instances. It’s something the vet does all the time.
Toweling is simple and will not harm your bond with your bird. The key is to not let him see your hands (That is another reason not to use gloves: they look too much like hands).
How to go about it:
Toweling is most effective when done in a small space. If you’re doing it in a room, try to do it in a corner. If you do it in the cage, you may need to take off the perches and toys first. A darkish environment is beneficial because it temporarily “inactivates” the bird. You may do it straight from your hand if the bird is particularly calm.
The size of the towel should correspond to the size of the bird; bigger is not always preferable since you will lose control of the towel or the bird may get entangled in it… Once the bird is in place, lay the towel over him and use your thumb and index finger to guide his head, especially along the jaws. If you are right-handed, use your right hand; if you are left-handed, use your left. Once you’ve got his head, slip one side of the towel beneath him and wrap him in it, pinioning the wings against his body. Holding hold to his head, you may now ensure that his head is clear so that he can breathe and bite the cloth. Remember that the culprit is the towel, not you or your hands.
The “three finger grip” is an excellent method for completely controlling a bigger bird. You utilize your index finger, thumb, and middle finger by placing your index finger over the top of his head and your thumb and middle finger along each side of his jawline.
It is VERY crucial to remember not to put pressure on the bird’s breast by gently gripping the bird around the wings. Pressure on the chest may obstruct breathing and cause significant harm. Typically, a towel serves as an adequate cushion.
A word of advice: toweling becomes easier with practice. When you can do it playfully and not in an emergency, it is the moment to do it. Wrapping the bird in a towel after the wash is one option, as is playing hide and seek on the sofa with a towel. After some time, the towel becomes a “friend” rather than a “foe.”
It is critical to act decisively and quickly. You shouldn’t have to pursue the bird or put yourself in a situation where you have to keep attempting to towel him. The longer it takes, the more painful and challenging it becomes. He who hesitates will also be bitten (Garry A. Gallerstein, D.V.M.)! When you’re ready to release the bird, release the head last since even the most docile bird will bite if it’s scared.
Be confident, kind, and loving in all you do with your bird. Nothing will make your bird more apprehensive than your own anxiety. You’ll be surprised at how much simpler it is when you’re confident in yourself.
To medicate Dixie the sulphur crested ‘Too, I had to towel him twice a day for a month and a half. He would eventually come out of his cage and settle on the floor, waiting for the towel. I’m not sure he enjoyed it, but he didn’t dread it and didn’t identify it directly with me. Sweetum, on the other hand, despises the towel. When he’s pouty and refuses to come out of the cage for our daily contact time, I just offer him the towel and he’s out in a heartbeat. Following that interval, he’ll step up like an angel, both inside and outside the cage—literally for weeks, until the next time… It’s worth noting that he never uses the toweling against me.
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