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Barbara had one of the them sit on a


perch. The lesson to be taught was accepting fluids from a syringe. This is a useful behaviour as then you can give a bird medicine with ease. The Caique accepted the treat. He touched the end of the syringe and got another treat. Within the ten minutes session the Caique was accepting a drop of water from the syringe. I have to confess that my greys did NOT benefit from much hands on training from Barbara herself Although they’d had no breakfast, when Barbara showed them treats, they evinced little interest. Clearly they are well fed. Casper flew behind me into the auditorium to the audience where he found Hannah, a young zookeeper with a Bic pen and a plastic water bottle. He spent 4 hours interacting with her demonstrating just how powerful other things like play and toys can be as reinforcers Artha flew to the top of the


14 BIRD SCENE


auditorium then flew down and spent the workshop perching on her cage top. Barbara remarked that these Greys were certainly socialised and confident but not so interested in food as a reinforcer. Instead she demonstrated how toys can be used to train. In a quick demo she had Casper practice targeting to a new object for the opportunity to chew on a plastic bottle. Barbara’s video clips showed the


principles of the force-free training work on all animals. We watched a lioness accepting an injection; a kakapo having his unwanted sexual attentions being diverted from caregivers’ heads to a plastic shoe, giraffe presenting hooves for trimming. All these examples come from her work as a zoo animal training consultant. The following day after the workshop, Barbara spent the day training pigs, parrots and goats with students in Hadlow College’s animal care program.


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