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The First(ish) Noel

I am sitting enjoying my morning cup of coffee at 5 am. My standard awakening time. It used to be I would rush into the workroom and start printing our tea orders for Greywood Manor, and now, I come in and sit at my desk to write and create. It's a great feeling. This is the first holiday season since 2015; we aren't a part of the mad rush of black Friday sales, cyber sales, or holiday dash. It's been a magical stress-free holiday season thus far.

While I was finishing up another article I am working on about parrot hormones and where you should and should not touch your bird, I began to think about the holidays and all the things that go along with it for your bird. Lights, smells, new decorations, visitors, temperature change, and stress seething from their owners. As you can imagine, your life is stressful during the holidays, but your bird's life is just as stressful. As my grandfather always used to say, "shit runs downhill." It's very accurate. You may not realize all the things you are bringing into the space for your pets.

I like to offer my birds calming teas, significantly when stress might be increased or change is afoot. Because we used to manufacture tea blends, I have the recipes and ingredients. I do this about a week before the busiest part of the season, for example, when guests come to stay.

I also like to spend a little more time with the birds, doing clicker training and ensuring we do stuff they enjoy. Enrichment toys are also a great and calming distraction. My birds love the toys from The Leather Elves. They have a variety of foraging and fun-enriching toys that make the greys work for their treats and keep their brilliant little minds occupied.

I know some of you readers might not be aware of scented candles and the hundreds of chemicals that can be in them. It depends on the candle brand, if they use essential oils, and where they source their essential oils. A great alternative is a simmer pot. At Greywood Manor, we used to sell a product called Simmer Down Suzies. The premise is to cut up an orange, and apple, toss in a sprig of rosemary, add a tsp of vanilla, and bring to a boil, then let it simmer on your stove. You can add a couple of star anises to the mix or adjust the recipe (tons are available online). It smells like heaven, and you can store it in the fridge when cooled and reuse it for up to three days. Just continue to add water as needed. You have an all-natural air freshener, and your friends and family will think you are Marth Stewart.

I also like to offer the greys a small pumpkin. It keeps them occupied for hours and also gives them something to do. I also want to provide fresh chop in the pumpkin, offering tons of diversity in a meal. Imagine just going to the same dish and getting food when your brain is designed for problem-solving and foraging. Not a very enriching quality of life. It can also lead to extreme boredom, leading to feather destructive behavior or other unwanted behaviors. Keep them busy; it will make your life easier, and you will have a happy bird.

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