Tonawanda News

Features

March 24, 2014

These pets are magical

(Continued)

Tonawanda News —

I do a similar preparation for my lovebirds, cockatiel and cockatoo. It is a great way to get your vegetable- and fruit-eating pets to get fresh food in addition to their pellets, especially if you find them to be picky eaters or if they are eating only one or two types of produce.

“They just love it and the doves will actually dance when they see me coming to feed them!” Rob Allen said. “They also like pieces of finely chopped apple.” He rinses the apples first to remove any sticky juices that could stick to the birds’ feathers around their beaks.

“These are not just animals that I use in my show,” he said. “I raise them from chicks; they are my pets, my friends and my business partners.”

Budding magicians need to consider the commitment it would take before purchasing a live critter companion for their act. Not only feeding and husbandry is involved, but also the training of the animals. If magicians do decide to incorporate their pets into the act, Rob believes, that it will create quite the surprise.

“I think people are shocked when a magician makes a live animal appear or disappear, and that’s what magic’s all about — surprise!” he said. “People love animals and to see a performer work with animals. It is something that the audience can relate to, especially if they have pets of their own.”

Rob does warn other magicians using live animals to be prepared for when the children ask if they can take a dove home with them.

“They think that the magic is real and that I make these birds appear by magic and that I can make as many of them as I want! I usually just smile and tell them that they are my pets.”

Kenny Coogan has a B.S. in animal behavior and is a certified professional bird trainer through the International Avian Trainers Certification Board. Please email your questions to kenny.coogan@yahoo.com, or search for "Critter Companions by Kenny Coogan" on Facebook.

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