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Red-crowned kakariki became extremely aggressive overnight.

Discuss the methods and techniques of clicker training, target training and bonding. These are usually the first steps in training a young parrot.

Red-crowned kakariki became extremely aggressive overnight.

Postby Iva » Wed May 18, 2016 3:59 am

Hello everybody! :cockatoo:

First of all - so glad I found this forum, it seems to be busier than other bird-related ones, so I'm looking forward to sticking around and learning new things. :thumbsup:

I have owned three budgies in the past - from 1992 to 1994 (died of a heart attack), in 1996 (somebody bought me a sick bird for my birthday) and 2003 to 2008 (died of cancer) and the first bird was exceptional. He never learned to talk, but he was a sweetheart, the sick bird was on her way to become like that. The third was not hand-reared and he bonded with my dad to a certain degree, but that was it. He was not attacking us, but when we'd come close, he would most definitely bite.

And after that...I just didn't own a bird for more than seven years. Got a small dog I rescued from the street in 2011, but some months ago, I thought about owning a bird again. Given my experience with budgies and how heartbreaking it was to see the last one die in my hands, regardless of what he was like to me, I thought about something bigger, but not too big. A friend advised me to save for a Cockatoo or an African grey, since I like my animals social and all, but I was concerned about noise. I thought about rozellas, but a friend who breeds birds for pet shops (I'm against his approach, but that's a whole different story) told me that I should get a kakariki instead, he also recommended a girl who hand-rears them, whose dad is a respected breeder. My reasoning was that this bird will be less likely to get sick than a budgie and friendlier than a rozella.

So, I picked a bird from photos the girl was posting, I went to pick him up. He was the first bird to fly on me, followed by a bunch of budgies and a different kakariki - a female who remained on my shoulder for two hours - and I made friends with her African Grey, pair of rozellas...everything other than quakers, who hated me. And I took my Agape, Agi for short, home. I was told that he was born mid to late January.

It took him only two outings to end up on top of my head, four or five to fly close to me and play with me. After one week, he was saying a variant of his name, today he says quite a few words - Agi, Agape, Judi (the dog's name), ptičica (little bird), barks like a dog and attempts full phrases. He's interested in what I'm doing on the large computer screen - I'm a web developer - he is not scare of the dog and he listens to my mother and me when we talk to him.

Despite all this, he started acting strangely last week. He came closer to this 60x80 poster I have on my wall, which he'd been eyeing since he came here and when I tried to sit next to him, he opened his wings, made a couple of steps towards me and attacked me. Then he refused to go back into the cage until I picked it up and put it over him. I covered the poster with a tablecloth next time he was out and thought this was it.

But nooope. This morning it got far worse. He attacked the bottle of Pepsi Max I was drinking from, then he refused to let me drink from my glass and, well, I had to keep him away from caffeine, so he bit me. Minutes later, he was back to my work area, attacking me without a warning. He was staring at me, going after the keyboard, random items, the now-empty glass (I drank it all to prevent him from poisoning himself) and put the bottle in the armoire. For the next couple of minutes, Agi kept on coming back, acting like a crow - literally - and he went back to his cage all by himself. Now he's quiet (he's normally VERY loud), making that threatening rattling sound - no, not the "baaaah" - and if I come closer, he reaches out with his beak and talons.

I would not want to make the same mistake I made with my third budgie - who, by the way, never attacked me like this, especially not this early in our relationship - and I almost certainly don't want Agi to be unhappy. So, tips are more than welcome.

Information:
- He eats mostly sunflower seeds - he rejects the millet sprays and the food mix for "large parakeets". He gets a piece of fruit or veggie once a day or so, he has had some popcorn and a couple of slices of a hard-boiled egg.
- The cage is rounded: 70 cm tall and 35 cm diametre. I plan to change this, as the enclosed feeders are too small and, well, enclosed, and from what I understand, this is too small for a kakariki.
- He does have a pair of mirrors and I'm going to try to remove them.
- I try to let him out once every two days and the dog is not in the room when Agi is out.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you. <3
User avatar
Iva
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 7
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Red-crowned kakariki
Flight: Yes

Re: Red-crowned kakariki became extremely aggressive overnight.

Postby liz » Wed May 18, 2016 7:22 am

Be patient but protect yourself when you are in a situation that could get you hurt. His attacks are him trying to tell you something.
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liz
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 7135
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Types of Birds Owned: DYH Amazon Rainbow
BF Amazon Myrtle
Cockatiels: Shadow Tammy Flutter Phoenix Jackie
Andy Impy Louise
Flight: Yes

Re: Red-crowned kakariki became extremely aggressive overnight.

Postby Pajarita » Wed May 18, 2016 11:24 am

Well, for one thing, you need to get rid of that round cage ASAP. They are VERY bad for birds. Cages need to have corners, have a height of 5 times the height of the bird and a width of 3 times its wingspan. It needs to be kept at eye level when you are standing up, with the back of it against a wall (it makes them feel safe) and a window nearby for natural light (as well as good quality full spectrum light on the ceiling fixture -that means CRI 94+ and Ktemp between 5000 and 5500).

You can't feed a bird sunflower seeds and just a bit of produce once a day (and, please, no hard boiled egg, there isn't a single species of parrots that eats eggs in the wild, they are bad for them, too much fat and too much bad cholesterol). He needs to eat semi-cooked whole grains and raw fruit, greens and veggies every day for breakfast and a good quality seed mix (and that means all kinds of seeds with very little sunflowers and these have to be the grey with stripes kind, never the black ones). They also need a cuttlebone or some other source of calcium available to them all the time as well as a good quality multivitamin/mineral supplement once or twice a week.

He needs to come out for 4 hours every day to exercise and spend, at least, 2 hours with you of one-on-one time. They also need to be kept at a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk or they produce sexual hormones all year round and become aggressive.

It seems to me that your bird might be going through puberty but has become aggressive due to his little handling and inadequate diet. Kakarikis are mostly aviary birds and EXTREMELY active little things so you need to give them a lot of room and exercise as well as put A LOT of time and work into keeping them tame or they revert easily to what people call 'wild ways'.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15062
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Red-crowned kakariki became extremely aggressive overnight.

Postby Iva » Thu May 19, 2016 1:35 am

Liz, thank you.

Pajarita, thank you for your detailed and long response. I'll try to address every point and be a better, err, mom to my birdie.

Knew the cage would have to be an issue. :( As soon as I can afford to change it, I'm changing it. But from what you said, looks like the place where the cage is isn't good, either! He's on a desk in front of a large window, looking to the street. We're not in a busy area, but it almost definitely is urban. He has natural dawn, natural sunset and he acts accordingly. He does not want to be awake when the night falls.

The thing with sunflower: Agi refuses to eat other seeds. The breeder recommended the mix cockatiels eat, but Agi just picks out the sunflower, leaves everything else inside and then forages on the cage floor. They are of the stripey kind and certified as such, so at least that's one thing I didn't get wrong.

In other words, yes, I am freaking out that he will starve if I completely remove the sunflower from him. Not sure if this is an irrational thought or not.

The word "breakfast" in this context confused me. Are you saying that there's a specific meal he should be getting every day? Also, whole grains? I can always cook wheat, which is readily available in most stores here, but what else? Also, how much of it? Sorry if I come across as confused - I am.

I just gave him some salad greens and, as I was about to put them on the cage floor, he threatened both err, them and me. But now he's eating them and serenading them.

Cuttlebone - he has it and he likes it, though he also tumbled it over and pooped on it.

Vitamins, as in, those put in water? I can buy that, yes. He does take minerals already, all my birds did.

And we do play. I started recording little videos to show to some folks, this was a common play.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XVrECYMxxY


Hope I covered everything - any and every single tip would be appreciated. :)
User avatar
Iva
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 7
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Red-crowned kakariki
Flight: Yes

Re: Red-crowned kakariki became extremely aggressive overnight.

Postby Pajarita » Thu May 19, 2016 12:45 pm

Ask away, my dear, and don't feel bad about it, that's what we are here for.

OK, food. Birds eat two main meals a day: breakfast and dinner. Breakfast is eaten, depending on the species -some are lazier than others :D - at dawn or a bit later and dinner is eaten when the sun goes down. I feed mine their raw produce (one veggie, one fruit and one leafy green or a cruciform -like broccoli) about one hour after I open their cages in the morning which is done when the sky is beginning to get a bit of light and you can not see very well but you can see enough to walk around and distinguish things. A bit after that (I watch them and make sure they are eating, at least, some of their produce), I give them their gloop. If you look in the diet section, you will find several recipes for it but, basically, it's a dish made out of whole grains (yes, whole wheat is one of them but we usually use more -like oat groats, hulled barley, kamut, quinoa, etc) cooked 'al dente' (soft on the outside but still hard on the inside), some white beans (don't use any of the colored kinds) and chopped frozen produce. Some people use fresh but I prefer the frozen one because it has more nutrition (vitamins start to degrade as soon as the fruit or plant is harvested so, because frozen ones are done almost immediately after, they retain most of their nutrition) and it doesn't become all watery after it thaws (the good thing about gloop is that you can freeze baggies with daily portions and just thaw one every day). I use chopped broccoli, corn, peas, carrots, butternut squash, white hominy, chopped green beans, chopped artichoke hearts (very good for liver function) and sweet potatoes (sometimes I add chopped beets to it, too) but you can make your own combination. If you start with a simple gloop made out only of the grains and mix it with a bit of the seeds he is now eating, he will start by eating the seeds and nothing else but after a few days (it usually does not take long), he will start eating the grains and, when you see he is doing this (you will find little white empty 'skins'), you can start adding veggies to it. Do it gradually and slowly to give him time to get used to one before you add another (start with corn, they all LOVE it). You can leave the gloop out for him to eat all day long and don't worry about amount because he will not get fat on it no matter how much he eats (the cooked grains are very plump with water so although it looks like a lot, there aren't enough calories in them to make them fat). In the evening, when you see the sun is halfway down to the horizon, you turn off the artificial lights (you are supposed to turn them on once you see sunshine coming into the room) and give him his dinner. Now, this needs to be a measured portion so start with one level tablespoon of the seed mix he is now eating (by doing this, you are ensuring he is not going to starve to death while transitioning to a better diet). After he falls asleep (which he will do once it's night and dark), you must remove the leftover seed so there will be none in his cage when he wakes up (this is so he will be good and hungry when he gets his 'healthy' food).

I prefer the powder vitamin supplements that you sprinkle on the soft food (gloop) but if all you have available is the kind that goes in the water, you can use those, too.

Now, taming little ones is not easy. You need to put a lot of work and patience into it but it can be done. Start by offering him sunflower seeds out of your hand while he is still in his cage (he will gladly take them once you start feeding him gloop in the morning) and talk to him a lot. Then, five days to a week after you start with the new diet, open his cage door two hours before sunset and let him fly around (you need to birdproof the room so there is nothing that can hurt him in it). One hour before sunset, put his dinner seeds on the bottom of his cage (use a white paper plate) and, most likely, he will go into it on its own. As you get into a routine and start doing this every day, he will become more and more used to you and the routine (routines make them feel more in control of their own lives). Once you see he is used to taking treats from your hand and the routine, you can start target training him from inside the cage. Once you get a bird to trust you, used to a routine, target trained and taking treats from your hand, the rest is easy.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15062
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes


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