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My Bird Does NOT want to go into his cage

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

My Bird Does NOT want to go into his cage

Postby meowzero » Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:29 pm

He's flighted and he doesn't want to go into his cage. I tried to make his cage attractive as possible. I try bribing him with all the "bad" treats that he rarely gets like nuts, sunflower seeds, etc. Also, all his toys are in the cage (although he does have "toys" outside the cage like the doorframe, banisters, and other expensive stuff). But he refuses to go inside his cage. He would either fly away or bite HARD to avoid going to his cage. Even when he's thirsty, and he has his water bottle in there, he is stubborn.

This used to be not a problem, but he gradually refused to go into the cage, and now he knows he can avoid it by flying away or just biting. Now, it takes a lot of effort to finally put him in the cage. And when things come up that I need to put him in a cage ASAP, it's a huge chore and frustrating.

Something must have happened that the cage is a negative place for him. My wife and I work full time, and I guess he's sick of being stuck in the cage the whole day. Maybe he feels that when he gets put in the cage, we leave. Or he associates it as a negative place.

I'm not sure what I can do to like his cage. Do you guys have any other ideas?
meowzero
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
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Types of Birds Owned: Rose Breasted Cockatoo
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Re: My Bird Does NOT want to go into his cage

Postby Pajarita » Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:25 am

Well, of course he doesn't want to go back into his cage and nothing negative needs to have happened in it - I mean, would you like to go back into a jail cell? I know I wouldn't! Parrots are very smart and quickly learn the routines - he knows you want to put him back in his cage and are going to leave him alone for hours so he tries his best to avoid it. This is a common problem with parrots... People often call a bird's cage 'his home' but this is nothing but a euphemism meant to make us, humans, feel better about caging an animal that, in reality, did not evolved to have a 'home'. Parrots, with the single exception of quakers, have no 'homes'. They live out in the open, on the trees with the sky as their ceiling and infinite space all around them. The ONLY birds that like going into a cage are the ones that were never treated right because, when they are, they don't 'like' their cages. Now, having said that, some birds don't really fight you when you put them back - and, in my personal experience, the ones that don't are the ones that spend lots and lots of hours outside of it and go back to eat and sleep, mostly, and only a couple of hours of doing nothing. I don't have any trouble whatsoever getting my birds in their cages - so much so that, in the morning, when I put them back in for their breakfast, I don't even have to go looking for all of them because most would either go in by themselves or be perching on it waiting for me to put them in. But that's because they know that they are coming out again in half an hour and staying out until two or three hours prior my turning off the lights and giving them dinner.

The way I see it, you have three problems here: one is that, as you stated, both you and your wife work full time so the bird spends way too many hours in the cage. Two is that you have a cockatoo which are the neediest species when it comes to company. And three is that the bird is learning to bite - and you do NOT want to happen with a galah because they might be a bit smaller than other species of toos but they do have a powerful bite! At least, that has been my experience from friends that had them. All parrots belong to highly social species that evolved to be always surrounded by their family so they all hate being left alone but there are degrees to this hate and cockatoos hate it the most. It's terribly stressful to them and this is the reason why they are so very prone to becoming screamers and pluckers [doesn't your bird scream during the day when he is alone?]. Parrots don't 'like' having company, they need it as much as they need light, food and water [by the way, a bottle is a real bad idea for a cockatoo and you might want to reconsider it, most especially if you feed pellets]. Also, if you work full time, you are not able to keep your bird at a solar schedule and that will bring trouble down the line as he will become overly hormonal if he isn't already [again, plucking, screaming and even self-mutilating].

Parrots are wonderful, wonderful animals! They are beautiful, super smart, funny, VERY loving, etc. but keeping parrots healthy and happy is VERY hard because a normal lifestyle [full time work, children, vacations, etc] does not allow for the caregiver to fulfill their emotional and physical needs. Of course, this is something that most people find out the hard way because petstores and breeders don't tell you this and, unfortunately, even rescues adopt birds out to people who cannot provide them with a healthy lifestyle. It's a huge problem - and one that has harmful effects on the birds which end up being rehomed over and over, passing from one hand to another... I go into CL every day to flag and every single posting of a parrot for rehoming says the same thing: "I don't have enough time to spend with it".

The only thing that I can think of that will help [short of one of you quitting his/her job] is to eliminate the cage and make a birdroom for him where he can live cage-free [that's what I've done with my cockatoos] plus getting somebody to come and birdsit during the day - it doesn't have to be all day long but, at least, three or four hours so he has something to look forward to every day.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13182
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Flight: Yes

Re: My Bird Does NOT want to go into his cage

Postby meowzero » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:37 am

Thanks, but why are bottles bad for birds?
meowzero
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
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Types of Birds Owned: Rose Breasted Cockatoo
Flight: Yes

Re: My Bird Does NOT want to go into his cage

Postby Navre » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:47 am

meowzero wrote:Thanks, but why are bottles bad for birds?



Birds dip dry food into the water, they can't do that with a bottle. They also bathe in their water bowls when they feel like it. It's just more natural to have a bowl.
Navre
African Grey
 
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Timneh African Grey
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Re: My Bird Does NOT want to go into his cage

Postby Pajarita » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:56 am

Aside from the facts that Navre gave you, which are absolutely correct, it's also that cockatoos eat a VERY 'wet' diet daily -they are the only large species of parrots that I have seen actually going for and thoroughly enjoying eating leafy greens.

Parrots are prey animals and, because of this, they evolved to be crepuscular eaters. This means that they will eat and drink at dawn and dusk only [this is because twilight reduces vision accuracy by, at least, 10 percent making it harder for a predator to hunt]. This eating and drinking schedule is hard-wired into them to the point that, if you observe them carefully and feed them right [which, of course, doesn't mean free-feeding pellets, seeds, nuts, etc], you will see them taking the same number of gulps of water every single day of their lives with cockatoos taking about 8 not too large gulps [I've never had galahs so this number might not be accurate for them but I've had umbrellas, lesser sulfurs and citrons and they all did exactly the same thing] so, when you give them a bottle that only produces a drop at a time, they usually end up getting too little water. If, to this, you add the fact that you are feeding them a meal that has a maximum moisture of 10 percent while their bodies were created to eat a diet that is between 85 to 95 percent, you end up with a subclinical chronic dehydration that, in time, destroys the kidneys [it took us years and years and years to figure out this is what we were doing wrong with cats when we were feeding them dry kibble -cats, like parrots, are supposed to derive most of their hydration needs from their diet]. I have seen three birds come to the avian clinic with severe dehydration [their owners said they had fainted but my vet suspected that they actually had a very mild seizure] and all three birds were cockatoos that were being fed pellets and, I suspect, given water in bottles.

Bottles are very practical and I will be the first to admit this because God knows it's a pain in the neck to have to wash their water bowls and refill them twice and, sometimes, three times a day! But they are completely unnatural and my 'thing' is to make everything in my husbandry as close to nature as I can because, when it comes to undomesticated animals, there really isn't that much of a leeway.

Captivity is VERY hard on parrots... we separate them from their parents, siblings and their entire family, we take away their freedom and their decision-making, we feed them unnatural food and take away their right to fly, to have companions and mates of their own species, to reproduce naturally... we keep them alone in a jail cell for hours and hours and hours every day with absolutely nothing to do and make them uncomfortably [and sometimes even painfully] hormonal all year round, messing up their endocrine system and depressing their immune one... we really do a job on the poor things! So, anything that can be done to make their lives closer to what they evolved AND deserve to have is always beneficial - and not only from a physical health perspective but also an emotional one.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13182
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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