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How to earn an adopted bird’s trust

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

How to earn an adopted bird’s trust

Postby rickeed » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:07 am

Hello all. I am looking for some advice and direction. I recently adopted a 4 year old Indian ringneck. He was very scared of me initially and remains fairly untrusting of me. I am trying to find a way to fix this. I have gone slow with him, I allow him plenty of out of cage time (any minute I’m home he has freedom to come out at his leisure, and he does), and I’ve been working with him on step up. He will step up but only if I have my hand covered with a long sleeve. He will not stay on my hand but he walks half way up my arm or perched on my forearm, but only for a moment and flies back to his cage. I want to try to take him to a different room to see if I can make more progress with him away from his cage, but the only way I can do that is to wrap him in a towel (which is a challenge) and take him there. I don’t want to make him upset with me and take a step backward by doing that.

All advice and opinions are appreciated!! Thank you!
rickeed
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Indian Ringneck
Flight: Yes

Re: How to earn an adopted bird’s trust

Postby Pajarita » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:54 am

Welcome to the forum and thank you for adopting instead of buying a baby! Now, you don't say how long you've had him and that makes all the difference in the world but I would strongly caution you to use any flooding techniques to tame him. They only work short term and they always end up backfiring so do not towel him and take him to another room until we have a chance to give you a better advice so let us know how long you've had him, what you are feeding him, what light schedule he has and, if you know it, what was his background and we will take it from there.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15531
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: How to earn an adopted bird’s trust

Postby rickeed » Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:03 pm

I’ve had him for about 3 weeks. It might be a month now at the most. He was in a home with all adults prior but it was a family. I’m unsure if the entire family interacted with him or not but he did seem to have enough of a bond with one of the adult male children. He would perch in his hand and allow the person to pet him a little. The cage had been in the living room when I went to meet Frank but I’m unsure if it had always been there. The home did have a dog and I think a cat because Frank does meow. That’s the most I know about his former home.

I haven’t even attempted to change his diet, though I’d like to. He is on a seed mix and I am almost out so I’d like to see if he will eat Lafeber Avi-Cakes to start rather than a full seed mix, but if there are better suggestions I’d be glad to hear them! I offer him fresh fruits and vegetables in the morning and at night while he always has seed mix available (when he doesn’t decide to throw his bowl and dump them while I’m at work). I’m learning his preferences. He doesn’t like rice or oatmeal but I haven’t tried any pasta yet. He prefers when I steam his vegetables. He usually gets 2 almonds, broken up, as treats when I am working with him. He enjoys scrambled eggs which I do give him once a week. I try to mix up what I offer him so it’s always a little different mix of things. He eats his breakfast in his cage but he eats dinner on his play top. He likes to watch out the window near the cage while he eats his dinner.

He puts himself to bed once the sun starts to go down, which is currently around 7:30 pm. I had been covering the cage, except the back side as it’s by a wall. I would uncover him between 6 and 7 the next morning and the sun usually rises close to 7, right now anyway. I don’t turn any lights on in the room he is in while I’m getting ready for work in the morning but some light comes into the room from the bathroom. On the weekends I usually uncover him between 7 and 8. Recently he began biting at the bars when I would cover him so I tried leaving him uncovered the last two nights. He stayed quiet all night to my knowledge and he doesn’t seem any less rested or acting differently. I figured if he didn’t want to be covered I was ok with that as long as he was getting enough rest uncovered. When he puts himself to bed and the sun has set I move to the bedroom so I don’t disturb him resting with the tv or anything. The room he is in during the day has many windows and natural light.

My home is generally quiet. It’s just myself and my dog. I do not allow the dog out when Frank is out of his cage flying around or when i am working with him, though Frank does not seem to mind the dogs presence, the dog is still too overwhelmed by Frank so I feel it’s best not to let him into the room while Frank is exercising and I’m working with him. He did say a few words when I got him and he continues to say them. He has even expanded on his “hi” to say “hi Frank.” He loves watching other birds on YouTube and will actually sit on my leg to watch. Sometimes he will sit on my forearm as long as my hand is covered by my sleeve to watch them. Occasionally there will be a day however he won’t come near me, which is ok. I don’t force him but I do encourage him. He is flighted and I have no intention of changing that. He’s a very good flier and I’m happy he is able to stretch his wings and take some trips around the living room to get out his energy. Some days he is very insistent on my attention and other days he’d rather I not exist. He’s food motivated for sure and that’s how we have worked on the step up, but always with my arm and hand covered. I’ve been able to get him to step up without it but it lasts about a second before he flies away. I’m not sure where we aren’t connecting. He had no issue with his previous owners hand or arm.
rickeed
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Indian Ringneck
Flight: Yes

Re: How to earn an adopted bird’s trust

Postby Pajarita » Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:57 am

OK. First of all, you are expecting too much too soon. Three weeks is NOTHING to a rehomed bird. As a matter of fact, I never even try to interact at all for the first two or three weeks. If you are a dog person, you need to understand that parrots are nothing ike dogs (I have dogs, cats and birds and although I now consider myself a 'bird person', I used to think that I was a 'dog person'). You can take in a dog that belong to somebody else (all my animals are rescues, adoptions or rehomes) and, as long as he was not abused in any way in his previous home and you are kind, the dog will bond with you and love you in a matter of days. Not a parrot! For one thing, parrots are undomesticated and, for another, they don't understand the concept of subservience (or obedience or discipline - they don't belong, like dogs and humans do, to a hierarchical society) so, to him, you are a complete stranger and somebody he doesn't know if he should trust. Asking him to step up to your hand is like asking a complete stranger to trust you enough for you to grab his hand and take him wherever you want - and I bet you $1,000 against a penny that the stranger will not do it, either.

Your light schedule is good. Not great because it's not completely consistent which is best but not too bad. Just make sure that the is exposed to, at the very least, 1.5 hours of twilight both at dawn and dusk and that no light comes in through a window and reaches his cage in the night (moon and stars light is good, it's the street lights and the cars driving by that are not good).

Now, the diet is terrible. I don't mean to make you feel bad but the diet that you have him under will kill him way before his time. Let me explain. IRNs are fruit eaters so they need a lot of produce for the high moisture and fiber, VERY little protein and almost no fat at all. You are feeding eggs (animal protein which is not the same as plant protein!) and that means a bomb of protein, fat and, worst of all, bad cholesterol, something that their bodies cannot get rid of because Nature did not evolve them to ever consume any food with bad cholesterol so even when you feed a little bit and not all the time, it's still super bad because that little bit will stay there and all the little bits will accumulate and accumulate as time goes by, You are also free-feeding seeds and that's way too much protein and fat for him (and, by the way, avicakes and nutriberries are made out of seeds so they are no good either). You need to change his diet so I will tell you what I feed mine and you can then determine what you want to feed yours because there are other options (chop, mash, kitchen sink, etc). Mine eat gloop and raw produce for breakfast (they get their produce first thing and their gloop about 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour later) and get one level measuring tablespoon of finch seed mix for dinner (finch mix has the lowest protein and fat of all the seed mixes).

I have two females that came from a lady who had them for 6 years and who had taken them from still another lady - they have no rings on their legs so I don't really know how old they are but I assume they are around 10 years old because most birds are rehomed before they turn five years old (it's pretty much when the novelty wore off and the people realized they are too much work and trouble). And they had been eating the wrong diet all this time so I now have them on liver and kidney cleansers but is going to take about a year or more of daily supplements and good diet to begin to correct the problem (not that it will ever disappear, mind you, but the liver will get a better function). So I would urge you to change his diet immediately (I can tell you how to do it, if you wish). It's not really that hard with them because they do love their fruits with a passion - and mine absolutely adore their gloop (I have an albino and she always ends up with her entire forehead and cheeks dirty from her buring her had in the gloop :lol: ).

Now, I don't really interact that much with them still even though they have been here for several weeks because they were EXTREMELY high strung when they first came... I am talking plucking, night and day frights all the time, anxious and nervous all the time, etc. They were obviously not allowed to come out of their cage because they did not come out for weeks even though the door to their cage was open all day long and, when they did and they were startled into flying, they were super weak and clumsy. They have gotten better. They now come out every day, they are more relaxed in my presence (preening, eating, etc), are getting much better at flying and do it more regularly, step up to my hand and even allow me to give them head scritches (not for very long but it's still a step in the right direction).

I suggest you take it easy and don't rush things because this is what we call 'the honeymoon period' when the bird is at his best behavior (in terms of aggression) and not only getting used to its new home, human, etc but also making up its mind about you. It's the foundation where your entire relationship with him will be built and you need to make it a strong one, one made out of trust. So don't rush him (they don't like that) and don't ask him for familiarities (step up) that he is not willing to give you yet. Wait him out - show him the respect you would another human being and let him set the relationship at his own pace. It will work out much better for you and him in the long run. For now, just open his cage and let him out on its own, talk/sing/whistle to him and, every now and then, give him a little treat (make it a small piece of a millet spray) but, if he doesn't take it from your hand, just leave it where he can reach it and walk away because this is not a reward for good behavior or a bribe, it's a gift you are giving him, a token of your desire to become his friend.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15531
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: How to earn an adopted bird’s trust

Postby rickeed » Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:27 pm

Thank you so much! I read that a few times to make sure I got it all. Very enlightening! I was going off of veterinary advice that I had gotten but I’m definitely going to try things your way and see where we end up! There’s so much contradictory information out there it’s hard for me to determine what to follow, and some people are set in their ways even if that way may be wrong! I haven’t had a bird since I was a young child and my parents don’t really remember much of what they had done so many years ago. I’m glad I posted before I started to change his diet, but I will work on it today. He loves his produce so I am thinking it shouldn’t be too mich of an issue. As long as I take a bite he seems to just dig right in and follow suit. The gloop may be a challenge since he’s refusing rice and oatmeal to start but I’ll play with different recipes and see what I can find that he may be willing to at least try. Maybe if I hold my nose and take a bite he will feel compelled to try it too :lol:
rickeed
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Indian Ringneck
Flight: Yes

Re: How to earn an adopted bird’s trust

Postby Pajarita » Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:44 am

Yes, there is A LOT of conflicting information and my biggest beef is when people try to justify things like, say, the wrong diet, with the 'There are different opinions about it" because, although it is true that there are lots of different opinions, one should never go by somebody's opinion but by what Nature evolved them to eat. People's opinions mean nothing to me compared to Nature's decrees.

The other thing is that we have learned A LOT about birds in the last twenty years or so. We really did not know anything about them... we thought we did but we didn't and that's why people still think that a canary only lasts 7 years or so when, in reality, they can live well into their teens - or that budgies can be bred all year round when this never, ever happens in the wild.

As to avian vets... well, I have an avian vet and I do take my birds to him but I never ask him advice on diet or behavior simply because these are not subjects they study. I have Avian Medicine text books (three of them but I am planning on getting a fourth one as soon as I can get some money together -they are expensive) and there is no chapter on behavior -nothing, zilch, nada- and the Avian Nutrition chapter is maybe two pages long and super generic because Avian means all birds and there are birds that eat fish, birds that eat meat, birds that eat insects, birds that eat seeds, birds that eat fruits, birds that eat nectar and pollen, etc so you would need something the size of the Encyclopedia Brittanica to cover every single species dietary ecology! No one person could possibly know them all so asking an avian vet who, most likely, doesn't even have birds of his own is useless (and, in truth, I don't know why AVs give advice on something they know nothing about). I was born and raised in a South American country where there are wild parrots, I handfed my first conure when I was 10 years old, I've kept canaries my entire life, and I've been studying parrots natural diets since 1994 (I do research every single day except for Sundays) when my first rescue was diagnosed with high uric acid (because I was feeding her wrong) and I've only managed to scratch the surface.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15531
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: How to earn an adopted bird’s trust

Postby Pajarita » Fri May 24, 2019 8:38 am

This is a real strange article... It looks to be a computer translation from another language but, aside from the weird and incorrect vocabulary and grammar, it also has some very wrong information!
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15531
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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