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I tried to train my conure to allow touching...

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

I tried to train my conure to allow touching...

Postby ZZ.Z » Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:56 pm

I have a peach front conure(Ivy) and he (I don't know his actual gender) is almost 5 month old. I have been with him for about 2 months now, but he does not allow any touching except his foot. I had trained him to step up really well(no beak, foot only). And he can do a couple of tricks: wave, shake, spin, and target. He is kind of nippy but it's fine with me. he doesn't really poop on people unless he has to( he's not potty trained tho).
Ivy loves hanging out with me and he loves my presence, but here's the weird thing...
As I mentioned, Ivy doesn't like touchings, so it's really hard to groom him or give him a check up. He screamed like a machine gun during vet check up when the vet gently hold him with a towel(I’m not even kidding)! The vet also taught me how to give Ivy a quick check up once a while by looking at his stomach area to see if he’s too fat too skinny or normal. But I can’t do that cuz he won’t let me touch him, and it broke my heart when hearing him scream like that.( he will scream a little but not too much when his hand feeder hold him like that)
Any way, I decided to train him to allow touching but give him a star my mom fold with millets ( his only and favorite treat) in it. He loves the stars so he’s willing to trade a little touching for the star. But he has this tiny nah sound which means he doesn’t like it. He will make that sound every time I touch him.
And things got even weirder!
Ivy started molting, and got a couple pin feathers on his forehead that he could not reach... So, I went further when training him to be touched. I started to give him some scratches. He would bite on the star and I would started give him some scratches. He gave me those nah sounds at first THEN... he seemed to enjoy it a lot. He literally half closed his eyes and fluffed up his feathers! He looked so comfy!
BUT, as soon as I took back my hand he started make that nah sound again and doesn’t wan me to touch him...
I’m really confused about his behavior, please help me if you know something about this, thank you! :danicing:
ZZ.Z
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 24
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Peach Front Conure
Flight: No

Re: I tried to train my conure to allow touching...

Postby Pajarita » Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:11 am

Welcome to the forum, ZZ and Ivy! Now, you do not say what you have been feeding him or how often but, going by the fact that he doesn't like to be touched, I would venture the guess that you have not been handfeeding him and, if you got him at only three months of age, you should have - as a matter of fact, he should still be getting formula once a day right now at five months of age. Petstores and breeders will tell you they are weaned but it's not true. Parrots are all highly altricial animals that need their parents help for many months after hatching and, even when they start eating on their own, they still get their food intake supplemented by the parents. It's like a toddler, it would be able to eat by itself by the time it's 2 years old but no mother would actually sit a 2 year old in front of a plate of adult food and expect it to feed itself. Same thing with birds.

Now, the thing about handfeeding until they are truly weaned is not only because they need the extra rich food and because going even a little bit hungry does things to their heads (there are studies that show this), it's also so the bird grows up well-adjusted socially. But, the best benefit of handfeeding is actually to the owner because the bird regards you as its momma and, as such, it trust you completely and loves you to pieces. Furthermore, I might be wrong on this but if the bird screams whenever the person hand-feeding it grabs it is because this person doesn't know what he/she is doing! For one thing, you do not need to grab a bird to handfeed it and, for another, a well-socialized baby would not scream at all when gently grabbed - they actually like being held! A bird bonded to its human will allow touch everywhere so I am afraid that your little bird is not bonded to you. I am also afraid that you made things worse by training it to do tricks. Birds are never trained while babies. Babies need to bond to their humans and training does not accomplish that. It's actually quite counterproductive when it comes to bonding because birds are not programmed to work for food -which is what formal training for tricks is- so when you force them to do it at a too young an age, you are creating distrust and disaffection because they only do the tricks because they feel insecure but, when they grow up and become more self-sufficient, this too early training backfires on the human. I really do wish you have come to us sooner...

You are going to have to put work and time into undoing the wrongs but the good news is that it can be done. My recommendation to you is to stop training IMMEDIATELY and just spend time with it loving it (minimum 4 hours of flight and 3 hours of one-on-one every single day). Don't try to teach it to allow you to touch it - you can't teach an animal -or a human for that matter- to trust you or love you, you need to earn it through your actions. And, please, feed that little baby some soft food served warm and fresh twice a day, it needs the comfort badly! Eat its breakfast with it (not your breakfast but his which should be gloop and raw produce, never pellets or seeds), play games or simply just walk around with it on your shoulder - allow it to take its noon nap on you (they love that) and make sure it's kept at a strict solar schedule with two full hours of twilight so his appetite, sleep and mood are good and he feels rested and calm in the morning.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15400
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: I tried to train my conure to allow touching...

Postby ZZ.Z » Sun Sep 22, 2019 10:50 am

I tried to give him formula but he would not eat it :,( he prefer millet over everything
I’m feeding him seeds, veges, fruits, and I tiny bit of pellets. Also some soft food which he won’t eat on his own or let me feed him.
And no one actually grabbed him in some hard way. The hand feeder was just gently put her hand on his back without even touching him but he will still make the bag sound :(

I don’t really know how to play with him cuz I can’t touch him. All I can do now is be with him whenever I can and he can sit on my shoulder my leg my hand my arm but I’m just unable to touch him. He doesn’t like everything over him, no blankets no towels.
ZZ.Z
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 24
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Peach Front Conure
Flight: No

Re: I tried to train my conure to allow touching...

Postby Pajarita » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:14 pm

My dear, no bird likes to have things over them. You can get them used to toweling but it takes time, effort and A LOT of patience to do it because grabbing their body is what a predator would do just before it eats it so it's real hard for a bird to learn to accept that this is not dangerous.

I don't know how the baby was fed when very little but I can tell you that babies love to be fed and that they never complain about it (what they do complain about is being hungry though and beg for food by chirping) even when you put your hand on them so, if the baby did not like it, it was most likely gavage-fed which nobody does any more because it's so traumatic to the baby. Is it possible that this baby was gavage-fed by the breeder? The bad breeders do it because it's fast and it makes their job easier but it does the babies no favors -not that any breeder actually cares about the babies they produce because, if they did, they would not breed them.

But having said that, ALL birds love warm soft food. ALL of them without a single exception! Try giving it warm soft food on a white paper plate at the bottom of the cage and see what happens (try gloop).

And you do not need to touch the bird to play with it - but, if it likes to be on you and do nothing else, then do that. You need to gain his trust back because you kind of screwed up going straight into training when you should have taken the time to simply love the baby so it could bond with you - and the best way to do that is to do whatever makes the bird happy.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15400
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: I tried to train my conure to allow touching...

Postby ZZ.Z » Sun Sep 22, 2019 1:20 pm

I got my bird at Omar’s Exotic Birds in California, I’m not sure but would say they are pretty good Breeders?
Should I buy exact food for him or just make gloop? Cuz I don’t really know how to hand feed a bird and all the things that could happen if did inappropriately. For gloop I can just leave it there and let him try it by himself right? Or I can do the same thing with exact too?
I’ll definitely stop training him to allow touching but I’m a bit confused about trick training. I don’t really care how smart Ivy is but isn’t trick training supposed to help bounding?( I leaned this through bird tricks, they have a whole YouTube channel and stores and stuff)
ZZ.Z
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 24
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Peach Front Conure
Flight: No

Re: I tried to train my conure to allow touching...

Postby Pajarita » Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:29 am

No, my dear, they are not good breeders. I checked out their website... they are a chain that sells birds and no chain store sells animals from good breeders (they are too expensive for them), they all get them from bird mills so it's no surprise that your bird has trust issues.

Yes, gloop and another type of soft food will do just fine for him. But do offer him some fruit puree (from baby jars -buy just one and see what happens) in a feeding syringe and see what happens.

As to training creating a bond... this is a common misconception. Training does NOT create a bond the same way that teaching a child to read/write or math does not make the child love the teacher the same way it loves its mother. You need to establish the bond first and it goes in stages: first you show the bird that you are not threatening at all and that only good things come from you (light in the morning, good food, out-of-cage time, company, love), as the trust grows, love will begin and once you have the bird''s trust and love (which is what the bond is) and the bird is old enough, you start training. What training can do is deepen the bond because of the time the owner spends interacting with the bird and the rewards it gets for a job well done. But this also depends on the training itself because you cannot overdo it, you can't have more than a couple of sessions a day, the sessions need to be very short (never more than a few minutes at a time) and they need to be done at the right time of the day (mid morning which is when they normally interact in the wild). Training an animal that is not hard-wired by nature for subservience (like parrots) is an art and can be either very helpful if done correctly or very harmful to the animal if done incorrectly
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15400
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: I tried to train my conure to allow touching...

Postby Sepharlie » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:51 pm

This was a very interesting topic for me and tells me to not rush into training when I get my bird soon. Thank you all!
The conflict is that training is said to be better and more efficient early on - I've never read before that it is a bad idea to train a bird under a certain age.
Definitely food for thought and I see how that would be.
Thanks again for the info and asking the question in the first place :budgie:
Sepharlie
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 1
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