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Please help! They loved me & now don't

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

Please help! They loved me & now don't

Postby Jnine1026 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 9:24 pm

Hello...i am desperately seeking some guidance and help. 2 weeks ago i brought home my 2 baby girls, 2 jenday conures who were born in august 2019. (I dont knownif they are girls for sure but i gave them girl names and so refer to them as the girls.)

While i was waiting for the breeder to ween them i joined other bird boards, read tons of articles online, paid for some training and educational info on how to care for birds. I read about conures in general, learned about their habits and playful nature, i watched you tube videos and tried to learn as much as i could. Then 2 weeks ago i went and picked up my babies. I fell so in love with them the moment i saw them. The breeder did a great job with them and after 2 weeks of having them i understand how much. So week one, i took the week off from work and spent a great deal of time with them. The breeder suggested somethings that was contrary to what some bird owners say but listened to his suggestion and things were great for a week. He called me hours after i picked them up to check and see how things were going. They were great. I bought the girls a flight cage 36" x 36" x 60" with 6 - 7 toys, a wicker hut, ladder and a few different perches. And i said i read that i should give them se space to let them get used to home and me before i tried to have them stepup. He suggested otherwise, that i should start quickly and not force them but put my finger in front of their chest and be persistent about having slthem step up. That was ok, they seemed to be ok with it and i would only have to move my hand around and follow them for several seconds before they finally would hop on. ... one more than the other. The one that would stepup, Pearle was very playful, rilled in ger back day 2, loved me calling her good girl and cuddling her up to me while giving her kisses. She adored me and loved me around her. Gracie wasnt and isnt as lovable as Pearle but she seemed to want me to hold her too. First week i would lay a sheet down and get a warm fuzzy blanket, and put the girls on the floor and they would come cuddle with me. They fell asleep on me or cuddled up to me 3 of the 1st 7 nights they were home. I did not want them to get used to me "putting" them to sleep in case i am not home in time every night. So things were great, bedtime around 8pm, covered their cage every night, up by about 8am every morning. Let them play on their cage for an hour before feeding, play again for a couple of hours. Leave home 3-5 hours a day in which i would put them back in their cage and back out to play when i got home. Fed them again about 6pm, play and bedtime 8-830pm. I would either hold them under my chin with a blanket covering them up then the cage, or just put in cage. They really were bonding and couldn't get enough of me. Its just me and my husband home and i read how social and good it is to have people around them so my 5 nieces and nephews were over a few days for a couple of hours (during their 1st week) to play with them, the girls seemed to realky kike having them around too.

Week 2 started with me having tongo back to work. So they are in the cage for 10 hours. I uncover them @7am and let them play on their cage until about 815. I then fill up their bowls and put them in the cage, i feed them seeds, nutricakes, raisins, leafy green ripped into pieces, apples, almonds, small pieces of fresh broccoli. I have to leave their food in the cage because i have to leave for work. I get home about 6pm, take them out of their cage, empty their food, refill with seeds and whole peanuts and they eat and play until bedtime. We are day 3 into the 2nd week and they will hardly come to me, tonight i had to out my thumb under Pearles belly and lift her to put in her cage, while Gracie climbed down the back of her cage which is up against a wall so u couldnt get her. Its like they dont know me anolymore and its breaking my heart.

A few things to note, and please please be kind. Try to remember i am a first time owner and i do love them and want them to be happy which is why i am desperately seeking advice. I KNOW i have done something wrong to make them act like this towards me but i dont know how to fix it. The things I have done were only done with their absolute best interest in mind and the absolute desire of wanting them to be happy and feel safe. I live in central Florida. This time of year its about 65-70 at night, up to 80-84 during the day, lowwe humidity than the summer and not super strong sun. The girls cafe is outside on my lenai. Lenai approx 1k square feet, all screened in with an 8' pricacy fence all ther way around. 50%of the lanai is uncover which makes temp about 3-5 degrees warmer than outside temp plus they are in a corner of ther undercovered part so 2 of the 4 walls of their cage are up against 2 solid walls. I read ideal temp for them is between 60-75 degrees, which is puzzling to me since i believe they are native to south america and other regions that are very warm, humid climates. Here is where i went wrong, i think. Two nights ago it went down to 50 and it was windy and chilly. I of course couldnt let them sleep outside so i brought them in and tried 2 or 3 different sleeping spaces, not of which made them comfortable - j out them in their travel cage (how i brought them home) and put them in the floor in one of my bathrooms but they seemed so afraid when i left the room after sitting with them for 30min to get them comfortable that i had to take them out of their and out of the cage which the absolutely hated. I got a perch and fastened it to a basket that i filled with blankets hoping they would hop on the perch and go to sleep, but that didn't work. So i picked them up and held them under my chin pacing back and forth trying to figure out where i could have them sleep. Again, they hated the travel cage and their big cage was too big tonfit thru the door. If course they were falling asleep but i couldn't sleep standing or sitting holding them. 12:30am they FINALLY fell asleep enough that I was able to transfer them feom my hands to the blanket filled basket, covered up with blankets and i headed to bed. I woke up at 7am, looked under covers and they were already awake and silent until i picked up the covers. Regular morning routine & workday routine after that to last night getting home around 6pm (which is already dark here that time if night), dumping daytime food from cage, giving fresh food and them sitting in top of cage falling asleep about 730. Had company and so they were awake until about 930, they were exhausted. Didnt want to come to me last night but i assumed it was because they were exhausted from night before. This morning they seemed ok, their cage is outside my bathroom window - my husbandade it so the window has a screen "door" that i can open and while i am getting dressed for worm they can hop in and out of the window to their cage, which they seemed happy ro do. Same work routine to getting home tonight and they not only dont want to step up, they dont even want me to touch them.
Please know that i love them! I am so worried that i have ruined m relationship with them before it even had a chance to start...and ruined what started out so great
What should i do?? Thank you in advance for your help!
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 1
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Jenday conures
Flight: No

Re: Please help! They loved me & now don't

Postby Pajarita » Fri Nov 15, 2019 1:59 pm

Welcome to the forum and I am sorry you are going through this with your babies. Don't feel too bad because your experience is very common - it's a sad fact that no matter how much we read and research before we get our first parrot, we always find out it was not enough. Now, not being there and able to observe their behavior makes it difficult to pinpoint what the problem is but I can tell you what I think:
1) at 3 months of age, they are NOT weaned so your putting out a bowl of seeds and nuts and produce is not enough (you shouldn't do that even with adult conures as this diet is unhealthy for them). They need to be handfed twice a day and given soft food appropriate for a baby bird. Breeders call them weaned when they start eating on their own but that's like saying that a 2 year old is weaned and can feed itself adult food properly. It's simply not true. Baby birds, same as a human babies, need baby food and need to be fed even when they start eating on their own - plus, there are studies that tell us that baby birds that are not fed enough, grow up highstrung and remain highstrung the rest of their lives from the stress they go through so the very first thing you need to do is start handfeeding them in the am and the pm and to prepare soft food for them for during the day.
2) babies should never be put in an outdoor cage and left alone during the day. It's way too stressful to them. Parrots are not only highly altricial animals (meaning they need their parents to take care of them for a long time) but also highly social and evolved to be born, live and die always surrounded by their family. Outdoors is an unfamiliar (read dangerous) place for babies (mind you, when I say 'dangerous' I am not implying the cage you set up for them is inherently dangerous, I am talking about their perception and not reality) Babies need to feel safe and secure in an environment they know and that's why, in the wild, they start by just perching on or around the nest months before they start flying away from it and even when they fly off, they never lose sight of their parents. Two little babies in a cage outdoors is VERY stressful to them. And it might very well be that they blame you for what they perceive as abandonment. I mean, you spent an entire week with them practically under your chin and then, on day number 8, you put them outside and leave them alone all day long... It's a big shock for a baby bird. They don't understand why this is happening, they are confused, stressed out, scared, most likely hungry - and you were the one that did it. Please understand that I am not trying to make you feel bad or blaming you for the situation, I am trying to explain their 'point of view' and why I think they are now rejecting you. But you have NOT ruined the whole thing! Thankfully for us, parrots are very forgiving, loving animals that put up very gracefully with all our inadequacies as parents as long as we fix them - if they didn't, none of us would have loving parrots because we all make mistakes all the time so welcome to the wonderful world of parrot keeping and join the 'I worry all the time' club!

I really don't think there is any advice that would correct this 100% because you obviously need to work and they need somebody there to make them feel safe all day long so, the way I see it, their needs are not compatible with what you can offer them at this point in time but then parrots needs are not compatible with captivity no matter how hard we try. I always feel that I am failing my birds even though my entire life revolves around them - I don't work, I hardly ever go anywhere, I get up at dawn even in the summer when it means getting up at 4:30 am, I spend my entire mornings and early afternoons with them every single day of the year, I cook for them and live with poop and 'parrot debris' which I clean CONSTANTLY, etc. etc. It's HARD and, in truth, nobody realizes how hard it is until they've been doing it for years and years... And that's why I always recommend that first-time bird keepers adopt an adult and not get a baby because they are so much easier to care for but what is done is done and now you need to try to make the whole thing work so I would start by:
1) try my very best to keep them at a strict solar schedule so their endocrine system develops and works as it should (the long days are NOT good for them in more ways than just getting them overly tired, they are photoperiodic -research avian photoperiodism, avian endocrine system, avian reproduction)
2) set up a cage for them inside the house -where they should live. The outdoor cage is great but only for adult birds that have been slowly accustomed to it and never for them to be out there on their own all day long and without supervision.
3) no children or any other stranger interaction -they are babies and easily stressed out by unfamiliar anything and parrots and children don't usually work out together, especially with conures - you might get away with an adult, well-behaved cockatoo or a macaw but not the smaller species. I have all adults and they are all very well behaved by now but I still do not allow anybody to interact with them and, when my grandkids come over, they know NOT to touch, not to stare at them, not to scream or run around, etc.
4) change the diet immediately to soft food and start handfeeding them (but don't use the formula as it's indicated on the label, add fruit puree to it).

The main thing you need to keep in mind is NO STRESS! Keep them in a single room and do not move them from it for a couple of months (this will make them feel safe). Make sure their cage is against a wall and in front of a window for natural light and, if you cannot place it against a wall, drape some sort of opaque material in the back to create a fake wall (having a blind side makes them feel safe because they don't have to worry that a predator will come from this side). Put it high enough so their top perch is at your eye level (prey animals do not like to have a giant alien looming over them).
Give them two kinds of soft food warm and fresh twice a day (before you hand-feed them). Soft food is just what the name implies, food that is soft but also warm and easily digestible (it brings them comfort because it resembles the food they were given in their beak by their parents) - things like gloop (this is what I feed all my parrots in the morning -you can't free-feed protein food to them because, if you do, they end up with liver and kidney disease from the high protein and dryness of it), polenta, whole grain unflavored couscous, oatmeal, steel-cut oats, pastina, etc. Any type of small grain something that you can cook and mix with fruit puree (but be careful with the baby food jars because they found they have heavy metals in them) will do.

And do not despair, they will go back to loving you, you just need to make some adjustments to the whole thing and, if at all possible, get somebody to come for a couple of hours in the middle of the day to kind of cut the long hours they have to spend by themselves. Parrots need constant company and babies even more so.
Norwegian Blue
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 18390
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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