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Need help teaching a rehomed grey to fly

Discuss topics associated with teaching birds to fly. Training parrots recall flight, target flying, and other flying exercises.

Need help teaching a rehomed grey to fly

Postby poetax » Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:33 pm

My husband and I adopted a 5 year old African grey 8 months ago and let his feathers grow out. This is possibly the first time he has ever had enough flight feathers to fly. When we got him he would drop directly onto the floor if he slipped due to the severity of his clip. We would like to start with simple recall training, but we can not even get him to jump from perch to perch. Currently we are trying to get him to just jump the smallest distance possible from a flat counter top to a training perch. We figured he was too scared to let go of the perch and may do better with a flat top. He won't even attempt to jump. He is definitely motivated to go to the perch, but unless he can reach it with his beak he just dances impatiently and keeps trying to measure to the perch. Is there a technique we can use to teach him that jumping is ok and that he can do it.
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Re: Need help teaching a rehomed grey to fly

Postby Wolf » Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:27 am

This is a very common problem with birds that were clipped too young and/ or for too long. The muscles start to atrophy in about 45 days, so the vey first step is to strengthen these muscles. If your Grey doesn't presently accept you putting your thumb over his toes pinning the to your hand you will need to work on being able to do that. You will need to find a space like a hallway that you can run fast enough to get him to start flapping his wings to strengthen these muscles. Please be certain that you do not do this outside as you do not want to lose your bird.
Another problem that you may be faced with is the birds overall confidence in himself, due to his having been clipped. I don't know when he was first clipped, but most breeders do it shortly after they first fledge and some of them actually do it before the baby bird fledges. I hope that this is not the case. Either way clipping a baby birds wings can lead to all sorts of problem one of them being such a lack of confidence in themselves that they never learn to fly as they won't put forth the effort to even try. Greys, being less aggressive than most other species of parrots are more prone to being damaged in this way.
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Re: Need help teaching a rehomed grey to fly

Postby liz » Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:47 am

Not digging out paperwork, I believe Rambo is coming up on 22. He was a pedestrian when I got him. At first I thought he had a bad clipping that permanently removed flight feathers. Whatever his problem his muscles need exersize. I stand in the living room about 5 feet from the sofa and give him flying treatment. Counting to 3 and lifting him on each number he will flap his wings. By number 3 he will launch to the sofa for a soft landing. Attemps on his own looks like some one threw him on the floor. One time the only thing he spotted that was soft was Squeekie the cat. She didn't even jump when he landed on her.
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Re: Need help teaching a rehomed grey to fly

Postby Wolf » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:00 am

I tried to use that method with Kookooloo, but she wouldn't work with me for more than 2 or 3 times and then she just hangs on without flapping her wings at all. She is very hard to work with on some things.
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Re: Need help teaching a rehomed grey to fly

Postby liz » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:16 am

I don't go beyond three at a time. It would be too much for his little muscles so I just do it periodically. He can flap and go forward but can't keep altitude so he crash lands on whatever is the softest available. He usually climbs down from the top of his cage but sometimes gets brave and jumps.
Phoenix was named after the bird that came up from the ashes. He is going to be off balance because of his mutilated wing but I am hoping he will compensate. I know that he can not possibly know but I had to give him a courageous name.
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Re: Need help teaching a rehomed grey to fly

Postby Pajarita » Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:15 pm

He sounds like a bird that never learned to fly and, if that is the case, I am afraid that he might never do it because it's not only atrophied muscles, shrunken tendons and loss of confidence, it's that the necessary 'wiring' in the brain is not there (you know it's there when the bird attempts to flap his wings as he falls, if there is no flapping, the 'connection' is just not there) and, you can do physical therapy for the muscles and tendons, and exercises to make him attain more self-confidence but there is nothing you can do about the brain synapses -at least, that has been my experience.
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