Soon I will post a formal introduction on the boards for Paulie, but first I wanted to run this by everyone on the board for input on how I am managing the introduction between the "new guy" Paulie (clipped) and my Lily (flighted). I live in a loft, so i can't close any doors. It's all one space. I want to get through the introduction period, however long it takes, without clipping Lily... though I recognize that doing so would immediately solve all of the below problems. But I would rather not.
Paulie is peachy perfect Paulie. He is a 20yo male Blue Crown Conure, given up by his previous owner. What little I know about him I will post later in the introductions forum. For now, I'll just say he was given up to a bird store, which clipped his wings when they got him. Before that he was fully flighted. He's got enough muscle tone to suggest he did fly. But now he drops like a paperweight.
Lily....she's perfect too. But difficult! Lily is my 3yo presumptively male Jenday. Like Snoopy, she is a WWI Flying Ace with all sorts of flashy maneuvers. She's acrobatic and energetic. She's 3. It's april. She has a dominant personality. And she LOVES me and super protective of her attachment to me. She is so incredibly jealous of Paulie that she hasn't yet noticed that he is willing to let her be the dominant one.
From my experiment with her nemesis Mr. Stuffed Elephant, I predict it may take her up to 6 mo. to fully accept pAULIE and longer than that to be friends. With that said, it has been 6 days and I have already seen improvement.
Day 1-3. I am information gathering and trying to figure out what to do with the daily routine. During that time Lily flies over to attack Paulie several times. He ends up on the ground (thud!). Each time she doesn't bite him but just flies and hovers over him with her feet in his face - i think she is just trying to scare him and it is working because he totally freaks out. If he didn't move she would eventually bite him. She only lunged and bit once, and that time just got a couple feathers. I eventually learn that it is impossible to protect Paulie unless he is on my hand or shoulder, which upsets Lily even more, because THAT IS HER SPACE! He gets really intimidated, on top of all of the anxiety-provoking experiences of being given up, the quarantine, the move, etc. I am also worried about him hurting himself with a fall (thud!), so I absolutely must protect him closely when Lily is out. When they are both out, my first priority is protecting paulie and my second priority is helping lily accept him.
Day 3-6. I start setting up a new daily rountine, outlined below, which i think does the best job of lowering Paulie's anxiety and Lily's jealousy. During this time I sucessfully train Lily that attacking Paulie is bad behavior, by putting her in her cage for quiet time after she attacks or attempts to attack. But it doesn't keep her from doing it. Instead, she attacks Paulie, immediately flies right to the topmost brach of the tree perch (where she never goes), then when I yell "NO!" she knows the routine and just flies right into her cage (which she never does) and fluffs and steams in there, waiting for me to come over and shut the door. Temper tantrum anyone? Paulie starts to adjust to his new surroundings a bit during this time, which helps me to figure out how he is feeling in any given moment. Usually, he is anxious. If not that, he is complacently bored and lonely. I think he is used to feeling bored and lonely. Occasionally, he is happy (he likes fresh food and music).
Dawn: both birds out for an hour. cages are open, and the birds get up on their own. Paulie is downstairs and crawls out to his cagetop when he wakes. Lily sleeps upstairs right next to my bed, and then crawls/flies onto me and nibbles to wake me up at dawn. We go downstairs and I scoop up Paulie first thing to hold him. I must give them my full attention when they are both out, and I must be hold Paulie close or I can't protect him from Lily. I am able to dispel most of Lily's aggression by giving her my full attention and lots of head scratches when she starts to get jealous, and by teaching her how to share various things (like a banana) with Paulie. Lily gets more treats/junkfood than she normally would. But her intolerance builds until she has to follow through with her aggression and then its immediate cage time for her.
While home during the day I alternate having Lily out: When Lily is in her cage I put her behind a large curtain so Paulie can't see her. Paulie is noticeably more calm when she;s gone. (FYI, paulie liked Lily alot until she started attacking him). I leave him alone unless he seems to want to step up or head scratches, so that he can adjust to his new surroundings and calm down from this ordeal we are putting him through. He has three different places he likes to perch and begs when he wants to move between them, and I oblige him.
I take Lily out of her cage every other hour, for an hour. When she is out she gets my full attention, and I wheel Paulie behind a large curtian. I can't keep him in his cage when she is out because the cage he came with is too small for him. So he is out sitting on top of the cage where he is most comfortable, and if Lily can't see him she tends to stay away. And Lily can pretend things were just like they were before he came, because she can't see him. If she flies behind the curtain, I immediately go and get her.
Returning home: I let them both out and watch them closely like at dawn, for at least 1/2 hour. Then back to alternating who is out.
Dusk: Like dawn, I have them both out while I get them ready for bed. They are side by side on their table perches eating. I watch them closely just like at dawn, and I must give them 100% of my attention at this time. Lily is able to eat next to Paulie without having a jealousy tantrum. Her attacks seem to happen mostly during the morning time - before the midday nap. Nighttime she is noticeably less aggressive. Paulie eventually begs for his cage when he is ready to sleep. Lily's bedtime routine is that she crawls in and out of my shirt until eventually settling down.
So that seems to be the best I have come up with. Sound like a good routine? Anyone have any thoughts as to how long I have to keep this up before I can have them both out at the same time during the day? It almost doubles the amount of "home time" i need in a day, so it will be much much easier when Lily can learn to play nice.