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Zoe and biting

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Zoe and biting

Postby ZoesMom » Fri May 12, 2017 9:46 am

Sooo, every 6 months I end up having to go home and help my parents. They are, as we all do, getting on in years. When I leave, my husband is here to take care of Zoe. They are good together, but she and I are more bonded than they are. And of course she has to be alone during the day while he works, whereas I work from home. We have had her for two years now, I have left her three times. Each time it is the same....

When I get back and she is really happy to see me. She is very cuddly and loving for the first few days. Then she retaliates for me being gone by biting me when I let her out of her cage in the mornings, and flying at my head when I enter her room. (unless I walk in with a strange object)

I know they are notorious for holding grudges. It has been over a month since I got back. :( I am worried that this has become more of a pattern for her, and less of a grudge thing. I have tried having a treat ready when I let her out. This worked for a couple days, but then she went for my hand and NOT the treat (almond sliver).
And a question...I always step her up out of her cage. When we did research on giving her her own room, we read that if we allow her to get out on her own, she will take ownership of the whole room if you just open the cage.... true or false?
Thanks for the advice!
~ Terry Lynne

PS: Sorry this is so long!
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Re: Zoe and biting

Postby Pajarita » Fri May 12, 2017 11:28 am

False. This is nothing but something somebody made up and which has no basis in reality -same as the height dominance theory and the acclimatization of a tropical bird to a cold climate - all made up bunk.

With the exception of quakers, parrots don't live in 'homes' and, although they do have a territory, they don't defend it (they don't belong to territorial species and are not predators) so, even though some parrots would bite if you put your hand in their cage, they are not doing it because they 'own' it or the room where the cage is and want to defend it from others. There are always other reasons... the bird could be overly hormonal, it could be nesting during breeding season, it could simply not trust the human or it could be what I call 'cagelized' (like convicts who become 'institutionalized' and only feel safe in jail).

I open my birds cages and allow them to come out on their own and this is something that I do on purpose to the point that when I get a bird that only comes out if you make it step up, I actually wait for as long as it's necessary (and this means months sometimes) for the bird to do it on its own. The reason for this is that I always try to emulate their natural way of living as much as possible and part of that is allowing them the right to decide. I believe they are happier and better adjusted when they are self-sufficient and making as many decisions as possible on their own (the way it would be in the wild). I have a sun conure that would not come out on her own and it took months for her to have the nerve to do it and more months until she started flying around on her own. She had not been taken care of in the right way but not because her owner did not love her or meant to do anything wrong - he simply did not know any better. She had a real bad diet (so bad that she ended up with hemochromatosis from it) and was very insecure because she had been kept in a laundry room all by herself and taken out very little, with the consequence that, although she was not clipped, she could hardly fly (clumsy and weak) and only did it when she was startled into it (she is doing great now, comes out of her cage as soon as I open it, flies around, is eating a good diet, etc -she is laying on my chest as I type this, grinding her beak nonstop :D ).

And I also don't think that parrots hold grudges... not for long anyway. In my personal experience, they are actually incredibly forgiving animals and very, very patient with our mistakes and the hardships of captivity but they also don't wait forever... eventually (and this could take years), if you are not giving them what they need, they will show it one way or another (screams, bites, plucking, self-mutilating, etc). I also think that birdrooms are wonderful but ONLY if you have a number of birds that gets along in them, and ONLY if it means a room that is meant for birds and for nothing else so the birds can live cage-free in safety. A birdroom is not a human room where the bird's cage is physically located. My birdroom has cages in it but there is nothing in them unless I need to put one in it for whatever reason (they use them as 'stands' and to climb up to the platforms). Right now, the male/female amazon pair is in a double macaw cage when I am not in the birdroom or if people besides me are going to be going in but that is only because it's breeding season and they have a nest with eggs (their second clutch) and the male gets very protective and thinks nothing of attacking when he feels somebody or somebirdy is getting too close to his mate or the nest - and he can do A LOT of damage with his beak and claws! But, once they abandon the eggs/nest and start the molt, they will be allowed to live cage-free all the time, again.

I noticed that you have Zoe's cage in the laundry room and I think that's a mistake and part of the reason why she is now biting you more and more often. Parrots only want to be by themselves when they are sick or wounded, otherwise, they need to have constant company. Being in a room by themselves is terribly stressful and depressing to them - especially for grays because they are very needy birds and require being right there with their human all the time or they become unhappy with their human and their life, in general. I think her cage should be next to your desk or in the room/space where you spend most of your day and that she should not eat on her own, I think you should eat with her - eating is a social event for them and they always do it in flock, never on their own. My birds are let out of their cage at dawn (at 5:30 am this time of the year and, although I could start doing it a bit earlier because there is already light in the sky by 5:00 am, I 'reserve' the 4:45 or 5:00 am uncovering time for the summer), get their produce at around 6:30 - 7:00 am (I eat some with them) and their gloop at around 7:45 - 8:00 am (they go back into their cage to eat it and come out again at around 9:00 am or so -the times depend on how bright the day is because their schedules don't go by the clock but by the sunlight so gray days are shorter than bright sunny days) and stay out until 1 pm when they go back in for their noon rest. In the summer, when I don't have to take care of my grandkids after school, they would come out again for another 2 or 3 hours in the pm.

Why don't you tell us what her diet, light schedule and daily routines (if she has any) are? Because I don't think that she is biting you because you go away twice a year, I think there is something else going on and that you might need to re-evaluate your husbandry from the room where she has her cage to the light schedule, diet and daily routines (this is another VERY important part of making them happy). I hardly ever go anywhere so, normally, my birds schedules and routines don't change but, every now and then, I need to go somewhere like 'normal' people do and I know for a fact that although he denies it, my husband does not keep the schedules as faithfully as I do (he does not get up early for anything except his job! :mad: ). We took a grandkid to Canada (a week) three years ago, two years before that I took another one to Orlando (a week), four or five years ago, I went back home for my niece's wedding (two weeks), we took a son and his family to Washington DC for a couple of days last year, I am going to be taking one of my grandkids to Orlando in October (a week), I will be visiting family back home a few months after that (two weeks) and a couple of years ago, I also had to spend ten days in a hospital taking care of one of my daughters so it's not as if I don't ever disappear on them because I do but I never have a single problem with them - quite the contrary, they are all super happy to see me!
Pajarita
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Re: Zoe and biting

Postby ZoesMom » Fri May 12, 2017 2:56 pm

Pajarita, I appreciate your advice. But wow...You need to go read my answer to your other post and stop insulting me. Her cage is not in the laundry room!!!!!!!!!!!! She is in a room that is totally designed around HER and HER needs.
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Re: Zoe and biting

Postby ZoesMom » Fri May 12, 2017 3:07 pm

Pajarita - While I don't owe you any explanation....Her room is right next to the kitchen and has a cut-out in the door where she hangs out on a perch and watches everything that goes on in the rest of the house. I am in and out of her room all day. (and my husband is when he is home) Ever since she was 6 months old I have been able to put my hand over her and hold her on my chest and cuddle her. She has been close to me ever since we got her. She has her own room to enable her to fly. Having multiple birds IS NOT the only reason to have a bird room!!!
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Re: Zoe and biting

Postby liz » Sat May 13, 2017 6:13 am

My Tiels do not hold grudges. They forgive almost immediately. The Amazons are another matter. They will both hold grudges. The longest one was 10 days when I scared Myrtle.
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Re: Zoe and biting

Postby Pajarita » Sat May 13, 2017 11:21 am

ZoesMom wrote:Pajarita - While I don't owe you any explanation....Her room is right next to the kitchen and has a cut-out in the door where she hangs out on a perch and watches everything that goes on in the rest of the house. I am in and out of her room all day. (and my husband is when he is home) Ever since she was 6 months old I have been able to put my hand over her and hold her on my chest and cuddle her. She has been close to me ever since we got her. She has her own room to enable her to fly. Having multiple birds IS NOT the only reason to have a bird room!!!


Sorry, I typed that reply before I saw your response to the other thread so I stand corrected, it's not a laundry room (the small size of the room and the laundry room sink was what made it look like a laundry room - plus the fact that I know of several birds that were and are kept in laundry rooms, basements, etc). As to the reasons for having a birdroom... well, in my mind, the only reason to have one is to allow them to live cage-free but single birds are not happy alone so in order for the birdroom to actually work out in the long run, there needs to be other birds in it (or the human needs to live in it, too -I knew somebody who did this) or the bird will feel isolated which is what might be happening to yours (looking from afar is not enough for a parrot, it needs closeness and involvement, and IMPE, to a gray, that means being on your shoulder and nothing else will satisfy it).

I am also confused on the having a room of her own so she can fly... Is this the only place where she's allowed to fly? Doesn't she come out of her room to fly or perch wherever you are during the day? Because the birds that I keep downstairs (meaning, in cages in the human areas) would never just stay on a perch and simply watch what is going on in the rest of the house from a distance, they fly all over the place, in and out of rooms and up and down the stairs following me around while I do my chores, looking for trouble or to steal food from some other birdy's cage :lol: The ones in the birdroom do fly in it but they also live cage-free.

I also would recommend not putting your hand on her back to cuddle her against your chest or for any other reason... It's what we call an 'inappropriate' caress because their backs are an erogenous zone. And, if she is not exposed to a solar schedule and is being free-fed protein food, she could be very hormonal which would explain the bites. My Sophie CAG is sitting on her second clutch right now but none of my females ever gets aggressive when hormonal, quite the contrary, they get super loving! Sophie, which, as a typical gray, does not particularly like to have her body touched, becomes super duper mushy during breeding season and the ONLY time she looks for cuddles or hugs. I forget your bird's age but if she is around 2, she could be going through her 'terrible twos' (rejecting your parental role) and, if she is around 5 or older and free-fed protein and not kept at a solar schedule, she could be overly hormonal. Please tell us her age, what her diet consists of, her light schedule and her daily routine because all these things could have a lot to do with her new found aggression.
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Re: Zoe and biting

Postby ZoesMom » Sun May 14, 2017 9:22 am

Pajarita, I started to write you a long post yesterday. Then I decided to wait till this morning. Today is a new day and I am not so upset. You cannot see into my home - you don't know the size of my rooms, or what goes on here. As I told you in my post - Zoe only bites me when I let her out. You had answered my question in your first post. Do you not see my icon picture? That is where she is most of the time!

With that said: I will tell you that you have successfully run me off the forum. I have never felt so unwanted anywhere. Before we got Zoe we studied up on what TAGs needs: Food, Light, housing, etc. We read everything we could get our hands on - and visited the home of friends of ours who own 3 birds including a TAG. One of the lines of study that we read on was the Parrot Wizard and the info that he has out there, videos, etc. That is one reason I joined this forum. Her room is set up with areas of play and even an area that we can do flight recall with her. So guess what?? It's NOT small! She even has her own TV (I am sure you will have allot to say about this one, guess what. I DON'T CARE!!!)
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Re: Zoe and biting

Postby Pajarita » Sun May 14, 2017 11:55 am

I am sorry you feel this way, Terry. I re-read my posting and found nothing offensive in it but I have the thickest skin so it could be that I don't see it even though it is there. I have tried to address your concern about her biting you to the best of my ability but cannot do that without your answering the questions I posed - which you haven't done. And, I am sorry but I can't really tell much from your pictures -maybe her room is large but it doesn't look like it in the picture and, besides, the size of the room is irrelevant when it comes to whether they feel alone or not, and the only reason why I mentioned it was that her biting might be a direct consequence of her feeling isolated because what we consider 'acceptable' company is not what a parrot does - to a lone parrot, company is only good as long as they are ON you.

You say that I had already answered you on my first posting but I don't think that I did. All I told you was that the making them step up to take them out of their cage doesn't make them 'own' the room or the cage; that, as far as my experience goes, they do NOT hold grudges and that they usually only bite when there is something going on that is making them unhappy or physically uncomfortable but if I cannot tell what this is, I cannot tell you how to correct it - and for me to find out, I need the answers to the questions you haven't answered. Unless I misunderstood and you wanted simple yes or no answers to your questions and, if that is the case, I apologize for elaborating on my replies... I thought you wanted advice on how to stop the biting.

I am also not implying you did not do your homework before you got her or that you are not doing your best but, in my personal experience, there are no books out there that actually teach you that much about how to deal with their behaviors, what is causing them and how to solve them. I've been reading, doing research and having hands-on-experience for 25 years with multiple as well as many different species of parrots and I still have trouble with these issues every now and then... The subject is also a novelty for me because I never had an aggressive gray. I had six of them under my care, have two right now (Pookey TAG and Sophie CAG) but I've never been bitten once by any of them so, as far as my experience with grays go, they seem to be sweet-tempered birds and not prone to biting at all which makes me think that they are not normally aggressive birds (as amazons would be, for example) and that, if they bite, there has to be something that is bothering them. I am sorry if my questions or my style offends you but I was just trying to find out what the problem was so I could give you my recommendation.
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Re: Zoe and biting

Postby liz » Mon May 15, 2017 6:30 am

The parrot humans in this forum are passionate about parrots. Some times we get a little carried away. It is really to be expected. Like I said before this forum is like a neighborhood. Some times neighbors clash on how to care for their kids. Some times they get their feelings hurt. I am tender and have had my feelings hurt a few times. This is still the best neighborhood to be in. You don't move when you have a misunderstanding with one neighbor (who really means the best for your bird) when you have so many others to learn and share with.
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