Trained Parrot BlogParrot Wizard Online Parrot Toy StoreThe Parrot Forum

Help with Quaker Parrot

Chat about general parrot care and parrot owner lifestyle. Bird psychology, activities, trimming, clipping, breeding etc.

Help with Quaker Parrot

Postby amidsbs » Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:30 pm

I wanted to ask for advice on a parrot that is owned by a family who hasn’t done their research on the matter. It’s rather long so I apologize for that, but I really need help with this
My girlfriend owns a four and a half year old Quaker Parrot, with a bit of a messy history before her family got it. The parrot was kind to everyone at first, but for almost two years he’s become aggressive towards her and her mother, and lost most of the qualities he had when they got him such as talking or playing, and I happen to believe it’s due to stress or boredom caused by lack of stimulation.
I’ve noticed and commented to my girlfriend that the parrot is taken out of the cage very little, only once per day and for about an hour, not more than that. It appears that at first they always had him around, but then they began changing their ways, forgetting, or just not wanting to take him out and the parrot spends most of his time inside.
What I’ve seen as a result of this is that the parrot shows many signs of stress such as aggressiveness at any time, but mostly while inside his cage. He would lunge at her or me even when we walk by the closed cage, not just when we get close to talk to him. Then, whenever they took him out and I tried to approach him with a treat he tried to bite me (his young brother was there so that could’ve helped), and according to my girlfriend, for a long time whenever she got in the same room as the parrot, he would either run away from her or bite whoever’s shoulder he was on when he saw her.
Also, the parrot constantly screams for attention, and sometimes, especially when I’m in the room where the cage is he seems to scream in fear, quaking or shaking his head in an eight pattern and trying to bite me while biting the cage bars, even if I’m standing far from him, like it just wants me out. I was always careful to talk soft, move slow, make little eye contact and try not to scare him, but nothing works.
In addition to this, I’ve seen the parrot standing on one leg a lot and biting his nails, rubbing his beak hard against his perches, walking for a long time in an eight pattern as if bored, sleeping a lot, and I’m worried his next step is feather plucking. He is also overweight in my opinion as they leave the food for him in his cage every day, three full dishes with seeds of all kinds (except sunflower), rice, and carrots, and they even leave it there at night.
So they have a one person parrot that has over bonded with a twelve year old kid who doesn’t really know how to take care of a parrot and cares more about videogames than the bird. The only ones who can handle him are the father who doesn’t much care for it because of his work and the twelve year old brother who in my opinion is not capable yet of taking good care of it.
The difficult part is that since the parrot is not trained and no one is willing to do it, there’s no easy solution. My girlfriend is afraid of taking the bird out of the cage because she fears her family’s reaction if something bad were to happen, and also she would get bitten by him. Her mother doesn’t really understand about birds so she is constantly reinforcing bad behavior, and so did her young brother by giving him all he wanted whenever he started screaming (just to stop him they would send the brother to quiet the bird, or feed him more).
The only moments the parrot seems happy is when he hears the young brother’s voice, when he is with him (though aside from a few head scratches those moments consist of the parrot trying to get the boy out of his phone), when the parrot thinks he is gonna eat, or whenever he is left alone for a long time in his cage in a room and starts singing happy tunes.
I've told my girlfriend that the parrot should spend more time out of the cage, at least be taken out one more time a day, that the time he spends out should be better, that he needs toys which he has none, that he needs to be stick trained, that he needs a training perch and a play stand, that he needs to be on a training diet having three meals a day tops given his age, that they need the training so they can reinforce good behavior and discourage bad ones, but she can’t do it, and can’t seem to convince her family either.
I’m worried because this was a bird that used to talk, play, that was nice to everyone in the family, and now he is aggressive, won’t answer to any stimulation other than the young boy, and seems unhappy, fat and scared. Am I being too paranoid and is the bird better than I think, or are they putting his mental health in danger? What do you think they should do?

Thanks in advance for your help
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 1
Number of Birds Owned: 0
Flight: Yes

Re: Help with Quaker Parrot

Postby Pajarita » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:13 am

No, you are not being paranoid and they are not only endangering his mental health but its physical health, as well. And he/she is actually much worse than you think because what you describe: repetitive behavior, aggression, screams, regression in communicating skills, etc are all symptoms of an animal that is suffering. The repetitive behaviors are called stereotypies and are a sure sign of anxiety and depression; the screams and cage as well as generalized aggression are most likely caused by the fact that the bird is overly-hormonal [translate chronic pain and severe sexual frustration] and the fact that it used to interact with people, play and talk and no longer does fall also in the depression, anxiety, hopelessness category. Unfortunately, the initial enthusiasm and attention given to the bird just to slowly turn into neglect [yes, neglect - I don't mean to be rude but I am afraid there is no other word for it] is the most common problem we have with pet parrots [most of them end up either dead or rehomed around two years after acquisition]. People think of birds as low maintenance [a fantasy propagate by the pet industry] when, in reality, they are super high maintenance requiring hours of attention and work as well as a lot of knowledge and patience. Of all the animals that I have cared for, parrots are, by far, the most difficult to keep healthy and happy.

Now, a bit about quakers to give you an idea of where I am coming from when I give you my recommendations. They are from the temperate zone although they are usually listed as semi-tropical and they need, more than other birds, to follow a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk [I suspect this is not happening with this bird]. They also need a fresh food diet so they cannot be free-fed any protein food source [seeds, nuts, pellets, avicakes, nutriberries]. High protein does not only make them hormonal, it also destroys their livers and kidneys. Parrots are NOT natural seed eaters like canaries or finches, they require a fresh diet of cooked whole grains, vegetables, fruits and leafy greens with only a small, measured amount of seeds for dinner [another thing is that feeding only seeds would only end up by killing the bird from a lack of nutrition -no vitamin A, no phytonutrients, no calcium, no vit D3, etc]. Quakers are also highly intelligent so they need more enrichment and attention than other species, and, being VERY social birds [the entire family lives together in the same 'apartment building' from birth to death], they need company more than other species.

My recommendation is that they start feeding a fresh food diet asap and start giving him/her some multi-vitamin/mineral supplement in its water first, until they can get the bird to eat soft food daily when they can start adding powder multi-vit/min supplement to the food. They need to put it at a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk so the bird's endocrine system goes back on track and becomes, as it should be, attuned to the seasons. It won't work right away because we are in breeding season right now but, by November, they should see a marked reduction in screams and aggression. As to the time they spend with it... well, rule of thumb is four hours out-of-cage flying and two solid hours of one-on-one with the bird's chosen human [which I assume to be the 12 year old] although I personally think that four hours is not anywhere near enough - but I don't know how they will manage this in the winter because, by the time the kid gets home from school, the bird will be ready to go to sleep. It's a sad fact that people that are out of the home during the day cannot provide a healthy, happy life for a parrot but, of course, nobody wants to hear this. People say: 'Do the best you can' but I don't know if I agree with this because if your 'best' is not good enough to keep an animal healthy and happy, then, in my personal opinion, you should rethink the whole thing about keeping it.

Now, I have to tell you that reading your posting pretty much broke my heart. I am an animal lover and an animal rights activist - I love ALL animals but birds are my passion and, within the larger category of aves, like any other human being, I have favorites and quakers are one species that is VERY dear to my heart because I was born and raised in one of the South American countries where they are from [my very first bird was a baby quaker I raised under my grandmother's supervision when I was ten years old] so, please, I beg you to talk to these people and insist they learn proper quaker husbandry and put some time and effort into giving it a better life because this animal is suffering something terrible.
Norwegian Blue
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 12585
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

Return to General Parrot Care

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests

Parrot ForumArticles IndexTraining Step UpParrot Training BlogPoicephalus Parrot InformationParrot Wizard Store