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Anxious to learn!

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Anxious to learn!

Postby Traci0921 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:02 pm

Hi fellow Parrot- Parents!

I have experience with smaller birds (currently have 2 cockatiels :cockatiel:), but have recently rescued a B&G Macaw :macaw: from a bad life. He has been with me about 3 weeks and seems to really LIKE me. He continually calls for me (Mom, mom, MOOOOM) and prefers that I am in his his company. He will allow me to scratch him but does not step up.

Trouble is? He bites. Sometimes even snaps while I am giving him scratches. We have started clicker training, but I still worry that I am doing everything right by him.

I look forward to getting advice and sharing stories.
Traci0921
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 23
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Cockatiel, B&G Macaw
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Re: Anxious to learn!

Postby Charlie *^* » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:22 pm

Welcome to the forum I have a sun conure that is the same Verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry mischievous loves to cuddle but will attack my other brothers!
Zeph and Charlie :sun:
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Charlie *^*
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
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Re: Anxious to learn!

Postby Pajarita » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:42 am

Welcome to the forum! I don't know how you planned his first days at your home but, in my personal experience, the BEST thing you can do with a rehomed bird is NOT to do anything at all. See, the thing is that parrots are not like dogs, they are not bred to like people, they don't belong to hierarchical social groups so obedience and/or subservience to a 'leader' is hard-wired into their brains so they need to get to know you first, then trust you and, finally, love you. You would not ask anything of a guest in your home, would you? I mean, you would not be touching the person or asking her/him to touch you, etc. Well, it's the same thing with parrots that belonged to somebody else before they came to us. Training doesn't make the bird like/trust/love you, it's respect and bonding that does. So, if I were you, I would re-evaluate what you have been doing to see if, maybe, you assume familiarities with the bird that the bird was not ready to allow.

All my birds belonged to somebody else and, a lot of them came to me because of aggression issues which have all been resolved so I'll tell you what works for me. When a bird first comes to me, I make sure that its cage looks exactly as it did in his previous home and that he gets the same diet for the first two days or so [well, unless the diet is TERRIBLE and the bird is at an age where you can't really wait a single second to make it better]. This doesn't mean that it's not getting the better diet, it just means that he gets both. Then, I never ask for anything. Not a single thing. No step up, no nothing. After a couple of days spent in their cage so they can start getting used to the new home, human and routine in the 'safety' of their familiar cage. Then I start opening their cage at dawn [I just walk away after] and allowing them to come out to fly, walk, climb, whatever they want to do. When it's time for them to go back inside [my birds are out for, at the very least, 7 hours a day -this is during the winter when the days are short], I simply put the food in their cage and, if necessary, I use a stick to transport them back to it. Once I see the bird wants a closer relationship, I allow it BUT I never take the initiative, it's always them who decide when and what.

The thing is that if the bird is biting you at the very beginning of the honeymoon stage and you don't figure out why, you might end up with a bird that bites you all the time. The trick is to avoid at all costs getting bit and, although I know that this sounds stupid ["DUH!, Of course that I don't do anything to get bit!"], it's really not. People think that interacting physically with a rehomed parrot is the thing to do but it's not. It might be the thing to do with a dog but it's not the thing to do with a parrot. Parrots need to be treated the same way you would treat a stranger that is a guest in your house: warm hospitality, patience and respect.

My recommendation to you is to stop training immediately [wait until the bird trusts and likes you], stop asking the bird for physical touch or to do anything the bird doesn't want to do, establish strict daily routines and follow them every single day, make sure he is kept to a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk [macaws are low hormone birds but they can become overly hormonal when kept wrong, just like any other bird], and that its diet is adequate [macaws need A LOT of produce daily], spend as much time as possible with it talking, singing, whistling and, every now and then, offer the bird a high value item but not as a reward for a trick well done, offer it as a gift, as a token of friendship with no strings attached to it and, if the bird doesn't take it from your fingers, just leave it where he can get it. The point I am trying to make is that you need to win him over, to make him realize that you want to be his friend and that you will always treat him with affection, patience and respect. Once you achieve this [and it will take months, mind you!], you can start training him.

Also [and I hope you don't take this the wrong way because I am not trying to offend you by saying this] I would not use your cockatiel experience as a basis for how to treat a macaw. Tiels are pretty special when it comes to temperament because they have the sweetest, most docile temperament of all the parrot species and are the most forgiving animals - I don't know of any other species that compares... especially the large species which KNOW they are powerful.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Re: Anxious to learn!

Postby Traci0921 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:01 am

The first 2 weeks he was here were spent IN his original cage. I did the treats through the bars and we had many dance parties. :) Didn't take long for him to start calling for attention. He is never fearful and always comes towards me, not away. I've not forced anything on him.

I'm reading A LOT and trying to go at his pace. The last time I was bitten was my error. He was attempting to back off a perch and I put my hand in his foot. Ouch. Not his choice and wrong, I know.

I know that my small bird experience is not really applicable, I just want to be sure that I am reinforcing the correct behaviors. I just don't know what normal is for a Macaw.
Traci0921
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 23
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Cockatiel, B&G Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Anxious to learn!

Postby Pajarita » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:16 pm

Well, I am not one to use generalities when describing a species but one could say that B&G are mellow birds that bond very deeply to their humans. They are late risers and low hormone birds that enjoy people a lot. They are not known for being biters, screamers or pluckers although this doesn't mean that they cannot be! I think that the most salient characteristic of B&G is that they are 'lungers' but I also believe that, most likely, this is a learned behavior.

Personally, I think that every bird should be treated as an individual and observed carefully for the ABC of behavior - Antecedent [what happened before, what triggered the behavior, but it can also be the actual environment where the action took place -as when there is too much hullabaloo that 'overloads' the bird- or a physical condition as in chronic pain], Behavior [the actual reaction to the trigger or 'target' action], Consequence [which can also mean a reaction from the human that is actually reinforcing the behavior]. But I don't consider things like, for example, if a bird is screaming for company, not going to the bird something that is a 'negatively reinforcing consequence' as most people would argue. I do understand where they are coming from in the sense that they say that if a bird is a screamer and you go to the bird each time it screams, you are 'teaching' the bird that screaming will get him what he wants. It sounds like a logical conclusion, doesn't it? But I don't think it is and I'll tell you why. Parrots were created by nature to live their entire lives surrounded by their family. They are born into a family, they live with this family all their lives and they die surrounded by this same family. Company to them is not a luxury, it's not something they want, it's something they NEED to feel safe and happy so, when a bird that has been neglected for a long time screams for attention, it's not that the poor animal is trying to manipulate you into giving it something 'extra', it's a desperate cry from a lonely, scared, confused animal that doesn't understand why it's not getting what his entire body and mind is telling him he needs to feel safe and loved.

I've taken many screamers from different species and they all stopped screaming. I have many birds in my house but you hardly ever hear a peep out of them during the day. They do vocalize at dawn and dusk but it doesn't last more than a minute or so. How did I do it? By going to them and reassuring them whenever they screamed! Because once the bird is healthy and in tune with the seasons [and this is essential for screamers] and realizes that there will be somebody there for him/her all the time, that he/she is no longer alone and that he/she is loved unconditionally and with no expectations, it will not scream. It's as simple as that!
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13318
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

Re: Anxious to learn!

Postby Traci0921 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:06 pm

Thankfully he is not a 'screamer' really. He will let out a loud one now and again, but nothing intolerable. I understand he is a bird and needs to speak his language once in a while. :)

I've been consistent in responding to his flock call "Mom" at a low level and ignoring the loud screams. Seems to be working for us, as he never feels the need to scream loudly to get my attention.

I'd LOVE to have him with me at all times when I am home (or at least on a stand nearby) but we have yet to master the 'step up'. From the stories I've heard (he's hard to get back in the cage) and the things I've observed with him, I'm thinking he feels like if he steps up onto me or a perch he will be in lock-down again. I've not ever forced him into the cage - he will typically return with a food or toy reward.
Traci0921
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 23
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Cockatiel, B&G Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Anxious to learn!

Postby Pajarita » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:41 am

Yes, birds that were 'tricked' into going into their cages and kept there for too many hours will often resist the step up and, of course, going back. But I have found that, if you follow a super strict routine, give them a goodly amount of hours out of cage and allow them to come out and go back in on their own, this 'resistance' disappears completely. It takes time and it takes being extra patient with them at the beginning but it also takes the right diet and I'll tell you why. If you free-feed protein food like nuts, seeds, pellets, nutriberries, etc. it will be much, much harder to achieve this than if you free-feed gloop, mash, chop or 'the kitchen sink' because a parrot will always be willing to do what he doesn't want to do if he gets a high value item as reward. Put his high value item in his food bowl inside his cage and he will right in without a problem. Some of my birds actually go in by themselves to eat their breakfast and the others have no problem stepping up and being put in their cages. Sweetpea Senegal actually flies over when I call him and goes in all by himself and Isis and Davy Redbelly would, sometimes, be waiting on their cages and go right in when I am putting the bowls - but that's also because they know that they will come out again in half an hour and stay out until 1 or 1:30 pm -when they also go back into their cages without a problem. But, of course, the new birds don't start out this way although they pick up the routine very fast -mostly because it's absolutely unchanging day in and day out. I got a bird in October of last year [Javi, a black capped caique] and he has been following his own routine within mine for a couple of months already so, as you can see, it does not take long if you are very consistent about it.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13318
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

Re: Anxious to learn!

Postby Traci0921 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:32 am

7:30 - Uncover cage, turn on light in room and open window
8:00 - Pellets (and some of his old seed mix) in food dish
8:30 - I give him a pistachio when I leave for work
12:30 - Lunch. Typically a bit of whatever I am having
5:00 - I return home
6:00 - Out of cage time / training begins
8:00 - Return to cage
8:00 - bowl of fresh produce / quinoa offered
8:30 - cage covered / lights out -alarm actually goes off to tell him it's time for bed. He seems to be catching on.

Does this look ok to you for now in the early stages of him living here? Considering he is hormonal?
Traci0921
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 23
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Cockatiel, B&G Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Anxious to learn!

Postby Pajarita » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:58 am

I already replied to the same question on your other thread.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13318
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

Re: Anxious to learn!

Postby Anchal421 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:02 am

Spend a few days getting to know your macaw before beginning training. Physical affection isn’t always the best way to go early on. Engage in low-stress, low-demand activities such as talking to your bird in a calm, soft voice. It's great to give your bird a treat after it becomes more comfortable around you, but a biting bird may snatch treats away or even bite the hand that feeds it. If you think your macaw might do this, offer the treat on a long, flat object like a wooden spoon to keep your hand at a distance. Don’t force the treat acceptance process – wait for your bird to come to you. Once a treat has been accepted, you can gently pet your bird on the chest.
The best treats for macaws are nuts, such as macadamias, pecans, filberts, almonds, and walnuts.Macaws are big birds that need a substantial amount of exercise. Purchase a cage that provides ample space for toys, multiple perches, and food dishes, while still leaving enough room for your bird to move freely.
Bring elements of the natural world into your cage. Try making perches out of sticks and placing small branches with leaves in the cage to make your bird feel more at home.
Give your bird time out of the cage, too. This will let the macaw get much needed exercise and stimulation. Place perches around the house, especially in areas where you or family members tend to hang out, so that your bird can feel socially engaged.
Anchal421
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Types of Birds Owned: Finch
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