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Blue and Gold Macaw Questions

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Blue and Gold Macaw Questions

Postby Traci0921 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:15 pm

:macaw: :macaw: :macaw: :macaw: :macaw: :macaw:

I recently rescued a B&G from a terrible situation. He was in the cold (snow on the ground), fed only seed, no toys, cage covered in cigarette tar and left alone for almost a month.

I have experience with smaller birds, but he is my first large species. He seemed to choose me almost immediately and will call "Mom, Mom, MOOOOM!" if I am not near him. I've been allowing him out of the cage - his own doing. He will allow me to scratch him most anywhere. He will not step up and has bitten me several times. Occasionally, he will even bite while I am petting him.

I've started clicker training, and he is catching on, but keeping his attention is a challenge.

A couple questions:
Is 'aggressive' play with his toys normal?

He seems to spend a lot of time at the bottom of his cage. Plays there. Naps there. Should this be a worry? (He has recently had a full exam at an avian vet)

Should I insist that *I* let him out of his cage instead of permitting him to come out on his own? (not sure how I will stop him once the door is open though)

I just want to be sure I'm doing the right things to socialize and train him properly.

Thanks!
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: Blue and Gold Macaw Questions

Postby Pajarita » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:02 pm

I already replied to your other posting so I will just recap here:

1. Stop petting him.
2. Stop asking him to step up.
3. Stop training.

He hasn't been with you long enough to have learned to trust you and his bites and lack of attention is proof of that. You need to get him to bond [like/trust/love] with your first and this doesn't happen during the honeymoon period. I don't mean to rain on your parade but, after only a month with you, I seriously doubt his calling for you means that he loves you or that he thinks you are his momma - he just wants constant company because all parrots do and, in his case, even more so because he had been left alone.

As to his aggression toward toys... well, it would have been better if you had posted a video of this behavior so we can see exactly what it is that you are referring to but, in my personal experience, what most people call 'playing' in adult parrots are either breeding behaviors or transferred aggression - and, in his case, it's most likely both at the same time caused by 'overload'.

As to his always being at the bottom of the cage... well, I tell you, I don't like to see any bird doing that. When it comes to my birds, if they spend time 'on the ground', they are either sick or trying to dig a nest BUT birds that have not had proper housing might be used to doing it out of necessity. Does he have good perches -meaning natural tree branches with the bark and everything? Does he have branches on the outside of his cage so he can climb up high? Could he be a she that is hormonal?
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 12329
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: Blue and Gold Macaw Questions

Postby Traci0921 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:49 am

I'm not sure about trust / love I guess, but it certainly seems to me that we are building that rapidly. He absolutely prefers me to the company of others. He prefers to eat in my presence and rarely shows aggression towards me. He would be seriously upset if I stopped petting him. He LOVES physical attention. He hasn't bitten me in several days now. Maybe he was just testing? How will I know when we are 'bonded' enough to resume training? You suggest just leaving him in the cage? When is the 'honeymoon' over?

When out of the cage he will scream and act as if he wants to fly to me if I am more than 2 feet away from him. If I do approach? He typically wants scratches and will lower his head.

The aggression with toys is an 'attacking' behavior. Vocalizing and throwing things about. I'm new to the forum and have NO clue how to post a video.

His cage was recently upgraded and currently he has the dowel perches that came with the cage (I know these aren't ideal - but were an upgrade from the ONE perch and ZERO toys that he had before) and several rope perches. I intend to change them - but there is snow on the ground here and collecting new ones is a challenge at the moment.

His favorite activity is destroying baskets and he is often on the bottom of the cage chewing one to pieces. He was never at the bottom in his old smaller cage.
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: Blue and Gold Macaw Questions

Postby Pajarita » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:55 pm

Well, if he prefers your company to all the others', you might end up being his chosen human -and I say might because they have been known to change allegiances after the honeymoon period is over. And no, I would not ever suggest leaving a bird caged for more than a couple of days and then only when they first arrive! I HATE cages with a passion!

I don't believe in the 'they are testing you'... I believe that parrots bite for only three reasons and three reasons alone:
1. To defend themselves or their loved ones.
2. To protect their mate, babies, nest.
3. Because they have been taught by humans that did not know how to deal with a parrot that this is the only way they have to get their point accross.

But, if a bird is in chronic pain from overgrown gonads, it is understandable that it will take it out on whoever is near - of course, this only happens in captivity and when these birds are kept by people who have not taken the time to learn birds physiological functions.

How long the honeymoon period lasts depends on the condition of the bird [it takes seasons to correct a screwed up endocrine system and for gonads to go back to their normal size -and I think this is an issue that yours might have going by the chewing on things at the bottom of its cage] and the prior and current living conditions BUT, generally speaking and if the bird is being kept right, it takes about 3 months.

How will you know if he is bonded to you? That's a hard one to answer and I don't know if I can explain it because although I am sure that a better observer would be able to pinpoint specific actions, reactions or the lack of as proof, I might not be able to as I kind of go by my gut on these things... I would say that you know that you bonded when the bird is content in its new home [no screams, no bites, no 'weird' behaviors, etc], when it has a consistent positive reaction to your presence and touch and it shows, with its behavior, that it trusts you implicitly. Mind you, just because one does everything right in terms of husbandry, it doesn't mean that the bird will bond with you deeply. I have birds that love me to pieces but I also have birds that just trust me and like me but don't really love me -and I am fine with that because they do have another bird or another person to love [like Isis Redbelly which likes, trusts and enjoys me but loves my husband or Sweetpea which will never really love a human deeply.

As to his looking as if he wants to come to you - why doesn't he? Doesn't he climb down from his cage and walk on the floor to get to you? Does he fly at all? Is he a screamer or does he only scream when he wants you?
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 12329
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: Blue and Gold Macaw Questions

Postby Traci0921 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:38 pm

Fortunately or UNfortunately, he won't have a choice of humans here. I'm all he's got. Thankfully, I have a feeling it will all work out fine.

As far as coming to me.....I have been discouraging him from climbing to the floor (by just moving closer when he panics) as I have other animals, but tonight he did just that. He first stood on my foot and tapped his beak on it repeatedly. Then the head bob that I think is regurgitation. I sat on the floor with him and these behaviors were on repeat. I didn't see actual vomit, but could hear some sounds that sounded as if that was his intention. I was able to scratch him (primarily head and neck). He climbed in my lap and repeated the behaviors.

He is fully flighted, but has not attempted to fly in earnest yet. I know that his wings were trimmed in the past and he has been caged for about 2 years. Could it be that he just doesn't trust his wings or know he can fly? I have him out of the cage several hours at a time now, but I can't leave his side or he will find a way to get to me. I'd have him out more, but I can't do anything ELSE while he is out. I hope this evolves as our bond grows.

I just don't know what behaviors are normal and what could be hormones or overcoming his previous "training".

: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: Blue and Gold Macaw Questions

Postby Pajarita » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:16 am

Oh, he IS hormonal - no doubt about that! Only overly hormonal birds regurgitate. I know that people say: "Aww, it's because he loves you!" but that's nothing but a dangerous over simplification of a situation that is VERY uncomfortable for the poor bird!

I would not discourage him from walking on the floor. The ONLY thing I discourage a bird from doing is fighting with another bird - aside from that, they can do whatever they want to do [and I have 8 dogs AND 9 cats in the house but the dogs stay in the kitchen and the cats in their own room when the birds are out]. But maybe you can't go by me on this kind of thing because, as far as I am concerned, my birds are not my pets, they are my wards and my only function vis-a-vis them is to keep them healthy and make them happy. I am here for them, they are not here for me. But, as nutty as this philosophy might sound, it works out great after a while and they end up very well-adjusted and even obedient birds that don't scream, don't chew things - well, they do but you don't see anything chewed up around my house because I have learned that trying to discourage them is futile, it's much better to simply accept them as they are so we either replace what they break [things like pinecones, baskets, magazines, etc] or we use 'protection': all my windows sills and moldings have an extra L shaped molding around the edges and, when they chew them up -which they do!, my husband replaces them and I paint them the same color as the rest of the woodwork, all my horizontal surfaces [dining/coffee/end table, credenza, sofa table] are covered with thick plastic which gets both wiped [the ubiquitous poop!] and changed when chewed, my sofas have big quilts on them [which get washed every few days] and my good area rugs are rolled up and put away until I have company coming. Every now and then, my husband complains that: "This is NOT a shelter! It's a family home!" but it has become less and less as the years have gone by :lol:
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 12329
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: Blue and Gold Macaw Questions

Postby Traci0921 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:38 am

WOW! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. It seems we have similar households (I have fewer birds though)...but I currently have 9 dogs and 10 cats. The cats seem afraid of the Macaw, but the dogs are drawn to his cage because of food scraps.

I fear the bird will hurt the dogs! (5 of them are under 12lbs) He lunges at them violently when they are near his cage and screams with jealousy when he sees me paying attention to them.

He's only been here a month - and I have no consistent way of picking him up (until we master step-up) so, I'm hesitant for him to be on the floor with the other animals. I may have to change the routine of the other animals as my comfort grows with the parrot. I suspect he will likely choose to stay above the fray.
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: Blue and Gold Macaw Questions

Postby Pajarita » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:12 am

I have a cat room where they all go early in the morning for their breakfast and stay there until the birds are back in their cages. They don't mind at all - they are actually eager to go in and either go up the stairs in front of me or directly behind me [their room is in the finished attic] because they have big tall condos in front of the window, nice/warm/cuddly beds, tunnels, crinkly cubes, toys, etc AND Feliway! They are also hungry for their breakfast as I don't free-feed them, they get breakfast and dinner. I also have a tall gate in the kitchen opening (I have from a 5 lb Chihuahua mix to a 74 lb golden retriever] and that's where all the dogs stay until, again, all the birds are back in their cages. It works out great!

Try allowing him on the floor and using a stick to make him step up. All birds would step up from the floor without a problem, even the ones that are aggressive or the ones that never step up under any other circumstances. Always use his name and the command to do it and keep a high value item in your other hand in such a way that he can see it but cannot reach it from the floor and, as soon as he steps up, praise praise praise and give him the reward. He will learn in no time at all, you'll see!
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 12329
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: Blue and Gold Macaw Questions

Postby Traci0921 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:16 pm

I have a big house, so could potentially have the cats stay upstairs. We'll see how this progresses.

When he is on the floor he is mostly concerned with regurgitating on me, but last night I distracted him with a book to shred.

I will try the stick from the ground trick. He seems to just want to tear up the stick though. LOL
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: Blue and Gold Macaw Questions

Postby Pajarita » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:58 am

If you use a manzanita perch for it, he won't be able to -the wood is way too hard and that's the reason why they have become so popular [it pretty much lasts forever] AND one of the reasons why I don't like it :lol:
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 12329
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

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