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HELP! Fiancées bird HATES me

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HELP! Fiancées bird HATES me

Postby help! » Fri May 03, 2019 9:49 am

My fiancée had grown up in a house with a large parrot that passed on 6-8 years ago. For a long time she talked about getting another bird so when I took my new job as a neurology fellow working 90hr/wk I decided to get her one to keep her company.
(I know giving animals as gifts is inadvisable but we had discussed the idea and that ended up not being the issue)
3 months ago I purchased her a 3 yr old male alexandrine ringneck. When I went to pick the bird up I was told he was hand tame but needed a little socialization and preferred males. I was able to handle the bird at the time although he was not overly friendly.
Fiancée is thrilled with bird and starts working with him daily… I interacted with the bird some when I was home and was around him frequently. Fast forward to last week- she is sitting at the computer and I run my hand over her hair not knowing this evil thing is on her thigh and it launches its self at me.
If she leaves the room the bird screams, she only has it in the cage at night or when she is not home. Bird sits on stands or on her. If I so much as walk by the bird he hisses and lunges at me. She tells me I just need to spend more time with him but the bird always wants to be with her and she just comes to get him when he yells.
At this point she is prioritizing time with the parrot over time with me as I can’t get near them together. The rare times I am the only one in the house he seems a little more receptive to me and will take treats from me or come out to go on a stand but will not step to my hand. I have tried bribing and coaxing and being patient but it seems like the more the bird loves her the more it dislikes me. The only person the bird hates more is her best friend (who happens to look a lot like her)
At this point I am ready to tell her she needs to put the bird away 2 hours before bedtime so I can spend time with her without being attacked.
I don’t even need the bird to like me, its enough he makes her happy but I would like him not to attack me in my own home. Is there anything I can do to convince the bird I am not competition for her attention?

edit:bird also hates her petting the dog- dog and i sit in corner alone when the bird is out.
help!
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Re: HELP! Fiancées bird HATES me

Postby Pajarita » Fri May 03, 2019 11:10 am

Welcome to the forum and I am sorry you are going through this but don't despair, there is help!

For one thing, if your fiancee is not putting the bird to bed much earlier than her own bed time, she is not caring for it right. Birds are photoperiodic and need to follow a strict solar schedule (think of chickens and the birds out in the trees, up with dawn, to bed with dusk) and, this time of the year, this means opening blinds/drapes/whatever WITHOUT turning on any artificial light at 5:30 am so the bird is exposed to the light of dawn, turning artificial lights on when the sun is already out in the sky (around 7:00 or 7:15 am this time of the year), turning off artificial lights when the sun is halfway down to the horizon (around 5:30 pm this time of the year) and closing the drapes/blinds/etc (this usually requires covering the cage with a black-out material or using black-out in the windows) at around 8 pm (the bird would be fast asleep by then). The other issue with IRNs and hormones/aggression is diet. People think -erroneously- that parrots are seed eaters when they are not and most of them are fed way too much protein (which makes them hormonal and, in turn, aggressive as well as destroying their livers and kidneys in the long term). IRNs birds are mainly fruit eaters and when the texts mention they eat seeds, they mean the green seeds inside the fruits so they cannot be fed anything that is high in protein (any animal protein being a HUGE no-no!) and never free-feeding protein food (pellets, seeds, nuts, avicakes, nutriberries, etc). My IRNs get a LARGE piece of the fruit of the day, a small veggie (unless it's something they really love like corn on the cob or red peppers, etc), a leafy green and gloop (they LOVE it!) for breakfast and all day picking and, at dusk, a level measuring tablespoon of a finch seed mix for dinner.

A human light schedule and too much protein would cause the intemperate aggression you are experiencing - and it's not as if it makes the bird happy or healthy because it's actually the opposite. So the first thing that you and your fiancee need to do is to re-evaluate the bird light schedule and diet and see if this is the problem because IRNs are almost as naturally sweet-tempered as cockatiels and the only time they show this degree of aggression is when something is not right with them.

Now, IRNs are short day breeders so even if you start the solar schedule and the low protein diet (by the way, they should never be fed pellets, they are real bad for them because they need a diet not only low in protein -with pellets, you never know how much protein you are feeding- but VERY high in moisture and pellets are super dry) and he starts improving, he will start getting bad again when the days begin to get shorter in June but you need to start somewhere and the sooner the better.
Pajarita
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Re: HELP! Fiancées bird HATES me

Postby help! » Fri May 03, 2019 12:16 pm

The bird is fed tan pellets (Harrison’s) she buys from the vet, Fresh food that gets cut up, and something that she microwaves (bird pasta from the pet shop?) plus nuts and treats from the pet store. Also to clarify since I work in the ICU and she just works a few hours a day at a barn we are both in bed by 8 o’clock (if not before) and up by 3:30am. We do not cover the birdcage at night or in the morning but he tends to be very quiet when we get up and doesn’t yell to come out before we leave.

Thank you for the suggestions, I will try to find out more about the stuff she feeds him that is not pellets. He gets millet as a treat but she says it will make him fat and doesn’t give him much. I haven’t paid much attention to the food I just know to scoop the pellets she does all the chopped stuff.

Is she supposed to give the bird what it wants when it screams (pick him up)? I feel like that is just teaching him that he always gets what he wants.
Last edited by help! on Fri May 03, 2019 12:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
help!
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Re: HELP! Fiancées bird HATES me

Postby help! » Fri May 03, 2019 12:28 pm

Pajarita wrote:Welcome to the forum and I am sorry you are going through this but don't despair, there is help!

For one thing, if your fiancee is not putting the bird to bed much earlier than her own bed time, she is not caring for it right. Birds are photoperiodic and need to follow a strict solar schedule (think of chickens and the birds out in the trees, up with dawn, to bed with dusk) and, this time of the year, this means opening blinds/drapes/whatever WITHOUT turning on any artificial light at 5:30 am so the bird is exposed to the light of dawn, turning artificial lights on when the sun is already out in the sky (around 7:00 or 7:15 am this time of the year), turning off artificial lights when the sun is halfway down to the horizon (around 5:30 pm this time of the year) and closing the drapes/blinds/etc (this usually requires covering the cage with a black-out material or using black-out in the windows) at around 8 pm (the bird would be fast asleep by then). The other issue with IRNs and hormones/aggression is diet. People think -erroneously- that parrots are seed eaters when they are not and most of them are fed way too much protein (which makes them hormonal and, in turn, aggressive as well as destroying their livers and kidneys in the long term). IRNs birds are mainly fruit eaters and when the texts mention they eat seeds, they mean the green seeds inside the fruits so they cannot be fed anything that is high in protein (any animal protein being a HUGE no-no!) and never free-feeding protein food (pellets, seeds, nuts, avicakes, nutriberries, etc). My IRNs get a LARGE piece of the fruit of the day, a small veggie (unless it's something they really love like corn on the cob or red peppers, etc), a leafy green and gloop (they LOVE it!) for breakfast and all day picking and, at dusk, a level measuring tablespoon of a finch seed mix for dinner.

A human light schedule and too much protein would cause the intemperate aggression you are experiencing - and it's not as if it makes the bird happy or healthy because it's actually the opposite. So the first thing that you and your fiancee need to do is to re-evaluate the bird light schedule and diet and see if this is the problem because IRNs are almost as naturally sweet-tempered as cockatiels and the only time they show this degree of aggression is when something is not right with them.

Now, IRNs are short day breeders so even if you start the solar schedule and the low protein diet (by the way, they should never be fed pellets, they are real bad for them because they need a diet not only low in protein -with pellets, you never know how much protein you are feeding- but VERY high in moisture and pellets are super dry) and he starts improving, he will start getting bad again when the days begin to get shorter in June but you need to start somewhere and the sooner the better.


The bird is fed tan pellets (Harrison’s) she buys from the vet, are these still bad to feed? The veterinarian specializes in birds and exotics but I know even experts can be wrong. He also gets Fresh food that gets cut up, and something that she microwaves (bird pasta from the pet shop?) plus nuts and treats from the pet store. Also to clarify since I work in the ICU and she just works a few hours a day at a barn we are both in bed by 8 o’clock (if not before) and up by 3:30am. We do not cover the birdcage at night or in the morning but he tends to be very quiet when we get up and doesn’t yell to come out before we leave.

Thank you for the suggestions, I will try to find out more about the stuff she feeds him that is not pellets. He gets millet as a treat but she says it will make him fat and doesn’t give him much. I haven’t paid much attention to the food I just know to scoop the pellets she does all the chopped stuff.

Is she supposed to give the bird what it wants when it screams (pick him up)? I feel like that is just teaching him that he always gets what he wants.

I am the only person in the bird has actually injured. He has never bitten her hard but will latch onto my wrist very hard and draw blood.
help!
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Re: HELP! Fiancées bird HATES me

Postby GreenWing » Fri May 03, 2019 3:06 pm

Oy. What a situation.

Nobody can give you better input other than what Pajarita's already said, but I'll add my own two cents in an attempt to help you out:

I've known people with aggressive birds and the reasons, I think, are situational leading to psychological. In other words, reasons across the board include: the bird isn't on a solar schedule, the bird isn't getting enough free time outside of the cage, the bird doesn't have enough social interaction, the bird doesn't have enough toys.

Think of this way: this little dragon is an intelligent creature with needs just like you and me. We get stressed when we're not getting enough of what we need: affection, interaction, socialization, sleep. Your fiancee is doing a great thing by socializing and bonding with the bird. As a re-home, I wouldn't doubt he's been abused or saw some traumatizing things that prompted his fear and reactionary behavior. The bird seems jealous OR fearful of you "right now" and probably sees your fiancee as a mate and you as a threat of sorts. I would wager that this behavior won't last over time; or, at least, will improve over time.

The best way to go about this is, again, first, solar schedule. In my experience, solar schedules are EVERYTHING for a bird's sleep needs/hormone regulations. Expose the bird to a large window where he can see the sun set/see dusk and twilight and he'll feel relaxed and sleepy. It's all about the natural lights...

So after you've established a solar schedule, be sure you're feeding a lot of fresh foods. Chance receives meals of real food, but I do offer her my own mix of seeds, very few dried fruits, oats and VERY FEW pellet (that she usually skips over anyway as she hates pellets). It's important to note that she receives the healthy fresh food MORE than the mix. So, her diet is basically a much less-blended version of gloop. I think it's important for a parrot to shred leafy greens, think lettuce and kale, and also carrots... the foraging is SO important. I have mixed feelings about pellets, my concerns are bio-synthetics, that there are more pure ways - from Mother Nature - to give nutrition; basically I see pellets as Cliff bars are to us humans. In my eyes they're supplements... the meals should be real food. One of Chance's favorite meals is pasta, I get the Barilla brand vegetable pasta, and make the tomato sauce myself with just a tiny bit of garlic... it's so healthy and a meal we share together. As with nutrition in general you don't want to just feed pasta all the time, make sure it's a varied diet of mostly fresh foods. I have a list of what to feed parrots somewhere buried in the forum, I can find it and post it for you.

Moving on from nutritional needs, you just have to give it time. Chance attacked my husband when we were first dating. Chance is also a re-home. Now, she has completely accepted my husband as part of the "flock" and there are days that she even prefers him over me. So, don't lose hope. The bird needs adjustments and time to get adjusted, and I promise you it will get better.

That being said, birds squeal. There is a reason why rainforests are loud. These are squealing avian dinosaurs, so to expect the bird to not squawk is a lost cause. Chance squeals and I do what I can to discourage it but I have to accept squealing overall.

Hope this helps.
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Re: HELP! Fiancées bird HATES me

Postby GreenWing » Fri May 03, 2019 3:53 pm

Here's those links:
Vitamin A foods for parrots

Other foods for parrots

Pajarita also has a gloop recipe on here, too somewhere...

Please let me note that I've changed a long way in my food recommendations since posting this originally; I do recommend feeding tomatoes, and I'm cautious about pellets...
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Re: HELP! Fiancées bird HATES me

Postby help! » Fri May 03, 2019 4:37 pm

GreenWing wrote:
That being said, birds squeal. There is a reason why rainforests are loud. These are squealing avian dinosaurs, so to expect the bird to not squawk is a lost cause. Chance squeals and I do what I can to discourage it but I have to accept squealing overall.

Hope this helps.


I understand and except that he is going to be noisy, should he be picked up whenever he yells? She tends to just get him if he is making a fuss and he stops. Is this proper or should he be left on he stand stand sometimes? I feel like she is just teaching him that every time he makes a fuss he is going to get his way and be picked up.
help!
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Re: HELP! Fiancées bird HATES me

Postby Pajarita » Sat May 04, 2019 9:17 am

The biggest problem is the diet. It's WAAAYYYY too much protein for this species. Harrison's pellets have a min protein of 17% (so, in reality, it could be 20, 21, 22% - you just don't know) and a moisture of max 10% while these birds need 90 - 95% moisture and protein of 12 to 14% max. If you add the millet, the nuts and the treats (all parrot treats are high in protein because that is what they crave).
These birds need fruit, fruit and more fruit, some leafy greens, some veggies, some cooked whole grains and a teeny, tiny portion of low protein seed. Treats should be things like birdy bread or a particular kind of fruit they like. Never protein food!

Now, let me explain something that the greatest majority of people who own birds do not realize: avian vets don't study parrot nutrition or behavior so, unless they have own multiple parrots for a long time and have taken the time and effort of learning on their own free time the nutritional needs of the species they have (each species is different), they really do not know much about what to feed them or what to do with them when they have issues. Avian vets know about medical issues like disease, wounds, conditions, etc but parrot nutrition is not something that is covered in the Avian Medicine texts they use to pass the board exam. I have three of these texts, the last one I got is the new Dr. Harrison's one and the nutrition chapter is VERY short and completely generic to all avians because there are hundreds and hundreds of species of birds all with different dietary ecologies, some eat meat, some eat fish, some eat seeds, some eat fruits, some eat insects, some eat polen and nectar, etc. They recommend Harrison's because they get a cut when they sell it and people recommend it because their avian vet recommended it. It's as simple as that.

The light schedule is not good either.

Your girlfriend needs to do a more thorough research about the species because although a parrot is a parrot, each species is different and their needs are different, too. You can't feed a psittacula the same protein you would a senegal even though they are similar in size and both would get the same pellet, according to the manufacturers...

As to picking him up when he screams... well, I would do it, too. But, most likely, I would do it for completely different reasons than your GF is doing it. I would do it because when birds scream all the time, they do it because they are either in pain, upset or lonely. And also because I know that, under the right diet, the right light schedule and the right conditions, the bird will stop doing it on its own. It might take a couple of weeks or it might take months (I once had a cockatoo that screamed non-stop for 10 whole months) but it will happen for sure. So, in my personal opinion, she is doing the right thing by comforting him when he screams for attention BUT she needs to do right with his diet, light schedule and daily routine (VERY important for the daily routine not to change regardless of which day of the week it is) because, otherwise, all she is doing is, as you say, reinforcing the undesirable behavior and not really helping him at all.
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Re: HELP! Fiancées bird HATES me

Postby GreenWing » Sat May 04, 2019 10:43 am

Yeah I agree with Pajarita.
Chance squeals when I'm getting ready to go to work... it's her protest. She rarely squeals outside of protesting, haha. So... honestly I think your girlfriend's bird needs love and cuddles and bonding time. Like I said, the bird is adjusting. Give it time.
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