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40 years old scarlet macaw just joined.. not going so smooth

Discussion in 'Macaw Motorway' started by GCedrik, 6/5/18.

  1. GCedrik

    GCedrik Checking out the neighborhood

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    Hi guys,

    This is my first post here but I have had parrots for a couple of years now.

    Context

    So up until two weeks ago we had the following little chickens:

    * Bisou, a female CAG that is 4 years old;
    • She is bonded to my wife and generally doesn't like me so much;
    • She has bitten me a few times but we have reached a truce and I pretty much enjoy our relationship the way it is now (can't touch her but that's fine).
    * Pixel, a female GW that is 5 years old;
    • Pixel is bonded to me but she is acceptant of my wife's cuddles;
    • She doesn't care about the other pets;
    • She weighs in at approx. 1,300g
    • She can fly, however she rarely does so by herself;
    • She is a very gentle bird, with much energy; and
    • Unfortunately she is a chronic overpreener (has been before I even got her - we think she has been taken from her parents at a way too young age).
    * Kira, a female Solomon island Eclectus that is 7 years old.
    • Yeah, this one does nothing but spend her time in an underwear drawer, which she has taken as her nest.
    Pixel and Kira have a room, Bisou has the other one.

    The newcomer

    Enters Jane, a 40 years old Scarlet Macaw, which:
    • Has a completely clean bill of health;
    • Was probably wild caught;
    • Has a pristine plumage;
    • Doesn't fly (her breast muscles are atrophied);
    • Weighs in at approx 900g;
    • Has spent part of her life at the Vancouver zoo;
    • Was with a male scarlet for 30 years;
    • said male died three weeks ago;
    • said male loved women and was probably not in love with Jane (which would explain why there has never been any babies coming out from that couple);
    • Jane started hating women and when we got her, the owner told us that she (the wife) could never approach or even take her but that he (the husband) could;
    • We were told that she is a pretty independent bird (as I don't want another velcro like Pixel is);
    • Seems to accept men in general (I have put her on some of my guy friends without much trouble) but seems to completely reject women (will try to bite one when one walks too close to her);
    • For the past three weeks, she lets out squawks of what I believe is desperation / unease about her situation;
    • She has steadily been getting happier and happier, altough I am the only one that can provide her with any well being as (a) Pixel doesn't want her and (b) she doesn't want attention from the wife.
    She has now been with us for three weeks. Here's how it's been going:
    • She would love (way too much if you ask me) to have a relationship with Pixel, but Pixel doesn't want to and actively avoids Jane when she gets too close;
    • Pixel however is fine with being close (we have their Java trees (one for each) close together but with no ability for them to touch each other);
    • She loves me - I can kiss her face patch (which I love to do to macaws since it's warm and soft:), can handle her without any problem, I can scratch her on her head, she likes beaking me (you know, with her tongue, exactly like Pixel does);
    • So far, Pixel doesn't seem jealous when I give attention to Jane, but I always fear that it could come.
    • She strongly dislikes my wife - she can't pick her up (already received a couple of nasty bites, the latest of which happened this morning) or do nothing much with her;
    • As a result, the wife is sad, feels rejected, is depressed and as such, what should've been a pleasant experience is turning into a nightmare for me as I feel that in the end, I won't be able to make anyone happy (neither the wife, nor Jane, nor Pixel).
    • Oh and now the wife is afraid of Jane. Jane is stick trained but the wife would've loved to be able to pick her up without.
    My fears

    My three biggest fears are that:
    • Pixel will become Jealous / feel rejected;
    • Jane will become dependent of me (which I absolutely do not want, as Pixel is already kinda that way) -which I understand is normal right now since she (a) lost her male and (b) recently lost her family, but which I also understand should be a temporary situation; and
    • Jane will become possessive of me and / or Pixel and will actively attack other members of the household.
    I need the following advice

    I really need to know from people that have experience with scarlets / other similar birds:
    • Is there anything my wife can do to ease Jane's strong dislike toward her (she already gives the treats - but she just started doing that) or will she want to annihilate women for the rest of her life;
    • Is there a way, at her age, to socialize her to accept other inhabitants or will she be a one person bird for the rest of her life (since she has had one partner for the majority of her life);
    • Can I do anything to prevent a very tight bond with me (I can't have two macs rely solely on me for emotional comfort, I will go insane);
    • Do you have any experience / information about scarlets' behaviours in captivity? I searched the web long and large but the information I find is always too general and broad.
    Thanks for having read me, I will await your comments with impatience:)
     
  2. Macawnutz

    Macawnutz Seriously Nutz! Super Administrator AA Advertising Exec Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Oh my gosh, I love your post! Welcome!

    I'm off to work but you will get many replies. I'll check in later.
     
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  3. Birdbabe

    Birdbabe Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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  4. Birdbabe

    Birdbabe Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Was gonna tag you too, :)
     
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  5. Chopper

    Chopper Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Welcome. You have described scarlets as I know about them.
    I have B&Gs and a blue throat. One of them doesn't like me and maybe better off with a male owner...but I don't plan on getting rid of her.
    She is calming down a bit after two years. It just takes a while.
     
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  6. OK Mike

    OK Mike Strolling the yard

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    Welcome! Wish I could help with the female issues. We have a male Verde (Scarlet / Buffons hybrid) that is about to be one year old. He bonded with me from the git go. He will tolerate handling and loving from my wife ONLY if I am not around. I travel 50% of the time for my job so when I am gone there are no issues. It took about 4 months before Blu would step up for my wife without a bite or two. She had to spend a lot of time in his proximity basically ignoring him except to feed him or give him a nut (his candy) as a treat. Slowly he started to approach her and ask to be picked up. Seems like big birds like ours will only accept people on their terms and in their own sweet time. Good luck!!
     
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  7. aooratrix

    aooratrix Macawaholic Super Moderator Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Good on you for taking on an older bird. I have four large macaws; one is a scarlet hybrid, so yes, I'm crazy. Here are some of my thoughts and opinions.

    Getting her to like/tolerate your wife: that could be a tough one and take years, but it's possible. Do you know why she dislikes women? Did she suffer poor treatment at the hands of a female? That may not be the case: some birds seem to prefer one gender. Have you identified a favorite treat and or activities? Does she like music? Singing? Whatever Jane's loves are, I'd only let my wife provide them. Pine nuts are a universal favorite here. Your wife could target train her while Jane is in her cage, but I think I'd focus on ambient attention from your wife. If you're unfamiliar, that means basically hanging out in the same room together with no hands-on interaction. Your wife could read to her, read silently near the cage, etc. You can interact verbally but put no pressure on the bird to "do" anything.

    It might also be helpful for Jane to observe your wife interacting positively with other birds, especially Pixel. Birds learn a lot by modeling and observing. As I said earlier, this may take years. Regardless, take the long view, celebrate baby steps when they occur, and be patient.

    Pixel and Jane: I think them hanging out together on adjacent play areas is a great start. When you see behavior you like, even if it's just Pixel tolerating Jane, I'd reward Pixel.

    Independence: Jane has been part of a pair for decades, right? So she probably longs for that and is dealing with the loss of her buddy, plus moving to your home. My BTM, Harry, is very dependent on me, preferring me to other birds. He's been here since 6 months old, is now 6. We're still working on it. I reward Harry for independent play, and he's getting better. As he's out on a java tree, I reward him for playing on his own and do "drive bys" to offer brief periods of direct interaction.

    In time, you'll find that Jane will assimilate into your flock. Hopefully, that will replace her need for a buddy/mate. My macaws do not all like each other but are a flock. They call to each other, interact, etc. and some do "like" each other, especially my 2 girls. If one "leaves", they'll contact call. They like to be together but don't have to be and don't want be sharing immediate space and close proximity, usually.

    I think you need time, patience, and observation. If you really observe your birds and their interactions, you'll learn a lot. Good luck, and keep us posted. Sorry I rambled...
     
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  8. Hankmacaw

    Hankmacaw Biking along the boulevard Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Realize that Jane is a full grown macaw, who has lots of experience and has developed her own likes/dislikes, fears/comfort levels and personality. She is undoubtedly still mourning her mate that died - my Jasper (GW female) mourned Hank (GW male) for six months, after he died, and still reacts to his voice or a video of him. You will need to deal with her as a fellow adult - she isn't a baby bird. Hank was 19 yo when I got him and a wild caught that had been abused for 10 years we were companion adults.

    @aooratrix said you will need patience and I can guarantee that you will need lots and lots of patience - as will your wife. Your wife should not take anything that Jane does nor any rejection personally. It isn't personal. She should just continue to talk to her, give her treats and sing/dance to her when you aren't around. She will eventually come around to your wife.

    Did we mention PATIENCE it takes a long time with a macaw - took five years with my Hank.
     
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  9. GCedrik

    GCedrik Checking out the neighborhood

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    Thank you all very much for your answers so far.

    Hankmacaw, I agree with you. This is what I said to my wife too. Jane is an adult, she knows what she likes and she knows what she doesn't - and she won't be afraid to express it.

    I tell myself that if she's deriving pleasure from my presence right now, I ought to give it to her since she must be going through so much pain right now (I hear it in her squawks).

    As for Pixel, I am thinking that giving them separate time should take care of the potential for jealousy.

    As for my wife, I think she'll need to accept that Jane is an adult - which we had yet to have ever seen since all of our birds are still young.

    I was completely taken aback by how confident she was. She was cool with me right off the bat, but not with my wife. I have never seen a bird make up its mind so fast.
     
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  10. Hankmacaw

    Hankmacaw Biking along the boulevard Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Birds make their choices, but many times that choice is determined by experience. Jasper (my female GW 25yo) likes mostly women, but that is because she adored her first mom and she has lived alone with me (and Hank for 12 years) for the last 18 years. Hank detested men because he was physically abused while he was at the hotel in Las Vegas (12 years) by teen age boys. Janie probably has no reason in the world to like women and it will be up to your wife to change her mind.

    I'm by far NOT the best behaviorist on this forum, but I would continue to put Jane and Pixel out together on their separate trees (where they can't reach each other) and I'll bet that soon it will take a bunch of pressure off of you because they will start enjoying each others company. Are they caged near each other? Hank and Jasper were caged next to each other for three months. Then I started putting them together while I was there to referee for an hour or so at a time. After a short amount of time they were living in the aviary together.

    Jane's chest muscles can't be completely atrophied. Parrots don't have a diaphragm and expand and contract their lungs with their chest muscles. Hank never flew, but after I had him for a short time I taught him to flap and flap. Flying, if only stationary, is very important to their respiratory and circulatory health and to their emotional health.

    BTW - we love pictures.
     
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  11. BirdManDan

    BirdManDan Jogging around the block Vendor I Can't Stop Posting!

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    [​IMG] GCedrik, Bijou, Pixel, Kira & Jane [​IMG][​IMG] THE [​IMG] .
    I HOPE YOU ENJOY THE AVENUE!! WE'RE A BUNCH OF ANIMALS HERE!! HOPE YOU FIT RIGHT IN!!
     
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  12. rocky'smom

    rocky'smom Biking along the boulevard Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting!

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    I am not a expert in macaws, not by a long shot. But I get to work with them at volunteer job that I do. Just some observations, one of the big beakers I work with is a definite woman disliker, will reach out a snag you if you are too close. What I found out that works for me, I keep a snack size baggie of favorite treats in my uniform pocket. Everytime I walk by cage , I greet her with "Hi sweetheart, hope we can be friends some day", drop a treat in her food bowl. She isn't at the clinic too often, but when she is, I am never snagged by a big old beak. It taken 4years of solid work, but she tolerates me. And I am grateful for the toleration.
     
    Last edited: 6/5/18
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  13. msplantladi

    msplantladi Sprinting down the street

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    See that Big Red Bird in my profile pic? I have nasty pictures of what that bird has done to me-she was very abused when I got her and hated everyone. It took 6 mths just to get her to step up on a stick and it better had been a long perch stick or you were going to get bit. Trying to give her a treat, forget it for at least a year I could only drop it in her food dish. It does help that you have other birds she can observe your kindness. In my humble opinion Scarlett's are the hardest because they can be so stubborn. I totally ignore any negative reactions I get, walk away and come back try again-the slightest engagement that is positive I reward. Birds are generally the hungriest in the morning so thats when I do my hand training-they have to want something from you. Can't tell you how long it took me just hanging out by the cage before my Scarlett finally came to me to take her treat from my hand and you better believe I made a big deal and we just kept doing over & over-that seems to be our break through. But she had to be given time to trust again. Jane is dealing with alot all at once, give her lots of time even if its just sitting quietly chatting w/her. I thank you for taking her in & seeking out help.
     
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  14. Macawnutz

    Macawnutz Seriously Nutz! Super Administrator AA Advertising Exec Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    I still love your post! If everyone could give us that much information we could help so many more. :D

    Let me start by saying that your birds do not have to like each other to be "a flock". They will all form a flock bond even if they are not physically interacting with each other. It will take some time but try to treat them equally. It is not uncommon to have a macaw that only likes one person or.... that chooses one person when more than one person is available. In fact, your GW is so young, she may make some changes in personality as she gets older.

    I have 13 birds, 9 of which are macaws. Let's take two for an example.... My BG and Scarlet both 6 years old and both came to our home at under a year of age. The BG was my bird, the scarlet my husbands. At age three they both swapped who they picked as their chosen person. My BG has rules for me regarding my husband... NO hugging, kissing, touching my husband after 5pm. :laugh: If I try to sit near my husband I will be attacked. I can live with those rules, my BG goes to bed at 9pm so I make the adjustment for 4 hours. During that time I spend time with my scarlet and other birds.

    My point is you just need adjust your lives to fit them. At 40 years old Jane will be the easiest of all your birds. She is going to want a spot to call home, a java tree with toys, good food and happy entertaining people around her. She will want to be part of a flock. Three weeks time is not enough time to know her. She is not comfortable enough to show you her personality or let her guard down yet.

    I rehomed a female BG at 12 years old, formerly abused. After a month I felt she was comfortable... little did I know that 6 months later she would be a completely different bird. :laugh: After a year of owning her no one would guess it was the same bird. Measures Jane's progress in months not weeks. Tell your wife to be patient and not make a big deal of pushing interactions. Have her be the one with the best treats and it will work itself out in time.
     
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  15. GCedrik

    GCedrik Checking out the neighborhood

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    Hi guys, thank you for all your answers:) I have not forgotten the pictures. I am still in busy tax season (June 15th deadline), so I am hoping I'll be able to do it next week. Jane loves me and me only, but that's ok. I just hope I can make both her and Pixel happy without creating too much jealousy between the two:)
     
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  16. aooratrix

    aooratrix Macawaholic Super Moderator Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Looking forward to pictures and glad you accept Jane for who she is. In time, she may surprise you: a dear friend had a beloved scarlet that was devoted to her for several decades. Then, she switched her affections to my friend's husband! And I think your birds will form a flock, but Pixel and Jane may never be bosom buddies. However, who knows? I'd be happy with them tolerating each other.
     
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  17. Big Blues

    Big Blues Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Hi, your post was well written and easy to understand and there are smart suggestions on your thread. I would like you to know that hubby and I rescued 2 scarlets at the same time ageand rehomed a third later. Do not know how old they are or whether or not they had a mate. We brought them into our existing macaw flock. We basically took a deep breath and didn’t worry about who liked who as we knew it would likely change over time according to THEIR choices. We BOTH proceeded to give them food, attention and fun play as much as we could and they would accept. Although each of the rescues chose one of us as the bonded caretaker, at first both would not accept both of us. We kept working at the mutual trust and finally after several years we both can play with both. One of the rescues bonded to our rehome scarlet and cage together. Jealousy is a valid concern for any two macaws or any human and a macaw. Something to watch. Maybe you can bond with each in a separate room. Reading their body language is important, we have a schedule that they count on so their expectations are met. The time when things are shaken and the same routine doesn’t work is spring hormonal time.
     
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