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Cage Aggression

Discussion in 'Behavior Byway' started by JLcribber, 12/29/09.

  1. JLcribber

    JLcribber Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Shutterbugs' Best

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    To a large adult parrot that has been forced to live in a cage most of its life, the "cage" is a major factor in their undesirable behavior. If there was any abuse during that time the problems will just be amplified. Taking the cage out of the equation goes a long ways to helping that bird and almost eliminating the problems we see because of it.

    Consider.......

    I'm going to sound like a broken record again to some but I'm going to say it anyway. The "cage" is the source of many problems for a Parrot.

    If we give them a large secure space and eliminate the cage we remove the source of that problem by providing a bird room or indoor aviary. Not only does the space give them freedom to be a much more natural bird but the second most important part of this is that we are able to physically enter "their" environment/territory and can work on becoming a normal part of it instead of being something that is outside their "chosen" environment/territory and just reaching in. We can put a chair in there and hangout and be given a chance to become a normal part of their territory. In essence we are going to become a cage mate instead of an owner. We are going to join them in the "cage".

    Always being calm, moving slow and keeping a "comfortable" distance in there over time shows them we are not a threat and worthy of trust. I "never" interact with my birds when they are behind bars. My analogy of that is like a prison guard trying to befriend an inmate. They are not compatible friends because they are not in the same world. Two inmates behind the same bars are much more likely to be friends.

    This is why I suggest a much larger space so we could go in there and still keep a comfortable distance and act very nonchalant, move around and do little things and focusing on those things we are doing and not pay attention to them. If you stare at them or pay them too much attention it's much like a predator watching it's prey. When a bird is comfortable with another bird they will not really give direct attention to the other bird but act rather nonchalant. A sign of that is if the bird is calm and actually turns it's back to you. As if to say I don't need to watch you every second because I know your not a threat and I can trust you to turn my back to you.

    It's has a lot to do with "our" body language imitating what that other trusted bird would do.

    Connecting and Communicating with your Large Intelligent Parrot

    I am about letting my birds be birds. I want them to be comfortable and willing to do things as much as I can provide in a "house". I don't try to change them. I try to work with and around what they are.

    I've been bitten and attacked by a lot of different birds. I've never felt real danger but as anyone with a TOO will attest to, being attacked by a large male hormonal TOO is downright dangerous. They can do serious bodily harm. Their empathy and intelligence will challenge the most skilled owners. Because they "are" so intelligent and emotional it takes very little effort to create real problems but it takes tremendous effort and time to fix those same problems. Large Macaws have the same intelligence but they are not nearly as emotional, needy and manipulative IMO. Look at a person that is very emotional and if they are having problems they turn into a basket case because their emotions feed their problems. Un-necessarily so but it affects the way they react. Compare that to someone who is pragmatic and level headed with the same problems. It's like night and day. Cockatoos with any kind of past abuse and issues are emotional basket cases waiting to explode.

    About the cage........ The shear size of the bird makes any cage relatively small if you look at it percentage wise. Parrots stake out and claim territory. That is instinct and can't be changed. In the wild that territory would have rather large boundaries but being forced to live in a cage makes it pretty small. Because they can't go farther than the bars, those bars become the boundary. Everything inside those boundaries is "theirs" as far as they are concerned. Anything outside those boundaries that tries to get in is being intrusive. I don't want to be intrusive.

    Tika was as cage aggressive as any of the birds we have heard about. If I was to put my hand in his cage I would have pulled back a bloody stump. If I put a stick in his cage to get him he would literally just split it in half. He can split a 1 inch dowel with ease. I wanted him to come out of his cage willingly but I did not want to have to battle him every time. The more I thought and analyzed, it became apparent that the cage was the issue.

    So I built him a large aviary (6ft x 10ft x 8ft high). I worked hard to become an accepted part of his territory by entering it with good body language and spending time in there with him. It was normal and even expected for me to be in there. As we know once our birds are out of the cage they are different birds and more than willing to interact with us and readily "come to us". This is how we were "inside" the aviary. If we were on opposite ends I did not need to make him come over. He would come over on his own because it was "his" territory and he was comfortable anywhere in it, like a cage. All I had to do was show him his T stick and he was already reaching to get on it before I was even near enough. All I had to do was walk out because there was no "get on the stick/arm" hurdle to get over.

    How could someone go about preparing a non-cage environment?

    That's as easy as giving up one of our rooms and bird proofing it. We can cover anything we don't want destroyed and they can get at with Plexiglas. Provide them with plenty of things they can destroy. If they want to destroy the window sill. I cover it with a nice big piece of 2x4 and let them have at it. When the 2x4 is almost destroyed I replace it and let them have at it again. If they want to chew the walls, I screw a big chunk of 2x10 to the wall where they have access to it and let them have at it again. Plexiglas and a screw gun are my friends. I know them well.

    If anyone wants to build an indoor aviary I already posted how to do that.

    Build an indoor aviary

    My TOOs are still TOOs with the hormones, normal vocalizations and mischief that go with every TOO but I say with pride that neither of my TOOs have any of the behavior issues from their past. (knocking on wood now.)

    These are my views, experience and opinions. Nothing more. :)
     
  2. Billie Faye

    Billie Faye Biking along the boulevard Avenue Spotlight Award

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    YOU ROCK John!!!!:highfive::heart::hug8:
     
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  3. Holiday

    Holiday Mac Mama Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Great article, John. And I totally, 100% agree with the comparison/contrast between macaws and toos :)
     
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  4. Sharpie

    Sharpie Rollerblading along the road

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    Can this be made into a sticky? It's one of the fundamental things that I think people should be aware of when housing large (and small) birds. My budgies were never happier or more comfortable with people than when they had my old 20x20 room as their 'cage.' Even though I can't apply this knowledge right now, I think it needs to be kept in mind!
     
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  5. akijoy

    akijoy Rollerblading along the road Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Veteran

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    THat makes a lot of sense, John.

    I've never experienced cage aggression, but it sounds scary.
     
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  6. Bokkapooh

    Bokkapooh Ripping up the road Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    GREAT Post John!!!
     
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  7. GreenParrot

    GreenParrot Sprinting down the street

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    Thats a great post John! :highfive: :D
     
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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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    Good on ya, John.

    I think your contrast between Toos and Caws is accurate, but one must realize that Caws are also manipulative, but not emotionally manipulative. Caws generally have an excess of self confidence and are more like a cat than a dog (if that makes sense). With that said each and every bird is it's own individual.
    ML
     
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  9. clawnz

    clawnz Rollerblading along the road Avenue Veteran

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    You rock!
    I now know why I trust your input.
    That was so well put John.
    You should think about a book or something online.
    There are books and books and they never tel you about some of the stuff you cover above.
    I know it's an old thread, but just needed to comment.
     
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  10. Ziggymon

    Ziggymon Biking along the boulevard Avenue Spotlight Award

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    John, I really like every post of yours I've read.
     
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  11. JLcribber

    JLcribber Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Shutterbugs' Best

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    I thank you all for your kind words. :hug8:
     
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  12. greybird57

    greybird57 Strolling the yard Avenue Veteran

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    all pet bird when in their cages are going to pertect there house (cage).
     
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  13. dolldid

    dolldid Riding the Skies Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Veteran Avian Angel

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    JOHN I have never beleaved in cages Mango sleeps in his but its his choice he wants his cage at bed time and demands me to get him ther,,lol reason he wants covered

    he has the run of the apt even when im not here last 4 yrs he has distroyed nothing

    i have always respected his toys and cage and parrot stand hes respected my things beleave me my apt sure isnt bird proof

    by asking your bird to do things he will but ordering him for get it

    It all boils down to dont ask or expect your bird to do what you your self wouldnt do if a stranger was doing the ordering

    had to stop and put Mango to bed he came got on my hand and raised 1 foot it ment bye bye bed time,,lol that is how you comunacate with a bird thats free as a captive bird can be


    hugs doll
     
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  14. Lee

    Lee Strolling the yard

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    I was starting to worry about my maroon bellied conure Rico's aversion to his cage of late but I also know that if I just leave him out in my apartment he behaves and doesn't get up to any mischief> I put his food and water on his cage roof and newspaper under cage and door he always sits on.

    After reading this I feel a lot better about just leaving him this way. He is put in his cage at night and covered to sleep though. I am just not sure he would find a suitable place to sleep if left out and he isnt that comfortable in the dark...
     
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  15. NoahsMom

    NoahsMom Meeting neighbors

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    I have smaller birds; a conyure, a Quaker and an african grey Timneh. I have no choice but to keep them in cages if I'm in bed or not at home, as I also have other animals. I do, however, have them out anytime I am in the immediate area, which is most of the day, and I don't reach into their "homes" unless they have the option of coming out. I wait until they are on top of the cages or on my shoulder to do the daily housekeeping of their spaces. And I don't reach for them until they approach me. Franny, my little Quaker, will play on the cage and possibly bathe, then get off the cage and walk from one end of my sectional sofa to the center where I sit. She is so cute, looking like she is taking a walk around the block to visit her neighbor, ME!! :heart:
     
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  16. jitin02

    jitin02 Sprinting down the street

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    When m home 7-10.30 pm. I open the cage door and wait for them to come out and if they don't , male sits on seed bowl and than I bring the male out along with the bowl & female now a days started sitting on finger so I bring her out too.
    But they don't go in themselves so I had to do The same as I do while bringing them out .... test of day (morning to 6/7 pm they have to be in cage coz of my gym in office :/
     
  17. Sassy12

    Sassy12 Meeting neighbors

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    John, my Amazon never experienced cage aggression. The only reason she is in a cage, is to protect her from harm. See, at night she sometimes gets spooked and without her cage, she could seriously injure herself. She does not want out of her cage sometimes, and has bitten me to warn me. We also have a dog, as many people do and this gives Sassy piece of mind that nothing can get to her. But also, flying around the house is hazard for a bird - they could fly and land on a burner on the stove, drown in a open toilet, fly out the door as it opens. The solution to me, is take a spare room and give it to the parrot for more freedom. But remember, the parrot does not want more room but to be closer to its owner. All parrots need that bond.
     
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  18. JLcribber

    JLcribber Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Shutterbugs' Best

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    "Your" parrot does not want more room because of past conditioning (cage bound). Given different conditioning and time she would love the space.

    As far as flying around the house. There is no difference in safety "especially" if you have a dog/cat (IMO flighted is safer). A flighted bird has a chance of escape and it's just easier to stay at a safe distance and out of range. A clipped bird that flies to the floor (where else are they going to go) is dead meat. A clipped bird accidentally flies off its cage (hopefully it doesn't fall like a rock from the clipping). It has no way to get back.

    A properly fledged bird that is allowed to fly very rarely crashes or flies into "anything". Once you learn to walk, how often do you walk into the wall?

    An even greater point of note is that if there are open hot burners around, your not putting the lid down on the toilet or leaving doorways open then you're not being very diligent, responsible and taking the proper steps and precautions to either remove these things or adapt the situation to set up the bird to succeed. It's all about proper husbandry.
     
    Last edited: 7/2/14
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  19. Sassy12

    Sassy12 Meeting neighbors

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    Well, I realize you are doing what you feel is right. That is OK with me. Not trying to influence your decision. My bird can fly. Ît don't fly good or often. She flies in a straight line and runs into what ever is in her path. She could fly into a wall or window and break her neck. So no, I do not think flying is smart for her. When I got Sassy she had her wings and nails clipped. The lady rescued abused and neglected birds. Had 4 or 5 macaws, cockatoos, conures and raised raised Sassy from a baby. She had a Green wing Macaw with a split beak from its previous owner. She asked what size of cage I had for Sassy. Her birds were all in cages. In Amazon parrot books, they say to get a big enough cage. That the cage is for there own safety. I could let my bird out and stay out while at home, but I will not leave her unsupervised. I knew a lot of people that losses expensive parrots, thinking they would not fly off. All it takes is getting spooked. My first parrot was a Blue Fronted Amazon. Had to sale him, when in college. This bird would fly to me outside. But now looking back on the picture, the bird could have been spooked and bye bye. So I don't wish to gamble with my parrot today.
     
  20. Bokkapooh

    Bokkapooh Ripping up the road Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Remember, even a clipped bird can fly. So you gamble whether you have a clipped or flighted bird. Flighted birds are safer than clipped. A clipped bird cannot get out of a toilet or avlid flying into ththings or danger. A flighted supervised bird is so much safer. And safer outdoors too, if it got loose.
     

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