Chewing cage bars?!

Discussion in 'Behavior Byway' started by Lauren, 9/30/13.

  1. Lauren
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    Lauren Sprinting down the street

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    I am so frustrated :( I've had Seth for a year and a half now and he is STILL chewing the powdercoating off of his cage. This was a habit he picked up at his prior home - he was in a VERY small cockatiel cage, in the corner of a basement, so it was more than likely a boredom habit.

    I went on a toy purchase binge and bought him tonnes of shredding pinatas, balsa wood toys, balls, bells etc... that I rotate, to keep him entertained. He plays with EVERYTHING I put in his cage while I'm at home, but as soon as I leave he has a melt-down and reverts back to peeling the powder coat off his cage - which I assume he eats.

    This morning, he smelt of metal, I instantly panicked, the last time he had that smell he broke a blood feather. I checked EVERYTHING on him and no blood (whew). However, I look in his cage and the area where he sleeps, the bars are all bare metal.

    I tried him in my heavy duty kings cage when I first got him, he was able to chew the powder coating off it too (ruined the cage) and I don't even want to try him in Piper's cage, it's brand new too.

    For a few months now I've been debating on whether or not to buy a java tree stand and use that for his day-time area.

    The last thing I want to have happen is a $1,000.00 vet bill for metal poisoning or potentially lose my Seth :(

    I am so torn, I cannot afford an aluminium or stainless steel cage in the size I would prefer, and I'm also torn on whether or not it's a good idea for a tree stand. I have a carry cage he could use at night or just leave him on the stand.


    ARGH SETH!!! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?!?!?!??!?!?!?
  2. Mizzely
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    Mizzely Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month

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    Have you tried to tie some fleece or similar in the spot where he chews? Gizmo used to rub her beak in the bars in a certain spot, and it was also a response to her previous life. Putting fleece or a toy there stopped the behavior.
  3. Lauren
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    Lauren Sprinting down the street

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    You know what, I'll give that a shot. It's funny you suggested that, I have a fleece blanket that I drape over the back of my couch, he LOVES running his beak on it and "grooming" it.

    I bought some puppy mini-rope chew toys from Petsmart way back when, and I've been putting them where his perches meet the side of the cage as a distraction.

    I am going to get some rolls of fleece on my lunch and I'll weave them in the common areas that he seems to destroy.

    There's a person I've been in contact with who lives about 1 1/2 hours from me who has a 5' (incl stand) java tree available that was used only twice, for $200.00.

    What worries me still is the condition of his cage as it sits now. It IS an older cage to begin with, and there are so many exposed metal bars that they are developing rust when I hose it off. I might just wrap fleece around those bars and if he doesn't show interest in it, I'll go get that silly stand lmao.
  4. Saemma
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    Saemma Ripping up the road Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    I always feel I'd rather be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to health and high priced vet bills. If buying a brand new quality cage is not possible for your economic situation, perhaps consider scouring craigslist for a better quality cage at a more affordable price, find a part time job to make more income, or try to sell items that you no longer use or need to make xtra -income.
  5. roxynoodle
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    roxynoodle Cruising the avenue Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    I hate to say it, but the aluminum cage (or a used SS if you can find one) will probably be less expensive than the vet bill :huh: And of course it's in Seth's best interest to not get sick.

    Merlin will still pluck if I'm gone for a long time. Seth probably worries you aren't coming back from his days of being locked in a basement. And then resorts to his bar chewing habit as a way to self soothe.
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  6. Lauren
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    Lauren Sprinting down the street

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    It's not that I CAN'T afford the ideal cage, it's everything up front at once. I cannot put it on my VISA, and I don't want to deplete my bank account, especially with car payments/rent etc...

    I am going to try the fleece option first and just to see what my options are other than the java tree. Ordering online from any site is not possible, shipping on an aluminium cage that I want is over 300$ which would put my total at over $1100. There's also the local petstore in town where I got Piper from. The owner of the store is more than willing to let me have an account so I could potentially pay off a cage over time without an outrageous interest charge.

    This is all so frustrating, mainly because I don't want to jeopardize Seth's health if he ingests metal.

    I understand it's all part of owning a parrot, I'm not going to risk losing Seth over a financial concern, so I hope no one gets that vibe from my post :heart:
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  7. roxynoodle
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    roxynoodle Cruising the avenue Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Believe me, I understand. It's always how it goes, too, that everything happens at once.

    Keep your eye on ebay seller birdtoyman as he usually sells the Kings cages for less than Kings does, and he has sales from time to time for 10% off. Start putting some money away now so that hopefully when he has his next sale you can get one.
  8. Saemma
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    Saemma Ripping up the road Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    I suppose I was just responding to what I would do if face with the similar situation. In fact I was in the same situation when I first brought Mabel home. She was initially in a powder coated cage and the moment I realized that she was chipping away at it, a stainless steel cage became a priority and I cut down on other expenses so I could afford her cage sooner than later. I made sure to prioritize for a safer cage so she'd be safer and I could stop worrying about it as quickly as possible. This was very important for me.
  9. Lauren
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    Lauren Sprinting down the street

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    I just wish he would understand that I'm not going to abandon him, if that's even the reason why he does that.

    I know it's hard to deter old habits, especially when he's 13 now and who knows how long this has been going on for.

    I'm going to call my vet as well. Since he smelt like metal this morning, I know he's been licking/nibbling/possibly ingesting who knows what off the cage, and I want to know if there's a test or bloodwork that can be done. None of his toys have rusted parts or clips.

    I did notice some rust on his water dish holder, so I will be buying a new dish for him.

    Actually... good news too.... I am getting a hefty bonus this month at the new job :D :D :D I JUST found out today!!!!!!!!! I think it might be enough to pay for most of a new cage!!!
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  10. Lauren
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    Lauren Sprinting down the street

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    Saemma: I REALLY appreciate your input, especially when you've experienced it as well. And it is so good to know that Mabel left the S.S cage alone. I reworked my budget already for the next few months, I'm ahead of the game with everything (except VISA, have $100 on that haha), and especially with the bonus for this month, it should all flow together and go as planned.

    In the mean time, I am going to go buy fleece and distract/deter until this can all be ordered.

    :heart:

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  11. roxynoodle
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    roxynoodle Cruising the avenue Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    An x ray may or may not show metal. However, if it does, you get an answer quickly and can start chelation right away. If it doesn't show metal then your vet will draw blood and send it out for testing.
  12. pawprintedheart
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    pawprintedheart Sprinting down the street

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    Really hope you can get the new cage and that in the meantime the fleece works as a distraction. :hug8: Seth sounds like a special boy and he has a wonderful mom. :heart:
  13. Lauren
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    Lauren Sprinting down the street

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    The most affordable aluminum cage for my budget is in the $650-$740 range and the shipping to Canada is ridiculous and it's not even a desirable size for a blue crown :(

    What I think I am going to do is cut up a fleece couch throw I have for the back of my couch, wrap it around bars on his cage and monitor the rest of the untouched bars. If, after a few weeks to a month, there are no new chewed areas, I might purchase a nicer powder coated cage and cover it with fleece bits to work on preventing it from happening.

    After looking into cages, I noticed people had wrought iron cages??? what's that about? They looked like your typical King or A&E cage.

    As much as I would LOVE to have Seth on a java tree, I dont want to risk him falling off if I'm at work during the day and not being able to access his food/water (he wouldn't chew the baseboards or wires, he would sit at the bottom if he happened to fall).
  14. pawprintedheart
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    pawprintedheart Sprinting down the street

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    Lauren--about the Java tree, is there a way you an do a ladder or a knotted rope so he could climb back onto the tree? My two green cheeks spend their days with free access to the bird room, but they're both still clipped (waiting on those flights to grow in!), so I have ropes, ladders, and a travel cage all around so that if they fall off the playgym/cage tops, they can just climb back up. I'd make sure he KNOWS how, but mine always get right back up now if something frightens them down.
  15. Lauren
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    Lauren Sprinting down the street

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    Valerie - I have an 8' rope that I could use as a back up to if he fell off. He cannot fly, so I would need something haha.

    He's really good if he's on the ground, he doesn't chew wires, carpet, walls etc.. :rofl: he just wanders around trying to find me or find a way back up to his cage.
  16. LindaD
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    LindaD Strolling the yard

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    Hi - I have another thought about if he gets off the play stand while alone. Why not put an additional food and additional water dish on the floor? Also DO make use of any and all climbing apparatus you can. That way you can have peace of mind that he is OK while you are gone no matter what. Just my 2 cents worth. :)
  17. roxynoodle
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    roxynoodle Cruising the avenue Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    All the powder coated cages are wrought iron steel. However, that is not bird safe, hence the powder coating.

    Keep checking ads to try to find a SS cage I guess. Maybe people in the US could look as well though I know the shipping would be rough. Are you close enough to the border that you could have it shipped to a UPS store or something and drive down to get it? Even used and with shipping will be less expensive than new.

    Yeah, the aluminum cages aren't very big, but they aren't so tiny that it wouldn't be ok for a big conure or even an amazon or Grey if it's what you had to do for their safety. Would be nice if they could add a 36 x 28 to the line up. I know they can't do any bigger than that as aluminum just isn't strong enough for the really big, destructive birds.

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