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Grey wont go away

Discussion in 'African Grey Alley' started by Moo Knight, 12/6/17 at 12:59 AM.

  1. Moo Knight

    Moo Knight Checking out the neighborhood

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    Michelle Knight
    Hi all.
    I am the new owner of a 15 week old African grey.
    Dusty is very cuddly but absolutely HATES going back in cage.
    We get him/her out every morning for an hour or so and every evening for a couple of hours. Would have him out for longer but he insists on sitting on my shoulder all the time and will not sit on perch in kitchen while I'm cooking etc.... so cannot get him out as soon as I get home from work.
    Getting Dusty to step up, step on perch (and stay there) or go in cage is a nightmare. We have tried everything: training when hungry, putting exciting stuff in cage or on perch, new toys etc..... all birdie does is look at said item and climb back up onto my shoulder. My husband sometimes have success with the aid of sunflower seeds but I absolutely do not. and when birdie finally does go back in cage, we don't walk away (as it says not to) in fact I actually sat next to the cage the other night and read it a bedtime story!!

    If anyone knows of any other helpful methods I would be most grateful. I would love to have Dusty out as much as possible while I am doing my jobs as I know that out of cage time is crucial to them, but unless I can gain control it just isn't possible. We are at the point where we feel it better to not have Dusty out in the mornings because it becomes a stressfull time for us all with being concious of the fact that we need to get ready for work etc.. and Dusty just not wanting to go back in the cage but I feel so guilty about the lack of out of cage time. I have texted the breeder for advice to try and find out what the routine was with them and await a reply but I would imagine that being a breeder the birds probably had a lot of out of cage time and company as that's what this particular breeder does for a living.

    Any words of reassurance or advise gratefully received.

    Have a great day all.
     
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  2. Moo Knight

    Moo Knight Checking out the neighborhood

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    Had a reply from breeder; not supposed to allow them to sit on your shoulder or head as its a dominance thing! Now got to work on that to add to my worries! Neither myself nor my husband read that before we got him. So more than ever I need your help and advice on how to get birdie to stay on perch and go in cage without a big fight!
     
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  3. Lodah

    Lodah Rollerblading along the road Santa Coco ROCKS the SOCKS I'm a SECRET SANTA - Are you?

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    Hi Michelle... may I ask how big his cage is for starters? Is he able to fly? Does he have a night cage? Is he fully weened yet? Do you still give him comfort feeds? Is he alone during the day? Do you have photos? I am sure that most of the great people here with CAGS will tune in soon!

    Did I mention the fact that we love photos! :)
     
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  4. finchly

    finchly Rollerblading along the road Mayor of the Avenue Vendor I'm a SECRET SANTA - Are you? I Can't Stop Posting!

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    Does he have a perch or playstand yet?
     
  5. Shinobi

    Shinobi Sprinting down the street

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    I suggest that you look into clicker training and positive reinforcement, start a routine and stick to it. African Greys are highly intelligent animals and require a lot of interaction/ stimulation. Parrots don't do dominance, they are a flock bird. The reason why parrots are sitting up high is a look out for predators. (Birds of prey). But the birds that are sitting down lower are also looking for predators (snakes) and they all take turns to be look outs while the others are feeding or playing.

    I would, at this time restrict access to the shoulder and focus on stepping up onto the hand and teach him to step down too. You need to make his cage a safe place for him. The exciting stuff in the cage could actually be very scary to him. Put the cage in a location were he can see what going on. Henry our Eclectus parrot's cage is position so that he can see into the kitchen, lounge room and the back verandah.

    Do not feed him outside the cage, only in the cage. when out of the cage, sooner or later he will get hungry and will return to the cage to eat. when he does reward with praise. Henry has been trained to step up and down from both inside and outside the cage.
     
  6. DQTimnehs

    DQTimnehs Ri-DQ-lously crazy 4 TAGs! Administrator DQ Lou Who Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Santa Coco ROCKS the SOCKS

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    He's just a baby and everything is new. He needs comfort AKA being close to you. Please don't deny him out of cage time just because it's inconvenient to get him back in. You may have to teach him to play with toys by playing with them yourself and making a big deal of how fun it is. You can give him skewers of fruits and veggies to "play" with in the cage.

    The shoulder thing is not a dominance issue. The danger is that if something spooks him the natural reaction is to reach over and bite to warn you. A bite to the face will be extremely detrimental to your relationship. It was suggested to me when I got my baby to wait 3-4 years to allow shoulder time. I did not and everything was fine, but it could happen.

    Your baby needs to feel close to you so I'm not sure I would deny him that at this point. If you have dog(s) or other animals that may run by and scare him then maybe limit it if they are around. (Better yet, keep them separate.)

    Do not deny food to a baby this young. He may even need comfort hand feedings. You can wet pellets with warm water and wait a few minutes for them to soften. Feed from a small spoon.

    When you see him playing independently, praise him. When you set him down on a perch, praise him. When you put him in the cage, give him a treat and praise him.

    Reading to him is good! Put his name in the story here and there.
     
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  7. jmfleish

    jmfleish Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Premium Vendor Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Like the others have mentioned, parrots aren't really dominant by nature. When they are seeking that high perch, it's because they feel most at ease there and Dusty is probably feeling safe with you which is a good thing! 15 weeks is very young for a grey to go home, so make sure that he is eating and you don't see any head bobbing or whining for food. Greys can wean at different times but they can regress when moved to a new home as well.

    As for playing with toys, you'll probably have to teach him how to do that. Use lots of praise whenever he is doing anything you want to reinforce. If you don't have a playstand for him, I'd invest in something or try to make one. This will give him more things outside of his cage to play on. There are probably threads that talk about playstands on the forum if you just do a search on playstand and they come in all sorts of different styles and I'm sure that there are directions on how to make them as well. You can also find them on Craigslist or other listings on FB. I belong to a regional FB group for all things parrots that I just picked up a nice Java wood stand on for. I'm going to have to disinfect it before I bring it inside for my birds to play on but it was nice and cheap for a Java wood stand!:) Time to get creative now that you are living with a parrot! LOL!

    Greys love to shred stuff. If you notice that Dusty has a favorite food, I would stop giving it to him in his regular food and only give it to him in the form of treats or in special "treat bombs", pieces of paper that you can wrap them up in and hide around his cage and "hunt for" or forage for to make his day more exciting. You can also hide them in his favorite toys. This will also teach him how to play with toys and how to keep himself busy. I'd spend some time in the forum groups here that talk about toy making and there is another great FB group for toy making called Busy Beaks Builders-DIY bird toys. They can give you a lot of really easy ideas on how to keep Dusty busy!

    Good luck and show us some pictures of the handsome little boy! And welcome to AA!
     
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  8. Moo Knight

    Moo Knight Checking out the neighborhood

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    Hi all and thanks for your warm welcomes and advice.
    Dusty has a large cage in the living room where he lives during the day and sleeps at night. It is close enough to a window for him to see out and we leave the radio on for him when nobody is at home. He is on his own for no more than 6 hours and even then the dog is in the same room as him but the dog doesn't really take any notice of Dusty unless he flies or swoops to the dog!
    He doesn't seem to be frightened or stressed by any of his toys and has destroyed a couple already! Whenever he is out his bowl of toys are there for him to play with and I also play with them too although that usually ends up with him snatching them away from me and chewing them himself.
    He loves cuddles and every night we have cuddle time on the sofa where he lays right down on my chest.

    In terms of feeding he has his seed mix in the cage and every morning he gets fruit and veg to eat in the cage plus more fruit/veg in the evening but he never really seems to eat that - hes more interested in the seed. He does have pellets but absolutely will not eat them so I have a large quantity of pellets doing nothing! We were assured by the breeder that he was weaned and was eating pellets so we initially gave him mainly pellets with a bit of seed in plus his fruit and he would leave the pellets. Much baby-bird screeching for a couple of evenings made us realise that he was actually hungry but would not eat the pellets so we gave more seed as got to keep our babies strength up!! With regards to the spoon feeding we were told by the breeder to not do this because he has been weaned and to offer food on a spoon may make him regress. He does however do the chompy thing that baby birds do when being fed but we just assume that this is his old habits and he will grow out of them. However, if offering to spoon feed him gets him up on his perch or in his cage maybe its worth a try.

    He also has a smaller cage in the kitchen with a top perch which I only got yesterday, up until then there was a T-stand but he refuses to stay on it.

    I'm sorry to go on so much. Ive not yet found any books on a step by step guide and no online suggestions have worked yet but is that just because I'm being impatient? According to my husband, they should have the knack of the step up within a couple of days but I guess that's only if the end result is a great one (i.e a sunflower seed and then NOT being put back in the cage or on the perch)!!

    Dusty is a beautiful bird. I love the way he enjoys cuddles with me at night and I'm flattered that he wants to spend so much time with me but Ive a job and a house and children and until such time as Dusty can understand that he can be out of his cage but only on his perch while I'm doing stuff, I fear that he may need to spend more time in his cage until I am able to give him my full attention.
     
  9. DQTimnehs

    DQTimnehs Ri-DQ-lously crazy 4 TAGs! Administrator DQ Lou Who Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Santa Coco ROCKS the SOCKS

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    Seeds should be an occasional snack, not the main diet. You will end up with a sick bird with fatty liver disease. A teaspoon or less of seeds per day is enough. Add a nut or 2 and the rest should be pellets, veggies and a little bit of fruit. Fruit is high in sugar so should not be the main diet either. If you can get him on pellets by spoon feeding wet pellets, please do. There is nothing wrong with some comfort spoon feedings when in a new home. Much better than feeding a high fat "snack" diet. And spoon feeding is good bonding too.
    Don't mix the seeds in with the pellets. Pellets are meals. Seeds are snacks. Give a small amount of seed when putting him back in the cage and that will be his reward for going in. You can also reward him with a single seed for going onto his perch.

    Your breeder is still talking about dominance in parrots, so I would not treat them as the best source of information. Your baby needs to eat healthy food and he needs comfort.
     
  10. MiniMacaw

    MiniMacaw Jogging around the block Celebirdy of the Month I'm a SECRET SANTA - Are you? BINGO CHAMPION

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    As others have said the breeder does not seem like a great source of information at this point.
    Also, at such a young age these birds need comfort all the time. I got my macaw “weaned” and ended up giving him comfort feedings for an additional six months. It was not regressing, it was keeping him healthy and minimizing stress in one so young.
     
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  11. jmfleish

    jmfleish Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Premium Vendor Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    If the breeder was worth her weight in what you paid her for Dusty, he should easily step up with no issues. Birds have to literally step up, so if you are offering your fingers or your hand below Dusty, he might have a harder time with it. Lightly place two fingers or your hand or arm right above his feet and ask him to step up and he should know what that means. If he doesn't, it will be something you will have to train him to do but it shouldn't be too hard to do. You have to find something small that he really likes to eat that you can use as a reward for good behavior and then you never feed that in his regular meals, only when trying to reinforce something, like stepping up or going into his cage. You are also right that you want him to learn how to play independently and not have to require you to entertain him. If you spend more time with him now than you will have for him in the future, you will have a needy bird. If he's playing with his toys in his cage, reward that behavior and positive talk when you see him do it. Drop a treat into his bowl when you see him do it and praise him. That will reinforce the playing. Also, don't go to pick him up every time he seems to want it. Let him sit on his cage and figure things out on his own. He won't break, I promise! Make those times when you do have time to sit with him, special. If you can carve out some time in your day at the same time where you can spend 20 minutes with him and do the same thing with him where he gets your undivided attention and maybe you do the same thing at that time with just him and he gets used to it, that will help a little bit. Get him on a schedule so he has an idea of when it's his time to spend with you and when he has to spend time entertaining himself. I don't normally like schedules for birds because they are bound to get broken but maybe just to get him settled in, he needs a little bit of scheduling to get him on the right track. I'm constantly talking to my birds as I go about doing things around the house but it drives me a little crazy to have them sitting on me and they've come to accept that. Try just talking to him while you do things, tell him what you are up to, ask him how his day was, tell him what you did, etc. He doesn't have to be on you to feel included. You are his flock now, so just try to interact with him even if he isn't physically on you. It will take a bit of time but you will both catch on, this is all new to both of you!:)

    As for the pellets, I cannot stress enough how important it is to get him to start eating them. You can mix them up with a little bit of juice to make them more palatable or mix them into birdie breads. You can try some Lafeber's Nutriberries that are kind of a mix of seed and pellets. It's really important that you get him off the seed and onto the pellets though. You have to get creative. Lots of people have this problem and I'm sure there are plenty of threads on the forum that talk about it. Another thing to search for! He's at an age where you can set him up for healthy eating habits fairly easily but you have to show him what to eat and sometimes it can be tricky.
     
  12. MiniMacaw

    MiniMacaw Jogging around the block Celebirdy of the Month I'm a SECRET SANTA - Are you? BINGO CHAMPION

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    Oh, I wanted to add that when getting my macaw off seeds and garbage food I used different mashes and breads and it worked great! I sprinkled some bird bread over the pellets or mixed them with a warm mash and he would gobble it up.
     
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  13. cassiesdad

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

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    Great info and advice. The only thing I'll add is the importance of keeping Dusty off shoulders. Like I've said before, your shoulders, neck, and head are your "personal space"...you control that space, not your bird. Dusty can be taught to stay away from your personal space...I established my personal space with Milton and Buddy...
     
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  14. BirdGuy21

    BirdGuy21 Jogging around the block I'm a SECRET SANTA - Are you?

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    You've got a lot of good advice here already. Sharing our lives with a bird can be complicated, so I encourage you to stick around the forum here and learn as much as you can. We all have varying levels of experience with parrots with a lot of very well informed members- I learn something new everyday. Just to reiterate what most have already said, don't deny him attention and time for convenience and work on transitioning him to a better diet. He's very young, if you can set up a good foundation now your boy has the potential to be happy and healthy for a very long time.
     
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  15. Shinobi

    Shinobi Sprinting down the street

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    You needed some tools to address this problem.
    1 a clicker, 2 training treats or reward.

    Clickers are the best for training. The clicker is the bridge between you and your bird and you use that bridge to highlight the bird’s desired behaviour to your bird.
    The results of positive reinforcement training, specifically Clicker Training in dogs, have been nothing short of astounding. Behaviours and achievements in dog sports that took months or years to achieve using Traditional methods are now being accomplished by experienced trainers in a matter of days and weeks. Yet in the face of such amazing success, a number of misconceptions and half-truths circulate about clicker training and positive reinforcement.

    It is scientifically proven that in order for the animal to connect their behavior with the reward, the trainer must deliver the reward within 0.8 of a second. that is impossibly fast in most cases. Then as soon as you move to give the reward to the animal, your animal will most likely refocus on you, which will delay or even completely jeopardize the training, because now the animal is being rewarded for focusing on you and not for the original behavior that you were intending to reward.
    But.
    It is the clicker (or marker) that allows us to “mark” a specific behavior with the animal, and for our animal to take a “snapshot” of what they is doing in that moment. Once the sound of the clicker is emitted, the animal is allowed to break the position and access the reward (or the reward is delivered to him while still performing) It is a straight-forward message to the animal of what he is getting rewarded for.

    To find your bird's training treat, put five different foods on a plate and watch which one they eat first. You can use sunflower seeds, corn kernels, pine nuts, grapes and balls of millet. Whatever your bird picks, it must not be part of the bird’s diet otherwise it defeats the purpose of being a training treat.

    Put the bird on his T-stand and gave him a sunflower seed and click the clicker. This indicates that training has started.
    Then in your right hand, hold the clicker and the sunflower seed. The set up was the clicker in the palm with the middle finger on the button and the sunflower seed held between the thumb and index finger.

    With the left hand make a pistol, then hold the finger was parallel to the perch and about 1 to 3 Centimetres away. Then bring your right hand up behind the left hand and show the bird the sunflower seed and say "step up". if after 15 to 20 seconds, if the bird hadn't stepped up onto the left hand, remove the sunflower seed from their sight.

    Wait 20 seconds and reshow the treat. When the steps up onto the left hand and takes the training treat, click the clicker at the same time.

    The advice I can give is
    1 move very slowly around the bird
    2 let the bird come to you.
    3 Don't force the bird to do anything that it doesn't want to do.
    4 make the trust building and bonding sessions (training) fun
    5 end all training sessions on a positive.
    6 patience.

    Remember food is a great motivator.

    There are excises available to help get the timing of the clicker right, like bouncing a tennis ball and clicking each time the tennis ball hits the ground. I don't believe birds are hard to train.

    Birds use their beaks like a third hand and they will use this "third hand to help them onto your hand when you are start the training of step up. This is because the bird is unsure how stable your hand is so they test your hands stability with their third hand before stepping up.

    This scenario happens when an inexperienced owner is not clear in their signals to the parrot. For example, when offering a hand for the bird to step up, an inexperienced owner often isn't quite sure of him/herself... so their hand motion is uncertain. The bird may wish very much to climb on, but is unsure of the stability of the hand will reaches with its beak (The beak functions as a third hand) to steady the human hand. The human, afraid of that beak, pulls their hand away. Now the bird is confused!

    Now each time the human's hand is offered and the bird attempts to grab the hand with its beak to hold it steady so it can climb on. The human jerks their hand away. The bird has no idea what has happened but if the scene is repeated (as it usually is), the bird will learn that its beak will make the hand go away. The bird doesn't really want the hand to go away, but it is fun to control one's human's hand so the behaviour will happen again and a-gain. Once again, the parrot has no idea it has done anything wrong.

     
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  16. jmfleish

    jmfleish Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Premium Vendor Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Excellent discussion on how to train! See, I can't even put it into words!:laughing12:
     
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  17. Lady Jane

    Lady Jane Cruising the avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    There is not much I can add to this excellent advise already given. A bird is not safe in a kitchen while you are cooking. Hot stoves and open pans
    are dangerous just like non stick cooking pans. When you are with your bird be with him, not doing something else at the same time. When I brought home my baby grey she was 13 weeks old and completely trained. This breeder is giving you incorrect information and most likely did not prepare her baby birds well. Spoon feeding a bird is good because it helps with bonding, provides nutrition and can be utilized later to give medication. I spoon fed yogurt and other foods. I also made a mix of corn bread, pellets, veggies and water mixed with carrot juice warmed for a while. She loved the warm food. This baby needs your undivided attention.
     
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  18. Fia Baby

    Fia Baby Walking the driveway

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    It sounds like the breeder really misled you about what to expect from a baby bird and how to meet it's needs. I hope you can make this work in your family. You have a baby who needs your undivided attention for a while - it can take a lot of your time and attention, but it will be well worth it! Your baby isn't really ready for a lot of training at this point - he really just needs to be nurtured and to spend as much time with you as possible, as you teach it how to eat, play, etc.
     
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  19. Lady Jane

    Lady Jane Cruising the avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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  20. SterlingSL

    SterlingSL Strolling the yard

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    Any breeder that says this crap is a moron.
     

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