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Oliver is driving me CRAZY please help!

Discussion in 'Behavior Byway' started by Barnaby Rose, 6/18/18.

  1. Barnaby Rose

    Barnaby Rose Strolling the yard

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    Hi guys.

    It has been a while since I have posted (probably a good thing), but here I am again and I need some help.

    My little man Oliver (he is a Timneh African Grey), is about two years old now (yes, I know, the terrible twos)... and is becoming a little F***** DEMON with his screaming, and I need to recoup and get some advice before I blow my head off.

    So this has been an issue now for about two months, and as far as I am aware we are doing everything right - which I will outline below. To sum it up, he just will not stop screaming. He screams to come out of the cage, he screams when he is hungry or wants food, he screams for attention, and sometimes he just screams for seemingly no reason whatsoever. The screaming is not the same as the baby noises, which we have had a problem with before (and since solved), but more actual screaming/squawking/yelling.

    I NEVER take him out of the cage when he is screaming, we wait, ignoring him completely until he quiets down (which yes, he eventually does, but sometimes not for EVER), and then we take him out, praise him for being quiet, and reward him for it.

    I have taken him to the vet twice now, he is just fine (health wise), his diet and frequency of diet is almost perfect, he is not under fed or 'thinks he is under fed', and once I do take him out and reward him, he is basically silent the rest of the day.

    He is out of the cage over 6 hours a day, has more toys and foraging equipment than any bird I have ever seen, an entire room to play safely, plus a few hours every single night with us in our living room.

    He gets 9-11 hours of sleep every single night depending on when we get up (or when he stops screaming in the morning once he hears us), and I have been told by the vet that it should not be a sleep issue.

    So, my question is, am I missing something? I know that birds experience hormones and changes in their body and behavior just like kids going through puberty, and I have been told also that sometimes there is 'nothing I can do', and I just need to 'wait him out', but I just like can't except that. The level and frequency in which he screams his brains out (literally an hour plus at times), before going 60-90 seconds of silent and being rewarded, is literally making us miserable. Our neighbors have complained countless times, I have 'sound proofed' the room as best I can, but I am running out of options and ideas so I am asking for help or advice.

    Any and all feedback is greatly greatly appreciated, I am happy to answer any other questions that anyone may have or anything I can do to help warrant an effective treatment for this issue, I am willing to do. I will never give up on my little man no matter what, it should go without saying but I just want to make that clear right off the bat.

    Thank you for reading.
     
  2. camelotshadow

    camelotshadow Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Avenue Veteran I Can't Stop Posting! POSTAHOLIC

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    ???e Not an expert but could be hormones or something has change or he is not feeling well???

    So reward him for quiet & then he is OK?

    Might just be his way of getting up & telling the world how happy he is??

    No clue but hope you can work with it & make it manageable
     
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  3. aooratrix

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

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    Too young for it to be hormones, IMO. Did he wean on his own? Did you initially reward screaming by getting him out, feeding him? I think we're missing a piece of the puzzle.
     
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  4. rocky'smom

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

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    Reward the quiet ignore the screaming
     
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  5. Mizzely

    Mizzely Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Vendor I Can't Stop Posting! BINGO CHAMPION POSTAHOLIC

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  6. Barnaby Rose

    Barnaby Rose Strolling the yard

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    He was weaned at the breeder for quite a while before he was eating all by himself and properly fledged and everything before we took him home.. and then he regressed a little within the first few months, and then he was doing just fine until about 2 months ago or when ever he started screaming again.

    At first yes, we took him out when he started screaming because I didn't know if he was very very hungry like we were under feeding him or if anything was wrong or etc, but it has since been like literally two months of ignoring the screaming and rewarding the quiet and he isn't even a TINY bit better or further along with less screaming than day one, that's the issue ://
     
  7. Barnaby Rose

    Barnaby Rose Strolling the yard

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    Please read above, I am posting because I have been ignoring the screaming and rewarding the quiet for over two months now and it hasn't even made a dent in the volume or consistency of his yelling by even the tiniest bit. That's why I am asking for advice or help, thanks
     
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  8. rocky'smom

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

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    Ok try this, we have screamers at the clinic, when they get human ear bleeding stage, we all whisper at them. For some reason unknown to any of us, they tone down their beaks.
     
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  9. rocky'smom

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

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    There is a very good article in 2018 Bird Talk annual 20180619_112358.jpg 20180619_112439.jpg 20180619_112548.jpg
    20180619_113409.jpg

    Might be worth the buy
     
    Last edited: 6/19/18
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  10. msplantladi

    msplantladi Sprinting down the street

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    Diet and sleep play a huge part in behavior.
     
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  11. Chopper

    Chopper Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Did something change outside or inside of your home?
    A new picture on the wall inside, a new sign posted outside?
    Did you move his cage? Is there a toy inside the cage he doesn't like?
    Did you get new furniture, new carpet?
    Did you change your hair style, new glasses, etc.?
    You have checked all of the obvious now we need to dig deeper and see what else it is.

    My macaws scream in the morning until I go in to give them more food.
    They have pellets...they just want to see me.
     
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  12. Barnaby Rose

    Barnaby Rose Strolling the yard

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    That is helpful. We have been trying this for a few days, no luck yet of course but will keep you posted progress wise. Also the book/article you recommended is very interesting thank you for that.
     
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  13. Barnaby Rose

    Barnaby Rose Strolling the yard

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    His diet is perfect and has been scrutinized from every angle by my avian vet, and he gets 9-11 hours of covered and undisturbed sleep every night.

    I do not think either are related.
     
  14. Barnaby Rose

    Barnaby Rose Strolling the yard

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    Hmmmmm.

    Honestly, none of the above.... these questions are eye opening however because we did not consider changes to US, just him. As it happens, we haven't really made any either, but this is a good point.

    Believe it or not, one thing our vet just recommended sounds very weird to me but who knows, she wants us to OVER feed him (make sure there is a surplus of feed even when he is done/full at all times) in his cage or on his perch, to almost "distract" him from yelling with food I assume, and take away and chance of him being (or THINKING), he is hungry..

    What do you guys think?
     
  15. Chopper

    Chopper Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award

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    My birds have food available to them at all times so I agree with your vet.

    My macaws have pellets or their seed/fruit/veggie mix.
    I make sure that even my eclectus have pellets in their cages as well. They eat their veggies/fruits first.
    They get a seed mix once a week and I leave it in for the rest of the week and put in fresh on Saturdays.
    My greys have pellets or their seed mix.
    They have foraging toys as well. They get a cup of mix a day. Some days they eat it all and some days they only eat about half.
    But their food cup has food in it all the time. I check their foraging toys on a regular basis as well.

    Six out of the eight watch me put food in their bowls every morning.
    Even if there is food in the bowls I put some more in. It may just be a few pellets for the macaws but they always want more in their bowls.
    If I miss a bowl and leave the room I hear about it.
    My eclectus wait for their veggies/fruits in the morning while the seed/pellet dish sits with food in it.
    My greys are relatively quiet. The are observing every thing I do but they are quiet.
     
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  16. Mizzely

    Mizzely Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Vendor I Can't Stop Posting! BINGO CHAMPION POSTAHOLIC

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    Foraging has been the biggest help for my birds, as well as having multiple locations around the house they can perch. If I'm out of eyesight, they scream because I'm part of the flock and they don't want me lost!
     
  17. ConureTiel

    ConureTiel Sprinting down the street

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    I do see that you said he has lots of foraging toys and equipment, but have you checked that they are kinds that he likes to play with? Maybe try some new ones? If he has a lot of toys out all the time, maybe take one or two away for a while then rotate them in and out of use (as long as they aren't destroyed, of course) to keep the novelty factor high (but caution: make sure that he isn't afraid of new or re-introduced toys).

    In following the vet's recommendation to keep food out/"overfeed" maybe make one of his more favored foods only accessible if he forages for them (you may already be doing this) -- so he is encouraged to be busy to get the stuff he especially likes.

    Is your schedule adaptable so he can have more shorter periods out with you throughout the day (I mean the living room time with you or something similar, I know you said he is out 6 hours a day and has a bird room, which is awesome) ?


    Is your gut feeling that he is more fearful or that he is bored, or intolerant of being alone in his cage? Might make a difference in how you evaluate possible solutions.

    Also, do you have other birds (I see the eclectus that is your avatar)? Where are they housed and where are they during the times when your Timneh is screaming? Is there any way you can use their presence safely to comfort your Timneh -- like moving cages so someone he likes is in sight, or conversely, if there is animosity, do you need to move someone out of sight?

    Just brainstorming some more possibilities.
     
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  18. Shinobi

    Shinobi Jogging around the block

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    Screaming Birds are usually caused by an underlying problem which is triggering stress in the bird. These triggers include. Illness therefore rule out a possible illness by having your bird examined by an Avian veterinarian. Nutritional problems from an inadequate diet. The bird may change the amount of vocalization or other behaviours because of a poor diet. A change in the flock makeup, such as a new flock member or the loss of a flock member. Loneliness, frustration, fear, boredom or Jealously. A change in the bird’s environment, such as a move to a new home or a new flock. Inadequate sleep due to cage location, household noise (e.g., TV), too much light, or people moving around the house.

    Screaming is normal behaviour for a parrot and it’s not possible to eliminate the screaming and loud squawking altogether but aim to reduce the screaming to a tolerable level. This can be achieved with gentle patience and consistency among all flock members. Start to rehabilitate the parrot by making sure her basic needs are being met. The triggers of the screaming could be identified and eliminated by keeping a diary of all screaming episodes. Included the time, day of the week, what is happening at the time, the moods of the people and the bird before, during, and after the episode. With this information, the triggers can hopefully be identified and addressed.

    “What should I do when the bird screams?" and "What should I do when the bird is behaving properly?" are the questions you need to ask yourself.

    you don’t want to inadvertently reinforce Bad behaviour, for this can make the problem worse. Look at this from the parrot's perspective, getting any attention, may be a reward and will like you to yell back since they love drama and the yelling becomes a reward. Negative punishment will only increase the stress on the bird and either make the screaming worse, or the bird will turn to another unacceptable behaviour such as feather plucking or biting.

    Positive reinforcement is the best way to correct a bird's behaviour. When she behaves correctly reward her with something good. This could be a special toy, a food treat, and verbal praise. Don’t use them to bribe the bird into better behaviour. These are rewards

    At times, in certain circumstances the bird will exhibit bad behaviour So it’s very important to determine what “behaviour” you want the bird to do instead. By teaching the bird to talk or sing instead of screaming you’re replacing a negative behaviour with a positive one and you reward the positive behaviour and don’t reward in any way “bad Behaviour” Therefore understanding why the bird is screaming is important. You can adjust your actions depending on the circumstances.

    Remember, parrots use vocalizations as warnings and as ways to find the rest of the flock when separated from it. Screaming can often be prevented from starting by simply answering the parrot when she calls to you, and letting the bird know when you are leaving and have returned. The screaming of parrots can often be resolved or minimized. But will take time and could require help from an experienced avian behaviourist, but if it allows the bird to stay in the house, it is worth it.

    Ideally Short daily training sessions should begin when the bird is first brought home. Parrots respond well to facial expressions and verbal praise. This type of positive reinforcement should be used only when the appropriate response is given by the bird and no rewards given for incorrect responses There is no aggression or punishment is involved in this training.
     
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  19. Barnaby Rose

    Barnaby Rose Strolling the yard

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    Ok guys so this is where we are at.

    Oliver is of course not "Miraculously cured" all of a sudden of his screaming... but we have made some huge head way.

    Upon the recommendation of a lot of you on here.. we have increased his standing food to almost limitless, on his stands and in his cage (all healthy of course), and that alone has helped tremendously. We do not think that he was literally "hungry"... as he was fed three times a day, with plenty of food each time, same as our bigger bird Emma (Female Eclectus), and she if anything had a weight ISSUE, not the other way around. What we do think, is that he THOUGHT he was hungry sometimes, and so was calling out for the OPTION, to scavanage and pick at what he wanted. I am no avian expert (lol), but I know my little guy pretty well and this is my thought.

    We also had him AGAIN checked out by the vet last week, and he was of course fine, but she did recommend (and proceed to do) an 'attitude adjustment', lol, which just meant she filed the extremely sharp daggered edge off of the end of his break (which he uses quite regularly to get what he wants with.....) and THAT has made a HUGE difference as well.

    All in all he DOES still yell sometimes, which we ignore until he is quiet, but he has come 250% from even last week with those two minor, non medical and very low impact changes made.

    Just wanted to reach out and thank everybody on this forum because as always you guys were SO helpful, and we now have our cute QUIET lovable little dude back and we could not be happier.

    B
     
  20. finchly

    finchly Biking along the boulevard Mayor of the Avenue Vendor I Can't Stop Posting!

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    That's great! I am glad it was that easy.... I know it wasn't really easy but it was a SIMPLE answer.

    Strangely, I have a 4 mo old caique that screams if he can see the bottom of his food bowl. Never mind that he gets fed plenty, if he can see it he stands at the front corner of the cage and screams non-stop. I try to just watch and make sure the bowl is never empty. :laughing6:
     

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