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Stubbornly little thing

Discussion in 'Ringneck and other Keet Street' started by Scratchpaw, 7/28/19.

  1. Scratchpaw

    Scratchpaw Moving in

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    Hello everyone! My IRN Pearl is about 5 years old, give or take a couple of months. We got her and another baby IRN at the same time from a breeder who offered them to us for free (big red flag) after avian polynomavirus ran its course through her aviary. The two we got, Pearl and Pippin, were the only two baby ringnecks who survived. We got them at four months old and kept them in the same cage since we had only anticipated getting one bird. Pippin is no longer with me, but Pearl is doing more than enough to keep me occupied.

    I'm undeniably her mama. She doesn't hate anyone else in the family, but it's clear that she vastly prefers me. She preens my hair, sits on my head, and generally won't leave me alone when I'm in the room. Problem is, I think her bluffing ended up reinforcing the biting behavior, despite my best efforts otherwise. Now five years down the line, she still doesn't know how to step up which is a pretty huge problem. She mostly goes after hands.
    I touch trained her in an attempt to start teaching her to step up and gradually trying to get her closer to my hand. Whenever she has to reach for the treat, she refuses to touch my hand in any way, and will lunge if she knows she's going to have to, and I've tried to start getting her to associate hands with good things by reinforcing using treats (holding my hand far enough away that she doesn't feel that she needs to run, but close enough that it might push her boundaries a bit. I make the treat visible to her while my hand is nearby, then click and give her the treat when she doesn't bite, or turn around for a couple of seconds when she does then offer her another chance.)

    She just seems so stubborn at this point that I'm very discouraged. I want to be able to play with her and love her the way she deserves, but I can't transport her away from her cage to get her used to new spaces or train her. I'm starting to worry that she's going to start plucking out of boredom. She stays on the top of her cage with many offerings of toys to chew on or forage in, but she seems pretty much uninterested. Pearl sits and preens a lot which has become quite unnerving to me.

    Sorry for the textwall, but I just really want to hear the thoughts and advice other ringneck owners since I don't have a lot of resources in my city.
     
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  2. Yoshi&Raphi

    Yoshi&Raphi Jogging around the block I Can't Stop Posting!

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    Can you teach her to step up on a stick?
     
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  3. sunnysmom

    sunnysmom Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran I Can't Stop Posting!

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  4. cassiesdad

    cassiesdad Ripping up the road Weather Authority Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran I Can't Stop Posting!

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    Pearl is definitely being a Ringneck...they have such an aversion to hands...even to their favorite person's hands.
    ...that's an idea...they're very intelligent birds...Pearl might feel more comfortable coming and sitting on a stick, rather than a hand. Why don't you give it a try. :)

    You've hit on another trait of Ringnecks...goodness, are they STUBBORN...also very opinionated at times. They seem convinced that they alone know the right way of doing things.

    Our Titan definitely did not like hands...but he'd gladly hitch a ride on your shoulder or follow you around the house, like a 4 inch high shadow.

    I know it's very frustrating at times dealing with these intelligent, opinionated birds...:hug8:
     
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  5. Scratchpaw

    Scratchpaw Moving in

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    Thank you for the suggestions! I'll try the stick, but she likes to chew on sticks as something to do during the day. It's my hope that this is going to be a battle of wills and that she learned from her mama instead of a permanent issue ;)

    It's so good to hear from other ringneck owners though. It's a huge relief to know that she's a healthy level of sassy and that I'm not alone in this struggle... I'm having to teach her to play with toys again because she used to spend most of her time interacting with our other bird. Silly little thing won't touch them if they don't have food in them. It's...a process...
     
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  6. cassiesdad

    cassiesdad Ripping up the road Weather Authority Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran I Can't Stop Posting!

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    "Sassy" is a perfect word to describe it.
    You're a great person for doing this...sounds like Pearl would be a good candidate for foraging toys...it's a fun activity that keeps a bird sharp mentally and physically...;)
     
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  7. Scratchpaw

    Scratchpaw Moving in

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    Thank you so much! I hate the thought of her sitting around all day with nothing to do. Part of the reason I'm so desperate to teach her to step up is so that she can hang out with me without being a menace to the rest of the household :joyful:
    I know I get awfully bored sitting around in the same place all day so it's the least I can do to provide her with some stimulation.
     
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  8. TwoGreenFids

    TwoGreenFids Sitting on the front steps

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    Oh my word, thank you SO much for posting this!!! ♥️ Seriously, when I told my husband the description of your Pearl, he asked whether I was certain I wasn't just reading an old post about our Popsicle!!!

    My female IRN (just over 2 yrs) is *exactly* like Pearl, even though we have a male IRN to annoy her (keep her company). It's so bizarre, she doesn't seem to know how to play with toys! No bird toy I've ever bought has been of interest to her unless she can see a treat in it. And I had exactly the same fear about boredom, especially because now that she's all hormonal she IS plucking. Thanks to some help from other folks in this forum though, I think we've got her sorted. Her new favourite thing? Paper towel. We've set out rolls of it, and one roll of toilet paper, around the house to help satisfy her desire to shred. And she seems to be having a great time too! Both of my birds also have their own foraging baskets, as you can see in the photo. I mix up tissue, cardboard, paper, twigs, leaves, pinecones etc along with a bit of their regular pellet food and a mix of seed treats. They get quite pleased with themselves whenever they discover something! Maybe these might be some ideas for Pearl? My babes have free reign in the house, which helps keep them occupied, but I know this isn't everyone's preference (we spend a LOT of time cleaning) and for many families simply isn't possible. My point here is that even with lots of space, my girl sounds just like yours. So it is likely more her personality than something you are doing "wrong". But I would definitely recommend paper towel, especially the recycled non-bleached kind you can get at Costco.

    As for the hands. BEEN. THERE. Yikes. I can give my girl a kiss without fear of a peck but if I tried to pet her, watch out! She usually likes to be in the same room as me though, and is happy to sit on my head or shoulder, and I love it when she preens me. From the sounds of it, I don't think Pearl is lacking any amount of love. It sounds like she is getting exactly what she needs as far as interaction with you. She's an introvert, and not a touchy one! I'm gonna guess she especially likes hanging out with you when you are reading or working on the computer? That's my girl's favourite time to hang out with me. Quiet time. So I really wouldn't be concerned about not meeting her emotional needs. My two cents there.

    As for training. Yes, sticks are crucial. I use a chopstick to target train Pop. I get her to touch the end of the chopstick with her beack, which usually just means biting it, and give her a click. I've used clicking to get her to come, step up, step off, gimme kiss, and touch. And it all started with the chopstick. I'm now working on targeting her into a bird backpack I made, so I can take her on walks without having to handle her to get her in the darn thing.

    To get her used to my hands, I started by placing treats near my open hand. First the treat would just be very close to my open hand, resting on the counter. Then it would be touching my fingertips. Then it would sit on my fingers. Then onto my palm. Once we got there, I started using the chopstick with the command "touch". In hind site I should have used a different term since she usually bites it. But at any rate, once she would follow the chopstick around, I decided to try the command "touch" while offering her my thumb and forefinger, as in the picture (Sorry, I hope this is helping ) Luckily she knew what I wanted here and didn't bite. So she'd get a click and a treat. Eventually I started offering her my extended palm, and say "touch" and I'd give her a treat whenever her beak touched any part of my hand. Oddly enough, she was much more comfortable when my hand was upright facing towards her, than down on the counter. That little change in position made a big difference. Might be worth testing this with Pearl. Pop still doesn't like hands, and hates being handled, but she can step up (if treats are visible) very reliably, and doesn't attack my hands anymore. It's taken two years to get here, but she is progressing.

    Hope this doesn't sound like me looking to brag. I honestly have never heard of another bird like mine, so I was really excited to share the techniques that have been working for her. I find this forum so helpful, and if I can help you develop an even stronger bond with Pearl then that would just fill my heart. So happy that you haven't given up on your Pearl. Way to go, and thank you for sharing. I'm rooting for you both! IMG_20190811_101811.jpg IMG_20190811_122140.jpg IMG_20190811_124625.jpg
     
  9. Scratchpaw

    Scratchpaw Moving in

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    @TwoGreenFids Thank you for the encouragement! It's so wonderful to hear that a bird like Pearl has made so much progress! Pearly loves to sit on my head when I'm watching TV or on my laptop. Right now she vigorously preens my head (I'm worried that she actually biting off my hair in between scraping my scalp... is that normal? She never used to be so rough.) But when I come home from school for breaks she's just content to take a nap up there and grind her beak.

    In general she's pretty quiet. She only screams when she wants someone to come sit with her or if she gets spooked. But if I'm in the room, she's almost always quiet aside from some quiet chatter to get my attention. Since we can't handle her, we let her be on top of her cage during the day so she can fly around the room and get exercise as she pleases.

    For training I use a chopstick as well. She knows the touch command, but it never seems to entice her enough to touch me even a little. Do you have advice on how to get her away from her cage so we can train away from "her territory?" I think that may be key in getting her to cooperate since she never leaves the room with her cage in it.

    Your Popsicle seems like a feisty girl! She's so lovely though. I'm curious to know if your male ringneck is more even tempered. I get the feeling that female ringnecks are just more fussy in general...
     
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  10. cassiesdad

    cassiesdad Ripping up the road Weather Authority Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran I Can't Stop Posting!

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    We had the opportunity to adopt Titan's sister "Blaze" when they were 10 years old...but didn't do so...we were told she was a "wild child"...and the people couldn't control her...that wasn't the reason we didn't adopt her...we were afraid that the two would try and become mates...
     
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  11. ZoeyFredrik

    ZoeyFredrik Rollerblading along the road Celebirdy of the Month Avenue Veteran

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    My girl Joey can be a snuggle bug one minute and a hater of hands the next. I never intended for her to be a one person bird, but she is. Not really her fault, the members of my household are scared of her and she uses that.
    When with me she prefers to sit on my head. Which I'm fine with as long as she doesn't try to bite. She never has bitten me from the head perch. She's flighted, so when we're together she tends to fly around a bit, land on me and so on. I try to reinforce this recall and work with her often to keep it up. A while back I neglected my training duties and paid for it with a uncooperative angry ringneck. I just tried to match my stubbornness to hers and we got through it.
    Occasionally she'll have a time where she just hates hands. I watch her body language closely and I can see when this mood begins to strike. She will not step into a perch, for some reason she is terrified of them. So I figured out a solution, it may sound silly, but it works for us. I use a folded baby blanket and place it on my upturned palm like a plate. She flies to it and sits on her "platter". Then we go where we need to.
    My advice, try different things to see what your ringneck responds to. If you notice something working, keep up with it and do it often.
     
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  12. cassiesdad

    cassiesdad Ripping up the road Weather Authority Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran I Can't Stop Posting!

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    ...it sounds like girl IRNs are sassy little things...I love it...;)
     
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