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Very Scared Indian Ringneck!!

Discussion in 'Behavior Byway' started by Hoshi, 7/6/18.

  1. Hoshi

    Hoshi Moving in

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    Hi everyone! This is my first post on Avian Avenue. I was directed from Reddit to come here because I really need help with my bird.

    I have a violet indian ringneck who’s 17 weeks old. I got him at 15 weeks and he’s extremely scared of people. I haven’t been able to hold him yet, have him take food from me, he gets scared when I enter the room!

    He was shipped from Austin, TX to Detroit, MI from JC Aviary. When I opened his crate he flailed out and all over the room. I ended up catching him when he slid off a bag of bird food and put him in cage.. that was the only time I’ve ever “held” him. Whenever I entered the room where he’s kept he klutzzed all over the cage and bangs into the walls of the cage. I always enter calmly and I don’t make eye contact. I gave him the two days the breeder said to leave him be (minus the times I went in to change his food and water), hoping he would calm down, but it never happened.

    On the third day, I was allowed to open his cage and get him out. That didn’t go well. When I got close to the cage he flew to the back of the cage and when I stuck my hand in he started screaming and was flailing all over the place. I wasn't moving fast or being loud at all during this. It was just him and I. I tried opening the door and letting him fly out and while I waited I started calming talking to him. Everytime I got a about three feet away from the cage he would start flailing all over the cage. So much his wing feathers are now tattered. He eventually flew out of the cage while he was doing he klutzzy flailing thing. I tried approaching him calmly and not making eye contact and he would just flail away. I tried several methods of approaching him; sitting on the ground and moving a little closer every few minutes, luring him with millet and treats, laying on the ground, and just sitting and waiting to see if he comes closer. None of them worked. I tried for well over an hour just to get him back to me so I could put him back in his cage. All in a quiet room, it was literally just me and him in the house. I needed to get him back in his cage so I had no choice but to scoop him up in a towel and put him back. I felt absolutely terrible and I really felt like I was doing something wrong.

    After that fiasco, I tried a different approach of not opening the cage (not entering his space) and keeping a certain distance away and slowly each day I'd get a little closer. I'd sit by his cage for a couple hours and just sing to him in a calm voice. I'd do this a couple times a day for about a week. Despite my efforts, this too did not work.

    I was getting very worried about why he wasn't warming up to me. He had his own quiet space, I was always quiet and calm when I talked to him, I never showed any aggression, and yet he wants nothing to do with me. With all this going on I took him to the vet a couple days ago to make sure there was nothing physically effecting him.

    The only way the vet was able to hold him and examine him was while holding him in a towel. He screamed a lot during the entire visit, he didn't have anything physically painful done to him. The vet found he had a yeast and bacterial infection, I was given three medications for him. My vet's advice about him being scared was to get him out with a towel every day and hold him; to teach him that he's okay while being held.

    I apologise for such a long post, I just wanted to give as much information as I could. If anyone out there has any advice at all, I'm willing to try anything!
     
  2. sunnysmom

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

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    Welcome to the forum! I know 2 weeks seems long to you but not for the bird. He's a baby and had his whole world changed. First, make sure he's eating enough etc. Some babies regress if stressed. Next, where is his cage located? It should be against a wall and not in an open space. For now, not near windows, etc. If he's as scared as you say, I would try covering his cage one three sides for now, leaving the front uncovered so he doesn't have to be on "alert" from all sides. Also, some soft music or the TV on during the day may help too as silence can also mean danger to them. I would try to spend time quietly in the room with him, as close as you can without upsetting him.

    How are you giving him the medication? I don't believe in "toweling" as the vet is suggesting to tame a bird. However, you may need to towel him to give him the medications. Are you giving them by syringe? Was this an avian vet?

    @cassiesdad ? @Mizzely ?
     
  3. Mizzely

    Mizzely Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Vendor BINGO CHAMPION

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    A few weeks for a timid bird is such a small amount of time, truly!

    Remember first and foremost that parrots are still wild animals and treating them as such helps a lot.

    Unless you are going to Birch Run or Grand Rapids, you are not seeing a certified avian vet. Those are the only two in Michigan with the certification.

    I'm sad your vet recommended "flooding" - basically forcing the bird into submission. This is an archaic method. I am also sad that your breeder sent you a sick bird - do you know how the birds are handled? As it seems they didn't do much handling or were rough about it. Baby birds shouldn't usually be so fearful.

    For timid birds what I do is, as @sunnysmom mentioned, is keep the cage covered, at least half of the cage, or leave the front open and cover the sides and back. This allows the bird to feel more secure. Keeping low music on also helps as in the jungle, quiet = danger is around.

    I also make little to no contact with the bird - I only give them food and water, and go about my day like normal without acknowledging, BUT I talk about what I am doing. It seems goofy, but passive talking about giving food and water, doing the dishes, turning on the TV, or reading a book aloud all get them used to the sound of your voice. I find it easiest to have a bird in the same room you spend the most time in so that they can get a true idea of your routine.

    When the bird no longer flails around when you give food and water, I then keep a pocketful of treats. I give a treat in the bowl everytime I pass by the cage, without expecting anything else of the bird. A separate treat cup that you can slip a treat into easily without opening any doors helps a lot, and designates it as something different than food.

    I also start opening the cage door and walking away at this point. That way the bird has the option to come out or not. I NEVER reach into a cage to reach a bird unless I absolutely HAVE to. In your case with the medicine, you probably will have to do this for some time.

    To get used to your hands and bond, you can also use something like 100% fruit/veggie baby food (added water or vitamin C is fine) on a spoon. It allows the bird to eat a treat from you but without having to take it from your hands. You can slowly work on holding the spoon closer and closer to you.

    You may also have luck with clicker training, though I am not the expert on this.
     
  4. Hoshi

    Hoshi Moving in

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    I'm giving him his medicine by putting the medicine on/in his nutriberry, he's been taking it well. His cage is located in a room right off of my room in the back corner of the room. It's not right against the window but there is a window next to the cage. I did buy some light blocking curtains so it wouldn't be so bright/also to keep him quieter in the mornings.

    Yes it was an avian vet.
     
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  5. Hoshi

    Hoshi Moving in

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    I will definitely try the spoon trick. The vet we visited was in Toledo, Ohio, Dr. Megan Mutchler.

    I'm also truly disappointed in the breeder I got him from. They show that they take care of their babies and they hand feed and handle them every day. They post pictures on their Instagram of all these happy people getting their birds right out of the crate, the bird will happily climb up on their finger. Not sure what happened here with my boy. The vet also said my boy has a slightly crooked beak from improper hand feeding with a spoon.

    I've been force handling him for the past two days (since that's what the vet suggested). I too at first was worried about force handling him because I thought that would scare him more. I thought I'd give it a shot since after his vet visit he's actually come out of his shell a bit. He doesn't scream when I put my hands in the cage and he'll only fly away if I get my hand to close to him. Outside of the cage though... That's still a mess. I can only get him when I use the towel.

    I'm so thankful for your advice.. all of this is just hard because I'm having so many opinions that clash each other as far as what to do.
     
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  6. iamwhoiam

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

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    Congrats on getting your Ringneck. Sorry about the issues you are having behaviorally and also medically. Did you contact the breeder?
    He is a baby and is in a new environment with new people and objects so you have to be extra patient. Let him guide you regarding the type of interactions he can tolerate.
    I also do not agree with "flooding". It doesn't build trust and confidence, IMO.
    Do you have a t-stick or dowel that you can work on having him step up on rather than toweling him? If he does step up on the dowel remember to reward him with a treat as well as verbal praise.
    Have you thrown treats in his cage so that he will go into the cage by himself without toweling him or forcing him to step up?
    To get him more used to toweling you can use the towel as a play object. This has worked with some of my birds but not all. Some will just step up into the towel immediately and they love playing with towels. Others will fly and run away. At this point you don't want to towel him if you don't have to.
    What is his name?
    Check out these two sites regarding bird behavior:
    Training Parrots | Parrot Training DVDS & Books

    Welcome to BehaviorWorks.org
     
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  7. Mizzely

    Mizzely Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Vendor BINGO CHAMPION

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    Oh yes, sorry, that practice does have avian vets. I would personally rather see Dr. Susan Orosz only because I know how awesome she is through @webchirp Super disappointed that a vet there gave that advice!!
     
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  8. Hoshi

    Hoshi Moving in

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    Thanks! Besides the fact that I haven't been able to really do anything with him, having a Ringneck has been great! His name is Hoshi.

    I've tried a lot to get him to step up onto a wooden perch that came with his cage, but he hasn't stepped up yet.

    He also doesn't respond to treats. He won't take them from me or go near them until I'm gone.

    I did contact the breeder three separate times for advice and all they told me was that he was bluffing. I say that they probably just don't want to admit that there's a problem since they just got paid a lot of money for a bird..

    Thank you for the links!
     
    Last edited: 7/6/18
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  9. Tiel Feathers

    Tiel Feathers Cruising the avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    You have received some really good advice here already. Is the room he is in isolated? I would put him in the busiest room in the house (like a family room) in a safe corner, partially covered, so he can watch everything that goes on and can get used to you while you go about your daily life.
     
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  10. iamwhoiam

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

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    "Hoshi" is a cute name and I see that this is your username, too. Did you name him that because it means "star"?
     
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  11. Hoshi

    Hoshi Moving in

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    Yup I did :)
     
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  12. webchirp

    webchirp Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Rescue Representative

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    Can you see if he will accept syringe feedings? Maybe he will associate good things if you hand feed. I just put the syringe up to the cage for two of mine that are very fearful. But it’s going to be a very long time before anything comes of it. Moki now calls to me when I come in the room and she actually crawled down the cage to the syringe as I wasn’t fast enough between her and Lola.

    Im so sorry you are having this experience but thank you so much for trying.
     
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  13. finchly

    finchly Biking along the boulevard Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Vendor

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    You have a long road ahead but thankfully he’s a baby and will be resilient. Follow the advice here and you will have a tame friend. Follow the towel/flooding advice and you will have a bird that resents you or is afraid of hands, probably both.

    To the above, I would add dance and sing —- be goofy in front of the cage. I have a couple that don’t respond to treats either, the good part of that is Hoshi might end up preferring your praise or pets as his reward. :)

    Also, if he is afraid stay just a step back from the point where he starts to panick. Respect his space. He will get it, that you are showing respect. It’ll help him calm down.

    And please leave negative reviews for JC Aviary everywhere that you can; people need to know this.
     
  14. Hoshi

    Hoshi Moving in

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    I did see doctor O in the past week and she too did suggest toweling him. She said that a lot of people are against it, however it really is the only way to handle him. She is currently contacting bird trainers for me, Barbara Heidenreich is in Costa Rica so she isn't available to help. I'm really hoping she can find someone to help Hoshi!

    Hoshi is doing no better. I had him boarded at the vet while I went on a week vacation, praying that the interaction with other birds would help him, it didn't. Dr. O said there are clear signs of abuse. His wings are butched, they're so uneven and cut way too short. They look like they gave a 3 year old a pair of scissors and told them to cut the birds wings. As I said in my earlier reply, his beak is slightly crooked from improper hand feeding with a spoon. Plus, his immense fear of people just tells that he was mistreated.

    Dr. O also contacted Ann Brooks, president of the Phoenix Landing Foundation, an organization dedicated to rescuing and rehoming parrots. Ann told me that she is willing to take in Hoshi and fly in a bird that they know the personality of.

    All of this of course, was a shock to me and honestly made my heart ache.

    I don't want to get rid of Hoshi, but I don't want to keep him if I'm not the best home for him. I want the best for him. Birds aren't like an object that was defective so you just return it to the store and get a new one. Even if he doesn't love me I still love him.

    I'm supposed to give Dr. O my answer on Monday.
     
  15. Jaen

    Jaen Moving in

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    Such a sad situation, what did you end up doing?
     
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