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A Wish, A Decision, and A Very Scared Ringneck

Hoshi

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I wasn't sure where to post this, so I just went to the most general forum. Warning this will probably be a long post.

When I was diagnosed with a form of brain cancer at the age of 14, I didn't know where my life was going to go. Even after surgery when the symptoms and the risk of dying went down, I didn't know what I wanted with my life. I was already two years behind in school, had severe memory issues, constant headaches, and terrible fatigue that kept me from doing much of anything. Somehow I was able to make it to those weekly doctor visits and therapies several times a week.

What added even more to my stress of thinking about what I was going to do in the future, was when my neurologist suggested that I sign up for a wish from the Make-A-Wish foundation. Now I have another thing to think about. I was told I could wish for anything I wanted, wow.

I started out with an Alaskan cruise, I had to put something down. There was something about an Alaskan cruise that I didn't want. I knew my memory already sucked so it wouldn't be nice to go on this amazing experience and then not be able to remember much of it. I put my wish off for two years and tried not to let it bother me.

For the past year I had been taking an interest in birds. I loved feeding them in the backyard and putting different food options out and watching different species come. From there I went on to parrots, watching people's videos on YouTube, I love how they interacted with their owners. Some parrots talked and could learn tricks, but also learn colors, the names of different objects and foods. There on I went to a specific species of parrot, the Indian Ringneck.

I instantly fell in love with their adorable voice, their playful nature, and they way that they loved to be interacted with. However, never in a million years did I think that my parents would allow me to have a pet bird. We already had a pet dog, and even I knew that dogs and birds don't mix.

I waited a few months before bringing it up, I knew what I wanted for my wish now, more than any cruise or trip to Disney Land, I wanted my very own Indian Ringneck.

I knew from the very start to not expect every bird to be like the ones I saw online. I did lots of research about behavior issues ringnecks can have such as bluffing. I knew that they can be loud, bitey, and that they are a species that must be as "tamed" as possible before you can teach them anything. They're still semi-wild animals. Besides all of the flaws I had read about, I was ready for the challenge. On June 24th, 2018, my Indian Ringneck arrived on a plane that flew from Austin, TX to Detroit, MI.

He had been bought from a breeder that I had seen and heard about online as being a wonder breeder, JC Aviary. When I saw him being carried onto my front porch in the crate, his little face was peeping out of the mesh "window", I instantly fell in love. Everything seemed fine, until I opened his crate.

The breeder said to simply open his crate by prying it with a screwdriver, then ask your bird to "step up" and place your bird in their cage. After that you let them get used to their environment by leaving them alone for 2-3 days besides the times you need to change their food and water. I opened his crate, I was alone in a quiet room, the lights dimmed. He flailed out of the crate and was flying as much as he could (his wings were butched) all over the room. I eventually caught him when he slipped on his bag of parrot food and rushed him to his cage. This would be the only time I've gotten to hold him.

The breeder's instructions were terrible. They told me to feed him the fatty parrot food with vegetables and fruits once in a while. I didn't do this. My original thread about Hoshi (my bird) and more of his experiences I've had with his fear is here: Very Scared Indian Ringneck!! | Avian Avenue Parrot Forum

After a week of this behavior I called the breeder, they told me it was bluffing. I knew it wasn't. It's obviously fear. I called them three different times and every time they said it was bluffing. My mom said that this breeder sounds more like a puppy mill, they're just telling me it's bluffing because they just sold a very expensive bird.

My point is, it's been a month and a half and I haven't been able to hold my bird. He hides in the corner of his cage. He won't take food from me, he tries to get as far away from me as he can. I thought that if I boarded him for a few days at my amazing vet in Toledo that having him be back with some birds would make him feel more comfortable, it did nothing. Everyone at the vet is baffled by his behavior. Both vets there said there are clear signs of abuse. His wings feather's look like they were butchered off by a 3 year old, his beak his crooked from improper hand feeding while being weened, and his responses to people in general are enough to show that he went through something traumatic.

Currently the vet there is trying to find me a bird trainer to see if they can help Hoshi. She also said that Ann Brooks (the president of the Phoenix Landing foundation, a organization dedicated to rescuing and rehoming birds) is willing to take Hoshi and send me a different bird.

That's where the decision part comes in. I love Hoshi very much, but I don't want to make his condition worse by not being the right home for him. At the same time, parrots aren't objects that you just return to the store and get a new one because it was defective. There has been lots of tears, I'm not sure what to do. If there's anyone out there with suggestions, please let me know.
 

LSA

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Sorry about your situation.
First, only YOU can make the decision. I had to make a decision regarding my IRN. In other words, you have to access your actual goal with the IRN.
1) Do you want a cuddly pet? If so, an IRN may not have been your best choice. Make the trade while Hoshi is still young.
2) Do you want a companion? It'll take time and patience and there's no guarantee!
3) Do you want to provide him with a home? Hoshi's past doesn't matter. It's all about the future you provide now.
Only you know what you want.
 

LSA

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Oops sorry, Daytona, Sun, decided it was time to "POST REPLY.
Anyway, yours is not an easy "cookie cutter" decision.
1) I've known people who've had cuddly IRNs. @Lady Jane and Kirby are a perfect example.
2) What more can be said. Even buying a breeder baby does not guarantee a bond. So, either choice may be right.
3) The bird may never be your "friend," but he'll recognize the unconditional love.
Not to be rude, it sounds like your parents should be in on the decision. You must consider what they say, too, as they'll probably be the ones "inheriting" it. They don't sound like "bird people," but we all started with a single bird!
 

Doctress

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You've only been with him for 1.5 months. Some birds are more affectionate than others. My Georgie Girl tried to kill me for the first 5 years of her life- I had to call my mother to subdue her because of her aggression and bites. As she got older, she softened, and she became a great companion, spending hours on my shoulder or in my lap without biting. I even got to hold her like a baby every day. It started out rough, but we had a very strong bond. She was a true friend- watched over me when I had the flu, checked out the new boyfriend to make sure she approved, wandered through the house to find me when she felt I needed a cuddle. Such a special bird.

Taco has been with me for almost 26 years. I've never been able to pick him up, unless he falls down or is in trouble. I can't pet him without getting bitten. But he's a friend. He comes out of his cage, greets me when I get home, and listens with his wise, empathic expression as I tell him about my day. When I'm sick, he calls my mother to check on me. He bonded more with my ex-husband, but what can you do!

You may be surprised. Patience is key with developing a relationship with your bird. It's not like a dog that's happy to play with almost anyone...it's more like a relationship with a human. Dating often takes at least 2 years to get to know a person, trust them, open up to them. Your little guy went through a traumatic experience- getting packed in a crate. He may not have had a good experience at the breeder's. He may be a little wary of humans at this point. It may take 6 months, a year, or more for him to open to you.

Are you willing to invest that much time in him?
 

cassiesdad

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Most IRNs are not cuddly...and most really don't think much of the human hand. Titan, our IRN, was never cuddly and would not perch on your hand. He would come onto your arm and then onto your shoulder.

Are you willing to invest that much time in him?
This is the all-important question...Hoshi might never be a bird that sits with you, or lets you pick him up...no matter how much time you invest. Can you accept that as the situation that results here?

I'm not trying to give you grief or put you down here. I love the species...but they do have their little peculiar ways. Titan was a wonderful companion for 26 years...never liked being touched or held...but he was a perfect "birdie ambassador" when we made pet thearpy visits in the community.
 

LSA

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So much depends on the bird as you see from above. I've known my 18yo IRN for over 3 years now and he's lived here 6 months. He still is a mean bully, but I love him so much.
My WCP just stares at me. When I leave the room, she calls me and I go running back only to have her state at me some more.
I've known the conures just as long and they think I'm wonderful. (I'm not but have them fooled!)
I tell you this to show that it just depends on the bird! What would your parents have done if someone told them you'd have brain cancer one day?
 

LSA

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It happened, again! Daytona wants to play, too! If I can, he can.
I knew what I was getting into with my IRN. I knew what I was getting into when the YNA was invited to join us. I knew what I was getting into with the conures. You do as well with Hoshi.
It sounds like you have a rehome plan in place. Just like we have emergency plans, we should have rehome plans, too.
Again, only you can make the final decision. I encourage you to talk to your parents as they'll probably "inherit" him. Even so, it's YOUR decision and it will be just that, the final decision!
 

finchly

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Ask yourself one question:
Am I the right home for Hoshi?

And listen to your gut.

You already seem to be saying you aren't. There is nothing wrong with admitting it is a poor fit. You diddn’t even get to meet the bird before. You got him. Many of us have owned abused birds and we know the time and effort involved in the rehab. If you are not experienced or up to it or don’t have the time or whatever, let him move on to someone who will help him. :)

I admit I’m surprised the vet thinks he needs to go to a trainer or Phoenix Landing. Poor baby! He must be really fearful.

I’m trying to wrap my head around how that happened (the abuse) from a breeder who apparently sells tons of birds. Like, how did he have time to abuse that bird? Or are they all like that???
 

Max83

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you have to think well, if you think Hoshi vould stay better at the rescue centre go for it, if you think you should regret it maybe you could try again with him taking another bird...even if Riingneck aren't so friendly..you could buy one from a trusted breeder, better frist see the condition of the animal and visit him before bring at home, see if the animal is used to humans etc.

BTW one and half month is not a long time you spent with Hoshi, I'd definetely give him more time triyng other ways for gain his trust slowly, taking another parrot or not in the meantime.
 

finchly

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“I haven’t been able to hold my bird.“

My friend got an IRN from the rescue, and for the first 18 months it hated her. Now it sits on her head. But she can’t “hold” it.

I have a parrotlet that’s about to turn 3. I got him at 10 weeks from a breeder who “handfed” him. He is scared to death of hands — still. So we talk, sing and play games. He flies to me onto my back, arm, or shoulder but if I move my hand near him he. Flies away.

Ernie was 17 when I adopted him and if I quit at 6 weeks....he would’ve still been sitting on that single perch in the same spot day after day. Now he is on my shoulder most of the day and even goes out places with me.

My point is, maybe you need to adjust your expectations of what you can do with your bird. If you want a cuddly quiet parrot get a stuffed one. :) Or maybe it’s not the right species for you. But as you said, we dont just ‘return’ them on a whim.

This is a terrible situation and a devastating decision, and we’re all behind you. No matter which way you decide to go.

:sadhug2:
 

Lodah

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If it’s any help... we expected our fid to bond to us when we picked him up from the breeder and after 12 months... still nothing!

We kept on giving him his space and not forcing him to do anything and with lots of love and patience it happened like a switch turning on!

Sometimes you just have to do the hard yards before you gain any progress!

Good luck with your decision! :)
 

Tiel Feathers

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I’m sorry you are having these difficulties, and only you can decide what to do. I just want to say that if you do decide to get another bird, get one from a rescue that you can meet and interact with first, and be open to all species.
 

faislaq

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I'm sorry Hoshi is still standoffish. How old is he now? Maybe now that he's had more time to settle in, folks might have more suggestions on how to interact with him? Even if he's not a cuddly guy maybe he might like dancing or singing with you. :) Maybe there are some hands-off games you can play to help the two of you bond.
 

Dartman

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Lurch did take basically 5 years to decide I was fully his chosen one and even after that he would still bite but usually not as hard or fast and with plenty of warning as he cared for me. He would fly after me whenever I left the room and you could see in his eyes how calm and happy he was. It was worth all the time and abuse I got to see him happy and be my friend so if your willing to put the time in and let Yoshi go at his own pace I bet he'll grudgingly get there and once he does he'll be you friend for the rest of his life as you earned his trust and love.
 

Hoshi

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I'm sorry Hoshi is still standoffish. How old is he now? Maybe now that he's had more time to settle in, folks might have more suggestions on how to interact with him? Even if he's not a cuddly guy maybe he might like dancing or singing with you. :) Maybe there are some hands-off games you can play to help the two of you bond.
He is almost 7 months old.
 

cassiesdad

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He is almost 7 months old.
...he's still a young one. :)

Again, some IRNs are "perfect" examples of their species...they don't like handled or cuddled...;)
 

faislaq

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Who knows, in a few years when he starts his hormonal phase, he may decide you're his mate & follow you everywhere. Then he would want to feed you. :gag: Yum! That might make you wish he was a little more standoffish again. ;) jk

Does he like to dance or does he have any favorite toys or pastimes? There might be something thereto work with or elaborate on. :)
 

cassiesdad

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Who knows, in a few years when he starts his hormonal phase, he may decide you're his mate & follow you everywhere. Then he would want to feed you. :gag: Yum! That might make you wish he was a little more standoffish again. ;) jk
...ah...."silly season"...Titan always wanted to feed your TOES. :jawdrop1: He would rip socks to get to your toes...:rolleyes:
 

Hoshi

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Oops sorry, Daytona, Sun, decided it was time to "POST REPLY.
Anyway, yours is not an easy "cookie cutter" decision.
1) I've known people who've had cuddly IRNs. @Lady Jane and Kirby are a perfect example.
2) What more can be said. Even buying a breeder baby does not guarantee a bond. So, either choice may be right.
3) The bird may never be your "friend," but he'll recognize the unconditional love.
Not to be rude, it sounds like your parents should be in on the decision. You must consider what they say, too, as they'll probably be the ones "inheriting" it. They don't sound like "bird people," but we all started with a single bird!
Oh yes, my parents are in on the decision. I'm 18 now so they know I'll be taking my bird with me when I move out. They were open to me getting a bird when I told them, this is just a first for them. We have had several different kinds of pets (dogs, hamsters, rabbits) in the past, not that a bird is like any of them, but they do know how it is to have a different type of animal.

I've definitely learned my lesson as far as breeders go, I should have gone to a breeder that was closer by and actually handled the bird before I took them home.
 
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