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Advice or Criticism welcome - new IRN momma!

cecilsmom

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Meghan Dameron
Hi All!

I am happy to be a part of such a great group, and welcome your advice and/or criticism since we are first time bird owners!
My husband and I recently got our first bird. After months and months of research we really decided upon an irn. I know its commonly not a great recommended 'first time' bird, however we felt that if we didn't do this now, we would end up with a bird that would out live us and we figured we would get what we wanted. We purchased one that had been hand tamed/fed, however after the feeding they were left alone for the better part of 4 months. Cecil is almost 7 months now, and is what I believe to be a Violet turquoise mutation DNA male.

We purchased all the goodies for him, and a nice big cage and perch, and went and got him. For the first few weeks we kept him in a our main living space so we could talk to him and get him used to us.(Hes still in this space) He didn't make a peep the whole time and whenever we got in the cage to give him food he ran or tried to fly away. During that time we were very gentle and tried not to push him. We finally got around to him allowing us to give him treats and found out he loves chop and safflower and his FAVORITE is pomegranate and apples. Once we realized he loved us for the treats, we slowly started to get him onto another perch and teaching him to 'step up' so that he could learn that - to move from his cage to his perch.

So now two months later we have the step up down, however he will step up, and then typically I believe he seems scared and ends up biting hard - we looked up countless recommendations for trying to get him used to our hand but alot of the advice contradicts any other advice. The only advice that seems to work so far is telling him no bite and walking away. However we arent a negative reinforcement household so I dont really feel that it will help us long term by doing this. During this time Cecil has also started talking! We have been repeating words or saying common words to him when we talk to him and he has started to say them, however he only talks when we arent in the room - I can only assume for attention.

So here are my grand questions for you wonderful irn owners!
1) What is your advice on the biting? Are we pushing him to far? My husband can ignore it easily as he has rough strong hands, however he draws blood very easily on me or gives me bruises and its hard not to react.
2) Is it typical for the bird to speak while you arent in the same room? We dont mind at all, however I want him to feel comfortable.

Thank you for your advice for our long journey with this boy. We love him so much already!
So far cecil knows the words 'step up', 'whacha doing', and im a dino- he hasnt gotten the whole dinosaur word down, lol.

Pictures of this silly boy included!
 

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Shezbug

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Welcome :hiya:
My boy chatters away all the time when I’m not in the room- practicing every word he wants to say but if I enter the room the only thing he will say are the clearest of his words (hello and I love you) and that is not all the time.
@Monica has great advice for training so hopefully she will chime in soon :)
 

fashionfobie

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Welcome to the forum! Cecil is a lovely guy :heart2: DNA was smart, now you know. As you probably read in your research it can take up to 3 years for the IRN to develop their adult plumage.

It sounds to me like you are making a great effort to do this right! Nice work :) Things do happen on bird time, there isn't anything else we can do except take it one day at a time. Two months for a training outcome is very good progress. There are two important elements for a happy IRN, wings for exercise and a lot of space so they feel safe. IRN don't do well when they feel like fish in a bowl, so give him all the space you can and plenty of time to fly! Also lots and lots of wooden blocks to keep that gorgeous beak in tip top shape! I also disagree in the concept of a learning bird. You can make just as many mistakes with a lovebird as you can a macaw. I suppose the difference is one could seriously harm you. Though at the end of the day that is on the human, never the bird. Birds know what they are doing and it is up to us to respect that.

In response to your questions:

1.) Is it really biting? Or is it curious nibbles. For a bird their beak is their primary tool for learning. There are lots of nerves that help them understand textures, foods and everything in between. My asiatic was very mouthy, more so than my other parrots. He was almost like a puppy everything went into his beak first. My hands would be sore everyday from all the pinches. I used the method of redirecting it to a toy or treat. Every time I had him step up I would hand him a foot toy or little block of wood. It helped reduce the toll to my hands... but it did take months. 1 year later and he doesn't pinch my hands anymore unless he wants me to stop typing or something else.

2.) It is very common for birds to speak at certain times of day, normally in the mornings and evenings birds will be most chatty. If you are leaving the room, the bird may be contact calling you, this call is normally crisp and loud so it can carry through the open wilderness of parrot-landia! When I leave the room and my Pi wants me back he calls, "whata you doing?" He NEVER says it when I am with him. He defiantly wants my attention. People have mixed opinions on how to handle this. I am of the mind to respond back. Birds are vocal to know where their flock is. So I call back to Pi, "Hey Pi, what are you doing?" If I don't respond back he will start contact calling in his cute crisp little chirp. I can hear this call from outside.

I am very happy that you bird is already accepting fruit. Don't forget to stuff him with veggies too. Rich greens like silverbeet, broccoli or Brussels sprouts...and the list goes on :)
 

Monaco

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Welcome! :welcometrain:
It IS a great place! You will find lots of helpful information here. I learn new things every day!

Monaco is an eclectus, and 20, and she definitely calls for me if I go out of sight. However, she goes into practice mode every now and then and it's typically if I'm out of sight for a while and very quiet. Then she launches into whatever she needs practice... Baby has had many different tones and inflections, she tries out new sounds, and makes her own words. If I come into sight it stops immediately and she looks surprised, like she thought she was alone or something... Like I walked in on her private goings on. I haven't been able to record it because it's so sporadic, but it can go on well over 1/2 hour. Usually she will spit out a new word a few days later, very clearly. She'll also practice at night while she's covered. Eventually you'll know the difference. I call from the next room and I go see if she wants to join me if I need to be there for a while longer (she's not flighted, so still needs to hitch a ride.)

Beautiful baby!
 

Monica

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1) What is your advice on the biting? Are we pushing him to far? My husband can ignore it easily as he has rough strong hands, however he draws blood very easily on me or gives me bruises and its hard not to react.
There is sadly a *LOT* of bad advice on the internet when it comes to handling ringnecks. :( A very misunderstood species. From the sounds if it though, you've been doing great with Cecil! For first time bird people, that's pretty amazing!

As far as the biting goes.... can you go into more detail? Such as, exactly when does the bite occur? When he's stepping up from his cage? From his perch? What else is going on?


It's better to avoid the bite than to allow it to occur... as the very act of "allowing" the bite is reinforcing the need for them to bite. If a bird does bite, you don't ignore them, you simply get them off of you, even if it means prying their beak from your flesh! Then take a moment to think about what happened and how to avoid that situation in the future.


2) Is it typical for the bird to speak while you arent in the same room? We dont mind at all, however I want him to feel comfortable.
For a lot of birds, yes... although now that I think about it.... I've never had any closet talkers. I've also never had any birds that picked up talking after getting them... either they never mimicked human speech and never picked it up, or they were already mimicking it. If they already knew some words, then they potentially picked up other words.

Whenever you hear Cecil talking, get him, go to his cage and offer him his favorite treats! Even if he shuts up the moment he hears or sees you, still reward him! This may teach him to talk more! (and incidentally, might also teach him not to scream because talking gets your attention! ;) )
 

JoJo&Loki

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I don’t have any experience with IRN, but wanted to say Cecil is a GORGEOUS guy :swoon: I think the name really suits him too!

It’s great to see first time birb owners doing research and loving their new baby so much! I think that’s how most of us end up here :lol:AA is a great place full of knowledgeable, helpful folks. I hope you stick around, I’d love to see more of Cecil!
:grpwelcome:
 

SandraK

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:greet5: Welcome to you and Cedric. He is a beautiful little boy. :sandra: Just be aware that we're nosy and will always ask for photos of Cedric and any other companion creatures in your family. Which reminds me @Shezbug why aren't there more pix of Burt?
 

Vanessa Palmer

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I am going to follow this post because I am a new IRN mum. I have had lovebirds before and I have recently become a mum to a little green cheek conure.
My Female IRN is 2 years old. However we got her from a rescue 2 months ago who said she has just started molting. My concern is that she is still molting (we are in Australia, so it is summer) and now only has 2 long tail feathers left. She looks very scruffy. She has had her wings clipped (more like butchered) before, but her flight feathers are back now and she is fully flighted.

My question is how do we get her to step up and down because she is very aggressive towards finger and hands.
P.s she will accept treats and food from our hands very gently though. And like to hitch rides from time to time
 

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SandraK

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Consider trying a perch for her to step up to or possibly put a towel over your wrist/forearm and seee if she'll accept that without being aggressive. I'm assuming that she was possibly handled roughly or was forcibly handled which doesn't exactly endear our hands to fids.
 

Monica

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I am going to follow this post because I am a new IRN mum. I have had lovebirds before and I have recently become a mum to a little green cheek conure.
My Female IRN is 2 years old. However we got her from a rescue 2 months ago who said she has just started molting. My concern is that she is still molting (we are in Australia, so it is summer) and now only has 2 long tail feathers left. She looks very scruffy. She has had her wings clipped (more like butchered) before, but her flight feathers are back now and she is fully flighted.

My question is how do we get her to step up and down because she is very aggressive towards finger and hands.
P.s she will accept treats and food from our hands very gently though. And like to hitch rides from time to time
Step up training should look something like this.... (can teach target training first, then incorporate the target training into teaching step up)

  1. Reward your bird for looking at you.
  2. Reward your bird for moving his head towards you.
  3. Reward your bird for taking a step towards you.
  4. Reward your bird for taking another step towards you.
  5. If he doesn't run away, keep rewarding him for remaining where he's at. (if he runs/backs off, you may need to start over again)
  6. Reward your bird for taking a couple more steps closer.
  7. Encourage him to come closer yet again and reward him.
  8. Reward your bird for touching you with his toe(s).
  9. Reward your bird for putting a foot on you.
  10. *JACKPOT REWARD* Give your bird lots of goodies for putting both feet on you!


Here's a live demo of basically how that should look like... (notice how one hand is basically an extensive of what the bird is already on - rather than a physical step up)

 

winnieirn

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2 months is very little time for her to get used to you. You could try to hold a treat in one hand and get her to step up on the other hand to get that treat keep in mind to say “step up” so she memorizes the phrase with the action.
good luck!
 

fashionfobie

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However we got her from a rescue 2 months ago who said she has just started molting. My concern is that she is still molting (we are in Australia, so it is summer) and now only has 2 long tail feathers left. She looks very scruffy. She has had her wings clipped (more like butchered) before, but her flight feathers are back now and she is fully flighted.
Monica's advice for step up is Gold! Use it :)

For your molting question, it is common for IRN to have pretty radical molts. They can look very disheveled. Try feeding a little extra hemp seed during this time, it seems to help my boys. If you are worried about the molt or if it seems concerning don't hesitate to go to the vet. I am in Australia too! My Plumhead is almost done with his summer molt now, he was looking goofy as! He is also just waiting on a few tail feathers.

The bushfires around have been really scary. We had smoke in my area for a few days and I was so worried about the birds, luckily it wasn't that bad and has since passed. Some people have lost their whole flock... really sad days.
 

cecilsmom

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Monica's advice for step up is Gold! Use it :)

For your molting question, it is common for IRN to have pretty radical molts. They can look very disheveled. Try feeding a little extra hemp seed during this time, it seems to help my boys. If you are worried about the molt or if it seems concerning don't hesitate to go to the vet. I am in Australia too! My Plumhead is almost done with his summer molt now, he was looking goofy as! He is also just waiting on a few tail feathers.

The bushfires around have been really scary. We had smoke in my area for a few days and I was so worried about the birds, luckily it wasn't that bad and has since passed. Some people have lost their whole flock... really sad days.
I've been following the bushfires very closely. My best to your babies and all of Australia and those affected. Its terrifying to watch, not to mention how it is actually for those affected. I'm glad you are all safe!!!!
 

cecilsmom

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There is sadly a *LOT* of bad advice on the internet when it comes to handling ringnecks. :( A very misunderstood species. From the sounds if it though, you've been doing great with Cecil! For first time bird people, that's pretty amazing!

As far as the biting goes.... can you go into more detail? Such as, exactly when does the bite occur? When he's stepping up from his cage? From his perch? What else is going on?


It's better to avoid the bite than to allow it to occur... as the very act of "allowing" the bite is reinforcing the need for them to bite. If a bird does bite, you don't ignore them, you simply get them off of you, even if it means prying their beak from your flesh! Then take a moment to think about what happened and how to avoid that situation in the future.




For a lot of birds, yes... although now that I think about it.... I've never had any closet talkers. I've also never had any birds that picked up talking after getting them... either they never mimicked human speech and never picked it up, or they were already mimicking it. If they already knew some words, then they potentially picked up other words.

Whenever you hear Cecil talking, get him, go to his cage and offer him his favorite treats! Even if he shuts up the moment he hears or sees you, still reward him! This may teach him to talk more! (and incidentally, might also teach him not to scream because talking gets your attention! ;) )
Amazing advice thank you tons! Typically the bite occurs after he steps up, he does use his beak to step up and then usually when we are having him step up it's to go from the perch to cage or vis versa. Maybe the act of moving is what is scaring him? We try to be slow and gentle, hes definitely improving but sometimes it feels like two steps forward then one step back with each day! I'm glad to know that with persistence and time he will do great.
 

cecilsmom

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Welcome to the forum! Cecil is a lovely guy :heart2: DNA was smart, now you know. As you probably read in your research it can take up to 3 years for the IRN to develop their adult plumage.

It sounds to me like you are making a great effort to do this right! Nice work :) Things do happen on bird time, there isn't anything else we can do except take it one day at a time. Two months for a training outcome is very good progress. There are two important elements for a happy IRN, wings for exercise and a lot of space so they feel safe. IRN don't do well when they feel like fish in a bowl, so give him all the space you can and plenty of time to fly! Also lots and lots of wooden blocks to keep that gorgeous beak in tip top shape! I also disagree in the concept of a learning bird. You can make just as many mistakes with a lovebird as you can a macaw. I suppose the difference is one could seriously harm you. Though at the end of the day that is on the human, never the bird. Birds know what they are doing and it is up to us to respect that.

In response to your questions:

1.) Is it really biting? Or is it curious nibbles. For a bird their beak is their primary tool for learning. There are lots of nerves that help them understand textures, foods and everything in between. My asiatic was very mouthy, more so than my other parrots. He was almost like a puppy everything went into his beak first. My hands would be sore everyday from all the pinches. I used the method of redirecting it to a toy or treat. Every time I had him step up I would hand him a foot toy or little block of wood. It helped reduce the toll to my hands... but it did take months. 1 year later and he doesn't pinch my hands anymore unless he wants me to stop typing or something else.

2.) It is very common for birds to speak at certain times of day, normally in the mornings and evenings birds will be most chatty. If you are leaving the room, the bird may be contact calling you, this call is normally crisp and loud so it can carry through the open wilderness of parrot-landia! When I leave the room and my Pi wants me back he calls, "whata you doing?" He NEVER says it when I am with him. He defiantly wants my attention. People have mixed opinions on how to handle this. I am of the mind to respond back. Birds are vocal to know where their flock is. So I call back to Pi, "Hey Pi, what are you doing?" If I don't respond back he will start contact calling in his cute crisp little chirp. I can hear this call from outside.

I am very happy that you bird is already accepting fruit. Don't forget to stuff him with veggies too. Rich greens like silverbeet, broccoli or Brussels sprouts...and the list goes on :)
Thank you!! He has tons of room in his cage to spread his wings and my husband and I get him out through the day as much as he wants to. He has a very prompt sleep schedule and he does get veggies too. We make him up a good chop That he gets with his pellets. He isnt currently flighted but we think that we may allow his wings to grow and once he is comfortable and trained enough we may start flight training him. We are still undecided on that as we are worried he may potentially get out of the house.
 

cassiesdad

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You are definitely doing a great job with Cecil!
He isnt currently flighted but we think that we may allow his wings to grow and once he is comfortable and trained enough we may start flight training him.
For the first few years, we clipped Titan, our IRN....then we decided to let him have his flight back...we never regretted that decision. Titan was our first "birdie ambassador"...making countless trips to extended care facilities and schools. He brought joy to a countless number of people...and we got to educate many kids about avians...for 26 years...:)
 

Monica

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Amazing advice thank you tons! Typically the bite occurs after he steps up, he does use his beak to step up and then usually when we are having him step up it's to go from the perch to cage or vis versa. Maybe the act of moving is what is scaring him? We try to be slow and gentle, hes definitely improving but sometimes it feels like two steps forward then one step back with each day! I'm glad to know that with persistence and time he will do great.
You could reward Cecil for staying put on your hand without biting.

However, the moment he *does* bite, get him off! Set him down and give him a little cool off time.



It may certainly help to figure out if he's biting while you are standing still, or biting while moving. He could be fine with one but not the other. Likewise, he could be upset about where he's being moved to.
 

Khizz

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Step up training should look something like this.... (can teach target training first, then incorporate the target training into teaching step up)

  1. Reward your bird for looking at you.
  2. Reward your bird for moving his head towards you.
  3. Reward your bird for taking a step towards you.
  4. Reward your bird for taking another step towards you.
  5. If he doesn't run away, keep rewarding him for remaining where he's at. (if he runs/backs off, you may need to start over again)
  6. Reward your bird for taking a couple more steps closer.
  7. Encourage him to come closer yet again and reward him.
  8. Reward your bird for touching you with his toe(s).
  9. Reward your bird for putting a foot on you.
  10. *JACKPOT REWARD* Give your bird lots of goodies for putting both feet on you!


Here's a live demo of basically how that should look like... (notice how one hand is basically an extensive of what the bird is already on - rather than a physical step up)

I just wanna thank Monica for this! I have been feeling a bit "stuck" recently with the birds, I was gonna make a post but now I don't think I need to! Currently I've just been hanging out with them and talking/singing to them but I need to be a bit more systematic in my approach I think!

Welcome to the avenue @cecilsmom, Cecil is simply gorgeous! I have a huge soft spot for IRNs :heart:

My Jeff used to only sing when we all out of the room. I like to think that it was his rehearsals for the main performance, now the moment I open the curtains it's heart wings and car alarm impressions all day! :lol:
 

Rain Bow

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:welave: to all the new members & a big :greet5: to the regulars!

I don't have much to add here but 2 key points.

1st, I always told Buddy it hurt when he nipped or bit, before it really hurt. I've never regretted that decision. Now, you really not supposed to react but I felt, if he thought it hurt it'd possibly save a little pain. It worked. Then a no or bad, & I'd set him down. Don't leave the room unless they break the skin to the point where a bandage is needed. Like @Monica said, less reaction & more thought on your part as what was the cause.

2nd, move slow especially w/ your arms & hands. Talk to them they will learn the words meanings in time. Buddy is 25, even though he's not a IRN but a Zon, my Dad must've talked to him ALL the time. His understanding of English (in our case) is so proficient, he puts a ton of humans to shame. Since coming to live w/ us, he's learned tricks that I'd place up there in Parrot land. I couldn't have done it w/out my Dad's communication w/ him for all those years.

Good luck, IRN's are fascinating. I hope this forum gets tons of posts for all of us to read. They are beautiful & I cannot wait to read more. Please share your adventures & more pics!
 
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