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Baby doesn't want to be in her cage.

Fairu

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This is our first lovebird and I'm not sure what to do. Have owned many buggies in the past and have never encountered this issue.

A bit of information about the situation. We just picked up our new baby from a breeder on Sunday, after a 2 hour car ride we got her home and in her new room. I carefully opened the cage and she gladly came right out and perched happily on my hand. She was very quiet and tame but quickly took to the habit of sitting on our shoulders. Every time we get her to step up on our hands she just hops right back to our heads or shoulders and refuses to be moved. It's becoming quite troublesome considering when we finally manage to get her in her cage she refuses to settle down pacing from one end of the cage to the other, climbing around the bars, hanging upside down, and constantly begging to be let out. We've tried placing her in the cage with the door open but she just flies right back out. We're worried that she'll hurt herself with all the crazed activity as she begs to be let out, but we would like her to be able to be in her cage so she can eat, drink, and rest. Unfortunately because she refuses to be in her cage we have to feed her regularly outside of the cage and we would really like to stop before it becomes a bad habit that we can't shake. Night time is a bit easier because once the cover is on the cage and the lights are out she settles down for the night to sleep, but there's another issue there as well. Because she's not used to the cage she doesn't eat or drink throughout the night. We would just like her to have a bit more independence and feel like the cage is a safe space where she can go to eat, drink, and sleep. Should we just be patient?
 

Mizzely

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How big is the cage?

It is totally normal. She is a flock animal, and a young one at that, so being alone and separate is alien and uncomfortable to her.

Why is eating outside of the cage a bad habit? Mine get a plate on top of their cage every morning :p Many birds eat better with their flock - you!

Independence will likely come when she isn't in a completely new place all alone ;) She is clinging to you until she regains some confidence.
 

Fairu

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About 20 x 20 x 30 is the dimensions of the cage. I don't necessarily mind the eating outside the cage thing it's more of a problem because the only way she eats is if we coax her into eating and drinking. She mostly prefers to eat while on one of our shoulders which can be messy. Just today we did manage to coax her into eating on my desk for a little bit, but once she realizes she's not on one of us she flies right back. We're mainly concerned that if we need to leave at the same time she won't eventually calm down inside her cage and take care of her food needs herself. She also started to get a bit nippy when we need to remove her from one of us to take care of our own needs. Silly us for needing to eat and use the bathroom. lol
 

Fairu

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Will do! I was hoping it was just a patience thing. Just can't help but worry about a new birdie sometimes.
 

ergunm

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sounds very similar to our second lovebird. she loves humans more than other lovebirds (our first one), and she is fearless (she was never afraid of us or anything at all actually).

in our case we are working so she was staying in her cage during day time at workdays. she gradually adapted to her cage and accepted her cage as her home. now her cage is her territory and noone other than her flock (family and our first lovebird) is allowed to get close to her cage without getting bitten. when we are at home she still flies to us all the time.

I think after she settled more it might be good to give her more time in her cage so she can accept the cage as home and be comfortable in it and eat in it. IMO that is better for her for the times noone will be at home or when you are doing something at home which is dangerous for her.
 

Fairu

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Would it be best to leave the room to let her settle down in her cage? (After she feels more comfortable with her surroundings of course.) As it seems now, as long as she can see us her begging to be released is non-stop. Currently she is sleeping on the side of her cage, it seems like that would be uncomfortable but she's sound asleep. She settles down quite fast in her cage while it's covered at least.
 

ergunm

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you can try to do it in a pattern, like leaving her in her cage alone every noon 2-3 hours. routine schedule makes it easier to adapt. they are quite clever and learning the environment and your behaviors. before I let my birds out I need to close the curtains since I have a large window which is dangerous for them. they learned that so now the sound of curtains closing is the sign for the out of cage time, not seeing me. every time I close the curtains they get excited and start begging to get out.

but again do these after a couple weeks. first 1-2 weeks are stressful so better to let her adapt the way she wants.
 

Fairu

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you can try to do it in a pattern, like leaving her in her cage alone every noon 2-3 hours. routine schedule makes it easier to adapt. they are quite clever and learning the environment and your behaviors. before I let my birds out I need to close the curtains since I have a large window which is dangerous for them. they learned that so now the sound of curtains closing is the sign for the out of cage time, not seeing me. every time I close the curtains they get excited and start begging to get out.

but again do these after a couple weeks. first 1-2 weeks are stressful so better to let her adapt the way she wants.
Thank you for the advice. We will remain patient and let her do her thing. As an update on her behavior we have seen some good signs today, she has found her voice and is very talkative and cute. She also is more adventurous and has started to explore and play with various toys. Still hasn't checked out her cage yet, but hopefully that will come in time.
 

Princessbella

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Playing with toys is a good thing. If you can get her to entertain herself, she will still want to see you but she doesn't always have to be on you, She is a cutie!
 

Fairu

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Well an unfortunate turn of events tonight. We had trouble calming her down. Did what has been working normally. Which is to let her burrow in one of our hairs until she falls asleep then slowly transfer her to the cage for sleep. Usually she would move around until she finds a spot she likes and stay there all night for sleep. Not tonight though. Took two attempts tonight, the first attempt lead to the same issue we have during the day(Her frantically begging to be let out.) The second time she settled like normal...For an hour until we were abruptly woken up by flapping and frantic begging again. My boyfriend has been holding her since then. With one attempt made to place her back in her cage after she settled down. Sleeping, beak grinding, etc. But no luck. We have the light off and are letting her calm down and get some sleep on my boyfriend's shoulder but aren't sure what to do other than stay up all night to make sure she gets enough sleep.
 

fluffypoptarts

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Does she have a nightlight?
 

Fairu

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Does she have a nightlight?
She doesn't have an actual nightlight. Though our computers are in the same room and set to a static screen to give off some light.

One suggestion we were given by the breeder was to buy her a hut to sleep in. We originally were straying away from getting one because we were worried about territorial issues developing with her if she had one. Though we are now seriously considering getting her one if it will help her sleep and feel comfortable on her own.

Another thing we did try was some very soft low volume music, though that had no effect.
 
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fluffypoptarts

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Don't get her a cloth snuggle/happy hut as they're very dangerous. You could try a seagrass or leather one - I've even seen tubes. But yes, if female, it's possible that she could get quite territorial and nesty over it. You could try something safe and see, I suppose.

All of my birds have nightlights. I've had birds cry without them (not lovies, but still, I think they find them comforting). It's a gentle, consistent light for them.
 

fluffypoptarts

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Had you tried moving her cage to be in a main area during waking hours so she sees you often even when she's not being held? Or even to try it in your room at night when it's time for bed to see if that comforts her?

They also tend to be calmer in flight cages (32x21). Neurotic behaviors seem more likely to start in smaller cages. Also, what's in her cage? Does she have enough enrichment? I also leave TVs and/or radio on for my birds during the day to provide some additional stimulation.
 
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Laurul Feather Cat

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Your lovebird is training you very well.

At bedtime put her in her cage, cover her. Leave the room and stay out completely. She will adjust and it is not abuse to do this. Give her a night light for comfort, make sure she has food and water. I would guess you don't have any other birds. She is insecure. I understand that. But if you don't want a totally spoiled and willful terrorist as a pet, you need to set limits now.
 
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Fairu

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The cage is in our room which is where me and my boyfriend spend nearly all of our time. (He works from home and I have no job currently.) She is with us all day and the only time either of us leave is for short spurts where we're gone for no more than 3 hours. We also sleep in this room so she does too. It seems the problem is that she can see us and it doesn't matter how quiet we are, how loud, the light being on or off, and music or no music, as long as she can see us and know we're there she runs around frantically in her cage trying to get out. We've tried waiting it out and seeing if she'll give up and calm down but it just seems endless. We've tried leaving the room, and being in the room for this, talking to her softly, having the cage open and holding her on my arm inside the cage which calms her but the moment we remove our hand/arm from the cage it starts again. We've also tried bribing her with treats/toys but she just ignores them once she's inside the cage and the door is closed. We've also tried placing her into the cage and going about our business, which usually brings about even more crazy behavior to escape.

The cage is 20x20x30 it's got several different perches of various woods and sizes currently only 2 toys which is a hanging bell toy and the other being a shreadable toy. She hasn't touched either of them, mainly due to not wanting to be in the cage. We've shown them to her outside of the cage and she's not scared of them and shows interest, but the moment they're in the cage it's like they're dead to her. Tried adding some of her other toys, but it's the same effect of "Nope can't fool me, I'll find something else to play with." The cage also opens up at the top into a play stand, and she'll gladly hangout outside of the cage or even on top of it on the play stand, but even though she has food/water/toys and the cage is left open throughout the day to allow for free entry/exit, she has never once entered of her own accord.

Currently we are trying the patience route of just leaving the cage open and available with the 2 toys, millet and more shreadables (balled up paper towel, and shreadable wood blocks, Which she loves.) and only attempting to place her in her cage at night so we can all get some sleep. Last night was the first night she outwardly refused to calm down at all, and we ended up staying up all night holding her and letting her get to sleep before trying and trying again to put her in the cage. It wasn't until hours of trying we decided to move the cover in such a way that it completely covers the front of the cage. After doing so she calmed down and slept for a couple hours before waking us up for the day.
 

fluffypoptarts

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I agree that she needs to be covered completely at bedtime, and have an established routine - one during which she is not out all the time, but she knows when to expect things. After all, what happens when life changes and one or both of you end up working outside the home?

Since she already does see you constantly, try the set periods away. Tell her you're going out before you leave the room, and don't run right back in when you hear her start to fuss. It's certainly not easy! Especially as your lovie is so insecure. :(
 

Fairu

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I agree that she needs to be covered completely at bedtime, and have an established routine - one during which she is not out all the time, but she knows when to expect things. After all, what happens when life changes and one or both of you end up working outside the home?

Since she already does see you constantly, try the set periods away. Tell her you're going out before you leave the room, and don't run right back in when you hear her start to fuss. It's certainly not easy! Especially as your lovie is so insecure. :(
At bedtime do you suggest that after she settles down and we put her in her cage that we leave the room until her fussing stops?

Also do you think it's possible to set certain times everyday that are cage times? So that we can get things done around the house without worrying about what she's gonna get into?

Her frantic escape plans usually consist of doing strange flips against the bars of the cage, pacing back and forth at the door to the cage, and trying to stick her head through the bars. Which thankfully has not been a successful venture for her. Still it's very troubling to watch and worrisome to walk away from.
 

Fairu

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Thank you everyone for your advice, this is our first lovebird and I'd like to do things as correctly as possible. She is very sweet and playful and we just want her to stay happy and healthy.
 
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