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Baby to adult. Will they still love me?

Kolkri

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I'm happy for your lasting relationship with Topaz, I'm guessing for a Quaker 6 is fully grown up? I'd say it's not for the bigger birds. Joey though wouldn't fall into the baby loving parent category. I'd expect an older bird to stay bonded to a new owner once that bond formed.
Yes Quakers are adults at around 3 years old.
 

Mizzely

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A compelling topic that I have been interested in. I think part of it is how they are in the wild. Quakers, which build colonial nests, often have offspring helping to raise their future brothers and sisters. So a quaker, as an example, may not feel quite the need to be separated from their parents as other species do, and may not have as large of an instance of leaving their caretakers ("parents") in captivity. I would think the actions in the wild would give some idea of how a captive individual would respond later :)
 
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Mizzely

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This. I think that people tend to assume that birds will prefer a human or bird of the opposite sex.
I agree; in my house it's the opposite though! Koopa girl loves me and Jingo boy is attached to my husband's hip :rolleyes: that said, both seem friendly to both genders, perhaps because they have both as positive examples in their life?
 

macawpower58

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Interesting! Me not knowing much about Quakers, would never have thought of that. I guess species characteristics could well play a big role in whether or not folk are seeing this problem.

A compelling topic that I have been interested in. I think part of it is how they are in the wild. Quakers, which build colonial nests, often have offspring helping to raise their future brothers and sisters. So a quaker, as an example, may not feel quite the need to be separated from their parents as other species do, and may not have as large of an instance of leaving their caretakers ("parents") in captivity. I would think the actions in the wild would give some idea of how a captive individual would respond later :)
 

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This is a fascinating topic that has so many different elements that can be a topic unto themselves in aviculture.

Beautiful first post btw, macawpower. My birds are 6 (the Timneh), 5 (the Galah), and 4 (the Blue Throated Macaw). We raised them from a very young age, both me and my wife love them as family and they get along with both of us. The Timneh seems to favor me though.

Can’t say that I contemplate the exact same thing as you are right now, or have. For me, I simply knew that life would be a journey with these amazing animals and, as there is no real factual “body of knowledge,” that I would learn a lot along the way. To be honest with you, wherever life takes me with them I just want my birds to be happy, healthy, etc. If I can provide that for the duration of their lives I think I will have accomplished a lot. I know there will be stages and that they are birds and I’m a human and that has been the reason for my trying to learn as much about them as possible. Sometimes you have to learn indirectly. My trips to Peru, Costa Rica, Belize, volunteer work with birds of prey. I guess I’ve never contemplated my “baby’s” growing up and leaving because I never wanted them as surrogate children to begin with. I think that’s a huge mistake in aviculture (again, one of those side topics).

I think I can draw a parallel with your question “are we raising birds for someone else” and say that hypothetically maybe we (humans) shouldn’t raise them at all. If, for instance, they were parent raised and then came to us I think these problems wouldn’t exist. Then it would also be a matter of our attitude whether they could remain with us for life. They’d be animals in our care that we could still mutually reach out to, socialize, have a relationship, with. Also, if parent raised, they probably would be better set up to deal with that for life. What I mean is that the brain has critical developmental (juvenile) stages and without the proper stimuli can suffer from this parental deprivation. In addition to them being inappropriately bonded to us, across speices a deprived (technically traumatized) brain leads to PTSD type symptoms later on in life. We see stereotypical motions, self mutilation, not only in caged animals but in human children growing up in impoverished orphanages. And, on the flip side, a parrot raised by it’s own parents (also has to do with proper environment)- that developing brain is getting the stimuli that it genetically needs to become normal. The brain reaches a self-regulatory state (once developed) that sets that animal up to deal with change and adversity for life (living with humans, etc.). Once normal it stays normal. It wouldn't look to you and want to mate with you or switch affection from one human to the next and no PTSD type issues we see in human raised birds. So, for me it's not "did we raise them," or "did a breeder," it's "did a human raise them or a parrot?" I think aviculture could establish a practice where parrots are parent raised in aviary's and not sold as pets until early adult. Sure, fewer people would buy them because they wouldn't be the docile baby's that tempt most people, but then again, imo they should be in the hands of a minority of people to begin with. I'm just guessing but this might be a better practice and attitude based only on the science of it. If they were treated like birds they wouldn't care which human was the caretaker. It works for falconry. Where, if the bird is not wild caught it is raised in an aviary by other birds. The human does not interfere in any way. His presence is only to habituate the young bird to himself, but he's no more than a piece of furniture. Otherwise, the issues that human raised falcons show are similar to what we see and struggle with when it comes to parrots. In this case, the falcon has no utilitarian purpose.
 
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Ankou

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Very interesting and thoughtful topic, some very insightful things being discussed.

One mistake I think a lot of new owners make is the simple difference between getting a handfed baby bird and a bird that was handfed as a baby. The overwhelming majority of information I've seen says that a handfed bird will be the most companionable but that does not mean that bird must be "adopted" as a baby, or in some of the most extreme thinking, handfed by the future owner.
Most inexperienced people, myself included, take this to mean "get a handfed baby." I don't regret bringing Peanut home as a (fledged and weaned) baby and after the "terrible 1's" (for a lovebird) were over I was still the only person interacting with her. She chose me but she didn't have a second option.

Frankly I think the amount of socialization and positive interaction as plays a larger role that what species fed the babies anyway; so many "mill-type" babies who's only interaction was being gavage fed then returned to the brooder to sit alone can just as or more fearful than a bird raised by it's parents with the addition of behavior problems down the line. The more I learn about birds the more I like the idea of co-parenting (raised by the (usually tame) parents and breeder so they get socialized as a bird and introduced to our human world.

I find it ironic, in a depressing way, that most birds who are surrendered are given up upon reaching maturity when their instincts compel them to leave the nest and find a mate. They do... provided they get a loving home (if they get a home at all...)

Also, she (undoubtedly female) is cautious, fearful even, around men. She is more accepting of strange women. Both her breeder and myself are female. She was socialized with, and by, women. I think that is the main factor that goes into gender preference: lifetime experience with each gender.
The only man she even met until I was out of high school was my father, a very manly man who was afraid of being bitten by the tiny bird so he would never handle her.
 

carkam

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I am enjoying this topic also. I got both of my boys as a baby and both are still quite young. Lucky, my 3 year GCC is a cling-on, while he does prefer my husband over me (if he has a choice) but I am able to do almost anything with him. Maybe it is because he is only 3. I bought him at Petco at 5 months old or so they said-never received anything with his hatch date on it. Big Bird is 2 1/2 will only allow me to handle him right now (I had frightened him a few weeks back-still not sure how-and he was terrified of me for 2 weeks which was very difficult since DH cannot handle him-he is now back to his little loving self:) I know he is most likely not mature yet and I am very unsure of how he will see me in the future. I was around him at the Bird Store from a little fuzzy butt!! I was looking for an older rehome (the store gets them there all the time) but he was given to me. If I could go back I would go for an older rehome that picked me for sure!!
 

Bokkapooh

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This is why I prefer adult birds. I just hope Mera and Opa remain my friends as they mature. I'm sorry your going through this:hug8:
 

macawpower58

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This is why I prefer adult birds. I just hope Mera and Opa remain my friends as they mature. I'm sorry your going through this:hug8:
Don't be sorry! :) I've been with them long enough, and have done enough research that I'm not taken by surprise, nor am I broken hearted. I have remained friends with all of them so far, and IMO little problems (such as Sweden's attacks) are just bumps along the road.

My view of the future though keeps changing! Not for the bad, just different than I had envisioned. So far I've enjoyed the wild ride my babies have taken me on, and plan to enjoy the next 17 years just as much.
 

Ankou

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I am very glad you have come to be so accepting of your relationship with your birds, however it may change. Serious kudos to you for being so understanding.

Hopefully in the next ten years they will start to open up to you more again as their hormones settle into a more stable state and they feel less like they need to push you away, or like you've said and mentally prepared for, not. Birds are fascinating, it's hard to know how they will change in the very long term, especially long-lived species like 'toos, 'zons and big macaws.
 
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LaSelva

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"The more I learn about birds the more I like the idea of co-parenting (raised by the (usually tame) parents and breeder so they get socialized as a bird and introduced to our human world."

I think the heart of this particular issue is "imprinting" - and it's duration in baby birds. To co-parent is to malimprint them and I would ask "to what end." For them anyway? Now, they of course will seem more bonded to us initially if we do this but since they can't fulfill any urges with us I can see it leading to frustration in them. For instance, what would prepare them for a flock member leaving for work, being alone 10 hours a day, or us not reciprocating their sexual advances? Denying their contact calls because we find them annoying, etc. Hypothetically. Granted there are no statistics to back our speculation on this matter. I do know that, as per my above example, falconry....time tested....does not agree with co-parenting at all (at lease the modern practice). And, I've visited several Bird of Prey sanctuary's where birds that were taken in as pets reside. No longer fit for release due to being bonded to humans and yet left alone to sit in enclosures all day (what life do they have?). We can compare this to parrots and how it sets them up for the rest of their lives (in relation to the different homes they might end up in). For example, in a sanctuary with other parrots. Time has also shown us that wild caught parrots (trapped, shipped, quarantined) have far fewer, if any, of the PTSD type issuess that human raised birds do. Their normally developed brain able to cope with that adversity as in my previous post. Again, it seems like screwing with their heads (and selfish) to imprint them onto us by parenting or co-parenting them. Remeber, peopel CAN befriend a parrot-raised bird, or even a wild caught one - it might take more time. But, it also affords easier methods of assuring their well being in captivity....that should be of utmost importance. For one, through same species companionship that alleviates the pressure off of us to meet their high social/emotional needs. And, even if alone, because they will not look to us to meet those needs because, face it, it's imossible for us to do so. And in my estimation, just like in falconry where a bird can be released to live a normal life, if the parrot has to be rehomed or end up in a sanctuary housed with other parrots it will look to other parrots as it's speices and not to humans - it will not pine for it's human mate. Again, these are highly speculative matters (with many exceptions I'm sure) but, for me, I would rather let science guide us. And these types of studies (see Temple Grandin's books for one) are becoming more widespread as a way to proove or disprove whether animals are happy or not, and to make laws accordingly.
 
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macawpower58

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LaSelva, I pretty much agree with you, birds would do a much better job at raising their babies than we do.

But, things are as they are. It took decades from the old attitude folk had, to get to where we are today.

It's going to take time for people to rethink what's best for the birds (and their humans).
 

melissasparrots

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I have birds that are a variety of ages and I've never had one shun me completely for years on end. Some of those are rehomes and some I raised as babies. Their behavior does fluxuate some depending on season and their mood. I have not noticed that my rehomes are any better or worse than my birds I got as babies. Ariel my GSC2 I got at 9 months fully weaned and she is a pretty steady companion. Once or twice over the years she had done the full on cockatoo attack for no apparent reason. She's known to be down right crabby and unpredictable in the morning, so I just leave her alone then. My goffin's I got at I think 6 years old as a rehome and her personality is pretty variable. I don't think my bond with her is as strong as it is with Ariel. Cassie will sometimes do the fly to my shoulder and take a swipe at my face routine. She's not a real serious biter, but she does show an aggressive streak. I do think that if I were to ever get married, she has potential to switch bonds.
Even Diva my perfect parrot YNA that I hand-fed goes through phases where its pretty clear I'm bothering her and she doesn't really want to interact. Given a few weeks she comes back to her normal sweet self. I really don't feel like she'd switch bonds if someone else where around. I just think she gets in a mood once in a while.

I think most of the behavior changes you're seeing are linked to: 1. maturity in general. Birds do go through behvior phases no matter if you are the hand-feeder or not as hormones cycle through. Most species become a little less needy and hands off as they mature. I know a few large macaw owers whose males and some females go from snuggle babies to mostly hang out on the gym birds as they mature. 2. Your daughter moving in could just by the very nature of changing the human dynamics in the house also throws off their behavior. Sometimes birds get a crush on someone else and become infatuated with them for a while. Sometimes it turns into a bond and sometimes they go back to their original favorite. Sometimes they are just confused over who they like the most and who they want to bond with and it results in some unpredictable behavior. For that matter, mated pairs don't always mate for life as we've been told. I know of a few cases where cockatoo pairs that were productive and affectionate either stop producing and/or become aggressive with each other. When flocked with other cockatoos, new mates were selected and the newly formed pairs went on to be productive and affectionate with each other. So I don't think it has much to do with who the hand-feeder was in most cases. Some birds especially cockatoos I think might tend to be more serially monogamous than mate for life like we've all been taught.

As for the reference to falconry, I'm not convinced that has any bearing on this discussion. Falconry birds are a totally different animal. Both physically and psychologically. The bond between human and bird of prey is different than it is between human and pet parrot.
Melissa
 
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LaSelva

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Historically the relationship in falconry has been a different one. A falconer catches a wild bird and habituates it, etc. for it's purpose (it can be released later). But, when you see a bonded bird of prey and the way it behaves towards it's human caretaker then you can see affection and other behaviors - similar to that between a bonded parrot and it's owner. At the sanctuary where I volunteer we have a Great Horned Owl that cuddles up to her primary caretaker and makes sweet, baby like noises. She also turns around into a mating posture, among other things. Her caretaker must bring her twigs in the mating season just like a mate would do. For obvious reasons, we try not to let the public see any displays of affection on the part of the owl. Point is, these birds are not emotionless. They only seem different in this respect because the relationship to humans has been a different one. One is utilitarian and the other a beloved indoor family pet. When you have experiences with both, and you see the way human-imprinted birds of prey behave and the issues they have (incessant screaming, etc.), the similarities pop out at you. In this case, I would not even bring falconry up if not for those issues and how it's very possible that since they are caused by human-imprinting then the same exact issues in parrots are probably also caused by the same. Also, they are similar to parrots in the way they are born (eyes closed and helpless- altricial) and in the stages of imprinting they go through. And what that means to them later on in life is exactly the same. They imprint at an early age on things that will be important to them - and you can't change it. Not to mention, the way they learn, and are trained is similar, they are both genetically wild (with needs intact)....among many other things.
 
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JLcribber

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Is rehoming a bird you've raised from a baby better for the bird? Will they be happier leaving the nest, and forming a new different relationship?
Quite often this is just what the doctor ordered. The bird has hit maturity and has become a holy terror due to sexual frustration and wanting a mate (and parents are not mate worthy). If a new home can be found at that time, the bird "leaves home" so to speak and has a chance to choose "new blood" which is just what it's looking for. The down side to that is they can "fall hard" for this new found love to the detriment of others in the household.

IME it's so much easier to take on an adult bird because they "are" mature and what you see is what you get. Even if they come with baggage. It's up front and not a mystery as to what's to come.

I also cringe when I hear people post that they want a baby bird because they want a "special" relationship with the bird. So often they are setting themselves up to fail. The very things they "want" in a bird are what's going to be the problem later on. Hand feeding and heavily human imprinting are so wrong for what the bird needs. It is totally nothing more than human convenience and the easy way out for the human.

We can have exactly the same kind of relationship or even better with a naturally raised bird but it takes more effort and work by the human (which is how it should be anyway). "We" want the bird and "we" want the relationship. "We" should be doing all the work. You get out of it what you put into it.
 

LaSelva

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Mate aggression, want to point out since it was brought up, is another situation where we can’t judge them based on how they behave in captivity. Rather, we have to consider how captivity disrupts their natural behaviors.

All birds, as part of how they live their lives, have instinctive “fixed action patterns.” These are just a series of actions that make up one “task” in the birds life. These tasks are important and as such there is no time for a learning curve therefore they are instinct. Fixed action patterns are set into motion by environmental cues such as the lengthening of daylight, the sight of a certain number of laid eggs, and many others. The completion or final part of one task can also be the cue that sets the next task into motion.

In cockatoos, the male hollow’s out the nest hole. Observing this in itself is a cue for the female. Seeing the male do this “work” over the time it takes stimulates her glands to secrete hormones that are getting her in the mood to mate. When the male completes the nest, seeing the finished nest is his cue that it’s time to mate. By this time the female is fully ready to accept his advances.

In captivity what frequently happens is that two cockatoos are placed together into an enclosure and given a completed nest box. Now they are expected to mate. The male sees the nest box and feels ready. The female on the other hand is not receptive. The male’s advances increase in intensity to the point where he can injure or even kill her.
 
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Mrcrowley

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I know my birds love me, just as I love my mom/dad. But, I don't want to live with my mom! Nor have her hugging on me all of the time. I think my birds are feeling the same.

Now the question: If they love someone (say my daughter), is it better to let them go? Or does owning parrots for life mean just that. I love my daughters, but let them go.

If parrots are like our children, can we only try our best to raise them well, them let them go?

Theoretical questions. I AM NOT THINKING OF REHOMING MY BIRDS.
Excellent way to think about situation , and we know you do not want to rehome them . Maybe it is time to start training them for more you them time with rewards?
 

DQTimnehs

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Mate aggression, want to point out since it was brought up, is another situation where we can’t judge them based on how they behave in captivity. Rather, we have to consider how captivity disrupts their natural behaviors.

All birds, as part of how they live their lives, have instinctive “fixed action patterns.” These are just a series of actions that make up one “task” in the birds life. These tasks are important and as such there is no time for a learning curve therefore they are instinct. Fixed action patterns are set into motion by environmental cues such as the lengthening of daylight, the sight of a certain number of laid eggs, and many others. The completion or final part of one task can also be the cue that sets the next task into motion.

In cockatoos, the male hollow’s out the nest hole. Observing this in itself is a cue for the female. Seeing the male do this “work” over the time it takes stimulates her glands to secrete hormones that are getting her in the mood to mate. When the male completes the nest, seeing the finished nest is his cue that it’s time to mate. By this time the female is fully ready to accept his advances.

In captivity what frequently happens is that two cockatoos are placed together into an enclosure and given a completed nest box. Now they are expected to mate. The male sees the nest box and feels ready. The female on the other hand is not receptive. The male’s advances increase in intensity to the point where he can injure or even kill her.
Good point! Makes sense - "no sex until the chores are done!" :lol: Or, "oh you're so big and strong, hollowing out that tree for me!" :rofl:
 

LaSelva

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Nature’s really something isn’t it! Now, if this could only work for me when I’m mowing the lawn…..Lol! Birds live their lives by so many of these environmental cues that I could go on all day listing them. It goes to show how they are very much a part of their environment, how they live their lives by its signals. I can only imagine what we have yet to learn.
 
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