• Welcome to Avian Avenue! To view our forum with less advertisments please register with us.
    Memberships are free and it will just take a moment. Click here

Brought home a terrified aviary conure, did I make a mistake?

cab124

Jogging around the block
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
12/9/17
Messages
834
Real Name
Craig
Thank you for chiming in! I've spent the whole afternoon binge-reading your thread on Mango and it's honestly a massive relief seeing how similar your experiences were over those first couple weeks. I definitely have had a few moments since bringing him home that have made me go, "oh my GOD what did I do?!" But at the end of the day, he deserves a much better life than he was getting in that pet store and I'm going to at least try give it to him. And every time he makes even a tiny bit of progress I immediately forget all the worry and doubt.

Like today, he seemed anxious to come out so I tried to let him out onto the playstand. But then he just stood on the door of his cage and screeched so loud for so long I thought my ears were going to start bleeding. Put him back inside, went for a walk and then came back and decided to try showing him how to forage so he could keep his beak busy. Once he watched me pulling hidden seeds out of his toys I saw the lightbulb go on in his eyes and ten minutes later he was doing laps of the cage checking over every toy with a fine-tooth comb for treats. He didn't make so much as a peep or do his little anxious wing quivering dance for the entire afternoon, and then by the time he was starting to get rowdy again it was dinner time and then off to bed, so I haven't heard a scream since midday! My floor is covered in shredded balsa and scraps of cupcake liners but he's content and beak-grinding right now so I'm happy. I'm definitely going to have to stock up on toys though... he just about demolished one that usually takes my other bird a month to get through.
So sorry to hear about the screaming!! I never had to endure anything like that with Mango. Hopefully, that will subside as your bird becomes more comfortable and less traumatized.

But it is AWESOME to hear that you have experienced some signs of progress!!!!

How is he/she doing today??
 

lventer

Meeting neighbors
Joined
10/3/21
Messages
23
So sorry to hear about the screaming!! I never had to endure anything like that with Mango. Hopefully, that will subside as your bird becomes more comfortable and less traumatized.

But it is AWESOME to hear that you have experienced some signs of progress!!!!

How is he/she doing today??
He's slowly settling in, I think. Cramming his cage full of foraging toys has really helped keep him too distracted to feel anxious. It feels a bit like a full-time job right now though lol, I've been trying to anticipate when he's about to get himself worked up and giving him something to do before it starts. Right now it's paper straws stuffed with pieces of almond and hiding his food under shredded raffia.
20221115_122032.jpg
The downside to spending his whole day eating is that he's got a loooottt of energy to burn off. He still gets really heightened whenever I let him out. I can hold his attention on target training for maybe 5 minutes and then it's like a switch flips out of the blue and he's suddenly flying laps around the room screaming his head off. I can't figure out whether I'm doing something to trigger it or if he just remembers, "oh shoot I'm a wild animal, better overcompensate and freak out for the next half hour." But he doesn't have any qualms about getting close to me and seems to like the interaction, so that's something. He also flies to me when I call him now! He won't land on me but will come down from the curtain rails or cage top and land on his playstand and waddle his way over to me. :)

Just trying to figure out a way to shift him away from the seed mix now and get him eating pellets. I thought he was at least picking at them a bit but after watching him for a few days I'm fairly certain he just likes throwing them out of his bowl. He easily goes through two full bowls of chop a day so I'm not too worried about him not getting the nutrients he needs, but I feel like the seeds are too high-energy for the amount of time he spends in his cage at the moment. I tried feeding him a spoonful of pellets mixed in with applesauce and he just looked at me like I'd served up his own poop on a platter.
 

cab124

Jogging around the block
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
12/9/17
Messages
834
Real Name
Craig
Wow, you definitely have your hands full, hopefully in a positive way! :)

It's really amazing that he flies to you and wants to interact!!!! That is VERY encouraging. Sounds like a smart little guy!

Diet is so important. I would do my best now to try to get him on healthier foods like chop, pellets, etc., and try to get him off of seeds as a regular part of the diet. NO SUNFLOWER SEEDS. They are fatty and, in my experience, they stimulate mating/nesting behavior. Seems like some safflower seeds are ok. Have you tried any Nutri-berries? I used Nutri-berries to slowly win Mango's trust by holding them for her while she picked out the safflower seeds. It was fun for both of us!

Also, Mango seemed to respond when I would talk to her in a soft, calming voice. She seemed to grow to like that.

Keep us posted on your progress!
 

cab124

Jogging around the block
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
12/9/17
Messages
834
Real Name
Craig
He's slowly settling in, I think. Cramming his cage full of foraging toys has really helped keep him too distracted to feel anxious. It feels a bit like a full-time job right now though lol, I've been trying to anticipate when he's about to get himself worked up and giving him something to do before it starts. Right now it's paper straws stuffed with pieces of almond and hiding his food under shredded raffia.
View attachment 417089
The downside to spending his whole day eating is that he's got a loooottt of energy to burn off. He still gets really heightened whenever I let him out. I can hold his attention on target training for maybe 5 minutes and then it's like a switch flips out of the blue and he's suddenly flying laps around the room screaming his head off. I can't figure out whether I'm doing something to trigger it or if he just remembers, "oh shoot I'm a wild animal, better overcompensate and freak out for the next half hour." But he doesn't have any qualms about getting close to me and seems to like the interaction, so that's something. He also flies to me when I call him now! He won't land on me but will come down from the curtain rails or cage top and land on his playstand and waddle his way over to me. :)

Just trying to figure out a way to shift him away from the seed mix now and get him eating pellets. I thought he was at least picking at them a bit but after watching him for a few days I'm fairly certain he just likes throwing them out of his bowl. He easily goes through two full bowls of chop a day so I'm not too worried about him not getting the nutrients he needs, but I feel like the seeds are too high-energy for the amount of time he spends in his cage at the moment. I tried feeding him a spoonful of pellets mixed in with applesauce and he just looked at me like I'd served up his own poop on a platter.
What kind of a conure is he? What is his name? Do you have any other birds?
 

lventer

Meeting neighbors
Joined
10/3/21
Messages
23
What kind of a conure is he? What is his name? Do you have any other birds?
He's a two year old peach fronted conure! Possibly a bit older, just going off how filled in his eye ring is. I don't know his exact history but given that there's nobody (that I know of) that handrears peach-fronts in the entire country, I'm guessing he was intended to be a breeder bird before he ended up in the shop. I've been tentatively calling him Apollo but I'm not 100% set on it yet, just waiting to see what his personality is like... though he's started responding to it now so maybe that's that decided lol.

The only other bird I have is Jinx, my maroon bellied conure. He's only just turned a year old so he might get a bit... spicier when the hormones kick in, but for the moment he's basically a teddy bear compared to the screaming pterodactyl with trust issues. I don't think I'd be coping quite as well if I didn't already have bird cuddles on tap!
20221115_085949.jpg
 

cab124

Jogging around the block
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
12/9/17
Messages
834
Real Name
Craig
Wow, so you have two males. I wonder what that dynamic will be like. Apollo sounds like a great name, by the way. How is Jinx dealing with his new screaming roommate?
 

lventer

Meeting neighbors
Joined
10/3/21
Messages
23
Wow, so you have two males. I wonder what that dynamic will be like. Apollo sounds like a great name, by the way. How is Jinx dealing with his new screaming roommate?
Jinx was a bit confused by all the noise for the first couple days but got over it fairly quick. I play Parrot Town TV for him while I'm at work so he's used to hearing bird chatter, just not usually quite so loud. They're similar in size so I'm hoping they'll at least tolerate one another and be able to come other together under supervision.

I think I remember reading that Mango used to do that nervous crouching pose as if she wanted to fly away. Do you remember how long it took her to stop and if there was anything that helped? Apollo does it constantly (even if I'm out of the room) and it honestly bothers me more than the screaming. He doesn't ever actually fly when he does it, even if he's out and has the space to.
 

cab124

Jogging around the block
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
12/9/17
Messages
834
Real Name
Craig
I don’t recall Mango ever making a habit of the take-off position. She would do it once in a while, but not too often. I never really had to train her out of it (at least not that I remember).

What if you provided a clear target for her to fly to, like a T-stand or branch, maybe even with a bowl of food attached? I picked up several nice Java wood branches. I am thinking of buying a wooden clothes tree, removing the hooks, and attaching the branches to see if I can create a tree stand for Mango. The ones I see in stores or on Amazon are upwards of $400.

It would be great if Jinx and Apollo eventually became best buddies.
 

Emma&pico

Jogging around the block
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
1/9/22
Messages
694
Real Name
Emma Smith
I have a rescue African Ringneck that, as far as we know of his history, was in a pet store with no handling for 9 months and then surrendered to a noisy, cramped rescue not long after he was purchased. He had been there for 3 months when I met him and nobody had shown interest in adopting him. He was terrified of people and was in a little budgie cage because he'd plucked his feathers and they were worried about him falling. This was him one of the first times I met him, when people were walking past the front of his cage:

View attachment 416497

He's now been home for 6 months and still wants nothing to do with being touched! But he trusts me. He is calm and happy when I'm nearby and talks to me while we eat dinner. He takes walnuts and pine nuts from my hands now which is amazing to me! I sometimes do think he'd be happiest in an aviary setting, with his personality (he adores talking to birds outside) but he wouldn't be eligible anyway.

Here's a more recent pic of him, content and curious and about to shred the dickens out of a toy lol

View attachment 416502



So my opinion about your conure - it may take a while for the two of you to develop a relationship, sure, but I absolutely guarantee your home is a better life than if he would have stayed at the store. Because 99% chance he would have been bought by someone who just thought he is pretty and he'd likely be in a back room covered in a little cage all day by now.
you are amazing he looks so happy such a gorgeous boy
 

Emma&pico

Jogging around the block
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
1/9/22
Messages
694
Real Name
Emma Smith
Wow I think you have made such good progress and I think you will win him over you should be proud of that you have achieved :heart:

you have done something absolutely amazing and I am sure he is so much happier with you than at the pet shop

Love the photos such a gorgeous bird got two gorgeous birds
 

lventer

Meeting neighbors
Joined
10/3/21
Messages
23
The last couple days have been a bit of mixed bag with Apollo... :\

We've made some good progress towards handling. He now steps up consistently onto a handheld perch to be moved around the house and will briefly put his foot on my hand. He also climbed over while I was cleaning his cage last night and nudged my nose a couple times and preened my hair. He definitely wants interaction and is getting more comfortable being close to me, but he's still wary.

Despite that, I feel like he's just getting more anxious unfortunately. I've been slowly increasing his out-of-cage time so he can get more exercise, but it doesn't seem to be helping. When he's in the cage, he paces and crouches towards me like he wants to fly over. If I let him out, he just flies to the top of his cage or playstand and keeps pacing, crouching (though not towards me) and screaming. Waiting it out or trying to distract him with toys doesn't work—he just goes and goes and goes. I've had a headache for days.

I'm not really sure what to do. I don't want to put an arbitrary time limit on deciding whether to keep him when it's obviously going to be a long-term process, but I also don't want to stress him out for months unnecessarily if he's always going to be uncomfortable indoors. Then again, he was an aviary bird before he ended up in that shop. Even if I rehome to someone with an aviary, who knows where he'll end up the next time someone gets tired of him?
 

lventer

Meeting neighbors
Joined
10/3/21
Messages
23
Oh, and another thing—the poor guy is definitely hormonal. I've seen him regurgitating and getting busy with his toys a couple times this week. I'm guessing that's partly to blame for the neurotic behaviour.
 

Dartman

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
10/20/12
Messages
8,578
Location
Portland Oregon
Real Name
Terry
That probably has a lot to do with the issues you're having. He's wanting something he doesn't know how to get and he doesn't have any control over the the hormonal mood swings and I bet it's bad for him too. Once he gets past it his whole attitude will probably change. Probably need to ask experts in these birds about this part of the situation. I have 3 Conures here now, a yellow sided Green Cheek, a blue crowned, and a Jenday. The Jenday is the loudest and most psychotic of the bunch but he also spends time being quiet or making happy noises to himself. He just doesn't want us to get too close or he'll dive into his happy hut and pop in and out while growling. The Blue head likes attention and treats and will allow some touching through the bars. The green cheek is hyper and loves scritches and likes to nip and nibble your fingers.
 

cab124

Jogging around the block
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
12/9/17
Messages
834
Real Name
Craig
I have never experienced a screaming bird before, but that sounds like it would be really tough to deal with. I hope Dartman is right and that behavior will die down after his current hormonal period winds down.
 

lventer

Meeting neighbors
Joined
10/3/21
Messages
23
How about an update? :)
Good timing haha! I was just about to post. Honestly can't believe it's been less than a week since the last one, we've definitely turned a corner and I'm feeling pretty optimistic.

Here's the man himself, looking super proud of himself for learning how to give kisses.
20221117184245_IMG_5395.jpg
First off, I tried to crack down hard on anything that might be making him hormonal—cut out all sunflower seeds, stopped covering the top of his cage and increased his sleep schedule to 14 hours. He hasn't gotten randy with any toys (that I've seen, at least) since then, and he's quietened down A LOT. Still has his screaming fits but it's no longer the entire time he's out, especially if I leave a foraging tray on the cage top for him... which means I've been able to let him out more often and for longer. Just trying to make sure his time both in & out the cage is positive and he doesn't learn to associate either with tantrums.

The earlier bed times have probably made the biggest difference, we've gotten into a nice routine. He gets the afternoon out with a lot of training/interaction, then back in for dinner before coming out for another hour or so just to chill. I realized the other night while I was practicing that he looooves piano. Puts him right to sleep. So I cover his cage every night except for the side that faces the piano and he cuddles up to the side of the cage near my shoulder while I play for a bit. It's so sweet. He'll even briefly let me give him head scritches before bed (no other time though lol).

Also, something I wasn't expecting at all this early—he steps up! I was happy enough that he was just putting both feet on my hand before flying away, but today he stayed on my hand long enough for me to move him from his cage top to the playstand! And he loves giving kisses. He'll stay on my hand longer if I ask him for a kiss once he's on. Still a work in progress, but given he was spooking when I changed his bowls just a few weeks ago I'm really proud of how he's coming along.

Still no luck getting him to eat pellets. I've tried unsweetened apple juice, blending them up and mixing with various things, two different brands etc. It's a little frustrating but at least he loves his chop. He did take his first proper bath though. In his water bowl, leaving a giant puddle on my floor, no less.
20221120_134904.jpg
 

Emma&pico

Jogging around the block
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
1/9/22
Messages
694
Real Name
Emma Smith
Such a lovely update you are doing an amazing job he’s so gorgeous as the screaming stopped ?
 

cab124

Jogging around the block
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
12/9/17
Messages
834
Real Name
Craig
Wow!!! Great progress. This is so good to hear. He is one beautiful bird!!!

I have only had two birds, and I have found getting them to eat pellets almost impossible. I am starting to think that the governing law of the parrot diet is that a parrot will never continue to eat a particular food after they have tasted another food that tastes better. They may initially eat a few pellets, but once they taste a sunflower seed, they will never eat another pellet, even if you never serve another seed.
 

lventer

Meeting neighbors
Joined
10/3/21
Messages
23
Another week down with Apollo! Pretty stoked with how well he's settling in. We still have moments everyday where things get a bit rocky (today, it was because I shifted his favourite toy an entire inch to the left and then spent an hour hearing all about how much he DID NOT like that) but I think we're slowly starting to understand one another.

Also, he flies to me now! I really don't know how it happened. One day he was scared to stay on my hand for more than five seconds and the next he suddenly wouldn't stop flying across the room to perch on my arm. He wants to be involved in EVERYTHING.

20221128_151507.jpg

...except for when he's ready for bed. Then he turns into a total grump. I usually cover the birds around 8pm but he's started going up to his sleeping perch around 6pm now, where he will sit all floofed up glaring at me and muttering until I put his cage cover on, give him some scritches and play piano until he falls asleep.

He's got almost free range of the house now whenever I'm home. I was worried about how introductions with Jinx would go but so far, so good. I have to watch them like a hawk because Jinx has Only Child Syndrome and has yet to learn how to share toys... or that other birds do not, in fact, like it when you try to lick their eyeballs or pull their tails. No major aggression so far but I'm trying to play it safe. I can tell Jinx is just dying to preen Apollo's pinfeathers, and Apollo very obviously also wants to be rid of them but refuses to let Jinx get stuck in there.

Trying to get a photo of the two of them side by side had us in stitches earlier. Reminds me exactly of my mum forcing me and my siblings to pose for photos together.

20221128_160507.jpg

I'm probably going to go ahead and build an indoor aviary now though. I worked out how much it would cost to do a 1.2m x 2.4m stainless steel one with a divider versus how much I paid for Jinx's double flight cage and I might as well go with the aviary. Apollo doesn't spend a whole lot of time in his cage but I still think he'd benefit from being able to properly fly from perch to perch, since he's still clumsy at climbing. I really hate his current cage, it's all vertical space.
 

Parutti

Strolling the yard
Joined
6/21/22
Messages
107
Location
Minnesota
This is such a fantastic update! You can totally see his personality in these photos, I love it!

That's too funny he is a grump at bedtime!! My ringneck Cotton is also a This Is My Bedtime guy and I get lots of side eye when I'm still doing things around him.

I'm excited to keep following his story and am secretly hoping you'll share all about your aviary progress - I want to do this myself but haven't gotten very far yet.
 
Top