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Charlie HATES his new sleeping cage!!

charlieboy

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Welp, not sure where I went wrong, but I definitely did something because he just won't go in his sleeping cage!!


He is already used to the cage, he loves going outdoors in it, but when its to sleep or even just while I clean his main cage its a whole other story. I've also tried to get him used to the spare bedroom by chilling in there with him, but he still won't go in the cage during the day unless I'm taking him outside so we can only chill around it... Perhaps it's too soon and I need to keep trying. He seems to sleep well once he's settled down in there, it's been a few days since I started putting him to sleep in there and he hasn't been more tired than usual, still tries to flirt with towels, eats well, nice poops, plays, etc.


However, as soon as I enter the spare bedroom with him, he immediately becomes super alert. If i try to make him step up from my shoulder, the bed or the top of the cage, he will bite (not *too* hard thankfully, but still) and as soon as he is on my finger he will fly back to my shoulder or the bed. I've tried coaxing him with millet to no avail. I usually end up being able to get him in by ignoring the biting, insisting on him stepping up and backing him up in the cage while he is distracted, but that takes like half an hour lol. And I know doing this will hurt our relationship in the long run.

Once he is in... he will start screaming and climbing onto his cage bars, aggressively pacing from left to right!! Poor guy looks like I'm leaving him there to die or something! o_O Once I turn the lights off he will stop screaming but keeps climbing for god knows how long. Usually after 1-2 hours he will be perched normally, but I don't like checking on him too often because sometimes he will be calm and start climbing again.


I hate leaving him there so distressed, but I don't know how to calm him down other than by letting him settle down there by himself or by taking him out, which I can't do. :( I did the mistake on one of the first nights to put my hand in to help him back on his perch because I thought he might not be able to see well, but he took the opportunity to slide right out of the cage!! I think that's exactly what he wants, which is why I assume he may have started doing this more and more. Should I ignore it or is he scared..?

I'm also wondering if the sleeping cage is too small to his liking since his day cage he used to sleep in is bigger. Perhaps he just needs to get used to it, or maybe a bigger cage makes him feel safer? I've heard smaller cages are better for night frights though, which hasn't happened in quite a while but still... The room is pretty dark but he has a night light as well as 2-3 toys, pellets, water and a long perch. Here is the cage in question: Vision Bird Cage Model M01, Medium: Amazon.ca: Pet Supplies

I don't know what to do at this point, not sure if there is something wrong or if he's just throwing a tantrum... S.O.S!! :lol:
 

charlieboy

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What is the reason he needs a sleep cage?
Any kind of ever so slightly flowy fabric makes him hormonal so I can't really cover him, there is no closed room or window blinds on the floor his day cage is on (I live in my mom's house) so he can't get enough darkness & quiet, and he needs 12+ hours of sleep so he doesn't become hormonal & aggressive which the day/night cycle isn't providing right now :( Once I move out I'll definitely take all that in consideration so he can sleep in his day cage lol! So much simpler, we used to do that but his hormones got the best of him (and my fingers, ouch!!)
 

saroj12

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Invest in curtains
 

charlieboy

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Invest in curtains
You mean in the spare bedroom or the room his day cage is in?

There is blinds in the spare bedroom but not where his day cage is so I could put curtains or blinds in there but I live with my mom and I doubt she'd agree but I can try convincing her.

However, there is no doors on the floor his day cage is on so he might be able to get darkness with curtains but not quiet, although I've heard silence is less important than darkness. Is that right?

We're going to the vet for his annual checkup tomorrow so I'll ask for her input as well :)
 

charlieboy

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It's been and hour since I put him to sleep and he is back to perching normally and feeling sleepy, phew! Still not ideal tho lol
 

saroj12

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You mean in the spare bedroom or the room his day cage is in?

There is blinds in the spare bedroom but not where his day cage is so I could put curtains or blinds in there but I live with my mom and I doubt she'd agree but I can try convincing her.

However, there is no doors on the floor his day cage is on so he might be able to get darkness with curtains but not quiet, although I've heard silence is less important than darkness. Is that right?

We're going to the vet for his annual checkup tomorrow so I'll ask for her input as well :)
is his day cage too big to wheel into the spare bedroom at night?
years ago I had to be in at work at 6 so I woke them up at 4 and they caught up in naps during the day
 

charlieboy

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is his day cage too big to wheel into the spare bedroom at night?
years ago I had to be in at work at 6 so I woke them up at 4 and they caught up in naps during the day
The spare bedroom is upstairs while his day cage is downstairs, and downstairs there is no closed room or curtains on the windows :( His cage is too heavy to lift up the stairs haha

Charlie does love napping fortunately so I'm not worried about him being tired even with shorter nights :) But the shorter night puts him right into hormonal mode in which he can also become pretty aggressive, territorial and screamy over towels, blankets, laundry and feet lol! :kickout:
 
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Destiny

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I would take a step back and re-introduce him to the new cage more gradually. You want it to be his sleep cage, but it sounds like Charlie isn't ready yet.

Give him the chance to get comfortable around the cage and explore it at his own pace during the day. You want it to be a good safe place where he can sleep, so forcing him inside isn't going to achieve your long-term goals, even if it solves the immediate problem. It might not just be the new cage, but also the change in routine and location.

If it was me, I would let him go back to sleeping in his usual place until he is able to go into the sleep cage more comfortably and without fear. Pushing him too hard right now will make it harder to get him to like his new cage.

Think of it like crate training a puppy. You don't lock them inside all night without warning and hope that they stop barking eventually. Or at least you shouldn't do it that way. Instead, you treat the crate like a safe den. Somewhere they can go to play with toys or eat in safety and comfort. Let them explore it and offer treats for going inside. Don't start off by locking them inside for a long time. Let them spend short amounts of time inside at first, gradually increasing the time, until they get fully adjusted.

It is much easier to build up positive associations, than it is to break down negative associations.
 

charlieboy

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I would take a step back and re-introduce him to the new cage more gradually. You want it to be his sleep cage, but it sounds like Charlie isn't ready yet.

Give him the chance to get comfortable around the cage and explore it at his own pace during the day. You want it to be a good safe place where he can sleep, so forcing him inside isn't going to achieve your long-term goals, even if it solves the immediate problem. It might not just be the new cage, but also the change in routine and location.

If it was me, I would let him go back to sleeping in his usual place until he is able to go into the sleep cage more comfortably and without fear. Pushing him too hard right now will make it harder to get him to like his new cage.

Think of it like crate training a puppy. You don't lock them inside all night without warning and hope that they stop barking eventually. Or at least you shouldn't do it that way. Instead, you treat the crate like a safe den. Somewhere they can go to play with toys or eat in safety and comfort. Let them explore it and offer treats for going inside. Don't start off by locking them inside for a long time. Let them spend short amounts of time inside at first, gradually increasing the time, until they get fully adjusted.

It is much easier to build up positive associations, than it is to break down negative associations.
Thank you for your reply! I have considered restarting from square one, and you just convinced me :)

I tried building up positive associations during the day by chilling in there with him and giving him treats, but the negative associations from the night were too strong! So I think I'll start making him sleep in his main cage again and chill for an hour or two a day with him in the spare bedroom, starting out of the cage and gradually in! I'll try to make it cozier as well. Thanks a bunch again! :heart:

Now I hope I didn't forever scar him oops... I'm new at this whole sleep cage thing, poor sweetheart :(

I'm hoping he will eventually forget the negative associations with enough time away from it and just positive associations instead?
 
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Destiny

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Something else you might try if you find he is still showing a lot of discomfort when you bring him into the spare bedroom or try to get him close to the cage, would be to temporarily move the sleep cage into the same room as his main cage.

There are a couple of reasons for trying this - for one thing, it would change the location and circumstances where he has had bad experiences with the cage. With luck, it might act as a "reset" and allow him to approach the sleep cage as a new object so you can start fresh. It also would make it easier to let him spend casual time near the cage or inside the cage during the day, which could speed up the amount of time it takes for him to get comfortable with the cage. It will also let you see if he is reacting specifically to the cage or if it is also partly the change in location that is triggering his fear.

If you do move the cage, I would still bring him into the spare bedroom for playing and chilling with treats, especially toward bedtime, when you plan on bringing him in to sleep. This will help lay the groundwork for later.

I can't offer you specific advise regarding time-line, because it will depend on Charlie, but I wouldn't worry that you have done permanent damage. He will come around eventually, it will just take a little more time. I would probably plan on letting him chill for the first week and just see how it goes from there. Leave the cage doors open and give him the option to check out the cage and go inside if he wants, but don't try to put him in or close the doors yet. If he seems interested, let him go inside at his own pace. If he seems afraid, give him more time. If he isn't showing any interest at all, sweeten the pot by putting some interesting treats or fun toys inside the cage or on top of the cage or next to the cage. If all goes well, Charlie should figure out that the sleep cage is a nice place to find good treats and he'll warm up to it on his own. You might also try feeding him his dinner in the sleep cage, so he associates going into the cage for his evening meal. That would allow a smooth transition from dinner to bedtime and might reduce some of the problems with getting him into the cage each night. Then you can start working on putting him in and taking him out of the cage during the day, while leaving the door open. And then putting him inside with a treat and closing the door for a while. Once Charlie is comfortable inside the cage with the door closed for an extended time, you could try using it as a sleep cage again and see how things go. It might be easier to do this if you have the sleep cage in the same room as his main cage, initially, so it is less of a major change from what he is used to doing at night. Of course, that means you will eventually need to move the cage back to the spare room and he might get freaked out again and need some time to adjust, especially since he could have some bad memories associated with the spare room. That's where taking him into the spare room for play sessions and positivity will be helpful.

The whole process could take several days or even weeks, so patience is key. That being said, it might not be necessary to break it up into so many different stages. Pay attention to Charlie and slow down if it looks like he is freaking out. But if he seems to be doing okay, go ahead and move forward. Some parrots are able to jump straight into a new cage or accept a change in their routine without major issues. But others will take a lot more coaxing and baby steps. I think that once Charlie gets over his fears, he is going to love his sleep cage.

Good luck!
 

charlieboy

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Something else you might try if you find he is still showing a lot of discomfort when you bring him into the spare bedroom or try to get him close to the cage, would be to temporarily move the sleep cage into the same room as his main cage.

There are a couple of reasons for trying this - for one thing, it would change the location and circumstances where he has had bad experiences with the cage. With luck, it might act as a "reset" and allow him to approach the sleep cage as a new object so you can start fresh. It also would make it easier to let him spend casual time near the cage or inside the cage during the day, which could speed up the amount of time it takes for him to get comfortable with the cage. It will also let you see if he is reacting specifically to the cage or if it is also partly the change in location that is triggering his fear.

If you do move the cage, I would still bring him into the spare bedroom for playing and chilling with treats, especially toward bedtime, when you plan on bringing him in to sleep. This will help lay the groundwork for later.

I can't offer you specific advise regarding time-line, because it will depend on Charlie, but I wouldn't worry that you have done permanent damage. He will come around eventually, it will just take a little more time. I would probably plan on letting him chill for the first week and just see how it goes from there. Leave the cage doors open and give him the option to check out the cage and go inside if he wants, but don't try to put him in or close the doors yet. If he seems interested, let him go inside at his own pace. If he seems afraid, give him more time. If he isn't showing any interest at all, sweeten the pot by putting some interesting treats or fun toys inside the cage or on top of the cage or next to the cage. If all goes well, Charlie should figure out that the sleep cage is a nice place to find good treats and he'll warm up to it on his own. You might also try feeding him his dinner in the sleep cage, so he associates going into the cage for his evening meal. That would allow a smooth transition from dinner to bedtime and might reduce some of the problems with getting him into the cage each night. Then you can start working on putting him in and taking him out of the cage during the day, while leaving the door open. And then putting him inside with a treat and closing the door for a while. Once Charlie is comfortable inside the cage with the door closed for an extended time, you could try using it as a sleep cage again and see how things go. It might be easier to do this if you have the sleep cage in the same room as his main cage, initially, so it is less of a major change from what he is used to doing at night. Of course, that means you will eventually need to move the cage back to the spare room and he might get freaked out again and need some time to adjust, especially since he could have some bad memories associated with the spare room. That's where taking him into the spare room for play sessions and positivity will be helpful.

The whole process could take several days or even weeks, so patience is key. That being said, it might not be necessary to break it up into so many different stages. Pay attention to Charlie and slow down if it looks like he is freaking out. But if he seems to be doing okay, go ahead and move forward. Some parrots are able to jump straight into a new cage or accept a change in their routine without major issues. But others will take a lot more coaxing and baby steps. I think that once Charlie gets over his fears, he is going to love his sleep cage.

Good luck!
Thank you so much for your detailed advice, it means a lot!!

Just came back from the vet with Charlie for his annual checkup, he is super healthy yay!
She also gave me pretty much the same advice as you for the sleep cage transition; I'll follow it for sure!
Like you said, patience is key :)

Thanks again and have a wonderful day! :heart:
 
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