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Discipline/punishment. Just bad advice.

Fuzzy

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I agree, my bird screams, but I ignore it. But lately she keeps getting angry and biting me. I can’t figure out what she’s upset about. I put her in time outs but just in her cage, I don’t cover it. But she’s still doing it. What would you do?
Time Outs have to be instant to work properly. By the time you get her to step up on you or a perch, carry her over to the cage, put her in, etc the moment is gone. She will have forgotten why she's being put back in the cage. Plus there is loads to do in a cage - reinforcing if she wants to go back into the cage! If you are visibly angry with her, that will confuse the matter further... your reaction may even be a reinforcing consequence for more biting in the future. Time outs also have to be very brief. After a brief TO then she needs to come out again and be given the opportunity to do the "right" behaviour. A long TO is not teaching the bird anything.

I don't know in what context she is biting you. Ask yourself what you are doing to get a biting response from her? If your hand or whatever wasn't there, she wouldn't bite it. Watch her body language carefully and don't touch her if she is showing body language that isn't relaxed. Do all you can to avoid a bite. Make it highly reinforcing for her to do whatever it is you are asking of her. If she is biting because she is getting over excited, slow everything down when you see her getting wound up. "Over excitement" can easily spill over into "aggression".
 

JLcribber

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I agree, my bird screams, but I ignore it. But lately she keeps getting angry and biting me. I can’t figure out what she’s upset about. I put her in time outs but just in her cage, I don’t cover it. But she’s still doing it. What would you do?

Punishment doesn't work for anyone but the human. Please read this AGAIN.
Discipline/punishment. Just bad advice. | Avian Avenue Parrot Forum

See what you recognize about yourself after reading this.
RP - Screaming
 

WhteRnbwBirdie

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And, ok, furthermore ~ If it's not acceptable to physically strike your bird or your partner or your dog/cat etc. etc. ~ It is Not Acceptable to physically strike your own child, or anyone else's child. -I Just really NEEDED to throw that out there. Feel better now :)
 

Alien J

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See what you recognize about yourself after reading this.
RP - Screaming
I don't have a screaming problem with TD, but wanted to thank you for this link. It applies to any behavior you don't particularly want your bird to do. As with all animals, and children for that matter, consistency is the key to success...and one of the hardest things for this human!
 

Monica

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I honestly wish Rational Parrot would finish writing some articles, but they are busy with cats now-a-days from what I can see.... show cats specifically lol
 

Begone2

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This isn't about biting or screaming. I hope this is the right thread to bring this up. I have an Illiger's macaw that is just coming up to his first birthday. He has been with me for six months. From the start I didn't confine him to his cage. He only goes there for his food and water. He has a series of stands and has a lot of fun flying between them. He is a very agile flyer, more so than any other macaw I have known, and really enjoys his freedom. He is not a "velcro" bird, showing a degree of independence, but if I move to another room, he follows me around, and doesn't like to be left in a room on his own. He flies to me regularly when he feels like it, and enjoys long periods of cuddles. I thought that this freedom would allow his personality to evolve.

However he also enjoys chewing and playing with toys. He is naturally curious. I bird-proofed the main room we spend most time in, as best as I could. Electric cables were minimised, those that were necessary being put behind stout ducting. He received new soft wooden chew toys every week. However I live in a "period" house, with lots of pine features. He found that he could chew the wooden rails set into the walls that were used to hang pictures. A mirrored door with brass beading was soon a target. Before he could cause too much damage, we both moved into a more basic room, but he has found more items there that he can damage.

He is quite obedient. He steps up to command. If he is doing something he shouldn't, I just have to say "No" sharply and he stops. I avoid dramas, shouting or open displays of anger. I am retired, and spend most of each day with him. But I cannot be with him all the time. I don't want to see more of my house damaged, and I don't want to confine him to his cage. I am considering clipping his wings. I know this is controversial, and has supporters and detractors. If he is limited to his cage and stands, with ladders enabling him to pass between them when I am not there, this could well be a solution. I have had macaws in the past, none of which have been as destructive as this one. I would be interested in hearing your views. Thanks.
 

Monica

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Bob, it sounds like your Illy has a great setup. Tons of things to do, places to move, etc.

The main thing that sticks out to me is telling him "No". How often do you tell him "Yes"? Yes, I want you chewing on this? Yes, I want you foraging? Yes, I want you playing with that? Or perhaps, "No, I don't want you to chew on this, but you can play with that!"?
 

Begone2

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Monica. Thanks for your comment. I positively enforce many of the things he does. There are many occasions when I encourage him to do things. I am aware that my responses to him must not always be negative. However your comment does not address the problem that I have outlined. Saying yes to the right things does not stop him wrecking my house when I am not there. I am hoping this is a "delinquent" phase that he is passing through as part of his growing up, where he regards his environment in my home as a large tree to be explored and dismantled as part of his fun. Clipping his wings would limit his exploration capabilities, but still give him a degree of freedom outside his cage. I had a Yellow Collared macaw some years ago in the same house who was a mature bird, and he did no damage at all, as he was already set in his ways. I will repeat my question. What are the pros and cons of wing-clipping please?
 

fashionfobie

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@B0B Don't clip him. This will not reduce his chewing. Flight is a great way to burn excess energy and it is VERY important to his health. If you clip him he will probably chew even more, and he will have more energy to get into mischief. It is common for macaws to damage any and all wood, you shouldn't compare him to a past bird. He will be who he is.

I really think the better option is to get a large macaw aviary for him to spend time in when you need to be away or can't supervise. He will be a bird. You can't control that. Disabling him would make life easier for you, but that is not a bird friendly move. The only "pro" to bird clipping is special cases under veterinary suggestion...an injury, neurological problem etc.. There is NEVER a 'pro' clipping a healthy bird... there are only CONS.
 
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Begone2

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Natalie. Thanks - this is what I need to hear. I am not convinced about clipping. Our weather here (Scotland) is still a bit too cold to put him outside just yet, but hopefully that should change in a few weeks, or a month at most. The house has a spacious balcony which I can enclose with wire mesh. This will make an excellent aviary. He spends a lot of time at the window eagerly eyeing that space. I'm sure he knows it is for him eventually. In the meantime I can further birdproof the room we spend time in. That will limit further damage and preserve his freedom of flight. Good advice.
 

MauiWendy

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Dogs are domesticated, birds are not. But both have natural instincts. You would not handle a wolf as you would a German Shepherd or a Doberman. If that is the case why would anyone handle a bird the same way as they would a dog. That just doesn't make any sense. Most dogs breeds were bred to do a job. Most people acquire a dog as a puppy because they lead with their heart (human nature and puppies sure are cute) I like the beagle comment because, beagle puppies are adorable, but most owners have no idea what this breed was bred for, hunting. After the puppy reaches maturity and starts exhibiting the vocals that beagle were bred to have, there is regret. Same goes for Australian Shepherds, owners don't understand why these dogs are running circles around them and nipping at their children's feet and yet these dogs have an incredible amount of energy needed for the job that they were bred to do, heard. Birds are birds, they are not bred to do a job. But they come in all different sizes and have different abilities, such a talking. If my bird is acting out or biting, its better to just put the bird down and walk away. If you scream at it, all that does is reinforce screaming. I think in my opinion, its better to get to know what you are getting yourself in to before purchasing any animal. Its our responsibility to learn the good and the bad, to know our limitations, so we are able to make good educated decision.
 

JLcribber

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I am considering clipping his wings. I know this is controversial, and has supporters and detractors. If he is limited to his cage and stands, with ladders enabling him to pass between them when I am not there, this could well be a solution.

You've done all this hard work to provide a great life and environment. Why would you want to handicap your bird when the very simple solution to your problem is "barriers". You done so much to adapt your home already. Some simple cage panels/screen/curtains/mesh or any other way you can think of to create a "safe zone" for when you aren't there. Consider it just a big cage (with his unlocked cage in it). It's all about environment my friend. Always is.
 

tka

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If you're in the UK, these people are fantastic: Home

They do custom cages and aviaries so you could email them and work out a design together. They also sell ready-made panels.
 

Begone

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If he is limited to his cage and stands, with ladders enabling him to pass between them when I am not there,
If he is limited he will be a very needy, screaming and unhappy parrot. Trust me, you don't want to do that to him.

I managed to make my parrots only chew on their toys. But they have lots of them. Some on the floor to so they never will be interested to chewing on cables e.t.c

I'm only using positive reinforcement, and if it happens that they are on place I don't want them on I often just leave the room and they will follow me. If they steal something that I don't want them to have I just make a switch and give them something better.
 

Begone2

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I attach a photo of the damage done to the decorative lead beading on a cupboard. Lead is toxic, and everyone will agree that I must restrict his access to this metal. However I admit I panicked. I am very grateful for the views and advice of this forum. There are other options to wing clipping and l'm glad they were pointed out. The cupboard doors with this glass have now simply been draped with towels. He can't get to them now. A pine door frame and picture have also been draped, preventing any more damage to them. I have a spare bedroom. It doesn't have anything in there that he can damage. I will store the bed and convert the space into a bird room. It will all be for him and his stands and toys. Any future potential visitors who want to stay in my home will politely be referred to the local hotel. My macaw's well-being is more important. Today he seemed to know his flight feathers were safe, and enjoyed his ability to fly. He also made lots of contented noises. Thanks again.
 

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fashionfobie

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@B0B gorgeous flight photos. There is a section in the forum called 'Shutterbug' it would be lovely to share more of your flight images.
 

JLcribber

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Outstanding. :)
 
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