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Do you have a bird that hates you? How do you deal?

Xoetix

Jogging around the block
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Southern VA, US
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Meghan
Goose, the Kakariki, abhors my very existence.

I now cannot even enter the room without him having a freak out. Same with everyone in my household. He’s just miserable here.

I’m reaching out to a few people who have an aviary, or at the very least are experienced in dealing with fully hands-off birds - this is out of my wheelhouse, and knowing that a bird can stress itself to death, I’m so worried about him giving himself a heart attack. I would rather he go to someone with a large aviary where he can fly away from people as needed, without the confines of a cage, than be here and in a constant state of anxiety.

In the meantime, what can I do to limit the amount of stress for him?
 

scrape

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Well, I'll tell you right now he doesn't hate you. He is scared of you. That is completely different from hate.

You need to start the process of desensitization. I would recommend a cover on most of the cage to help him feel safer. Give him big toys to hide behind, like a seagrass mat. Play some calming music, or chatter of his, or other, species.

Dying from stress is not common in birds, particularly not in birds that aren't elderly.
 

Mizzely

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Yes.

People will tell you birds can't hate and maybe they can't. However, my quaker, who I raised from 3 months old, started to "hate" me. We got to a common ground after a lot of work and had something akin to peace for a bit. But then he started to scream 8-12 hours a day, and then after years of dealing with that, he started to attack me. I would be in the kitchen through two doorways and he would fly off his cage to peck at my head and face. One day I was huddled under my dining room table trying to evade him while my kid was screaming in the next room, terrified.

He lives with my mother in law now. And he can't be out when I am around because he will still attack me on sight. I have no idea what I did to that bird to elicit such a response.
 

flyzipper

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How long has Goose been with you and what do you know about his background?
Where is his room? Is it isolated so that your arrival would be a surprise, or is it central so he can watch and become accustomed to your movements and approach?
What is your response when he freaks out? Withdrawing to a distance where his body language calms will demonstrate that you understand what he's communicating to you.
 

Shezbug

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Birdie certainly is not my biggest fan in the bird world but we make it work so he gets what he needs and I do not get bitten even though he tries multiple times daily lol.

I do not believe I am hated by him but it is very very clear he would rather I was not his main human contact, I am sure he still misses the person who had him for 13-14 years and would rather be with him.
We have found a common trust and respect for each other and I now just view his attempts to get me as a way to keep my mind on the task at hand and it means I can also easily encourage more movement and interaction which brings out more personality every day- we have worked up to a short session of neck or head rubs being tolerated each day and as long as I do not stuff about too long I can check his preening gland (previously had a blockage) without too much hassle. I have learned to safely do his nail filing while he is happily hanging on the cage as he can't grab me through the wire, he will let me do it without the wire in between then give no warning and bite so it is best to do it from the other side and not encourage the poor interaction lol

If you can work with your bird and learn to understand him it may help you both to move forward.
I have taught my son how to stop Squeak freaking out when he approaches the cage and my son was able to teach his friend who recently visited, it was their direct determined approach which was freaking Squeak out- it honestly is very helpful to be able to show them that you are listening and willing to learn them.
 

Mizzely

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I would like to add on to my previous post because I feel that I have done you and your bird a disservice.

Yes, I had a bad situation that I tried to work through for 7+ years and it ended up that rehoming was the best option for us.

However, there is a huge gap between being afraid of you and seeking you out to attack you, and inbetween there are several shades of beautiful harmony.

I took on a Hahns who was afraid of everything and helped her work through her fears and she was my best bird friend ever. I couldn't touch her with my hands, but we had a wonderful relationship that I was lucky to experience.

I had an untame, fully hands off quaker that was not interested in being my friend, but he was happy to be part of the flock, and as long as he had yummy food and toys to chew, he was willing to share space with me.

Having a bird companion rarely looks like it does on Instagram. They are not pets as much as they are roommates; we have to learn their boundaries and likes and dislikes, just as they try to learn ours, and all while speaking different languages. It is about finding common ground on which you are both happy, about helping them to be healthy and confident while tempering our own wishes.

I do not know how long you have had this bird, but do not give up because they are fearful right now. There are so many ways to earn their trust, and in my experience, the first step is to stop trying so hard. However, if you do not feel that you are up to the challenge, there is wisdom in that too.
 

Xoetix

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Well, I'll tell you right now he doesn't hate you. He is scared of you. That is completely different from hate.

You need to start the process of desensitization. I would recommend a cover on most of the cage to help him feel safer. Give him big toys to hide behind, like a seagrass mat. Play some calming music, or chatter of his, or other, species.

Dying from stress is not common in birds, particularly not in birds that aren't elderly.
He does have a cover on the back half of the cage down around to the lower quarter where I have clipped it together. Think of a cage wearing a Snuggie basically. He does have large toys but he does not seem to hide behind them at all, and I usually have a radio on if I’m not around and talking to him.
 

Xoetix

Jogging around the block
Joined
6/12/22
Messages
714
Location
Southern VA, US
Real Name
Meghan
Yes.

People will tell you birds can't hate and maybe they can't. However, my quaker, who I raised from 3 months old, started to "hate" me. We got to a common ground after a lot of work and had something akin to peace for a bit. But then he started to scream 8-12 hours a day, and then after years of dealing with that, he started to attack me. I would be in the kitchen through two doorways and he would fly off his cage to peck at my head and face. One day I was huddled under my dining room table trying to evade him while my kid was screaming in the next room, terrified.

He lives with my mother in law now. And he can't be out when I am around because he will still attack me on sight. I have no idea what I did to that bird to elicit such a response.
That actually sounds a little bit terrifying. With this one, I’ve had him for a little over two weeks now, And he seems to go on the offense every time he can even hear me talking.

Edit - apparently more time has past than I thought, it’s been a little over 3 weeks now.
 
Last edited:

Xoetix

Jogging around the block
Joined
6/12/22
Messages
714
Location
Southern VA, US
Real Name
Meghan
How long has Goose been with you and what do you know about his background?
Where is his room? Is it isolated so that your arrival would be a surprise, or is it central so he can watch and become accustomed to your movements and approach?
What is your response when he freaks out? Withdrawing to a distance where his body language calms will demonstrate that you understand what he's communicating to you.
I’ve had them for a few weeks now, I know as far as his background goes that he was mostly ignored and so doesn’t have a whole lot of human interaction beyond being fed and watered. His room is in an open area where he can see and hear people talking regularly to make sure that he’s not snuck up on. When I enter the room as opposed to just walk past it, he immediately starts screaming and flops around his cage with a great deal of force. If I get close enough to the cage he starts trying to reach through with feet and beak in order to grab invite. I initially thought he was reaching through with his feet in a motion to get me to come closer to be able to interact, but I was definitely wrong. It is specifically to bite. When I see him get overly worked up like that, I will back off, or at least try to, until he calms down again.
 

Xoetix

Jogging around the block
Joined
6/12/22
Messages
714
Location
Southern VA, US
Real Name
Meghan
I would like to add on to my previous post because I feel that I have done you and your bird a disservice.

Yes, I had a bad situation that I tried to work through for 7+ years and it ended up that rehoming was the best option for us.

However, there is a huge gap between being afraid of you and seeking you out to attack you, and inbetween there are several shades of beautiful harmony.

I took on a Hahns who was afraid of everything and helped her work through her fears and she was my best bird friend ever. I couldn't touch her with my hands, but we had a wonderful relationship that I was lucky to experience.

I had an untame, fully hands off quaker that was not interested in being my friend, but he was happy to be part of the flock, and as long as he had yummy food and toys to chew, he was willing to share space with me.

Having a bird companion rarely looks like it does on Instagram. They are not pets as much as they are roommates; we have to learn their boundaries and likes and dislikes, just as they try to learn ours, and all while speaking different languages. It is about finding common ground on which you are both happy, about helping them to be healthy and confident while tempering our own wishes.

I do not know how long you have had this bird, but do not give up because they are fearful right now. There are so many ways to earn their trust, and in my experience, the first step is to stop trying so hard. However, if you do not feel that you are up to the challenge, there is wisdom in that too.
I really think that if given the opportunity he probably would seek me out to attack me. It’s gotten to a point where before I could reach in and change out food and water and he would just be at the opposite end of the cage to get as much distance between us as he could, but now it is at a point where if I am coming anywhere near the cage he is trying to Reach through and grab me to bite. And if I do manage to get my hand inside the cage he is in full attack mode. I’ve opened up the door and left him alone to try and see if he will come out on his own, and he will come about half way out but if he can hear me talking from another room then he will stand at the door of the cage and scream. I’ve learned that when he does that, if I look in on him he immediately jumps back into the cage and becomes super defensive of his place it seems.

I’m just afraid he’s going to hurt himself, the way he goes into freak out mode every time I walk into the room.
 
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