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Annelouise

Checking out the neighborhood
Joined
12/23/20
Messages
2
Hey, wanted to post as I am at a complete loss at the moment. I recently brought home a rescue dusky headed conure, I was aware he had some behavioural issues but the previous owner definitely left a few things out. He is around 14 years old.

So there is the biting, now i was told he did give warning bites but this wasn't a regular occurrence. He actually bites very often and pretty hard sometimes, I have noticed if feeding by hand, he will often eat for a bit then turn around and bite out of nowhere, again, he will come to have his head scratched and then out of nowhere bite. I keep looking for it but it seems so sudden, I can't pin it down to whether this is to do with hormonal behaviour or could be something else. I have tried my best to not react to these bites, another method was just to say no firmly. If he bites, I instantly remove him from me as not always possible to get him back to his cage.
Dye to being unsure whether this could be an hormonal issue, I tend to not let him burrow in places, he did RIP some toilet roll up which has now been removed, I also gently but firmly remove him from me if he regurgitates on me. I make sure he gets 12 to 14 hrs darkness and sleep which is not a problem.i have noticed he doesn't ever nap during the day though. Sometimes I think he is just highly anxious and was quite neglected by his last owner so it is understandable but this is where it leads onto my next problem which is the screaming.

He generally does most of his screaming when you are leaving the room but sometimes it doesn't appear to be for any reason in particular other than me not being with him. I have tried ignoring this,telling him to be quiet calmly but firmly, making quiet noises back and praising when he is quiet which has maybe calmed it a bit. I mainly just wanted to check if there was anything different I could be doing that could help and basically how to improve his life because he can't be happy in this state

He gets a full seed mix which I'm not sure whether I should mix up a bit and maybe only allow fresh veg in the morn due to possible hormonal issues and behaviour, I also give him fruit and fresh water every day generally.

He also doesn't seem to bathe which is a cause for concern for me. I have tried misting him but he can get quite antsy and I don't want this to damage the bit of trust I have built with him.

I try to spend at least a few hrs with him a day giving him regular bursts of one on one interaction and also just letting him relax and play.
I've even bought some pet rescue remedy that I am waiting on and play calming music in the hope things will calm.
Basically would really appreciate some advice! Haha
 

Fuzzy

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:welcome2: Annelouise! What a lovely thing to do to take on a rescue/rehome. What's his name? It sounds like you are doing well with him already.

Instead of trying to address the behaviour (biting) after it occurs, try to avoid it in the first place. I know he gives no warning, but you have done a good job in identifying roughly when he bites and in what situation. So use that information. If he is likely to bite, say after 3 seconds of feeding/skritching etc, stop feeding/skritching at 2 seconds. Then gradually build up the time always taking your hand away before he even thinks of biting. That way he stops pairing those activities with the unwanted behaviour. Because he is new, you want to be pairing yourself with as many good experiences as possible, not aversives/punishment.

It's great that reinforcing quiet noises or other more acceptable behaviour rather than the screaming is working. That's absolutely the way to go. If he is screaming when you are leaving the room, it may be a contact call or even separation anxiety from what you say, in which case it is a good idea to answer him each time. But see if you can get him to change the screaming contact call to a more acceptable sound.

For example, you could practice getting up and leaving the room whilst he's making the quiet noises. That is way too big a step initially, so break it down into tiny manageable steps or approximations, and heavily reinforce his quiet sounds on each of those approximations. If it is you he wants, use that as a reinforcer. Go right up to him to reinforce those more acceptable sounds. So it might go something like this: You take a step away, he makes a quiet sound which you answer and go right up to his cage to reinforce. Then take two steps away, he makes a quiet sound which you answer and go right up to his cage to reinforce... etc etc until you can reach the door, then disappear for a moment behind the door etc. all the time rushing back to reinforce the quiet sounds. Gradually you can put the new behaviour on an intermittent schedule of reinforcement ie. you don't rush back every time, but keep answering from out of the room to make him feel secure.

As for bathing - would he be interested in a wide shallow bowl on the bottom of his cage? Re the misting, try spraying a very fine mist straight into the air and let the mist fall back on him, hardly wetting him to begin with. If you don't want to be associated with it, try turning your back and spraying into the air behind you. Gradually as he gets used to it, you can switch to misting directly. Also try running the vacuum cleaner to get him into the mood.
 

Annelouise

Checking out the neighborhood
Joined
12/23/20
Messages
2
Hey and thank you for the advice, shall deffo give these techniques a go. His name is mojo and he is a lovely boy but he really can be quite a handful at times. Hoping that with persistence and continuity, some of the issues shall be calmed.
 
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