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Female Eclectus 'Calling/Yelling' Vet Advice Not Helping.. Advice...?

Barnaby Rose

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Hi guys... So I'm back again with another problem (typical I know), this time it has nothing to do with my new lil baby Oliver, this is concerning my 2-3 year old Female Eclectus, Emma.

So basically here is what's happening. Emma has ALWAYS been a very quiet, very calm and reserved girl, who yes occasionally makes noises or calls like ANY bird would.. and yes she talks a little and whistles, but mostly just hangs out on her trees and plays or eats and forages and etc.
now over the last few days, maybe about a week actually in total, she has been really, I mean REALLY loud. Literally out of nowhere, she is doing these excruciatingly shrill and high pitched 'screams', and the reason I put 'calls' in the title is because it literally seems like she is 'calling to me'. They're not constant consistent volume screaming or etc, it's like sporadic, VERY shrill 'yoldles' almost..?
So here's what I know: nothing in her diet or eating habits has changed, she doesn't have an issue with Oliver or attention or etc as we have done EVERYTHING right as far as that goes... (ask me if you want, don't want to go into all that again if not), and I am starting to think that it is just her bratty 'terrible twos' type thing going on and it's 'normal'.
Now here is what the vet has told me to do, and again this is a DIFFERENT VET, and if it isn't right, please don't take it out on me as that's the exact reason I am asking. I was told that when she gets into a little screaming fit, to calmly place her into her cage, cover it, tell her 'quiet time, quiet time', give her a treat and let her sit there for 10-15 minutes or until absolutely silent (which she is EVERY SINGLE TIME by the way..) then let her right back out and praise her and cuddle her, put her back on her perch and give her another treat to show her that is what I'm praising, and repeat as necessary.
Sounds good in theory, here's the thing - it isn't working. At all. Every single time I put her up she is silent, but literally every single time I bring her back out, no matter what, she reverts right back to screaming. She isn't hungry, she isn't pissed or jealous, and the only thing she wants is me in the room with her, which I know is encouraging her to scream right, so I haven't been giving in at all.
If you need any further info don't hesitate at all to ask, I really need some help!
Let me know what you think, thanks again for reading,

B
 

Mizzely

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Sounds like she wants to be with you, and is "contact calling" because you are clearly lost and need help getting back to her. That's how she would communicate with a bird in the wild!

Is she flighted? Are there places in each room that you go to that she is allowed to be (designated "bird zones")?
 

Barnaby Rose

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Sounds like she wants to be with you, and is "contact calling" because you are clearly lost and need help getting back to her. That's how she would communicate with a bird in the wild!

Is she flighted? Are there places in each room that you go to that she is allowed to be (designated "bird zones")?
Mizzely... I think you're right I think that's exactly what's happening.. the problem is I don't know how to fix it - she is not flighted, technically, I mean that she isn't clipped right now in the sense that she was clipped when I brought her home, I have never had her clipped since and she is a huge perch potato in that she never moves really (lol) and seems real happy like that.. she was undoubtedly never properly fledged. As far as the 'bird zones', I actually have an entire room (pretty big room at that too) designated as the 'bird room', and they are allowed to be anywhere within reason in that room... but unfortunately my dog is not exactly what you would call 'bird friendly', therefore I do not feel comfortable having the birds out in the open unless my pup is gone or locked up someplace which quite frankly, isn't that often. Keep in mind I have had Emma for almost 2 years now and this has NEVER been a problem before - what do you think?
B
 

Mizzely

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Okay, I understand your set up more now :)

I do think it is contact calling :) Have you tried to make a noise back to her that is more acceptable? For instance, when she screams can you do a short whistle or "hi pretty girl!" or something? Gizmo was very attached to me as well and I had good luck with that. We just simply said, "boop!" back and forth for the most part.

Another thing that helped was having white noise and a radio on in the bird room. It made it so she couldn't hear every sound I made so she didn't feel the need to help me back to the room.

And as silly as it sounds, when you leave the room, give her a reasonable estimate of when you will be back. I would tell Gizmo, "I'll be RIGHT back" if I would only be gone for a a few minutes. If I had to leave for longer, I'd say, "Hey pretty girl, I have to go for now, but I will be back LATER" (notice emphasis on the key words I used). They understand SO much more than we give them credit for. The first few times you say it, they might not get it. But they will make the connection.

Bottom line, think of ways to cater to her without completely sacrificing your sanity and remember that this is a bird being a bird. :)
 

Barnaby Rose

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Okay, I understand your set up more now :)

I do think it is contact calling :) Have you tried to make a noise back to her that is more acceptable? For instance, when she screams can you do a short whistle or "hi pretty girl!" or something? Gizmo was very attached to me as well and I had good luck with that. We just simply said, "boop!" back and forth for the most part.

Another thing that helped was having white noise and a radio on in the bird room. It made it so she couldn't hear every sound I made so she didn't feel the need to help me back to the room.

And as silly as it sounds, when you leave the room, give her a reasonable estimate of when you will be back. I would tell Gizmo, "I'll be RIGHT back" if I would only be gone for a a few minutes. If I had to leave for longer, I'd say, "Hey pretty girl, I have to go for now, but I will be back LATER" (notice emphasis on the key words I used). They understand SO much more than we give them credit for. The first few times you say it, they might not get it. But they will make the connection.

Bottom line, think of ways to cater to her without completely sacrificing your sanity and remember that this is a bird being a bird. :)
You know what no i haven't and that seems like an awesome idea.. I do try and communicate with the birds as much as I can and I think you're right I do think they understand a lot more than we realize... also I do have a radio on in the room and what's weird is that I feel that in the morning time, when they're eating and etc, it does help.. but then I almost think that after that when she is being very loud that it may actually hurt - in that it seems she is actually trying to be heard OVER the radio? I could be wrong but that's what it seems like to me... what species of bird is Gizmo?
 

Mizzely

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Definitely try to turn down the radio after breakfast and see if that helps. Or even try a different station :p

Gizmo is a Hahns Macaw. Sadly she passed away July 2014 so she isn't with me anymore.
 

Diesel13

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The advice your vet gave you is a form of punishment that is actually reinforcing the screaming. Whenever she screams you pick her up and put her in her cage, therefor she learns that screaming makes you go to her. It doesn't really matter what happens after you go to her, all that matters is that her contact calling got you to come to her. I'd recommend completely disregarding what your vet told you since not only is it reinforcing the behavior it is also making the cage a bad place.

First, you need to try and avoid the screaming by keeping her occupied. Make sure she has interesting toys and foraging stations at her play areas. Second, you must reward the behaviors you want her to do. If she makes an acceptable noise or sound INSTANTLY give her your attention and walk up to her (even give her a treat). Be consistent with this and she may learn to use that noise to contact you. Also, reward her when she's playing independently. For example, 30 secs of independent play go up and give her attention, then 1 min of play give attention, 5 mins of play, so on and so on.
 

Barnaby Rose

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The advice your vet gave you is a form of punishment that is actually reinforcing the screaming. Whenever she screams you pick her up and put her in her cage, therefor she learns that screaming makes you go to her. It doesn't really matter what happens after you go to her, all that matters is that her contact calling got you to come to her. I'd recommend completely disregarding what your vet told you since not only is it reinforcing the behavior it is also making the cage a bad place.

First, you need to try and avoid the screaming by keeping her occupied. Make sure she has interesting toys and foraging stations at her play areas. Second, you must reward the behaviors you want her to do. If she makes an acceptable noise or sound INSTANTLY give her your attention and walk up to her (even give her a treat). Be consistent with this and she may learn to use that noise to contact you. Also, reward her when she's playing independently. For example, 30 secs of independent play go up and give her attention, then 1 min of play give attention, 5 mins of play, so on and so on.
I had wondered for the last few days as a matter of fact if the 'quiet time' was hurting more than helping... that makes a lot of sense. I have been reinforcing better noises, and she definitely doesn't play much.. but when she does I do make a big deal of her and give her some treats and attention and etc, it just hasn't taken any effect on the screaming yet so obviously it's a longer process.
Do you think that Oliver (the baby grey) being in the room is playing a factor? I didn't, but the more I consider it as a 'contact call' it does seem like it could be.
B
 

mstomcat65

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Okay, I understand your set up more now :)

I do think it is contact calling :) Have you tried to make a noise back to her that is more acceptable? For instance, when she screams can you do a short whistle or "hi pretty girl!" or something? Gizmo was very attached to me as well and I had good luck with that. We just simply said, "boop!" back and forth for the most part.

Another thing that helped was having white noise and a radio on in the bird room. It made it so she couldn't hear every sound I made so she didn't feel the need to help me back to the room.

And as silly as it sounds, when you leave the room, give her a reasonable estimate of when you will be back. I would tell Gizmo, "I'll be RIGHT back" if I would only be gone for a a few minutes. If I had to leave for longer, I'd say, "Hey pretty girl, I have to go for now, but I will be back LATER" (notice emphasis on the key words I used). They understand SO much more than we give them credit for. The first few times you say it, they might not get it. But they will make the connection.

Bottom line, think of ways to cater to her without completely sacrificing your sanity and remember that this is a bird being a bird. :)


I thought I was the only one telling my gizmo when I would be back lol. I tell him i'm taking the dog out and i'll be back after I do that. I tell him i'm going to make some lunch etc. I agree it sounds like contact calling to me also. I have been working with gizmo to talk when he wants my attention instead of screaming/yelling. I don't think it will happen over night by any chance but he is slowly making the connection. He will say "come here, step up" when he wants me to come and get him.
 

JessieW

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Great advice everyone! I also agree that your vet may have been slightly off. As my linnies don't seem to care one way or the other if I leave because they have each other, Rebel does not like it. So when I uncover her in the mornings if I have to go to work I tell her later sweetie I hasta work. Of course when I get home she is the first one that gets out. It is how I got her to stop trying to escape from her cage. just telling her whats up. I also offer to take her when I shower so it is up to her. she doesn't like to shower with me but she now has a little perch to sit on so she can be near, and as I shut the door when I'm in there and any other harmful things(like toilet lids) she has nothing that she can get to that would hurt her. I talk to her like a 3yr old half the time lol
 

finchly

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My daughter asked (when she got her 1st dog) If I talk to mine. I said my animals know everything, I talk to them about everything!

Yes, in baby talk :)
 

Jobot

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I agree with some of the others. You may have been inadvertently reinforcing this behavior. You may have to tough out some screaming as your parrot adjusts. It will likely get worse before it gets better, at least it did for my bird. My bird contact calls a lot, but is better than he was before. He used to work himself into a lather and start out contact calling, and just work into "screaming" and throwing a fit. He likes to be notified of all partings, especially if I'm going to be gone for a while. When I leave the room, I give him a cue like, "be right back!" When I'm leaving for a while I say, "Be good, Flynn!" and don't make a fuss when I leave. Most of the time, he's cool with it. We're still working on a more appropriate contact call, but he does expect some kind of response. If he screams for attention, I ignore him until he quiets down, and then I lavish him with attention and treats. But I try not to reinforce really loud calling in any way. He catches on really fast, the key is consistency.
 

Danita

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@Barnaby Rose if you continue to need help, I am friends with a woman who runs a closed small FB group for Ekkies, she is amazing and all the members are friendly and helpful.
Let me know and I will see if I can get you in.
 

Monica

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Does she have foraging toys?

Can you have her foraging for her breakfast rather than eating it out of a bowl?

What about teaching her new behaviors?

You say she's a "perch potato". Any chance of teaching her to fly?

Maybe additional baths could help?



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Lodah

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I talk to gizmo like I talked to my 3 or 4 year Olds when they were young lol I think my hubby thinks I'm nuts!
My wife has had me committed 3 times already! :lol:She thinks I'm wacko for talking to Pilo the way I do! :eek: But it gets her laughing, so I don't mind at all, and Pilo LOVES IT!:xflove:
 
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