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Friendly but doesn't accept treats

Jaestring

Checking out the neighborhood
Joined
7/1/22
Messages
4
Our Sun Conure is a little over a year old now. He was hand raised and as a result is very friendly with my fiance and I. He loves to sit on shoulders and climbs all over us and enjoys cuddles (we jokingly call him our Velcro bird cause when he's out of the cage he wants to be with us). He's a little nippy at times (especially when it's time to go back in the cage) and loves to chew on clothes but all things considered he's well behaved.

However, training isn't going well. To be honest, it isn't going at all. He won't take treats. I give him something, he just drops it. We feed him a pellet and veggie diet so seeds as a treat seem great, but he's not interested. It even takes him an entire week to get through a whole sprig of millet when I give it to him.

I got a clicker to try, but I can't reinforce click=good because he doesn't want to take treats when I click.

Toys? In his cage - loves them. Can play with them for ages. Outside of his cage? A distraction for a few short minutes, then he wants to sit on our shoulders again. Definitely not enough of a draw to use as a reward for training.

He's not interested in human food either. He kind of likes noodles, but he'll only eat a tiny amount before going back to ignoring it. Probably a blessing since human food is too high in fat and carbs for him, but still.

One new suggestion I'm trying is to remove the one item I know he likes because it's always gone from his food first - the banana shaped pellets. I'll see if removing those from his diet for a few days then reintroducing them as treats will work. I'm not holding out a lot of hope. It's also a LOT of work to sort pellets by hand.

I also saw a suggestion of feeding smaller meals twice a day instead on leaving food in his cage all day, but I'm worried he might not get enough food (especially veggies) if he doesn't take to it. He's a picky eater through and through.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
 

Shezbug

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Once you know your birds favorite food you stop free feeding it and use it as rewards. Many people have better luck training before the breakfast meal or other times the bird is hungry (not starving obviously).
Are you leaving veggies available all day? It kind of sounds to me like you may be so I just wanted to make sure if you are that they are being refreshed frequently enough to avoid them spoiling.
 

Jaestring

Checking out the neighborhood
Joined
7/1/22
Messages
4
I'll give early training a shot! Honestly never occurred to me to try that.

Also I'll put veggies in the morning and they're usually already gone by midday (either eaten or under the grate). But I admittedly wasn't thinking about making sure to remove them. I'll make sure to do so going forward
 

Pixiebeak

Sprinting down the street
Joined
6/18/22
Messages
487
Right now my burds are happy to do stuff for a " good bird " and a kiss. Tho they love food

Are safflower seeds one of the seeds you've tried? They are big hit here. And popcorn

You can set out an array of potential treats, then see what he goes for?
 

Hibiki

Moving in
Joined
6/13/22
Messages
12
My African Grey Oz had the exact same issue! Here's how I solve the problem.

First, give him a lot of food to try. If he's not into millet, try all kinds of nuts and fruits. After figuring out that Oz generally hates nuts, I found his favorite treat -- freeze-dried strawberry. Others who kindly gave me suggestions also mentioned popcorns and crackers as treats, give them a try as well!

Second, your bird's definition of delicious food could be very subjective. I think the actual taste of the food is just one part of making your bird think "oh it's delicious", you can actually convey to your bird that the food is indeed delicious. With Oz, I've tried macadamia, he ate half and tossed away the other half, making me believe that he doesn't like it at all. However, later when I was eating that bag of macadamia and sharing it with my partner, he showed interest again. Then I acted, no this is so precious I am definitely not giving it to you! After a few days of interaction like this, I acted like okayyy since you want it so much, I can share with you just a tiny bit. Well, guess what, macadamia is his second favorite treat now.

Third, one issue Oz had was that he did not know that he can take a particular kind of food from my hand, even though he liked the food. At that time, he would eat sunflower seed from my hand, but refused his favorite pellet. I gave him a pellet, he dropped it. I picked it up and put it in his food bowl, he ate it. I figured that he just didn't understand that the thing in his bowl and the thing between my fingers were the same things. I had to show him the pellet, put it into his bowl, picked it up, and repeat it multiple times until he understood it. Maybe not being used to accepting food from hand could play a role here with your bird too? Try placing the treats in his food bowl and see if that makes any difference.

Forth, keep his food bowl empty throughout the day. Imagine you just came back from an all-you-can-eat meal, and your friend offers you some new food "try this, it's super tasty!" You are gonna be like "Nah I'm good", no matter how good that food actually tastes. Giving him a limited amount of food also helps stop him from being a picky eater. It is okay that he is not full after a meal, as long as you are offering him various foods and treats throughout the day.

That's all my ideas. Hope they could help!
 

Jaestring

Checking out the neighborhood
Joined
7/1/22
Messages
4
These are all great ideas, I'll definitely give them a shot. Thank you!
 

Jaestring

Checking out the neighborhood
Joined
7/1/22
Messages
4
I haven't tried safflower yet, I'll see if they carry them at my local store next time.

Sometimes he'll take popcorn, but it's more like he just chews on it like a toy rather than eating it.
 

donutweall

Strolling the yard
Joined
1/31/21
Messages
117
Since your bird is so people oriented, he may respond well to praise and excitement. I've "taught" a few silly things to my budgies by just getting excited and happy at them. Honestly, birds can be very motivated by receiving positive attention. Especially if they're already in a playful mood :)
 

JOPO55

Strolling the yard
Joined
11/24/21
Messages
77
Real Name
Joanne Mccreith
Our Sun Conure is a little over a year old now. He was hand raised and as a result is very friendly with my fiance and I. He loves to sit on shoulders and climbs all over us and enjoys cuddles (we jokingly call him our Velcro bird cause when he's out of the cage he wants to be with us). He's a little nippy at times (especially when it's time to go back in the cage) and loves to chew on clothes but all things considered he's well behaved.

However, training isn't going well. To be honest, it isn't going at all. He won't take treats. I give him something, he just drops it. We feed him a pellet and veggie diet so seeds as a treat seem great, but he's not interested. It even takes him an entire week to get through a whole sprig of millet when I give it to him.

I got a clicker to try, but I can't reinforce click=good because he doesn't want to take treats when I click.

Toys? In his cage - loves them. Can play with them for ages. Outside of his cage? A distraction for a few short minutes, then he wants to sit on our shoulders again. Definitely not enough of a draw to use as a reward for training.

He's not interested in human food either. He kind of likes noodles, but he'll only eat a tiny amount before going back to ignoring it. Probably a blessing since human food is too high in fat and carbs for him, but still.

One new suggestion I'm trying is to remove the one item I know he likes because it's always gone from his food first - the banana shaped pellets. I'll see if removing those from his diet for a few days then reintroducing them as treats will work. I'm not holding out a lot of hope. It's also a LOT of work to sort pellets by hand.

I also saw a suggestion of feeding smaller meals twice a day instead on leaving food in his cage all day, but I'm worried he might not get enough food (especially veggies) if he doesn't take to it. He's a picky eater through and through.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
As a treat I give my ring necks pomegranate seeds they love them maybe give them a try just a thought good luck with whatever treats you give xx
 
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