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How to get my bird to like hands?

BagOfMoss

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My lovebird Lily hates hands and has since we've had her. I got her in October of 2023 and hands have always been an issue.

She will get defensive and even attack hands. Even when I am holding some of her favorite treats.We got her as an older bird and are not sure on her age or a majority of her past.

We got her from an older man who kept her in a garage with a fan for a year with another bird in Arizona. He had gotten these birds from his late father and never wanted them. We did also get the other bird but he unfortunately passed.

Lily is ok with affection in the form of kisses and likes singing but that is the only way she wants affection

I've been trying to get her to like hands for a while but hasn't been working out how I've been wanting. Help would be appreciated!!
 

Sunni Tiel

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She likely had a traumatic experience with hands, it could be tricky to work out of that. In the long run the best thing you can do is be very gentle with her, no fast movements from hands or forcing, but I'm sure you know that. Have you tried using a stick or something to interact instead of hands? You could try scratching her head if she likes that or playing with her. You could also try putting something over your hand like a glove or a cloth for her to get used to.

Mostly just keep giving positive experiences with hands, treats, pets, just gentle presence. Some birds just dont like touches and thats okay too!
Best of luck
 

Pixiebeak

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My quaker came with a real fear of hands ....it took six months to get her past , and unfortunately now years later we are going through this again.

Some things I did , one hand flat on cage top or flat surface ( working outside of cage us best) and start targeting her near that hand, then work up to stand on flat hand or step over it fir a treat .

I also held my hand flat under my chin when I gave kisse so that hand didn't move but started being associated with postive stuff. I even had some luck kissing my hand and then offering it to my bird for kiss ( air kisses was good enough) if anything you do triggers bite you will have to adjust and rethink.

@Emma&pico
 

Lady Jane

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That is a shame. I agree trauma response from human hands scaring or hurting her in the past. Perch training is a good idea with your hand at the opposite end of where you want her to step. Always have a treat in your hands too.
 

Emma&pico

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My female lovebird is a no hands bird I’ve had her since a baby and she just won’t step up will attack my hand if I show it her first

I tap on a perch to get her to come give treats depending on her mood if she’s being a cow it’s a longer piece of millet if she’s in a nice mood it’s a smaller piece or safflower seed she will go for my hand finger over treat and then I move to larger piece of millet after she got coming to where I tap I hold my arm out tap my arm and she will fly to that then slowly over time she would walk down my arm to millet or treat in my hand

I also trained her to step up onto I perch she prefers a smaller perch like a Williow stick though over larger bird perches this made it easier to get her back in her cage I always said go home indie now I can say it and she just goes home

I’ve accept she’s a no hand bird and I just work round it by offering my arm instead which she will accept from short or longer distance and just hop on

any bare skin she will attack to be fair so I just wear a hoodie when she out

I would suggest target training her start with long piece of millet or a treat she can’t reach your hands with you can either do it with a stick or just tap where you want her to come hopefully that helps a little just remove or take at your hand to start with and work upto it
 

Zara

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I just work round it by offering my arm instead
My hands off lovebird hen also will usually hop on my arm, closed fist with the hand being far enough away from her. Some rare times she will wander up my arm to my hand, but more often than not she heads up to my shoulder or stays on my arm.
So I think this is a good thing to try. You can use millet or her fave treats to help guide her onto your arm, remember no sudden movements.

My hens partner would help me show her she could hop on to me, but it was still always a diffficult task.
I also took her in when she was older (at least 2 years old, but age is unknown), so she is at least around 9 or 10 now. And in the years together I have learned what she is comfortable with and I do my best to ensure she has as much enrichment as possible without pushing her to do what she is not comfortable with.
 
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