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Is my lovebird beyond redemption? Coming to terms with the possibility of re-homing...?

Schubird

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I write this with several bleeding stab wounds throughout my body. I have a just-turned-4 year old lovebird named Bean, and our first two years together, while somewhat troubled due to her behavior with humans that aren't me, were pretty great.
I got her at around 5 months old and she hasn't really been neglected at all. Large cage, toys, free time, harrisons, even managed to spot train the little shizz, was socialized a lot when she was younger however all of that seemed to have gone out the window.
The last two years she's been a ticking time bomb. Due to egg laying and aggression I opted to get her injected with lupron once a month and she hasn't had problems with egg laying anymore, however her aggression is still out of control.

She pulls the dirtiest tricks like leaning her head down for a scritch, getting a scritch for 10-30 seconds, and then piercing my finger with all her force. Today she did just that but then pulled a 1-2 punch by then lunging for my face. I managed to block it with my hand and her beak landed right on my nail, I just held her there to bask in her own mistakes and afterwards wrapped her in a towl and put her in her time out cage.

I wish this were a rare occurrence but she just has insane aggression flare ups everyday. Everyone in my family is terrified of holding her, and the craziest thing is that it just seems to be pure malice sometimes. When she wants something from me she knows to not pull any of this shizz, shes still spot trained, she knows exactly what she has to do to get a reward. However if she's full and see's no benefit in playing along she just goes berserk. She was flighted and indoor recall trained from a young age, however when the behavior problems got really bad I opted to clip her wings to knock her down a peg. It worked for a while but she has since adapted and can somehow still fly straight with all her primaries clipped halfway, just fueled by pure rage. She will actually land on me, crawl underneath my jacket, and bite me on the back or stomach as hard as she can completely unprovoked.

I've also tried dropping lupron to see if that may have been contributing at all but her aggression was just as bad and she was laying eggs.

I spoke to her vet about it and he says she's likely from a long lineage of selectively bred breeding parrots, which leads to insane hormone imbalances and attitude problems. I've never given up on a bird before, my old tiel was a lovely old man and I currently also have a pionus who is a saint, but I'm greatly concerned that her bad habits will rub off on him.

At this point I'm thinking of rehoming her, I'm sure she'll be happier as a breeding parrot... but it's especially sad because on some select days, maybe when the lupron kicks in, I catch glimpses of the little bird that used to fall asleep on her back on my hands, now I'm just honestly terrified of holding her....
Is she beyond being a pet?

Advice/thoughts welcome.
 

finchly

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My question is always this: is this bird living it’s best life with me?

If yes, put her in a large roomy cage, give tons of toys regularly, and enjoy her from OUTSIDE the cage. You don’t need your face bitten!

If no, rehome. But carefully consider each home. And charge a fee. With time and a little luck, you’ll find the perfect home.
 

April

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I'll tag @Zara for you she's the Lovie queen .
I agree with keeping her in the cage at this point and working with her from the outside until she can hopefully calm down and be a bit more trusted. I'm sorry that you're going through this I've never had one of my birds act this way but in the back of my mind I know it's always a possibility.
 

Zara

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Hello, Welcome to the Avenue,

She pulls the dirtiest tricks like leaning her head down for a scritch, getting a scritch for 10-30 seconds, and then piercing my finger with all her force.
I have a hen (my eldest girl) who will be very nice and friendly when there´s millet around, but once she´s eaten all the seed and there´s none left, she will bite. I´m very careful now to emove my hand away from her before that happens while she´s still munching the last beakful. In your situation, this could translate to, no scritches, or limit to a 2 second scritch. Let her have some of the goodies, but before she can turn, you pull back. This will give her positive experiences and reinforce that in her mind. Over time, you could try increasing the seconds, but for now and the forseeable future, I´d stick to just a second or two.

and afterwards wrapped her in a towl and put her in her time out cage.
Best not to return a naughty bird to their cage. It ends up reinforcing the negative behaviour as the cage can be seen as a reward. It rarely works to cage a bird for doing something wrong.
If she does get you while you´re doing your two second scritch, you can put her down quickly on the nearest bird safe surface and turn your back to her. For a while after that, you can refuse to give any scritches until you think you can go back to the two second touches.
I also recommend having a little more cage time, and use that time to work with her through cage bars so you don´t get bitten as easily. Offer her treats, sit and talk to her, sing, whatever it is you and her like to do together. This will increase the positive interactions you two have together.

She was flighted and indoor recall trained from a young age, however when the behavior problems got really bad I opted to clip her wings to knock her down a peg. It worked for a while but she has since adapted and can somehow still fly straight with all her primaries clipped halfway, just fueled by pure rage.
It is possible that the clipping has contributed to this behaviour. The removal of flight would have been a very stressful event for her. While they have a hard guy act, and can come across as quite ¨nasty¨ or ¨aggressive¨, they are quite soft birds inside and it would have affected her mentality to have her flight taken away and leave her with less control of her wings.

Is she beyond being a pet?
No. I wouldn´t say that. I mean, as Finchly said, if you really think she would be happier elsewhere, then you could rehome, but how will you know she´ll be happier? She may be the same for someone else. The hen I mentioned above, she turned up on my doorstep one day, and I searched for her family to no avail. Eventually I brought her in and introduced her to my birds. She is not like them, she´s more standoffish, very bold, fearless, not ¨tame´ in the traditional sense. But we have an understanding, and we are able to live together, she gets fed well, enrichment, new toys when the others get new stuff, she´s treat the same with some obvious exceptions - like I never put my hand in her cage to get her out, I just leave her door open. And she doesn´t like hands, so I let her come to me. She will climb up and sit on my shoulder or head, never gets any scritches. She has other birds around her all the time, a large cage, and is safe and well cared for. I sometimes wonder if she´s happy but I honestly don´t imagine her being any happier elsewhere.

As for the Lupron, that´s something I have no experience with. I don´t know how much it interferes with their personality. MAybe my tips won´t work, but it´s definitely worth a shot before rehoming :)

I will tag @TikiMyn also, she may have some advice.

I'll tag @Zara for you
Sorry I seem to have missed this tag :( Just spotted it now.
 

Mocknbird

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I write this with several bleeding stab wounds throughout my body. I have a just-turned-4 year old lovebird named Bean, and our first two years together, while somewhat troubled due to her behavior with humans that aren't me, were pretty great.
I got her at around 5 months old and she hasn't really been neglected at all. Large cage, toys, free time, harrisons, even managed to spot train the little shizz, was socialized a lot when she was younger however all of that seemed to have gone out the window.
The last two years she's been a ticking time bomb. Due to egg laying and aggression I opted to get her injected with lupron once a month and she hasn't had problems with egg laying anymore, however her aggression is still out of control.

She pulls the dirtiest tricks like leaning her head down for a scritch, getting a scritch for 10-30 seconds, and then piercing my finger with all her force. Today she did just that but then pulled a 1-2 punch by then lunging for my face. I managed to block it with my hand and her beak landed right on my nail, I just held her there to bask in her own mistakes and afterwards wrapped her in a towl and put her in her time out cage.

I wish this were a rare occurrence but she just has insane aggression flare ups everyday. Everyone in my family is terrified of holding her, and the craziest thing is that it just seems to be pure malice sometimes. When she wants something from me she knows to not pull any of this shizz, shes still spot trained, she knows exactly what she has to do to get a reward. However if she's full and see's no benefit in playing along she just goes berserk. She was flighted and indoor recall trained from a young age, however when the behavior problems got really bad I opted to clip her wings to knock her down a peg. It worked for a while but she has since adapted and can somehow still fly straight with all her primaries clipped halfway, just fueled by pure rage. She will actually land on me, crawl underneath my jacket, and bite me on the back or stomach as hard as she can completely unprovoked.

I've also tried dropping lupron to see if that may have been contributing at all but her aggression was just as bad and she was laying eggs.

I spoke to her vet about it and he says she's likely from a long lineage of selectively bred breeding parrots, which leads to insane hormone imbalances and attitude problems. I've never given up on a bird before, my old tiel was a lovely old man and I currently also have a pionus who is a saint, but I'm greatly concerned that her bad habits will rub off on him.

At this point I'm thinking of rehoming her, I'm sure she'll be happier as a breeding parrot... but it's especially sad because on some select days, maybe when the lupron kicks in, I catch glimpses of the little bird that used to fall asleep on her back on my hands, now I'm just honestly terrified of holding her....
Is she beyond being a pet?

Advice/thoughts welcome.
Any updates? I wanted to mention that they usually mellow out around 5-6 years old. At least, mine have. I've had lovebirds since 1997.
 

Schubird

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Any updates? I wanted to mention that they usually mellow out around 5-6 years old. At least, mine have. I've had lovebirds since 1997.
We went on Holiday for two weeks and left her with my sister who was instructed to keep her alive and entertain her but to not physically interact with her due to obvious reasons. I'm not quite sure what happened but I guess in our absence she did a little self reflecting and when we returned she was extremely kind and not at all aggressive, maybe even a little clingy.

She also had no problem being recalled to her cage. It's only been a week since we've been back but she's doing well and hopefully this continues.
 

sunnysmom

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I am glad she's doing better. If you haven't already, I would read up on some techniques to try to keep hormones in check. When she starts getting hormonal, you can increase her hours of darkness by two hours for 2 weeks. Also, of course, give her nothing than resembles a nest box. Also, try to keep her busy with toys and foraging.
 

Mocknbird

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We went on Holiday for two weeks and left her with my sister who was instructed to keep her alive and entertain her but to not physically interact with her due to obvious reasons. I'm not quite sure what happened but I guess in our absence she did a little self reflecting and when we returned she was extremely kind and not at all aggressive, maybe even a little clingy.

She also had no problem being recalled to her cage. It's only been a week since we've been back but she's doing well and hopefully this continues.
That's wonderful news!
 
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