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My lovebirds are terrified of me and fly away whenever i come near them (how do i tame 2 lovebirds)

Beep0

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Hi there, sorry if this is in the wrong catergory i wan't sure where to put it as this is my first post (on any forum website)

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2 Black masked lovebirds.
Pet store we got them from said they were about 8 months (don't know if true or not)
Both male and are bonded to one another.
I have had them for just over a month and have had little to no progress with them coming near me or letting me come near them.
If i come near their cage, they will move to the other end.
These are my first birds and i don't know what im doing wrong, or how i should be getting them to be adjusted with me.
I don't know what to do, i have searched up alot of different things and nothing seems to be working (tried using millet spray but they are scared of it, i have tried slowing moving my hand towards them over the course of about 2 weeks with no change in the distance i move towards them before they fly away, moving their cage closer to where i am most of the time in my room, and more but i have forgotten.)
I let them out of their cage about once a day for varying amounts. (sometimes only for a couple hours to almost the entire day.) But when i need to get them back inside, i have to catch them which does stress them out (i think) as i have to either throw a cloth of something over it then pick it up and place it inside the cage or wait for them to get tired out from flying away from me then i pick them up and place them inside.
I only ever put my hands inside the cage to change their food.
I am feeding them a mix of seeds from the pet store we got them from. (it wasn't in a pre-packaged bag so i don't really know what was inside. I can tell there are sunflower seeds which they like alot and millet seeds? Once again im not sure. It was a mix specifically for livebirds so it should be fine i assume.)
They have a swing, bell toy, multiple perches, 2 seperate food bowls? (are the the hanging ones you put on the side of the cage still called bowls?), a mirror (with a perch attachted to it).
They sit on the furthest perch away from me almost the entire time they are in there, only moving for food/water and to climb around the cage every now and then.
I have a cat that spends most of her time in my room, she is "good" with the birds (meaning the only thing she'll do towards them is stare at them every now and then, no pawing at the cage, sniffing,etc.) she is in my room when i am asleep so im not sure what she does in the night bit i cover the bords cage with a blanket when i sleep.

Please let me know any helpful information or things I can do to make them tame and want to interact with me.

They just started eating the millet spray i put in their cage to get them used to it.
 
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Beep0

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The millet spray in the cage is not a permanent thing (no holder or anything, just haging from the roof) jusy to get them used to it. i heard it was like crack for birds, is that true? if so, they are addicted.
Also sorry for this being a reply, it was over ten minutes so i couldn't edit the post. Hehe i'll take it out when they sleep tonight.
 

April

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@Zara May have some insight for you since she has multiple Lovies. It's less than ideal for your cat to be in the same room as your Lovebirds especially when your letting them out or at night when your asleep. Unfortunately all it takes is one swipe from a cats claw that has never shown interest before and sadly they may not be able to be saved.
I'd really urge to keep your cat separate from them especially when your sleeping or don't have control of them to get them back in the cage. But ideally they would be completely separated with no possible access to one another.
They are super adorable though I hope your able to get some advice on how to get them more used to you but since they came as an already bonded pair it maybe that they will never want a close relationship with a human.
Oh and welcome to AA!
 

TessaG

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Hi there, sorry if this is in the wrong catergory i wan't sure where to put it as this is my first post (on any forum website)

View attachment 400843
Details:
2 Black masked lovebirds.
Pet store we got them from said they were about 8 months (don't know if true or not)
Both male and are bonded to one another.
I have had them for just over a month and have had little to no progress with them coming near me or letting me come near them.
If i come near their cage, they will move to the other end.
These are my first birds and i don't know what im doing wrong, or how i should be getting them to be adjusted with me.
I don't know what to do, i have searched up alot of different things and nothing seems to be working (tried using millet spray but they are scared of it, i have tried slowing moving my hand towards them over the course of about 2 weeks with no change in the distance i move towards them before they fly away, moving their cage closer to where i am most of the time in my room, and more but i have forgotten.)
I let them out of their cage about once a day for varying amounts. (sometimes only for a couple hours to almost the entire day.) But when i need to get them back inside, i have to catch them which does stress them out (i think) as i have to either throw a cloth of something over it then pick it up and place it inside the cage or wait for them to get tired out from flying away from me then i pick them up and place them inside.
I only ever put my hands inside the cage to change their food.
I am feeding them a mix of seeds from the pet store we got them from. (it wasn't in a pre-packaged bag so i don't really know what was inside. I can tell there are sunflower seeds which they like alot and millet seeds? Once again im not sure. It was a mix specifically for livebirds so it should be fine i assume.)
They have a swing, bell toy, multiple perches, 2 seperate food bowls? (are the the hanging ones you put on the side of the cage still called bowls?), a mirror (with a perch attachted to it).
They sit on the furthest perch away from me almost the entire time they are in there, only moving for food/water and to climb around the cage every now and then.
I have a cat that spends most of her time in my room, she is "good" with the birds (meaning the only thing she'll do towards them is stare at them every now and then, no pawing at the cage, sniffing,etc.) she is in my room when i am asleep so im not sure what she does in the night bit i cover the bords cage with a blanket when i sleep.

Please let me know any helpful information or things I can do to make them tame and want to interact with me.

They just started eating the millet spray i put in their cage to get them used to it.
Hey there,

Lovebirds are unique in that most, if not all the time, they have to be either hand-raised/fed, or trained by a very, very patient person with loads of time on hand. I have an 8-month old lovie that has come LEAPS and BOUNDS since I got him at 6 months - from having difficulty getting him to step up onto a perch that I'm holding, to now lots of biting behavior mixed with cuddles and naps on or beside me. I know I've pushed things a little too quickly in some cases, but we're coming along. Now, in your situation, you have two 8-month old (query) Masked birds, who have begun to seriously bond. (some argue that up til a year a full bond is not made, but I believe it does happen at that age and maybe sooner). If you had just brought them home I would have recommended leaving them out of their cage to explore while you carry on with your everyday activities. Part of the problem is their bond - they don't need you, per se. The ONLY possible way I can see you relaxing them is a) continue what you're doing so they can get used to you b) remove the cat from the room. The cat is a predator, and lovebirds are very intelligent. I always told my adopters 'it's not a question of IF it's going to happen,, it's a question of WHEN.' I promise you that at some point, the cat will go after one of them. We live harmoniously with 3 cats and 3 birds atm, and never shall the two mix. They time-share the main living quarters. c) one possible solution is to have one out with you at a time, and have some super-tempting treats on a table next to you. If the bird is not interested, move it to a point where it WILL accept the treats. Then, very slowly, over time, move it closer to you. Eventually try to offer from your fingers. Then your open palm. Use a soft tone of voice around them. You can also try target training. Having said all that - unfortunately, with your birds' age, and the fact that they've bonded, the odds are against you - it may never happen. You're doing the right thing by taking your time with them - I wouldn't give up! If you saw the progress I made with my 6-month old, you'd never believe it was the same bird now (even though he's a Bitey McBiterson at the moment!) Good luck!
 

TessaG

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Oh, I forgot to mention the most important part - ALL food comes from you. So it can be close to you (as close as they will tolerate) but it ALL has to in that 'safe' location. Eventually, hopefully, they will eat out of your hand.
 

Shezbug

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Please do not allow your cat to be in a room where your birds are- they are tiny and your cat is a hunter no matter how cute you may think it is. I would not ever allow a cat to be free roaming around my large birds let alone consider it around small birds that are the size of most birds caught by cats. They are more danger than many people think they are- never trust them as far as prey animals go.
 
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Destiny

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First, this is off your main topic, but I am suspicious of that seed mix. It doesn't sound like a proper diet to me, even if it is marketed toward lovebirds. I recommend looking into nutrition for parrots. We have a lot of good information on AA in the Food Court. Most people recommend feeding pellets and vegetables or chop as the main diet. Seeds are reserved for a fun treat, in most cases. Grainavores, like cockatiels and budgies need more seeds or sprouts in their diet, but most parrots shouldn't have that much. Seeds are high in fat and lack many important nutrients, so it is difficult or impossible to buy a seed mix that properly meets the full nutritional needs of a parrot. Even if the mix includes some pellets, the ratio of seeds to pellets is usually too high ... and many birds will just ignore the pellets in favor of eating the fatty seeds. Changing your birds' diet and introducing fresh foods will take time, but it is worth investigating right away so you can get started. A bad diet puts your birds at risk for all kinds of health issues later in life.

Also ... you can use favorite seeds, like millet or sunflower seeds, as training rewards. This is more successful if these special treats are not part of their normal diet.

Regarding training and improving your bond, I think the first step would be to work on getting the birds back to their cage without chasing, toweling, or grabbing them. Try to develop a daily routine, so the birds can follow an establish pattern of behavior. Parrots like routine. In the beginning, give yourself lots of time, so you don't feel rushed to get them back in the cage. Try luring them back using treats, rather than forcing them to return. It doesn't sound like your birds are tame enough to step up yet, but you can eventually train them to get on a perch or on your hand to move them around voluntarily.

Another important kind of training is target training. You can teach your bird target-training both inside and outside of the cage. It is immensely helpful by letting you direct your bird to move to a location on its own. And training sessions help strengthen your bond.

For now, I would aim for hands-off approaches. You want to build up trust and let them know that you are not a threat. The way to build trust is to be worthy of it - don't do scary stuff, like chasing or grabbing. Watch your birds body language and try to avoid making them feel uncomfortable. Move slowly. Speak calmly. Be gentle. Ignore the birds and let them get comfortable being in the same room without any pressure to react to you. Play some music, read a book, surf the internet, Netflix and chill with your birds so they learn to relax and let down their guard around you.

Try offering treats indirectly ... like by setting a sunflower down on a tabletop, rather than offering it directly to the bird. If the bird accepts your offering, give them another one. Don't rush. Let them figure out that you are an awesome person who has good treats ... and other fine qualities. ;)

As TessaG mentioned, a bonded pair is going to take more work than a solitary bird. They have each other for company, so they are not desperate for social connection. But lovebirds are very intelligent and curious birds. Be safe and be interesting. Encourage them to WANT to develop a relationship with you. Figure out what they like. Encourage them to interact with you in fun and positive ways.

And keep the cat away. Your birds will be happier and more relaxed without the added tension of a watchful feline presence in the room.
 

Mizzely

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I love this post to get yourself into the mindset of your birds :)


Birds are naturally wary of new things. A month feels like forever to you but you have plenty of time to work on your relationship. It has to be at their pace for the best chances at success!

When you let them out, try very hard not to catch them to go back into the cage. If they love millet, only give it to them when they are ready to go back in. Put it in the cage and walk away and see if they go to it :) If you are grabbing them and they don't like it, they are going to remember that everytime they see your hands - they aren't going to try and see if this time you will be "nice".
 

Beep0

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Thank you all for your helpful comments and advice. I will let you know how it goes! :)
 

Beep0

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So I got the pellet today, and I just wanted it say it smells so good??
It smells like bubblegum for some reason. not to be weird or anything, but i kinda wanna taste it lmao (i wont dont worry)
 
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Mizzely

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I've eaten every pellet at least once :lol: Hagen smells like bubblegum to me!
 

Beep0

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I got Hagen actually! So um, how did it taste lmao For research purposes clearly!
 

April

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I've tried all the pellets I've given my birds. My favorite and theirs has been Harrisons it tastes a bit chalky but not bad.
 

Zara

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It smells like bubblegum for some reason. not to be weird or anything, but i kinda wanna taste it lmao (i wont dont worry)
:lol: In reading this we all know you´re talking about Hagen Tropican! And like Shawna said, it smells better than it tastes.
 

Destiny

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:lol: In reading this we all know you´re talking about Hagen Tropican! And like Shawna said, it smells better than it tastes.
Yup. That stuff smells like candy. My dog always ask me for some when I am working on the aviary. He must think he is a bird. :facepalm:

Or he just loves candy. :laugh:
 

Mizzely

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Yup. That stuff smells like candy. My dog always ask me for some when I am working on the aviary. He must think he is a bird. :facepalm:

Or he just loves candy. :laugh:
Oh yes my dog LOVES parrot pellets. Ripley likes to toss the ones he doesn't like on the floor so that he can scare the dog away :lol:
 

tka

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I've tried every pellet I've fed too. The Hagen ones sadly don't taste as interesting as they smell. TOPS are probably the worst - they taste of alfalfa pony nuts. Harrisons, Roudybush and P15 are all kind of meh - Roudybush is probably the most palatable out of them. The Lafeber Gourmet Pellets actually do taste of fruit.

Is the cat out of the room yet? Bird are easily alarmed by direct stares and forward-facing eyes - even from humans - because this is what predators have. Having a predator around staring at them will really unsetlle your birds and make it much harder for them to relax. They will constantly be on edge and ready to panic. In the wild, a bird would be able to fly away and remove themselves from danger. You've taken away that option by caging them, so that is just going to increase their stress levels.

People post in the 911 forum asking for emergency help because their cat has caught or swiped at their bird. They always say that the cat has never shown any interest in the bird(s), they've always been fine together and so on and so forth until one terrible day when it all goes to hell. Cat mouths and claws are full of bacteria that will kill a bird. It doesn't even need to be a big wound - the tiniest scratch or pinprick is enough. Any bird who has been caught or scratched by a cat needs immediate veterinary attention and antibiotics. There is no guarantee that they will survive.

I don't want you to be placed in that position. You must keep the cat and birds away from each other. They must not be in the same room together. They especially must not be in the same room together when unsupervised or when you are asleep. Your birds are relying on you to keep them safe.
 
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