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Pls help! i don't know what to do

Kuro

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Hi! i've never joined any forums so i'm sorry if i made any mistakes while making this thread :depressed: i just needed some advices and this forum helped me many times before

5 months ago i got my first bird, an untamed male cockatiel named Jojo!
yesterday while i was training him (in his cage, 'cause he's absolutely not ready to come out of it, since he still can't step up on my finger) the doorbell rang scaring him and he managed to escape from the cage flying all over the room and ending up landing in the folds of the curtains (kinda like this one in the pic)


i had tried making him step up onto his perch, luring him with millet and all that stuff, but after 2 hours i surrendered and put his cage close to him and decided to wait for him to come down on his own...... 13 hours later and he was still hiding in the curtains (btw he spent all the night sleeping there:grumpy:).

And then things went completely downhill :( i called my mother to help me and get him back into his cage, but while she was trying to grab him all his tail feathers got pulled out. He's fine now, i've checked if he was hurt and he's back to singing, dancing, playing with toys and looking like a duck.

He isn't scared of me now but i don't know what to do... should i stop training him and leave him in his cage? should i trim his flight feathers? (and how the hell would i even do that!?!?)...i'm afraid that if he escapes again he's gonna get hurt even worse since the room is very big. HELP!!! :crycry:
 

Just-passn-thru

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He's ok , birds when stressed in a flight or fright situation will drop their tail feathers, predators will pounce on their tail feathers, they will grow back. Its a survival tactic. Get yourself a bird catching net at a pet store. They come in handy with small flighted birds. I have one with a short handle and long one for higher up places.
 

webchirp

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The trick I use for some of my fosters that won't go back in...locate where they are, turn the lights out, have someone grab them and then lights on. Don't move around in the dark unless you positively know where he or she is located. Maybe try training in a smaller room like the (clean) bathroom (with the toilet lid down) or other smaller area that you can control.
 

Shinobi

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No putting hands inside the cage and chasing the bird around the cage or room. (forcing the bird) Instead Conducted lots of trust building and bonding sessions (training). I have had great success with the following method to bond and build trust. When you have built enough trust, you can train your bird to step up and down from within the cage. (good for emergencies)

This how I bonded and built trust with an aviary bred bird and have used it on other birds.

I obtained an aviary bred IRN a quite few years ago who we named Bluey. When people approached Bluey, he would thrash around the cage in fear. So, I needed some tools to address this problem. 1 was a clicker, 2 was training treats, 3 was T-perch/stand.

Clickers are the best for training. It is scientifically proven that in order for the animal to connect their behavior with the reward, the trainer must deliver the reward within 0.8 of a second. that is impossibly fast in most cases. Then as soon as you move to give the reward to the animal, your animal will most likely refocus on you, which will delay or even completely jeopardize the training, because now the animal is being rewarded for focusing on you and not for the original behavior that you were intending to reward.

But….

It is the clicker (or marker) that allows us to “mark” a specific behavior with the animal, and for our animal to take a “snapshot” of what they is doing in that moment. Once the sound of the clicker is emitted, the animal is allowed to break the position and access the reward (or the reward is delivered to him while still performing) It is a straight-forward message to the animal of what he is getting rewarded for.

The clicker is the bridge between you and your bird and you use that bridge to highlight the bird’s desired behaviour to your bird. Training treats are not the bridge, they are the reward at the end of the bridge and patience is the time taken to go over the bridge.

Clicks won't confuse the bird. Where has words can. Without realising, words can be changed. It doesn't seem much, but it is to a bird. Has an example you might be saying "good boy". Then you say, "that's a good boy" or you’re a good bird.

Second by putting five different foods on a plate and watch which one Bluey ate first, I worked out what Bluey favourite food. I used sunflower seeds, corn kernels, pine nuts, grapes and balls of millet. This would became Bluey's training treat and I removed this food from Bluey diet. Whatever your bird picks, it must not be part of the bird’s diet otherwise it defeats the purpose of being a training treat. Bluey picked sunflower seeds. I used this method of finding the birds training treats for all my birds.

These are the procedures I used to calm and interact with him.

Bluey was in a cage in the lounge room. With the clicker in my hand, I entered the lounge room and went to the furthest point away from the cage. Then I would slowly approach the cage until Bluey showed signs of fear. When your bird becomes small and "skinny," and the bird's crop often looks sucked in, and all the feathers lie flat on the body. It usually means the bird is scared.

I would stop and stand there until Bluey relaxed.
Relaxed feathers and wings, standing on one foot, preening and /or grinding his upper and lower mandible together to produce a scratchy or "zippy" noise. The bird is probably content and relaxed. But the bird might not display all these signs but relaxed feathers and wings, standing on one foot are a sure sign.

When Bluey relaxed, I click the clicker once and took 3 slow steps backwards waited 20 to 30 seconds. Then, again I would slowly approach the cage until Bluey showed signs of fear. But this time I got a bit closer to the cage. Then I would stop and stand there until Bluey relaxed. I repeated this procedure and with each approach, each time I would get a bit closer to the cage until I was standing next to the cage and Bluey was relaxed.

When this was achieved I would leave the room for 20 to 30 minutes. Then I would repeat this procedure for 5 to 7 times that day. By the end of the day you should be able to slowly walk up to the cage and the bird should stay relaxed. This whole process might need to be repeated for 2 to 3 days.

Once I was able to walk up to the cage without Bluey being scared, I then started to train Bluey to come out of the cage.
The first stage is with the clicker in one hand and a spray of millet in the other.

I used a spray of millet first has it was a larger food treat and it allowed Bluey to get use to my hands. Once Bluey became use to my hand I started to reduce the size of the millet until I could use sunflower seeds.

Note: This is important and that is, not to force the bird to do something it doesn't want to do. Let the bird approach the millet.

I would offer the millet to Bluey through the cage where the perch is attached. If he didn't take a bite of the millet within 15 seconds, I would remove the millet from his sight for 20 to 30 seconds.

Then I would re-offer the millet. When Bluey took a bite, I click the clicker and withdraw the millet but kept it in Bluey's sight. When Bluey finished eating the millet. I repeated the procedure and did this for 15 minutes then took a 30minute break and repeated these 3 more times.

Note: By removing the Millet from the Bird's sight you encourage the "what have I just missed out on. Was that food? Where did it go? Then when you re-offer the millet. The bird thinks I'm not going to miss out again.

The next stage. With the clicker in one hand and a spray of millet in the other. Open the cage door and offer the millet at the entrance of the cage.

Note: Don't put your hand inside the cage has the bird could see this has invasion of their territory.

If Bluey didn't approach the millet within 15 seconds, I would remove it from his sight for 20 to 30 seconds. Then re-offer the millet. When the Bluey came to the cage entrance and took a bite I click the clicker and withdraw the millet but kept it in Bluey sight. I did this for 15 minutes then took a 30minute break and repeated these 3 more times with a 30-minute break between.

Note: I used a spray of millet first has it was a larger training treat and it allowed Bluey to get use to my hand. Once Bluey became use to my hand I started to reduce the size of the millet until I could use sunflower seeds. This was done before training Bluey to leave his cage.

The next stage is to place a T-stand just outside the cage. When Bluey flew to the T-stand and took a sunflower seed I click the clicker. I did this for 15 minutes then took a 30minute break and repeated this daily. Gradually I would move the T-stand away from the cage.

You can use the T-stand to return the Bird to the cage. I found that a T-stand is better than a piece of dowel. The T-stand is good for handling birds which fear hands or birds that bite. The hand is below the bird and far enough away for it to feel safe while the human's hand is below and far enough away not to be bitten.

This how we taught Henry our Eclectus Parrot to step up and down from both inside and outside the cage. while people feel that's it's good to allow their birds free-range within their home, I personally like to be able to get Henry in and out of his cage when needed and without causing any stress to Henry. I used a clicker and treating treats to achieve this.

I would put Henry on his T-stand and gave him a sunflower seed and click the clicker. This indicates that training has started.
Then in my right hand I held the clicker and the sunflower seed. The set up was the clicker in the palm with my middle finger on the button and the sunflower seed held between my thumb and index finger.

With my left hand I made a pistol, so my finger was parallel to the T-stand and about 3 cm away. Then I would bring my right hand up behind my left hand and show Henry the sunflower seed and say, "step up". if after 15 to 20 seconds Henry hadn't stepped up onto my left hand I would remove the sunflower seed from his sight.

Wait 20 seconds and reshow the treat. When Henry stepped up onto my left hand and took the sunflower seed I would click the clicker at the same time.

Then to teach him to step down, with henry still on my left hand I would bring it parallel to the T-stand and about 3 cm away. Then with a sunflower seed in my right again, I would bring my right hand up, So the T-stand is between my left and right hands. show Henry the sunflower seed and say, "step down". if after 15 to 20 seconds Henry hadn't stepped down onto the T-stand I would remove the sunflower seed from his sight.
Wait 20 seconds and reshow the treat. When Henry stepped down from my left hand, onto the T-stand and took the sunflower seed I would click the clicker at the same time.

Birds use their beaks like a third hand and they will use this "third hand to help them onto your hand when you are start the training of step up. This is because the bird is unsure how stable your hand is so they test your hands stability with their third hand before stepping up.

This scenario happens when an inexperienced owner is not clear in their signals to the parrot. For example, when offering a hand for the bird to step up, an inexperienced owner often isn't quite sure of him/herself... so their hand motion is uncertain. The bird may wish very much to climb on, but is unsure of the stability of the hand will reaches with its beak (The beak functions as a third hand) to steady the human hand. The human, afraid of that beak, pulls their hand away. Now the bird is confused!

Now each time the human's hand is offered, and the bird attempts to grab the hand with its beak to hold it steady so it can climb on. The human jerks their hand away. The bird has no idea what has happened but if the scene is repeated (as it usually is), the bird will learn that its beak will make the hand go away. The bird doesn't really want the hand to go away, but it is fun to control one's human's hand so the behaviour will happen again and a-gain. Once again, the parrot has no idea it has done anything wrong.

This is more towards interacting with your bird to build trust/bonding. Once you have established a bond of trust with your bird you can start to train basic tricks. Then advance to more tricks if you desire.

The advice I can give is
1 move slowly around the bird
2 let the bird come to you.
3 Don't force the bird to do anything that it doesn't want to do.
4 make the trust building and bonding sessions (training) fun
5 end all training sessions on a positive.
6 patience.

Remember food is a great motivator.
 

Kuro

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The advice I can give is
1 move slowly around the bird
2 let the bird come to you.
3 Don't force the bird to do anything that it doesn't want to do.
4 make the trust building and bonding sessions (training) fun
5 end all training sessions on a positive.
6 patience.
Hi! thank you so much for helping me! :)

I've just bought a clicker, i didn't realize how important it is for the training! He's already comfortable and seems excited when he sees me but i'm gonna do all the steps you've mentioned but this time with a clicker to make him accustomed to the sound. Jojo's favorite treats are also sunflower seeds!! so i had tried taking them out of his diet before but when the training started he seemed a little TOO excited!?!? i couldn't keep up with his pace, he basically runned back to step up on the perch to get his treat (the training was happenning in the cage btw).
And i've located his cage in the lounge too, but now i'm too uncomfortable to even think to start training him there 'cause it's too big and i can't reach the cielings :arghh:
do you think i could put him permanently (or at least until he's tame) in my room?? it's perfect for taming him but i won't be in there all the time and he'd be alone for part of the day, and i'm scared he's gonna become depressed or something :unsure1:

again thank you so much for all these informations!!! :heart:
 

Kuro

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He's ok , birds when stressed in a flight or fright situation will drop their tail feathers, predators will pounce on their tail feathers, they will grow back. Its a survival tactic. Get yourself a bird catching net at a pet store. They come in handy with small flighted birds. I have one with a short handle and long one for higher up places.
oh thank god i almost passed out when i saw all those feathers :sad3:
i'm gonna have to make one myself but it's gonna be worth it, if anything like that happens again (hopefully not) at least i'll have something to catch him safely

thank you!!:hug2:
 

Just-passn-thru

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Note: I used a spray of millet first has it was a larger training treat and it allowed Bluey to get use to my hand. Once Bluey became use to my hand I started to reduce the size of the millet until I could use sunflower seeds. This was done before training Bluey to leave his cage.

@Shinobi Great write-up, I appreciate the time you took for this very in-depth subject matter . I have a question hopefully you could possibly shed some light on for me and others as well. What if a bird /parrot isn't food motivated, how then would one proceed ?
 
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Kuro

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The trick I use for some of my fosters that won't go back in...locate where they are, turn the lights out, have someone grab them and then lights on. Don't move around in the dark unless you positively know where he or she is located. Maybe try training in a smaller room like the (clean) bathroom (with the toilet lid down) or other smaller area that you can control.
is it safe to grab them while they sleep?? it was night and mine was sleeping but i didn't do it 'cause i was afraid he could've had an heart attach or something

thank you for your help!! :grouphug2:
 

Just-passn-thru

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oh thank god i almost passed out when i saw all those feathers :sad3:
i'm gonna have to make one myself but it's gonna be worth it, if anything like that happens again (hopefully not) at least i'll have something to catch him safely

thank you!!:hug2:

Pond nets for catching fish work in a pinch. ;)
 

Just-passn-thru

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it's perfect for taming him but i won't be in there all the time and he'd be alone for part of the day, and i'm scared he's gonna become depressed or something :unsure1:
keep him with the family until training time, I'm not an expert but I now it's actually better to work with birds in a quiet place away from other distractions. keep your training sessions short to start in your bedroom then build up , consistency is key.
After training take him back in the family room , birds are social animals and thrive with company , just for training in your bedroom. That would be a lonely sad thing to do to keep your bird all alone day in and day out.:shakehead:
 
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Kuro

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keep him with the family until training time, I'm not an expert but I now it's actually better to work with birds in a quiet place away from other distractions. keep your training sessions short to start in your bedroom then build up , consistency is key.
After training take him back in the family room , birds are social animals and thrive with company , just for training in your bedroom. That would be a lonely sad thing to do to keep your bird all alone day in and day out.:shakehead:
the problem is that i cannot move the cage into my room everyday for training since it's on the second floor and to take it upstairs there should be at least 2 people helping me (the cage is rather big and i'm not the strongest lol) :dead:
literally all the rooms in my house are too big, too noisy or too dangerous to train him except my little room....where the problem is that he would be alone for too much time!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!:atomic:
 

Just-passn-thru

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the problem is that i cannot move the cage into my room everyday for training since it's on the second floor and to take it upstairs there should be at least 2 people helping me (the cage is rather big and i'm not the strongest lol) :dead:
literally all the rooms in my house are too big, too noisy or too dangerous to train him except my little room....where the problem is that he would be alone for too much time!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!:atomic:

Does the cage have wheels? possibly you could roll it into a bathroom close the toilet lid ?
 

greys4u

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do you have a travel carrier for him, (a smaller cage for travels to the vet) if you do why not train him in your room then take him downstairs in the carrier and give him a treat for being a good boy, he might start associating going downstairs as a treat, just a thought
 

Kuro

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do you have a travel carrier for him, (a smaller cage for travels to the vet) if you do why not train him in your room then take him downstairs in the carrier and give him a treat for being a good boy, he might start associating going downstairs as a treat, just a thought
I do have one! :) i just don't know if he's willing to go inside it, i've never tried :/ do you think i should try it out in my bathroom?? the room is way smaller so if something goes wrong i could still reach him
 

Kuro

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Does the cage have wheels? possibly you could roll it into a bathroom close the toilet lid ?
i think i can get the cage into the bathroom! :D do you think i should try and see if he's gonna go into a travel carrier to transport him into my room for training? so if he won't be comfortable with that i could still try to train him first into the bathroom
 

Just-passn-thru

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i think i can get the cage into the bathroom! :D do you think i should try and see if he's gonna go into a travel carrier to transport him into my room for training? so if he won't be comfortable with that i could still try to train him first into the bathroom
that's a great idea you should teach him to get in the travel cage , especially in an emergency
 

greys4u

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You might try putting the travel cage where he can see it and leave the door open, he will get used to it. When he goes in it don't shut the door on him, that may scare him and he wont go near it again, just let him go at his pace
 

Lady Jane

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So I think it may be best to let him settle down and get used to his new routine before any training. Taking him here and there will serve to confuse him and we know our birds thrive on routines. The bathroom is the room I have always used to train birds to safely fly. Do you have a parrot stand that you can put near his cage and let him know that is his place? Treats, toys and other goodies can be attached.
 

Shinobi

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Hi! thank you so much for helping me! :)

I've just bought a clicker, i didn't realize how important it is for the training! He's already comfortable and seems excited when he sees me but i'm gonna do all the steps you've mentioned but this time with a clicker to make him accustomed to the sound. Jojo's favorite treats are also sunflower seeds!! so i had tried taking them out of his diet before but when the training started he seemed a little TOO excited!?!? i couldn't keep up with his pace, he basically runned back to step up on the perch to get his treat (the training was happenning in the cage btw).
And i've located his cage in the lounge too, but now i'm too uncomfortable to even think to start training him there 'cause it's too big and i can't reach the cielings :arghh:
do you think i could put him permanently (or at least until he's tame) in my room?? it's perfect for taming him but i won't be in there all the time and he'd be alone for part of the day, and i'm scared he's gonna become depressed or something :unsure1:

again thank you so much for all these informations!!! :heart:


I wouldn't be too worried about his excitement, after all let him set the pace. But I would still remove the training treats from his diet.


Maybe you could get a second cage that is smaller for your room and use it just for training purposes.

Do not use a pond net or any type of net to catch your bird. This will destroy any trust you have built.

I have yet to see any animal caught in a net not to struggle and suffer stress.
 

Lady Jane

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Nets are as bad as gloves when it comes to birds. You could train him to step on a T stick.
 
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