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Ringneck still scared of my hand!

_aryxn_

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Ringneck still scared of my hand!

I have an Indian Ringneck that I got when it was around 8 weeks or 2 months old. He is currently 9 months old. He can talk, He can whistle and sometimes sing too! He is generally friendly (other than his really annoying cage aggression), He is not very cuddly but sometimes he does let me cuddle with him like he is a cockatoo but that is extremely rare and happens once every 2 months.

Anyways, the problem that I have is that he is scared of my hand and seems to have an extreme fear of it at times. Usually, my hand can stay close to him if it's in front of him and he clearly can see it, but the problem arises when it is behind him, on top of him, close to his tail and near his wings. He also now won't step up more than once at a time and fly off and hide! This is because I have tried to make him gain some trust by doing step up training which he won't even do anymore half the times.


I don't see much progress if any to be honest as it seems like he will never fully understand my hand is not a threat and knows how to respect his boundaries (for him his boundary is not being touched when he isnt in a cuddly mood) I need help as I really don't want to sell or give him away as I really want him to like me as I like him a lot but it is being really frustrating and problematic :meh::sad9::sad10:

Rio :irnb:

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Lady Jane

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Do you know the source for this fear?
 

painesgrey

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IRNs can be hand-shy, and mine is no exception. She will step up a few times, but will get frustrated and fly away after she has had enough. I don't force it, but reward her with happy coos and treats when she behaves.

She also does not like being approached from the back and sides, and will grumble and back away if I do. Since petting her in these areas is a no-no anyway, I don't stress over it.

This has taken me well over a year. Remember that patience is key, and rewarding is best. Don't force the issue, keep training sessions short to not over-stress. It may never be that he comes around, and that's okay.
 

_aryxn_

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IRNs can be hand-shy, and mine is no exception. She will step up a few times, but will get frustrated and fly away after she has had enough. I don't force it, but reward her with happy coos and treats when she behaves.

She also does not like being approached from the back and sides, and will grumble and back away if I do. Since petting her in these areas is a no-no anyway, I don't stress over it.

This has taken me well over a year. Remember that patience is key, and rewarding is best. Don't force the issue, keep training sessions short to not over-stress. It may never be that he comes around, and that's okay.
I am curious, did your one eventually come around and trust your hand? anyways I dont know if my bird is being “frustrated” when I am step up training him. I feel like it is a decision he made because of fear. I can feel his feet clamping harder, his eyes are all wide open, he starts screaming a lot and then starts freaking out because when he steps up on a finger, the other finger he was on is under him, and he gets scared of my hand near his tail. Also my bird does have cuddle potential. In showers he even lets me pet his back! Even out of the showers, if he feels lile it, I can eventually pet with him with my finger up to his ring. But most of the time the fear of hands is more powerful than his want to cuddly.



One last question, if a ringneck never trusts your hand, doesnt that mean that it never fully trusts you, which also means that they aren’t fully bonded to you? Other birds I used to have like GCC provided me all the qualities that ringnecks have (except for talking) and they really had no fear of hands as i could cuddle them from the first day. Although this may sound harsh or rude, what are the qualities that make a ringneck worth it over something like a green cheek conure ?
 

_aryxn_

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Do you know the source for this fear?
Okay , so when I went to get him, I saw that he was in fact hand raised as the breeders family was hand feeding some other ringnecks, Anyways the problem was that he was only 8 weeks old and flew everywhere and hit the furniture , the fan and there were cats nearby too. The breeder then held him with his hands and didnt let him go. I saw obvious problems with that and he asked me if I want to clip it which I obviously said yes because taming a bird that is flying around is no joke. he also said “when he is calm, he is very nice and friendly” and after eventually when he calmed down, he stepped up on me without flying but was still fearful. So I though that he was just scared of new people thats why he was flying but I think might be why he was hand shy. I don’t know if this is the cause or the source but that is all I have.
 
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painesgrey

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I am curious, did your one eventually come around and trust your hand? anyways I dont know if my bird is being “frustrated” when I am step up training him. I feel like it is a decision he made because of fear. I can feel his feet clamping harder, his eyes are all wide open, he starts screaming a lot and then starts freaking out because when he steps up on a finger, the other finger he was on is under him, and he gets scared of my hand near his tail. Also my bird does have cuddle potential. In showers he even lets me pet his back! Even out of the showers, if he feels lile it, I can eventually pet with him with my finger up to his ring. But most of the time the fear of hands is more powerful than his want to cuddly.



One last question, if a ringneck never trusts your hand, doesnt that mean that it never fully trusts you, which also means that they aren’t fully bonded to you? Other birds I used to have like GCC provided me all the qualities that ringnecks have (except for talking) and they really had no fear of hands as i could cuddle them from the first day. Although this may sound harsh or rude, what are the qualities that make a ringneck worth it over something like a green cheek conure ?

Piper has made pretty great strides in the last few months. Before, she would reluctantly step up when asked, but would immediately fly away or onto my shoulder, and any requests to step up from there were met with her just flying away, or flying a loop back to my shoulder. Now, with treating her when she steps up, and continuing to treat her as she remains sitting on my hand, she's more happy to stay on my hand. She still prefers shoulders and it's difficult to get her to fly to my hand - she'll fly right over it and onto my shoulder. The treats work wonders, especially if they're little things (like sunflower chips) that she doesn't feel like she needs to fly off and hold with her foot.

I don't pet Piper on anywhere but her head, and she's pretty good about accepting pets there. However, she does not tolerate any movements behind her or near her tail. I try to avoid these movements anyway, as touching/petting on the back and wings can trigger hormonal behaviors in female birds.

Like I said, it has taken well over a year for her to accept being touched and handled consistently. Even then, I wouldn't call her the most "hand-tame" of my birds - she's flighty, independent, stubborn, and strong-willed, as are most IRNs. However, she did spend some time in the wild, and is only just under 3 years old. She's still young, and still has some things to get over.

If your guy is fearful, consistent rewarding and avoiding pushing him will likely work over time. Eventually, he will understand that your hands in those positions isn't threatening, and he'll come to tolerate them. He may never accept them fully, and you may have to grow to be mindful of his phobias, but that's part of parrot ownership. Birds are quirky. :)

I wouldn't say that a hand-shy IRN is indicative of a weak bond. It's just one of the things that the species is prone to, unfortunately.
 

Lady Jane

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taming a bird that is flying around is no joke.


This tells me you have little experience with birds. A bird that has had normal flight ability taken away by human hands is totally in your control which is not a good thing. I hope you work things out.
 

_aryxn_

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This tells me you have little experience with birds. A bird that has had normal flight ability taken away by human hands is totally in your control which is not a good thing. I hope you work things out.
I don’t understand, Correct me if I am wrong but you are saying a birds flight ability taken away by human hands that are holding it is not good. Also I did clip him but I only clipped him when I got him and his full flight ability will probably return in maybe a few months. I only clipped him to make taming him easier as he would be forced to interact with me to travel to most places
 

_aryxn_

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Piper has made pretty great strides in the last few months. Before, she would reluctantly step up when asked, but would immediately fly away or onto my shoulder, and any requests to step up from there were met with her just flying away, or flying a loop back to my shoulder. Now, with treating her when she steps up, and continuing to treat her as she remains sitting on my hand, she's more happy to stay on my hand. She still prefers shoulders and it's difficult to get her to fly to my hand - she'll fly right over it and onto my shoulder. The treats work wonders, especially if they're little things (like sunflower chips) that she doesn't feel like she needs to fly off and hold with her foot.

I don't pet Piper on anywhere but her head, and she's pretty good about accepting pets there. However, she does not tolerate any movements behind her or near her tail. I try to avoid these movements anyway, as touching/petting on the back and wings can trigger hormonal behaviors in female birds.

Like I said, it has taken well over a year for her to accept being touched and handled consistently. Even then, I wouldn't call her the most "hand-tame" of my birds - she's flighty, independent, stubborn, and strong-willed, as are most IRNs. However, she did spend some time in the wild, and is only just under 3 years old. She's still young, and still has some things to get over.

If your guy is fearful, consistent rewarding and avoiding pushing him will likely work over time. Eventually, he will understand that your hands in those positions isn't threatening, and he'll come to tolerate them. He may never accept them fully, and you may have to grow to be mindful of his phobias, but that's part of parrot ownership. Birds are quirky. :)

I wouldn't say that a hand-shy IRN is indicative of a weak bond. It's just one of the things that the species is prone to, unfortunately.
I have made some progress today as he does seem fairly calm but will freak out if he is in a “jumpy” mood. I have given him treats and slowly moved my hands during the step ups and it seems to have worked for the time being. Also, If I remember correctly, when I first got him, he was more cuddly and less phobic.
 

BirdField

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I believe what LadyJane was trying to say, correct me if I'm wrong, is that birds become fearful when they don't have the ability to fly and depressed when they have no control over where they're going. If you think about it, birds have had flight for thousands of years and they developed it as a way to get away from things they are afraid of. Their "fight or flight" response for parrots is literally to fight or to fly. When their ability to fly is taken away, they feel the need to either attempt to run away in an inefficient way (walking), or bite. Most of the time it's bite or at least defensive posture.
When a bird has no control of where it wants to go, they develop learned helplessness. This is very bad because it creates an animal that knows it can do nothing but go with what you want them to do. This leads to depression and a million different behavioral issues because they cannot do anything unless you want them to do it. Imagine if you couldn't walk where you wanted unless some giant predator decided they wanted to pick you up and move you, not to where you want, but to where they want. It gets to be too much and the bird will become depressed and will likely lash out.
Overall, clipping is a bad idea in general and often causes a million more problems than it solves.
 

painesgrey

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I have made some progress today as he does seem fairly calm but will freak out if he is in a “jumpy” mood. I have given him treats and slowly moved my hands during the step ups and it seems to have worked for the time being. Also, If I remember correctly, when I first got him, he was more cuddly and less phobic.

Young birds and birds new to a home will often go through a "honeymoon" period where they're on their best behavior. This period fades as they become more familiar with their environment.
 

MauiWendy

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I don’t understand, Correct me if I am wrong but you are saying a birds flight ability taken away by human hands that are holding it is not good. Also I did clip him but I only clipped him when I got him and his full flight ability will probably return in maybe a few months. I only clipped him to make taming him easier as he would be forced to interact with me to travel to most places
You can not force a bird to interact with you. It’s called flooding, you will never gain his trust if you do this. He will only shut down (freeze) or always try and get away from you. Gary my parakeet (my daughters bird now) was very scared when I rescued him. He was clipped too, he would freak every time I went near him. Even to change out is water and food. I opened his cage every day, he finally started to explore. But I left him alone. I allowed his flight feathers to come in. As they did he gained more and more confidence. Eventually he started stepping up and flying to us, not away from us. But he knew he could fly away if he felt threatened. He is now a very curious and happy bird and seeks attention from us.
 

Lady Jane

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I will share this article written by a well known person in the bird world. She goes into detail of what a bird may experience by the temporary loss of flight. It takes the better part of a year for flight feathers to grow back. Its very controversial some people do clip and some don't.

Flock Call - Clipped Wings
 

fashionfobie

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I read an interesting post in a tropical fish keeping forum that I think has some relevance here. It went something along the lines of..

"Our fish do not need us to be fish. We can't expect to change millions of years of evolution in a few decades." I know it is fish, not birds, but there is something in it. We have to look at our birds from a bird's perspective. They are biologically capable of being with wild parrots. I understand the exceptions with mutations etc, but for analogy, if his or her egg was hatched in a wild nest the cute little parrot wouldn't know the difference.

With patience, even if it takes years, your relationship with Rio will be much more powerful if it is built from trust. Don't rush anything, just get into the mind of a bird.

There could even be a threatening object near Rio's cage that makes him nervous. Rio may be transfixed on the cat. Try to see the world through Rio's eyes and consider what he is seeing. It might not be hands that are scary, but something else. I would highly suggest just taking a step back and try to just talk to him and read to him and spend time near his cage without direct interaction. He will come around if you are his ally no matter what he is going through.

IRNs can also go through bluffing, which will be another challenge. Bluffing will be much easier for both you and Rio if there is trust.
 

Monica

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He is not very cuddly but sometimes he does let me cuddle with him like he is a cockatoo but that is extremely rare and happens once every 2 months.
What do you mean "cuddle with him like he is a cockatoo"?


This is because I have tried to make him gain some trust by doing step up training which he won't even do anymore half the times.
How did you try teaching him to step up?


In showers he even lets me pet his back! Even out of the showers, if he feels lile it, I can eventually pet with him with my finger up to his ring.
Petting his back could either mean you are a predator and you want to eat him or you want to make babies with him.... not good in either situation. Please stop trying to touch his back, wings or tail.


One last question, if a ringneck never trusts your hand, doesnt that mean that it never fully trusts you, which also means that they aren’t fully bonded to you?
Birds can be fully bonded with humans and love spending time with them but still be afraid of hands!


he asked me if I want to clip it which I obviously said yes because taming a bird that is flying around is no joke.
If you force tame a bird, is the bird truly tame? What happens when a clipped "tame" bird becomes flighted? Often times, when flighted, their behavior reverts. They become more bitey/nippy and show avoidance behaviors and are thus difficult to work with. So what's the solution? You clip them. Bird "returns" to normal behavior.

The truth is, once the bird was given choice, the bird chose to avoid it's human. When that choice was taken away (aka clipping), they have what is known as learned helplessness and possibly some Stockholm Syndrome going on... Not all birds end up this way, but I read about it frequently where birds aren't allowed to be flighted due to a chance in behaviors which I find terribly sad. I'd rather earn the trust of a flighted bird than a clipped one, and I have done it, too!

If the bird would freak out if you were to take them out of the cage then leave them in it! But make sure it's a large cage where they can "escape" from you. Start earning their trust with them in the cage. You can easily start this by dropping a treat in the cage any time you walk by the cage (may need to walk slower and perhaps announce your presence - make sure not to make direct eye-contact!) and eventually lead up to offering a treat by hand. Maybe your bird is already taking treats from your hand but it may help to take a step back and don't ask for that much behavior.


IRNs can also go through bluffing, which will be another challenge. Bluffing will be much easier for both you and Rio if there is trust.
Parrots don't bluff. What is called "bluffing" is actually a parrots way of saying extremely nicely "If you don't stop, I *WILL* bite!". By ignoring the lunging behavior (because the bird does not actually want to bite), you are putting the bird in a position where they will eventually feel the need to bite. The moment they bite is the moment you just taught them to bite!

If you don't want a bird to learn to bite, then you need to learn to back off before being bitten or redirect the behavior into something positive. If you do get bit, then don't punish the bird for biting and don't ignore them! Instead, simply get them off of you! Be it a chair, a table, or even the floor! If you aren't near their cage, then don't take them to the cage. Get the bird off of you and then think about how you can avoid that situation in the future.
 

_aryxn_

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@fashionfobie @Monica @MauiWendy @Lady Jane
@painesgrey First off, thank you guys for giving me more info and insight. It seems my bird was going through, a phase. Yes I understand “forcing” a bird to interact with you isnt right. What I meant was when you clip a bird, they are forced to interact with you to move places. Anyways, Rio is back to normal. I don’t know why he was acting all fearful for a week but he has now been nicer than ever. He constantly chatters, and flies to me (yes he can fly pretty well even though his wings didnt fully grow back). He gives me kisses, always steps up and doesnt hide in places. His cage agression also decreased a lot. For some reason, my bird has never bitten me EVER! unless it was because of cage agression. I don’t know if some ringnecks go through bluffing like this as I know they usually bite and lunge but Rio has never done this. my one is 9 months old ( I HAD HIM SINCE HE WAS 2 MONTHS OLD). Lastly, Although he was clipped, he could always glide and therefore fly away which may be the reason he never bit me, because he knows he can fly away if he wants to. I never forced him to interact with me as I learned a long time ago it just makes the bird fail. “Set your bird up for success” is an amazing quote I have heard for training and have used that. My bird although he isnt fully fearless of my hands, is still amazing right now and I don’t know how long “bluffing” lasts for but his fearful act started around 1 and a half weeks ago. image.jpg
 
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Lady Jane

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You are both in a good place now.
 

fashionfobie

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What a cutie :pinksmile:.

I am glad to hear that you have had positive progress.
 
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