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Lisa5133

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Joined
9/25/23
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6
Hello
I recently rescued a 10 yr old B&G and he is doing wonderful! He was a very cheap seed diet and he is now eating more veggies and pellets along with Bird Street Bristro and chop.He is coming out of the safety of his new home and exploring the top of cage.
He is very food motivated and will try anything once. I am having luck target training with pieces of almonds. He took to right off.
Now my next issue is I can scratch his head through the cage and rub his belly and feet but not outside of cage. Have been rewarding him for allowing me to hold my hand above his head, conditioning for outside scratches, but have not directly tried to touch.
So here is my question: I was told he stepped up once about 7 or so years ago for previous owner. She never worked with again. He was not kept in good conditions reason why i took him in. I really want to have him step up so I can work with him away from cage. Not going to lie that beak is intimidating! I ask for a step up and I more less am told no with a warning. He is not putting beak on me but I feel like he is threatening me with it if I don't move my hand I will be sorry. I move and let him settle and get calm before going back to target training.
How can I get a macaw to step up and not try to have me for lunch that has not had this type of interaction since he was a baby? I feel he is comfortable or he would not venture out, he has some trust in me or he would not take food or allow me to touch through cage.
I may add that previous owner would pick him up by grabbing his tail while he screamed. I have noticed he is very protective of not allowing touch to his tail feathers. Can't blame him at all in that!
So what is the best way to ask for a step up? He is also afraid of towels as previous owner used them to knock him of cage so she could get him in floor to grab him to.... I guess get him in cage. So towels are not an option.
 

Shezbug

ASK ME FOR PICTURES OF MY MACAW!
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If he is good with targeting then maybe just use the target to get him to where you would like him to be.
You could also try a stick/perch to move him instead of your arm.
If he has had such a negative past with his human then I personally would be taking everything very slow and allowing him to lead how fast you get to be hands on.
 

BrianB

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Let him lead you on what he's comfortable with. Progress will be slow. One of the things I've used in the past is demonstrating with my index finger. There was a blue and gold with no self-confidence and was scared of almost everything. I would hold up my index finger right in front of her so she could see it. I would touch my nose then slowly reach out and touch her beak. She could see that I wasn't hurting myself and I wasn't going to hurt her. You could try variations of this with your hands and touching his feet, beak, or head through the cage. if he already lets you do this through the bars, you can build additional trust that might be enough for him to let you approach him outside of the cage. You might get nipped a few times as you learn his body language and he learns to trust you. Ignore the behavior you don't want, praise and reward when he does what you ask. There may be times when he's over-stimulated or has had enough and wants to be away from you. Let him have his time to unwind and relax, then try again. It's all baby steps.
 
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