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The good, the bad, and the ugly about caiques

Laurie

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The replies in this topic kind of scare me for what the future with my new WBC will bring me :eek::eek:
Is there any way to prevent all the agressiveness in a few years? Like if I make sure he doesnt see me as a mate or when i set clear bowndries>
I have four WBC who are kept in pairs. I have had them since they were weaned and they are now turning 4 years old. None of them have ever been aggressive.

My BHC's are a bit more aggressive but they are also not as well socialized and if I respect them then we get along fine. Caiques have no respect, lol! They do respond well to bribing and routine. That is my strategy.
 

WendyN

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Bribing works on Joey too. A clicker and a piece of walnut can turn a potentially crabby interaction into a good one, if I move quickly enough!
 

SquawkandHowl

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I have two BHCs. My oldest, Tengu was the only bird I ever got from a breeder. I chose the breeder carefully and brought her home as soon s she was weaned. I carefully socialized her to be touched (especially while eating) and she is my special girl. I had a flock of rescues when I brought her home (mostly Conures, Mini Macaws, and Budgies) and the first year, they preened her and welcomed her in. After that first year, even though she did nothing to warrant it, everyone started avoiding her and I could tell she was lonely and sad.
The rest of the flock just knew she was potentially dangerous, even though she had never actually been.

So I kept my eyes peeled for a rescue Caique. They are HARD to find! 9 months later, I adopted Tallulah, who is a year younger than Tengu. She had been forced to be a breeder too early and the male Caique abused her (she had no head feathers when I got her, was jumpy and bitey, and was very wary).

After the quarantine period, I introduced her to the flock and Tengu. Of course, everyone knew there was another bird in the bedroom, and Tallulah knew there were other birds in the house- they had been screeching to one another for 6 weeks!

I was super nervous- would they hate each other? Would they not get along and all this was for naught? Nope- I put Tallulah down on an eating perch at dinner and Tengu made a beeline for her. She immediately went right next to her and nudged her with her beak. The next thing I knew, they were next to each other on the perch "holding hands"- one foot slipped over the other, just sitting that way for a good 20 minutes. It was delightful.

I brought Talullah's cage into the main area where all the others were that night, because I was not going to force them to share a cage. But within a week of open cage doors, Talullah and Tengu were casemates and have been ever since. They chose it. They love one another and keep each other company- I have had them for 11 and 10 years, respectively.

The good: They make me laugh every day. They have taught me about parrot behavior, especially troublesome behavior more than other birds I have lived with.

The bad: They get an idea in their head ("The wood on the top of the door is good for biting, I must bite it.") and will not let it go. They are hard to repattern and correct, dammit.

The ugly: They have the worst tempers. Well, Tallulah does anyway. :lol:
 

CristineK

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I am not going to lie, reading all of these posts did scare me a bit. I am getting a 6 month old from a breeder Saturday, arriving via United Cargo. She is a black headed caique. I am not new to parrots, I recently lost my Jenday Conure and I am still heart broken because although he drove everyone insane in the house with his screams, he did love me a lot and was great at showing it. Just typing about him bring tears to my eyes. I guess my biggest fear with us getting the BHC now is that she won't be sweet. I am not afraid of beaks and I can be pretty firm. I am willing to do all I can to help her learn to be a bird everyone will enjoy being around. So if anyone has any tips on what not to do when you first bring a baby Caique home please let me know. I have been reading a lot and I will continue to read the posts about caiques here. Thanks for all of the info.
 

finchly

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@CristineK Just love her! That's my hint. Mine is about 8 months old; he's a darling baby and loves to roll on his back and wrestle with me. We do a little bit of clicker training, I'm hoping he will be well-behaved by the time aggressiveness sets in.
 

CristineK

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@finchly Thank you, I already do and haven't even seen her yet other than from pictures. :) I need to read about clicker training.
 

metalstitcher

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@Irishj9 I was wondering something do you notice more aggression for your boys or your girls?
 

Irishj9

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The girls are more tetchy though I have one girl who is a love magnet

But when theyre hormonal, the girls can be quite a handful.
 

metalstitcher

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I always wonder about that. I notice a lot of the caique that are kept in pairs are more mellow for a caique that is lol

Do you still have your lovebirds or just your groupies ?
 

Irishj9

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Most of my lovebirds are still at home, in the care of my caique carer, who handraises their chicks
 

Dona

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I was reading a current caique post and thought I'd chime in with my story.

23 years ago I visited a breeder with the thought of buying a hand-fed baby yellow nape Amazon. My kids were old enough to have a big bird in the house and to respect the rules. The breeder talked about the personalities of all the birds she bred and after some time I was convinced to get a hand-fed unrelated pair of caiques. I had never heard of them and I don't think they were very popular yet. She said that they were one of the only birds that still loved their people even when in pairs. She raved about their antics and wonderful personalities. I visited the babies every week until it was time to come to live with us.

I brought home Nina and Paco and the fun began. They were amazing in every way, so beautiful, full of energy and fun. They loved each other and me. I worked from home and they were out all the time. I had a fabulous manzanita tree play gym. They took baths in the sink, ate everything I fed them, explored every square inch of the house, hopped all over the place and learned some trick whistles and words. I had a carrier and I took them to the trail on walks. I had a cage for them to be on our porch. If they were dogs, I would think Nina might have been a little feisty dog, slightly aggressive and could be nippy with others but not me, and Paco was like a Golden Retriever, always sweet and easy going. Nina was more adventurous but Paco would follow her lead. Nina learned how to open the lock of their California cage and I got it on video. The years went on and I loved having caiques. I told everyone that they were the best kept secret in the bird world.

Then one day when they were about 5 years old, I had just taken them out to their playgym and my son called to get picked up from school early. I apologized to the birds, time to go back in, picked them up and Nina gave me a very aggressive and serious bite. That was the last time I was able to handle her without getting bit. She pinned her eyes, she stalked us, she bit to draw blood. This from the baby that I raised, rolled in my hand, played with everyday, built a relationship that I thought was rock solid. It was shocking and heartbreaking. I called a parrot behaviorist that was really well known and had a caique. Long time bird owners would probably know her. She wrote articles in Bird Talk and gave bird presentations all over. She happened to live less than 30 miles from me. So she helped me, offered suggestions and everything failed. So I dug in, hoping to get past this stage. Nina had probably just reached maturity at age 5 and I hoped that the tough part could pass. But it never did. Paco never bit me, not one time, and Nina went out of her way to get any opportunity to bite me after that first bite. I was seriously terrified of her now. After 2 years, I called the parrot behaviorist and offered her the caiques. If I had to re-home them at least it would be with someone who understood what she was getting into, someone with advanced skills and the time to work with Nina. I stayed in touch and Nina continued to bite and Paco continued to be sweet. No one understood how I would have given up Paco. But I couldn't imagine how they could be apart. I couldn't do it to either of them.

So there's an example of caiques. Both bred by the same very competent breeder, raised with lots of love and attention by me and my family, with 2 such different outcomes. I've never really explained all of this. It's was one of the saddest things that ever happened to me. I cried and felt so bad for so long.
 

Leiura

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I want to say thanks for this thread. (And all of the other "ugly" threads.) Threads like these give more insight than reading general articles online.
 

Karnkate

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Everyone’s inputs here make me feel afraid of them to be honest. I am trying to research more about WBC and small cockatoos. After reading all of your experiences....it honestly makes me think that, for all the funny Caique vids on YouTube, are their owners getting bloodily bitten and attacked by their birds behind the scenes?
I also don’t know if I’m really “ready” for this...

Sorry for my confusing English.
 

Laurie

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Everyone’s inputs here make me feel afraid of them to be honest. I am trying to research more about WBC and small cockatoos. After reading all of your experiences....it honestly makes me think that, for all the funny Caique vids on YouTube, are their owners getting bloodily bitten and attacked by their birds behind the scenes?
I also don’t know if I’m really “ready” for this...

Sorry for my confusing English.
Obviously, people are telling true stories but the birds are only part of the equation. Yes, caiques are stubborn and no they are not mellow or easy going at all. I have six of them and love them all. One of mine, I don't handle unless she comes over to me because she bites but she doesn't bite my husband. The point is that everyone bird is unique and each family is unique as well.

I also highly recommend having two of them together. If you are going to have caiques.

If you have never had birds before and you are not sure what you want then you might start with a more easy going type of bird.

With any bird you need to realize that they are independent individuals and need to be themselves and not be pushed into being what you want. This is especially true of caiques. If you try to pressure them to do something they do not want to do you will either create fear or aggression, many people even realize what they are doing wrong.

I don't believe that getting bite on a regular basis has to be a part of bird ownership. I think it damaging for people to go around constantly believing that as well. Yes you may occasionally do something that gets you bit, and yes you will need to be attentive to your bird and handle each bird as an individual but a bite should be rare and if you a paying attention you should almost always be able to figure out why you got bit.

Birds are different from other pets and it takes some time to learn how to treat them so that they can be happy and well behaved. It's okay to be a beginner and learn. This is a great place to learn.
 

Karnkate

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@Laurie I am currently living with 3 parrotlets and 2 budgies and I’ve got numerous cockatiels and lovebirds in the past. So...I think I can say that I’m “experienced” when it comes to small birds.
Most of my interaction with larger birds are in a public aviary or while visiting a breeder and he or she gets to show me his or her own personal companion birds.Sure, all of them seem full of personalities. But I’m not sure how drastically different will it be if that bird....whether it’s Caique all the way to Macaw, will act differently if it’s alone with me.
They probably can tell by gazing through my eyes, right into my soul, that I’ve never been exposed to birds larger than a cockatiel for more than 10 hours lol.
 

Laurie

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@Laurie I am currently living with 3 parrotlets and 2 budgies and I’ve got numerous cockatiels and lovebirds in the past. So...I think I can say that I’m “experienced” when it comes to small birds.
Most of my interaction with larger birds are in a public aviary or while visiting a breeder and he or she gets to show me his or her own personal companion birds.Sure, all of them seem full of personalities. But I’m not sure how drastically different will it be if that bird....whether it’s Caique all the way to Macaw, will act differently if it’s alone with me.
They probably can tell by gazing through my eyes, right into my soul, that I’ve never been exposed to birds larger than a cockatiel for more than 10 hours lol.
Parrotlets remind me of caiques a little. Definitely different from budgies and cockatiels. I would put budgies and tiels in the easy going category. I love budgie personally. Parrotlets are more feisty and spunky. Those are positive words to describe attitude. Caiques have attitude too! I love it in case you didn't figure that out.

They will for sure be different with you but not necessarily in a bad way.
 

fashionfobie

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Parrotlets remind me of caiques a little. Definitely different from budgies and cockatiels. I would put budgies and tiels in the easy going category. I love budgie personally. Parrotlets are more feisty and spunky. Those are positive words to describe attitude. Caiques have attitude too! I love it in case you didn't figure that out.

They will for sure be different with you but not necessarily in a bad way.
I agree! Parrotlets are caiques in tiny bodies. I think this is why I see so many mistreated ones in youtube videos. People think they are getting a budgie..they come home with a sassy, spunky, independent bird. There is a lack of understanding of their needs and they end up biting, get tossed in a cage or worse. I even saw this tragic "pet youtuber" who kept a parrotlet in this weird cage with budgies. He referred to the parrotlet as being this terrible bird.. it broke my heart. ... Like ... THE PARROTLET ISN'T GETTING WHAT THEY NEED! HOW DARE YOU BLAME HIM!

Parrotlets are very sexual little birds too, and a lot of their behaviours can be curbed by understanding their vocalisations and body language. I love my parrotlets. I wouldn't suggests them to anyone who doesn't really understand their play needs, flight requirement and territoriality.
 

Herbie

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I came across this thread purely by chance and I must say that most of you describe our caique to a tee! The phrase 'hunt you down like prey' really is very apt when you have a hormonal caique! And ours has the most Machiavellian giggle when she does this!
We invented a word which perfectly describes our caique: SWEEVIL !
 

mastrude

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I’m so glad to see this thread, because too many—way too many—people acquire caiques without knowing their needs and difficulties. One thing I do is talk to my birds. They don’t know the words but they get the message. Such as “I’m going out now but I’ll be back in two hours, and I love you”, or “You can’t get my attention by screaming, so I’m giving you a two-hour time-out, but I still love you.”
I don’t talk in baby talk, but in the voice I use with other humans. They can tell the difference.
 
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