• Welcome to Avian Avenue! To view our forum with less advertisments please register with us.
    Memberships are free and it will just take a moment. Click here

To handle or not to handle, that is the question

Status
Not open for further replies.

Brittany0208

Rollerblading along the road
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
4/8/18
Messages
2,877
As the title suggests, it's been almost 6 months that I've had Java, and he still nips. It's not hard but hard enough to let me know that he doesn't want to be touched. I've been told that I should handle him to get him used to it, and that I shouldn't handle him. So, now I'm not sure which one.

I can't tell if he's playing or he really doesn't want me to touch him. The longer I keep my hand there, the harder he bites.

 
Last edited:

Mizzely

Lil Monsters Bird Toys
Super Moderator
Vendor
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Avenue Concierge
Joined
8/9/11
Messages
40,772
Location
Northern Mitten Michigan
Real Name
Shawna [she/her]
Gizmo was my heart bird but she didn't want to be touched. I respected that and she loved me more for it I think. I personally think he's telling you no
 

Brittany0208

Rollerblading along the road
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
4/8/18
Messages
2,877
Gizmo was my heart bird but she didn't want to be touched. I respected that and she loved me more for it I think. I personally think he's telling you no
Is there anything I can do to make him less fearful of hands?
 

TikiMyn

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
12/13/16
Messages
6,735
Location
The Netherlands
Real Name
Robin
I would try making your hands ultra positive. Have you done any clicker training with him perhaps? Not nessecary, but I find it easier:)
I would place my hand near him, and click/reward(or say good bird! Or something Instead of the click) when he looks at them. Repeat that untill he is looking at your hand and expects a treat. I usually do several short 5 minute sessions a day. When you are at that point, don’t reward him when he looks at your hand but wait. Most likely he Will move into your hand direction, then click and reward and go a step further every time he ‘gets’ movig closer to your hand means he earned treats.
 

Brittany0208

Rollerblading along the road
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
4/8/18
Messages
2,877
I would try making your hands ultra positive. Have you done any clicker training with him perhaps? Not nessecary, but I find it easier:)
I would place my hand near him, and click/reward(or say good bird! Or something Instead of the click) when he looks at them. Repeat that untill he is looking at your hand and expects a treat. I usually do several short 5 minute sessions a day. When you are at that point, don’t reward him when he looks at your hand but wait. Most likely he Will move into your hand direction, then click and reward and go a step further every time he ‘gets’ movig closer to your hand means he earned treats.
I haven't done clicker training, but I definitely want him to see my hands as something positive. He'll take treats from me and let me pick him up when he's out of the cage, but if I try to pet him, in the cage or out, he bites. Do I give him a treat every time he looks at my hand, or just use verbal reward?
 

WendyN

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/8/16
Messages
7,843
Location
California
Real Name
Wendy
Give him time to learn that he can trust you.
Honor his feedback when he doesn’t want you to touch him.
One day he may ask you for scritches.
You have accomplished some great things for him in the past 6 months.
 

Brittany0208

Rollerblading along the road
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
4/8/18
Messages
2,877
Give him time to learn that he can trust you.
Honor his feedback when he doesn’t want you to touch him.
One day he may ask you for scritches.
You have accomplished some great things for him in the past 6 months.
So I should hold off on trying to get him to accept physical contact?
 

Feathered up

Sprinting down the street
Joined
8/1/18
Messages
346
Real Name
Jamie
Time. And your hands not doing anything he sees as threatening. I’m not at all familiar with Vasas but I know that birds have very long memories and they perceive things as threats that would never occur to us.

He gets himself wedged behind the desk, you have to get him out. We see that as “I saved you” he may see it as “she tried to eat me!” The vet trips may play into it as well.

I raise a lot of prey animals. Rabbits, horses, chickens and it’s the same with all of them. I could have bought a nice car for what I just spent saving my stallion. His thank you was to put my daughter the hospital for trying to pick up his foot to clean it. He had a lot of painful procedures over an 11 month time frame instead of understanding that they literally saved his life, he simply equates people touching his legs with pain. It will take a year or more before it’s safe to handle his legs.

I know time is a stupid answer but I believe it’s the correct one.

The other thing I will note is that all of my beaky birds bite harder the longer they hold anything whether it’s a toy or me. I have one bird, Skyy, who well understands that biting is painful. I know she knows because she will tell the lovebird to “stop that! It hurts!” With her, ignoring biting didn’t work. But if I say OW! She will release and move away.

It could be that Java wants the hand to leave, it could be that he wants to play with it or he wants a treat or just a reaction. When Skyy got beaky, I left her alone. Eventually (after months) she came to me. You’ll develop your own language with him after some years and come to all sorts of understandings. It’s just all about time.
 

TikiMyn

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
12/13/16
Messages
6,735
Location
The Netherlands
Real Name
Robin
I haven't done clicker training, but I definitely want him to see my hands as something positive. He'll take treats from me and let me pick him up when he's out of the cage, but if I try to pet him, in the cage or out, he bites. Do I give him a treat every time he looks at my hand, or just use verbal reward?
I gave treats every time they looked at my hands:) All three of my birds responded very positivly to this, I hope Java Will as well!
 

WendyN

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/8/16
Messages
7,843
Location
California
Real Name
Wendy
I think you can still offer your hand and he will tell you if you can pet him or not.
As you keep honoring his responses, he will start to trust your hand.
 

WendyN

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/8/16
Messages
7,843
Location
California
Real Name
Wendy
Also offering treats with your hand as Robin suggested, let’s him know that your hand is a friend.
 

TikiMyn

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
12/13/16
Messages
6,735
Location
The Netherlands
Real Name
Robin
I think you can still offer your hand and he will tell you if you can pet him or not.
As you keep honoring his responses, he will start to trust your hand.
Defianlty agreed! I often give my birds and ducks the opportunity for interaction, if they show signs if fear I say something like that’s okay sweetheart and then slowly back away. I think that has really helped my fids learn I respect them:)
 

Brittany0208

Rollerblading along the road
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
4/8/18
Messages
2,877
Defianlty agreed! I often give my birds and ducks the opportunity for interaction, if they show signs if fear I say something like that’s okay sweetheart and then slowly back away. I think that has really helped my fids learn I respect them:)
I enjoy giving him treats, and every night before bed, I take a few slivers of almond and break them up and let him eat them out of my palm. That's been our nighttime routine for about three months now, and he always looks forward to his bedtime snack. :heart:
 

TikiMyn

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
12/13/16
Messages
6,735
Location
The Netherlands
Real Name
Robin
I enjoy giving him treats, and every night before bed, I take a few slivers of almond and break them up and let him eat them out of my palm. That's been our nighttime routine for about three months now, and he always looks forward to his bedtime snack. :heart:
That is too sweet!:heart: Since you and Java joined I have really been wanting too meet a vasa, Java is just so beautiful and a soft soul:heart:
 

hrafn

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
9/17/16
Messages
3,875
Location
Canada
My Kraz loves me, but he hates my hands and has for the eleven and a half years we've been together. Nothing I've tried has made him less fearful. He'll never be a hands-on bird, and I've accepted that.

The fact that Java lets you pick him up and give him treats is awesome! But he may never like being pet.
 

WendyN

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/8/16
Messages
7,843
Location
California
Real Name
Wendy
Also you might hold the treat with your fingers. Maybe less scary than your hand. And maybe he will let you scratch the top of his head with your index finger eventually.
 

ReNap

Strolling the yard
Joined
6/29/18
Messages
115
Real Name
Chelsey
Ive heard of this method working well on birds with fear or aggression of hands

Hand on end of perch like she has and holding a treat out, trying to coax them to take the treat and touch your hand. Maybe target stick/clicker training first and luring him with that, clicking when they make contact with your hand too if you wanted to go that route eventually.
 

Brittany0208

Rollerblading along the road
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
4/8/18
Messages
2,877
Also you might hold the treat with your fingers. Maybe less scary than your hand. And maybe he will let you scratch the top of his head with your index finger eventually.
He'll eat food from between my fingers, but I never thought to try to sneak in a pet. I'll give it a shot.
 

WendyN

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/8/16
Messages
7,843
Location
California
Real Name
Wendy
The video Chelsey posted is great. Can you see how Barbara Heidenriech is holding the treat in the beginning?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top