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Toys for african grey scared of wood

Diveks

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Hello, i need some suggestions for non wooden toys. I had been having trouble with her toys as she is TERRIFIED of all kinds of wood except for the painted furniture.
So a bit about dolly, this is not her first home as she was given to me from my relatives. They could no longer care for her as they had no time. I was not sure how she was treated but they said she was really mean. Never bit me once. Well she was also only eating sunflower seeds but i don’t that matters with her phobia.
Ive had her since March and ive been training her to not be scared of it to no avail. I have no wooden perches in with her. She is still completely terrified. I cant even do targeting with her but she is terrified of the stick. I gave her a wooden toy to her but she wouldn’t even come to that side of the cage.
Anyone with the same experience? What toys should i try giving her? Im in need of any kind of toy, in cage and outside.
 

Tvdv96

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Thank you for taking her in! So sad to hear she is so afraid, makes you wonder what happened to the poor thing.
What have you been doing to 'train' her? Maybe some member can give you some tips on this as well :) I think she just needs a lot of time, she's in a new home so she still has to adjust to that and if she is so scared I think it will take a lot of time and patience for her to trust wooden things again.
As for the toys, my CAG Sisi isn't afraid of wooden toys, but she just prefers softer and shreddable things. She really likes this kind of stuff:
back-zoo-nature-natural-surprise-boxes.jpg
She likes 'pinata' types of toys which are mostly made of corn leaves or some other kind of soft material. And maybe you can look into toys which are made with carton? Or you can even give her some paper like a phone book to shred.
We also have some amazing vendors on AA who sell great toys and maybe can assist you.

Also introduce toys slowly, maybe don't hang it directly in her cage. But put it somewhere in the room where she can see it, than slowly get it closer and closer and than start by hanging it outside of her cage.

I wish you te best of luck with her and please keep us updated! :hug8:
 

Mizzely

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So the reason she might like the furniture is because its not in her cage, she has had a chance to watch it at a distance, and it's her decision to go to it, vs it coming to her.

I had a Hahns that was terrified of new stuff. What helped was having it in the bird room away from her cage but where she could see it. I would gradually bring it closer; whenever I moved it I would gauge her reaction- basically a bit weary was okay but scared wasn't. This process could take weeks or months.

I would then figure out where I wanted it on the inside of her cage, but would hang it on the outside of her cage opposite the place I wanted it to be inside. I would then let it stay there for a few weeks. Finally, I would simply put it inside of the bars instead of outside the bars. This seemed to help immensely.

I also would only introduce toys in places that were opposite her favorite roosting spot, otherwise she wouldn't sleep well as that was not good for either of us! So, only toys that were already introduced and being at least tolerated would be shifted over to that side of the cage so that new toys could be rotated in.

If she has a playstand or other area outside of the cage she likes to explore, you could instead put it near there instead.

Basically striking a balance between desensitization and giving them a choice is what I have found works well!

You also might need to give her smaller toys than you think she needs. A large toy is intimidating! A simpler, small toy might be less so.
 

Toy

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We got Jengo December 1999, from a pet store, at age 6 months. She was not hand raised. According to the pet store the breeder had 2 CAG's let them breed & had a chick. Breeder let the parents wean her then put her on a seed mix diet & sold her to the pet store. Pet store employees were trying to get her to step up on a stick, which she hated. They couldn't even get her out of her cage for fear of getting bit hard. If she decides to bite you it's to the bone. I worked with her lot, but she is & has always been fearful of hands, sticks, etc. She fears anything new. I tried to replace her rope perch with a new one. She freaked, because it was a different color. She cowered in the corner of her cage for 2 days not eating or drinking, so I had to put the old rope perch back in. Fast forward to current ...I can get her to step up off her seed skirt, but not the cage or cage door. She will walk into a travel cage. As far as touching her...only a couple quick beak swipes & if I'm real lucky & she's in a super great mood I may get one or two head rubs in before she strikes. She will give beak kisses. Basically most CAG's are not hands on birds & most are fearful/very defensive of quick movement or anything new.

Toy wise Jengo doesn't like any wood toys either. She likes paper/shreddable toys, acrylic & plastic toys. She likes a small plastic bowl full of acrylic & plastic foot toys & toy parts to toss around. She loves to shred paper, so I give her junk mail to rip up. We cut junk catalogs in half & hang them over a perch or the cage bars. Envelopes, etc. I just hand to her.

Jengo is not fond of play gyms. She likes to go walkabout on the floor. She loves our outside aviary & digging holes in the dirt.

You need to take things real slow. Touch the toy to your face so she can see it's safe then lay it close by so she can see it. Do this for a couple plus days then try to hand it to her. Explain everything in detail so she knows what you want, why, where & how. CAG's are super intelligent, but they require a ton of respect & patience.
 

Diveks

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Maybe ill try some shredding toys since she decided shredding my wallpaper is fun :roflmao:. She is a really non active bird. She really loves observing. Although she is really good with recall. She did not know how to speak just bird sounds since she was in an aviary, which i know only has metal perches because they said she would destroy everything (which parrots do but they were tired of buying new perches). But now she speaks a lot (only in the cage). She was hand raised but rarely handled these past few years, she is 7/8 years old.

I have tree perches for my other birds which she wont even go near half of the big room it is in. The way i introduced wood to her is food. Since she is really food motivated. I tried putting a jackpot on a table with tiny wooden pieces everytime she is training and/or somewhere in the room in her out time. Chopsticks, tiny wooden blocks, non colourful blocks nothing, i give her parts of toys, the wooden blocks. If she is near it she would scream and fly away, she is rarely startled even when she first saw my golden retriever staring at her as a new arrival (in the cage of course). She is really calm with anything except wood.

i agree, makes me wonder if they ever used wood to force her to do things, i suspect they might have used a wooden stick to make her move to other places they want them to go. I know my relatives really love her but they might have gotten a bit bored and stopped handling her only giving food. They do have workers that work with the birds they have so they might be the one who treated dolly poorly. She is nervous with older men which makes me wonder…Before giving her to me they said everyone in their house were terrified of her and she was very mean. Which i doubt since she is a sweetheart. Im guessing she was just nervous and they forced her to do things she didn't want to without building trust first.

i will be trying the pinata toys, or maybe getting a book or paper in there for her to shred. She did love destroying natural sponge when she first came in. I wanted her to have more diverse toys to keep her entertained. I will try introducing the toys somewhere outside the cage and slowly moving it nearer.
 

Screech

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Poor girl, thankyou for taking her in. It's always sad when they aren't treated right but happy when someone like you gives them the care they deserve :heart2:
 

Jan

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Maybe she would like Stainless Steel Bird Toys ... hint, hint ...

She just needs to maybe sit with you and play with a toy she might like with you playing with it with her. Get her use to that somewhat then maybe put it on the outside of her cage then after a few days move it inside if she has shown interest of it being on the outside of her cage. Start out with small enough wood, nothing over powering in size. There is all sorts of various ways to do a transition period of getting her use to wooden toys.
 

Diveks

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Thank you im trying to give her a more fulfilling life
Maybe she would like Stainless Steel Bird Toys ... hint, hint ...

She just needs to maybe sit with you and play with a toy she might like with you playing with it with her. Get her use to that somewhat then maybe put it on the outside of her cage then after a few days move it inside if she has shown interest of it being on the outside of her cage. Start out with small enough wood, nothing over powering in size. There is all sorts of various ways to do a transition period of getting her use to wooden toys.
I might just try grabbing some stainless toys when its in stock!
ive been trying with tiny wooden pieces some not even looking like wood to no avail, hoping a miracle happens one day and she gets brave enough.
 

Pat H

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Playtime w/ her-- tug of war with a small stuffed animal... or tossing it back and forth?
Since she is food motivated... AND they are so intelligent-- how about one of those 'puzzle toys' [can't remember what you call them]... that holds food treats and they have to figure out how to get the treat out.
 

MnGuy

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My CAG loves cardboard boxes, paper cups and shredding phone books and rolled up brown paper grocery bags. I would also try balsa wood if I were you. Balsa is my grey's favorite, and it doesn't look or feel like most other woods. It's very soft -- almost styrofoam-like.

It sounds like she was traumatized by wood -- maybe being chased around by a wooden perch/dowel rod/stick. Use clicker training to get her to accept the presence of wood outside her cage and to move closer to it slowly until she's next to it and then exploring it and then standing on it. And only after she shows a lot of comfort around it, start introducing small pieces of wood slowly into her cage.

Good luck!
 

Diveks

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UPDATE
Playtime w/ her-- tug of war with a small stuffed animal... or tossing it back and forth?
Since she is food motivated... AND they are so intelligent-- how about one of those 'puzzle toys' [can't remember what you call them]... that holds food treats and they have to figure out how to get the treat out.
haven't been on the forum recently, i've been waiting for the puzzle toys to be available here. i bought some sponge toys which she will play with yay. no luck with the wood toys though. even wooden perches. now im using uneven shaped perches to replicate how natural wooden perches are on their feet.
My CAG loves cardboard boxes, paper cups and shredding phone books and rolled up brown paper grocery bags. I would also try balsa wood if I were you. Balsa is my grey's favorite, and it doesn't look or feel like most other woods. It's very soft -- almost styrofoam-like.

It sounds like she was traumatized by wood -- maybe being chased around by a wooden perch/dowel rod/stick. Use clicker training to get her to accept the presence of wood outside her cage and to move closer to it slowly until she's next to it and then exploring it and then standing on it. And only after she shows a lot of comfort around it, start introducing small pieces of wood slowly into her cage.

Good luck!
got some balsa wood which she was not thrilled with. maybe it still looks like wood for her. ah shedding paper! she might like that. right now everytime she is outside the cage she just stays still like an eclectus. asking for pets but nothing else. if leave her on a furniture for a bit, when i come back she won't move an inch. not sure why. she is really inteligent, observes everyting going on around her, but almost like a robot, not doing anything unless you instruct her to do something like fly somewhere, do a trick, ect. very talkative in her cage but outside almost like a doll. she learnt to make different sounds for different emotions and what she wants though so i do know what she wants.

i agree, maybe that is why she was deemed as "agressive" thinking they chased her around with sticks to get her to come to them or something since she was in an aviary. she is now accepting of wooden toys in her cage and won't panic, but she still won't directly touch it. right now only sponges give her joy, sponge toys are a bit expensive here so i hope i can find something she loves more.

was thinking of free flying with her as she is an excelent flyer and at recall, maybe it might add to her entertainment.
 

Coldbreeze

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Try a paper roll! Long or short!
Straws are also a fun little item laying around the house.
 

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Hi. I have a grey who is very much loved and cared for but if I were to put a new toy straight into his cage he would totally freak out. He is 20 years old and lived with us for 18 of them. I have to let him see it from afar at first and gradually move it closer by the day. Then when he's taking no notice of it I hang it on the outside of the cage at the bottom. From there I start moving it up as fast as he is comfortable with until he starts to touch it. Then it goes inside. But for the next few days it comes out night. Some greys take a long time getting used to new things. I find with alf acrylic toys are less scary and if you can put a nut into that's even better. Good luck with him and just give him time.
 

Pat H

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The above comments make me remember the thread awhile ago: about writing down different behaviors/ foods/ toy likes and dislikes/ their mannerisms... etc. And keeping it somewhere in their records! Since many of our birds 'may' outlive us, and ALL of us want the best outcome for them... it will help the future owner [if it comes to that] to better care for them, health- and mental-wise...

NONE of us know what our future holds.. but whatever we can do to make our birds happy, healthy and live their best... then.... it's up to us!
 

Mrs c

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The above comments make me remember the thread awhile ago: about writing down different behaviors/ foods/ toy likes and dislikes/ their mannerisms... etc. And keeping it somewhere in their records! Since many of our birds 'may' outlive us, and ALL of us want the best outcome for them... it will help the future owner [if it comes to that] to better care for them, health- and mental-wise...

NONE of us know what our future holds.. but whatever we can do to make our birds happy, healthy and live their best... then.... it's up to us!
What an excellent idea. Alf is lucky in that he gets on well with our son and so will stay with him when we can no longer manage him. But I am going to make a record anyway for peace of mind as none of us can see into the future. If only we had that when he came to us. He let us know what time his covers went on by going round and round the cage saying "nite nite" the only other thing we knew about him was he swore like a trooper. Thankfully not anymore though. :)
 

Pat H

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GOOD! We were only give the story of why our adoptee was at the bird store being rehomed. So I had to learn the 'hard way'--- getting bit every time I took off my glasses/ Rubbing my husbands back-- ABSOLUTELY NOT ALLOWED! / 'pop' cans ATTACKED/ being TERRIFIED of long items [hand-held perches, ladders, etc]. I WOULD LOVE to get w/ the old folks kids to see how correct I am...
I am just SO PLEASED and BLESSED that we have her now! WHAT A SWEETHEART!
 

Mrs c

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GOOD! We were only give the story of why our adoptee was at the bird store being rehomed. So I had to learn the 'hard way'--- getting bit every time I took off my glasses/ Rubbing my husbands back-- ABSOLUTELY NOT ALLOWED! / 'pop' cans ATTACKED/ being TERRIFIED of long items [hand-held perches, ladders, etc]. I WOULD LOVE to get w/ the old folks kids to see how correct I am...
I am just SO PLEASED and BLESSED that we have her now! WHAT A SWEETHEART!
Wow! That story brings back some memories. We bought him from a neighbour whose wife had left. He was in a cage tucked under the stairs. He had a complete meltdown when his cage was put in our bright open living room. I still feel guilty that it took me a day to realise what was wrong with him. We covered half his cage and gradually moved it off over time. Biting was a problem for me too. At one point I wondered if I was going to be able to cope with this neurotic aggressive bird. Had a word with a bird behaviourist who gave me the tools to carry on. What a blessing that was. Life wouldn't be the same without him now.
 
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