19 10 / 2014

nissili said: I've got a female budgie (Who I asked about before - her flying issue seems to have gotten much better! She's happy as could be!) who is to say the least, very close to me. Both emotionally and physically - and I'm concerned about some of her behavior. I lie in my bed with her on my chest (I'm careful to always be alert in these instances as I don't want to hurt her) and she has a tendency to want to nibble at my face. I assume she's trying to preen me, as she'll rummage through my - (cont)

nissili:

askbirdbloggers:

nissili:

askbirdbloggers:

nissili:

askbirdbloggers:

eyebrow hairs and eyelashes and any hair she can find, often making noises of affection whilst doing so. I don’t want to discourage friendly behaviour, but this gets a little out of hand as she’s found out how to make my eyes water (I close them when she’s preening me) and will try to drink the tears that leak out. I don’t know if this is dangerous for her, but I’m not sure how to discourage her, as she’s normally gentle but if she doesn’t get her way she can get rather painfully aggressive. She also grabs my lip and pulls it down so she can do the same with my spit, which I am fairly certain is bad for her, but when I try to stop her by removing her she just runs back, and if I try to block her with my hand she’ll nearly draw blood and will then clamp down on my lip as if to tell me she won’t take no for an answer. She’s smart enough to understand when I don’t want her doing something, with other behavior she listens, but she persists with this. Any suggestions?

Sounds like you’ve got a little bit of an overly attached parrot!

Try to discourage as much of this as possible, don’t have her in a situation where she could preen your face or give her an alternative (chewing a stringy toy for example).

This could be a bit of a hormonal response, many birds act this way amongst one another (in my house Mia will peck Zeeby if Zeeby refuses to be preened).  Remove any sort of negative stimuli (put her on winter sleeping hours, no bird huts/ small nesting areas, remove ‘love toys’) to help lower any of that hormonal stress she may be experiencing.

Once she finds an alternative to this behaviour it should disappear on it’s own.  In the meantime, don’t accidentially encourage her by reacting poorly to the bites if they do occur, keep her far away from your saliva as you are correct, it can be quite dangerous to them.  Make sure you’re passing her around so she doesn’t develop a bad attachment to you and try to find other activities you can do together without them inducing breeding behaviours.

- Courtney (thepacificparrotlet)

Thank you!  I’m not sure if any of her toys count as “love toys”, as I’m unsure what that means.  image

This is the best I could provide for a photo - I’m aware the cage is really small.  Just as a side note to avoid confusion - she spends most of her day outside the cage free to move around as she pleases in my room, this is just all I can fit in the house at the moment as all the places that the bigger cage I own can go are out of my room where the cats are free to wander.

I have tried to establish bonds between her and the rest of my family, but she has aggression issues with them.  My brother (who’s autistic) is friendly with her, but she tends to bite him incredibly hard when he tries to hold her (with my coaching so as to not smother or hurt her - she just seems aggravated when I’m not the one holding her).  Both my parents try to interact with her as well, but she gets incredibly defensive of her cage and me and will try to attack them when they get near unless I’ve been absent for several days.Putting her on winter sleeping hours may have issues, as our upstairs neighbors tend to get rather noisy at night (nothing extremely loud, but definitely enough to wake Alder up) and when she gets woken up at night, she won’t go back to sleep until she’s been taken out by me and calmed down, then she wants to talk and cuddle, and puts off going back to sleep as long as she can.  I’ve tried covering her cage with a blanket, and I keep her next to me at night because that’s proven so far to keep her calmest at night and help her get over the little bumps in the night and resume sleeping that would otherwise send her into a terror.  (My apologies for so many questions, I can never seem to find answers for this peculiar little girl.)

"Love toys" are any toy that a bird shows a lot of affection towards, not all birds have a love toy, it’s generally a toy they snuggle with, rub their bodies on or display sexual behaviours towards.

Unfortunately that cage is really bad for a budgie, there’s so little room to do anything given the house-shaped design.  If you could get a simple rectangular cage, even if it was the same height it would add a lot more space than you might think.

Aggression towards family members is because she’s already developed an over attachment to you, this directly relates to the hormonal behaviours you were describing.  The best way to fix this it to get friends or patient family members to spend time with the bird, target training is a great way to get the bird used to playing with other people without the risk of her biting them while building positive bonds.  If you don’t want to target train just rewarding her whenever someone is in the room, near her, or holding her would have a similar effect- it just takes longer.

Eventually she will associate playing with new people with positive feelings, food, and enjoyment.  This will eliminate the one-personish behaviours by showing her that good things come from people other than you.

Territorial cage behaviours are also very common, that’s her only food source, sleeping spot, her safe haven so anyone who isn’t an essential flock member (you being the only other flock member) will be bitten and scared away as to protect the resources for the flock.  When you leave for several days she is forced to accept new flock members (other family members) because they become the ones she associates with, the ones who bring her food, they become active members of the flock. You can desensitize her to this by simply getting other people to sit near her cage, touching the cage, and just having her watch, having other people feed her, replace food dishes and do anything that would make them ‘necessary’ to the flock will help her accept them in to touching the cage without much aggression.  

As for the night issues, what sort of terror does she experience? is it frantic flapping and falling to the floor or just screaming? If it is not an actual night terror you may be accidentally reinforcing this behaviour.  Whenever she yells and refuses to go to bed you reward her by letting her stay up and chatter, this encourages her to do it again and again.  You need to tell her that bedtime is bedtime, there’s no weaselling around that just because she’s cute! Simply put her back in her cage once she’s calmed and she will go back to sleep.  Having her sleeping right next to you is possibly reinforcing all the behavioural problems you’ve been having as well, she is then constantly around you, sleeping with you as a flock, interacting as a flock and no one else in the house is considered a flock member so you may want to consider placing her cage on the farthest end of the room if not a completely different room.

- Courtney

I’ll do my best to get at least one other family member to try target training with her.  One small issue is she’s prone to panicking around new objects, either lunging straight for the hand that holds it or flying away in fear - does it necessarily have to be a stick?  Or would the training work with a different object if need be?

I’m in the process of getting our larger cage back together and trying to make room for it in my bedroom - my bedroom being the only room she’s safe in due to our cats - until then as I stated before she’s outside of the little cage and free to roam the bedroom aside from bedtime.

The night terrors can vary.  When she’s just screaming, the most she gets out of me is a “shush” and a “goodnight”.  She’s gotten used to a bedtime routine, so words like “goodnight” and “I’ll see you in the morning” typically get her to calm down if she’s just antsy.  The times I take her out are when she starts to flail her wings and sometimes falls off her perch, jumping around and hitting her wings on the cage bars.  Unfortunately because of the cage shape, the little nook she sleeps in (The spot closest to my head when I sleep) is small enough that when she tries to spread her wings, that in and of itself can push her down off the perch.  I’m hoping with the larger cage this won’t be an issue, as aside from the top of the roof it’s a large rectangular shape.  The cage I’m talking about looks like http://petus.imageg.net/PETNA_36/pimg/pPETNA-5083913_main_t300x300.jpg this one.  It’s two to three times bigger in width than the smaller cage she’s in right now, is that an adequate size?

I originally removed it because seeing it was causing her to grow very depressed, as we used to have another budgie that she was very close to who passed away.  We kept them in separate cages due to her aggression troubles, so even seeing her old friend’s home present would stress her out greatly.  Is there anything I can due to help her not become distressed when I re-introduce the cage?

I would stick with using a chopstick though holding a sprig of millet or targeting her to your finger would have a similar effect.  The problem with that would be that she learns to touch your fingers for food and will assume any time she does that she will be rewarded.  It’s best if you just desensitize her to a chopstick (leave it in your room for a while, move it closer to her cage, put treats around the stick and let her explore on her own terms until she is comfortable with it). The object you use can not be used for any other purpose except target training otherwise there’s a slim chance she will ever learn it, it becomes confusing when the same object is also a toy.

When she screams try not to shush her otherwise she will likely continue that behaviour.  When she screams she wants your attention and interaction, you talking back to her unintentionally rewards her.

With the terrors, a larger cage would likely help remove the falling at night, proper perches as well, the dowels could be causing sores or early arthritis which cause her to fall off the perches easier than if her feet were exercised with variable perches. Playing music at night will help to eliminate the terrors as well, any unpredictable sounds which may be setting her off would blend in with the music or a night light to help her see better.  I personally don’t think she’s having night terrors, I think she’s falling off of the perches or having difficulty moving around in the tiny cage at night which is causing her to be distressed and flutter about, a larger cage with varied perches would help to fix that.

I can’t tell if the image you sent is a proper budgie sized cage or not, there are no dimensions, it’s got the right idea (longer than it is taller) but I’m quite wary of it simply because it is one of those gimicky house-shaped cages which tend to be much smaller than a speci

es really needs, either way it is better than the one she is currently in.

When introducing that cage make sure the layout is completely different than when the other budgie was there, that might help make it less recognizable to her and reduce the stress/ depression.  Lots of toys to distract herself with, fresh veggies daily, and foraging opportunities will help to distract her from any resentment she has towards that cage.

- Courtney

image

Here’s a picture of the main frame of the larger cage with Alder on it for size comparison.  I actually had trouble keeping her there, she didn’t want to be near it ^^;  I’ll have to scrap together some money and try to get her some new perches.  I know the dowels are bad for her, so she’s usually on her two plastic perches, but my mother insists she gets wooden dowels with the sandpaper covers.  I’m not sure how to convince her this isn’t the best idea, or if I even would be doing good by explaining this to her.  Alder’s had a foot sore in the past from the sandpaper, that nearly got infected.  (She was cleaned and bandaged however and it’s healed nicely.)

Alder’s a particularly picky bird, and tends to refuse to forage for anything.  Is this something she needs to be shown how to do, or is it best to just stick with the things she finds most enjoyable? (Ie stringy toys, little bells, chewable things and objects she can grab in her beak and yank around)

Due to my brother’s needs, we always have a movie playing at night, just above the photo’s view.  The bed she’s on with the cage is my brother’s, right next to mine, so the light and sound are within her view and she’s grown quite used to and fond of it.  As for moving her farther from my bed, I worry about her stress levels being moved into a different cage that unearths bad memories and then being separated from my bedside.  Do you have some tips for helping easing her into this?  She’s normally easily stressed by being separated from me, and is getting on the older side, and I don’t want to cause her more distress than necessary.

You could try showing her some reputable links for why those perches are bad:

this is a fairly good one for perch variety

Bumblefoot is caused by sand perches

effects if they eat the ‘sand’ (most of the time it’s grit)

That cage is a lot better than the one she was in previously I personally feel it may be small but if she is out of her cage for most of the day it could potentially be okay assuming there is enough room for toys to keep her entertained when you leave.

Foraging does have to be taught to some extent, because the birds did not grow up with another bird showing them how to work for food we have to show them how.  If you start off with just a wicker ball, fill it will millet and leave a few pieces sticking out Alder should begin to learn that food is inside and start to chew the wicker to get the food.  Some birds need more instruction to get the point across, cutting off some of the wicker so they see the food better, over time they understand that the wicker ball means food and they learn to forage.  Once the basic concept is down they learn how to forage with new toys a lot faster, usually just showing them how to get the food a few times is enough for them to forage all by themselves from that point onwards.

Sticking with things she finds enjoyable works too, anything that will keep her happy and interested in the environment, but foraging is a basic concept that birds should understand, even if it’s just putting large wood pieces in their bowls so they have to forage around the blocks to get their meal.  It helps to stimulate their minds, keep them active, entertains them and makes their lives a little more interesting.

The stress will fade when she starts to spend more time with other people, once there’s more than just you in her flock being separated from you will not cause as much stress as it currently does. Until then you can slowly wean her off of being near you, just move the cage a little farther away each day where possible.  It’s just something she will have to get used to.

- Courtney

19 10 / 2014

Anonymous said: I've tried everything I've seen anywhere and my budgie still will not eat fruits and vegetables. I gave up on switching him over to pellets. I've looked at every way possible to get him to eat fruits and vegetables and he just won't. What can I do?

Fourth section in the FAQ

If you need clarification after reading through that feel free to send us another question!

- Courtney (thepacificparrotlet)

19 10 / 2014

nissili said: I've got a female budgie (Who I asked about before - her flying issue seems to have gotten much better! She's happy as could be!) who is to say the least, very close to me. Both emotionally and physically - and I'm concerned about some of her behavior. I lie in my bed with her on my chest (I'm careful to always be alert in these instances as I don't want to hurt her) and she has a tendency to want to nibble at my face. I assume she's trying to preen me, as she'll rummage through my - (cont)

nissili:

askbirdbloggers:

nissili:

askbirdbloggers:

eyebrow hairs and eyelashes and any hair she can find, often making noises of affection whilst doing so. I don’t want to discourage friendly behaviour, but this gets a little out of hand as she’s found out how to make my eyes water (I close them when she’s preening me) and will try to drink the tears that leak out. I don’t know if this is dangerous for her, but I’m not sure how to discourage her, as she’s normally gentle but if she doesn’t get her way she can get rather painfully aggressive. She also grabs my lip and pulls it down so she can do the same with my spit, which I am fairly certain is bad for her, but when I try to stop her by removing her she just runs back, and if I try to block her with my hand she’ll nearly draw blood and will then clamp down on my lip as if to tell me she won’t take no for an answer. She’s smart enough to understand when I don’t want her doing something, with other behavior she listens, but she persists with this. Any suggestions?

Sounds like you’ve got a little bit of an overly attached parrot!

Try to discourage as much of this as possible, don’t have her in a situation where she could preen your face or give her an alternative (chewing a stringy toy for example).

This could be a bit of a hormonal response, many birds act this way amongst one another (in my house Mia will peck Zeeby if Zeeby refuses to be preened).  Remove any sort of negative stimuli (put her on winter sleeping hours, no bird huts/ small nesting areas, remove ‘love toys’) to help lower any of that hormonal stress she may be experiencing.

Once she finds an alternative to this behaviour it should disappear on it’s own.  In the meantime, don’t accidentially encourage her by reacting poorly to the bites if they do occur, keep her far away from your saliva as you are correct, it can be quite dangerous to them.  Make sure you’re passing her around so she doesn’t develop a bad attachment to you and try to find other activities you can do together without them inducing breeding behaviours.

- Courtney (thepacificparrotlet)

Thank you!  I’m not sure if any of her toys count as “love toys”, as I’m unsure what that means.  image

This is the best I could provide for a photo - I’m aware the cage is really small.  Just as a side note to avoid confusion - she spends most of her day outside the cage free to move around as she pleases in my room, this is just all I can fit in the house at the moment as all the places that the bigger cage I own can go are out of my room where the cats are free to wander.

I have tried to establish bonds between her and the rest of my family, but she has aggression issues with them.  My brother (who’s autistic) is friendly with her, but she tends to bite him incredibly hard when he tries to hold her (with my coaching so as to not smother or hurt her - she just seems aggravated when I’m not the one holding her).  Both my parents try to interact with her as well, but she gets incredibly defensive of her cage and me and will try to attack them when they get near unless I’ve been absent for several days.Putting her on winter sleeping hours may have issues, as our upstairs neighbors tend to get rather noisy at night (nothing extremely loud, but definitely enough to wake Alder up) and when she gets woken up at night, she won’t go back to sleep until she’s been taken out by me and calmed down, then she wants to talk and cuddle, and puts off going back to sleep as long as she can.  I’ve tried covering her cage with a blanket, and I keep her next to me at night because that’s proven so far to keep her calmest at night and help her get over the little bumps in the night and resume sleeping that would otherwise send her into a terror.  (My apologies for so many questions, I can never seem to find answers for this peculiar little girl.)

"Love toys" are any toy that a bird shows a lot of affection towards, not all birds have a love toy, it’s generally a toy they snuggle with, rub their bodies on or display sexual behaviours towards.

Unfortunately that cage is really bad for a budgie, there’s so little room to do anything given the house-shaped design.  If you could get a simple rectangular cage, even if it was the same height it would add a lot more space than you might think.

Aggression towards family members is because she’s already developed an over attachment to you, this directly relates to the hormonal behaviours you were describing.  The best way to fix this it to get friends or patient family members to spend time with the bird, target training is a great way to get the bird used to playing with other people without the risk of her biting them while building positive bonds.  If you don’t want to target train just rewarding her whenever someone is in the room, near her, or holding her would have a similar effect- it just takes longer.

Eventually she will associate playing with new people with positive feelings, food, and enjoyment.  This will eliminate the one-personish behaviours by showing her that good things come from people other than you.

Territorial cage behaviours are also very common, that’s her only food source, sleeping spot, her safe haven so anyone who isn’t an essential flock member (you being the only other flock member) will be bitten and scared away as to protect the resources for the flock.  When you leave for several days she is forced to accept new flock members (other family members) because they become the ones she associates with, the ones who bring her food, they become active members of the flock. You can desensitize her to this by simply getting other people to sit near her cage, touching the cage, and just having her watch, having other people feed her, replace food dishes and do anything that would make them ‘necessary’ to the flock will help her accept them in to touching the cage without much aggression.  

As for the night issues, what sort of terror does she experience? is it frantic flapping and falling to the floor or just screaming? If it is not an actual night terror you may be accidentally reinforcing this behaviour.  Whenever she yells and refuses to go to bed you reward her by letting her stay up and chatter, this encourages her to do it again and again.  You need to tell her that bedtime is bedtime, there’s no weaselling around that just because she’s cute! Simply put her back in her cage once she’s calmed and she will go back to sleep.  Having her sleeping right next to you is possibly reinforcing all the behavioural problems you’ve been having as well, she is then constantly around you, sleeping with you as a flock, interacting as a flock and no one else in the house is considered a flock member so you may want to consider placing her cage on the farthest end of the room if not a completely different room.

- Courtney

I’ll do my best to get at least one other family member to try target training with her.  One small issue is she’s prone to panicking around new objects, either lunging straight for the hand that holds it or flying away in fear - does it necessarily have to be a stick?  Or would the training work with a different object if need be?

I’m in the process of getting our larger cage back together and trying to make room for it in my bedroom - my bedroom being the only room she’s safe in due to our cats - until then as I stated before she’s outside of the little cage and free to roam the bedroom aside from bedtime.

The night terrors can vary.  When she’s just screaming, the most she gets out of me is a “shush” and a “goodnight”.  She’s gotten used to a bedtime routine, so words like “goodnight” and “I’ll see you in the morning” typically get her to calm down if she’s just antsy.  The times I take her out are when she starts to flail her wings and sometimes falls off her perch, jumping around and hitting her wings on the cage bars.  Unfortunately because of the cage shape, the little nook she sleeps in (The spot closest to my head when I sleep) is small enough that when she tries to spread her wings, that in and of itself can push her down off the perch.  I’m hoping with the larger cage this won’t be an issue, as aside from the top of the roof it’s a large rectangular shape.  The cage I’m talking about looks like http://petus.imageg.net/PETNA_36/pimg/pPETNA-5083913_main_t300x300.jpg this one.  It’s two to three times bigger in width than the smaller cage she’s in right now, is that an adequate size?

I originally removed it because seeing it was causing her to grow very depressed, as we used to have another budgie that she was very close to who passed away.  We kept them in separate cages due to her aggression troubles, so even seeing her old friend’s home present would stress her out greatly.  Is there anything I can due to help her not become distressed when I re-introduce the cage?

I would stick with using a chopstick though holding a sprig of millet or targeting her to your finger would have a similar effect.  The problem with that would be that she learns to touch your fingers for food and will assume any time she does that she will be rewarded.  It’s best if you just desensitize her to a chopstick (leave it in your room for a while, move it closer to her cage, put treats around the stick and let her explore on her own terms until she is comfortable with it). The object you use can not be used for any other purpose except target training otherwise there’s a slim chance she will ever learn it, it becomes confusing when the same object is also a toy.

When she screams try not to shush her otherwise she will likely continue that behaviour.  When she screams she wants your attention and interaction, you talking back to her unintentionally rewards her.

With the terrors, a larger cage would likely help remove the falling at night, proper perches as well, the dowels could be causing sores or early arthritis which cause her to fall off the perches easier than if her feet were exercised with variable perches. Playing music at night will help to eliminate the terrors as well, any unpredictable sounds which may be setting her off would blend in with the music or a night light to help her see better.  I personally don’t think she’s having night terrors, I think she’s falling off of the perches or having difficulty moving around in the tiny cage at night which is causing her to be distressed and flutter about, a larger cage with varied perches would help to fix that.

I can’t tell if the image you sent is a proper budgie sized cage or not, there are no dimensions, it’s got the right idea (longer than it is taller) but I’m quite wary of it simply because it is one of those gimicky house-shaped cages which tend to be much smaller than a species really needs, either way it is better than the one she is currently in.

When introducing that cage make sure the layout is completely different than when the other budgie was there, that might help make it less recognizable to her and reduce the stress/ depression.  Lots of toys to distract herself with, fresh veggies daily, and foraging opportunities will help to distract her from any resentment she has towards that cage.

- Courtney

19 10 / 2014

nissili said: I've got a female budgie (Who I asked about before - her flying issue seems to have gotten much better! She's happy as could be!) who is to say the least, very close to me. Both emotionally and physically - and I'm concerned about some of her behavior. I lie in my bed with her on my chest (I'm careful to always be alert in these instances as I don't want to hurt her) and she has a tendency to want to nibble at my face. I assume she's trying to preen me, as she'll rummage through my - (cont)

nissili:

askbirdbloggers:

eyebrow hairs and eyelashes and any hair she can find, often making noises of affection whilst doing so. I don’t want to discourage friendly behaviour, but this gets a little out of hand as she’s found out how to make my eyes water (I close them when she’s preening me) and will try to drink the tears that leak out. I don’t know if this is dangerous for her, but I’m not sure how to discourage her, as she’s normally gentle but if she doesn’t get her way she can get rather painfully aggressive. She also grabs my lip and pulls it down so she can do the same with my spit, which I am fairly certain is bad for her, but when I try to stop her by removing her she just runs back, and if I try to block her with my hand she’ll nearly draw blood and will then clamp down on my lip as if to tell me she won’t take no for an answer. She’s smart enough to understand when I don’t want her doing something, with other behavior she listens, but she persists with this. Any suggestions?

Sounds like you’ve got a little bit of an overly attached parrot!

Try to discourage as much of this as possible, don’t have her in a situation where she could preen your face or give her an alternative (chewing a stringy toy for example).

This could be a bit of a hormonal response, many birds act this way amongst one another (in my house Mia will peck Zeeby if Zeeby refuses to be preened).  Remove any sort of negative stimuli (put her on winter sleeping hours, no bird huts/ small nesting areas, remove ‘love toys’) to help lower any of that hormonal stress she may be experiencing.

Once she finds an alternative to this behaviour it should disappear on it’s own.  In the meantime, don’t accidentially encourage her by reacting poorly to the bites if they do occur, keep her far away from your saliva as you are correct, it can be quite dangerous to them.  Make sure you’re passing her around so she doesn’t develop a bad attachment to you and try to find other activities you can do together without them inducing breeding behaviours.

- Courtney (thepacificparrotlet)

Thank you!  I’m not sure if any of her toys count as “love toys”, as I’m unsure what that means.  image

This is the best I could provide for a photo - I’m aware the cage is really small.  Just as a side note to avoid confusion - she spends most of her day outside the cage free to move around as she pleases in my room, this is just all I can fit in the house at the moment as all the places that the bigger cage I own can go are out of my room where the cats are free to wander.

I have tried to establish bonds between her and the rest of my family, but she has aggression issues with them.  My brother (who’s autistic) is friendly with her, but she tends to bite him incredibly hard when he tries to hold her (with my coaching so as to not smother or hurt her - she just seems aggravated when I’m not the one holding her).  Both my parents try to interact with her as well, but she gets incredibly defensive of her cage and me and will try to attack them when they get near unless I’ve been absent for several days.Putting her on winter sleeping hours may have issues, as our upstairs neighbors tend to get rather noisy at night (nothing extremely loud, but definitely enough to wake Alder up) and when she gets woken up at night, she won’t go back to sleep until she’s been taken out by me and calmed down, then she wants to talk and cuddle, and puts off going back to sleep as long as she can.  I’ve tried covering her cage with a blanket, and I keep her next to me at night because that’s proven so far to keep her calmest at night and help her get over the little bumps in the night and resume sleeping that would otherwise send her into a terror.  (My apologies for so many questions, I can never seem to find answers for this peculiar little girl.)

"Love toys" are any toy that a bird shows a lot of affection towards, not all birds have a love toy, it’s generally a toy they snuggle with, rub their bodies on or display sexual behaviours towards.

Unfortunately that cage is really bad for a budgie, there’s so little room to do anything given the house-shaped design.  If you could get a simple rectangular cage, even if it was the same height it would add a lot more space than you might think.

Aggression towards family members is because she’s already developed an over attachment to you, this directly relates to the hormonal behaviours you were describing.  The best way to fix this it to get friends or patient family members to spend time with the bird, target training is a great way to get the bird used to playing with other people without the risk of her biting them while building positive bonds.  If you don’t want to target train just rewarding her whenever someone is in the room, near her, or holding her would have a similar effect- it just takes longer.

Eventually she will associate playing with new people with positive feelings, food, and enjoyment.  This will eliminate the one-personish behaviours by showing her that good things come from people other than you.

Territorial cage behaviours are also very common, that’s her only food source, sleeping spot, her safe haven so anyone who isn’t an essential flock member (you being the only other flock member) will be bitten and scared away as to protect the resources for the flock.  When you leave for several days she is forced to accept new flock members (other family members) because they become the ones she associates with, the ones who bring her food, they become active members of the flock. You can desensitize her to this by simply getting other people to sit near her cage, touching the cage, and just having her watch, having other people feed her, replace food dishes and do anything that would make them ‘necessary’ to the flock will help her accept them in to touching the cage without much aggression.  

As for the night issues, what sort of terror does she experience? is it frantic flapping and falling to the floor or just screaming? If it is not an actual night terror you may be accidentally reinforcing this behaviour.  Whenever she yells and refuses to go to bed you reward her by letting her stay up and chatter, this encourages her to do it again and again.  You need to tell her that bedtime is bedtime, there’s no weaselling around that just because she’s cute! Simply put her back in her cage once she’s calmed and she will go back to sleep.  Having her sleeping right next to you is possibly reinforcing all the behavioural problems you’ve been having as well, she is then constantly around you, sleeping with you as a flock, interacting as a flock and no one else in the house is considered a flock member so you may want to consider placing her cage on the farthest end of the room if not a completely different room.

- Courtney

18 10 / 2014

Anonymous said: How do you tame/train a shy conure

first section in the FAQ

If you have any questions after going through the FAQ feel free to send us another question.

- Courtney (thepacificparrotlet)

18 10 / 2014

Anonymous said: Can I feed my yellow sided conure regular store bought almonds?

most almonds are safe, I remember reading somewhere that Bitter Almonds are a source of cyanide so stay away from those.  This question is easily answered by a google search, just look up your type of almond to see if it has toxic properties, most don’t.

So long as the almonds do not have added salts or preservatives they’re fine if fed as a treat, don’t over feed them as they are a really high source of calcium which can cause problems if you overdose it.

- Courtney (thepacificparrotlet)

18 10 / 2014

Anonymous said: this might be a strange question but when should i uncover my bird in the morning? i cover El bc i usually watch tv at night (and i dont wanna keep him up). should i do it at a regular time each day or just when i hear him moving around?

This completely depends on your schedule, so long as the bird is asleep/ covered for 10-12 hours you can uncover them at any given time after that.

Some people leave their birds covered in the morning while they eat breakfast.  This helps to prevent the bird from screaming in the morning with the birds outdoors since it is a natural behaviour to scream at sunrise so they just cover them until sunrise passes.  I personally “uncover” (they aren’t covered they just have a black room) my birds at 7:30-8 am and then put them to bed around 7;30 because that’s what works with my schedule.

I wouldn’t uncover them immediately after you hear them moving around otherwise they might end up learning that smashing toys and screaming will get their cage uncovered, maybe just wait until they quiet down a little before uncovering.  Birds thrive on schedules so as long as you uncover them at the same general time that’s fine, it’s doesn’t have to be exactly on the dot but just somewhere within a  30 minute gap is usually fine.

- Courtney (thepacificparrotlet)

18 10 / 2014

nissili said: I've got a female budgie (Who I asked about before - her flying issue seems to have gotten much better! She's happy as could be!) who is to say the least, very close to me. Both emotionally and physically - and I'm concerned about some of her behavior. I lie in my bed with her on my chest (I'm careful to always be alert in these instances as I don't want to hurt her) and she has a tendency to want to nibble at my face. I assume she's trying to preen me, as she'll rummage through my - (cont)

eyebrow hairs and eyelashes and any hair she can find, often making noises of affection whilst doing so. I don’t want to discourage friendly behaviour, but this gets a little out of hand as she’s found out how to make my eyes water (I close them when she’s preening me) and will try to drink the tears that leak out. I don’t know if this is dangerous for her, but I’m not sure how to discourage her, as she’s normally gentle but if she doesn’t get her way she can get rather painfully aggressive. She also grabs my lip and pulls it down so she can do the same with my spit, which I am fairly certain is bad for her, but when I try to stop her by removing her she just runs back, and if I try to block her with my hand she’ll nearly draw blood and will then clamp down on my lip as if to tell me she won’t take no for an answer. She’s smart enough to understand when I don’t want her doing something, with other behavior she listens, but she persists with this. Any suggestions?

Sounds like you’ve got a little bit of an overly attached parrot!

Try to discourage as much of this as possible, don’t have her in a situation where she could preen your face or give her an alternative (chewing a stringy toy for example).

This could be a bit of a hormonal response, many birds act this way amongst one another (in my house Mia will peck Zeeby if Zeeby refuses to be preened).  Remove any sort of negative stimuli (put her on winter sleeping hours, no bird huts/ small nesting areas, remove ‘love toys’) to help lower any of that hormonal stress she may be experiencing.

Once she finds an alternative to this behaviour it should disappear on it’s own.  In the meantime, don’t accidentially encourage her by reacting poorly to the bites if they do occur, keep her far away from your saliva as you are correct, it can be quite dangerous to them.  Make sure you’re passing her around so she doesn’t develop a bad attachment to you and try to find other activities you can do together without them inducing breeding behaviours.

- Courtney (thepacificparrotlet)

18 10 / 2014

Anonymous said: My bird's cage is in my room.... Would I be an awful bird parent if I covered their cage when I need a nap? The couch is getting uncomfortable !

I wouldn’t say you’d be an awful bird parent but I’m not sure if that’s totally necessary?

You could always move the bird to another room instead of covering them if you feel bad about it.  I personally don’t think covering a cage will do that much, if it’s midday most birds will still be eagerly chirping away, smashing toys around and making noise.  Another alternative is to just play music that way the bird noises blend in with songs you can fall asleep to if need be.

- Courtney (thepacificparrotlet

18 10 / 2014

Anonymous said: Why do birds do that thing where they yawn repeatedly?

Generally that behaviour is because something is stuck in their crop.  They do that in order to readjust the food so they can digest properly, typically a bird will take a drink after repetitive ‘yawning’ in order to settle down the food.

Sometimes that can also we a precursor to regurgitation, either way this behaviour is not overly concerning.  If the bird were to continually ‘yawn’ for a few hours they may need to see a vet just in case there is a foreign object stuck in the crop.

- Courtney (thepacificparrotlet)

18 10 / 2014

euonym said: hi, i have a female gcc who's around 7 years old and who i just recently bought. i've noticed that sometimes she ducks down and stretches her tail down and holds that position for a second or two. is she just stretching, or should i be concerned? she doesn't seem to be constipated, which was all i could think of

If I’m envisioning the behavior correctly, I think this is a normal GCC behavior.  Mine does this sometimes, usually when he’s trying to get a good look at something, so I think it’s just ducking down to position their eye so they can focus on whatever they’re looking at, and then holding still for a moment to watch it and see what it’s doing.  

If she’s not constipated, the only other thing I could think of is that since your GCC is old enough to lay eggs, she might have an egg “in the pipeline” that is causing her discomfort.  Has she been exhibiting nesting behavior (crouching in corners, being aggressive/territorial, spending extra time or attention on her mineral block, etc.)?  You can also look for what I refer to as “egg butt”, which is a small bump in the hen’s abdomen just in front of her vent.  To illustrate, here’s a picture from last spring of my cockatiel hen displaying “egg butt” (in the red circle):

[As an aside, please note the Kleenex box is only in the cage because she had already laid a couple of eggs despite our best hormone control efforts and was exhausting herself trying to find a place to sit on them in her cage, as she would just pace and pace and not stop to eat or rest.  Please DO NOT keep a Kleenex box or other enclosed area in your cockatiel’s cage, as this can encourage nesting behavior and stimulate egg-laying in hens, which can be a risky process.]

If you suspect your GCC might have an egg in the works, or if you start seeing other signs that could indicate that she’s experiencing discomfort (e. g., lethargy, inability to perch, excessive sleeping, not eating, etc.), it’s best to take her to a vet to get her checked out and make sure she’s okay.  My guess, though, is that it’s just a normal conure behavior and she’s just investigating her environment.  :)

- Jamie

18 10 / 2014

rescuedheartssanctuary said: Thank you for your response. She's old enough to lay eggs as she has already laid a few infertile ones, and she laid them in that corner. I'm not prepared to start breeding budgies yet, but it seems zapdos momma hen might be attached to the corner. I have not taken her to a vet yet, however she looks well, eats well and perches just fine, she just seems timid that's all >_<

You’re quite welcome!  I would recommend some hormone control measures like those I mentioned in the previous reply (12-14 hours of darkness, rearranging the cage weekly, etc.), and blocking off the “nest” corner with a toy.  Hopefully she’ll get less timid as she gets more used to you!  :)

- Jamie

18 10 / 2014

bettyblanctorche said: Hi! one of my budgies, who is fairly young (maybe about 6 months old), and presumably female (though it's hard to tell because her? cere has quite a bluish tinge) seems to drink a lot more water than my other 2 budgies, and seems to get too hot more easily. other than that, she(?) is very healthy and active and has a healthy diet (plenty of fruit/veggie). I was wondering if this could be a sign of illness that I should book a vet trip for since I've read that excessive drinking can be a [1/2]

askbirdbloggers:

[2/2] sign of diabetes, or is it just simply possible for some birds to get warmer more easily that others just like humans? Because I know I’m the same way, i’m always hot and I drink a lot of water. Is she just like me or should I be worried for her health? because she seems 100% fine otherwise. Thanks!

Sorry for not responding to this, I have no knowledge on diabetes in birds so I was expecting another mod to take it!

With my limited knowledge I would say take to a vet if you’re concerned about it, it’s always better safe than sorry.

Watch out for other signs of illness, odd exctretments, not eating and things like that, if anything shows up then take her to a vet.

Many birds do drink more than others- Zeeby drinks quite a bit more than Mia does- so your bird might be totally fine as it isn’t uncommon for birds to drink more than others.  It all depends on their digestion, what they ate, and things like that.  I would assume your bird is fine but as I said, I know nothing about diabetes.

Anyone with avian diabetes knowledge want to add on?

- Courtney (thepacificparrotlet)

Excessive drinking can indeed be a sign of diabetes in birds, along with weight loss and an increase in eating. It’s quite rare, though, and would probably normally be expected in an older bird. Totally possible, but rare.

Other possibilities for excessive drinking and/or overheating include liver, kidney or adrenal disease; more common possibilities would be thyroid-related, infection (bacterial or viral, maybe fungal), diet/environment-related, parasitism or sex-hormone-related (an increase in drinking, and heat-regulation changes, can happen at sexual maturity, and entering breeding season).

The fact that her cere has a blueish tinge would suggest to me that she’s not coming into breeding condition, which may be either the light and time of year, or some sort of health problem or underlying infection stopping her.

Either way, I’d say going to an avian vet would be the thing to do. Diabetes is very tricky to check for or diagnose in birds, so they would probably start by trying to rule out the more common possibilities. Even if it turns out it’s nothing but a bit of normal variation, it’d be good to get a clean bill of health.

Rock on,

There you go bettyblanctorche

- court

18 10 / 2014

Anonymous said: Hi. I have a very tame, almost year old cockatiel. I love her and we spend time together but sometimes I just want to relax and she chirps/trys to get my attention if I'm not holding her. Is there a way to make her more independent?

This is extremely common with birds, they’re flocking animals in most cases, that means everything the do they ‘need’ to do with a flock member. Getting a bird to be independent is one of the most important things we can teach them.  You can’t always be around, you will have work and appointments so she will need to learn to play on her own.

It will take quite a bit of time to get her used to playing on her own but it will resolve once she learns she can have fun on her own the problem mostly fades away.

Just gradually limit your interaction, slowly removing yourself from the enjoyment of playtime.  Get her interested in a toy while you hold it one day, have one finger touching it the next, stand next to it another, and just keep gradually backing off until she starts to associate the toy with fun rather than you.

A good way to get birds interested in toys on their own is foraging!  If she has to spend some time figuring out how to solve a problem then gets rewarded all by herself she’ll become less needy of you.  Using a favourite treat and saving it specifically for when you’re gone will aid in this, if I’m gone for a long time I will generally give Zeeby (my bird who had this same problem) a banana chip in her foraging toys.  As a result she learns to have loads of fun when I’m gone, keeps her occupied, and she gets her favourite treats - me leaving ends up being a lot more fun than she thought it would be!

Make sure you don’t encourage the screaming, when she yells for you just sit still until she stops.  After 10 seconds of silence has passed you can go to her, eventually she’ll learn screaming for you gets her nowhere and that will help remove this needy behaviour as well.

Once she learns how much fun there is to be had without you this problem should fade away.

- Courtney (thepacificparrotlet)

18 10 / 2014

blackjackgabbiani said: I got two budgies from a rescue back in May, and they still act terrified of me. I can get them to step onto my finger, but when I take them anywhere separated from each other, they're visibly scared. I don't know what happened to them beforehand so it's probable that they were abused, but after all this time of me being gentle to them, I would hope for SOME improvement. I do have a grey parrot as well, and I'm pretty heavy so when I walk it makes a stronger noise. Could those be factors?

Budgies in general are very flighty birds so it takes quite a bit more time than a grey to get used to you.  They are exceptionally small so the world is a lot more terrifying.

You just have to keep trying and show them that things are alright now, if they were from a shaky past it will take lots of time for them to understand that things are different now.

You can read our FAQ for more info on taming birds, some of the methods might help to calm them down around you.  Don’t force them, when they seem scared just back off and let them relax, take it slow and things will get better over time.

- Courtney (thepacificparrotlet)