Thread: At my wits end
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:25 PM
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Re: At my wits end

NEVER cover the cage during the day--period. This is a bedtime only thing--their light cycles matter and you can't use them to curtail behavior safely.
When you say, "can't stop her from screaming", what is your strategy and do you time periods of silence in between the screaming? How long have you waited without doing ANYTHING and staying out of sight (once the screaming starts)? To be clear- birds sometimes scream to communicate, so if your bird is in too small of a cage, isn't eating properly, isn't getting out, isn't getting attention like it needs etc, then ignoring isn't the answer, as it is screaming in the way that a baby cries...BUT, assuming your bird has structure, sleep, a schedule and is healthy, then it could be behavioral. ..Also-- no dark or shadowy spaces in or outside the cage--- these are triggers for behaviors (so no boxes or shelves etc).

When I got my U2, there were times when she screamed AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS for 2+ hours ...shook the house (all of her needs were very well met and she had already proven her independence while I was at work etc--this was more willful and flock related---not saying it was unnatural, but it intensified when more people were in the house and she wanted us all in one room with eyes on her). The thing is, when the screaming started, no one went in when it was happening--not to yell, not to cover, not to do a dang thing. We did our best to prevent it ahead of time by talking to her if we walked out of the room (BEFORE the screaming) but once it started, no one could enter the room or talk to the bird UNTIL there was a 10 second window of solid silence. At that point, we would run in and say, "thanks for getting so quiet" (in quiet voices). YOU MUST TEACH independence and play before you just leave your bird alone..but you need to praise the quiet and ignore the loud.

If the screaming starts and 10 s is too much, start with 5. Do what you can to prevent it 1. by making sure your bird gets 12 hours of sleep nightly on a schedule, 2. plenty of time out of cage each day, 3. teach it to play with toys by modeling, 4. REWARD independence.

IF YOU ARE SURE THAT YOU ARE MEETING ALL OF YOUR BIRDS NEEDS IN TERMS OF CAGE-SIZE, SLEEP, DIET, FOOD ETC....then here is what you can do if your bird starts screaming---if you are in the room, leave. If you are out of the room, stay out. You may need some earplugs during this initial period of time. You say nothing---do not talk about it, do not look at the bird, do not walk past the bird. NO ATTENTION.

If squawking stops, start a count 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3, Mississippi etc....If your goal is 5 seconds, and your bird squawks at 4 mississipi, then you have to start back at one. You do not start counting until the squawking stops, and any noise between 1-5 (or 1-10) seconds restarts the clock. You only run in and praise for being quiet after a SOLID 5-10 seconds (pick one and stick with it initially). Once the bird masters 5, increase the quiet time to 10.

This is more on you than on the bird because you have to have a will of steel and so far, the bird is doing what is natural and winning your attention. If covering the cage stops the screaming, consider the fact that the bird may be 1. confused/more messed up in the future because of hormones and light issues and 2. ENJOYING the cage covering...

Last edited by noodles123; 05-22-2020 at 12:33 PM.
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