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Old 09-03-2018, 06:33 AM
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How long did it take for you to form a bond with your parrot?

Hello everyone!
Iíve had my IRN for almost two months now and I feel like we havenít made much progress. A little backstory, we rescued Max from an abusive household who kept him in a really cramped up cage and barely fed him (a really common problem - people buy parrots thinking theyíll be entertaining pets and when they donít meet the ownerís demands, end up giving them to shelters or keep them in poor conditions). So since the time Max been here, the only progress weíve made is that he understands heís Max (always look on to us when we call him), understands the names of his favourite foods (two - three) and is very comfortable roaming the house. Heís very stubborn and will not quit until we listen to him. Heís out of his cage in the morning and back in by the evening. Iíve had other pets before but never as challenging as Max.
Iíve posted two threads before regarding Max before but I think Iíd like more information on handling him since his behaviour keeps changing every minute.

So Max is terrified of hands. I presume that his previous owners handled him very badly and he runs away as soon as he sees hands. Iíve tried perches, sticks etc to get him to step up but again, runs away as soon as he sees them.

Another thing he does is that he has extreme mood swings. I wonder if this normal. Some days, I can stand by his cage and talk to him for hours and heíll be close in by me listening, slow blinking eyes etc and some days runs away as soon as I approach the cage. Some days he eats, some days he refuses to eat anything (this always stresses me out).

He, like many others, hates going back in his cage and gets very creative to avoid it. Iíve been dealing with this issue recently and I usually coax him in with food (it takes quite sometime but it works).

We have a meshed balcony in my room and Max loves sitting out there. He watches the birds fly by but recently Iíve noticed that there are a bunch of IRNs flying by my house everyday (yes, they are IRNs) and Max is constantly calling out to them. They call out to him everyday and he responds and this goes on for an hour or two everyday. Do you think heís lonely? perhaps this may be stressing him out. Iím contemplating getting a second IRN but even if I do, it wonít be until January / February because I need Max to settle in first and itíll be difficult to handle two stubburn babies lol.

Heís still very afraid of us and I donít know how to proceed further. Iíve tried the move in closer, stand and see how he does method with Max but like I said, some days he lets me get close to the cage, next to him and some days he doesnít. Keeping track of the progress has become hard because of this.

Everytime I open my cage, Iíve tried keeping my hand below the cage to let him see slowly that he has to go by me and that Iím not a threat but this hasnít worked as well. He refuses to come out if I do this.

How long did it take for you to form a bond with your parrot? If any of you rescued yours, what was the process like? Iím trying all I can to help him settle in but heís a stubborn baby. Neverthless, Iím not giving up on him.

Thank you for reading and so sorry for spamming everyone with my threads!
All opinions are welcome.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 09-03-2018, 06:44 AM
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Re: How long did it take for you to form a bond with your parrot?

Here is some great reading which we often recommend.
Two months isn't long for some parrots. They're very complex beings, some of them not many generations out of the wild, genetically perfect for those wilds. Many birds never become "tame" pets in the conventional puppy/kitten sense.
Tips for Bonding and Building Trust


May I add some thoughts about expectations? I hope I don't sound preach-y. I also want to make it clear that I completely support all the great advice on training!
My bird is "difficult", and so I have expressed these thoughts so often that I made a cut-and-paste (below). Apologies to those of you who've heard it a zillion times!

My bird is pretty awful. He's a fun mimic and a real character, but...
Even after all these years, I sometimes find myself putting myself or my bird down... stuff like...
I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS OR THAT.
WHY CAN'T HE BE SWEET AND NICE, LIKE THOSE OTHER BIRDS?
PEOPLE NEVER UNDERSTAND WHY I PUT UP WITH THIS.
Stuff like that.

Since he's fully flighted, the ONLY way I get him into the cage is to toss a chile pepper in and he flaps in after it. So food reward is a necessity for me. Time-out doesn't exist in the Rb's kingdom.
But the Rb is a parrot... in his particular case, one generation out of the wild.
I do all the right things, as much/well as I can, but in the end, I just LOVE my bird,
Some parrots are SO SWEET, some are NOT. I'm a bit JEALOUS of those successes.
I have lessened my psychological and physical wounds over the decades... not because I've changed the bird, but I have changed me. And a lot of that has involved giving up on a lot of my desires/expectations. After years of battle, I surrendered.
Consequently, I have a Tazmanian Devil on my hands. I love him. I have no complaints, really. He's HIMSELF. And I'm MYSELF. And the result... check my Signature for videos. etc., if you like.
BUT THERE'S LOTS OF GOOD TRAINING ADVICE HERE... DO READ AND LEARN AND DO YOUR BEST!
Over the years, I have sometimes been very embarassed/downhearted/sad about having a pet that was so... out of my control. But it is my choice to indulge and adore him.
Finally, I accepted that I have an amazing half-wild being who shares my life! It's magic enough for me!

Parrot-owners usually wind up determining their own personal comfort level with various behaviors, and it's okay to be okay with that.

I'm glad you're here.

You'll get great advice. Let's see what our ringneck folks think. That link is a good start, and our members will stick with you!
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:48 AM
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Re: How long did it take for you to form a bond with your parrot?

oh...never mind...
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Old 09-03-2018, 07:35 AM
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Re: How long did it take for you to form a bond with your parrot?

bonding is odd, for my Green Cheek he wanted nothing to do with me for a while, then one day POOF the cuddle bug appeared. Nothing different happened in what I was doing, he just did it.

One a side-note it's not just birds issues bonding can happen. Every animal bonds at a different speed. For example, my mother's Westie hasn't bonded with me, couldn't care any less despite having known him for years, but my sister's new dog took all of 2 days and he listens to me more than my sister!

What I will say is try to remove your own expectations of how your IRN will be. Remember he's been hurt by humans over the years, all he knew was his cage and the tiny morsels of food he's been give. You'll no doubt find at some point he's been hit by someone or the cage has been hit, he's also probably had good periods with people for a day or 2 when being shown off but the next day it's back to the bad so he doesn't know whether he's coming or going. Hopefully this gives you a bit of insight into the demons he needs to work through to become trusting of people again, also remember unlike us who after that kind of abuse would have therapies and people to air their thoughts out to he has none of that and merely has to try and process that and the difference you are to him from the old family. He may never be fully trusting again, but in rescuing him it's less about making them become the super cuddly pets and it is about making sure they are kept safe and they are getting the stuff they need both physically and psychologically.

As for the other parrots I think he's calling merely because they make a noise he's aware of and can make, much like a dog barking at another barking dog or giving a passing hello to a neighbour. Never go down the route of "a parrot for my parrot" because it has many many ways to backfire. Only get another if you WANT one yourself and are prepared for the worst case scenario. He may well not understand how to interact with another parrot and could see biting and clawing and screaming at them as how he should act so I would leave any thoughts like that for now.

Just give him love, patience and hopefully given time (which can be years) he can learn to love you
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Old 09-03-2018, 09:37 AM
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Re: How long did it take for you to form a bond with your parrot?

In the case of my quaker, a different species I know, but she is a rescue too. I discovered she has several triggers from past abuse, at first I thought she had only been neglected. I've discovered I can't cover her cage at all! Not at night not even just the back with rest open, this makes her angry, agressive, fearful, and she stops eating. I'm sure she was covered for long periods as punishment. As soon as she sees the water bottle I use to give spray baths to the other birds she hunches up and goes back into her cage to hide in a corner nit making a peep for hours. If I get a broom out to sweep near her she screams, lunges, and gets very upset. I had given her a very full bowl of food, but I'm working on converting her to pellets , so I put less in so I could better tell what she was eating. This caused her to freak and turn into a hoarder never leaving her food bowl and gaurding it. So I think she was forgotten, and left without food..... Now I always leave get with a bowl filled to the brim and she is fine. It's very sad to see she must have at least had her cage hit with a broom, been squirted with water as punishment, left covered for hours/days, and been left without food......when I first got her she was a huge loud screaming for hours. So probably why a terrible person did those things to her. She only screams about once a day now and only for a minute. Anyway what I'm saying is that your bird has gone through abuse as you know already. Observations about some other triggers, besides hands might help you move forward with gaining trust. There are some good books out there on parrot behavior, in regards to over coming fear and agression from past abuse. I know I read some tips to help overcoming fear of hands... I think there is still hope for you two to make more progress, abd it sounds like you are giving him a lovely life!! Think of him as having a post traumatic stress disorder, abd try to be aware of triggers. I feel for you both.
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Old 09-03-2018, 10:35 AM
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Re: How long did it take for you to form a bond with your parrot?

My bird let me touch her the first day I got her (presumably because she was terrified and, as a person, I was more familiar than her new surroundings). After that, she stopped allowing me to touch her at all (without threatening to bite or biting for about a month or so). During this time, she would usually take food from me, but she wouldn't let me touch her. Around 2 months, I could pet her head without threats/biting about 70%-80% of the time... Around 3 months, she was stepping up. Side-note: When we first traveled together (around 3 months) she stepped up like an angel for 3 weeks at our new location, but upon returning home, she appeared to regress a bit in that department---she clearly wanted my attention, but stopped stepping up for about a week, before she was back to where she had been (stepping up willingly). My bird was an adult re-home when I got her.

NOTE:

Very recently, my bird (an Umbrella Cockatoo) went "Rambo" on me due to: 1. a blue blouse, 2. delayed bedtime and 3. recent travel/boarding.

She never bites me anymore, but she bit me a ton a few weeks ago...It turns out that I was keeping her up too late (by her standards) and she had no way to communicate that she was ready for bed when she was away from her cage. During the day, if she bites anyone, I usually take her back to her cage, so in an effort to get back to her cage, she began biting me (because she knew the consequence of this behavior and she WANTED to go to her cage). Each time this happened, I was also wearing a blue blouse and these incidents followed my having boarded her...but the issue turned out to be bedtime related.

I now wear the blue blouse and don't have problems, as long as she is on her cage by 6:00 (ish) so that she can tell me when she is ready for bed.


I just posted this reply to a member who was having trouble with their bird--- maybe you could see if anything on there works for you:
Hit a brick wall with IRN need advice

Last edited by noodles123; 09-03-2018 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 09-03-2018, 01:28 PM
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Re: How long did it take for you to form a bond with your parrot?

The only thing that I want to add quickly to the other great advice already given is that you should NEVER bring home a second bird for your current bird!!! That's the absolute last thing you want to do, for a number of different reasons, but mostly because you have no idea at all how they will react with each other, there are many different possibilities. They could bond very closely to one another and depending on their genders you then may have a mating issue, plus they tend to lose any bond to humans once they bond closely to another bird, especially of the same species and the opposite sex...They could like each other but not really bond closely with one another. They could not really like each other and simply just tolerate each other. They could hate each other and want nothing to do with each other. And then they could hate each other and be aggressive and violent and not able to be near each other...So you see the problem, it's very common for people who buy a second bird because they think their current bird is "lonely, depressed, sad", etc., to then have two birds that can't be around each other unsupervised, sometimes not at all, and then they have two birds that they are responsible for that they'd rather not have.

So ONLY bring home another parrot for yourself, because you want another parrot to bond with and as your companion, not because you want to buy a companion for the bird you already have...It never, every works out, and it almost always ends in one or both birds eventually being re-homed.
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Old 09-03-2018, 03:18 PM
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Re: How long did it take for you to form a bond with your parrot?

Generally, rescues need your patience. It really depends on many things. Age, diet and history (History includes alot!!!) are only starting points.

This is a rundown of my current flock.
My IRN is questionable. I knew him for 3 years prior to his arrival 7.5 months ago.
My WCP was badly abused and neglected. She is blind in one eye, missing toenails on one foot and has greatly reduced gripping capabilities, scarring. Due to a disability, she cannot fly. It has been over 4 months and she still hides in the back of her cage.
My budgie still fears my hands after 11 months but is coming around because of his new cagemate.
My rehomed conure boys took to me immediately.
My rehomed BCC is still in the "honeymoon" stage of quarantine.

A friend's Maxi took almost 5 years. I took in a cockatiel that took about 8 months. My Fiery fell in love with my breeder Pearly and only took a month. My Patagonian took almost 2 years. I could go on.

What I have learned is that your patience is returned many times over! You'll get unconditional love like you've never known. Rescues make some of the most loving and loyal birds I've ever had!!!
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Old 09-03-2018, 03:30 PM
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Re: How long did it take for you to form a bond with your parrot?

EllenD and I disagree about the loss of human to bird bonding, but we agree on many other points. Only bring home a bird in need not as a bird buddy. You may get lucky and they like one another. Just as likely, they may not and your previous bird may feel jealous and replaced. The birds may not fully agree with your plan and expectations.

As always though: Adoption saves lives!!!
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:11 PM
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Re: How long did it take for you to form a bond with your parrot?

Quote: Originally Posted by LordTriggs View Post
bonding is odd, for my Green Cheek he wanted nothing to do with me for a while, then one day POOF the cuddle bug appeared. Nothing different happened in what I was doing, he just did it.

One a side-note it's not just birds issues bonding can happen. Every animal bonds at a different speed. For example, my mother's Westie hasn't bonded with me, couldn't care any less despite having known him for years, but my sister's new dog took all of 2 days and he listens to me more than my sister!

What I will say is try to remove your own expectations of how your IRN will be. Remember he's been hurt by humans over the years, all he knew was his cage and the tiny morsels of food he's been give. You'll no doubt find at some point he's been hit by someone or the cage has been hit, he's also probably had good periods with people for a day or 2 when being shown off but the next day it's back to the bad so he doesn't know whether he's coming or going. Hopefully this gives you a bit of insight into the demons he needs to work through to become trusting of people again, also remember unlike us who after that kind of abuse would have therapies and people to air their thoughts out to he has none of that and merely has to try and process that and the difference you are to him from the old family. He may never be fully trusting again, but in rescuing him it's less about making them become the super cuddly pets and it is about making sure they are kept safe and they are getting the stuff they need both physically and psychologically.

As for the other parrots I think he's calling merely because they make a noise he's aware of and can make, much like a dog barking at another barking dog or giving a passing hello to a neighbour. Never go down the route of "a parrot for my parrot" because it has many many ways to backfire. Only get another if you WANT one yourself and are prepared for the worst case scenario. He may well not understand how to interact with another parrot and could see biting and clawing and screaming at them as how he should act so I would leave any thoughts like that for now.

Just give him love, patience and hopefully given time (which can be years) he can learn to love you
Consuela, my QP companion came home with me 3mos after hatching and being handraised. Her cage, 32"x18"x18", is next to my desk. Three days after bringing her home, I began reading to her from an illustrated children's book. I made a big deal out of it, like reading to a young child. She came to perch on my side of the cage. Next I began putting her food in a flat plastic lid on top of her cage, leaving the door to her cage open. Once she finished eating, I started reading to her. Once Consuela figured that I was the source of her food and water and wasn't going to eat her, the bonding really started. Bonding is the bird's decision. Face it, everything is the bird's decision! Be kind. Be gentle. Don't give up. Remember that you are dealing with a permanent 4yr.old covered with feathers. And it is at best only a couple of generations removed from being a wild animal. All of this can be found on YouTube. Oh, yeah, I'm retired and live alone.

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