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Old 08-18-2019, 09:43 AM
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Re: Sweet Bird, Attack Bird

Quote: Originally Posted by chris-md View Post
Eclectus are polyandrous, they are genetically programmed to have multiple mates, so this wouldn’t be an issue.

How old is Cairo again?
19 months old. Subspecies-wise, we were told he's probably a New Guinea Red-Sided mixed with Aru, but with Solomon in his genes. (His breeder wasn't particular about subspecies, and the other breeder who told us said that he often mixed in Solomon, with some babies being quite small for a Red-sided-Aru mix).
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 08-18-2019, 10:29 AM
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Re: Sweet Bird, Attack Bird

Apologies for the essay, but I think you’ll find it helpful:

NAILED IT.

Welcome to puberty. Let’s get this straight right now: You aren’t going to get puberty under control as you would the mature, annual hormones, just doesn’t work like that. You’ll have to temper your expectation on how much you can prevent.
___________________________
Some basic protocols. It’s going to be a big change in the relationship for the next year or so, but these protocols will help you all get through it.

keep doing what you are doing, diet wise. Minimize fruits, etc. those freeze dried fruits/dyhydrated fruits will be a sugar bomb. Don’t let them become a big part of the diet for too long.

NONNEGOTIABLE: he no longer should have shoulder privileges for anyone since he has proven he will bite faces. Hands only.

It will be absolutely critical to learn his even more subtle body language cues. The bites aren’t THAT unpredictable, just be careful to watch For signed of excitement: eye pinning, glaring, you know him well enough to pay closer attention to these things.

Dive bombing is NOT particularly a species trait here. If Cairo is actually five bombing your partner, this is a safety issue and wing clipping may need to be considered for your partners health and well-being, as well as Cairo’s. This is one of the universally agreed upon scenarios where wing clipping is acceptable (least contentious scenario).

Training to help Cairo accept your partner again. Positive reinforcement to teach Cairo that your partner means good things. I have to wonder if your partner screwed something up: pushed him too far, didn’t notice certain body languages Cairo was giving off that sad some variation of “I’m done, leave me alone” which is compounding the effects of puberty. Have partner refer back to watching body language.

Exercise - mental and physical - help vent off the pent up energy. It’s almost like dealing with a puppy. Puppy energy actually interferes with any training and good behaviors. To begin properly working with them, you first have to wear off the puppy energy.
____________________________________

These will get you a fair bit of the way, hopefully others will have pubertal coping mechanisms they can share as well. You’ll get your sweet boy back, promise. But it will take 6months to a year before he settles down. During which time he’s going to try the hell out Of you and your partner, and your collective patience. Lean on us to vent. Have your partner form an account here too if he needs to get his side off his chest

Biting in hormones is not at all common in the males. My own unscientific observations estimate less than 10% of males become aggressive when hormonal; Parker is also one of these hormonally aggressive males. Most just regurgitate and masturbate.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 08-20-2019, 10:48 AM
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Re: Sweet Bird, Attack Bird

Thanks so much, Chris! The way you wrote it made it easy to forward to my partner and easy for him to understand the context of everything.

We’ve completely stopped privileges to our shoulders and heads. I thought it would be ok if he still could perch on me (Cairo really doesn’t bite me), but my partner thought that it might encourage Cairo to continue to be possessive of me.

I’ve completely cut out fruits from his diet (I accidentally forgot I used dragonfruit puree as the base of his birdie bread, and he had that last week and over the weekend, which might be why he started getting riled up again).

I’ve been actively pointing out Cairo’s body language to my partner, so he can notice it himself and learn when Cairo is non-verbally communicating. He’s still trying to figure it out - he understands the eye-pining, but the feathers are a bit subtle.

So I’ve been trying to keep my distance and only interact with Cairo as a support role to my partner. My partner will train Cairo, and I just act as a sort of supervisor in the distance. We’ve also been trying to desensitise Cairo by initiating more physical contact between us humans - I don’t know if this will make him more upset or if he will eventually learn to accept it.

My partner is making to sure to regularly interact with Cairo through the cage. Cairo does his tricks for treats from my partner, and it’s perfect. It’s just when Cairo is outside of his cage, then there’s a risk.

We had trained Cairo that he could come to us whenever he wanted and just chill out on our shoulders. It had been perfectly fine until now. So Cairo still thinks he can land on my partner’s shoulder - one minute he’ll give kisses and the next he’ll go to bite. My partner has gotten bitten several times, trying to get Cairo to step up. And whenever my partner goes to put Cairo in his cage, that’s when Cairo gets really aggressive. (Mind you, this is when I’m not around).

But my partner is also now accepting of when Cairo doesn’t want to step up from a perch. When Cairo is gentle in pushing his hands away, he listens now. But when Cairo bites, then I have to put him in timeout :/ We’re trying to find a balance there.



I’m desperate to not clip his wings. He grew up free-flying, and you can just see the sheer joy when he flies. He even talks about it if we haven’t gone flying in a couple of days, then when we reach the park, he exclaims, “FLY-FLY!” And some days he can hardly wait to bolt off when I count him down “one, two, three, g-” and he’s off! I’ll try to increase his flight times as a way to work off energy - it’ll probably mean me spending more 1-on-1 time with him since my partner’s freelance work is really non-stop, but at least it’ll give him a chance to expend his energy.
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 08-20-2019, 03:55 PM
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Re: Sweet Bird, Attack Bird

Well done. That takes a lot of work: physical, emotional and mental energy. Both of you must be tired. I do hope that you are able to 'rest' a bit back in the US with Cairo being well taken care of in the interim. Have a safe trip.
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Old 08-20-2019, 10:49 PM
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Re: Sweet Bird, Attack Bird

So we got some information from our breeder friend (she's known for her ekkies and well-connected with the big Australian and SEAsian breeders).

They've noticed that it's the Aussie subspecies that are true poly. The non-Aussie subspecies can be poly, but sometimes do express a strong preference for one mate, rejecting other past and potential mates. Cairo isn't an Aussie subspecies, so this might be a factor.

Other ekkies from Cairo's breeder (so similar parentage/genetics) also started this kind of behaviour. They also started biting after bonding with another. Our friend hasn't noticed this with her own babies (she's very good in following up and supporting her babies in their new homes). Just the ones from Cairo's breeder, who mixes the subspecies.

The others who have free-flyers from Cairo's breeder keep their ekkies' beaks groomed often. She did mention that some people do groom the beak so there's a gap between the top and bottom, but did not recommend it at all because the beak is so sensitive.

That being said, they do mellow after several years (that's with a plural S). Locally, she's noticed it's around the 5-7yo age range that they start mellowing. So that gives us another 3-5 years of ragey, angsty teenager.

My poor partner has three different bleeding bites on one finger alone.. I feel so bad for him - he really does love the silly bird (he's more insistent on giving Cairo his favourite flights more frequently than I am). But it's hardly safe for them to be together. Even when I'm not around, he gets attacked. We're starting from ground zero, and tbh, my partner is starting to get beak-shy.

She did recommend that we fly Cairo more often to give him an outlet for his excess energy and frustration. He hasn't tried to hump anything yet (he originally just tried to regurgitate for me, but hasn't tried for the past week or so). So I guess flights are the best outlet.



In the back of my mind, I'm thinking, "This is why I originally wanted to adopt an older rescue." But Cairo literally flew into my life and it felt like fate when his family offered him to us. So we'll just stick through this.
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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 08-21-2019, 07:50 AM
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Re: Sweet Bird, Attack Bird

I know you've had a lot of comprehensive input and I read through it all, but might have missed if someone has already said this... I think you might be accidentally reinforcing the biting behaviour if you are the only one that puts him in "time out". He bites your partner, you leave your partner or come in from another room and he gets a minute or so just the 2 of you. Avoiding the bites is of course best, but maybe also changing how you manage the aftermath could help too?
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Old 08-21-2019, 01:59 PM
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Re: Sweet Bird, Attack Bird

Totally agree Jottlebot. My earlier post confirms:

Quote: Originally Posted by Ellie777Australia
I wonder if it would be best if your partner discipline Cairo since he was the object of attack and is a secondary trainer. You both have different styles as you noted in a post further down but consistency is essential. Especially in addressing unwanted behaviour such as this aggression.
I am primary companion to both Ellie and Bertie. My husband has daily interaction times as well. Both of us are consistent with our communication and interaction with them so as to minimize confusion. If Ellie has been taken out of the cage, or upon my husband's shoulder for eg., and she mis-behaves then he places her into time out (whatever our agreed response to a behaviour is for eg.) and vice-versa.

It is very important that your partner place Cairo in 'time out' if he is the object of the aggression.

Last edited by Ellie777Australia; 08-21-2019 at 02:00 PM. Reason: tried to fix quote
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 08-21-2019, 02:34 PM
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Re: Sweet Bird, Attack Bird

Quote: Originally Posted by Ellie777Australia View Post
Totally agree Jottlebot. My earlier post confirms:

Quote: Originally Posted by Ellie777Australia
I wonder if it would be best if your partner discipline Cairo since he was the object of attack and is a secondary trainer. You both have different styles as you noted in a post further down but consistency is essential. Especially in addressing unwanted behaviour such as this aggression.
I am primary companion to both Ellie and Bertie. My husband has daily interaction times as well. Both of us are consistent with our communication and interaction with them so as to minimize confusion. If Ellie has been taken out of the cage, or upon my husband's shoulder for eg., and she mis-behaves then he places her into time out (whatever our agreed response to a behaviour is for eg.) and vice-versa.

It is very important that your partner place Cairo in 'time out' if he is the object of the aggression.
I’m a bit occupied, and can’t elaborate at the moment but this is not correct. The favored person set the boundaries. It comes off as straight aggression from the disfavored person, creating a negative feedback loop.

And remember, we don’t punish birds.
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 08-21-2019, 03:47 PM
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Re: Sweet Bird, Attack Bird

Thanks chris...I am eager to learn more as well....my references are probably similar to Jottlebots.
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Old 08-21-2019, 06:24 PM
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Re: Sweet Bird, Attack Bird

Ok, so as I said I was a bit occupied and spoke even more definitively than it actually is.

The answer is: if your approach includes in any way “who disciplines the bird”, you’re approach is off. If your bird needs discipline, smack yourself in the face cause your doing it wrong and need a wake up call.

Positive reinforcement includes AVOIDING situations where bites occur to begin with. Bird bites when you walk up and ask for a step up? STOP DOING THAT, FOOL. Teach the bird to step up onto a stick, and use that until bird can step up nicely. Or Mark - our current/former parrot rehabilitator in residence (rarely posts anymore) would put on layers of clothing on his arms so that when asking aggressive birds to step up to flood them with positive experience in stepping up. Two different methods.

Set the bird up for success, not failure. Scale back the interactions to situations where biting doesn’t occur, limit the interactions, and scale up from there.

Most importantly: one MUST remember these are hormones. This isn’t an aggressive bird you’re trying to train aggression out of. All references to rehabilitation of aggressive parrots is irrelevant. Except maybe to prevent it from getting worse.

This is a hormonal bird that requires more adaptation than training. The aggression is hormone driven, you aren’t going to stop it with training while puberty is in full swing. The object during this time is not to make things worse. Once puberty has passed, any residual aggression can be trained away through more conventional training means.

Last edited by chris-md; 08-21-2019 at 06:38 PM.
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