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Old 01-17-2016, 08:50 AM
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I may have to move...

Right now, I am hiding in the dining room on my laptop - out of sight from Sucre. This is not where I want to be on a Sunday morning. I would love to be having my coffee on the couch with my husband.

We've had Sucre 2 weeks - she is 6 years old. Until yesterday, she was pretty much a delight to be around. She talked non stop, and the only time we heard the dreaded screeching was when she heard the key in the lock when we came home at night.

A little background - she is a rescue, we were told she HATES men, and she was abused. We have VERY strong suspicions that she came from a house where methamphetamines were used on a regular basis, but that's another story. My point is that I don't know what she was exposed to and what kind of damage it may have done. I do know her conditions were filthy, and she pretty much had free roam of the house (also filthy) with very small children running around.

So, she comes home to us. I have her, 4 lovebirds and a 5 week old parrotlet that I am handfeeding. We also have two small dogs inside. I'm obsessive and my house is pristine (as are the cages) even though I work 40 plus hours a week. She's well fed with lots of treats, although she has never been introduced to pellets - I am working on that, and has had our full attention during the evening hours once we finish dinner and settle in.

Initially, she seemed to be bonding well with both myself and my husband. She is very chatty, and loves to be on you or beside you talking away the hours. She didn't care for the little dogs (Chihuahua and terrier) much at first, but after they got past their curiosity about her, they all came to an understanding. She chased them out of the room a couple of times then they learned to ignore her and everyone made peace.

I was really surprised at the bond she was forming with my husband, since we had been told that she hated men. I didn't realize what was happening, I thought I had done my homework pretty well but my husband was really, really giving her the wrong attention. He would do a full body stroke on her from head to tail every night while they watched tv. She fell in love and became obsessed with him, but still continued to come to me for preening and an occasional discussion for the first week or so. Then, she got to the point where she only wanted my husband - always rubbing all over him and tucking her head under his arm so he would rub the rest of her body. She started making these little moaning noises and it finally clicked with me and I dug into my homework a little deeper. My husband initiated a love affair with a cockatoo. I explained everything to him so he backed off, only stroking her around the head and neck area.

As soon as this changed, she decided it was time to get rid of the competition. She is literally flogging me every time she gets out of the cage. She will bite my arms, and try to get at my face. She will not calm down as long as I am in sight, so I now have to leave the room so that she can have time out of the cage.

Yesterday was a busy, busy day around here. My husband was working, we had satellite and internet problems and workers were in and out all day. I cleaned, cooked and did laundry all day so she was pretty much ignored other than food, treats and an occasional discussion with the people working on the satellite.

My husband came home last night and as soon as we ate, we let Sucre out. She came out of that cage like Crazy Eyes from Orange is the New Black. She went over to him but we could tell she was excited / upset about something. Within seconds she darted across the couch, chomped down on my upper arm and went straight for my face. My first reaction was to put her back in her cage for a time out, but that wasn't happening. She continued to attack and bite, trying her best to get my face. My husband had to forcibly remove her and cage her. She screeched for 3 hours, and was never visibly calm enough to come out of the cage again. This morning, she seemed calm, so we let her out, and I sat in a chair across the room from my husband. She made a beeline straight to me and at 7 am we had a repeat performance of last night. I wound up hiding in the dining room so she couldn't see me - if she heard my voice, she tensed up. Otherwise, she was happily chatting to my husband and trying to get him to give her a full body massage.

Sorry this is so long, but I am at a complete loss over what has happened here. I do animal rescue and fostering, I'm used to dealing with difficult situations and have all the patience in the world, but how in the world did she manage to fall so in love with my husband that she now wants to kill me???

I've searched the forum and found lots of good info, but I need to know how to backtrack with this and try to get it right. I appreciate any insight or suggestions!!!

And for what it's worth, she ALWAYS tells me she loves me and she's sorry after she flogs me.
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Last edited by Sucre; 01-17-2016 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 01-17-2016, 09:00 AM
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Re: I may have to move...

WOW Kim! I am truly sorry Sucre put you on her 'must eliminate' list. That sounds rather scary. And boy, she's a determined lady, isn't she!

How is she with you when your husband is out of reach/sound/sight? Is it possible for you to handle her then?

Please be careful.
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Old 01-17-2016, 09:19 AM
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Re: I may have to move...

I was just thinking about that. I was so busy yesterday and there were so many people in and out that I did not get her out, so that will be interesting to see. Right now, she's got me wishing our house was a LOT bigger, or maybe we should build on a "panic" room for me to hide in.

She is scary when she goes into this mode, and I try so hard not to let her know that I am afraid, but when you've got a bird that size intentionally trying to get at your face, you tend to sweat a little. I don't raise my voice with her at all. But every time it happens (twice within 24 hours) my husband has to get her off of me because I am too busy covering my face to do it, so the thought of letting her out when I am alone is a bit intimidating!
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Old 01-17-2016, 10:13 AM
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Re: I may have to move...

Kim, first of all, thank you for giving Sucre a wonderful new home. It sounds like her first years were anything but ideal.

Sucre has a lot going on right now, new home, parents, diet. After only two weeks, she's just beginning to process her new situation. At the age of six, she's also sexually mature and possibly hormonal, not to mention she has a brand new love interest, if she could just get rid of his wife. Are you sure Sucre is female?

Before you build a panic room to hide from your crazy eyed Too, or move out of your home (I've considered both options from time to time) why not try setting some safe boundaries at least until you've known Sucre long enough to trust her. A portable play stand would be useful, it gives the wild eyed bird a safe neutral zone where she can't hurt herself or others. A tabletop play stand on a portable table or the back of a chair will work in a pinch. Toos are easy overstimulated, physically returning them to their happy place gives them time to calm down and lets them know certain behaviors are never tolerated. After she's calm, reward her with a food treat or attention, tell her she's a good girl.

Distraction, Toos are easily distracted from mayhem, this will work in your favor. Give Sucre something colorful to destroy, toys, toys, toys. My Too loves music and animated cartoons.

For now, you should be Sucre's primary caregiver rather than your husband. All good things come from Mom. After you've been attacked, it's only normal to be a bit hesitant about physical interaction. Wear a comfortable jacket or hoodie and don't put your face too close. I would definitely keep shoulders off limits for the time being. You can sit close to Sucre and share a snack, sing, just chat, play catch, but back away from the hands on approach for now.

I wish you and Sucre the best, please keep us updated on her progress.
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Old 01-17-2016, 10:43 AM
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Re: I may have to move...

I am not certain Sucre is female. Supposedly her former owners had DNA testing done and she is. However, her behavior is very male.

I will try all of the things you have suggested, and I appreciate your input. I am on my way out to the store right now to try to find some puzzle type things - maybe baby puzzles made from wood??? We've been out in the woods cutting large branches for her to try to make her feel more at home when inside her cage. She's making short work of those right now.

I had planned to take her yesterday (before she became a terrorist) and get her wings clipped and talon and beak worked on. It appears to have been quite some time since that's been done, if ever. But we wound up having to deal with satellite and internet company all day - another Labrador retriever rescue who decided to eat my lines - and the vet closed at noon so I was unable to get there. I am not big on clipping wings, but with the way she is going after me these days, I think it might be for the best. I'm 55, at least I stand a fighting chance of out running her!

I will do everything I can to straighten this out. I'm also going to talk to the vet about her likely drug exposure to see if this may have something to do with her behavior, but I am 100% certain that it is her love for my husband and hormones, which I can relate to! I do small scale rescue / foster, and every animal that comes into this house bonds with me. I was so happy when Sucre took up with my husband, and so was he. We goofed that one up good!!!
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Old 01-17-2016, 10:51 AM
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Re: I may have to move...

Nah, you haven't goofed anything up, just a minor speed bump. Toos are very forgiving creatures. Are Sucre's eyes brown or black?
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Old 01-17-2016, 01:05 PM
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Re: I may have to move...

Although clipping Sucre may prevent aerial attacks, it doesn't fix the behavior.... which I'm sure you are aware of.

Since you are against clipping, why not try training before going the clipping route? Afraid to let her out of the cage? Then don't! Try target training her through the cage bars and giving her rewards via a spoon of some sort or giving her a special treat cup that you can drop the food into. If you do it right, you can work with her without getting bitten. It may be best to do this training with her while your husband isn't around at first. Once you are able to form a bond, of sorts, then you can try working with her while your husband is around.

Get the target training down pat while she's in her cage before you even attempt to try target training outside of the cage. Try to avoid undesired behaviors such as lunging and biting! Lara Joseph has been in your shoes before with a cockatoo (only, he was worse!) and it's amazing how much he has turned around!


https://larajoseph.wordpress.com/201...of-year-again/
https://larajoseph.wordpress.com/201...king-question/
https://larajoseph.wordpress.com/201...tcome-for-all/
https://larajoseph.wordpress.com/201...r-unknowingly/
https://larajoseph.wordpress.com/201...ble-encounter/



There are some other good articles worth reading, too!

https://zoologica.wordpress.com/2008...ining-parrots/

And this one really goes into how important reading body language is!

Parrot Behavior Myths: Building Trust | Learning Parrots
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Old 01-18-2016, 02:16 PM
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Re: I may have to move...

Goodness Kim, it's not easy being marked for eradication by a parrot wielding a large beak!

You seem to have well analyzed the issues with Sucre, hopefully patience, time, and good behavior modification techniques will save the relationship.
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Old 01-18-2016, 07:44 PM
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Re: I may have to move...

Quote: Originally Posted by Allee View Post
Nah, you haven't goofed anything up, just a minor speed bump. Toos are very forgiving creatures. Are Sucre's eyes brown or black?
I think they are black, but everyone else says they are brown.
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Old 01-18-2016, 08:07 PM
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Re: I may have to move...

Kim, I asked because I have been told eye color is one way to determine gender in adult U2's, supposedly males have black eyes, females have brown. I was told my U2 was a DNA tested male, I wanted proof so I sent feathers to biotech. My U2 is a brown eyed female.
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