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Old 10-11-2018, 09:15 AM
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Help with play and positioning?

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So my U2 came to me with no interest in toys...Talked to her last owner and they said the same thing (she came to them that way and never took to toys during her time with them). She is 10 (3 previous homes). We have worked a lot on playing and she FINALLY likes to play with these plastic c-links and shreddable bamboo grass types of toys. She will also chew wood toys but she is less likely to prefer them to the shredding types. This is a problem for 3 reasons:

A) I am constantly looking for ways to entertain her (and I often feel as though I am running out)

B) Her beak would stay shorter longer if she kept it busier.

C) She is scared of most new things and so rotating toys frequently actually makes her less likely to use them (as she avoids them)...This means I have a limited set of options if I want her to play at all. Don't get me wrong, I have a ton of toys...this is more based on preexisting her anxieties etc..(which are very slowly improving...I think.. lol)

That having been said, when visiting my parents' house (same cage there as she has here), she tends to chew on the wooden block-style toys in her cage but she rarely does that at my house unless she is on her play-stand which happens to face a large window. When we visit my parents, I even position everything inside of her cage the same way as at home, so that it is all familiar to her. When she chews on her wooden toys AT THEIR HOUSE, her back is to the door of the cage, but she can still see out the window from that position (even though she has her back to the cage door which faces most of the activity in their home).

....I know everyone always says don't leave a cage open on all sides, but that is the setup when she visits them (out of necessity)....large/full-size windows on 2 sides of the cage (back and one side) and open rooms/activity to the front (and other side). The point is, she actually plays MORE in her cage there, so I can only think that it has something to do with the cage position. Her level of toy usage at their house is higher while in her cage (whether or not people are around)..AND at their house, at least visually, her cage looks vulnerable on all sides (as a result of the windows).

I am wondering if she actually DISLIKES facing a wall while playing/chewing..despite what I have always been told.
At my house, I have the back part of the cage close to the wall and the other sides face out (she's kind of in a very large nook in the living room, but she can see everything from there).

Occasionally, in both locations, she will climb around behind he cage and chew her toys from the outside so that she can still see her cage door/the rest of the house, but again, when she does this at my parents' home, her back is to the window (and she is okay with that...or so it seems).

Could my U2 prefer a cage that is not against a wall? This breaks all of the rules I have heard about cage positioning for YEARS, but I am wondering if anyone else has experienced this.

I thought about placing her food and water in the back with her toys towards the front (because I think she is more motivated to eat than play, but I also am sort of worried that she might not eat and drink as much if this really comes down to positioning of toys/cage/bowls etc. Now I wonder if I should consider moving her cage...?

Thoughts?

Last edited by noodles123; 10-11-2018 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:32 AM
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Re: Help with play and positioning?

We may be wrong with the idea of "having your back to a wall = safety" for some birds at least.
Birds live out in the open, and their first defense (usually) is to fly away.
If we block an escape route (with a wall) that may actually bring on the feeling of being trapped and unsafe/more vulnerable instead of "no-one can possibly come up behind me, so I am safe".


So... I can argue both ways here
(not helping probably)


My birds really dislike things that block their vieuw, but on the other hand: Japie will *not* sleep without some sort of roof over his head ...
so why not go with "find out a preference" and just roll with that?


We can always argue that most birds seem to like the solid presence of a wall behind them, but it is not a law of nature.
(nature does not have walls )
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Old 10-11-2018, 10:09 AM
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Re: Help with play and positioning?

it's normally just a rule of thumb really out of the assumption of them wanting to hide at times

if she likes her cage being open to the world and gets more enjoyment out of it, then why not? You can always move the cage back if needed
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Old 10-11-2018, 11:32 AM
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Re: Help with play and positioning?

I agree that while this is a "norm" or a "rule of thumb", those terms simply mean that they are most-common among all species of birds/parrots in very over-all and general terms.

However, as we all well-know here, parrots are all extremely intelligent, and also each their own individuals, and very similar to human-beings in a lot of ways, this being one of them. They each simply "like what they like" and "feel safe with what they feel safe with"...The idea of putting a bird's cage against a wall or in a corner, so that the cage will have a wall behind it and beside it is meant to make the bird feel more "secure", because each side of their cage that is against a wall eliminates a side or a direction that a possible danger/predator could be coming at them from. And that makes sense...

However, it might also make sense that some birds would feel "claustrophobic" or "boxed-in" having their cages positioned that way, and that it's simply one or two less directions that they have to escape a danger/predator. This also makes perfect sense...

It's a matter of personal preference and innate instinct. The best advice I can give any and all bird owners is to do your research, get your ideas and learn what usually works with most birds, and if your specific bird doesn't like something or doesn't like a certain way you've done something or set something up, then just try an alternate way.

There is no "right" or "wrong" when it comes to things like this when it comes to birds, only "likes and dislikes".
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Old 10-11-2018, 11:42 AM
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Re: Help with play and positioning?

My Hawkhead is not an avid player but she will play occasionally...but not in her cage.

Does your U2 spend much time out of the cage? My Hawkhead likes chewing on a wooden play top that I made. I made it from all soft woods like pine with lots of things for her to chew (nothing hanging or movable) including the border around the base. As she chews I replace. She has at times spent hours chewing up the thing.

As for toys, maybe chewed up two toys, a shredder and balsa blocks but nothing else.
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:18 PM
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Re: Help with play and positioning?

Quote: Originally Posted by bill_e View Post
My Hawkhead is not an avid player but she will play occasionally...but not in her cage.

Does your U2 spend much time out of the cage? My Hawkhead likes chewing on a wooden play top that I made. I made it from all soft woods like pine with lots of things for her to chew (nothing hanging or movable) including the border around the base. As she chews I replace. She has at times spent hours chewing up the thing.

As for toys, maybe chewed up two toys, a shredder and balsa blocks but nothing else.

She is out whenever I am home which is all weekend (mostly---unless I go to the store--If I have plans, those are after she goes to bed). During the work week, She is out 2-3 hours before work and about 2-3 after..which sucks, but she requires a ton of sleep so it is what it is (she tells me when she is ready for bed and it varies). Thankfully, I get lots of random weeks off, as I work for a school with a more flexible schedule.
She chews stuff on her play stand if bored sometimes (or excited)--mostly when waiting for food lol. I just think it's weird that she uses her chew toy IN THE CAGE at my parent's house (door is open and she goes in to chew)...and she isn't overwhelmed either when she does this, so who know...maybe it is the cage position. With my luck, I will move it and upset her. She did chew up some colorful Popsicle sticks (vegetable dye lol) today when she was waiting for me to finish work stuff nearby...so that is something new (but OUTSIDE of her cage). She has this big wooden toy in her cage that she could use when I am at work (among others)--she barely touches it, but will walk right past it (and she really liked the last one that I got her...apparently the replacement is...??? too similar??? lol--DOUBT IT!)...Just seems boring to me to climb around without using any of the toys that she will use elsewhere....I live-stream her privately so that I can make sure she is okay (weird, I know)...but that is how I know what she does all day!

Last edited by noodles123; 10-11-2018 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:25 PM
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Re: Help with play and positioning?

Quote: Originally Posted by LordTriggs View Post
it's normally just a rule of thumb really out of the assumption of them wanting to hide at times

if she likes her cage being open to the world and gets more enjoyment out of it, then why not? You can always move the cage back if needed

I think it just took her so long to get comfortable visiting them that I didn't have a sense of comparison (re:cage position) until now. It's crazy because she is fairly scared of objects....but apparently NOT predators lol!



I do wonder if it could be some sort of weird coping mechanism...but she likes it there now, so I think I am over-thinking that..maybe...she is a weirdo.
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Old 10-11-2018, 07:10 PM
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Re: Help with play and positioning?

I have a similar question since Bianca doesnít seem interested in playing either. She likes the cardboard boxes I gave her and sometimes I find her tossing all the toys that are inside the boxes out, so that she can hop in and chomp down on them, but thatís about it and it doesnít even happen often. Iím not sure whether she is perfectly fine like that or if maybe I should try harder to make her interested in toys. Maybe some parrots are just not the playful types?


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Old 10-11-2018, 07:15 PM
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Re: Help with play and positioning?

Cockatoos have too much energy etc not to be playful, so I maintain that it is in there somewhere, but if they haven't been taught from an early age, then it is a real struggle. We are in a similar boat there. I HAVE seem improvement, but mine would rather me entertain her than entertaining herself. She does like to throw things. Again, biggest success here, linking and unlinking plastic c-links (but that took AGES)...So, don't give up, and neither will I lol.
If yours likes chomping softer things too, then you might try veg colored Popsicle sticks or those sea-weed/ palm-frond looking woven toys....Or the birdy-pinatas!
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Old 10-11-2018, 07:27 PM
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Re: Help with play and positioning?

This is an interesting idea. I might try moving Pennys cage out in the open. She can Not stand to have her cage covered at night or Ever. Abd once when cleaning I moved her cage out into the middle of the room and she was the most active ever, a
I thought maybe she was just nervous, but now after reading your story maybe she did indeed just like the openness better??? Hmmm new stuff is tramatic to her...but I might just try that again and see..she too plays with nothing, unless it's tearing out her in feathers...
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