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Old 01-14-2016, 05:30 PM
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Cag 101

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Once again, I started this as a reply to another thread, and thought it deserved it's own post. (Stop me if you've heard this before.)

1. CAGs are flock birds, not pair bond birds. They'll GENERALLY go to more than one person. BUT

2. CAGs are also stubborn, and pig headed, and can be quite neurotic. They get handled on their own terms. Push it with them, and they fight you.

3. My CAG is VERY independent. And he's an instigator. He's more inclined to pluck you, than ever pluck himself. You don't want to train that out of them, either. It's the birds that lose that edge either by lack of stimulation, or having it "punished" or "controlled" out of them, that generally become pluckers. Don't break their spirits!!! That's why you got one. The independent instigator streak is a high IQ thing. Take that away from them and they can become despondent.

4. With something like a macaw, or a too, you have to set boundaries and structure the interaction. With a CAG? THE CAG will set the boundaries of the amount of physical contact and handling he will allow, and you have to gradually expand the bird's boundaries. It's the exact opposite of all my other birds...

5. This will probably come as a news flash: THEY CAN BE QUITE NEUROTIC... AND THOSE THINGS GET ETCHED IN STONE. Easy example: My CAG knows I am right handed. He will NEVER allow me to pick him up with my left hand. He will ONLY step up if you offer the right hand. IF MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE, AND HE WAS GOING TO DIE, HE STILL WOULD NOT STEP UP ON MY LEFT HAND.

6. CAGS panic easier than my other birds. Take them outside their comfort zone, and they tend to become skittish. Inside their comfort zone, they study everything, and everyone, and then mess with every thing and everyone once they think they've got it all figured out.

7. CAGS need to be introduced to people and things more often than the other species do. Avoids the whole freak out thing.

8. CAGS need to be conditioned to accept change, or they tend not to cope with it.

9. CAGS do not do well in isolation. These are flock birds. Birds that feel isolated, feel vulnerable, stress out, and tend to pluck. It's better to put them in the center of everything where they can see everything and everyone. Quiet isn't necessarily better.

10. A CAG has a beak like a scissors. It cuts right through flesh. Tusk does not "beak wrestle" the way my macaws, or even my amazons beak wrestle and play. You get a warning, and if you don't back off, you bleed. DO NOT ACT SURPRIZED... YOU CAN TELL BY THE LOOK ON HIS FACE, HE MEANS BUSINESS.

11. A CAG poofy bird dance is a threat posture. Like a macaw or an amazon going "big bird" on you. It DOES NOT mean he's happy to see you or trying to get your attention. HE IS NOT PLAYING, AND HE WILL BITE!

12. CAGS that displacement bite should never be shoulder birds. Hand/arm train them. CAG displacement biting generally does not go away. You need to be aware of the triggers, and keep them away from the triggers. If he's on your shoulder, and you walk by a trigger, YOUR FACE gets bitten!

13. CAGS love puzzle toys. Things they have to figure out. They are part bat, and spend a significant amount of time upside down hanging by one toe. They also love noises, sounds, and speech. They love to learn new stuff. They might not let on that they've learned it right away... but they do learn it.

14. CAGS are VERY empathic birds. STRESSED OUT PEOPLE GENERALLY END UP WITH STRESSED OUT BIRDS.

15. Structure goes a long way to deter bad behaviors. CAGS LIKE THEIR ROUTINE. THEY LIKE THINGS KEPT THE SAME WAY MOST OF THE TIME. Don't be rigid to the point where any little change in the room upsets them, but they do like continuity more than most. Wholesale changes sometimes greatly upset them.

16. As Alex proved many years ago: CAGs are one of the most cognitive parrots out there. They are gifted with language ability. If you take the time to teach them, actually show them things, and use language appropriately and in context with them, they will pick it up in context, and use it back with you in context. CAGs have the ability to be conversational, BUT THEY DO NOT COME LIKE THAT. AND THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT THEY WILL... You get out of it, what you put into it.

17. Overbonding with a flock bird is different from overbonding with a pair bond bird. Pair bond birds naturally mate for life, and pair up. Flock birds do not. They get more stimulation, from more birds than just one. One bird is not "all consuming" for them. Which also gives them a higher need for stimulation from other birds/people. When a flock bird becomes OVERLY dependent on their person, and that person leaves them alone for long periods of time, THIS is when they feel isolated, alone, and vulnerable. THIS is when the bad behaviors start... and I, personally, believe it's one of the key components in plucking disorders. (Just a hunch on my part.)

18. ABUNDANCE WEANING AND FLEDGING are CRITICAL ISSUES for CAGS in order to develop self-confidence. THIS has been scientifically proven time and time again, CAGS that are not abundance weaned, and not allowed to fully fledge are FIVE TIMES more likely to develop plucking disorders and other neurotic self destructive behaviors...

19. Even confident CAGS can be fairly clumsy, especially when they are young.
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Old 01-14-2016, 05:52 PM
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re: Cag 101

AWESOME write-up, Mark!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-14-2016, 07:58 PM
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re: Cag 101

I'd like to add how Grey's bite, they tend to CHOMP and CHEW.

Gonzo's never bit me, just nipped when he didn't like something, but he did BITE my boyfriend. He grabbed on his thumb and CHEWED it. From what I understand, this is a common Grey behavior. You're not getting a single bite out of them, you're getting several and can be left fairly shredded.

I'd also like to say that Grey's are very expressive. I feel as though Gonzo's face and body has more expressiveness than most birds. If you take the time to learn their postures, there will never be any question as to how they're feeling. I'm VERY lucky that he's adapted to me so well, and is slowly stopping his wing chewing which he's done his WHOLE LIFE due to an improper wing clip. It shows how resilient they can be as well as neurotic!
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Old 01-14-2016, 11:52 PM
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re: Cag 101

Amazing post! I have a CAG so this will help a lot!
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Old 01-15-2016, 10:34 AM
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Re: Cag 101

Quote: Originally Posted by Aquila View Post

I'd also like to say that Grey's are very expressive. I feel as though Gonzo's face and body has more expressiveness than most birds. If you take the time to learn their postures, there will never be any question as to how they're feeling. I'm VERY lucky that he's adapted to me so well, and is slowly stopping his wing chewing which he's done his WHOLE LIFE due to an improper wing clip. It shows how resilient they can be as well as neurotic!
How do you mean? Purchase price or upkeep?
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Old 01-15-2016, 10:41 AM
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Re: Cag 101

Quote: Originally Posted by Dopey View Post
Quote: Originally Posted by Aquila View Post

I'd also like to say that Grey's are very expressive. I feel as though Gonzo's face and body has more expressiveness than most birds. If you take the time to learn their postures, there will never be any question as to how they're feeling. I'm VERY lucky that he's adapted to me so well, and is slowly stopping his wing chewing which he's done his WHOLE LIFE due to an improper wing clip. It shows how resilient they can be as well as neurotic!
How do you mean? Purchase price or upkeep?
Hey, Mary Lynn. She actually wrote "expressive", not "expensive".
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Old 01-15-2016, 10:46 AM
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Re: Cag 101

EXPRESSIVE not expensive.

Facial expressions.

Like for example: If the doorbell rings, you need to check out Tusk's face before running to answer it. If he's got that silly grin on his face, it's not the doorbell, he's just messing with you...

If he's getting mad, you can see it in his eyes.

If he's wound up and goofy, you can see that in his eyes as well. Different look.

If he's spooked or upset - that's easy to spot. And he needs to be calmed down and reassured to get him out of hyper vigilent mode. THE OTHER THING IS WHEN YOU DO THAT - HE PICKS UP THOSE PHRASES IN CONTEXT.

TUSK STARTS GETTING SPOOKED? I CAN TELL HIM "IT'S OKAY. YOU'RE OKAY. IT'S NOT GOING TO HURT YOU." AND HE ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT THAT MEANS. You can actually SEE the stress leave his face when he gets reassured like that.

And as an added bonus, like the day I was having a really bad day, and he waddled over to me and said, "It's okay. You're a good boy!"

Empathic? Y'think?!
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Old 01-15-2016, 10:51 AM
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Re: Cag 101

Oh My - I am so sorry. HaHaHa. Oops.
Ok - I was dancing in my seat because I had to go to the bathroom and I was waiting to escort someone who was on their way to our building. I'm so sorry. But thank you for posting your remarks.

About all I've done with my new guy is - whistle back to him when I'm in the kitchen. Talk to him through the cage. (He backs away from me all fluffed up when I ask him to "step up" so I'm not pushing it.) He will let me touch his feet and once his beak. I've had him less than a week so I'm not worried. Just so excited to have him. I do open the door and give him opportunity to explore the outside of his cage if he wants.
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Old 01-15-2016, 10:52 AM
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Re: Cag 101

CAGS play practical jokes.

The aforementioned doorbell trick.

They'll see you put something in the microwave. Wait for you to turn your back... the timer goes off. You run downstairs, only to find out that your food hasn't finished cooking, but your bird is laughing at you...

Giving my poop trained birds the "go poop" command when they are perched on my person... then laughing at my reaction.

Yelling at Sarah in my voice, and ordering her to come down here RIGHT NOW! He did it so well SHE ACTUALLY THOUGHT IT WAS ME! But, of course, the bird was laughing at her...

These birds have a sense of humor. You need to maintain yours around them...
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Old 01-15-2016, 11:14 AM
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Re: Cag 101

Many times my sense of humor gets me in trouble with humans so I think it will be fun to have something with a sense of humor in my house.
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