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Old 08-28-2019, 07:45 AM
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Exclamation Urgent help needed!

Hi I have recently taken on an African grey that is around 10 years old, he has never had much interaction before we got him, he did not speak or make any sounds but this has improved since coming to us, the problem we have is he cannot be handled at all, we struggle to clean his cage, water etc as he gets defensive and attackís, he dive bombs us causing harm with claws and beak, even if we try to talk to him or get him to go back into his cage he will run on the top smashing his toys about puffed up, I no there is a sweet parrot under all this anger and fear and Iím just looking for advice on how we can try to let him see he can trust us, he will climb into the cage to give my husband a kiss through the bars and even put his head down for a kiss in the cage but outside he would just attack, any suggestions you have would be much appreciated, thanks in advance!!
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:47 AM
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Re: Urgent help needed!

As much as I don’t like saying it, you may want to consider clipping his wings.
If a bird is that much of a danger for safety sake it may be needed .
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:00 AM
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Re: Urgent help needed!

Hello Melissa and Welcome to the PFs.

Thank you for rescuing this 10 yr old AG.

It will take a great deal of time and patience for him to undersatnd you are not a threat.

Here are a couple a links to help:
Cag 101

Tips for Bonding and Building Trust

Best of luck to you all and please keep us posted.
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:19 PM
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Re: Urgent help needed!

In my opinion target and clicker training is the proper way to deal with this kind of situation. Target training is simply teaching your bird to TOUCH (not chomp or bite aggressively) the end of a stick.
You could start by targeting him around the cage and work your way up to teaching him to step up calmly.
With a clicker you can unlock the door to the food and then click if the bird is calm or if the bird is already showing aggression you will have to take a step back and start by walking towards the bowl door. Slowly work your way up to clicking for being calm for when you take out his bowl. This can take a long time so patience is key.
But please acknowledge that every bird is unique so you may have to take a different approach and start in an exclusive way.
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Old 08-28-2019, 06:23 PM
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Re: Urgent help needed!

Thank you for taking this needy darling on! I'm so glad you're here, reaching out.
Stick with us.
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:57 PM
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Re: Urgent help needed!

Quote: Originally Posted by Melissa2019 View Post
Hi I have recently taken on an African grey that is around 10 years old, he has never had much interaction before we got him, he did not speak or make any sounds but this has improved since coming to us, the problem we have is he cannot be handled at all, we struggle to clean his cage, water etc as he gets defensive and attackís, he dive bombs us causing harm with claws and beak, even if we try to talk to him or get him to go back into his cage he will run on the top smashing his toys about puffed up, I no there is a sweet parrot under all this anger and fear and Iím just looking for advice on how we can try to let him see he can trust us, he will climb into the cage to give my husband a kiss through the bars and even put his head down for a kiss in the cage but outside he would just attack, any suggestions you have would be much appreciated, thanks in advance!!

Hi Melissa. Thank you for 'taking on' this African Grey. Please read Tami2's link and other sections of the forum for bonding and bite pressure training etc. Read about hormone stimulated aggressive reactions and observe triggers as well.


With respect to the cage cleaning and safety of your family and the African Grey, we use a smaller night/travel cage for our rescued Bertie for cleaning time. Bertie came to us as a 'caged' 6yo with biting, screaming, aggression and he is fully flighted. We open both cages and place them door to door with something very enticing (such as an illicit piece of cheese) in the cage that we would like him transfer into. Once transfer complete, we can then take the large cage outside for pressure cleaning etc. No risk to anyone whilst we are working on trust and bonding, touch, plus addressing undesired behaviours,


As GaleriaGila stated, stick with us. We have an incredible team here and even when we don't have the answers, you will find awesome support in whatever you are going through. Some days I wonder if we should have brought Bertie home because it involves a lot of emotional effort to assist with his healing. When I have second thoughts, I hear his sweet little voice and I know that he IS HOME forever and we will get through everything together. All the best .
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:11 PM
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Re: Urgent help needed!

I believe you need to talk constantly to such a bird so they familiarize themselves with not only what you say but your tones so they can gain some understanding and trust.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:55 AM
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Re: Urgent help needed!

Quote: Originally Posted by texsize View Post
As much as I donít like saying it, you may want to consider clipping his wings.
If a bird is that much of a danger for safety sake it may be needed .

I think more information is needed to determine if clipping is in order. Clipping can create new problems, too.



A quite from the CAG 101 post:
Quote: Originally Posted by Birdman666 View Post
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.
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:10 AM
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Re: Urgent help needed!

Thank you for not losing hope. Parrots (especially African Greys) tend to move in slow motion. Much like a child with a serious trauma history, these birds can be very slow to trust and fearful.
It seriously can take a long time---I "rescued" an umbrella cockatoo (I am her 4th owner) and, comparatively, she didn't have "much" trauma (aside from repeated re-homing and possible abuse in her 2nd home).. Either way, her last placement was long enough that she seemed pretty well-adjusted until she was uprooted again. She is currently 11.
That having been said, it took 3+ months for me to be able to hold her...and cockatoos are way more physical/needy the many Greys. Things are great now, but it was slow moving.
My uncle had a wild-caught TAG when we were growing up (he bought the bird in the late 70s so things were sketchy) and that bird was family, but for the "kids", he was the kind of family that you do not touch unless you have had a few glasses of wine haha. His TAG was GREAT with him after about a year or so, but there were some over-bonding issues.
I am rambling, but the point is, you must be very consistent and very patient.
In the meantime, make sure that he is getting a solid diet, at least 12 hours of sleep nightly, and avoid allowing him access to any shadowy spaces (hammocks, low ledges, boxes, hollows, pillow piles, under furniture etc). Hormonal behavior can be triggered when birds are allowed to interact with shadowy areas and hormones can lead to heightened cage aggression, plucking, screaming and aggression in general.
Additionally, try to keep his light cycle/bedtime routine consistent---light and sleep regulate hormones, so you will want him to wake up and sleep at the same time (roughly) each night.
Make sure you are not using any scented or chemical products around the bird, and keep an eye on humidity levels. You do not want to use any irritants around the bird (perfumes, household cleaners, lotions, nicotine, hairspray, air fresheners etc).
If you can do so safely, try to allow your bird out even if you cannot touch him---if you can wait it out, he will eventually go back in. The more time a bird is locked up, the more likely it is that they will become cage-bound and paranoid.
Try to take it slow and keep things safe and predictable. Also, work to associate yourself with as many positive/low-stress activities as possible. Work on building trust and try not to push physical contact.
If you have not done so already, at some point you should also get a cbc (blood test) done. Birds should have one yearly.

Last edited by noodles123; 09-08-2019 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 12:11 PM
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Re: Urgent help needed!

Quote: Originally Posted by noodles123 View Post
If you can do so safely, try to allow your bird out even if you cannot touch him---if you can wait it out, he will eventually go back in. The more time a bird is locked up, the more likely it is that they will become cage-bound and paranoid.

That is fantastic advice! I put a perch on the outside of all my bird cages (at least one), ideally near the door. (Be mindful of any sharp ends on the inside of the cage, from the perch bolt. I put a cap nut on mine. You can get one at any hardware store or home center.) This way, I can leave the door open, and allow the bird to come one when he or she is ready. Of course, since your bird can fly, you should do this for a period when you are nearby, in case the bird flies.



It is so rewarding to see them come out on their own terms. Grady my TAG, would also go back in on his own. Now, he prefers to be out most all the time; but, instead of putting him in his cage, I can put him on the outside perch, and he will go in shortly after, on his terms.
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