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Old 08-15-2015, 02:36 PM
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New Green Cheek: Would love advice

Hello!

I am new to parrot forums and to conure ownership, and would love some advice about raising a happy, healthy feathered friend.

My boyfriend and I purchased JoJo, a very young green Cheek conure (max 10 weeks old) from a breeder 2 days ago. Long story, but this was not a conure breeder he specializes in macaws and larger parrot breeds. He had been given the birds by a friend to ween and sell.

JoJo was hand fed, but not particularly hand tamed. He will eat from my hands and occasionally will sit next to them, but other times he is skittish and hops away.He does not know how to step up yet either. He is not shy and loves being out of the cage already, and has already claimed his favorite spot in the house (the box fan oddly enough) and he took his first bath today. He is also very nippy though, which makes me think he was manhandled a bit at his original home.

I've owned budgies my whole life, but JoJo is dauntingly intelligent and has already found ways to manipulate my training/friendship attempts.

If anyone has any advice how to proceed training him, I'd love to hear it! Should I wait longer until he's more comfortable? He's already exploring the house, should I just go for it?

I'm probably just nervous!

Thank you all ahead of time

-New Birdy Mama
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Old 08-15-2015, 03:31 PM
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Re: New Green Cheek: Would love advice

First off i would never go to that breeder again. A properly hand raised bird should be well socialized and love to be with people and WANT to step up. A good breeder would make sure that their babies have the best chance with thier new family by ensureing the baby will want to be with its new people. My bird was seeking me out from moment one. He wanted to be picked up and wanted to be near me. Me being close by comforted him in a new scary place because he knew he could trust people.

Secondly, despite what i just said, green cheeks are nippy by nature. Hopefully you researched your new friend before bringing him home. My green cheek loves me and wants to be with me all the time, but i still get bit. And sometimes it breaks the skin when he is particularly upset. Not that they only bite when they are upset, because they will bit for MANY different reasons. They bite when the want something you have or when you touch something that they think belongs to them, when they want you to pick them up and when they want you to put them down. They bite because they are happy and they bite when you anger them. This is completely normal for this species and will never go away completely. Know this, accept this right now. You can bite pressure train them so they know how hard is too hard, but you will still get bit when they are angry.

Third thing, you are absolutely right they are SO SMART! They have thier own opinions and will disagree with you quite often. They need a lot of love and training. Once bonded your bird will crave attention. This is not a pet that can be left in the cage and ignored. Behavior problems such as screaming and feather plucking will develop if you dont treat them with the respect they deserve and give them enough attention. They want to be where the action is, in the middle of everything. There have been a few times where everyone including the dogs were in the living room talking (yes my dogs talk :P) and Pumpkin was stuck in the bedroom. He let us know how rude this was and how unhappy he was with us. He started flock calling to me and wouldnt stop until i went to get him to bring him to join the family. After he was in the same room as his flock then he was fine, quiet and just sat in his main cage and preened his feathers. This is like having a child. Be prepared, and enjoy the experience.

Now, I know that all might sound scary, but with a few modifications to your routine, and with consistance there is nothing to worry about. Enjoy your new friend, i am sure you will be bonded and best friends in no time. Give him a few days to settle into him new environment while you can look into all the training you will need. There are multiple forums on this site you should brows through including the conure forum and training forum and behavior forum. Read anything that you think might be interesting or helpful to you in the future. There is so much good info waiting in the archives, go find it. Also dont hesitate to ask more questions! We are all here to help you and your bird. Welcome to the forum!!
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Old 08-15-2015, 04:07 PM
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Re: New Green Cheek: Would love advice

Thank you for your advice and knowledge!

I definitely will not go back to that breeder again. I was lulled into believing he had been properly tamed because the other birds I interacts with (a macaw and cockatoo) were incredibly friendly and tame. I will never assume that again.

AND about an hour after posting, JoJo let me give him scritches for the first time! And then he stepped up on my finger for about 2 seconds. Short, but a step up none the less. So maybe he's less grumpy than I originally thought, but it will still take time.

I knew he would be nippy, I had done my research on that, but I wasn't prepared for conure nips vs budgie nips. Ouch!

He is in the living room where all the action happens, and within eyeline of almost anywhere my boyfriend and I might be sitting/working. So hopefully he will feel loved and involved in our lives.
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Old 08-15-2015, 04:14 PM
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Re: New Green Cheek: Would love advice

This is great news. Baby steps are still steps! I would recommend building his trust and taking this at JoJo's pace. It may take longer than you would like, but it is importnant the bird feels secure and is allowed to make his own decisions. He will decide you are awesome in no time.
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Old 08-18-2015, 03:32 PM
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Re: New Green Cheek: Would love advice

Congrats on the new baby. If its playful bites its easy just to shake your hand and make a lil squawk.. letting them know its too much pressure. If its defensive bites he is probably just scared and that will solve itself in short order. A lil hint with a young bird like that... if you go to do a lil head scratch or preen do not come from overhead... come slowly from under or beside and scratch his/her cheeks first. Before long you will be giving him rubs under his wings, his belly, and another sensitive area..the base of the tail feathers. (it can put my sun to sleep). Be preparerd to mock fight too.. they love ruff and tumble play while they chew on your fingers.
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:12 PM
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Re: New Green Cheek: Would love advice

Grats on your new parrot! Take it slow and start observing your bird's visual cues. They're always trying to tell us something. Also I advice giving the scratches only to the head, cheeks and under the beak. Under the wings, the back and the tail are reserved for their sexual mates. You don't want to engage in these activities with the bird. When he becomes sexually active in 2 years, it's okay to let him have an outlet once in a while like toys, just Let him do it his own way and never in you. If he starts obsessing over it in unhealthy fashion, then limit it. But that's for much later.
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Old 08-18-2015, 11:05 PM
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Re: New Green Cheek: Would love advice

Well, as of today, he's gone from a nightmare to an absolute peach. He was still biting instead of stepping up and was attacking hands at the top of his cage. He also figured out that his head fit through the top bars and was doing it repeatedly to make us come running.

So, he got the time out of his lifetime.

He went into his travel cage while we went out and, saints preserve my wallet, bought a new cage with smaller bars. Once it was set up, he went in and threw a temper tantrum for over 2 hours. Throwing toys, scrambling, chewing, squawking, the whole 9 yards!

That was 6 hours ago. Once he calmed down for a longish period of time, we let him out and he is stepping up without biting or rewards, has only nipped us a few times and is begging for scritches.

I don't know who this bird is, but I sure as hell am glad he's mine

We still have work to do, but he has made leaps and bounds since I first posted!
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Old 08-19-2015, 12:51 AM
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Re: New Green Cheek: Would love advice

Sometimes birds just need time to adjust and learn who you are, where they are, and what the heck is going on True personalities can take awhile to shine when a bird is unsure. A gentle bird can initially be very nippy or aggressive at first, and a soon-to-be non-stop-talker like my IRN can be very quiet in the first few weeks (if they are already old enough to talk). It's a bit of learning on both your parts, and conures are birds that do often need boundaries set considering they're the "macaw" of the small bird world

Congratulations on your addition - you'll just adore having a conure! Just be prepared for the hormonal years... now THAT's when a bitey and mean conure may appear
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Old 08-21-2015, 03:08 PM
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Re: New Green Cheek: Would love advice

I definitely agree with Ann, conures are nippy by nature.

Have you read about clicker training? As soon as I get out my clicker and target stick, Bodhi goes instantly into training mode and is eager to do whatever asked for his favorite treat. Helps with the nipping, in my opinion.

Now that I have had Bodhi for a few months, I rarely use the clicker, unless working on a new behavior.
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