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Old 06-05-2019, 09:06 PM
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My Green Cheeked Conure Won't Trust Me

So I have a Green Cheeked Conure. We got him in April at a bird expo. When we got him, we didn't know the gender. I felt that the gender wasn't something I needed to know so I just call it a boy. They gave us absolutely no information about him. We don't know his background. I had done all the necessary research that I needed to know so I felt that I was prepared.
It's been a little over a month now since I got him and I've had no progress in gaining his trust. I have looked everywhere on the internet for more information on how to gain his trust. Nothing has worked.
Anytime I read or hear one thing, it's always the opposite on another. I don't know who or what to trust so I started trying my own ways based off of what I already knew.
I would sit next to his cage and read books to him. I've already gone through one and a half books with him. I did this so then he could get used to my voice. I would also play music for him on my phone. I've found a song that he likes so I play it for him every now and then.
I also have been reading that you want to introduce your bird to the rest of your family. I've been pretty hesitant about that because I don't want him bonding to someone that isn't me. That may sound a bit selfish but it's the truth. I have also learned that these birds typically only bond to one person. I've heard that everywhere so that's the main reason I am scared to have my whole family try to interact with him. Is that the right choice?
I've also tried introducing him to a variety of different foods he can have. The problem is that he's scared of my hand. I don't chase him around the cage with my hand. I just keep it still on the main perch in his cage. It never works. I try to keep myself from putting it in the bowl because I want to try to get him to come to me. In the end, I'll usually put the food in the bowl. The only things that he'll eat when I put my hand on the perch for him is millet seed and apples.
Eventually I got somewhere with this trust. He ate seeds from my hand one day. So I did that everyday to see if he'll eventually trust me more. This ended when someone chased the bird around the cage and scared him. The next day he wouldn't do anything with me so I went back to stage one... Reading to him.
Anytime I'm in my room and it's safe to open his cage, I will. I'll sit there and talk to him. I hope to get the progress back that I had soon but it's not. It took a month to get to what I first had.
It has been a rough first month with him and I hope that someone can help me with this. Please and thank you.
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Old 06-06-2019, 01:09 AM
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Re: My Green Cheeked Conure Won't Trust Me

Welcome to you and your conure. I applaud your dedication and diligence!!

Any random idea of "his" age? Hormonal activity may account for his skittishness if in the throes of puberty. More likely, he carries "baggage" you'll never know from previous home(s). There may be valid reasons not to trust humans.

Your instincts to bond and build trust are excellent! Reading and spending time gently speaking are helpful. This archived thread may be of help: Tips for Bonding and Building Trust

Diet is critical and bonding with food is possible. Prepare two bowls of fresh vegetables and fruits - one for you and one for him. Parrots are flock eaters and you are one of the flock! Begin eating, making gestures and noises of enjoyment to spark interest. For more info of ideal fresh foods: Chop Day Recipe
Helping to convert to a healthier diet: Converting Parrots to a Healthier Diet - Tips

Are there sources of fear for your bird? Dogs, cats, small children?
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Old 06-06-2019, 06:27 AM
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Re: My Green Cheeked Conure Won't Trust Me

I would first go ahead and do DNA testing to see if it's a female or a male. You can order these kits online for $20 or so. This is important in case you have a female so you can watch for signs of egg laying and such in future.
Next, lower your expectations. You don't know anything about this bird. You got him/her at a bird Expo. It could be an older bird, a young bird, a breeder bird that they were trying to get rid of... Possibilities are endless. He may not have had much of human contact before. So, time is what you will need to give him. Reading, feeding millet, spending time together, it's all a good start. But it will take a long time.
I don't think it's completely true that GCC is a one person bird. Ours is bonded to both my son and I. Socialization is more important than "keeping the bird to only yourself".
I also think you need to establish the boundaries with other people in your home. Chasing the bird around the cage and such is very unhelpful. So they need to leave it alone. If they want to offer millet or fruit to the bird, that's fine, but at this point, no one should be forcing the bird to step up and stuff.
You will get there, but it's a long road. It has taken almost a year to gain complete trust with Remi and be able to give him scritches and kisses. (he was traumatized by the previous situation).
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:08 AM
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Re: My Green Cheeked Conure Won't Trust Me

To “parrot” what Remi bird just said, my two year old green cheek conure is bonded to both my wife and I equally.

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Old 06-06-2019, 09:38 AM
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Re: My Green Cheeked Conure Won't Trust Me


For a month, you are not doing bad at all. Working with parrots is often refereed to as a marathon, not a sprint, meaning most things taught and learned take a long time, not a few weeks. Some birds will catch on faster than others for certain things, others months especially if they have been scared of something prior. Patience is the word.
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:08 AM
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Re: My Green Cheeked Conure Won't Trust Me

Love what has been said so far.

Whoever chased the bird around the cage needs a stern talking to and to be given more information on parrots. Even if they are a small child, a know-it-all sibling, or a parent. Adjust the talk and information based on age and the intentions of the person doing the chasing, of course.

I really think you are on the right track. Bringing home a parrot is not like bringing home a puppy. They will not necesserily immediately love or tolerate your presence.

I have never had a gcc myself, but I have known plenty in the parrot shop(adults boarding and babies/young birds looking for homes), and a schoolfriend of mine as a kid had one. Frankly, I don't think any of those birds were one person birds. In the case of my schoolfriend's bird, he was a family pet and was very friendly and well socialized. Though I have never had my own, I have heard so many good things about these little conures and I have really liked the ones I've known.

Keep on with what you have been doing and don't quit before the miracle happens!
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:37 PM
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Re: My Green Cheeked Conure Won't Trust Me

First of all, what you need to know right off the bat is that you've not had him long at all in bird-time, a month is no time at all, and not nearly enough time to earn the trust of a parrot, especially if the parrot was not hand-raised by it's breeder, or is an "adult" parrot who was previously bonded to their prior-owner, or both (for a Green Cheek Conure they go through puberty and become sexually-mature when they are right around 1 year-old, give or take a couple of months)...So you're not at all alone in what you're going through, we get new members coming here to write exactly what you have written every day. So it's important that you know that, and that you know you aren't doing anything wrong...Parrots are all extremely intelligent, like a 3-4 year-old human child intelligent, they use logic and reasoning skills, and they are also very social "Flock-Animals" who bond very closely with whomever it is that they choose as "their person" in their homes/Flocks, and it's not like a dog that can be re-homed to a new owner and be won-over with treats/food and walks...Parrots are very much like people when it comes to the way they form relationships and bonds with each other or with their person/people, so it takes a long, long time to bond-closely with them, and in-order to do this you must first earn their trust, which can take months and months, often even a year or longer to do, especially if they are not hand-tamed.

I don't know what "Bird-Expo" you bought your Green Cheek from, I'm assuming you are talking about one of the large Bird-Shows they hold where many individual vendors set-up their own stands/booths to sell everything from cages to toys to food and treats to live birds...And if that's the case and you didn't ask any questions about how old this Green Cheek is, where he came from, who was his breeder, was he hand-raised/hand-fed and is he hand-tame, or was he parent-raised and not actually hand-tame at all, where did they get the bird, if he's an adult how many prior owners has he had, has he had any Wellness-Exams done by an Avian Vet, etc., then it's difficult to tell you what your bird's situation is...That being said, if you can't handle him at all and he isn't even willing to step-up for you (or anyone else in your home), then chances are that he/she is not at all hand-tame, which presents you with another challenge besides simply earning his trust, and this is going to take longer than simply getting to know each other and earning his trust usually takes, which is still usually months and months. In this situation not only does your Green Cheek not trust you, but he doesn't trust ANY PERSON at all and is probably scared to death of people, especially hands, because he's never been handled before at all. This doesn't at all mean that you can't hand-tame him, can't earn his trust, or can't bond-closely with him...All it means is that it's going to take much longer to do than the single month that you've had him...The fact that he ate sunflower seeds out of your hand is a pretty big-deal for a parrot in a brand-new home with brand new people who isn't even hand-tamed to begin with!!! You just have to keep at it and not get frustrated and give-up on him, because you're right on-track and even a bit ahead of the game for what you're dealing with...

***Something that I will tell you that you need to really try to understand because if you don't then things are not going to go well for you, is that you absolutely CANNOT force any parrot to bond with a specific person. It just doesn't work that way with parrots, again they are not at all like dogs or other pets who tend to bond-closely with the person whom they spend the most time with. That's not at all how this goes, and it won't do you any good at all to keep your Green Cheek's cage in a back-room (your bedroom I guess is where you're keeping him), hid away from the rest of your family because you don't want him to bond with anyone but you...If he doesn't want to bond with you, he isn't going to. Again, parrots are like people, they like who they like and they dislike who they dislike, and this often causes pretty huge problems between spouses, siblings, etc. because one person is the one who wanted the bird in the first place, the other didn't want it at all, and the one who wanted the bird does everything for the bird, feeds it, spends all their time with it, gives it all it's treats, etc., while the other person totally ignores the bird...And the bird chooses the person who wants nothing to do with it as their person. Happens every day, and even breaks apart marriages, friendships, family relationships, etc. But it is the way it is...And it's not so much that it's you being "selfish", but more that you're not being fair to your bird and you're not doing anything to help him start to trust people in-general...Green Cheeks (all parrots, but Conures especially) are extremely social Flock-Animals...So they need to be "among their Flock and their Flockmates, which consist of everyone who lives in your house with you. Your bird already knows that multiple people live in your home, and if he/she can hear them/sense them, then hiding him in your bedroom isn't going to do anything good for him at all...His main-cage should be placed in the main-room of your home, where EVERYONE who lives in your home spend most of their time when they are at home, so that he can simply be among people/his Flock!!! You have to remember that this doesn't sound like a bird that was hand-raised by his breeder or is at all tame, but is rather very scared of hands and people in-general at this point. So he needs to be around as many people as possible in order to get him used to being around them. He needs to hear their different voices, see them walking past his cage, have them sitting near him while they are watching TV, Reading, talking to each other, eating meals, etc. And this isn't just so he can start getting used to being around people and start trusting people in-general, but even more so because he's a parrot! He's a social Flock-Animal that needs to be around others! Once again, you absolutely cannot force him to bond with you if he doesn't want to, but right now he isn't going to bond closely with anyone at all because he doesn't have any experience being around any living creatures other than his sibling baby birds and his parent birds and that's it. [B]So the first piece of advice I would give you is that you need to move his cage into whatever room of your home that everyone who lives with you spends most of their time together, so that your bird can actually start getting some socialization with people and can learn that people are not going to hurt him, but rather that they are his Flock!

And moving his cage out of only your room but into your living-room so that he can actully be the social Flock-Animal that he is what is also the heallthy thing to do for him, because he's going to eventually become very bored and lonely just sitting in your room by himself; Green Cheeks are called "Velcro Birds" for a reason, they need to be around either people or other birds most of the time...And this also doesn't mean that you can't be "his person" as long as you are still the one who is spending at least 4-5 hours a day sitting next to his cage, talking to him, reading to him, and hopefully you're actually getting him out of his cage to interact/fly/get some exercise and not just keeping him locked inside his cage 24/7 for the last month. If you are person who is spending the time with him, giving him his food, his treats, doing all the good things for him, he will likely bond closely with you...But he isn't going to bond with anyone at all if he's terrified of people in-general. And remember that it's going to likely take months and months for him to start trusting you, and only when he trusts you will he bond with you. So you need to be patient and try not to get frustrated or give-up on him, because it's not at all easy to hand-tame and earn the trust of a parent-raised parrot who has not been around people much at all. You're doing a good job so far, you just have to keep it up, and also do what you know is best for him as an extremely social Flock-Animal who needs to be around all of his Flock-mates and interact with as many people as possible so that he does not simply become very bored, lonely, and start to have health and behavioral issues.
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