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Old 09-05-2019, 05:37 PM
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Need help with very needy Sun Conure

Hi everyone. This is my first time posting on this forum because I need HELP. I've had a sun conure for 20 years. She's wonderful. A few years ago she got egg bound. The vet recommended putting a hormone chip in her to prevent her from laying eggs again. That next year was a nightmare with her attitude; cranky, needy, not satisfied with anything. I was beside myself. So I consulted with the vet and she said the hormone from the chip wears off which it did, I think. It's been 2 years since she had that hormone chip. Since then I have noticed that she is still not as happy and content as she once was. I don't know if this has anything to do with the chip or just a part of her aging or if it had something to do with her getting egg bound. I have been reading about meeting the needs of your parrot and have implemented some of them which has helped somewhat. I'm still in the process of learning what I can do to help her (and me) be happy. She just had a blood test and exam and all looks good there. In the past, when I would board her (which I don't do very often) she always came back calm and happy. Not any more. She is cranky and needy, wakes up first thing in the morning screaming. I talked to the vet about it and they said that they could be encouraging her to scream and squawk because they come say hi when she does that. This is the same place she's been going to for years, so what's changed? One thing that has helped give us some relief is I found out that she LOVES tearing apart cork. This keeps her busy for a long time. For the past 2 months she loves her time doing that. But I am concerned that all that tearing apart might encourage her to lay eggs which has not happened yet thank goodness. But I've just noticed after 2 months that she is not as interested in tearing apart the cork as she was. Now she wants something else to do and for the life of me, whatever I think of only lasts a short time. I feel like I'm a new mom caring for a baby! But here is my typical daily schedule;
Get up between 7:30am-8:30 am. uncover her cage which is in our bedroom and put her in a smaller cage to bring out to the family room. I give her 4 corks and she's happy doing that for about 30-45 min while I am doing my own duties. Now I put those corks at the bottom of her cage. They are not hanging from her cage. She won't chew them if they are hanging or clipped to the cage. Then I give her a couple of snacks. She likes a date and pecan food bar and a few almonds. Her regular food is Harrisons pellet diet that I keep in her cage at all times. A couple hours after getting up I open a window for her to get some sunshine for about 20-30 min. She's usually fine. Then depending on how her attitude is, I bring her into my office so I can work or put her back in her big cage for some alone time which is fine for a period of time. If I leave her alone in the family room she will start squawking and disrupt my husband'a ability to get work done. When she starts making a repeated grunting type sound, I know she is unsatisfied. To give an example, as I'm typing this she is grunting, squawking for attention and I'm just ignoring her and she calmed down for a bit but not grunting again. So I try and satisfy her with fresh fruit which lasts a few minutes. She is VERY PICKY. She won't eat greens and most fruits and veggies but she loves apples and peaches. Back to trying to satisfy her, I've tried all sorts of toys but she just isn't interested. Sometimes I put her on my lap but that doesn't usually last long either so I usually end up putting her in her big cage in our bedroom and she is satisfied for an hour or two then I will bring her out again to be with me. I've noticed she is easier to handle in the morning verses the afternoon. Also, she takes a shower with me every day. We keep a perch in the shower and I leave it up to her whether or not she wants to get wet. Then, when it's bedtime, she seems to have quite the biological clock and wants to go to bed about 7 pm (at this time of year) which is about 30-45 min before it gets dark. I would surely appreciate any feedback and if you notice any bad habits I am doing. Thank you!
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Old 09-06-2019, 07:18 AM
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Re: Need help with very needy Sun Conure

Hi, I've only had my Sunny a few months. And youve had yours a lot longer. So Im sure a lot may be different. But I do wonder, My Sunny makes Grunting noises only when she is Happy and Relaxed.

Also for the yelling. My Sunny, sometimes she yells to get my attention, but sometimes she yells just to yell, or even because she achieved something she wanted. And there are contact calls. I get a little while out of her sight before she starts "contact calling." I do my best to respond, EEP for EEP, until Im gonna appear to her again. Since it's instinctual, she thinks I'm lost & wants to help me find my way back to her. Eeping back to her eeps, makes her happy & relieves her stress.

Your Sunny seems to be getting LESS sleep than mine actually. Hehe. When I'm home, mine starts asking me to cover her up for sleeping usually a full Hour Before Sunset!

Anyway, like I said, Im a much newer Sun-Guardian than you, so probably not much help. Except for that grunting. With mine, although loud EEPing could mean anything from anger to danger, to triumph to backseat-driving, the GRunting is clearly only a very relaxed & satisfied sound. It's hard for me to imagine it as meaning anything else. Are you definitely certain you're reading yours right about the grunting?

Last edited by fiddlejen; 09-06-2019 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 09-07-2019, 01:07 PM
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Re: Need help with very needy Sun Conure

Gotta watch giving fruit to parrots, especially non-flighted ones. That much sugar only loads your bird up with energy giving food, which in the wild gets xpended flying and foraging for food. We give Salty a little bit of fruit daily, but only a bit, like 5 or 6 blueberries, or a small slice of apple. And he has a large play chain with 12 or 13 chewing toys, and several puzzle toys for foraging. He also is on a strict 12 hour cycle for sleep. Some follks reccommend a cycle that is close to the natural sun cycle, so less out time in winter an more in summer . Try what works best for your parrot ( and not just for a few days- change is slow in birds).
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Old 09-07-2019, 04:36 PM
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Re: Need help with very needy Sun Conure

Definitely, wrench.

I've discovered that recently. I used to give Skittles some OJ once a day in the morning (when I had my coffee). I decided to buy some pure-pressed AJ one day and loved it because there was NOTHING added to it. Skittles wanted to try some and he fell in love with it. I figured since it was fruit with nothing added that it'd be fine. Well, he gained 3g in the past year and thats WITH me cutting out ALL other 'treats' except for his Harrisons Power Treats AND Skittles is free-flighted. Granted, he spends a lot of the day either hiding inside my shirt or nestled against my neck while on my shoulder but still, he DOES get PLENTY of flight time in and yet he still gained weight.

I've started watering down the AJ per CAV request and done 1/1 ratio and fortunately, I haven't had to cut back on it because he doesn't crave it as much. It was clearly the sugar content. I've already noticed some weight loss and its not even been two weeks. He was 119g last year but weighed 122g this year. The CAV I take him to said she'd like me to get his weight between 115g and 119g. The weight scale for sunnies is 100g-120g depending on the size. Skittles is big for a sunny, so even without any 'pudgieness' like he didn't have last year, he still weighed in at 119g.
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Old 09-07-2019, 04:44 PM
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Re: Need help with very needy Sun Conure

Quote: Originally Posted by Skittys_Daddy View Post
Definitely, wrench.

I've discovered that recently. I used to give Skittles some OJ once a day in the morning (when I had my coffee). I decided to buy some pure-pressed AJ one day and loved it because there was NOTHING added to it. Skittles wanted to try some and he fell in love with it. I figured since it was fruit with nothing added that it'd be fine. Well, he gained 3g in the past year and thats WITH me cutting out ALL other 'treats' except for his Harrisons Power Treats AND Skittles is free-flighted. Granted, he spends a lot of the day either hiding inside my shirt or nestled against my neck while on my shoulder but still, he DOES get PLENTY of flight time in and yet he still gained weight.

I've started watering down the AJ per CAV request and done 1/1 ratio and fortunately, I haven't had to cut back on it because he doesn't crave it as much. It was clearly the sugar content. I've already noticed some weight loss and its not even been two weeks. He was 119g last year but weighed 122g this year. The CAV I take him to said she'd like me to get his weight between 115g and 119g. The weight scale for sunnies is 100g-120g depending on the size. Skittles is big for a sunny, so even without any 'pudgieness' like he didn't have last year, he still weighed in at 119g.
Glad to hear Skittles diet is going well! Congratulations!
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Old 09-08-2019, 01:03 AM
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Re: Need help with very needy Sun Conure

Fiddlejen, Interesting about the yelling. I don't think my Sunny is just yelling. She seems quite insistent (demanding should I say) but if I ignore her she does stop. And I never thought about the contact calls! That is quite observant. I'm going to try that when she squawks next time I leave the room. You are quite insightful. And I do believe her sleep isn't as good as it can be. She sleeps in our room and is disrupted when we go to bed and if we get up in the middle of the night. I've been trying to figure out a quieter place for her to sleep. I do notice that when I get her wings and nails clipped she is much calmer for some reason. I'm going to make sure that I get that done more frequently. It seems when her nails and wings are longer that she has a more dominant attitude.

Last edited by Iluvsunny; 09-08-2019 at 01:05 AM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:00 AM
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Re: Need help with very needy Sun Conure

I'm no expert on sunnies, but I will tell you one thing I've learned from having Skittles. Actually two things.


1) IF you don't set limits and keep boundaries they WILL take over and you'll be lost for how to respond.


2) Since re-training Skittles I have discovered something interesting. About 99% of the time he will NOT scream for no reason. Its usually either due to an alarm of sort or a call for a need to be addressed. As soon as the cause is addressed the screaming stops.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:17 AM
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Re: Need help with very needy Sun Conure

Quote: Originally Posted by Skittys_Daddy View Post
I'm no expert on sunnies, but I will tell you one thing I've learned from having Skittles. Actually two things.


1) IF you don't set limits and keep boundaries they WILL take over and you'll be lost for how to respond.


2) Since re-training Skittles I have discovered something interesting. About 99% of the time he will NOT scream for no reason. Its usually either due to an alarm of sort or a call for a need to be addressed. As soon as the cause is addressed the screaming stops.
Thank you! And this makes total sense. I’m working on retraining her. She is actually much better in the last couple of days. She’s very picky with toys yet needs things to occupy her so am experimenting with different sorts of safe toys and more experimenting with food.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:42 PM
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Re: Need help with very needy Sun Conure

You'll find that with sunnies (at least in my experience). There are some toys and some foods that Skittles will not touch while others will just perk him right up.

Skittles is VERY fond of fabrics, particularly soft, textured ones (shirts & towels especially). He also loves to chew and rip things up. Which pretty much all conures do (and need things to do this) so I give him unscented paper towels, unscented tissues as well as empty tissue boxes (plastic and glue parts removed). He also LOVES rope perch bungee/boings

They are VERY smart too, so retraining is not as difficult as it could be. I actually was able to color train Skittles. Now he knows he can chew on my white shirts but any other color is off limits. He's outsmarted me too many times so I decided to use that to my advantage. It's paid off too.

One of the key things I've found with Skittles (and perhaps is true of all sunnies) is that they don't really scream for no reason. Whether the reason is justified or not, dealing with the cause will usually take care of the screaming. I live in a small apartment so keeping the screaming under control is a must.
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