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Old 10-21-2012, 12:31 AM
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Exclamation Screaming again, help please!!

So I thought Nalani was out of the woods with the screaming, but the last weeks she started up again and she came back with a vengeance. Here's some information on her, she is officially 15 1/2 weeks old (female solomon island eclectus). I got her when she was 10 weeks old. She is currently on 2 hand feedings a day (although she barely eats during the morning feeding, I still offer it to her). She gets plenty of fresh fruits and veggies throughout the day. I also do about 20 min each day of clicker training using organic banana chips as treats.

When I first brought her home she screamed all day, but it was due to the lack of hand feeding and adjustment issues. After a few weeks she finally acclimated to her home and the screaming lessened drastically. However, the last week she has picked up screaming whenever she sees me or hears my voice. I tried putting her back in her cage and waiting till she calms down before I bring her out again, but it doesn't work. I find myself sitting there for hours opening and closing the door but there is no improvement. She is very quite (not even a peep) when she is by herself or with my other family members, but the moment she hears my voice it's game over. I even attempted wearing glasses one day, a hat the next so that she wouldn't recognize who I am (a bit ridiculous I know, but I am so desperate). Btw these are not baby calls at all, they are ear deafening screeches that can be heard 2 blocks down from my house. My biggest concern are my neighbors, I live in a quiet neighborhood and I know her screams can be heard loud and clear. I know she isn't screaming for food (she eats like a pig...) it has to be for attention, but I don't know how to go about this. I don't mind a scream here and there but nonstop whenever I am around is really draining. Please help, the last thing I want is a situation where I get complaints from my neighbors and I am forced to rehome her.

PS: she has been getting a LOT better with men, my brother (the one she attacked) can handle her with ease now and she readily steps onto anyone's hand (including guys and girls). I am so relieved and happy that she is accepting of men. Oh yes and my brother actually does the 20 min session every other day when I have classes, and she has mastered the art of "turn around"

Sorry for the long post, but please any advice will really help!! Thanks!
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:59 AM
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Re: Screaming again, help please!!

So when she screams you come see her. Sounds like your training is going well. I am fully trained as well, lol. In the morning Chico is more independent and will allow me some alone time in the adjacent room while eating and after his breakfast. Not so in the evenings when his flocking instincts are in full force. At eight Chico goes to his sleeping cage in my bedroom closet for the quiet. When he hears my voice he will call out to me but I just ignore it so it hasn't gotten any worse than a single squawk.

Good luck. Ekkies are very clingy.
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Last edited by lpolliard; 10-21-2012 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:29 AM
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Re: Screaming again, help please!!

So sorry to hear about your cituation. I dont have any advice but maybe this will bump up your post so someone who can help will see it. Good luck.
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:01 PM
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Re: Screaming again, help please!!

I had the same problem with Scarlet. You just need to ignore him, or try covering his cage. Covering Scarlets cage has ever worked, it made her worse if anything. And I know exactly what you mean about the screaming, it hurts your ear! Unfortunately this is what out eclectus' do and we just have to be patient, he won't do this forever if you don't give him attention each time.
Covering my cockatiel always worked, I cover him and he stops, straight away then I'll uncover him after a couple of mins.
Just remember, the more you go to them when they scream the more they will think that's what will happen every time they scream. So well, why not scream more?
I feel your pain, I had headaches and everything for weeks lol. It can be very draining!
Good luck!
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Old 10-21-2012, 02:51 PM
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Re: Screaming again, help please!!

When she screams I put her back in the cage and cover her. Almost instantly she quiets down, but the moment I uncover her and she sees me she begins to scream again. I can never go more than a few seconds before covering her cage again. I do this for hours in a day and there has been no improvement. I try ignoring her but the moments he hears my voice she will start screeching. It doesn't end until I stop talking and I am completely out of her sight. But so far, ignoring is all that people recommend so I guess I will continue that until hopefully she learns?
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Old 10-21-2012, 06:52 PM
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Re: Screaming again, help please!!

Wow, that's terrible! The ignoring is really difficult when you have neighbors who are being disrupted by it. It makes the ignoring tactic nearly intolerable, because you can almost feel the rage boiling in your poor neighbors, especially if you live very near to them. I had to stop the ignoring tactic, because it simply was not practical after a while to just let my bird keep screaming her head off, and over time, I did not notice that ignoring it really helped all that much.

I had to start punishing her, despite all the taboos about how bird's don't understand punishment at all. What they do understand is consequence, and how it relates to an action, even if they don't understand us being angry or merely punishing them. When she screams repeatedly (not just a one-time "I'm a parrot" type screaming) I take her and put her into the bathroom in the dark, which she doesn't like. She also can feel my angry energy and does not like that at all, she quiets down immediately like a little kid being scolded. Now she gets the picture. Screaming = dark bathroom and angry me, and that's not something she desires.

Others may vehemently disagree with my approach here, and I'm not recommending that you punish your parrot for being a parrot or anything like that. But in my experience, the ignoring method does not work in all cases, and can verge on being a bit idealistic at times. It depends on the parrot too. My parrot doesn't really scream for attention, she just screams at things and sounds and whatever it is that she wants to. For parrots that scream for attention, I would have to agree that the last thing you want to do is show up in front of them.

Your case is funny, because she screams when she hears you. Have you tried giving her pluck no more? It might calm her down a bit. Otherwise, your bird is still very young. She may outgrow this behavior.

Last edited by Chikoo; 10-21-2012 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:02 PM
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Re: Screaming again, help please!!

I have never heard of pluck no more before, but I am researching on it now. As for growing out of it... I really hope so. The parrot store I go to (I love the people there) also think she will grow out of it. But I don't know if my family can handle 2-3 more months of this. When you say grow out of this behavior, does it mean in adjacent to when she weans?

Also, I was able find a bird behaviorist (bird whisperer) than can come to my house and help one on one for about 200 a session (definitely not cheap) but is it reasonable? I have never hired or even been around bird trainers before, so I don't know if the price is normal or too high.

I know I am probably going a bit overboard, but I don't want be in a situation where I have to rehome her.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:57 AM
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Re: Screaming again, help please!!

I would highly recommend it. Even though your bird isn't plucking, it should help her calm down a bit. Given how young she is, I have a hard time believing that she won't grow out of it. You also have not had her too long, so it is worth seeing how it goes once she has adjusted even more to everything.

I totally feel for you, and don't know if my family or neighbors (or even myself!) could handle that situation for 2-3 more months. Honestly, I know its the last thing parrot owners recommend doing, but if it goes on for another 3 months, I would have to rehome her.

That said, I am optimistic that it will work out. She is so young. I would try pluck no more and see where that goes. It might just be that she has to live in the dark a lot until she stops screaming. Pretty soon she'll get tired of being in the dark all the time and will want to see her flock and see the daylight and everything. The parrot behaviorist sounds like a good idea. I don't know if the rate quoted is expensive or reasonable, but if I were you, I would probably go for it out of desperation. My only hesitation is that she might grow out of it naturally and is a bit young for serious training, from my perspective. But this person could be really talented and it could really work. I'm sort of inclined to suggest you try pluck no more first and see how that goes before investing the money. I wouldn't say you are going overboard, this is a tough situation, I would be going nuts!
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Old 10-23-2012, 12:25 PM
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Re: Screaming again, help please!!

Since we got our Eclectus on same day, hopefully we are in a similar situation. My male "Echo" was quiet as could be for the first few weeks. But like yours began to scream only recently (specifically when I was in-sight). And now he has stopped.

1. Identify what has changed, or continous activities you were doing that may have changed slightly. In my case, I was training at certain times with his favoruite treat (Pine Nuts) and when my work schedual changed he was "begging" for this food.

2. Screaming for a certain person is either Fear or Attention. In my case, Echo climbs up on my hand without thought (flys out of cage to my arm), etc so I know it is more the second option. In this case, you need to simply reward good behavior gradually.

3. If you have her Clicker Trained, you could do tricks and second she screams (even if trick has been done and clicked) pull away the treat. Echo understood this clear by the second night (3x 15 Minute sessions) and now is back to his normal talkitive nature.

Physical punishment is a HUGE NONO, but environmental works nicely (same as the positive reinforcement of clicker works). The dark room suggestion could work. But, I would first consider what may have changed (either her warmed up begging or fear).

You always have to remember she is not doing to TO BE BAD, she is doing it for one reason or another. If she is doing it for attention, you could ignore (requires time and damages trust) or you could work with her and simply over emphasize when quiet.

For Echo on Saturday, it was merely every 5 seconds he would scream. So if he made it to 10 seconds I rewarded, and then after few minutes 15 seconds, and so on. They are smart creatures and will quickly pick up on the desired behavior (quiet - or a soft vocalization which I double rewarded) to remain an accepted member of the flock.

For rewards: You can do a food reward (very small portions of a food exclusive to the proper behavior, to ensure she does not get fat), You could do a physical reward (do something she loves such as scratching her back, a hug, or a stroke), You could do a verbal reward ("Good Birdy!" said with lots of enthusiamm and a smile). All are great.

Hope these help, like I said, Echo was doing exact same thing. And these worked fine for me in a matter of days (rest of time, I just sat in room on PC letting him scream his heart out. Whenever he was quiet for over like 45 seconds, I pulled out or treated.
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Old 10-23-2012, 03:16 PM
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Re: Screaming again, help please!!

Thanks maillet, nothing has changed since day one. I always train her around the same time, and feed her on a strict schedule. My dad did come home to visit for a few days so maybe that's what changed? She does readily step up on his hand and enjoys his company...

I read this article: Good Bird Inc Parrot Training Talk: Stop your Parrot from Screaming for Attention

Nalani makes this adorable baby whining sound when she is about to fall asleep, so I have started to reward that sound and she has gradually moved up to making the sound throughout the day. I am hoping she will learn that this sound = treats and attention instead of screaming. I also continue putting her in a dark bathroom when she screams (i love the bathroom idea because it prevents her from thinking her cage is a negative place). She has made a small amount of improvement, which is really good.

My dad will be leaving this Thursday, so if he was what scared her then I will know for sure pretty soon. I never though such a small change would make her so upset, thanks for the suggestions

PS: how did you teach your baby to flip? I've been trying, but she hates being on the floor or any flat surface.
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