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Old 12-11-2017, 05:47 PM
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Reflection/Rant/Long Post - Doubting myself & Second thoughts about parronthood

Hey guys, I've been thinking about this for a while so I thought I'd just blurt it here. Sorry for the huge post but it's a bit of a rant I guess.

Comments, questions, critiques are welcome, of course.

---

Have any of you been over-the-top excited to bring your baby bird home and when you got themÖ felt really unsure about them?

You see, I did my research, a lot! For several years, in fact! And after reading the cons of bird ownership - I figured that Iíd fall in love with my bird and itíd make some of the cons a bit easier to manage.

Remi, my 4 month old eclectus is incredibly sweet, and definitely mischievous. But Iím not head over heels for her like I thought Iíd be. And this is while sheís sweet and cute, thatís nothing to say of when she becomes mature.

As an aside, when she first came home I freaked out. But I pushed through it hard and am not as frantic as I was that first week (it was tough). But some of the worries I had then havenít completely left. What about hormones? What if I miss behaviours and she develops problems (biting? screaming? out of control hormonal behaviour? cage aggression?)

There are a few little things I constantly worry about - the fact she only eats mash, her disinterest in treats, the fact I havenít been able to start any training. She lives a long, LONG time so I know these are probably temporary. But what if theyíre not?

Itís clear that she needs lots of active attention (something you may have seen me tell lots of other members) - and I find myself quite sad that I canít do some of the things I used to. Either because I canít watch her when sheís out, or because I donít have time because Iím cleaning up after her (!!)

Iíve read this thread commenting on people who give away their birds because of "no time", and Iíve always wondered how you could be that kind of person. But am I really that far away because I donít love my parrot to death?

Has anybody felt this way before? What did you do? Have you felt this way and itís passed? Parrots live a darn long time. And I donít want her to go to a thousand homes. But I donít want any home of hers to be just ďehĒ about her. Every parrot deserves to be showered in love.

NB: I know and I'm confident that she gets really good care from me. She's healthy and contented. These doubts don't translate into how I care for her (yet).
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Old 12-11-2017, 06:24 PM
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Re: Reflection/Rant/Long Post - Doubting myself & Second thoughts about parronthood

So you had a romanticized notion of what it would be like and reality smacked you in the face, eh?

Occasionally, yes. Especially when Parker becomes hormonal or otherwise unpredictable. Hormonal phases can really make you question everything. Also, I freely admit sometimes I wish he was. More macaw like. More active and curious about the world around him. When he’s not hormonal he’s usually a lazy perch potato not interested in much at all.

But we’ve been through all this a lot, and our bond has grown. I wouldn’t rehome him for anything.

Here’s the thing, your bird is brand new to you. With birds the bond isn’t always instant. It’s like falling in love. Sometimes it start off with abject loathing. Or even indifference.

Sounds like you need to work on building the bond. Start by doing some basic training, clicker and target training is often a great beginning point. You need to be involved in activities with him beyond sitting around. This activity is what will grow the bond. Buy a pak o bird so you can take him on walks, or even try to harness train him.

Hang in there. Reality can be a disappointment sometimes, but if you can stick it through you begin finding rewards in this new reality that will make it all worth it.
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Old 12-11-2017, 06:49 PM
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Re: Reflection/Rant/Long Post - Doubting myself & Second thoughts about parronthood

Most people wonít admit this, but sometimes that happens when we have human babies too. Itís always harder than we think it will be and rarely as blissful as we expect. The above suggestions are very good though. I know that Bumble and I are closer because of training sessions (or playtime as I like to call it).

Time takes time - donít give up yet.


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Old 12-11-2017, 09:24 PM
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Re: Reflection/Rant/Long Post - Doubting myself & Second thoughts about parronthood

This was said with such clarity that I have nothing to add: "So you had a romanticized notion of what it would be like and reality smacked you in the face, eh?" Thank-you Chris, thank you!

Sometimes, one needs to take a long look at what others choose to be faced with to bring clarity to just how far ahead you are!

We choose to bring into our home, Amazons that are very sick and /or seriously injured! The first six months is a near round the clock care just to keep them one-step in front of death. During that time, any hope of developing a relationship, let alone a bond is near laughable.

Between that point and the completion of year one, 'if they make it,' there is at least some level of trust, at least to some level that we are not killing them and they have begun to at least work on Beak Pressure control during the many bites.

Some place during the last months of that first year, early signs of some level of comfort in being around us begins, trust that our end goal is to not kill them, and the spark of a Bond is beginning. The early signs of a relationship is developing.

During that long, long first year, all the basic stuff happens everyday!

- At first our goals is to simply get them to want to live, and to eat anything, and I really mean anything - just to to keep them alive. Lots of wasted food everyday!
- Cleaning-up the mess! The medication that has to be applied multiple times since the first or second didn't make it! It seems that all of the medications are sticky! Sticky feathers, sticky fingers, hands, arms and near everywhere else.
- Cleaning-up poop, and not the pretty normal stuff, but the running / watery stuff that seems to find its way into ever tiny place and refuse to exit.
- The very early morning rush to the Vet's clinic, often enough that you joke that you should get a motor home and park it next to the staff's door. Since you know all of them by their first names.
- On and on and on!!!

But hey, I know three individuals that are doing all of that and much more with multiple Parrot at the same time! Now that is a real "reality smacked you in the face" moment! I have It Easy! And, when you take a honest look at what you are faced! Hmmm, not so bad.

In fact, when you really look at this from the view point of the Parrot! A baby, pulled away from its Care Takers. Consider what that much be like!

Buck-it-up! You're the Adult in the Room. Life Sucks and it has no want to make it any easier on you! You chose this and when you come to accept that reality and accept it fully. It all become easier.

*** When 'you' transition from being 'self-centered,' to being 'other-centered,' the World will make far more sense and you will begin to see the Love that sweet Parrot wants to provide you!

Last edited by SailBoat; 12-11-2017 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 12-12-2017, 03:19 AM
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Re: Reflection/Rant/Long Post - Doubting myself & Second thoughts about parronthood

Quote: Originally Posted by chris-md View Post
So you had a romanticized notion of what it would be like and reality smacked you in the face, eh?
I'd be lying if I didn't say I'd been smacked in the face. Because I have.

However, I think everyone has a romanticized notion of bird ownership, otherwise the pet trade would be non existent. Those who adopt birds picture in their minds a time where a bird who bites might not in the future - is that not in some way romanticizing too?

But I'm sort of picking at the details here. My point is that of course I thought about the things I'd like to do with her, about training her and having her in my life. Wouldn't anybody? I also thought about the cleaning and the enrichment she needed so I could provide for her.
The "cons" funnily enough (the cleaning, the expense, the noise) are just as I expected. Which means the research and advice did help. But the "pros" which owners often elevate (to infer it makes the cons all worth it) don't seem to translate as well. The snuggles with Remi should make the fact I can't go out for dinner after work anymore OK - and right now, it doesn't. That doesn't mean I don't think she's a beautiful and endearing creature.

Inger is not far from the mark. I think there is quite a parallel to draw between bird ownership and raising a kid (with a few differences of course) - and I think most of what I'm experiencing is only having myself to think about (as opposed to doing most things for the benefit of my bird). I felt it faintly sometimes owning a dog, but surely parents have felt this too. Most of them say "but it's worth it because it's your child" (unrelated: I cannot for the life of me understand what this means yet). I think (I hope) this will pass as I sort of re-mould my life with her in it. But I think it would be naiive to say I didn't miss some parts of the old life.

Chris-md - Training is difficult at the moment. Because I cannot find a treat she's super motivated for - I don't think she quite understands what desired behaviour is. I think I have to wait until she eats solids before this can really take off, but from what I've read that could be anything up to 8 months away. What if undesireable behaviours arise in the meantime? Our communication is rather awkward. I praise and snuggle her for desired behaviours but I have no clue if that actually works. Mostly, she does things because she wants to.

Sailboat - I have often thought about how rescuers like you work with difficult birds, often for years to help rehabilitate them. It sounds like a really hard slog. With ultimate rewards yes, but sometimes none. It's absolutely selfless and I have rescued dogs before because I understand how amazing it is to see an animal thrive in your care. I don't have words to express the awe I have at the determination of a parrot rescuer to care for birds with serious problems - I don't know how you all do it (and I wish one day that I might).
As someone who's never had a parrot though - I thought it might be foolish to adopt a bird with little practical experience as to their care. Which is why I opted for a carefully researched breeder. And the benefits of that are clear. Remi is well adjusted, sweet, inquisitive, and in my opinion very understanding of my bumbling at communicating with her. I have a unique opportunity to get things right before they can so easily go wrong.

When I look at all this rubbish I've written about her, don't worry it is incredibly apparent how selfish it sounds. But I've said it because I want to do the best thing for Remi. and it's difficult to tell whether these are legitimate things that mean a home for her elsewhere is better (because I'm a crap owner), or that it's OK she only eats mash and she can't go in her harness. And that it's OK that I'm not doe-eyed in love with her (and that it will come with time). And that it's ok to be sad that I can't play computer games and go out for dinner after work like I used to.

Hope that makes sense (at least sort of)

Thank you for all your advice so far, guys.
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Last edited by Soyajam; 12-12-2017 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 12-12-2017, 03:30 AM
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Re: Reflection/Rant/Long Post - Doubting myself & Second thoughts about parronthood

Oh gosh this rang so true for me too. Let's face it any creature human, animal or bird creates a whole load of problems in terms of change to routine, lifestyle and priority. Having just lost my dog and struggling to recover from the loss I suddenly realise that my home is substantially cleaner, I didn't have to go out in the snow at the weekend, I don't have a dog bed to fall over etc etc etc.

Yesterday my daughter asked if they adopt a rescue dog if I would dog sit a couple of days a week at my house while they both work and help train it. The thought of another 4 legged thrilled me but swiftly followed by a sinking heart at the fresh responsibility. It's never easy but we all adapt it just takes time.

Remi quite possibly gives you things that you don't yet see or feel. The dream was greater than the actual. It often happens. A bit like that great outfit that looks so good in the magazines until you try it on. The difference is this is a living creature that looks to you for it's survival and probably loves you big time if you could but feel it. Hang in there.
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Old 12-12-2017, 06:27 AM
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Re: Reflection/Rant/Long Post - Doubting myself & Second thoughts about parronthood

And why exactly can’t you go to dinner after work, exactly? I do! Parker is always out of cage cage when we are home, so if he spends an extra hour or two in cage once a month, then I don’t feel too bad.

For training treats, keep offering a diverse platter. Someone even uses bits of banana. Others use hulled sunflower seeds, others use assorted nut bits. To name a few. Keep at it!
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:30 AM
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Re: Reflection/Rant/Long Post - Doubting myself & Second thoughts about parronthood

Yep, Remi has a favorite treat, you just haven't found it yet. Keep offering different things. Parrots do change their minds about foods ( ex: Salty used to LOVE kiwi fruit - now it goes un-eaten) Training IS difficult until you can give her the reward for positive behavior. She may be one of the birds that responds to verbal praise only. Effusive, heartfelt praise. LOL, Salty expects both!! Be patient with any training - it took me the better part of a whole year to get Salty to accept his harness, and that was with training every single night, with out fail.

Chris is right, why can't you go out to dinner once in awhile?
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:33 AM
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Re: Reflection/Rant/Long Post - Doubting myself & Second thoughts about parronthood

I think with ANYTHING in life, the initial excitement wears off and you are left with reality.
This is true with the "joys" of home ownership, the thrill of a new relationship, a new vehicle, and unfortunately a new pet.

I always remember there are A LOT of ways to interact with birds, so even if it is a hormonal time, or you are particularly busy, this doesn't have to equate to unhappiness for either of you.

When we bring these animals into our lives, we have to make huge adaptations to meet their needs. I always keep in mind how much they are being forced to adapt. Unfortunately, this is why so many wind up rehomed. I believe the number of rehomed parrots within their first three years of life is somewhere in the 90% range.
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:37 AM
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Re: Reflection/Rant/Long Post - Doubting myself & Second thoughts about parronthood

You sound like you are doing every thing right from my level of knowledge, Remi is very lucky to have you!
Remi is very young so id imagine his personality has not shone through yet, just as your companionship hasn't developed yet. Give it time and dont beat yourself up.

When my first son came along I thought id lost my personal life for ever but after a while I realised this is just not the case, rehoming Enzo had me feeling the same as my personal life simply stopped as everything seemed to be about Enzo. Thankfully we have both chilled a little and I have no issues continuing my life, Enzo may be spending more time in her cage if i go out or when people are around (too many bites!) but Enzo doesnt seem to mind as we still have quality time, a lot more than she has had in her life.

I suppose the thing is, find the balance and find more contentment. Good luck
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