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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 11-06-2018, 05:05 PM
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Re: Encouraging disabled bird to be more active

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That's a lot of toys!!! @@ maybe is too much at first like EllenD said. Also you can get them to touch interacting with toys by giving treats when touch treats when pick up. I have tought my birds to cone here I point at spot they walk to that spot get treat working off that I point at sn object and say touch this when they do treat, then I say pick up that starts by only giving treat if they touch longer until they pick it up then treats only if they pick it up. By getting him to move towards toy it is called shaping. Behavior shaping. Anyway I am so thankful you found this guy and rescued him! If it warm enough taking them outside and staying with them in a safe travel cage seems to really make them happy, they have increadably eyesight abd being able to look at new stuff fresh air it really perks em up. Keep us posted bee cellibrate baby steps here!!
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 11-07-2018, 09:44 AM
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Re: Encouraging disabled bird to be more active

Finger-Traps! Thank you, I was trying to describe the type of "shredding/ripping/chewing" toys that are made out of the braided-cardboard or thick paper, and that usually also have a bunch of "bristles" on their end...Basically the first-row of bird toys at any Petco that are the cheapest ones, and that are sorted by size, like they have tiny ones for Budgies and Parrotlets for $2.99, then medium-sized ones for $5, then very large ones for $9, etc. "Finger-Traps" is a great way of describing them.

****The set-up that you have for him is absolutely amazing, but way too much for him right now...If he hadn't been a breeder-bird who was never exposed to any toys or activities, and was a bird that already loved playing and such, this set-up would be like us going to live in a palace! It's like DisneyWorld for birds! So you did good, and eventually he'll get to the point where he will just love and enjoy every bit of this. But right now he is so scared of everything that this probably put him into over-load and he is just so overwhelmed by all of the toys and activities that he is scared to death to try anything or go near anything at all. You have to keep in-mind that as a former breeder-bird, depending on who bred him and who originally purchased him, he most-likely went from a completely bare Brooder to a completely bare cage, and then right to a completely bare breeding-cage with the person who bought him to breed him, so he most-likely had never seen any of this stuff until you adopted him. Vasa's are not a species of parrot that you often see people having as pets, simply because they aren't that plentiful, there aren't nearly as many Vasa breeders as there are breeders of most other species, and as such they are very expensive to buy...So that's why I'm going to assume that the person who purchased him originally bought him to specifically breed him and make a lot of money. So that's why I'm assuming that he unfortunately has been "treated", and by that I mean the way he's been housed/interacted with by his owner, he's been "treated" like most breeder-birds are treated, meaning they are there for one purpose only, they are not at all pets in any way, they get little to no human interaction except for feeding-time and when the breeder checks on eggs and new babies in the nest-box, etc. I bred birds for a long time, and I grew-up in a home where my mom and my grandma had both bred birds for decades, and my mom kept her breeders in a separate room from the babies, away from our own pet birds, although she always told me that they were birds who needed stimulation and a good life, so she always had them in very large cages (not the normally tiny little "breeding cages"), they always had tons of toys in their large cages, and they were let out each day for at least a few hours in their room, where there were large stands with toys hanging from them for them to play with...They wanted nothing to do with us, as typically once a parrot bonds-closely with a mate of the opposite sex they want little to do with people, though some species take this more seriously than others...But we always treated them the same way we treated our pet birds and the baby birds, and unfortunately this is extremely rare with a lot of breeders, especially ones who breed the big-dollar species...

So if I were you, I would think of this as the point where you completely "start over", like you just brought him home today (essentially that's what you're doing, because he's still scared to death of everything)...I hate to tell you to do this, since you have such a wonderful set-up for him, but I would pretty-much remove most of the toys and such, and again, you need to start-off by simply desensitizing him to the most-basic type of toy first, the "shredding/ripping" paper toys, and once you feel that he is no-longer afraid of them and is playing with them on a regular basis with no fear at all, then you add the next type of toy, a "wooden chewing" toy, like the very common toys that have wooden blocks/shapes strung together for him to chew on. And then once he's no-longer afraid of the wooden "chewing" toys and he's not afraid of wooden blocks anymore, then you can move on to adding "foraging activities", then "puzzles", etc. And again, you're going to have to go very slowly with him, AT HIS PACE, where it might take him months to be okay with a certain type of toy and to be playing with it and liking it. And remember that you're going to have to "show" him what it is, what he's supposed to do with it, and that it's totally safe and nothing to be afraid of.

I think that what you did for him here is amazing, and I know that eventually he'll be able to live in this Kingdom that you've made for him and be loving it. But I think it's just all too much for him and he's just totally overwhelmed with everything, and he just doesn't know what to do with it. So removing most of the toys and such, and just starting out with one or two of the very basic toys and then moving forward from there is probably the only way he's going to be able to feel safe and secure enough to actually pay attention and take part...

Also, as I mentioned before that starting out by doing "Recall-Training" with him inside a room of your house would be the best way to actually "teach" him how to fly properly and safely, and to gradually build-up his muscles and get him "in-shape". I didn't really explain "Recall Training" to you, but the concept is simple and you can search this forum for the different methods that people use to "Recall Train" their birds. But the basic concept is always the same, you're simply putting your bird on a T-Stand or similar outside of his cage, and in his case a safe room where he'll have a totally clear-path to fly across the room from the T-Stand/Perch to you. And you're teaching him to ALWAYS come to you when you call him, blow a whistle, etc. There are many different ways to do this, such as Target Training, Clicker Training, etc. And different ways work better for different people and birds, that just depends on what works for you. Recall-Training is actually the very first step that most people teach their birds when they want to train them to be "Free-Flighted", the idea that if the bird is totally and completely Recall-Trained with their owner, that they will always come back when they are free-flying outside. And though I'm not a fan of Free-Flying, Recall-Training inside your home is a great way to teach him to fly properly and safely, gain control and learn how to land, and to give him daily exercise to get him in-shape...
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 11-07-2018, 10:08 AM
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Re: Encouraging disabled bird to be more active

Quote: Originally Posted by EllenD View Post
Finger-Traps! Thank you, I was trying to describe the type of "shredding/ripping/chewing" toys that are made out of the braided-cardboard or thick paper, and that usually also have a bunch of "bristles" on their end...Basically the first-row of bird toys at any Petco that are the cheapest ones, and that are sorted by size, like they have tiny ones for Budgies and Parrotlets for $2.99, then medium-sized ones for $5, then very large ones for $9, etc. "Finger-Traps" is a great way of describing them.

****The set-up that you have for him is absolutely amazing, but way too much for him right now...If he hadn't been a breeder-bird who was never exposed to any toys or activities, and was a bird that already loved playing and such, this set-up would be like us going to live in a palace! It's like DisneyWorld for birds! So you did good, and eventually he'll get to the point where he will just love and enjoy every bit of this. But right now he is so scared of everything that this probably put him into over-load and he is just so overwhelmed by all of the toys and activities that he is scared to death to try anything or go near anything at all. You have to keep in-mind that as a former breeder-bird, depending on who bred him and who originally purchased him, he most-likely went from a completely bare Brooder to a completely bare cage, and then right to a completely bare breeding-cage with the person who bought him to breed him, so he most-likely had never seen any of this stuff until you adopted him. Vasa's are not a species of parrot that you often see people having as pets, simply because they aren't that plentiful, there aren't nearly as many Vasa breeders as there are breeders of most other species, and as such they are very expensive to buy...So that's why I'm going to assume that the person who purchased him originally bought him to specifically breed him and make a lot of money. So that's why I'm assuming that he unfortunately has been "treated", and by that I mean the way he's been housed/interacted with by his owner, he's been "treated" like most breeder-birds are treated, meaning they are there for one purpose only, they are not at all pets in any way, they get little to no human interaction except for feeding-time and when the breeder checks on eggs and new babies in the nest-box, etc. I bred birds for a long time, and I grew-up in a home where my mom and my grandma had both bred birds for decades, and my mom kept her breeders in a separate room from the babies, away from our own pet birds, although she always told me that they were birds who needed stimulation and a good life, so she always had them in very large cages (not the normally tiny little "breeding cages"), they always had tons of toys in their large cages, and they were let out each day for at least a few hours in their room, where there were large stands with toys hanging from them for them to play with...They wanted nothing to do with us, as typically once a parrot bonds-closely with a mate of the opposite sex they want little to do with people, though some species take this more seriously than others...But we always treated them the same way we treated our pet birds and the baby birds, and unfortunately this is extremely rare with a lot of breeders, especially ones who breed the big-dollar species...

So if I were you, I would think of this as the point where you completely "start over", like you just brought him home today (essentially that's what you're doing, because he's still scared to death of everything)...I hate to tell you to do this, since you have such a wonderful set-up for him, but I would pretty-much remove most of the toys and such, and again, you need to start-off by simply desensitizing him to the most-basic type of toy first, the "shredding/ripping" paper toys, and once you feel that he is no-longer afraid of them and is playing with them on a regular basis with no fear at all, then you add the next type of toy, a "wooden chewing" toy, like the very common toys that have wooden blocks/shapes strung together for him to chew on. And then once he's no-longer afraid of the wooden "chewing" toys and he's not afraid of wooden blocks anymore, then you can move on to adding "foraging activities", then "puzzles", etc. And again, you're going to have to go very slowly with him, AT HIS PACE, where it might take him months to be okay with a certain type of toy and to be playing with it and liking it. And remember that you're going to have to "show" him what it is, what he's supposed to do with it, and that it's totally safe and nothing to be afraid of.

I think that what you did for him here is amazing, and I know that eventually he'll be able to live in this Kingdom that you've made for him and be loving it. But I think it's just all too much for him and he's just totally overwhelmed with everything, and he just doesn't know what to do with it. So removing most of the toys and such, and just starting out with one or two of the very basic toys and then moving forward from there is probably the only way he's going to be able to feel safe and secure enough to actually pay attention and take part...
Also, as I mentioned before that starting out by doing "Recall-Training" with him inside a room of your house would be the best way to actually "teach" him how to fly properly and safely, and to gradually build-up his muscles and get him "in-shape". I didn't really explain "Recall Training" to you, but the concept is simple and you can search this forum for the different methods that people use to "Recall Train" their birds. But the basic concept is always the same, you're simply putting your bird on a T-Stand or similar outside of his cage, and in his case a safe room where he'll have a totally clear-path to fly across the room from the T-Stand/Perch to you. And you're teaching him to ALWAYS come to you when you call him, blow a whistle, etc. There are many different ways to do this, such as Target Training, Clicker Training, etc. And different ways work better for different people and birds, that just depends on what works for you. Recall-Training is actually the very first step that most people teach their birds when they want to train them to be "Free-Flighted", the idea that if the bird is totally and completely Recall-Trained with their owner, that they will always come back when they are free-flying outside. And though I'm not a fan of Free-Flying, Recall-Training inside your home is a great way to teach him to fly properly and safely, gain control and learn how to land, and to give him daily exercise to get him in-shape...
You're completely right. I did take out about seven of his toys yesterday and just left about four along with a stainless steel bowl at the bottom of his cage filled with toy parts for him to forage. I'll probably take this out as well since he hasn't used it.

I do cover him up at night since he's very nervous, but I use a dark-colored fleece blanket. I've been wondering if I should switch to a light-colored blanket so it isn't completely dark at night. He also has a nightlight, and he seems to sleep well, but I do hear him chirp to himself, and prior to me switching him to his current cage, he fell frequently.
He actually LOVES those finger trap toys. He's already destroyed one and started working on a second one, so I'll stock up on those. He's starting to rattle bells so long as they aren't loud, so I'll take the foraging bowl and extra toys out because I've always wondered if the toys frightened him.

He also has a habit of licking the cage bars, and I think this is a coping method from his previous life. Even if I put toys in the way so he can't lick the bars, he finds a way. He'll lick for hours, and I'm not sure if this is a habit I can ever break. In the very beginning, he refused to perch. He'd hand onto the cage bars for days at a time, and he started doing that with his new cage until I put platforms in the way so he couldn't.
We share meals together and he'll come to me if I have food that's close enough for him to reach, so I'm kind of using that as collateral.
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 11-07-2018, 10:13 AM
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Smile Re: Encouraging disabled bird to be more active

Quote: Originally Posted by LaManuka View Post
Gee that looks like such a nice set-up I want to move in myself! I think you are doing great work with Java and it looks to me like he appreciates it!
Thank you! I love him to bits and just want to make sure he's happy, healthy, and safe. We have a long road ahead of us, but we're in it for the long haul. I never thought I would have to teach a parrot how to be a parrot, but it is what it is. One step at a time.
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 11-07-2018, 12:08 PM
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Re: Encouraging disabled bird to be more active

About the licking...be patient.

Sunny had the habbit of just mindlessly hanging from the ceiling, a cagebar held in her beak and just swing minutely in a sort of trance, she did it for most of the day and it made me really, really sad to watch.

Every kind of stereotypical movement/behaviour is heartbreaking to watch because there is nothing you can do about it to really stop it and you know it stems from feeling uncomfortable to downright misserable.
Sometimes distraction works for a short time- but since there is nothing (yet!!!) to replace the soothing habbit, there is no stopping it.

In time Sunny learned to do other things (like gnawing wood) to keep herself busy and also to work off those feelings that bugged her instead of 'spacing out' - but everytime I fail her she will revert to immitating a hanging basket(case).

I am convinced that given enough time you will also be able to help Java to minimize this behaviour and replace it with more 'natural' pasttimes.
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 11-07-2018, 01:36 PM
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Re: Encouraging disabled bird to be more active

Quote: Originally Posted by ChristaNL View Post
About the licking...be patient.

Sunny had the habbit of just mindlessly hanging from the ceiling, a cagebar held in her beak and just swing minutely in a sort of trance, she did it for most of the day and it made me really, really sad to watch.

Every kind of stereotypical movement/behaviour is heartbreaking to watch because there is nothing you can do about it to really stop it and you know it stems from feeling uncomfortable to downright misserable.
Sometimes distraction works for a short time- but since there is nothing (yet!!!) to replace the soothing habbit, there is no stopping it.

In time Sunny learned to do other things (like gnawing wood) to keep herself busy and also to work off those feelings that bugged her instead of 'spacing out' - but everytime I fail her she will revert to immitating a hanging basket(case).

I am convinced that given enough time you will also be able to help Java to minimize this behaviour and replace it with more 'natural' pasttimes.
Thank you. It's going to be a long process, but he's worth it.
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 11-08-2018, 09:12 AM
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Re: Encouraging disabled bird to be more active

I've seen that type of behavior in a lot of parrots that are surrendered to the Rescue I work at, I've actually seen a few who will just grab a cage bar in their beak and stay that way for hours and hours, not licking it, but just sitting there with the bar in their beak and not moving...It is sad, because it only proves what a horrible existence they've had up until that point. You can't take a bird with the intelligence of a 3-4 year-old child and just lock them inside of a tiny cage with absolutely nothing to do but eat and mate for years. But that's what a lot of bird-breeders do, especially the larger-scale ones. I've seen huge Macaws inside of breeding-cages that aren't large enough for a Budgie to live in. In fact, a lot of the time the actual breeder-cage is actually made even smaller than it is because they put a nest-box inside of it instead of attaching it to the outside through a door in the cage...It's terrible. And because it's a "breeder bird", these people don't even talk to them. They dump food in their bowls and walk away...

I got my Senegal, Kane, as a 13 week-old baby from a breeder in North Carolina. He and his wife were both school teachers and long-time bird-breeders, and I had found him online while looking for hand-raised Senegals (the only ones I could find anywhere near PA were from "Ana's Parrots", so we know I wasn't calling her up, lol), and we spoke for weeks while he finished weaning Kane and his baby brother. He and his wife bred quite a few different species of birds, he also had baby Quakers and baby White-Fronted Amazons for sale at the same time as the two Senegals...and if I'm being honest, I was really, really worried that I was making a 9-hour drive one-way to go to a breeding-factory...i was really worried...But I really loved this guy, he knew his stuff and he actually really cared, and he actually spoke about his breeder-birds, BY NAME...So that was odd to me, my mom and I both treated our breeders like pets as much as they would let us, lol, but I didn't know what I was going to walk into...So I made the 9-hour drive to near Raleigh, and got there at 9 at night...And I walked into this couple's house, they were so nice, and he had all of the babies in their living room getting attention, so that was awesome...I heard the breeder-birds behind a closed-door, and he actually just walked over to the door and opened it, and called me over..He pointed out Kane's parents...There was a HUGE room with about 10 HUGE cages, all completely full of toys, with the Senegals out on a play-gym...He said that he made it "their turn to be out" at that time because I was coming and he wanted me to meet his parents. They all got to come out of their cages for hours during different times of the day, and they all were treated just like pets that they loved dearly. I was so happy, it reminded me of the room my mom kept her breeder-birds in growing up and then that I did the same with mine. So I lucked-out on that one...I wish more bird breeders, well, animal breeders in-general treated their breeders this way...but unfortunately it's very rare...
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 11-08-2018, 09:45 AM
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Re: Encouraging disabled bird to be more active

Quote: Originally Posted by EllenD View Post
I've seen that type of behavior in a lot of parrots that are surrendered to the Rescue I work at, I've actually seen a few who will just grab a cage bar in their beak and stay that way for hours and hours, not licking it, but just sitting there with the bar in their beak and not moving...It is sad, because it only proves what a horrible existence they've had up until that point. You can't take a bird with the intelligence of a 3-4 year-old child and just lock them inside of a tiny cage with absolutely nothing to do but eat and mate for years. But that's what a lot of bird-breeders do, especially the larger-scale ones. I've seen huge Macaws inside of breeding-cages that aren't large enough for a Budgie to live in. In fact, a lot of the time the actual breeder-cage is actually made even smaller than it is because they put a nest-box inside of it instead of attaching it to the outside through a door in the cage...It's terrible. And because it's a "breeder bird", these people don't even talk to them. They dump food in their bowls and walk away...

I got my Senegal, Kane, as a 13 week-old baby from a breeder in North Carolina. He and his wife were both school teachers and long-time bird-breeders, and I had found him online while looking for hand-raised Senegals (the only ones I could find anywhere near PA were from "Ana's Parrots", so we know I wasn't calling her up, lol), and we spoke for weeks while he finished weaning Kane and his baby brother. He and his wife bred quite a few different species of birds, he also had baby Quakers and baby White-Fronted Amazons for sale at the same time as the two Senegals...and if I'm being honest, I was really, really worried that I was making a 9-hour drive one-way to go to a breeding-factory...i was really worried...But I really loved this guy, he knew his stuff and he actually really cared, and he actually spoke about his breeder-birds, BY NAME...So that was odd to me, my mom and I both treated our breeders like pets as much as they would let us, lol, but I didn't know what I was going to walk into...So I made the 9-hour drive to near Raleigh, and got there at 9 at night...And I walked into this couple's house, they were so nice, and he had all of the babies in their living room getting attention, so that was awesome...I heard the breeder-birds behind a closed-door, and he actually just walked over to the door and opened it, and called me over..He pointed out Kane's parents...There was a HUGE room with about 10 HUGE cages, all completely full of toys, with the Senegals out on a play-gym...He said that he made it "their turn to be out" at that time because I was coming and he wanted me to meet his parents. They all got to come out of their cages for hours during different times of the day, and they all were treated just like pets that they loved dearly. I was so happy, it reminded me of the room my mom kept her breeder-birds in growing up and then that I did the same with mine. So I lucked-out on that one...I wish more bird breeders, well, animal breeders in-general treated their breeders this way...but unfortunately it's very rare...
That is SO amazing!

I truly feel sorry for these birds that are treated like machines and passed around like trading cards. The breeder I got Java from was really nice but as I started asking more questions, I started realizing that she may not have been completely honest with me about Java's history as far as having him a lot longer than she said she did.
I contacted Java's original breeder, which was Trent Swigart, and he said the lady I got Java from was the only one who had him until he came to me, and that the raccoon attack happened while he was in her care. She told me he was already missing a leg when she got him, and whenever I asked her about it, she ignored my texts or said she really didn't remember who she got him from.
It's been months since I've talked to her, and I don't intend to contact her again since she hasn't been completely honest. Java was housed with another male Vasa who was much bigger than him, and so I believe he was bullied. When I got Java, he was 359grams, his foot was very calloused, and all of his tail feathers broke off. He was calcium deficient and had a bit of nasal discharge.
The average adult Vasa weighs 429+grams, so Java was very malnourished. He's now 449 grams and I am in the process of getting him a prosthetic from a veterinary college in January.
It blows my mind how people can treat animals like this and then sleep at night.

I made a promise to him that he will always be with me, no matter how tough the roads get. We're in this until the very end.

Last edited by Brittany0208; 11-08-2018 at 09:47 AM.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 11-08-2018, 10:57 AM
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Re: Encouraging disabled bird to be more active

Oh wow, you are actually giving him some kind of leg-replacement?
Plze take tons and tons of pictures, I have never seen it done for a parrot before - and I would love to know how it is done.
I hope it works out for him.


As for that previous owner:
Some people should not be allowed near animals.
(or on this planet- but that is another story alltogether).
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:03 AM
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Re: Encouraging disabled bird to be more active

Quote: Originally Posted by ChristaNL View Post
Oh wow, you are actually giving him some kind of leg-replacement?
Plze take tons and tons of pictures, I have never seen it done for a parrot before - and I would love to know how it is done.
I hope it works out for him.


As for that previous owner:
Some people should not be allowed near animals.
(or on this planet- but that is another story alltogether).
I will definitely takes lots of pictures and post them! I may even be able to record if I'm lucky.
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