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Old 08-09-2018, 05:10 PM
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New IRN Mom

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Hey so I apologize for how long this is gonna be in advance, I just want to be sure I covered everything. I'm a new mom to a baby IRN named Kiwi who just turned 5 months. I got him (not sure of the gender, but I refer to them as male) just a little over a month ago from a breeder who told me that he was just starting his bluffing stage. I've done a lot of research on bluffing long since before getting him and have accepted that, that was a stage he and I will get through together. The first week home, he was very nervous and didn't really want to be near anyone so I would just open his cage door and spend almost all my time home with him. He loves coming out of his cage and standing on top of it. I would talk to him a lot and after the first week, he was no longer afraid! But as soon as the fear went away, it made room for his bluffing to show, which sometimes I really wonder if he even is bluffing or not.

Not once since I've gotten him, has he let me handle him. He'll run away from perches and will bite if I put my hand near him (he's willing to take treats from them) Target training seemed like it was working at first, but he would lose interest after only a couple of minutes (the reason probably being that he's too comfortable walking around on top of his cage which I can't pick him up and take away from because of the biting) And since his cage is relatively tall (to me) on the rare occasions I try to "back him into a corner" he easily runs to the back and climbs over the side where I can't reach him. On the few times he's tried to fly off the cage if something startles him (wings are clipped and thankfully he's never been hurt) he will step up and let me take him back up, but even then he latches onto my fingers.

He does bite a lot, but the thing is, there isn't much lunging as if he's warning me to stay away. If I'm next to him and just happen to hold my hand up, his attention immediately goes to it. Most of the time, he'll just casually walk up to it and start biting at it as if it's just another toy. His main target are the fingers, if I hold my hand as a fist, he'll nip around looking for a soft spot but eventually gives up. I've tried discouraging it using different means:by not reacting, telling him "no" in a soft voice, blowing in his face and putting the index finger of my free hand on top of his beak to make him let go. He's only broken skin twice so far, but the indents he leaves hurt too! I know he can't be afraid because he's very relaxed most of the time and I know he doesn't truly hate me because he calls out every time I leave the room.

Is what he's doing bluffing or is it a behavior I somehow inadvertently created? I was just wondering if what I've been trying so far are the right moves or not? Since I didn't have him back before the bluffing started, I don't really have much experience handling him and since the biting is all I'm used to, I really can't imagine it ending as quick as night and day as some people say. What would be the best approach to start handling him and should I hold off on training and manners until it's passed?
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:29 PM
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Re: New IRN Mom

Hiya!
I wouldn't hold off training....manners are an expectation. You can own/decide on your responses, and that is in itself training.
Have a wee google/forum search for bite pressure training. I've used it from lovie to 'too and find it useful.
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Old 08-10-2018, 03:14 AM
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Re: New IRN Mom

Please, read this first...

Barbara's Force Free Animal Training Talk: Do Animals Bluff?
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Old 08-10-2018, 06:37 AM
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Re: New IRN Mom

I don't think that is bluffing, which I understand to be the parrot equivalent of teenage behaviour. 4 months would be far too young. Is there a chance you were mislead and you were actually sold an untamed bird? Or at least one that wasn't actually handled much?

I would say that a month in is also too soon for you to be expecting you will be able to handle your bird - I'm kind of working on the assumption he wasn't hand tame already.

As above, don't force him to do anything. Take it at his pace. Give him options and challenges, but don't be backing him into any corners!

He sounds like he's desperately trying to communicate with you that you're going too fast.

Don't think of the behaviour as "bluffing" or behaviour, think of it as him telling you he's scared. Be kind to him so every interaction with you is loving and gentle.
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Old 08-10-2018, 12:12 PM
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Re: New IRN Mom

It sounds like play or investigation rather than any kind of aggression. He doesn't know that it hurts you when he tries to work out what the bone inside your finger is :P. I make a high pitched noise, flinch, glare, then turn away when he nibbles too hard, like another bird would, to let him understand that it hurts without being entertainingly dramatic about it. He doesn't know how sensitive different parts of a human are, and by ignoring it you gave him no indication before, so you have to use body language and vocalisations that he can relate to, for him to understand. Bo is my first Indian Ringneck so take my opinion for what you think it's worth, I just know it seems to have worked for me with Biddy and Bo.

Refusing to step up on a perch for you might be because you didn't desensitise him to you moving it around him adequately before holding it up to him, or maybe he has learned that what you want to do when you do that is put him in his cage, and he just needs to be shown that stepping up more often means things he wants than things he doesn't. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-10-2018, 03:02 PM
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Re: New IRN Mom

Bite pressure training is something I haven't heard of until now...I'll definitely look into it!

The breeder claimed that they hand reared their babies and he was the only one left when I went to get him so I didn't see any others to vaguely compare how they acted or not. From what I read up on bluffing, I've had my doubts about Kiwi going through it as well, but he's my first bird and I don't have enough experience to really know for sure. I will try to get better at picking up on his body language to avoid any unnecessary bites in the future and teach him when he's biting too hard Thanks for the advice everyone!
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Old 08-10-2018, 03:12 PM
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Re: New IRN Mom

Here's some moe reading we usually recommend.
Tips for Bonding and Building Trust
General Parrot Information - Parrot Forum - Parrot Owner's Community
Yeah, I think you're having pretty good progress for just a month. He relaxed a lot, is very interested in you, and seems to show a lot of curiosity!
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