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Old 08-22-2018, 10:48 PM
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Smile Inherited IRN

Hi everyone! I'm new to this forum, and new to bird owning itself as I have never owned a bird in my life, but recently I inherited a mature green IRN from a deceased relative. I'm not sure how old he is, and my relative wasn't even his original owner.

He has never been handled to my knowledge and is very aggressive, but very attached to a stuffed toy bird which I think he bonded with. He accepts treats through his cage bars but if I put my fingers anywhere near the cage without food he will try to bite me. He is very vocal and seems interested in me when I talk/sing/copy him. He is almost always pinning his eyes though, which I'm not sure is a positive or negative.

I babysat him for a month last year and although he has a fear of hands, I got him to a point where he would step up onto a stick while I was wearing gardening cloves and would walk around me on the floor (as I would lay on the floor reading a book). I've tried again once since getting him but he seems to have reverted and just flew around the house wildly till crashing to the ground, he then let me pick him up and I held him on my shoulder while I walked him to his cage and put him away.

I'm very fond of him and would love to get to a point where he could step up, sit on my shoulder, and walk around me while I read/work, but I fear that may not be possible so I was wondering if anyone had any tips or opinions on how I could go about this.

My housemate owns a Lovebird and Green Cheek Conure, should I keep them separate or house them as neighbors? Would slowly introducing them through bars be beneficial? They are quite friendly towards new birds (as they took to each other quite fast, and my friend's birds, also a lovebird and GCC) so perhaps it would be good to get him off of his toy bird and onto actual birds? As I stated before, I've never owned a bird before, only been around them, so any opinion is appreciated! Thank you!

(Extra: His name is Elvis but I was hoping to change it, that would have no affect to him would it? He says "It's Elvis!" but he doesn't really know that's his name, right?)
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Old 08-23-2018, 01:45 AM
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Re: Inherited IRN

Figure out what his favorite treats are and start working on target training through the cage bars. Any time you walk by the cage, drop his favorite treat into a treat cup for that purpose.

There's no telling how "Elvis" will react to having other birds around. It may stress him out or he may find comfort in it.


As far as the name, that's up to you. I have a Charlie, and I freakin hate that name! I despise common names! Charlie does say "Hi Char-LEE!" and "Charlie-saurus!" so I didn't really have the heart to change his name...

Some people will choose a similar sounding name as to the name their bird has and slowly teach the bird to say the new name over the old one. It doesn't always work, though! That said, I can't think of any similar names to Elvis other than maybe Ellis?
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Old 08-23-2018, 10:38 AM
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Re: Inherited IRN

My IRN is an untrained rescue not rehome. Every bird is different. Even so, he should not be given free time with other birds. You may think they will be safe, but it only takes an instant for him to maim another bird.

Something else to consider is food. Lovebirds and GCCs have similar diets and can even share food, but an IRN has a different dietand . By allowing them to visit cages, you encourage him to eat foods that can cause liver damage and early death or the others to die early from upper GI problems.

How old is he? How long have you had him? Do you have an avian vet you trust or does your housemate? Do you have a bird groomer you trust? Have you discussed this with other IRN owners? I realize this happened rather suddenly, but you knew before. How long have you known him?
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Old 08-23-2018, 10:52 AM
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Re: Inherited IRN

Do not attempt to change his name after the bluffing stage! It sounds like he has. Please describe (What color are) his eyes. As well, what color is his beak (orange, red, black)?

Believe me, I would not have named my birds Glenn, Sherman, JoJo, Daytona or Miss Bird, but these are the names they know. Usually, once a bird has reached sexual maturity, changing it's name can be a problem no matter the name. Despite anyone's opinion, you may just be stuck with that name.
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Old 08-23-2018, 01:30 PM
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Re: Inherited IRN

Nym, you have a long road in front of you. IRN's are notorious for going back to the "wild" state if they are not handled and interacted with almost every day. THat being said, you seem to have a IRN who is at least interested in you. Monica has given you a good tip. The way to most parrots is thru their bellies. Its OK to have to use a perch stick to get him out, but remember - shoulders are privilege places for parrots that can be trusted to not bite. An IRN can do serious damage to your face or ear, requiring stitches or possibly causing nerve damage. Its the forearm until you really trust him.
Work with him on a daily basis on the above mention target training, doesn't have to be a long session 10-15 minutes , but every day, same time. I think you will see results rapidly since he is already interested in you.
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Old 08-25-2018, 11:32 PM
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Re: Inherited IRN

Quote: Originally Posted by LeslieA View Post
Do not attempt to change his name after the bluffing stage!
There is no "bluffing" stage... just a stage where birds try to figure out how to communicate with us in the nicest way possible and birds who *don't* want to bite may lunge without actually connecting. When this behavior is ignored, because it's the nicest, and most clearest way for them to say "I *WILL* bite!", then it can lead to actual biting.

Barbara's Force Free Animal Training Talk: Do Animals Bluff?
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:05 AM
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Re: Inherited IRN

Monica took the words right out of my mouth: There is no "bluffing" stage! Myths like this tend to get started and then eventually are almost accepted as being "fact", lol, especially since the creation of the Internet, where literally anyone can make their own "parrot" website and state things as being fact without having documentation or footnotes to back-up and support what they're saying. So always question and double-check any of this kind of stuff that you read about on the web.

Anyway, it's never too late to attempt to tame a parrot, and as you already experienced, this IRN already started the bonding/taming process with you once in a very short time. So you absolutely should keep working with him on a daily basis, and if you make the commitment to working with him every single day, then it will eventually happen. However, this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. As Wrench already mentioned above, Ringnecks for whatever reason have a very strong tendency to lose their "tameness" if they are ignored and not interacted with for a period of time, so you really do have to work with him every single day, for as long as you can. And you have to take the training/taming at HIS PACE, not your pace. You can't force anything, it will happen when he wants it to happen...And the first step is always going to be you "earning his trust"...Right now you haven't yet earned his trust, but you will if you keep spending time with him every day, talking to him every day, and making him feel like he's a part of the family and the household. The process of getting him to step-up, to sit on your shoulder safely, to not bite, to like being handled, etc. is going to take months and months, if not longer, like I said, it's a marathon, not a sprint. So you can't allow your frustration to get the better of you. This process takes great patience and a lot of time...

As far as the other birds in your house....Firstly, there should always be a "quarantine" period whenever a new bird is brought into a home that already has birds in it, where the new bird is kept in a totally separate room from the other birds for at least 30 days. So you should not even put the birds in the same room together for at least 30 days, so that you don't put the 2 birds already in the house at risk of becoming ill from anything that the IRN may have. After the 30 day quarantine period is over, then you can try to put their cages into the same room, but start out with their cages being across the room from each other, not right next to each other. You need to see how they interact with each other, or if they interact with each other. If you hear them talking to each other and wanting to interact with each other, then after having their cages in the same room for a month, then you can try putting his cage closer to the other bird's cages...However, I wouldn't expect them to ever be close to each other, or to be "friends"...This may happen, or they may simply tolerate each other but not really like each other, or they may absolutely hate each other to the point of aggression and violence. You can never allow them to be out of their cages together, not even supervised, as the size difference between the IRN and the Green Cheek/Lovebird is enough that it could easily end in tragedy...

Birds are very much like people; they like who they like, they dislike who they dislike, and they hate who they hate. And there is no way to anticipate or guess what people, birds, dogs, etc. that a bird is going to like, hate, or be indifferent to. Don't try to force any type of contact between this IRN and the other birds in your house right now. The best thing that you can do in the near future is to simply work on your relationship with the IRN, as right now he's not at all tame, and you are the only person that he has any type of relationship with. So your goal for right now should be earning his trust, and working with him on a regular, daily basis to get him used to interacting with you. And then go from there.
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Old 08-26-2018, 12:05 PM
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Re: Inherited IRN

Make sure you read all about the dangers of Teflon/PTFOA, PTFE--- can kill in as little as 5 minutes when heated and hides in LOTS of things besides no-stick pans.....popcorn makers, rice-cookers, blow-dryers, space-heaters, bake-in-a-bag meals, drip-trays, curling irons, humidifiers, self-cleaning ovens during self-cleaning cycle, irons, ironing boards, coffee makers etc.
There are accounts of birds fatally inhaling PTFE fumes from a different floor of the house.

Also, make sure you aren't using scented products (air-freshener, candles, lysol, windex, bleach, defusers, smoke, bbq grills right by the house etc).
When cleaning, use only avian approved cleaners or something like vinegar +water, or grapeseed extract. I use a veterinary product called F10 SC and I love it (as it kills more than vinegar and is relatively safe +avian approved)----fumes aren't an issue when diluted to the proper ratio. I do 2ml per 17oz of water in a chemically resistant spray bottle (labeled of course). You can get a 1 ml syringe at the pharmacy for free if you ask for one.

Avoid toxins like avocado, tomato, rhubarb, excess salt or sugar, alcohol, artificial sweetener, chocolate, caffeine etc. Birds are lactose-intolerant. They also should not consume a lot of fatty foods (including nuts). If you have an insect problem, ant killers and insecticides can also kill your bird. A bird may even be poisoned by eating a bug that has consumed chemicals. Fruit pits and apple-seeds are dangerous for birds due to cyanide content, but when the pit/seeds are not present, they are fine. Avoid excessively acidic foods and citrus fruits---too much citrus can cause iron poisoning because it disrupts their ability to eliminate it (Iron Storage Disease--- https://www.petmd.com/bird/condition...torage_Disease ). Avoid fortified cereals etc (not just because of the sugar, but due to added vitamins). Also, natural applesauce (unsweetened) still contains citric acid, so stuff like that should be given in moderation.

If you ever have to give a bird meds and can't squirt it in, consider making a small batch of PLAIN oatmeal, sweetened with fruit. Test it on the bird ahead of time to make sure it is a hit. Then, if you need to give medicine, take a small amount of oatmeal and mix it in after the oatmeal has cooled (think baby bottle temp). If the quantity is small enough, this will allow you to ensure that they have eaten it all.

Wet foods should not be left in the cage for very long, as they are bacterial hazards...Within 2 hours, most should be moved, unless you are dealing with something like apple slices (harder fruits have a bit more wiggle room-- especially raw ones).

If heating foods or giving wet foods, beware that some birds have a hormonal response to these. Mine doesn't, but I have heard that in an already hormonal bird, these can make things worse.


When you are able to handle your bird, make sure that you are not petting it in a way that is sexually stimulating. This can cause egg-laying, aggression and all sorts of bad stuff. In cockatoos, anything other than the head is generally considered unsafe.

Peanuts can be dangerous because of the salt and fat content, but also because the shells contain a fungus that can infect the bird.

Do not allow the bird to chew on metal objects---zinc, copper and lead are very bad. Stainless steel is really the only safe metal.

Limit seeds-- especially sunflower seeds.
Make sure you find out how much sleep your bird needs and provide x hours of uninterrupted sleep in a quiet room. You may cover the cage, but depending on your bird, you should research cage covering and night-frights first. Don't cover with a heavy fabric (towels etc are not very breathable)

Place the cage in a spot away from drafts where at least one side of the cage is against a wall. A cage that is open on all sides makes birds feel too vulnerable to attack from all sides (they are prey animals)

If your bird is ever on the cage-floor without a purpose (playing etc) then this is the sign of a VERY ill bird....like EMERGENCY...
Birds hide illness and so at that point, it is a very bad situation. Keep an eye on your birds droppings (Google will help), look out for nasal secretions, the vent (butt-hole hahaha) should be free from debris. Breathing should be inaudible. Look out for tail bobbing when a bird is standing still/perched, as this is a sign of difficulty breathing in many cases. Any cracking, squeaking or wheezing is BAD when the bird breathes. Eyes should not be red, nor should they produce discharge or swelling. Take your bird to the vet if you notice any of these things or if your bird's behavior or eating/drinking suddenly changes. Look for a certified avian vet and get your bird checked ASAP because this will ensure that you are starting with a clean bill of health. Do not share food or toys among birds if at all possible.

Birds can be carriers of deadly illness without actually ever getting sick. For instance, the precursor to deadly PDD (also known as Macaw wasting disease) is a virus called ABV. This virus infects about 45% of birds, but most never show symptoms (even though they can still spread it--in vulnerable birds, it becomes PDD, which is terminal)---after exposure, it may take up to 10 years to show symptoms (if ever). Beak and Feather disease is another one that can spread easily and is deadly as well. SOOOO that is why you should avoid exposure to other birds in boarding facilities etc, unless you have no choice. Although there is testing available for these, carriers can erroneously test negative unless they are actively shedding the virus at the time of testing.

In terms of bonding, birds move in SLOW motion....As in, 1/2 parrot day= 7 human days. Do not get discouraged. Try sitting near the cage and reading quietly etc etc. Let the bird get comfortable with you.
Avoid introducing anything new without first placing it within the birds environment at a safe distance ahead of time. New toys etc can terrify a bird when placed directly in the cage.
See if you can get the bird to take food from your hand. If not, this is something to work up to. If a bird won't take food from you, it doesn't trust you enough to step up or anything else. Even if does take food, do not force the step-up issue until you are certain that your bird is comfortable--over time, you can increase your proximity etc. If your bird likes a certain food, then work on this stuff in the AM when the bird is hungry (assuming you remove food at night).
Wash water dishes daily using something like classic (non concentrated) Dawn and MAKE SURE ALL SOAP IS RINSED.

Make sure your bird is getting enough sunlight. They sell avian lights that can help with that if you are unable to place him by an open SCREENED IN window (supervised of course, as they can chew). They need light to regulate hormones and mood and help with feather quality.

Last edited by noodles123; 08-26-2018 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 08-26-2018, 01:25 PM
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Re: Inherited IRN

Actually, IRNs are more prone to bluffing than many birds.
I suggest you visit (***website link removed, as competing forum sites are not allowed***) and also visit an AV asap.
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Last edited by GaleriaGila; 09-23-2018 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 08-26-2018, 01:32 PM
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Re: Inherited IRN

I see yours is green. Mine is blue.
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