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Old 12-11-2015, 09:17 PM
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Unhappy Birdsitting! Would someone please help me?

Hi there! I have never in my life owned a bird. They seem like sweet creatures but I just know very little about them. My friend has gone out of town for a week and a half and begged me to watch her Macaw. I was very hesitant but she said there was no one else, and there's no... bird kennels? I was very nervous but she brought me over a few times to adjust me to the bird and show me the ropes on feeding her and tucking her in at night with a blanket. I thought, how hard can this be? I'm an animal lover. I have a dog and a cat! Surely a bird won't be too hard. The first day I had no problem feeding her and changing out her water. I checked on her throughout the day and then wrapped her cage up at night as her owner instructed. I came back this morning to feed her, and she seems extremely agitated. She flapped her wings and screeched at me as I tried to reach in for her food bowl. She turned and snapped her beak towards me. I don't think she was trying to bite, but it was definitely a warning. She won't let me get my hands anywhere near her food or water bowl. I used a toilet paper tube cut in half to sort of funnel food into her bowl from the outside of the cage, so she didn't go unfed today. But I don't know how I'm going to change out her water. Does any one have any ideas for this non-bird owner!? I'm so sorry to bother you folks, and I know I sound like an idiot for even taking this task on. Thank you for taking the time to read.
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:58 PM
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Re: Birdsitting! Would someone please help me?

You're not an idiot at all! Just very kind hearted.
Can you access the food and water without entering the cage itself? Goal 1 - keep the bird alive until the owner is home
The bird is taking it out on you - but likely angry/nervous that the owner has disappeared. How often does she go away? They're very routine loving!I had to look after my inlaws cockatoo once, and he was as thrilled about it as this macaw. I put my tall puffy chest on, gumboots, thick jersey and heavy gloves, and did the bare minimum anyway. By day three he stopped trying to eat me - he figured out I meant food, water and potentially time out!
Sorry, not much helpful there - others will be along! Good luck!

edited to add - if you can find a cardboard box, chuck the food in there and then whip it onto the cage floor as quick as you can. It's what us food people call foraging and it's good for them Does he have a treat food that will take a couple of seconds to eat, like a peanut? feed that through on the other side of the cage, and whip on quickly to switch the water.
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Last edited by itchyfeet; 12-11-2015 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:42 PM
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Re: Birdsitting! Would someone please help me?

Woah, you're a really good friend! That is no small task, taking care of a large parrot.

Pretty much, everything that itchyfeet said.

I also want to add that you should try talking to her in a soft, gentle tone. Just talk to her like you would a toddler, or your dog even. She's probably scared that her owner is gone, but hearing you talk might help her realize you're okay.
Also, the fastest way to a parrot's heart is with food. Give her treats and praise her through the cage bars. She'll realize you're pretty cool after a while, especially if she's well socialized by her owner.

PS: Try your best not act nervous or afraid. They often get a real laugh out of terrorizing people haha
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Old 12-12-2015, 02:28 AM
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Re: Birdsitting! Would someone please help me?

I love the ingenuity of the toilet paper roll to get the food in! I can almost see the scene! You are indeed a good friend to do that. What are you doing about the water bowl? Hopefully she has a bottle instead! I would offer treats too, really long ones like a toast strip you can offer through he bars and keep your fingers. Good luck!
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:02 AM
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Re: Birdsitting! Would someone please help me?

I don't know how you can empty the water bowl to clean it, but if a dish is empty, you can get a new/clean plant waterer and pour water through the bars that way.
If you can distract it with food long enough to get the water bowl out calmly, that might be your best bet, if you can give him a food item he can hold and take bites from (pizza crust, millet spray, etc) it MIGHT keep him in one spot. Good luck!
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:13 AM
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Re: Birdsitting! Would someone please help me?

Notabirdowner, How is your houseguest today? What did you work out with the water bowl?
Best of luck with your babysitting adventures. You are truly a good friend!
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:56 AM
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Re: Birdsitting! Would someone please help me?

Thank all of you so much for your wonderful suggestions! Yesterday she was still pretty upset, so I refilled her food again the same way. (Don't make fun of me!) I siphoned out her water and refilled it using a turkey baster. Haha. Whatever works, right? I had today off of work so I was able to sit with her and feed her peanuts and talk to her for almost an hour. She was very suspicious of me at first, but I was finally able to get her to take them from me. After a few peanuts, I was finally able to gently reach in and take her bowls. I was able to clean them and refill them. I was also able to clean out her cage while she watched me. I think she's still suspicious but I'm okay with suspicion as long as I get to keep my digits! Haha.
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Old 12-13-2015, 10:07 AM
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Re: Birdsitting! Would someone please help me?

I think you have the creativity and fortitude it takes to be a parront! Have you ever considered getting your own?
Omg, I can't wait to tell my bird sitter about the turkey Baster! She loved the toilet paper roll but she will love this! When she bird sits, she has to remove her glasses because Paco hates them. She can hardly see what she is doing with him.
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Old 12-13-2015, 10:14 AM
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Re: Birdsitting! Would someone please help me?

I love the ingenuity of your methods of water and food! Made me giggle.

You definately have gone the extra mile making sure the bird is well cared for, even coming here and joining a bird forum.

So when I go on vacation, I can give you a call right?

jk

Kristine
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Old 12-13-2015, 12:30 PM
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Re: Birdsitting! Would someone please help me?

Wow, you are a real friend, and for us who likes birds so much you are a true hero!
You have a new friend for life. Birds never forget. I bet your friend has a sitter now every time she goes out of town. I wish I had someone like you.
My daughter told me that I should look into local bird sanctuaries next time I travel. She gave up after her first sitting.....
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