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Old 04-21-2012, 10:57 AM
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Arrow Can anyone help me tame my Pionus?

I just purchased a maximilian Pionus.

He is 9 months old and was hand reared. I saw him in a pet store that only sells birds and parrots. I absolutely fell in love with him

Unfortunately, he's gone a bit "wild" due to lack of fuss and attention in the pet shop. The owner of the store gave me an excellent deal and assured me he would be fairly easy to tame him again.

My Pionus came with all his documents to prove he is 9 months old and was hand reared.

Does anyone have any tips on how to tame a Pionus?

Last edited by Kitty; 04-21-2012 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 04-21-2012, 01:46 PM
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Re: Can anyone help me tame my Pionus?

Patience is a big thing, eventually he will tame and you'll be in love.

Touch/target training is excellent. It brings a connection to you and your bird and gets him to interact with you on his terms.

Touch training is when you use a thin stick(chop stick or wooden skewer) and a clicker. You want them to touch the end of the stick then reward them with a tasty healthy treat.
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:51 AM
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Re: Can anyone help me tame my Pionus?

hey kitty, as said above patiance

also what are you feeding

how big is the birds cage

how much time do you spend with him or around him

welcome to the forum an pics please
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:59 PM
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Re: Can anyone help me tame my Pionus?

Hi guys, thanks for the advice!

He's eating a dry mix the parrot store told me to feed him. I'm slowly trying to indroduce fresh food into his diet too but he doesn't seem to like anything he's not used to.

I've managed to feed him a dried piece of fruit out of my hand and I'm working on "stepping up" which he's getting really good at!
He still sometimes opens his beak or even nips at me. I try to ignore and not react to him doing it though.

At the moment he's in a smallish cage because it's the same size as the one he was in at the shop. I was also told to start him off in a small cage so I can train him to get in and out of it easier. As soon as I had him trained a bit better I'm going to get him a bigger one.

I spend quite a bit of time with him. I sit in the same room as his cage and I try to handle him little and often but I allow him an hour or two break (I also leave the room) before getting him out again.

I have a clicker... But I really don't know what to feed him as a treat!! I read on the internet that he should love cheese. I tried a bit, but he didn't want it. Any other suggestions?

Also, this might sound strange...But he is very clumsy! He was sitting on my knee earlier and fell right off! He sometimes falls off his perches too! Is he still getting used to his surroundings? Is that normal?

I'll put a picture up as soon as I've got a good one of him!

Kitty
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:39 PM
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Re: Can anyone help me tame my Pionus?

For now, you can even use a bit of the food he already eats as a "treat" and then, as you introduce new things - fruit or veggie, and figure out what he likes, you can use that.

But, as the others mentioned, patience, patience and more patience! And once he gets truly comfortable and settled in, don't be surprised if he decides to act up a little - he'll then start testing the boundaries! And even then, patience and consistency. Oh - and you need to change your user text - it says you have no parrots and obviously, that has changed!
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:17 PM
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Re: Can anyone help me tame my Pionus?

Hi. If your birds balance is that bad you should take him to the vet. That doesn't sound normal. Birds often get a respiratory infection in that enviorment. That could effect his balance and will only get worse without antibiotics.
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:06 AM
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Re: Can anyone help me tame my Pionus?

Thanks, petoftheday!
I've been meaning to change my text...Thanks for reminding me, I'll do it now! The thing is, I don't have a name for him yet and I didn't want to write just "pionus parrot" ha ha

Thank you, MissyMe83.
I'll try and take him to a bird friendly vets as soon as possible.
I thought it could be a possible ear infection because that upsets balance too but to be honest, I've checked him over, and there doesn't seem to be a problem. As strange as it sounds, I think he might have poor eyesight. When I said he "falls off perches" I meant he walks off the edge of them... And when he's walking on an uneven surface (like over the sofa cushions) if there's a sudden, obvious dip he falls over like he didn't notice the surface wasn't flat. It's very strange

I'm concerned about his lack of noise and movement. I know they're quite a docile, quiet species but honestly, he's more like a stuffed animal than a parrot. I left a camera near his cage and recorded what he did while I was away. He sat dead still, in the same spot for three hours!
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Old 11-23-2014, 02:19 AM
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Re: Can anyone help me tame my Pionus?

I've learned so much by watching The Parrot Wizard videos and reading his blog. I got a 4-mo old male Maximillian a few months ago and have had so much fun taming and training! He learns so fast! Michael, Parrot Wizard, helped me identify his favorite treat, which is a green pumpkin seed, or pepita. I need to figure out how to post a few videos soon. He can wave hello, gimme 5, shake, kiss, step up, turn around, play peekaboo, fetch a ball, let me rub his beak and scratch his head, and is learning to fly to me (recall).
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Old 11-23-2014, 02:21 PM
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Re: Can anyone help me tame my Pionus?

First, as everyone says, patience. But that doesn't just mean patience long term, but in every moment when you want him to do something and he doesn't want to. Pionus can be very shy birds. When people are trying to tame a bird I like to put it in this perspective; how long would it take a grizzly bear to convince you to let it hold you, pet you, feed you, and just in general for you to trust it. A long time, right? Because it is a predator and you know it! So every time your bird doesnt want to do something, just imagine a grizzly bear trying to get you to climb onto it or take food from its claws. This doesn't mean give up, it just means be compassionate and understanding.

Also, any bird who is old enough to perch and is falling off his perches needs to seed the vet RIGHT NOW.

The diet needs to change, and it will help more than you know. Slowly adding fresh food has never worked for me, but I have successfully switched dozens of birds, including the most hard-core of seed junkies, to fresh diets. There are many people with many strategies, but I will share mine with you, as it works for me every time. But first, let me emphasize that DIET MATTERS! Not just because hih want your bird to be healthy, but also because we know even from human studies that a bad diet leads to feeling bad, and a good diet leads to feeling good. A bad diet could be leaving your bird feeling sick all the time, or just in a brain fog, or without energy, and none of these are good for your relationship, or for training. The other thing is that you are very likely feeding him what would be his favorite treat in his dry mix. Would a cupcake motivate you if you are burgers, fries, and cake for every meal? No! Right? But how about if you ate a really good diet of mostly veggies, then a cupcake might seem like an enormous treat! For example, many of my birds with do ANYTHING for a peanut or sunflower seed, but before I switched their diet I could not get them interested in any food treats enough to be useful for taming or training. On that note, cheese is a bad idea. Dairy is only acceptable in the TINIEST amounts, no matter how tiny the pieces, even once a day is too much.

So how do you change the diet of a stubborn bird? The first step is sprouts. There are threads here on how to do it, and videos and manuals all over the Internet so I won't go into it here, but you can sprout the seed your bird is already eating for starters, just be sure to remove any pellets first as they can make the sprouts spoil. Switching from dry seed to sprouted seed is thei easiest, cheapest, and best first step you can take in my experience, and most birds LOVE it right off the bat! If your bird regents it for two days (which i have never seen happen) you may want to take a step back and just start with soaked seeds before moving to actual sprouts.

Once your bird has been eating the sprouts for about a week, you can start adding in veggies. Most effective way I have found to do this is to chop up as many safe veggies as you can, as small as you can. The size of a pea is the biggest you want when you first start out, and smaller is better. Food processors, juicers, and blenders are really helpful here. Focus on dark leafy greens, peppers, carrots, broccoli, dense veggies not watery ones if possible. A favorite of all my Pionus is edemame. Begin mixing the veggies in the sprouts, you can start with about 1/4 of the food being veggies, and work your way up to however much you want. I like to feed about half sprouts and half veggies for most of my birds.

Some people really encourage pellets, and I think it is wise to teach all birds to eat pellets just in case they someday move on to a new home where the owner doesn't take the time to feed them fresh food, or in case you hit a rough spot in your life temporarily, because pellets are better than just dry seeds, but they don't come anywhere near the. Nutritional value of fresh and live food, just as you can never replace veggies in the human diet with "health food bars."

All these things will help with taming. Also, how much does your bird move around the cage, play, and interact with his environment? When I first got my Maxi's they were the ultimate perch potatoes, eating pellets and sitting there doing nothing.switching them to live food and teaching them to forage brought out their personalities and returned their food drive which is excellent for training.

Some more questions, does he bite you when you try to get near him, or does he just move away? If the answer is move away, just continue being near him and talking to him, moving slowly when you are cleaning his cage or things like that, and gradually getting your hand nearer to him to offer treats. I find birds are usually much quicker to take a treat from between cage bars, because it offers them a barrier and a sense of safety, so start there. Don't be surprised if he doesn't take a treat until his diet is switched away from seeds. Once he takes treats from your hand, start target training as has been mentioned. Research how to use your clicker, but don't let him near the sound until he is taking treats from your hand, and you know how to use the clicker properly.
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Old 11-23-2014, 02:30 PM
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Re: Can anyone help me tame my Pionus?

Sorry I just read the bit about him not moving. Changing his diet is the first step there, and introducing foraging. Foraging can start with something as simple as switching his food and water dish around. Then just move the food dish somewhere new, then maybe to the floor, then maybe put a piece of paper on the top of it, burry his favorite food at the bottom of the dish so he has to dig for it, switch dishes on him! Don't do anything until he has figured out a simpler step, I suggest just switching the food and water to start. Later you can feed different foods in different dishes, and even move onto simple foraging toys that you can make or buy, and eventually more complex ones. I dealt with this very thing with Sam and Lady.

I also suggest you remove all but one or two toys (don't take away anything you have EVER seen him play with though). Then make toys out of fruits and veggies. Hang a kale leaf from the top of the cage near his favorite perch (a small one, don't want to scare him), replace his favorite perch with a carrot, shove a slice of apple through the bars in various places. Put carrot coins on top of his food, use a zip tie to tightly attach grapes near him, anything you can think of! As soon as you know he likes one food or the other, move it farther away from him so he has to go get it, etc.

Do not get discouraged. It was almost a year before Sam and Lady destroyed their first wooden toy, but now that they have, they are chewing machines, just as they should be! Your bird most likely sat in the store for a long time with very little mental stimulation or interaction. It will take time, but the 30+ years you will have with him is worth whatever it takes now to lay the right foundation for your relationship
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