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Old 04-22-2017, 04:20 PM
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So scared it breaks my heart.

I recently came to own a sweet quaker parrot, her name is Sol! I call her my little soul bird. She's a happy bird who loves her toys and cage, but is TERRIFIED of people. She's been this way since we got her from the pet store. She won't bite, but her little heart will race, she trembles, and she does everything possible to run away and hide. Usually into her little fuzzy bed(when shes in her cage, outside of it she looks for dark coners and spaces) where I can't see or get her out of. Thats another problem, I cant seem to stick or finger train her because she hides into her little fuzzy bed, and Ive struggled deciding whether I should remove it, but thats where she sleeps and feels comfortable and safe in, so should I? I've tried luring her out with food but she doesn't like anything else, but the seeds she's been on since the pet store(which I know are unhealthy but she refuses to eat pellets even when I dip them in juice!). Even if she's never affectionate that's fine, I'll love her all the same, but I would like her to be less afraid as we share a room and is startled by my every move. I've had her about 3 months now and she's about 8-9 months old. I'd be very thankful if you could give me some advice, I've had another quaker parrot when I was younger but that was a completely different exerience. His name had been Pepè and he LOVED us and loved being out of his cage. I'm not sure how to care for Sol... I've told myself I need patience but it's been 3 months and there hasn't been ANY changes in her fear... I still love her, but I'd be so grateful if someone can relate or help!

Last edited by Christal; 04-23-2017 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 04-23-2017, 12:31 PM
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Re: So scared it breaks my heart.

Thank you for such concern for your Quaker! I know nothing of the species, and hope other members more familiar will post helpful advice. Kudos for your awareness of a near constant state of fear.

I'll post some relevant threads, but wish to address the "fuzzy bed." If it is aka Happy Hut or similar, please consider removing ASAP, particularly if there are signs of the threads being chewed. So many birds have died from consuming the strands! Alternative to Happy Huts???

You may have to return to "square one" with beginning to socialize:

Tips for Bonding and Building Trust

Bond forming

Converting Parrots to a Healthier Diet - Tips
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Old 04-23-2017, 01:26 PM
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Re: So scared it breaks my heart.

You sound like a wonderful soul yourself!
Great advice above.
Time (and love) are on your side.
I'm glad you're reaching out. Keep us posted.
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Old 04-23-2017, 01:48 PM
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Re: So scared it breaks my heart.

Patience. Some parrots take to new environments quickly, some it takes longer, and some it takes very long. Be consistent in your methods. Find that special treat she LOVES, and now it only comes from you. The links given are great info. Quakers are social birds, so she will naturally want to be with the new 'flock' once she is comfortable.
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Old 04-23-2017, 02:02 PM
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Re: So scared it breaks my heart.

Oh I know there will be great advice here. You sound amazing and I know with time and patience Sol will break through and find the happy bird inside!
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:09 PM
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Re: So scared it breaks my heart.

I've had my share of nervous, unsocialized animals. One of our dogs, Abby, is a little 3lb chihuahua. For the first two years or so, she wouldn't let us pick her up. Instead, she'd run to her bed or crate to be picked up. She was very skittish, and wouldn't let any of our guests touch her. Now she's a little flirt and loves having people hold her and pet her.

Gizmo, a 7lb long-haired chihuahua, was abused at his former home. His human ran a daycare, and the kids would hit him, carry him by the throat, and she was worried her young son would seriously injure him. For the first few months, Gizmo constantly thought we were going to beat him, and he was really scared. If we were carrying a newspaper, broom, etc., he'd run in fear because he thought he was going to be beaten (we wonder if the husband had abused him).

One evening, I was babytalking him and telling him he was a good little boy, and he accidentally wet himself. You should have seen him. One moment he was really happy and was opening up to me, the next he had a look of shock and fear as he cowered, trying to get away from me. He wasn't just upset because he'd accidentally peed in the house. In that moment, I'm sure he thought I was going to yell at him and hit him. I told him that it was okay and that he was a good boy, but he was terrified and wouldn't come over to me. I had to pick him up and cradle him and reassure him until he calmed down. Today, he's still a dork, but he's a lot more confident and isn't constantly worrying that we're going to abuse him.

Alice was only 2 or 3 months old when I adopted her. She'd been rescued from an animal hoarder who was going to "release her into the wild" in the middle of the winter. Alice had bad PTSD and was completely withdrawn and was constantly in a state of fear. The other budgies (except Ziggy) avoided her because they could tell there was something wrong with her, but after a year, she finally got past her PTSD and explores her surroundings, socializes a bit, and is actually enjoying life.

With Sol, I'd take things slow with her. Sit at a distance from her cage where she still feels comfortable enough to preen, eat, and sleep in front of you. Hang some spray millet in her cage and read to her. Don't stare at her, and keep one eye closed when you look at her. Keep these sessions short at first. 5 minutes, for example. As she gets more comfortable with you, you can pause for 15 seconds or so and give her the slow blink and maybe grind your teeth. Blinking slowly and keeping your eyes closed for a few seconds each time shows her that you're calm and that you trust her, and that you don't want to hurt her. If she starts slowly blinking back and copying you, awesome! That means she's opening up to you and is willing to let down her guard a bit.

When you have to give her fresh food or water or whatever, gently tell her what you're doing and make slow, but deliberate motions. Once you're done, put some sunflower seeds in her dish and walk out of the room, giving her time to come out of her Happy Hut and eat the treats.

As she becomes more and more confident in your presence, move your reading chair a couple of inches closer to her cage, and read for a bit longer. If she feels uncomfortable, move your chair away. Once she's used to this bonding routine, try reading a kid's book with pictures in it, and gently show her the pictures at a safe distance. Talk to her about the pictures and comment on what's happening in the story so far. Is one of the characters being mean? Talk to her about it and try to engage her in the story. If she starts becoming interested in story time, that's fantastic! Even if it means she's peaking her head out of her hiding spot to take a look at the book when she doesn't think you'll notice.

Again, she dictates the pace. At no point should she feel unsafe. Slowly, she should become more confident, knowing you respect her privacy and won't force her to do anything she's not comfortable with.

When you're in the room, make sure there's always some noise, such as gentle talking, humming, or soothing music. To parrots, silence means danger, and a quiet human is a predator.

Last edited by Teddscau; 04-23-2017 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 04-23-2017, 11:07 PM
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Re: So scared it breaks my heart.

Aww bless you and your wonderful pets, I bet their so happy to have you in their life. Your story about Gizmo almost made me cry, just cause I feel Sol's much like that. The pet store we got her from was not a good one (not that many are.) They had what had to of been 60 or so cockatiels in one big cage(but DEFINITELY not big enough to house all those birds). They'd YANK birds off their cages and I didn't see any toys, and the smaller cages which were the size of small rat cages were staked on top of each other on the floor. In one of those cages I saw four Quakers huddled scarred in the corner of their cage. One of them was CLEARLY hurt as it wouldn't stand on one of its legs even when it moved around, I told the owner but he only told me they do that when their going to sleep BUT THIS BIRD WAS WIDE AWAKE AND SCARRED. I'd wanted to take that one home, but my mom insisted I not... I knew buying a bird from there I was going to have a hard time socializing them, but I wanted to rescue at least one of them from that AWFUL place, so I took Sol home. I'll take your advice on reading to her! I think that's a great one and I need to catch up on my reading anyways. A few times I've got to experience sweet moments with her where I've managed to calm her with head scratches and talking (she's even fallen asleep once!) but once I shift or move she remembers she's afraid of people and runs away. I'll just be patient and hope she comes around. Thank you!
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Old 04-23-2017, 11:11 PM
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Re: So scared it breaks my heart.

Quote: Originally Posted by Scott View Post
Thank you for such concern for your Quaker! I know nothing of the species, and hope other members more familiar will post helpful advice. Kudos for your awareness of a near constant state of fear.

I'll post some relevant threads, but wish to address the "fuzzy bed." If it is aka Happy Hut or similar, please consider removing ASAP, particularly if there are signs of the threads being chewed. So many birds have died from consuming the strands! Alternative to Happy Huts???

You may have to return to "square one" with beginning to socialize:

Tips for Bonding and Building Trust

Bond forming

Converting Parrots to a Healthier Diet - Tips
THANK YOU! I just ordered a sea grass hut for my little furry friend and hopefully it will be safer and she'll like it just as much!!!
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Old 04-24-2017, 01:01 AM
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Re: So scared it breaks my heart.

Wonderful! You seem such a caring parront, think you are on the right path to changing Sol's life for the better!
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Old 04-24-2017, 02:26 PM
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Re: So scared it breaks my heart.

If the store's as bad as you say, I'd contact the ASPCA and PETA. I know avian welfare standards are low, so there might not be a whole lot that the ASPCA can do, but PETA should be quick to investigate.

Anyways, good luck with your little girl! It's good that she'll occasionally accept scratches from you.
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