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NovasMama 04-27-2020 03:33 PM

Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
Hi everyone,

Ive had my QP Nova for over 6 months now and I really need reassurance and advice.

She was 3 months when I got her and would now be around 9 months. Its important to note also that she has no use of her left foot at all, my vet is aware and happy to leave her be with it since she doesnt seem bothered by it and can move around reasonably well, but I think it has an impact on her confidence, I could be wrong though.

She came to me from a breeder who in hindsight was really shady, but Im already here now so Im not giving up on her.

She is absolutely terrified of people, shell scream if you even look at her sometimes. I try to let her out to spread her wings but she wont go back in her cage and I can tell shes hesitant to go back in when she gets hungry because she knows Ill shut the door. Id love to have her out more but I have commitments to other pets including dogs. She gets a good few hours out at least.

She has a very large cage with lots of toys and natural perches and branches for her to chew (bird safe of course), she seems to enjoy foraging toys I make for her and ripping paper up.

I think she has bonded to me at least a bit, she copies some noises I do and seems sometimes to enjoy a back and forth with noises shes learned, but in all honesty she seems angry or upset most of the time. She squawks most of the time even when shes got food, water and had her out of cage time, Ill try to give her attention once shes quiet again but she just gets angry at me it seems.

At the moment Im dropping millet in her bowl every time I walk past in the hopes shell learn Im not horrible, but I just want to know if theres more I can do.

I dont mind if shes never a cuddly bird, I just want her to be a happy bird.

NovasMama 04-27-2020 03:35 PM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
Forgot to add I’ve been talking to her, interacting with her and everything since day one but I’m not seeing any difference with her other than her learning some noises ��

OzBlue 04-27-2020 08:32 PM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
Hey Novas, our QP is about 9 months old too. by Andrew G, on Flickr

This is a setup we needed to use to get her back in her cage for a while. She wasn't able to do step up consistently enough for us to place her back in her cage. We used a string that we could pull while away from her, to close the door when she got in and it was roughly time for her to get back in the cage. It removed the need for us to rush to the door to close it. If she ever saw us make a move for the cage while she was in it she'd fly out.

but we could slowly pull the string when she was getting in and she'd sit there, probably thinking "what the hell is going on here...." We've had her for a month now and let her out after 3 weeks of having her. We'd have to towel her previously to get her back in the cage which was an unpleasant experience for both of us. Despite using a towel probably being less traumatising than grabbing her, it still felt like it would set back our bonding so the pull string was really handy. I've got her cage right behind my work desk so i was able to use my webcam to see when she was getting in as she knew what i would be thinking if i looked at her when she was in there haha, "clever girl".

We did a lot of consistent training, starting with her accepting treats every morning from us (which took some time for her to allow us to get close to her) through the cage. I think we did on average 4 x 15 minute sessions a day. Eventually when we did let her out she was still pretty nervous of us. Reading her body language we knew how close we could stand to her with treats in our hands, eventually we started to put the treats on the perch she'd fly to and walk away. Following that she'd come closer to our side of the perch and we'd give her the treats from our hands. From there we could begin step up training. Yesterday i was actually able to put her in her cage from step up!

Everything has been incremental, me working from home has been a huge help as i'm always here. She'd scream nonstop in the beginning but eventually it's somewhat subsided. Paying attention to body language is really important. If your bird backs away, thats probably where you need to stop with how close you are until they settle down, eventually they get the picture and then they get too comfortable with you haha.

OzBlue 04-27-2020 08:37 PM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
a thought came, you can always be the sole provider of your birds favourite treat (fresh veggies?) Mine loves carrots, as well as blueberries. Leave them on perches near the cage then back off to see if she'll recover them. If she's accepting any food you put in there i think thats a good start :)

Laurasea 04-27-2020 09:16 PM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
So sad to have a stressed baby. But I know you can still overcome a lot and make progress.

This article is Wonderful, I'm not a fan of the clicker training part I just say good birdie instead of clicking. But the article has lots of great ideas.

I took in a rescue I saved from terrible situation, and tho she was as friendly she also is fearful a lot, her biggest problems are being a lump on a stick or a lump on my shoulder, she wouldn't even jump an in inch between perches. It took two years for her to start jumping, and many months to start flying. I'm sure there is confidence issues with only having one working foot, poor thing! But they do adapt and learn to make do, but it must be part of the equation to make things easier for her when you work with her. Observation on how she gets around and how you can adjust things to make life easier. Very extra wide perches will be easier to balance on.

Micro steps and positive behavior shaping. And celebrate every small victories!

On page 10 and maybe 9-11 I have behavior articles links

NovasMama 04-28-2020 04:31 AM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
Thank you both for the help and the resources! The string idea is game changing!! Very good reading. I’m going to implement those ideas and try to get a structure to her day to see if that allows her to relax a bit. I’m wondering if the random squawking will lessen with this?

Am I right in thinking her copying me shows that she does actually want to interact with me? I’m feeling a lot more hopeful about the future with her now.

1oldparroter 04-28-2020 09:17 AM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
Is the bad foot causing the bird pain? Is it stepping on the foot directly, is the foot turned so that she steps on it or her leg. Ya really need to see a different Avian vet about that. Wider perches and changing the cage layout to make things easy'er sounds good. DO NOT towel the bird, the pull string is a good idea and you can use feeding time as the lure. Instead of the towel, have you tried holding a long perch out to it. That prevents you getting bit and giving it a treat at same time a distraction. Treats can be offered from a spoon too, again no personal risk. Watch lots of video's on bonding and early training. jh

Laurasea 04-28-2020 10:54 AM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
Yes Quaker are very social as well as very smart! So interact with you with voice is very positive,! Abd ta dim sqwaks could be flock calls, have one word or whistle that you always use as a flock call, when you are out of sight give your word or whistle to let them know you are still around, and when she makes her flock call give the same word or whistle back.

Do your observations, is the cage in the best pla e, were she is part of everything and can see everything but feels safe a d that nothing is going to sneak up on her? First she have a visual sheilded spot to retreat behind?

Talk to her, explain this GS that are going on, always great first thing in the morning, make routines and rituals. Lots of hand feeding.

Penny also freaked about going back in her cage , so we did lots of tsketocsge put in and take back out, and put in with extra special food treat leave for a few minutes and take right back out. Till she learned going in the cage didn't mean she was stuck there for ever lol.

Also behavior shaping can start from the place you can be near, without upsetting her. Then you say good bird, and walk away. Repeat a bunch. Then have a great only dish right at the fro t of the cage, and one on top of the cage for when she is out. Always say the same thig like hi Nova,put a treating the dish and walk away. I use safflower seeds. Repeat a bunch several times a day till she looks forward to seeing you. These are shaping her behavior that you are positive. Abd that you say hi and dont catvh her off guard she knows what to expect. Then you work on shaping her behavior sothst she moves towards you. She moves towards you get treat in dish, moves towards you eventually you hand feed treat. Teaching her to move towards you is one of the Positive and important steps! You never ( not saying you are!) Chase them with your hand or try to move your hand towards them really, you try to teach them to come to your hand.

Absolute you will make more progress and I feel sure be good freinds. Each parrot is different, but Quakers as a group are highly social.

You can also make a ramp from her cage to s play stand, in the mean time if you can't move her around with a hand perch yet. Then once she us good at moving to the stand, you can see if you can calmly move the stand to spot to hs g out near you, then when fine move the stand back to her cage.

O might have an article about a behaviorist help a client with a fearful bird. I look for it.

NewQuakerMom 04-28-2020 02:01 PM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
I don't have a whole lot to add, but we also have a non-step-up-ing bird - what we do is we make sure the food dish is on the opposite side from the door. So when he goes in, and goes to eat, it's easier to close the door.
I also noticed that he likes to eat when I'm eating. So when it's time for him to go to bed, I get a bit of some kind of snack food, and sit and eat it where he can see. he goes in to eat and sort of keep me company eating, and after a minute, I close up his cage & give him a bit of a treat. :) Keep on talking to him - they really seem to like voices!!!

NovasMama 04-28-2020 04:28 PM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
Thanks everyone!

As for her foot, it’s almost seemingly stuck in a flat position, she gets around just fine and I have vet wrap on some of her narrower perches to give her a better grip! Yes I’ve been considering a second opinion, I’ll sort that out after the virus is gone, cheers!

I’m currently getting everyone in the house to say hello when they’re about to walk past her cage and also dropping treats in her treat dish when she’s making nice noises or they want to interact with her.

Started her on a strict routine today, set an alarm for morning, fresh water, breakfast, out time, dinner and bed. I’m hoping she’ll associate the noise of the alarm (soothing music) with positive things and will allow her to know what’s coming which will hopefully reduce her anxiety.

Absolutely feeling renewed about this little bird. Few people I know just find her annoying and said I should sell her because she just squawks, but I’d absolutely never ever do that unless I wasn’t able to give her what she needed.

I can’t thank you guys enough, I can’t wait to implement all of the changes and see how she adapts.

I’ll definitely keep you posted with her progress and hopefully she’ll be a much happier girly in the future!

fiddlejen 04-28-2020 06:28 PM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
My Sun Conure has a little bit of a foot problem also. Specifically, one non-working claw (rather than the whole foot like yours). When I got her she had real trouble balancing on perches, and couldn't do step ups. She was Willing to step up, but pretty much unable. She would scoot backwards & even slide around perch. So I had to figure out if she was Actually willing, and then sort of scoop her up. (If she wasn't willing, she would slide away more & resist more.)

Also she would fall off perch when sleeping.

I got her lots of rope perches and spiral rope perches.
I put platforms in her cage(s).

Also I got these perches for her:

Big difference here is that mine is a happy outgoing birdy. (This is apparently thanks in large part to my local Petco's Bird Whisperer who really works with the birds before they sell.)

However. Over the first few months I'd say her confidence increased a lot as we worked specifically on her balance issues. First I tried using Target Training... which I am no good at, but, getting a sense of the principles will help a Lot anyway even if you don't implement it Exactly.

The first "trick" I worked on with her (well, after "Touch," that is), was a simple "Two Feet," that is, to get her to stand & balance with both feet under her (instead of with one foot up grabbing something sideways for balance). After that we moved on to struggle with "Step Up," but around that time we discovered that she really loves Tropical Nutriberries. Loves them to the point that my un-balanced birdie will balance on one foot whilst holding Nutriberry in the other foot to eat. Huge Accomplishment for her! She normally drops them after a few bites. Nonetheless these treats are her Ongoing Physical Therapy.

Her one toe still does not work, but, after she began balancing for nutriberries, her step-ups improved right away. Most of a year later and she no longer falls off perches. You might not guess, at first glance, that she even had a balance problem.

Now your bird has different issue if the problem is whole foot instead of just one non-working claw&toe. So the specifics of how to help will be different.

But, my point is that it you may want to work with her creatively to help her improve her balance, and help find her creative ways to compensate. The better & more easily she can move around, the more confident & happier she can be.

NovasMama 04-29-2020 10:38 AM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
How could I get her into her travel cage for the trip to the vet? Shes scared of even perches near her.

NovasMama 04-29-2020 02:24 PM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
Cool idea! I do a lot of clicker training with my dog so maybe Ill give it a shot with her once shes more comfortable with me. Just wanted to add she puts weight on it and actually moves around almost perfectly, obviously its not ideal but she doesnt stand any different and enjoys strutting up and down her branches haha!

Cannot thank everyone enough!

sandeejs 05-02-2020 02:02 AM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
None of my birbs ever liked the travel cage. Have something soft on the bottom, and a favorite treat nearby. Talk to her softly during the trip. If you go while Covid19 still rules, you won't be able to attend the appointment.
Good luck.


Originally Posted by NovasMama (Post 865744)
How could I get her into her travel cage for the trip to the vet? Shes scared of even perches near her.

NovasMama 05-04-2020 07:24 AM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
Hi everyone!

Here with an update.

Just got off of video call with novas avian vet, he said her foot is most likely nerve damage or a neurological issue caused by injury or a birth defect. He said we could X-ray it to find out exactly what’s wrong but it’s a waste of money because there’s no treatment available for her kind of issue. He’s sending us some anti inflammatory pain killers as a long shot but doesn’t hold out much hope. He said she’ll adapt as time goes on and I’m already doing everything right with cushioning her perches and using wide flat perches.

I’ll let you guys know how that goes and also how our bonding is going as time passes! Cannot thank you all enough!

Scott 05-05-2020 12:48 AM

Re: Desperately seeking help with terrified QP!
Deep respect caring for a special needs bird! Hopefully Nova is not in pain and will most likely acclimate to life with reduced function.

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