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Old 06-30-2020, 09:25 AM
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Build trust as a "not-preferred" human

Hi guys,
I am wondering if you have experienced successful trust building as a not-preferred parront? I've been having problems with Winston. Winston ABSOLUTELY LOVES his dad (my husband), and I'm the unwanted mom. I respect his boundaries and is okay with him choosing dad overall, but things got complicated over the past few weeks.

1. Hormone - (facepalm)
Winston chases his dad everyday. We been discouraging, but we can at best prevent birdy love vomit.

2. He's sick (sour crop) without appetite. To manage his weight, we give more than usual amount of fruit and treats to entice him to eat. We also almost stopped all the recall training because he had no interest. He didn't feel well enough to do it. We've seen a vet, and he is recovering. I plan to start cutting his sugar once he gets into the 470g weight range. He's at 460g but normally at 488g.

Now, problems I have with Winston...(let me make a big sigh here.)
  • Winston and I kind of get along, but he will choose to bite. I can put my face to him, and he'd be fine receiving a kiss. We have great singing sessions every other day (shower schedule). But he will floor shark me out of the blue.
  • Step up (permission based with a treat) became very wacky. He knows that he can refuse a step up, and I know when he says no. He will however choose to step up and bite my hand without getting a reward. The bite became his reward. He always gets a firm "NO" and a time-out after bites, but he will choose to have consequences. I feel he's stepping up to bite me sometimes. This is a big problem because it breaks our trust.
  • He displays some hormonal behavior towards me, too, but it's more like a bad boy using a random girl as a target to take out emotions. His hormonal behavior towards his dad is like "ooohhh, let me show you my great precious vomit. I'm sure you will like me (romantic voice over)," Towards me? "HORMONE CHOMP! You'd better be satisfied with this! Because you are getting NOTHING ELSE!"
To summarize, my problem is hormonal based, but it is becoming trust-breaking. He bites me for every little emotions. Has anyone lived through this? Can you share how you handled the situation?

Thanks!

Last edited by shinyuankuo; 06-30-2020 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 06-30-2020, 10:48 AM
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Re: Build trust as a "not-preferred" human

Let me see if I can find an older thread on this where I wrote the reply I would basically write to you.

Okay go to this link, then look at my reply and read it---There are also some links (to related threads) within my reply that person, which may help as well.

Son's conure keeps biting me

EDIT--- YES- AGREE W/ CHRIS-MD (BELOW) DEFFFFFINITLY fix the medical first. I missed the thing about sour crop when commenting.

Last edited by noodles123; 06-30-2020 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 06-30-2020, 10:55 AM
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Re: Build trust as a "not-preferred" human

Can natural yogurt help with the sour crop, just a little of course?
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Old 06-30-2020, 12:55 PM
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Re: Build trust as a "not-preferred" human

Sounds like my situation. I'm often tolerated, never fully loved. My partner is the favorite.

What I want to see is for you to actually back off bonding attempts for now. You're in a slight medical triage situation, and you're hormonal issues are directly tied to the treatment you're having to give. Right now, getting calories in him is more important than "proper diet", so you're necessarily feeding stuff that is making the hormonal situation much worse than it would otherwise be.

Don't let it get to a trust-breaking point right now. Change your mindset here. You're boy is sick, and acting out because of it.

SailBoat will tell you many times over, bonding while going through medical situations is near-futile.

Get the medical stuff out of the way first before you worry about actions to help the bonding.

Once medical is fixed, address the hormone issue.

Once hormone issue is addressed, you can better address the bonding challenges.

These steps feed directly into each other as you can see. No meaningful progress can be made right now. And remember, if you're getting bit over and over again, even when hormonal, you're going to far/too fast for the bird. Scale back the interactions to where there are guaranteed no bites, and build up positive associations from there. Nothing but good stuff, and don't intentionally put yourself in a situation where a bite can happen.
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Last edited by chris-md; 06-30-2020 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 06-30-2020, 01:19 PM
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Re: Build trust as a "not-preferred" human

Quote: Originally Posted by chris-md View Post
Sounds like my situation. I'm often tolerated, never fully loved. My partner is the favorite.

What I want to see is for you to actually back off bonding attempts for now. You're in a slight medical triage situation, and you're hormonal issues are directly tied to the treatment you're having to give. Right now, getting calories in him is more important than "proper diet", so you're necessarily feeding stuff that is making the hormonal situation much worse than it would otherwise be.

Don't let it get to a trust-breaking point right now. Change your mindset here. You're boy is sick, and acting out because of it.

SailBoat will tell you many times over, bonding while going through medical situations is near-futile.

Get the medical stuff out of the way first before you worry about actions to help the bonding.

Once medical is fixed, address the hormone issue.

Once hormone issue is addressed, you can better address the bonding challenges.

These steps feed directly into each other as you can see. No meaningful progress can be made right now. And remember, if you're getting bit over and over again, even when hormonal, you're going to far/too fast for the bird. Scale back the interactions to where there are guaranteed no bites, and build up positive associations from there. Nothing but good stuff, and don't intentionally put yourself in a situation where a bite can happen.
very very very very well-said!
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Old 06-30-2020, 01:24 PM
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Re: Build trust as a "not-preferred" human

Chris, that is a very cogent explaination and I hope the OP takes heed.
The only thing I might add is that hormone season seems to be over ( at least in our house with Salty). Thats the thing with hormonal behavior - this too shall pass. The key thing is not to let bad behavior become the new normal. Example - Salty and I play rough, with him play attacking me, but during his recent 6 month long mating season this year, I couldn't do that because it became a serious bite almost immediately. Rather than ingrain that, I stopped doing that with him, and only recently tried to play rough again.
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Old 06-30-2020, 01:28 PM
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Re: Build trust as a "not-preferred" human

Quote: Originally Posted by wrench13 View Post
Chris, that is a very cogent explaination and I hope the OP takes heed.
The only thing I might add is that hormone season seems to be over ( at least in our house with Salty). Thats the thing with hormonal behavior - this too shall pass. The key thing is not to let bad behavior become the new normal. Example - Salty and I play rough, with him play attacking me, but during his recent 6 month long mating season this year, I couldn't do that because it became a serious bite almost immediately. Rather than ingrain that, I stopped doing that with him, and only recently tried to play rough again.
There is definitely a "hormone season" in a bird that has no hormonal triggers in its life...but if environmental or behavioral hormone triggers are present, then hormones can last all year in captive parrots....even if they do get even worse during the "season"...
So while certain things may become triggers during the season,lots of birds are in perpetually hormonal states due to other environmental and behavioral factors...and so for these birds, things will be a little different.

Last edited by noodles123; 06-30-2020 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:56 AM
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Winston 屁撚, the Eclectus. 屁撚 (pi-nian) came from Pinion (Psalms 64, meaning flight feather, typifying God's soaring power.)
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Re: Build trust as a "not-preferred" human

Quote: Originally Posted by chris-md View Post
What I want to see is for you to actually back off bonding attempts for now. You're in a slight medical triage situation, and you're hormonal issues are directly tied to the treatment you're having to give. Right now, getting calories in him is more important than "proper diet", so you're necessarily feeding stuff that is making the hormonal situation much worse than it would otherwise be.

Don't let it get to a trust-breaking point right now. Change your mindset here. You're boy is sick, and acting out because of it.
Winston's medical situation is being cared for very carefully. We not only weight him every day, but we also weight every meal. We know exactly how much he eats and gains in a day in grams. (Well, minus the stuff he throws out of the bowl and rubs on the cage bars. That's an estimate.)
I am considering the bonding issue after we've reached the confidence level to say "yea, just some more time he'd be fine." It's pretty funny that I know Winston better than my husband, and Winston does not care one bit. Love is blind...LOL

It is not that easy to just change the mindset when you carefully ask your bird "would you like to step up? I will give you a treat and take you to your dad." And, your bird gives cues of agreement, lifts up his feet, steps on...BANG! He chomps down and look at you like he proudly master-planned the whole scene. It is not so much about accepting and forgiving him, but I can't reasonably pick him up anymore. That means I can't remove him from danger if needed.

Once we get his health on track, we will decrease his fruit/sugar intake.

Quote: Originally Posted by bigfellasdad View Post
Can natural yogurt help with the sour crop, just a little of course?
I thought about it, but was not sure about yogurt for eclectus specifically. Our vet also advised against apple cider vinegar, so we decided to just stick with the vet's prescription.

Quote: Originally Posted by wrench13 View Post
Chris, that is a very cogent explaination and I hope the OP takes heed.
The only thing I might add is that hormone season seems to be over ( at least in our house with Salty). Thats the thing with hormonal behavior - this too shall pass. The key thing is not to let bad behavior become the new normal.
Our summer weather is like spring weather. The hormone season starts late here. My next door neighbor has a poicephalus who's also affected. I am trying hard to not let it become the new normal. I don't even play with Winston. Our only playing time is singing and no hands involved.
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Old 07-01-2020, 01:59 PM
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Re: Build trust as a "not-preferred" human

Regarding the hard biting after step-up, others may disagree, but my friend taught me this:

Turn your head away from the bird so he doesn’t make the connection between you and your next action, which is to sharply tremble your hand, creating an unstable perching platform for him. You only do it for an instant, and I think you can figure out the proper amount of shake.

He wants to get on your hand...that’s why he stepped up there in the first place...but he doesn’t want that earthquake.

I only needed to do this once or twice with my birds, but they weren’t biting like that to be mean. They were just on emotional overload.
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Old 07-01-2020, 02:12 PM
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Re: Build trust as a "not-preferred" human

Just a thought about stepping up - can you use a perch? Our (rescue) QP viciously bites whatever he steps up on until he's sure it's dead, and then happily perches on it while he's carried from room to room or rescued from the floor or whatever. Since we like all our fingers where they are, we use a wooden perch to move him. Just a thought.
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