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Old 03-01-2020, 04:53 PM
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Helping Her

New Macaw mom here.

I have past parrot...and overall bird experience...As a child I had a budgie, love bird and then was able to help raise a gray chick (and interact with him for a long while until I left the area). I also helped acclimate an amazon to a new home. Every positive step was so rewarding, however testing the process. I currently have a small flock of ducks, and Daffy Duck is my best friend...even when he thinks he's a tough guy

However, helping my 7 year old B&G adjust, I'm learning that I'm on a very different adventure. A while ago I was able to quit my job and be a homemaker ( I think that's what they call it ) My kids are in school and I had so much time. All those extra hours watching youtube videos, thinking back to all the fun I had with parrots...it was finally MY time. I did more research, went to some local rescues and looked at local listings....Macaw needs a home??!!! NO WAY!

Through the visit of getting background and watching interactions of the owner with Diamond I wouldn't have thought the transition would be this...for lack of better words...bad...

She stepped up to the gentleman...- she accepted scratches on the head...and when she started displaying a bit of hormonal behaviors he put her down and explained what was happening (I knew the behavior but this told me she wasn't being frequently triggered). We were able to feed her treats and interact with her...she didn't ever step up to us but, we are new, I get it...time.... He had gotten her from a local breeder that kept her for a while intending to breed her - but didn't. He had her one year (kids in the home, dog just like us). He had her for one year and he could interact with her this well, wow! He mentioned with an increased schedule, changes and work he wasn't going to be home anymore and I will admit his wife (while she could interact with Diamond) seemed less interested.

Unfortunately, after bringing her home - the past 3 days have been FAST REGRESSION. She initially chose my husband as her person and even on the first day she started regurgitating and openly displaying hormonal advances. When my husband didn't oblige there were very aggressive bites through the cage, hanging with wing flapping and screams...we have since limited his interactions...ALOT. Since she was in a back room previously, we chose her welcome home area as our back bedroom (with intentions to move her to the higher traffic den area with a bigger enclosure after she got used to us enough) I was initially able to go in with a treat every time I presented myself (dinner time, cleaning area time, etc.). Now, she takes the treat, drops it and lunges at my hand....anything more than a five min interaction and she is pacing the cage, mean lunging and screaming. ...and now the aggression starts as soon as I walk in the room. It's not testy...its REAL frustration and aggression. We've respected her area, given her space, made sure lights out at a good time, no diet changes. I've always been calm and positive but firm to the point where she doesn't think she can intimidate me. For example, when I go in to change her water, she will start pacing and climbing around the cage fast, coming at me...lunging...grinding the cage with her beak...but I will change it calmly and quickly. say some calm "hello diamond how are you pretty girl" and then step away to respect her space...and if I'm not out of the room within a few minutes it's fast pacing the cage, loud screams and hanging with her beak from the bars lunging. We haven't introduced her to the dogs and kids but her previous owner had a lab and kids and he said she's always out in the living room during social events...and never seemed too stressed from it.

I am just...at a loss...I've never experienced this much regression this fast. Is she blaming me for having no outside of cage time the past couple of days? How would I even do this at this point without a negative experience? How much of this is hormones? Why is it getting WORSE when I've done my best for positive experiences???? How do I get her to a vet visit? Not even mentioning how stressful the exam will be on her - how am I supposed to get getting into a carrier a positive interaction???? Is this normal regression for a streesed hormonal macaw? What am I not doing that could help me, help her?

Any insight is much appreciated!!!
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Old 03-01-2020, 09:49 PM
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Re: Helping Her

So 3 days is hardly enough time for Diamond to settle in to her new family, surroundings, schedule, and so forth. I suggest you have a lot of reading to do, starting in the Macaw subforum,reading all the stickies at the top of the subforum. Any threads created by or contributed by a member named birdman666 are so incredibly on point for macaws; he is our resient macaw guru, literally. Some quick observations:

* Adjust your expectations on Diamond integrating to the new family etc. Some parrots take weeks and even months to decide how they fit into the new family.

* All you can say with 100% certainty is that Diamond is a macaw. Everything else could be true,like age,or could just be best guess or even outright prevarications ( lies). It would not be the first time a parrots history was more fabrication than fact.

* Personality - while general observations related to species can be true, like Grey parrots are great talkers or that the "HOT" three Amazons are uncontrollable flesh slicing machines; however each parrot is its own individual with its own personality and temperment. Preconceived notions of species specific traits can often start a relationship off on the wrong foot (claw).

Good luck and keep us posted on Diamons progress.
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Old 03-01-2020, 11:58 PM
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Re: Helping Her

Thank you so much for the feedback....I know three days is NOTHING in the scheme of things (not near enough to understand her personality)...I understand right now she's probably scared, not understanding what's happening and getting used to her surrounding senses. I think it's just increasingly worrisome to me that she is so quick to get heightened by just our mere presence. Also, how fast any progress goes backwards...

I've considered that maybe some (or alot more) of her past might be different than I was guided to believe. I've considered her past may look more like a few breeding years with little to no socialization....and then an owner who really tried, since he had gotten far enough for a step up and scratch relationship (I would be eccstatic with just 15 mins in the same room without lunging and screaming ...and then maybe he couldn't handle certain aspects...or he didn't have time to focus on them...or some other scenarios that might have been a deviation from what I left understanding.

It hurts me that she appears to be so unhappy and frustrated or scared....I worry about her turning to self harming behaviors if she stays in a heightened state of fear/dislike/confusion as she has been when we change out food, water and cleaning. I know to be more optimistic...she's gone through so much (maybe more than I realize)...I just constantly wonder if there's some detail I'm overlooking that could make things easier for her.

All I know to do at this time is let her have as much space as she wants and let her decide when she's ready. She's such a smart and beautiful girl - I trully hope we can give her what she needs to feel more secure here and with us.
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Old 03-02-2020, 12:52 PM
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Re: Helping Her

You really should go to the Macaw sub-forum and read every singe thread started by, or contributed to a member named birdman666, he is the resident Macaw guru. As a suggestion, print out his threads, and read them aloud to your Mac in a soft and soothing voice. To start day one, keep your chair as far from the cage as possible , and then read to her. The next day or maybe two, move the chair a bit closer, and read to her again. then its rinse and repeat, moving the chair closer and closer - dont rush this. If she goes into panic mode, then you retreat back to where she was OK with this, and start again after a few days. And yah, parrots often take 2 steps forward and 3 steps back remember they have absolutely no reason to trust humans. We have to earn their trust, and its very easy to break it. For now, when feeding her and changing her papers, no direct eye contact - you want that reading session to be the main way she interacts with you.

Have you figured out her favorite treat yet? A way into most parrots hearts is thru their bellies ! Have special metal bowl in her cage, where you drop one of these treats every time you pass her cage, just 'clink' and she will hear it, and start to associate humans with good things. Be consistent though, so she does not get mixed messages. Thats a big deal with parrots, being consistent when working with them. If for example you only treat once in awhile, she might think 'well screw this , I am not going to try and figure out what this human wants!'
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Old 03-02-2020, 01:43 PM
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Re: Helping her...

Other more experienced ones will chime in soon.

Have you tried to take a stick and have her step up to that? So she can bite it all she wants but it won't hurt. The key is not to pull away when she's testing the outreached "perch".

When I brought home my B&G Macaw, she took a shine instantly to my husband. The rest of us were still a bit nervous around her. So for the first few weeks we did indeed let her go ahead and continue her bond with the husband and we just slowly worked our way into her heart through him. He was the only one who could get her down from the top of the outside of the cage.

Also perhaps not rewarding her when she runs away from you by not speaking to her? Not sure if that's sound advice, but just thinking of it in terms of rewarding bad behavior. Perhaps keep it business like unless she does something you want to reinforce.

To be honest, we were lucky because ours didn't draw blood when she bit (except once or twice). She bit hard at first. but not blood. And we let her. We showed her that when she bites, we won't pull our hand. From what I understand typically a bird won't bite to attack but rather to test you. But then again not knowing your bird's history, I can't guarantee she isn't trying to attack.

You're doing right by giving treats though. Kass for some reason never took well to our youngest son. But with plenty of treats in hand (literally gave her a treat everytime he walked past her) she has somewhat calmed down around him. He's still not her favorite person but she's not as jumpy around him.
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Old 03-02-2020, 01:45 PM
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Re: Helping Her

Oh oops I replied to your other duplicate post
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Old 03-02-2020, 03:59 PM
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Re: Helping Her

No worries tfw, I moved it.
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