Baby Green Cheeked Conure won't stop screaming

Evoriya

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Sep 30, 2017
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Hello!
2 weeks ago we adopted a 12 week old hand reared baby green cheeked conure. We did our reading beforehand, so knew what we were getting ourselves into, but our little feathered friend will not stop screaming, and this is really taking its toll on us.

When we are in the room with him, he is normally OK, but as soon we leave the room and come upstairs, he will pretty much scream non-stop. We know we can't reinforce this behavior, and so never enter the room where he is (the living room) unless he is quiet. Sometimes we spend hours sat on the stairs waiting for him to quieten down so that we can reward him for being quiet.

He has a beautiful, large cage, plenty of toys and food and water. He will play with his toys with us, but as soon as we are gone he will simply go back to screaming. We've tried foraging toys too (he showed no interest). He also gets 10-12 hours sleep a night and he is learning his basic commands well - he will reliably come when called, step up and is now learning poop. My other half works from home, so he has plenty of human contact - both in and out of the cage, but this makes the screaming all the worse as it is harming his productivity.

Do you guys have any suggestions of anything else we can do to help our little guy stop screaming? It's been two weeks now and he is showing no signs of getting any better, if anything he is getting worse. We are worried he's not learning to be OK in his cage on his own and therefore he is unhappy. We are fully aware that parrots are not quiet pets, but this screaming is relentless.

Any help much appreciated. x
 
I am fairly new to parrots. My one and only, Tsali (African Grey) was hand reared and came home around 12 weeks. Although he was fully weaned from baby bird formula, he still wanted comfort feedings a couple times a day. We fed warm mashed up pellets mixed with water and sometimes veges from a spoon.

Also if he is only screaming when you are out of the room, I would think that he is lonely and the screaming is a "flock call". Our companion parrots are flock animals, and when we take them into our home we become their flock. They NEED to be reassured that they are not alone.

I am sure that others who are more experienced with also give advice.
 
He wants to come too. He is new to you and his surroundings and still a real baby so wants to be with you all the time. When you leave he is really worried that you won't come back because he hasn't known you long enough to really trust you.

I would be tempted to think about this the other way up. Instead of thinking that you are re-enforcing bad behaviour teach him that you always return by leaving for just a second or two and then coming back again - no treat necessary. If you are out of the room return his call so that he knows you are still there. Give him time to come to terms with your ways and be patient, he just needs to sort it all out with these strange birds that he has rocked up with.
 
Yep flock call, little guy is scared! When my JoJo does this, I always reply with a more acceptable sound. He will learn to use this as his flock call! Also, try telling him you will be right back, and keep talking to him from the other room!
Remember, up until recently, he always had company! To be alone is to be eaten by the big bad wolf!
 
I know this sounds like line of sight screaming but Are we sure he’s fully weaned? Often with young birds non stop screaming is often begging for formula. And a young conure, when sent to a new home, can regress in weaning for a time.

Weaning for conures starts around 8 weeks, so being homes to you at 10 weeks old, I can’t help but wonder if he came to you a little too soon.
 
jeez... its INSTINCT ... that's why hes screaming (locating call). You are NOT raising a human baby that is pitching a tantrum cuz he wants attention. In the wild they stick together for safety. When separated they CALL out and locate the rest of the flock. You wont "spoil" the bird by calling back to him and/or going to him. This is not a "bad behavior"...hes doing whats natural for him. There are a lot of instinctive behaviors he is going to do. Do some more reading up on these critters. You are now responsible for the birds health and well being so ya seriously need to learn to think like a bird.
 
Yeah spent as much time as you can with him, and try t00tsyd's advice. I would tweak it a little bit:

1) Spent an hour with him, interact, play, talk with him.
2) Say goodbye to him, and leave the room just for 5 seconds, and return praising him for being quiet. If he even let's you leave the room before starting to scream. If he can be quiet for just a couple second after you leave it's fine.
3) Then slowly increment the duration until he learns you will always be back.

Whenever i leave my bird for longer time, say for grocery shopping. I have made a deal with him, that whenever i leave i always come into the room to give him an unsalted organic pistachio nut, and say "bye bye" and wave my hand clearly signaling that i'm going to be away for at least an hour. This has learned him that, me leaving equals favourite treat! And he couldn't care less for me leaving. I'm doing this consistently, and start recording sound on my computer before i leave, so when i come back, i can hear if he has been quiet. And since introducing this method, he has become more and more quiet, because he is now associating me leaving with something positive, and he knows through consistent training that i will always come back. This method has worked for me, and also listen to the others saying he is still really really young, so no matter what training technique you introduce him to, he may not pick up on it until he gets a little older, he's just a baby bird.
 
jeez... its INSTINCT ... that's why hes screaming (locating call). You are NOT raising a human baby that is pitching a tantrum cuz he wants attention. In the wild they stick together for safety. When separated they CALL out and locate the rest of the flock. You wont "spoil" the bird by calling back to him and/or going to him. This is not a "bad behavior"...hes doing whats natural for him. There are a lot of instinctive behaviors he is going to do. Do some more reading up on these critters. You are now responsible for the birds health and well being so ya seriously need to learn to think like a bird.

I think this needs extensive qualification. most of these birds are absolutely capable of manipulative behavior. Perpetual Screaming in most adults is absolutely a learned and trained behavior, trained in by owner who come running at every screech. So OP does in fact need to be very cognizant of this in dealing with this behavior. Babies are a little different, yes, since there could be other issues (see unwueaned question above) and are a little more instinctual. But to treat an adult the same way you treat a baby is begging for behavior issues later on.

And they most assuredly can and do throw tantrums when they don’t get their way. Every owner here can attest to this. I get lunged at every time I put my boy into his cage because he doesn’t want to go in. And he will occasionally kick up a fuss with contact calls right after in an attempt to get me to come let him out. I wouldn’t dream of responding to these less he learns screaming means coming out of cage.
 
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Hey everyone, thanks so much for replying, I genuinely do appreciate your help. I'm only asking because I want to do my best for him, and I am worried he is unhappy.

T00tsyd & jm0 I like your suggestion of leaving for short periods of time - I'm going to start doing this as of tomorrow! It'll help reassure him that we always will come back!

I do understand that this is a flock call - I know he is a flock animal and it's very important that he knows we are not going to disappear, and give him lots of love and scritches. What I don't get is that he will often make this call when I'm right there.

We have an open plan downstairs, which is awesome for him because he has so much space to chill with us, fly around and generally be a goofball. It's not so great because this means we have to put him back in his cage when we cook.

We make a point of going back to his cage whenever he is quiet, treat him and spend some time with him, but he will still scream at us even though he knows we are right there! We don't react to the call, wait until he quietens down and then go talk to him - to which he will reply in a soft tone also.

To our knowledge, he is fully weaned - he absolutely chows down on mix and on the fresh food we give him. My SO knows what a begging bird looks like - and this doesn't seem to be it (he has had cockatiels in the past). Is there anything else that we need to be looking out for in case he is not fully weaned?

If it is just a case of time, then we have all the time in the world! We know parrots make noise - it's part of their charm - but the screaming does seem a little extreme! We just want to make sure he is happy and healthy as he is great company in the many hours he spends out of the cage!

Thanks again for all your replies and help. We will keep reading and replying if we are lucky enough to receive any more advice.
 
I hope someone with hand feeding experience speaks up - that’s not I. But the screaming is a big key. If he does a lot of head bobbing, that’s another hint.

Weaning may not be the problem, it’s just one possibility. It’sThe age that concerns me, and why I bring it up. Being with you for only a couple weeks, it really could be flock calling because he’s still not settled in. It can take a few months before he truly feels comfortable.

Woth my boy (a rehome), the first couple days he was with us, he spoke nonstop trying to call out to his previous family. Once he settled in the talking scaled back dramatically.

Weaning or comfort really are your two biggest candidates right now.
 
I'll second the crazy information game. I feel a complete idiot telling Syd where I am going, how long I will be etc. I make a great play of putting on my shoes etc and picking up my bag and I can see him carefully watching me as I leave. I have stood outside for a while to check any noise and he is fine. On the other hand if I simply go into the garden for a few minutes he knows the difference and will call until I return.

His latest trick if I don't reappear is to mimic the telephone. Presumably he has worked out that I generally appear to answer it! I am actually beginning to wonder just who is in charge!

I have made a habit now of treating with something gorgeous from his point of view each time I have to put him in the cage. Usually a sunflower seed that takes a few seconds concentration to eat by which time he has found something else in his cage to distract him, thus accepting that I am busy and being in his cage can be fun after all.
 
We got our baby when he was 13 weeks old. We’ve had him for 3 weeks now. He now understands what “I’ll be right back” (bathroom, water, etc) and “bye bye birdie, see you soon” (gone for extended period). The first couple of weeks was tough as he would contact call every time he couldn’t see us or thought we were too far from him. We would just call back “I’m here” or “Percy bird” so he would be reassured that he wasn’t alone. The behavior stopped progressing and began to be a quick chirp to check in if we forget to say we’ll be right back or we don’t come back in a couple of minutes.

If he’s weaned and he’s a baby, it might just be good to call back to him when he first starts to call. That way he knows you’re there and isn’t in a panic that he’s alone. It’s not necessarily rewarding him by running back to give him attention, but it is reassuring him.

It’s worked for us and our new baby.
 
everything above is great advice, for me unless it's bedtime my GCC is pretty much on me all the time. If I'm leaving to go to the store I leave the lights on, if I'm going to work at nigh I turn them off. Your bird will figure out the pattern and deal with it. If you want your bird on you don't sit on the stairs just go get him. Some battles aren't really battles it's just miscommunication. You will both figure it out.
 
I think this needs extensive qualification. most of these birds are absolutely capable of manipulative behavior. Perpetual Screaming in most adults is absolutely a learned and trained behavior, trained in by owner who come running at every screech. So OP does in fact need to be very cognizant of this in dealing with this behavior. Babies are a little different, yes, since there could be other issues (see unwueaned question above) and are a little more instinctual. But to treat an adult the same way you treat a baby is begging for behavior issues later on.

""And they most assuredly can and do throw tantrums when they don’t get their way. Every owner here can attest to this. I get lunged at every time I put my boy into his cage because he doesn’t want to go in. And he will occasionally kick up a fuss with contact calls right after in an attempt to get me to come let him out. I wouldn’t dream of responding to these less he learns screaming means coming out of cage. ""

In 40 years dealing with these amazing lil critters and dealing with "rescue" birds etc... the ones that had the most issues were ones that folks either attempted to raise like human babies...totally ignoring the 6 million years of instinct they are hatched with. or stuck em in a cage like a decoration. I cant speak for the problems you have with your critters or why you or others have them. But I can figure that ignoring a new baby screaming his contact calls in new home is not good for mental well being of that youngin. I hope no one disagrees.. It just breaks my heart the way some birdie parents wanna make their birds "seen and not heard". Ive seen some that stick em, cage and all in a closet, cover em up and ignore, hosed down with a spray bottle, and yeah...even physical abuse. It may achieve the goal..but at a huge cost. My critters can and will get noisy...heck they are suppose to. Its a bird thing. Heck if my oldest is squawking at me its because of something I did or didn't do. My youngest (a rescue) would go in a tizzy if I stepped out of sight, but a lil communication went a long way and hes settled down now nicely. I can leave the room, walk out the door, or even get a much needed nap with nary a peep out of em now. 90% of the issues that come up tween our 2 species can be worked out with communication...and then you can avoid possible (for real) bad behaviors being learned in the future. They are quick learners...but at the same time are programed by nature and one has to pay attention to that part of them... for the birds sake.
Oh and apologies to the OP... didn't intend to come across so hard... but its been HELL WEEK for me and now Im worried for the future of my youngins and where they are going to end up. They are very special to me and I value every moment I have spent with them and the time I have left.. Crossing fingers they end up with someone that thinks like a bird too!!
 
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sounds like a contact call to me. Mine would do it whenever I was in the bathroom without him as he knew I was still around the house which is what he didn't like, if I was in he needed to be with me. try making noises as you are out the room, let him know you're still there, of course if he's like my conure let him out and with you unless you're cooking, even if you're going to the toilet or having a shower they want to be with you to feel secure. Think of it like you're big brother/sister right now, there to protect him. When you say right there do you mean when you're next to him or on the other side of the room? If you're near a door he could be worried you're about to leave and it could potentially be an alarm call meaning something scared him which is perfectly understandable.

What I did with the drawn out screams was just carry on with my day. I would enter the room when I needed to enter but paid no attention to him when I did, I would sit down and do my thing until he was quiet for a decent amount of time or turned to his clucking. that would be when I paid attention to him. He learnt pretty quick that the scream didn't illicit a response at all. It didn't make me appear, it didn't keep me away it didn't even make me notice him so he learnt quiet and nice noises got response from me in any form
 
Hi I have a four mouth old for a little over a month now . So I am not expert . But it has taken Cody a month to really get use to the new cage and surroundings . He has just recently bonded with me letting me rub his neck ,falling asleep in my hands and most recently he is trying to feed me . So I would not expect to much to soon . I try to get Cody out several times a day to play . I have him on a set schedule up at 7am , fresh veggies , then play time at 8 am . Then back in his cage around nine . He's usually tired and thirsty by then . I would get a schedule set up if u haven't already . U might also try having some music or the tv on when u leave him. I have noticed that by evening Cody does not like a lot of stimulation . He will scream if he is over stimulated. I guess each bird is different . Eventually I think u will understand your bird better and he will calm down after he gets better acclimated .
 
I just bring Clark with me. He's my buddy. He knows when I leave and if I have to do something unsafe like ....say pulling food out of the oven, I put him down out of the way and just endure the noise for 4 mins or so to cut up the pizza or lasagna or whatever.

But then again he doesn't call so much, he knows he gets more attention talking so I get more "COME ON!" COME ON!" then "shriek shriek".
 

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