Behavior problems with my Galah


New member
Feb 22, 2021
Atlanta, GA
Smokie-African Grey
14 yrs, Lola-Galah 6.5 yrs,
2 pigeons-Ricky Bobby & Shake n Bake 2 yrs
I’ve read several posts on Galahs here and like several others I need help with mine! Her name is Lola and I got her at 9 months old. She will be 7 years old in August. The breeder told me she was hand fed and raised and I had a reliable recommendation for her. I met the breeder halfway in another state so I only received photos of Lola before actually getting her. When I met Lola and the breeder I noticed she had a lot of dried blood on her. I questioned the woman about it and she told me that the day before Lola’s buddy, an African Grey attacked her and she ended up with 3 broken blood feathers. They removed 2 but didn’t remove the 3rd or completely clean off all of the blood because she was so stressed. I knew something didn’t seem right and this lady was closing her business so I felt like by purchasing this pitiful bird I was saving her life.

Returning to my problem... she has never learned to step up, I cannot hold her unless she is wrapped up in a blanket. While wrapped up I can rub her beak and she will go to sleep. I cannot hand feed her as she goes nuts at the site of my hand. I can finally put my face up to the cage and talk softly to her and she will come up to the side of the cage and silently “smack her beak” . My husband who is not a bird person and another friend (male) that lived with us for a while was able to pet her . The friend could even feed her through the bars and offer her vanilla ice cream from his spoon!

She doesn’t really like being out of her cage and the only way to get her out is to use my hands and withstand the screaming and biting. She will stay only on the floor and under tables, etc and doesn’t move around much.

This I do know:
She was not hand raised and she is insecure and she seems to prefer men over women.

Any advice, insight, suggestions and help is welcome because I want Lola to have a happy life and I sooo want to interact with her!

Its never to late even all these years later to improve your relationship. So its great you reached out, and I hope you will get several ideas and tips.

I share this article all the time, I think it has lots of great ideas and information.

Also st this point, she is acting cage bound. That will take confidence building and creative ideas and strategies. But I would never grab and force her out. That brakes trust and us having a negative impact on you guys relationship. I have some article I will look for. I will aldo link Sailboats thread, its on rescue Amazon's but a lot of thev information works on all parrots. It was very helpful to me when I rescued an abused quaker. Look into target training.
Here is Sailboat rescue Amazons thread

This might be helpful.

Ok cage bound issues
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I suspect Lola was traumatized on many levels and nothing of the backstory is to be trusted. You certainly adopted a "rescue" bird in every sense of the term.

Best you can do is start from scratch and establish trust, leading to a bond. Lots of great links above from Laura, here is another:

You'll need to work at Lola's pace, expect the proverbial few steps forward, one backward. Be patient, reward every tiny victory. Find treats Lola loves such as bits of almond or walnut. Galahs are highly subject to FLD (Fatty Liver Disease) so keep the portions small and experiment with healthier bribes such as plain Cheerios, cooked room temperature oatmeal, pieces of dense whole grain bread.

What does Lola eat? Ideally a diet rich with fresh veggies and some fruit ideal, supplemented by a quality pellet.
I agree with working at her pace and also setting boundaries without seeming overly hard-nosed... Wrapping in a blanket can also be very sexual for cockatoos (they often love it, but it's not healthy for them).and they mature sexually later than some parrots, so just be mindful of that fact that there is likely trauma, but also that by touching her certain ways, you can be feeding the very "monster" you are trying to avoid...Head and neck petting only, avoid toweling or any boxes/shadowy spaces or hammocks etc...same with under furniture, pillows or blankets.
I need some information in order for me to help.
Are her wings clipped?
And did I read that right you have had her since she was 9 months, and she's 7yrs old now?
I am asking these questions so I know how to start.
What type of diet do you feed her?
By the way I have a galah.
If I could post a picture of her cage that will help.
Where is her cage located?
Are you sure she is a female.?
One thing I can say is that we will have to start from the very beginning.
Please answer the questions post a picture. And we will be able to start. It's late here, When I get up in the morning I will wait for your post and we will work on getting you and your parrot in a good place.
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Hi Tman,

Thanks for your response! I apologize for not getting back to you sooner but yesterday I spent the day trying to rescue one of my kittens from a tree after she escaped for the first time ever. She was in a neighbor’s yard in the tree all night and all day so I didn’t sleep.

So, below I’ll attempt to answer all of your questions regarding Lola.

1. Her wings are NOT clipped
2. She will be 7 years old in August and I got her at 9 months old.
3. I feed her Hari Tropican Lietime Formula. I’ve tried to get her to eat apples, bananas, zucchini, peas, oatmeal, red and green fancy lettuce, raisins, watermelon, peaches, carrots etc but she won’t really eat any of it. She will eat and loves pistachios ( in shell, unsalted) and large striped sunflower seeds ( in shell unsalted) and the occasional piece of unshelled walnut or almond unshelled. I try to limit the pistachios to 2 a day and sunflower seeds to 4-5 a day.
4. According to the breeder’s paperwork she was DNA sexed as a female.
5. Her cage is in our breakfast room area at one end of a bay window and my African Grey is in the opposite corner of the window.

I’ll attach pics of her and the cage setup. However, there isn’t enough room to upload a pic of the location setup so I added it to my album “ Lola the RB2






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Many U2 females don't mature until 7 or 8.. I believe galahs usually hit puberty around 5 or 6, but I am not positive...that is why I am emphasizing the importance of 12 hours solid sleep on a routine, cutting off access to shadowy spaces, petting on the head and neck only and not wrapping in towels or allowing full body contact like that.
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Good to know!
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She eats Hari Tropican Lifetime Formula but she refuses to eat any fruits and veggies. She’s very picky! Beautiful birds by the way! I hope my Lola will become less afraid and engage with me over time.
Do you ever just open the cage and let her come out on her own if she wants? (with supervision, of course)
I'd also work on getting her a lot more variety in terms of toys (wood-style chewing toys, as opposed to plastic and/or cotton).

Remember, a new toy can be very scary to them, so don't just shove it in the cage without allowing time for the bird to adjust to seeing it outside the cage, and see you playing with it/putting positive associations and modeling in place BEFORE adding the toy to the cage. If a toy is new and my bird hesitates, I leave it out of the cage for at least a week before putting it in (gradually moving it closer over a few day-span)

I can't tell how big that cage is, but they do need a lot of space because they are very active.

How many exposures to a food do you try before giving up? Mine took over a year of 4-5x daily exposure to spinach and lettuce before ever trying it...Wasted a ton, but she finally decided it was decent.

How much time out of the cage does she spend daily?
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She doesn’t get out at all and that’s one of my issues. She won’t come out even if I leave the door open. I think one time in all the years I’ve had her she did get out on her own. I usually try new foods for a couple of weeks.
Her cage is
32” across the front
23” deep
31” tall

I’ve been looking at larger cages for a while but very few are much bigger and those that are hugely bigger are $700 and up.
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Oh and I’ve had wooden blocks on a rope for her before but she never showed much interest. In fact she was a couple years old before I actually saw her picking up a piece of food before tossing it. She loves her bells, ticker tape toy ( she loves to pull the paper out and shred it) and her mop toy. She uses her foot to make the bells swing one by one as well as any other hanging toys. She sticks her head inside the small bell ( no ringer inside that one) and it looks like a hat. When she does that I hear her tweeting softly to herself.
The types of toys you have all tend to be a bit nesty in nature. I am not saying to get rid of them, but when mine laid an egg, she took it up to her one cotton tassel toy and tried to wrap it in the fibers. This also leads me to believe that this behavior could be partly hormonal (if she is only showing interest in thread toys etc).

It also took my U2 over 6 months to play with a toy and I wasted so many. It took her at least 3 years to step on a boing swing lol! She is weird about objects, but just because you see initial fear/dislike doesn't mean it will necessarily last (although it is important to be sensitive to scaring them, as that can harm trust).
Ok let's start by working on the cage first.
You need to find a different spot for her cage. In front of the window is not good. She is already upset with you, and the things going on outside she has no where to feel safe. That why in the cage picture she is up in the corner.
You also want to by a few more perches. And get rid of that perch that goes crisscross in the cage. Galahs are flappers. Mine will hang off a perch upside down. Flap his wings and scream just for fun. I will put a picture of my cage below. Take the perch that is on the right side and move it down about half way, move it as close as you can to the door. Once you get a few more perches we will put one on the door. That way when you open the door she can be on the door perch and still feel like she is in the cage. You want to have your perches on the front of the cage and the back of the cage. This way she will have and open spot in the middle of the cage to flap around in.

If you look at the cage picture you will see the bottom half is empty because Axel will fly up half way and back down over and over. The other picture is the perch on the door.




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How many days have you left the cage open while just reading or talking from like 10 feet away, without looking right at her?

I mean, obviously (lol) you close it at night, I meant- how many hours do you wait and how many days in a row before assuming it isn't working?
I'm sorry you have a cage bound parrot. You can help her over come this.
If this was me, I'd start by moving the cage to a new location, and completely rearrange everything the cage , and lots of perches of different types, provide one upper corner visually screened, and with a nice wide perch. This will be were she roosts. You can use a cargo bird bet for visual screen retreat. I would also put tons of perches on the outside and top of cage. Right outside the door, put a perch and a treat dish. That she can reach by chaining her was out.

Read up on target training. Think of shaping behavior in small tiny steps.

I'm going to link articles on cage bound parrot.
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Do you have a playstand or other type of perch with receptacles for food? If so, might help to remove food from the cage and place a special treat on nearby stand. Idea is to entice her out, over time to a greater distance. Huge caveat: Never attempt to starve a bird into submission - I'm suggesting removal for short periods of time.

Parrots can be notoriously stubborn and resist new food or change. Some techniques to consider:

Consider preparing two identical bowls of fresh veggies/fruits aka "chop." Offer one to Lola, begin eating from yours. Make "mmmm" sounds, bob your head with delight. Parrots are flock eaters and you are the Alpha Member!

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