Cag 101

Birdman666

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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
Once again, I started this as a reply to another thread, and thought it deserved it's own post. (Stop me if you've heard this before.)

1. CAGs are flock birds, not pair bond birds. They'll GENERALLY go to more than one person. BUT

2. CAGs are also stubborn, and pig headed, and can be quite neurotic. They get handled on their own terms. Push it with them, and they fight you.

3. My CAG is VERY independent. And he's an instigator. He's more inclined to pluck you, than ever pluck himself. You don't want to train that out of them, either. It's the birds that lose that edge either by lack of stimulation, or having it "punished" or "controlled" out of them, that generally become pluckers. Don't break their spirits!!! That's why you got one. The independent instigator streak is a high IQ thing. Take that away from them and they can become despondent.

4. With something like a macaw, or a too, you have to set boundaries and structure the interaction. With a CAG? THE CAG will set the boundaries of the amount of physical contact and handling he will allow, and you have to gradually expand the bird's boundaries. It's the exact opposite of all my other birds...

5. This will probably come as a news flash: THEY CAN BE QUITE NEUROTIC... AND THOSE THINGS GET ETCHED IN STONE. Easy example: My CAG knows I am right handed. He will NEVER allow me to pick him up with my left hand. He will ONLY step up if you offer the right hand. IF MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE, AND HE WAS GOING TO DIE, HE STILL WOULD NOT STEP UP ON MY LEFT HAND.

6. CAGS panic easier than my other birds. Take them outside their comfort zone, and they tend to become skittish. Inside their comfort zone, they study everything, and everyone, and then mess with every thing and everyone once they think they've got it all figured out.

7. CAGS need to be introduced to people and things more often than the other species do. Avoids the whole freak out thing.

8. CAGS need to be conditioned to accept change, or they tend not to cope with it.

9. CAGS do not do well in isolation. These are flock birds. Birds that feel isolated, feel vulnerable, stress out, and tend to pluck. It's better to put them in the center of everything where they can see everything and everyone. Quiet isn't necessarily better.

10. A CAG has a beak like a scissors. It cuts right through flesh. Tusk does not "beak wrestle" the way my macaws, or even my amazons beak wrestle and play. You get a warning, and if you don't back off, you bleed. DO NOT ACT SURPRIZED... YOU CAN TELL BY THE LOOK ON HIS FACE, HE MEANS BUSINESS.

11. A CAG poofy bird dance is a threat posture. Like a macaw or an amazon going "big bird" on you. It DOES NOT mean he's happy to see you or trying to get your attention. HE IS NOT PLAYING, AND HE WILL BITE!

12. CAGS that displacement bite should never be shoulder birds. Hand/arm train them. CAG displacement biting generally does not go away. You need to be aware of the triggers, and keep them away from the triggers. If he's on your shoulder, and you walk by a trigger, YOUR FACE gets bitten!

13. CAGS love puzzle toys. Things they have to figure out. They are part bat, and spend a significant amount of time upside down hanging by one toe. They also love noises, sounds, and speech. They love to learn new stuff. They might not let on that they've learned it right away... but they do learn it.

14. CAGS are VERY empathic birds. STRESSED OUT PEOPLE GENERALLY END UP WITH STRESSED OUT BIRDS.

15. Structure goes a long way to deter bad behaviors. CAGS LIKE THEIR ROUTINE. THEY LIKE THINGS KEPT THE SAME WAY MOST OF THE TIME. Don't be rigid to the point where any little change in the room upsets them, but they do like continuity more than most. Wholesale changes sometimes greatly upset them.

16. As Alex proved many years ago: CAGs are one of the most cognitive parrots out there. They are gifted with language ability. If you take the time to teach them, actually show them things, and use language appropriately and in context with them, they will pick it up in context, and use it back with you in context. CAGs have the ability to be conversational, BUT THEY DO NOT COME LIKE THAT. AND THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT THEY WILL... You get out of it, what you put into it.

17. Overbonding with a flock bird is different from overbonding with a pair bond bird. Pair bond birds naturally mate for life, and pair up. Flock birds do not. They get more stimulation, from more birds than just one. One bird is not "all consuming" for them. Which also gives them a higher need for stimulation from other birds/people. When a flock bird becomes OVERLY dependent on their person, and that person leaves them alone for long periods of time, THIS is when they feel isolated, alone, and vulnerable. THIS is when the bad behaviors start... and I, personally, believe it's one of the key components in plucking disorders. (Just a hunch on my part.)

18. ABUNDANCE WEANING AND FLEDGING are CRITICAL ISSUES for CAGS in order to develop self-confidence. THIS has been scientifically proven time and time again, CAGS that are not abundance weaned, and not allowed to fully fledge are FIVE TIMES more likely to develop plucking disorders and other neurotic self destructive behaviors...

19. Even confident CAGS can be fairly clumsy, especially when they are young.
 
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Aquila

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Berry - Cinnamon GCC
I'd like to add how Grey's bite, they tend to CHOMP and CHEW.

Gonzo's never bit me, just nipped when he didn't like something, but he did BITE my boyfriend. He grabbed on his thumb and CHEWED it. From what I understand, this is a common Grey behavior. You're not getting a single bite out of them, you're getting several and can be left fairly shredded.

I'd also like to say that Grey's are very expressive. I feel as though Gonzo's face and body has more expressiveness than most birds. If you take the time to learn their postures, there will never be any question as to how they're feeling. I'm VERY lucky that he's adapted to me so well, and is slowly stopping his wing chewing which he's done his WHOLE LIFE due to an improper wing clip. It shows how resilient they can be as well as neurotic!
 

Dopey

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I'd also like to say that Grey's are very expressive. I feel as though Gonzo's face and body has more expressiveness than most birds. If you take the time to learn their postures, there will never be any question as to how they're feeling. I'm VERY lucky that he's adapted to me so well, and is slowly stopping his wing chewing which he's done his WHOLE LIFE due to an improper wing clip. It shows how resilient they can be as well as neurotic!

How do you mean? Purchase price or upkeep?
 

Anansi

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I'd also like to say that Grey's are very expressive. I feel as though Gonzo's face and body has more expressiveness than most birds. If you take the time to learn their postures, there will never be any question as to how they're feeling. I'm VERY lucky that he's adapted to me so well, and is slowly stopping his wing chewing which he's done his WHOLE LIFE due to an improper wing clip. It shows how resilient they can be as well as neurotic!

How do you mean? Purchase price or upkeep?

Hey, Mary Lynn. She actually wrote "expressive", not "expensive".
 
OP
Birdman666

Birdman666

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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
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EXPRESSIVE not expensive.

Facial expressions.

Like for example: If the doorbell rings, you need to check out Tusk's face before running to answer it. If he's got that silly grin on his face, it's not the doorbell, he's just messing with you...

If he's getting mad, you can see it in his eyes.

If he's wound up and goofy, you can see that in his eyes as well. Different look.

If he's spooked or upset - that's easy to spot. And he needs to be calmed down and reassured to get him out of hyper vigilent mode. THE OTHER THING IS WHEN YOU DO THAT - HE PICKS UP THOSE PHRASES IN CONTEXT.

TUSK STARTS GETTING SPOOKED? I CAN TELL HIM "IT'S OKAY. YOU'RE OKAY. IT'S NOT GOING TO HURT YOU." AND HE ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT THAT MEANS. You can actually SEE the stress leave his face when he gets reassured like that.

And as an added bonus, like the day I was having a really bad day, and he waddled over to me and said, "It's okay. You're a good boy!" :D

Empathic? Y'think?!
 

Dopey

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Oh My - I am so sorry. HaHaHa. Oops.
Ok - I was dancing in my seat because I had to go to the bathroom and I was waiting to escort someone who was on their way to our building. I'm so sorry. But thank you for posting your remarks.

About all I've done with my new guy is - whistle back to him when I'm in the kitchen. Talk to him through the cage. (He backs away from me all fluffed up when I ask him to "step up" so I'm not pushing it.) He will let me touch his feet and once his beak. I've had him less than a week so I'm not worried. Just so excited to have him. I do open the door and give him opportunity to explore the outside of his cage if he wants.
 
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Birdman666

Birdman666

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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
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CAGS play practical jokes.

The aforementioned doorbell trick.

They'll see you put something in the microwave. Wait for you to turn your back... the timer goes off. You run downstairs, only to find out that your food hasn't finished cooking, but your bird is laughing at you...

Giving my poop trained birds the "go poop" command when they are perched on my person... then laughing at my reaction.

Yelling at Sarah in my voice, and ordering her to come down here RIGHT NOW! He did it so well SHE ACTUALLY THOUGHT IT WAS ME! But, of course, the bird was laughing at her...

:D These birds have a sense of humor. You need to maintain yours around them...
 

Dopey

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Many times my sense of humor gets me in trouble with humans so I think it will be fun to have something with a sense of humor in my house.
 

Aquila

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Sydney - Blue Front Amazon
Gonzo - Congo African Grey
Willow - Cockatiel
RIP:
Snowy, Ivy, Kiwi, Ghost - Parakeets
Berry - Cinnamon GCC
CAGS play practical jokes.

The aforementioned doorbell trick.

They'll see you put something in the microwave. Wait for you to turn your back... the timer goes off. You run downstairs, only to find out that your food hasn't finished cooking, but your bird is laughing at you...

Giving my poop trained birds the "go poop" command when they are perched on my person... then laughing at my reaction.

Yelling at Sarah in my voice, and ordering her to come down here RIGHT NOW! He did it so well SHE ACTUALLY THOUGHT IT WAS ME! But, of course, the bird was laughing at her...

:D These birds have a sense of humor. You need to maintain yours around them...

The microwave beep, oh jeeze. Gonzo is a pro at this, he learned that the microwave will both do single beeps and three beeps when it's finished cooking.

You know what's really killer though? The smoke detector low battery beep. I have a smoke detector in each room, they're hardwired but have a battery backup. Gonzo does this beep sparingly enough I have to go check all of them just in case. DO YOU KNOW HOW FRUSTRATING THAT IS?
 

Giggleagain

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All my rescues: Pepita, Rocky and Eva, my Quaker Parrots Clover and Sweet Pea, YNA Willie Buttons, and TAG Coca.
CAGS play practical jokes.



They'll see you put something in the microwave. Wait for you to turn your back... the timer goes off. You run downstairs, only to find out that your food hasn't finished cooking, but your bird is laughing at you...


:D These birds have a sense of humor. You need to maintain yours around them...

This is one of the first things Coca did! He beeps exactly like the microwave oven, but after only a week with me he has not yet learned that OUR microwave oven beeps 5 times, not just 3. It's the only reason I know when the timer really has gone off. I'm willing to bet that Coca will beep 5 times very soon, the old man is quite intelligent!
 

Staples915

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sun conures , green cheek conures, tiels, dusty conure, parrotletts, and Quakers
lol that's funny that birds have a sense of humor and playing tricks on us. Considering we have bad days as well it's nice to have at least one creature who does... way to go CAG
 

Staples915

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Birdman thank you for the info, all of you have added with your own birds situations and i have taken all of that in mind for possible future reference. It has been brought to my attention recently that i may be getting Dallas a female CAG. I am ecstatic and cant wait....and they say patience is a virtu. Maybe it is but i am soo looking forward to it. I do have a question tho for your comment in your post tho Birdman. What is abundance weaning?? Does this apply to CAG or all young avians.... even when i feed my babies (GCC ) i allow then to fly... to me it's the natural process of growth and learning . I look forward to new things and adventures... Thank you everyone
 

Anansi

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Maya (Female Solomon Island eclectus parrot), Jolly (Male Solomon Island eclectus parrot), Bixby (Male, red-sided eclectus. RIP), Suzie (Male cockatiel. RIP)
Abundance weaning is just allowing the baby to set the pace of his/her own weaning, rather than imposing a schedule for weaning yourself. Basically the opposite of forced weaning.
 

Jerseyjeff62

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parakeet 20yrs(RIP PETEY),Gracie a TAG
So how much differed or the same are TAG's? I have Gracie but not really much experience to add to this.just trying to follow those guidelines with her/him
 
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Birdman666

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
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San Antonio, TX
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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
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CAGS play practical jokes.

The aforementioned doorbell trick.

They'll see you put something in the microwave. Wait for you to turn your back... the timer goes off. You run downstairs, only to find out that your food hasn't finished cooking, but your bird is laughing at you...

Giving my poop trained birds the "go poop" command when they are perched on my person... then laughing at my reaction.

Yelling at Sarah in my voice, and ordering her to come down here RIGHT NOW! He did it so well SHE ACTUALLY THOUGHT IT WAS ME! But, of course, the bird was laughing at her...

:D These birds have a sense of humor. You need to maintain yours around them...

The microwave beep, oh jeeze. Gonzo is a pro at this, he learned that the microwave will both do single beeps and three beeps when it's finished cooking.

You know what's really killer though? The smoke detector low battery beep. I have a smoke detector in each room, they're hardwired but have a battery backup. Gonzo does this beep sparingly enough I have to go check all of them just in case. DO YOU KNOW HOW FRUSTRATING THAT IS?

Actually, yes I do because Tusk does the exact same thing.
 

DRB

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Jan 23, 2016
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Perjo - Female CAG hatch Nov 2015
LOL

Perjo isn't talking yet (only 20 weeks old) but she mimics all my whistles and other random noises I make or that she hears. She really likes whistling, so between going outside a few times a week now and having a lot of trees in my neighborhood she has picked up the sounds of birds out in the wild setting of urban America (robins, sparrows, black birds, finch, wrens, grackles). So now she's busted out some of those sounds and I think there's another bird in the house.
 

jason43506

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2 -3 y.o. budgies
the smoke detector,the cell phone,the microwave,my police scanner,my dog along with the back up beeper on the tow motor at the factory down the street lol all the stuff they repeat
 

bigfellasdad

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Enzo - adopted Female CAG circa 2004. A truly amazing young lady!
Aren't african greys AWESOME!

I work from home quite often and im finding that at the start of conference calls im now having to explain the parrot right from the start.

Ill join a call and Enzo will say 'hello' when i pick up the phone, when she starts wanting attention she will say 'ok, BYE!!!' and people tell me to hang on the call :)

I also giggle when as im talking to her or just getting on with my life at home she will make noises and ill realise she is putting her own twist on things eg making a spray noise when i pick a spray bottle up, making pots clattering noises when I do the dishes, making submarine sonar 'ping' noises when i go out of sight etc. More and more sounds and speech (with differnet accents/voices) im hearing, remarkable. She knows that in the morning after we have breakfast and I make a coffee its shower time for me, then work, she flies up the stairs to the bathroom and waits for me. When I take her downstairs she makes the zip noise of my normal jacket and then says 'bye'. This is after 5 weeks in a new home, as i say quite remarkable.

I play World of tanks sometimes and she can make the artillery gun fire sound as well :)

When we play games together, ill laugh when she does certain things..... now when she does those things she laughs! so she knows what makes me laugh and what doesn't, clever girl!
 
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