Female Eclectus - Behavioural Discussion

angryredchicken

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Mar 11, 2020
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Flash - SI Eclectus
Apollo - GC Conure
Hello all, I have a 4 year old female eclectus who has been with us for 3+ years. She is a well loved and appreciated member of the family but the past year has been... disheartening. She has lost complete interest in interacting with us or having any form of communication other than aggression.
She's started vocalizing aggressively, putting off these growls every time we are near or she gets frustrated while out. She has gotten to the point of attacking the back of my head (we do not shoulder her). My hands are covered in bite marks from her pretend "step up" then attack. Sometimes she will do laps in the living room, try to land on you then shred your hand. It makes taking her out a bloodbath. There are a lot of small things that just lead me to think she isn't happy. It's very distressing as I consider her my child and attempt to provide the best care possible but I am just feeling like I am not the right person for her. I feel very disappointed with myself as in all my experience of handling "problem" parrots.. she has broken me. Between online training courses, vet consultations, and random avian "experts" online I am at a loss. I do not know what else to try. Please, if you have any ideas let me know.
 

Laurasea

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Aug 2, 2018
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Hi,
Sorry to hear of this.
Sometimes for reasons known to us or only know to the parrot they loose trust in us. It has happened to me twice, once in my terrible attempts at harness training, and once when I had bern using my hands as a barrier between two birds that wanted to squabble. The first time took me a few months to win back her trust.

A way often recommended as it works, is to pretend you just brought her home, and re introduce yourself and start from scratch as you would a new bird in earning her trust. For me that is either using a small treat only dish, and going to say hi by give treat, or give by hand and walk away. No pressure, repeated many many times a day. Then some light target training, like stand on opposite side than she is and have her come over for treat , lots if praise when she does. Repeat all day. The moving towards you for reward starts re shaping them. Then have her target to perch and then to target to a hand held perch. At first just step up then back fir treat, nothing else. Keep to less than 5, at each session but Repeat often through the day. Then move to stepping to hand held perch to you and back.

Also for behavior making the environment enriched and rewarding. Give them several different spots in the home to hang out, with interesting things to chomp or eat that they discover. I use ceiling hooks and fishing line and those big rope spirals, swings cargo nets, ect. Cheap, fun and is their own space. And doesn't take up floor space. You can teach her to fly to each one.

And do like thus video, some foraging games together, that doesn't require you touching her. And set up stuff like that for in cage and on top of cage to do on her own . You can also float bottle caps in a large casserole dish and an inch of water, put one seed in each. Or get stuff from the dollar store they have little plastic drawers that she can pull out to get something. Or I use ladders or just a straight hanging rope that they have to climb to get something yummy. Increase the use of the environment. Hang veggies chunks in skewers or in those stainless steel boxes so they have to work at it to get it. Use veggies as foraging, stuff pomegranate seeds in artichokes, or in big broccoli heads, give them bug chunks if stuff to destroy eat. Those rubber balls with holes i stuff popcorn inside, doesn't go bad and mine love to work st getting them out . Give that mind something to do , and thst motivates movement and interacting

I like this article lots if great nuggets. I do observations often, to see how I can increase use of environment, and cage, what's working, what i can tweak. I also like the part about ritual and routine, and patterning. I don't like clickers but I do shape behavior i just say good birdie instead of click. Offering a warm spoonful of comfort food before bedtime is nice too. Also always say good morning, goodbye when leaving and hello opon returning. Thus helps them feel included and respected

Nearly all behavior issues are improved, by increasing self directed Behavior, enrichment of mind , things to do, setting aside one on one time, abd really bragging on them and bribing them making them feel like a rock star.
 
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Ria.345

Member
Jun 23, 2021
47
76
New York City
Parrots
Sun Conure and Umbrella Cockatoo
Hello!
I totally understand your situation and the frustration you may have in this scenario. It's best to analyze your parrot and assess the entire situation, but I must admit, parrots can be so sensitive (some more than others) that it can be almost impossible if not very difficult to diagnose the actual problem at hand that made your parrot upset.
But it's very necessary in order to get one step closer to gaining that sweet parrot back. Here are some questions I want you to consider.
1. Do you remember the first time your parrot started acting strange? What did you do before that moment?
2. Did a family member or someone you live with start doing something your parrot perhaps didn't like?
3. Is there someone in the household that your parrot never really was fond of?
4. Do you think your parrot is going through a very hormonal period right now?
5. Is his diet in the most optimal state? Is he getting enough sleep? (12+ hours) Does he have his most basic needs met?
6. How long is he getting out of cage time? What does he do when he is out? Is there any point in the day where he is most calm?
7. How do you approach him when you go to take him out of the cage for playtime? Are you nervous when you approach him? (Sometimes parrots can sense what you're feeling! It's hard to not be a little nervous though lol)
8. Are you stressed yourself and could that be sensed by your parrot?
These are just some of the questions that I've come up with to get you thinking about the root cause of the situation or even just understanding what she may be feeling.
I understand you tried to do everything you can, including a vet consultation, but I can offer one handy solution for you. Target training.
There are a plethora of videos on YouTube waiting for you to click and watch, all about target training. You can learn a lot from them. It is simply an alternation of having your parrot touch or attempt to touch the end of a target stick and them receiving some form of positive reinforcement (usually a treat) to reward their desired behavior.
There is a possibility for trust to be gained back, even if it takes awhile to get it back. I suggest starting all the way from scratch due to your baby's aggression level. Build back that trust as if you just brought your eclectus home that day.
You can also try to make each attempted interaction a positive one by putting a treat in her bowl every time you walk by, so she associates you with purely good things. Continue attending to the vet with her and keep her basic needs met so as not to escalate the situation.
Always remember that good things take time and you have to get through the bad to reach the good, because deep down there is a sweet parrot that just wants to be loved and give back love. :)
Have a wonderful night! :)
 

saxguy64

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Have to agree with above: try starting over, and avoid pre-concieved notions about how you assume she'll behave. If she was brand new to you and aggressive, chances are you'd approach things differently than you do currently. They absolutely feel it if you're stressed or upset, so deep cleansing breaths, and a ton of patience will help.

Now, unless I missed it, no mention yet of the dreaded hormones. At 3-4 years old, entirely possible your girl has a heavy dose of puberty, or an extended hormonal season. The chemical rush happens, and the poor bird has no idea why she's feeling all this... STUFF. Sadly, many wonderful parrots wind up being rehomed at this point in their life because the sweet loveable baby suddenly hates everyone. It's a tough time for parronts, but people don't understand that it's just as hard for the birds. They have ZERO control over it. Again, deep cleansing breaths, and patience. This too shall pass.
 
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cytherian

Member
Dec 29, 2020
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Near NYC
Parrots
Eclectus
Changing things up seems to be an important thing is attempting to shift behavior.

What's really vexing is when the parrot wants to do something that just isn't feasible.

We have a female Eclectus who is an enigma. On the one hand, she's pretty well behaved when you're paying attention to her. She'll step up onto your hand. She'll cavort with her mate. But she won't talk or tweet/chirp. She squawks. LOUDLY. She used to talk a little and chirp/whistle. But now? NOTHING but SQUAWKS. If she's nesting? SILENCE. Golden silence. She also doesn't squawk if she's "play nesting" in her carrier, being fed by her mate, copulating, or generally resting somewhere outside her cage.

We just had bliss of 5 weeks where we used fake eggs in a prepared nest put in her cage. She sat on it most of the time. Practically NO SQUAWKS! It was divine. But now the cycle is over. She apparently realized the eggs weren't going to hatch, so the nest was removed. And now, she's back to her squawks/screams. I think she gets bored and wants to be out with her mate, but that requires supervision. Her mate is a wonderful male Ekkie who is so very friendly. When he bites, it's a squeeze that doesn't draw blood. He chirps/tweets/squawks pretty normally. No chatting, though. Not a single word. But he sometimes gets aggressive with the female and we have to separate them. He's totally obsessed with the female. Wants to feed and copulate with her non-stop. She has enough, bashes back with her beak, and then he gets mad. VERY mad.

So... we really don't know what to do. How to get her to relent on her behavior. It's so disturbing to walk into the kitchen, start doing things making minimal sounds, and then... SQUAWK!!! (Audio clip -- note that the in-person sound is about 2 to 3 times LOUDER)
 
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