Sultan023

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Aug 26, 2021
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Green Cheek Conure
Hello everyone.

So allow me to get right to the chase. I am currently the owner of two GCCs, Hawk and Swoop. I have had Hawk for about a year and a half and have had him since he was weened (assumed male, non DNA tested) and he has been the sweetest and most playful thing imaginable. He was however pretty clingy and would get very lonely when left alone despite how much time my family gave him (There is usually at least one person in the house). He's pretty much always with someone at all times, which makes him scream for a while and stay in one place till someone comes home. We had talks of getting another bird to keep him company, but we were in no hurry to get him a friend.

As if by fate, we came across Swoop. He was being given up by his owner (assumed male, non DNA tested) and wasn't in the best of conditions when we checked him out. We decided that it was best to rescue him and took him home with high hopes. So far he's been the sweetest thing and is happy just to be with you. We are not sure about his age, but he is at least 4 years old and he is much more calm and slow going than our hyper youngster.

That was about a month ago with a passed quarantine. About three days ago we decided to introduce the birds with Swoop in his cage and Hawk outside for the safety of either bird. It didn't go particularly well as Swoop became very territorial. Figuring it might have been a cage thing, we moved Swoop's cage in the same room as Hawk's (about 3 ft apart) and gave them lots of supervised attention on neutral ground. So far Hawk wants to be as far away from Swoop as possible and Swoop will use that fear to his advantage and intimidate Hawk off a shoulder or to the other side of a table. It should be noted Hawk isn't exactly innocent since he will try to bite Swoop's tail feathers when he has his back turned or is distracted. So far, we've been able to prevent any attacks on neutral ground, but inevitably a couple incidents have happened (No injuries, just Swoop scaring Hawk away after a short beak fight).

The biggest worry I have is how Swoop bullies Hawk. When either bird is on their respected cage, Swoop will try to get onto Hawk's cage. We first waited to see what would happen and found he scares off Hawk to the inside of his cage while he sits on top (not necessarily a bad thing, but Hawk is almost never in his cage and sticks to a corner). This has repeated itself a few times (again, under intense supervision), so we know this isn't a fluke. I worry since I was really hoping they would get along, but so far it looks like neither are very fond of one another. Granted, it has been less than a week, but I would hate to have a situation where attention has to be split between two birds.

We ideally want them to share the same cage. We've had success with two male cockatiels sharing a cage in the past, but green cheeks are their own thing and we don't want to to push anything that would result in an injury. I can accept that they won't be buddies and cuddle up to one another, but the aggression has been giving me an ulcer.

I am wondering if maybe I am stressing out over nothing or if I am making some mistakes that's causing my birds to see each other as threats. For all I know I may be doing everything right and this is just a case of incompatibility. Are there any suggestions? Will my birds ever be able to be kept in the same cage? Should I change cage distance to give them more/less room? I know its early on, but in my experience, its always best to start early.

Sorry if this is long, I wanted to make sure everything was put in context. I love both my babies, but it saddens me greatly that I may have to keep them separate from each other and have two lonely birds rather than just one.
 

T00tsyd

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May 8, 2017
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Green cheek conure - Sydney (Syd) Hatched 2/2017
Welcome. My initial thought is that we can never guarantee that 2 birds will be friends. My 2nd thought is that maybe you are rushing things a bit. My 3rd thought is that either or both birds may look on you as their property and are jealous. My 4th thought is that they possibly hate each other on sight and in a flock would avoid.

Am I reading it right that you have had the 2nd bird only a matter of weeks? If so this one could still be settling in and up to now has had you to himself - or so he thought. Now there is an intruder. I believe that GCCs are generally very cage protective so perhaps not the best introduction. I have never been in this situation and there will be far better experienced people than me but my instinct is that you should keep them separate especially when outside their cages. This is going to take some organisation and extra time. You have one little one who is quite possibly hormonal for the first time and another older who is trying to pull rank. Even if they are opposite sexes there is no guarantee of friendship but I would have both of them sexed so that you know as much as them.

Most of all I would take several steps back before introducing them to each other again. I am interested in how you knew Hawk was lonely. Another thought is what if these two are boy and girl, are you prepared for babies. There seems a lot to consider before you go any further. Perhaps some better experienced posters will be along soon and offer more help.
 
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Sultan023

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Aug 26, 2021
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9
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Green Cheek Conure
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Welcome. My initial thought is that we can never guarantee that 2 birds will be friends. My 2nd thought is that maybe you are rushing things a bit. My 3rd thought is that either or both birds may look on you as their property and are jealous. My 4th thought is that they possibly hate each other on sight and in a flock would avoid.

Am I reading it right that you have had the 2nd bird only a matter of weeks? If so this one could still be settling in and up to now has had you to himself - or so he thought. Now there is an intruder. I believe that GCCs are generally very cage protective so perhaps not the best introduction. I have never been in this situation and there will be far better experienced people than me but my instinct is that you should keep them separate especially when outside their cages. This is going to take some organisation and extra time. You have one little one who is quite possibly hormonal for the first time and another older who is trying to pull rank. Even if they are opposite sexes there is no guarantee of friendship but I would have both of them sexed so that you know as much as them.

Most of all I would take several steps back before introducing them to each other again. I am interested in how you knew Hawk was lonely. Another thought is what if these two are boy and girl, are you prepared for babies. There seems a lot to consider before you go any further. Perhaps some better experienced posters will be along soon and offer more help.
Thank you for the thoughtful reply.

I am willing to admit I am probably rushing things more than it should. Yes, we have had Swoop for about a month. Hawk took a couple weeks to fully accept that there were people he was going to get used to, but I didn't see this level of panic since he was met with open arms.

As for Hawk's loneliness, I admittedly can't just straight up tell he's lonely but my wife noticed unless there is a person within sight, he will squawk and wait in place undisturbed, usually opting to being lethargic rather than play with all the toys he has in his cage. Since we got Swoop, Hawk tends to be a little more calm and doesn't need to have another person in the same room, though I personally think he might be too worried Swoop is out to kill him (from his perspective).

We are actually prepared to deal with Hawk and Swoop mating if they are of the opposite sex. My wife and I have no interest in raising babies, and have done some research on the matter. We are ready to use dummy eggs and do have good potential homes that the babies can go to if it really was an inevitability.

My wife says I'm a worry wort and says she's noticed they are more tolerant of one another than I think. Right now Hawk is on my monitor and Swoop is on my shoulder and both are preening themselves despite being about a foot apart. Like I said, this is early and there appears to be some bumps on the road I can accept, but I am more worried about whether or not I can trust to turn my back on the two and not come back to disaster.

Any advice to what I can do to make my birds more tollorant of one another is deeply appreciated.
Put short, I probably did rush things, though I'm not exactly sure how to slowly introduce birds
 

Laurasea

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Aug 2, 2018
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Neptune blue quaker (MIA), Ta-dah GCC female, Penny quaker female, Pikachu quaker female!!, Phoebe quaker female, 3 parakeets males, Burt The Burd GCC female RIP
It takes time. I've built a flock. It takes time. Lots if positive treats to each while kept apart. I'd move the cages 5 feet apart for now.

Reassure the first original bird a lot!!! But not I front of the new bird. The first bird still needs your one on one time. When you bond with the new one do it out of sight of the original one.

Having one with you and one caged while both get fed treats. Then switch who's out and who us cage while you say hi and give treats to both.

Having a group feed with each on either side of you, about 4 feet apart with their own food pile. Make sur both are in a happy relaxed mood before you start. Do nit allow to go to each other. If either acts up. Put both up. And repeat again later. Do many shirt sessions of this over days weeks...until you can slowly move together to a big spread out feed. This is what has led to a well behaved flock for me. But all have their own cage. When ever buddies form...I've tried cage sharing, and even with no aggressive behavior, and mutual grooming, things have never worked out long term. Tho all are out together eat together, half out together. It takes as long as it takes. Rushing things can easily have burds hate each other
 
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Sultan023

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Aug 26, 2021
5
9
Parrots
Green Cheek Conure
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It takes time. I've built a flock. It takes time. Lots if positive treats to each while kept apart. I'd move the cages 5 feet apart for now.

Reassure the first original bird a lot!!! But not I front of the new bird. The first bird still needs your one on one time. When you bond with the new one do it out of sight of the original one.

Having one with you and one caged while both get fed treats. Then switch who's out and who us cage while you say hi and give treats to both.

Having a group feed with each on either side of you, about 4 feet apart with their own food pile. Make sur both are in a happy relaxed mood before you start. Do nit allow to go to each other. If either acts up. Put both up. And repeat again later. Do many shirt sessions of this over days weeks...until you can slowly move together to a big spread out feed. This is what has led to a well behaved flock for me. But all have their own cage. When ever buddies form...I've tried cage sharing, and even with no aggressive behavior, and mutual grooming, things have never worked out long term. Tho all are out together eat together, half out together. It takes as long as it takes. Rushing things can easily have burds hate each other
Great advice, Laurasea. Thank you! We will try to keep them a little farther apart. I agree that keeping them in separate cages is probably for the best.

What signs should I be looking for both negative and positive? Also What is a shirt session?

I hope for the best. I am seeing a little progress, but it's looking like we got a long way to go. My wife jokes it's a good thing we don't have kids since I'd probably be a helicopter parent. lol
 

T00tsyd

Well-known member
May 8, 2017
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475
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Green cheek conure - Sydney (Syd) Hatched 2/2017
Great advice, Laurasea. Thank you! We will try to keep them a little farther apart. I agree that keeping them in separate cages is probably for the best.

What signs should I be looking for both negative and positive? Also What is a shirt session?

I hope for the best. I am seeing a little progress, but it's looking like we got a long way to go. My wife jokes it's a good thing we don't have kids since I'd probably be a helicopter parent. lol
I think it's a typo = short session.
 

Laurasea

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Aug 2, 2018
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Neptune blue quaker (MIA), Ta-dah GCC female, Penny quaker female, Pikachu quaker female!!, Phoebe quaker female, 3 parakeets males, Burt The Burd GCC female RIP
Yep, expect a lot of typos from me. But the advice will be solid ;)

I keep an envelope handy, to insert between birds, and prevent charges at each other. That way rte don't develope fear of hands .
Before when I would put my hand between them to prevent fight it caused my GCC to develop fear of hands. Which took lots if treats by hand to overcome.

Since there are two of you, you can play pass the birdie. You can each have one with you, then switch. Burds seem to understand fun and games. You could change birds every five to ten minutes . Maybe use the phrase Switch! But do use some phrase that is always the same. Lots of praise and letting them know how awesome they are. Its a good way fir both to have attention, and to layer good things while the other is around.

I've done a bunch of introducing, the best way is to never allow a fight or negative interaction in the beginning as Leeads to grudges.

Green checks lower head , raise neck feather, do a snake neck weave , or a stylized stomping March when angry. They usually try to attack the other birds feet or toes. Or displace that aggression by biting you or toys or objects that are near at hand. Do not lot that to happen. If you can't target and distract out them up and try again in 15 min. Tell them no, or be good, just choose a phrase and be consistent
 

Laurasea

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Aug 2, 2018
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Neptune blue quaker (MIA), Ta-dah GCC female, Penny quaker female, Pikachu quaker female!!, Phoebe quaker female, 3 parakeets males, Burt The Burd GCC female RIP
This article is fantastic, its from a woman who has decades of understanding parrots and the science training and certification. It is not just fir stressed parrots, the Info and tips can be used by all.

Some clarity, the observations, aren't just leave your parrot alone and observe, day one if your parrot wants to interact do so. ( public service announcement to counteract those ehove been told to leave their bird in cage fir days weeks whatever they been told that wrong) rather yiu should train your self to do objective observations daily or weekly, especially if your parrots behavior changes. It is a skill. As we all see what we think or expect to see. Think of yourself as scientist, and objective observe the data. You may find that a cat goes by the window every afternoon and that's what causing alarm calls or screaming...

For me , I took my own advice when my GCC started attacking a budgie she had. Been close friends with. I expected it to be between the two of them, or hormones. But what I observed was that my quaker Neptune who was mate bonded with my GCC was driving her nuts. Constantly wanting to be up her butt, and never giving her space. Her behavior to the budgies w as displaced aggression, it really had nothing to do with the budgies. So to fix this , I locked up the quaker fir and hour a day and let her be out without him, and I also gave her a 30 min in cage time while everyone else w as out. This gave her a much needed break. Even though she was deeply bonded to the quaker as well. I also started mommy and me time in the evening when just her and I hung out. To this day we still have mommy and me time. While all the parrots hang out with me as a group or individually through tge day. My GCC as the original parrot, has deep need for just her and me time. This fixed the aggression immediately.

I think you having a second GCC will be great for both. But you will have your own kinks to work out.

I also strongly suggest getting acrylic sheets from tge big box stores. To place on top of cages. Thus will prevent toes from being bitten off ! Because at some point even with both cages open someone will be on top of a Cage while someone is inside, and they are speedy at going up to get a toe. It also keeps things cleaner when they are out making use of the cages tops by not allowing poop or food to fall into feed dishes or perches. And allows plenty of light in still as they are clear.

Burds need their own spaces and are part monkey. So use the outside and sides of cages like a gym, lots of perches attached, toys and chewable shred stuff. As I have 7! I need them to be able to be out an entertaining themselves and not always hanging off of me lol. The spend hours foraging on cage tops and perches, testing their climbing, jumping, and swinging skills. I font waste that vertical space above their cages either! I use ceiling hooks and fishing ling to hang swings, spiral ropes above the cages. I have limited floor space, and all 7 can't git on me at once. So I also use ceiling hook and fishing line to hang a huge spiral rope next to my chair, with chew toys. So some can br next to me while other are on me. This is also fantastic at keeping them off furniture, and from chewing my stuff. They are all flighted, and having a few hangout furniture for them keeps them using the space, out of trouble , and includes them as part of the family.
 

Laurasea

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Neptune blue quaker (MIA), Ta-dah GCC female, Penny quaker female, Pikachu quaker female!!, Phoebe quaker female, 3 parakeets males, Burt The Burd GCC female RIP
This is what I've done. I change it up all the time. While I have a desire to have it be more esthetically pleasing to my eye and decorative, I've let that go as with 7 of them they need stuff... but even one swing above a cage will provide more for them. Sorry still learning how to do pictures. And can't figure out how to remove duplicates. Anyway be creative, have fun. It will benefit all of you. These guys are as smart or smarter than primates, very active, more so than dogs and cats, and that needs to be taken into account. Having them involved and included into your life makes them incredibly rewarding companions. Not being thoughtful and mindful leads to huge frustration for both parties, screaming, bites, plucking, destruction, and re homing or worse parrots locked up in cage fir ever and shoved off to a back bedroom or garage ( the horror stories I've seen, or the self mutilated and insane parrots I've been part of saving........
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Sultan023

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Green Cheek Conure
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Thank you, Laurasea! you've been a great help.

I totally get what you mean. We're changing some things up and trying different techniques to see what is working for us. Hawk is less panicky around Swoop, but he is still not very fond of him (I had a little beak battle on my back my wife had to break up). We have the advantage of tag teaming each bird, but I seem to be the favorite for both, which can be complicated when both are striving to get on my shoulder.

Right now Swoop's cage is a little smaller than Hawks, so we figured getting them identical cages would help reduce cage envy if there is any. It's in the mail, so more to come on that.

Its funny you mention about the whole jungle gym outside their cages. They actually have a lot of stuff outside their cages. Hawk loves to play in a 4in PVC tube system we place on the top of his cage. Swoop quickly picked up on that and both actually prefer to sleep in their tubes more than in their cages. It's the sweetest thing to hear them chirp as they settle in for the night and hear it echo out the pipes.

So far every day is a little better. It'll take time, but I am a little more optimistic Hawk and Swoop will eventually learn to tolerate one another in closer proximity. They get lots of love and treats from us and I wouldn't give up either for the world. I will post any concerning behavior as well as progress as it comes.

You guys have been great! Thank you!
 

Laurasea

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Wonderful. I'd love to see your pvc set up!
 
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Sultan023

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Green Cheek Conure
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OK, so update:
As it stands, things have gotten better. At the least I have found a pattern and have been able to have some form of control when observing it.

As context, Hawk (the youngster we had first), is a very energetic bird. He's had a lot of love and attention from us as well as a healthy diet of fruits, veggies, pellets and nuts. He also gets a lot of time out his cage. We joke that it would have been better having a stand for him rather than a cage because he is rarely ever in there despite the toys and food we put in there (pic related).

Swoop (the older new bird) on the other hand, is much more slow and subtle. When I went to pick him up, his head was practically covered in pin feathers. He also had few toys in the cage he was locked in and was given pretty much nothing but a cheap seed diet. Even with a clean bill of health, he's much more sluggish than Hawk and doesn't really play with toys. He just wants to hang out on a shoulder and idly nibble on an ear. Fortunately, he's starting to brighten up with the diet we've been giving him.

Onto the situation at hand, there is now a clear pattern of behavior with the two. On neutral ground, Hawk and Swoop are pretty ok with one another. They will even eat out of the same plate with little to no complications. I would even say that maybe 75% of the time, they can be about a foot or so apart and be relaxed enough to preen, cuddle to a hand, or just relax.

It is when they are on my shoulder that this tolerance goes down. It is even more so when they are on the couch. Hawk LOVES the couch. One of his favorite things to do is run behind a pillow, hop on a lap, play around or get some scratches, run back behind a pillow and repeat the pattern until he either takes a nap or goes back to the cage for some alone time.

Either way, Hawk is now the aggressor. His patter is he will walk over to Swoop, try to go for his tail when his back is turned or just try to start a fight swoop has no interest in. This indicates to me that Hawk is acting territorial and is trying to show Swoop that he is not welcome in his personal space. I've made use of the envelop trick and keep a close eye on the two so fights are almost always broken up ASAP. So far it's worked well.

What I am trying to work on is making my shoulder and the couch neutral territory as well as discouraging aggression in Hawk. A gentle puff of air when he leans in for a bite is usually all it takes, but he is a stubborn boy. No doubt that's going to take a while given he is going through his terrible twos. Are there any tips and/or comments to my assessment? I have been loving the feedback and it has given me a lot of hope for my two babies.

(Pic below is the cage set up. They love their tubes and will sleep in there when its bed time. I added a sheet of plexiglass after taking this pic since they tend to jump to the other's cage to steal their food even though its the same feed, lol.)
Cage build.jpg
 

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