Help with a rescued Green Cheek!

doverland

New member
Oct 1, 2021
1
1
Parrots
GCC, Sally
I rescued/adopted an unbanded Green Cheek Conure "Sally" from a young student who was traveling back to Korea and not returning...and could not travel with the bird. I had previously taken care of this bird, for 9 weeks during the Summer, while she was away...and the conditions "she" lived in were awful. She came to live with me in June of 2019.

Upon my first visit, I found the the water bowls filthy, moldy and foul. Her food had feces in it. The owners roommate was 'supposed' to be watching/ caring for her for two weeks--until my care started. She likely never did a thing--from what I saw.

Sally drank and drank after offered fresh water on our first meeting. She sat and ate out her fresh seed/pellets for about an hour, and I replaced the food again. This bird was confined to a 10 x 10 bed room, allowed to poop, do whatever in the room. I don't think she had much people interaction overall, no music playing, and the window looked into a brick wall. I found out she never ever was given fresh fruit or veggies, toys were never changed. I bought her a few new toys, mango's, apples, spinach, kale, etc., and I spent a lot of time just sitting with her, talking with her and one day I spent 3 hours cleaning her cage, the wall behind it (covered in poop) and the floor around her cage. She never swooped to bite, and was relatively very quiet when I was there.

A year later, the gal texted me, looking for someone to take Sally, had only a few days to "give her to someone"...she hadn't planned well...and I thought about it for a day and thought I could handle her...besides she seemed so docile. Sadly she has been anything but docile and quiet.

She bites, draws blood, swoops toward your shoulder or head--goes for your ears, neck, or arm. Once I was sweeping, and she dove for my face, ripping open my top lip--with a hole all the way through, and I have the scar still. I was napping once and she bit me hard on the face--even then, doing nothing.

She attacks and bites the cat, while she is sleeping or just sitting, being a cat. Goes after the dog, while he is sleeping, or enjoying a chew toy. God forbid you try and leave out the front door if she is out of her cage. Never put on a coat in her presence, grab the dog leash, or put your purse on your shoulder--you will be subject to attack and severe bites. You cannot sweep the floor near her cage, trying to change paper, re-arrange toys, or change water/food bowls must be done before dawn or very late at night, so she is semi-asleep. Moving slow or fast--doesn't matter. She definitely calls, screams and goes crazy with noise--though I find she is somewhat quiet when alone.

The odd thing is she actually wants to sit on your knee, she makes moves to climb up your arm, I get the sense she wants physical attention, though the price you pay might be bloody. I use an oven mitt to have her on my hand at any time I need to get her to bed, or in her cage--which she swoops right to.

I have done the following:

given her a broad, varied diet-fresh veggies, fruit, greens, pellets, some seeds, chicken now and again, pasta, rice, bird nuggets, etc.

fresh water 2-3 times per day

sleep, I put her to bed at 9PM, low light for about 10 mins, then I cover her and lights out

provide her with UVB light 10 hours a day with a special bird light on a timer

change/rotate her toys when I can/allowed every two weeks

change her cage paper every week when allowed

give her "tubbies" as often as she wants--she enjoys the sink sprayer

have tried clicker training with reward--she really has nothing she cares about enough to respond to the clicker, and after 3 months she did not seem to "get" the process

have tried dowl step-up training, where she just lunges toward my neck or face and bites again and again...drawing blood, on cheeks, nose, eyes, ears, etc. Anyone who says "don't react" to biting, is crazy...you have a bird biting gashes and you are supposed to be calm? right....

when she bites I put her back to her cage, as soon as I can get her in there and is ignored--she def seems to dislikes being ignored

I am at my wits end. I feel responsible for this little bird and wanted to make her life better. The constant tip toe-ing not to upset her, keeping her away from the other pets, changing how we come and go -and just how we live when she is out is taxing at best.

I hate to leave her in her cage-that's no life, though when she's out of her cage she can be out of control. When I first got her she had a full exam and nails clipped at a bird experienced vet, who gave her a clean bill of health.

Some of my friends say that I have given it my best an I should re-home her or surrender her to a shelter. I'm torn on what might be best for my other pets--who do nothing, and are subject to her attacks. It's not fair to them.

So, any suggestions?
 

Laurasea

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
9,884
1,546
USA
Parrots
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
Hi!
Welcome! Things can improve. But you really have to be extremely cautious with a cat around and dog. Cat saliva has 90% of the time a bacteria called Pasteurella, and it's deadly within hours to birds. So if the cat gets paws or mouth on parrot even with no wound it can kill the parrot.
Trust building can take time. And the things you mentioned that lead to attacks. Like sweeping, freak my parrots out as well. The stick looks like a snake to them I think....many times clothing can be a trigger to parrots. I can't wear my hair down or my sweet Penny Flys to me and attacks.. birds are a little weird..

Adjustments take time , especially for a poor bird that had no stability, and neglect. Sometimes things move forward slowly in a parrots world, like months. But you can get there. I've worked with medical fosters that were removed from homes and taken in rescues, they were able to learn trust and overcome all that. So I firmly believe you can do it. But if you don't feel like you can, than you can be the stepping stone to the right home.

Birds like routine and ritual, and learn what to expect. Be consistent, use the same words, explanation things, always talk as you come to the cage.

Safflower seeds are often a big hit as a treat motivation. Especially for GCC .

Your bird is a prey species, so attacks on predators like digs and cats are them trying to drive them away for their safety. You can not let them interact. So very many are killed by other pets in the home......

I would put up all the other pets. Get treats ready. Then open the cage and let the bird out. Have perches on the outside of cage sides and top if cage. Let him come out on his own, give some space and talk. Then say hello, show the seed and offer it, if takes from hand super. If nit that trusting yet, have a tiny treat only dish and out the seed in there , and back off. When he takes the treat tell him how good he is. Do something near by. Abd in a few minutes come back and repeat , say hello " name" show seed out in dish. Do this several times, over and over. You can do the sane thing when in cage as well, you go say hi many times a day and give treat. Let him chill out of tge cage for a couple of hours .. then use bsut of his most favorite, fresh corn on the cop, an apple slice, a cracker, show him and put in cage. Tell him time to go back, ( they can learn this, but takes time) stand off to the side and point to open door repeat time to go back. Every step towards cage door tell him good bird. It takes time and patience, abd fooling around. But when he goes in really praise. Close door and give more treats. I've done this with hands off budgie abd other parrots. Within a few times they had it figured out. I made a really big deal about how good abd smart they were. But I also had worked fir them to know what good bird ment. I associated good burd with every treat, with every time they ate, or did anything that made them happy, like good bird when they took a bath, good bird when they destroyed a toy, good bird as they fall asleep, good burd when they preened. So they knew what good felt and ment. So as they took a step towards cage door and I said good bird it kinda gave them a head start , they knew they were doing tge right thing. Its shaping behavior.

I'm going to get and link an excellent article on stress in parrots. Its great as an insight to birds. I don't do clickers, to bug a bother, I say good bird as the Bridge instead.
 
Last edited:

Laurasea

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
9,884
1,546
USA
Parrots
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
With a cat in the house and the burd used to being able to fly i would not clip.
Tge bird would do a lot of startle crashes and easily could get attacked.

Burds can act out when big changes, and it has fear
I think a lot can be done before even thinking of clipping......its really dangerous with a small bird and a cat...abd its still going to think it can fly ...some never give up trying till a year or longer that it takes those feathers to grow back
 

T00tsyd

Well-known member
May 8, 2017
1,118
205
UK
Parrots
Green cheek conure - Sydney (Syd) Hatched 2/2017
Your little one seems to have got over the honeymoon period and is testing the boundaries big time. My experience is that Syd loves routine. He is happiest when he knows and understands what is happening and even what is going to happen. For what it's worth I would back track and start again. Even up to the point of putting her in her cage and spending time relating to her where she can't bite.
Syd will kill for a Sunflower seed and that is job number one. Find what really turns her on. Chat comfortably, don't change anything, so keep toys even the way you look pretty much the same as far as possible. If you wear a different colour go near her cage and explain that it is still you. I know it sounds daft but either your little one is frightened or simply angry. She needs a bit of sweet talk and making biting impossible. Try not to put yourself in a position to get bitten. I spent several weeks in hat, gloves, scarf, glasses, long sleeves to avoid it.
I don't ignore it when Syd puts too much pressure. I screech and he immediately backs off. In a flock if he bit another they would yell at him and then send him out of the flock. You must do the same. Once you have confidence to let her out again after spending a little time sweet- talking and making sure she is ok, duck away from her if she tries to land on you. Let her know that biting birds don't have privileges. If she sits away from you then the sweet-talk carries on. Approach her gently after say 5 minutes holding a seed out to her. If she backs away or fluffs up back away and hide the treat. It's a slow process. She will come around but you have to learn her body language to know when she is not amenable, but equally she has to learn yours. It's a two way ticket.
I have learned to be pedantically consistent. I use the same word exactly for each occasion - you have to be really disciplined so that she has the chance to figure out what each word/phrase means. Coming in I always say hello, offer a treat, going out I always say I won't be long, and give a treat before I leave or wrap a couple of seeds in a tissue so he is busy getting through to them while I leave.
Routine, consistency and making bad hurtful behaviour impossible and trust us she will learn. Expect it to take months not hours or days. Stick to your guns and she will come around.

FYI Syd goes to bed at 7.30pm and gets up 12 hours later. I don't vary it unless something unexpected happens.
 

Emeral

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2021
141
281
Parrots
Hanhs Macaw
I rescued/adopted an unbanded Green Cheek Conure "Sally" from a young student who was traveling back to Korea and not returning...and could not travel with the bird. I had previously taken care of this bird, for 9 weeks during the Summer, while she was away...and the conditions "she" lived in were awful. She came to live with me in June of 2019.

Upon my first visit, I found the the water bowls filthy, moldy and foul. Her food had feces in it. The owners roommate was 'supposed' to be watching/ caring for her for two weeks--until my care started. She likely never did a thing--from what I saw.

Sally drank and drank after offered fresh water on our first meeting. She sat and ate out her fresh seed/pellets for about an hour, and I replaced the food again. This bird was confined to a 10 x 10 bed room, allowed to poop, do whatever in the room. I don't think she had much people interaction overall, no music playing, and the window looked into a brick wall. I found out she never ever was given fresh fruit or veggies, toys were never changed. I bought her a few new toys, mango's, apples, spinach, kale, etc., and I spent a lot of time just sitting with her, talking with her and one day I spent 3 hours cleaning her cage, the wall behind it (covered in poop) and the floor around her cage. She never swooped to bite, and was relatively very quiet when I was there.

A year later, the gal texted me, looking for someone to take Sally, had only a few days to "give her to someone"...she hadn't planned well...and I thought about it for a day and thought I could handle her...besides she seemed so docile. Sadly she has been anything but docile and quiet.

She bites, draws blood, swoops toward your shoulder or head--goes for your ears, neck, or arm. Once I was sweeping, and she dove for my face, ripping open my top lip--with a hole all the way through, and I have the scar still. I was napping once and she bit me hard on the face--even then, doing nothing.

She attacks and bites the cat, while she is sleeping or just sitting, being a cat. Goes after the dog, while he is sleeping, or enjoying a chew toy. God forbid you try and leave out the front door if she is out of her cage. Never put on a coat in her presence, grab the dog leash, or put your purse on your shoulder--you will be subject to attack and severe bites. You cannot sweep the floor near her cage, trying to change paper, re-arrange toys, or change water/food bowls must be done before dawn or very late at night, so she is semi-asleep. Moving slow or fast--doesn't matter. She definitely calls, screams and goes crazy with noise--though I find she is somewhat quiet when alone.

The odd thing is she actually wants to sit on your knee, she makes moves to climb up your arm, I get the sense she wants physical attention, though the price you pay might be bloody. I use an oven mitt to have her on my hand at any time I need to get her to bed, or in her cage--which she swoops right to.

I have done the following:

given her a broad, varied diet-fresh veggies, fruit, greens, pellets, some seeds, chicken now and again, pasta, rice, bird nuggets, etc.

fresh water 2-3 times per day

sleep, I put her to bed at 9PM, low light for about 10 mins, then I cover her and lights out

provide her with UVB light 10 hours a day with a special bird light on a timer

change/rotate her toys when I can/allowed every two weeks

change her cage paper every week when allowed

give her "tubbies" as often as she wants--she enjoys the sink sprayer

have tried clicker training with reward--she really has nothing she cares about enough to respond to the clicker, and after 3 months she did not seem to "get" the process

have tried dowl step-up training, where she just lunges toward my neck or face and bites again and again...drawing blood, on cheeks, nose, eyes, ears, etc. Anyone who says "don't react" to biting, is crazy...you have a bird biting gashes and you are supposed to be calm? right....

when she bites I put her back to her cage, as soon as I can get her in there and is ignored--she def seems to dislikes being ignored

I am at my wits end. I feel responsible for this little bird and wanted to make her life better. The constant tip toe-ing not to upset her, keeping her away from the other pets, changing how we come and go -and just how we live when she is out is taxing at best.

I hate to leave her in her cage-that's no life, though when she's out of her cage she can be out of control. When I first got her she had a full exam and nails clipped at a bird experienced vet, who gave her a clean bill of health.

Some of my friends say that I have given it my best an I should re-home her or surrender her to a shelter. I'm torn on what might be best for my other pets--who do nothing, and are subject to her attacks. It's not fair to them.

So, any suggestions?
You have already helped save her life from unimaginable hell. And the healing process is ever so lengthy and demanding. You and your pet had already put up way beyond your comfort zone. Bites on cheeks, lips, eyes, that draw blood is not acceptable and is on going. So I think it is time to do what is best for you. That is to love her from a distant. And since you truly care for her, you can do your best to rehome her and visit her periodically to make sure that she improves psychologically. You may even need to rehome her more than once. But having you at a distant can help the new owner to better understand and prepare for the circumstances and challenges.

I believe there's still hope here. You have mentioned that Sally is quite when she is alone. Attack dog and cat. She swoops toward face and head, bites but still wants to sit on your knee. Such aggression.
Why did she attack them? Was she terrified the cat and dog may harm her? Or was she jealous? Did she wanted your attention all to herself? She seems to bite you to get your attention. Or bite you so that you will love only her. Birds can be possessive of their favorite person.

If this is the case, try playing with her without cat and dog in the same room.

If she no longer bite then it means she bite to stop you from playing with cat and dog.

Her aggression, I think, are normal responses to the upnormal care she was subjected to earlier. Because of her past experience, she is going to need a lot of time and undivided attention. Bonding and trust building under such difficult circumstances may take as much as 4 to 8 hours per day. Preferably with an experienced hands and without added stress from competition or any other predater animal such as cats and dogs. Once she learns to trust, she may learn simple commands, recall training, some tricks and form a new bond which she had never had, yet long for.

What will wing clipping do to her
1) flight restriction
2) create stress from vulnerability to predators
3) cause more mistrust to human
3) create helplessness sense
4) force dependency on human

In the current situation, wing clipping will add more scar to her heart. But under experienced hands, who can give her undivided attention and time to bond (and is not afraid of having her on the shoulder), temporaly flight restriction may create the dependency. Which may translate to trust later. I hope she can finally learn to love and be loved, in the normal way.

You have saved her life, and have already helped at the beginning of her recovery road. But since her past experience did not allow her to welcome dog and cat, let's not ask too much from her.

Perhaps it is time to redirect your efforts, from sacrificing blood to rehoming and follow up on her, instead. She still have a long road to recover ahead of her.
 

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