I need help!!!!

Elvie

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Oct 6, 2021
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African Grey
My CAG absolutely will NOT stop pecking at the bottom of his cage. We've went through 3 different cages to see if that was the problem. I have tried everything from toys, leaving his cage door open, more interaction from me(he hates everyone else) different treats etc. I hate to say this but he was a rescue that my husband brought home. My husband was raised with macaws, Greys, cockatoos and has had them all his life. He has not been able to make up with this bird. I'm at my wits end and almost ready to rehome him. I've never rehomed an animal in my life. It would crush me and the bird being separated but I honestly can't handle his incessant pecking. It's driving me insane.
 

foxgloveparrot

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I think he really needs something to do. This is probably boredom. However, what's really confusing is you have tried and tried to get him occupied doing something else, and he doesn't want to do anything other than peck the bottom of his cage. I would keep trying to find a treat he loves, lure him out of the cage with that. If his cage is small, I would go for a bigger cage size as well, small cages can lead to boredom, the cause of many behaviors. If you have a big cage, and nothing works, I don't know what to tell you.
 

wrench13

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How long have you had him?
Good suggestions on changing the bottom to something else , like taking the grate out. Maybe safe wood shavings? Greys get so psychotically driven sometimes, its tough to break them out of a habit. Making friends can be a long drawn out process, months even years, with any parrot, they are sooo stubborn.
 

Emeral

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Sep 16, 2021
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Hanhs Macaw
My CAG absolutely will NOT stop pecking at the bottom of his cage. We've went through 3 different cages to see if that was the problem. I have tried everything from toys, leaving his cage door open, more interaction from me(he hates everyone else) different treats etc. I hate to say this but he was a rescue that my husband brought home. My husband was raised with macaws, Greys, cockatoos and has had them all his life. He has not been able to make up with this bird. I'm at my wits end and almost ready to rehome him. I've never rehomed an animal in my life. It would crush me and the bird being separated but I honestly can't handle his incessant pecking. It's driving me insane.
Since we know nothing about his background, the rescued one may have gone through a lot in a bird's life. Not to mention old habits from possible previous neglect on top of the lack of ways to ask for help from the new favorite human. As the result, it's not going to be easy to get settled in anywhere new. But he has bonded to someone, to you, so this is wonderful for him.

With out easy fix solution presence, I will make a list of what might help with his pecking.

1) So far, how is his learning curve in your home? Is his cage in a quiet corner (suitable location for a frighten new face) or in the most lively part (suitable for a curious want to be involved eager face)

2) Comparing his behaviour, say from last month, he seems to do better in, say this week? How long did it take from a frighten new face to a shoulder preening bond? The level of trust, bonding and obedience is key to behavior correction.

3)Does he understand simple command like no, good boy, step up? If he does, did you teach him here? If this is the case, you may be able to tell him "NO" to stop him from unwanted behavior. If he doesn't respond to simple commands, he will need to learn these before we can communicate with him.

4) By observing how he plays, we might come up with a new way to distract him from unwanted behavior. Did he likes to destroy toys or preening toys or foraging toys? how he normally play, how he react to new toy? New thing in his domain? We want to know what is exciting to him so we can better give him positive experience.
That is needed to replace the previous destructive ones.

5) Like most pet birds, he must love having attention, especially from his favorite human. So when does he have you to play with him? Is it a routine, time table like or random?

6) when he start to peck at the bottom of his cage, was there anyone in the room? If no one's there when he peck, then it's old habit from boredom and neglect. In this case, we just have to find the right distraction to stop him.

But if he peck after he eye contacted with you, then it's calling for attention. Some birds scream, bite, break a vase, or self mutilated to get favorite person to look at them. If the pecking is resulted from him trying to get your attention, then, ignore him might help. However, ignoring works only when you also give him attention in a precise routine say 1-2hours in the morning and 1-2 hours before bed, so he doesn't need to ask for it. With out routine sessions, ignoring may result in worsen behavior.

Your family have already rescued him from dangers out there. Thumbs up for that. However, living with him is an entirely different story. One that will take a lot of time, a lot of heart. I mean, will a fireman have to marry a girl he rescued? Not unless he loves her, right? It's either in 100percent or waving goodbye.

Since the background of the bird is unknown, more effort maybe needed than with other birds. It's going to be a demanding long term commitment. One that is never dull, possibly a lot of headaches too. So it is only normal should you feel that it is not for you and your family. There is nothing wrong with rehoming as long as it bring a new opportunity for him to build trust and be a part of his new flock. Not unless, you love him.

Best of luck
 

fiddlejen

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Mar 28, 2019
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My CAG absolutely will NOT stop pecking at the bottom of his cage. We've went through 3 different cages to see if that was the problem. I have tried everything from toys, leaving his cage door open, more interaction from me(he hates everyone else) different treats etc. I hate to say this but he was a rescue that my husband brought home. My husband was raised with macaws, Greys, cockatoos and has had them all his life. He has not been able to make up with this bird. I'm at my wits end and almost ready to rehome him. I've never rehomed an animal in my life. It would crush me and the bird being separated but I honestly can't handle his incessant pecking. It's driving me insane.
Poor birdy. The constant cage pecking is problematic. No telling if this is a PTSD behavior that may fade with time and love, or if it might be indicative of some neurological issue or physical/nutritional need. Emeral's questions & suggestions, above, are highly relevant.

But I don't understand how the cage-pecking bothers You so much. Why would you rehome a bird because of it?

Why do you say, "I hate to say this but he was a rescue...?" Many people feel virtue in having taken in a rescue. (Sometimes justly, sometimes not.) Knowing this behavior is More Likely a result of prior trauma (even if just the trauma of re-homing), and thus presumably Not Your Fault, could be comforting to you. ??

I mention all this, especially, because birds are VERY sensitive to human emotions. They don't always react to our emotions how We Want!!!! But they are unbelievably aware and sensitive. You need to love a bird unconditionally, and the more so if it needs to recover from something.

This cage pecking most likely arose for a reason that had Nothing to do with you. And most likely it's Continuing due to the Original cause, as well.

BUT. Allowing yourself to feel stress about it, is gonna reinforce the behavior.

For my birds, I leave calming youtube videos running on their TV all the time. (Well, except when I play "exciting" budgie-videos which my Jefferson-budgie loves.) (Also I keep some air filters running, for the double benefit of filtering air and masking sound also.) I play the ones with beautiful scenery and relaxing background music, most often. I play sleep-videos at night.

I Believe the calming videos & music benefit the birds and I know 100% they benefit me as well.

Perhaps you could try that as well? Calming music to mask sounds of cage-pecking? So that you can accept the bird unconditionally. Yes continue working to help him to heal - but, perhaps, back away even from that goal For a While IF that's what it takes to not stress about it?

If he wants to pretend he's a chicken for a while, whether a few more days, or weeks months years, as part of his healing process, well, just help him to enjoy his life as best he can.
 
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Kentuckienne

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Oct 9, 2016
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I’ve seen birdies do things because they like the noise it makes. There’s a video of a cockatoo screaming into a cup, for example. Is there a way to dampen the sound? Temporarily put cardboard or wood on the cage bottom? Use rubber washers between metal bits? A longer term fix would have to be bird safe, but it would be interesting to see what happens if you change the acoustics, like like newspaper on top of the floor, or set the cage on foam topped with newspaper.
 

GaleriaGila

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May 14, 2016
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Well, I am probably embarrassing myself, butttttttttttt...
The Rb has always chewed his cages, especially the grates, and I have just always resignedly replaced them once the metal started to show through. Our Lani-Kai Playtop has been replaced every 4-5 years, and the grate... about yearly.
 

AmyMyBlueFront

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Jonesy a Goffins 'Too who had to be rehomed :-(

And a Normal Grey Cockatiel named BB who came home with me on 5/20/2016.
Well, I am probably embarrassing myself, butttttttttttt...
The Rb has always chewed his cages, especially the grates, and I have just always resignedly replaced them once the metal started to show through. Our Lani-Kai Playtop has been replaced every 4-5 years, and the grate... about yearly.
how about putting newspaper on his grate (if he has one). So he can't make "noise" and it won't aggro you so much?


Jim
 

GaleriaGila

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May 14, 2016
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Jim, I love you for trying, but... if I put newspaper on the grate, he just chews the paper and burrows and resumes chewing the grate. If I take the grate out and just put newspaper, he chews the paper and gets ink and food and poo all over himself...
After 30+ years, I have pretty much given up fighting. He just does whatever he wants to.
But I'm not normal.
I just hope Elvie can figure something out so that the dear darling rescue bird can keep his home!!!
xoxoxo
 

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