My GCC is afraid of my hands

Babyjoey

New member
Jun 17, 2022
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2
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Green cheek conure
Hi everyone,

I’ve had Joey, my green cheek Conure for 5 months now and I got him when he was 10 week old. We let him roam around the house (supervised) and he is in his cage only when we are not home or when it’s his bedtime. He has always been very friendly with everyone and definitely not shy or afraid of people and Him and I just have a very special bondwe would spend all day together, he would cuddle me, kiss me he was obsessed with me.

But everything changed a week ago when I was cleaning and he got into a box which he couldn’t get out of (he was safe just couldn’t get out of the box) by the time I noticed he was in the box maybe 20-30 minutes had passed and I immediately took him out of the box and I was worried and kept saying “oh no my baby” in a frantic voice, the box was also dirty so I took him to the sink to wash him off and after that he jumped out of my hand and started running away from me and would not let me touch him or even come near him. He lets my husband touch him and he will step up for my husband but wanted nothing to do with me. It’s been a week now since this happened and now he does come to me, will climb on my clothes and get on my shoulder but he won’t let me grab him or step up for me, he actually starts running away if I try to offer him my hand so getting him in and out of his cage has been very challenging and I miss having him with me all the time like before I’m worried things will never get back to the way we were.
If anyone has any advice or has dealt with a similar situation before please help I desperately want my best friend back
 

ravvlet

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Jun 25, 2019
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Kirby - OWA, 33yrs old (2019-)
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He’s about 7-8 months old now, right? I believe conures tend to reach sexual maturity between 1 and 2 years of age. Sounds like he just had a really traumatic experience with the box.

Some parrots, especially smaller parrots, are slow to rebuild trust. I am sorry you’re stuck in this situation when you acted with the best of intentions, but these things happen and more than likely you will be able to get your relationship back to where it was!

The first thing to remember is that this event may have acted as a “reset” to his trust of you in some way shape or form - in this instance, it seems specific to your hands. To “fix” this, you have to desensitize him to the presence of your hands. Positive reinforcement is ALWAYS the way to go, and remember, you can’t force the bird! They are prey animals, and you must go at their pace.

A really cool trick the trainer showed me when helping me work with our Yellow Nape Amazon was to bring my hand as close to her as I could until she started to shift or move - then take my hand away to the point just before she’d move from discomfort and hold it there until she relaxed (for example, they may lean their weight away from you, and slowly settle back down on both feet). We then would verbally reward her (ours loves to be chattered at excitedly) and give her a treat! Since he is wary of hands, you can offer him a treat on a spoon, or place the treat somewhere nearby where he can get to it.

This not only showed her that we’re respecting her boundaries about the closeness of our hands, but that we aren’t going to grab her or force her to do something. It also builds a positive association with you & your hands - your hands mean treats! Within the week she was stepping up for my partner and taking treats out of my hand (I am not the favorite, lol).

Another thing you can try, especially if he won’t take treats from your hand, is offering him treats with a long handled spoon or other such device. Whatever treat you decide to work with, make sure you are the *only person* offering this treat. Make it special! As time goes on, you can choke up on the spoon, till you’re holding the ladle instead of the handle, and eventually, giving him the treat with your open palm or pinched between your fingers.

Anytime you have to come close with your hands, it may also help to tell him what you’re doing and move slowly, even if it feels silly. Since Sammy doesn’t trust me as much as my partner, when I need to change her food and water, I tell her what I’m doing and keep up a running dialog while I do it. It seems to keep her calmer and means I don’t have a feisty ‘zon lunging at the sides of the cage.

An alternative to this, that many people report success with, is target training. You can use the same stick you’re target training with to do step-ups on, so that he doesn’t have to step up on your hand at all. There are some good target-training guides here on the forum, so I won’t reinvent the wheel here but rather link a thread:

 

clark_conure

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Jul 14, 2017
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A crossover Quaker Scuti (F), A Sun conure name TBD (?), A Cinnamon Green Cheek conure name TBD (?), and 6 budgies, Scuti Jr. (f), Blue (m), yellow (m), clark Jr. (f), and two babies name TBD (f&f).
Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about....but gccs get over stuff quick....maybe by the time I'm writing this now, the gcc is over it. They are birds that strongly bond and I would just give it a little time.
I've cut my GCC's nails and they HATE ME, then ten minutes later they are on my shoulder allopreening me.

I really wouldn't worry to much about it unless it goes on for more than say 1-2 days. And.....it won't even last that long. Conures are popular for a reason. They think they are people, just flying people.
 

ravvlet

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Jun 25, 2019
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Seattle WA
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Kirby - OWA, 33yrs old (2019-)
Sammy - YNA, 45 yrs old (2022-)
RIP Cricket - Cockatiel (2019-2022)
Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about....but gccs get over stuff quick....maybe by the time I'm writing this now, the gcc is over it. They are birds that strongly bond and I would just give it a little time.
I've cut my GCC's nails and they HATE ME, then ten minutes later they are on my shoulder allopreening me.

I really wouldn't worry to much about it unless it goes on for more than say 1-2 days. And.....it won't even last that long. Conures are popular for a reason. They think they are people, just flying people.
You’re so right about conures, especially GCC, being lovely birds! OP indicated this has been going on for about a week though, which is why I was concerned!

I do hope she just bounces back to her old self though!
 

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