Need advice on how to appease my conure.

faradvian

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Jun 6, 2022
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Burlington, Ontario
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Turtle (Yellow-Sided Conure) & Pan (Budgie)
Hello! I'm Peyton & I'm 20 years old. I own a yellow-sided conure named Turtle and he is about 4 years old now. My sister originally bought him for herself, but once he took a liking to me, I basically gained ownership of him and all of his responsibilities quickly fell onto me. I still live with my mother, sister, brother, and my mother's bird-hating boyfriend. To put it simply, I'm the only one in the entire house who likes Turtle and takes care of him and spends time with him. Any time he screams to be let out or plays with his toys, other people in the house yell at him to be quiet, and, if I'm not home during the day, will cover his cage and turn off all the lights, leaving him in the dark until I get home.

To preface, he has upwards of 18 toys in his big cage that was just recently rearranged, he has no access to mirrors (other than his stainless steel bowls which he, unfortunately, uses as a mirror sometimes), he gets veggies, pellets and other healthy snacks, most of his day is spent outside of his cage & in my room, which he no longer seems content with and screeches to be let elsewhere. He goes to bed at sundown and wakes up 2 or so hours after sunrise (around 7-8 a.m.), and his cage gets covered at night. His sleep is more disturbed than I would like it to be, as the people in my house are extremely ignorant and don't seem to care about me or my bird's sleep schedule, despite me explaining to them the importance of him getting 10-12 hours of sleep every night.

I'll admit he's definitely been WAY louder than he usually is, which I'm sure can be attributed to the season & his hormones. But he constantly wants to venture downstairs (his cage is upstairs) and see people. Whenever he hears the door open or close, someone talking, someone cough, etc., he starts screeching at the top of his lungs, basically begging to go downstairs and see what's going on. I would normally have no problem with him going downstairs, but the main issue is my mother's boyfriend. He has threatened to drown my bird, snap his neck, and do other terrible things. Because of this, I do NOT let Turtle downstairs under any circumstances when he is home.

I'm sure the easy fix to this would be me moving his cage downstairs, which I would be fine with doing, but his cage would have to be next to the kitchen (we live in a small townhouse), which is a big no-no. My mother & her boyfriend also smoke in the garage, so I don't want my bird inhaling that nasty crap if he's downstairs. His cage used to be downstairs, but he was still loud then, as he would constantly want to go upstairs and see people there.

I desperately need advice on how to deal with this situation. I have no help from my sister or my mom. The only other person my bird likes is my boyfriend, and he works upwards of 40 hours a week and does not live with me, so he can only see him once or twice a week. I plan on moving out with my boyfriend in the near future (hopefully within the next 10 - 12 months, once the cost of housing decreases in Ontario, fingers crossed), but until then, I need to know how to deal with him constantly screaming and how to accommodate him so he can just be happy.
 

Terry57

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Hi Peyton and welcome to the forum.

I'm so sorry for the situation you are in with Turtle. I would not move him downstairs for his safety from your Mom's boyfriend.
Are they covering him and turning the lights out even when he is in your room?
By them screaming at him, it has taught him that screaming is allowed and actually encourages it.

I wish I had a magic fix for you, but sadly there isn't one. Once you move out things will be much better, but he may continue to scream and act out. Being isolated by being put in the dark and covered for the day is so hard on a bird, and you may have a long road ahead of you in changing these behaviours.

I'm just so sorry for both you and Turtle, this has got to be so stressful on you both.

Is it possible to have a conversation with your Mom about this to see if there is a compromise that can be reached?
 
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faradvian

New member
Jun 6, 2022
2
0
Burlington, Ontario
Parrots
Turtle (Yellow-Sided Conure) & Pan (Budgie)
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Hi Peyton and welcome to the forum.

I'm so sorry for the situation you are in with Turtle. I would not move him downstairs for his safety from your Mom's boyfriend.
Are they covering him and turning the lights out even when he is in your room?
By them screaming at him, it has taught him that screaming is allowed and actually encourages it.

I wish I had a magic fix for you, but sadly there isn't one. Once you move out things will be much better, but he may continue to scream and act out. Being isolated by being put in the dark and covered for the day is so hard on a bird, and you may have a long road ahead of you in changing these behaviours.

I'm just so sorry for both you and Turtle, this has got to be so stressful on you both.

Is it possible to have a conversation with your Mom about this to see if there is a compromise that can be reached?
Turtle's cage is typically in the hall outside of my room, so whenever it's there, they will cover him and unplug his light. Whenever I've put his cage in my room, people have not covered him or turned off the lights solely because I don't allow anyone in my room when I'm not there.

I have tried to have conversations with my mom about this, but she's very stuck in her ways and honestly has little empathy for animals. She'll take my advice one day, but by the next day, she'll be back to yelling at him to be quiet and covering his cage. It's like clockwork. I'll definitely keep trying to make her understand the importance of not responding to him when he's yelling, though!

I think I'll just have to keep saving my money in hopes I can move out sooner as opposed to later, as all I want is for Turtle and I to have a home we can feel safe and happy in :)
 

Terry57

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Is there any way you could put his cage in your room rather than the hall?
If they aren't covering him in there that sounds like a good option, even if it means moving stuff around for the cage to fit.

I'm in AB and understand how high the housing costs are now:(
Hopefully that will change, and with you saving more towards your goal hopefully you and Turtle can move out sooner rather than later.
 

Laurasea

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Aug 2, 2018
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such a frustrating situation!
As a flock creatures of course ge want to be part if everything and see everything and know what's going on.

But for safety definitely keep in your room. But if people come home can they say het Turtle were home! And when leaving say bye Turtle. This might actually help a lot.

And probably screaming originally started as flock calling. If he screams maybe do a whistling back like a wolf whistlin everyone would need to make the same whistle. Over time he would likely switch to whistle. Or it least it would comfort him to know...its an idea . PennY flock is a whistle and the others are starting to copy.

Unfortunately toys dont substitute for company very well. But if you can get him foraging fir treats that can extend d busy time. It takes a lot if time and practice for them to be able to start foraging fir their actual meals. So it's best started for treats or millet
 

HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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I’m sorry your folks are being unkind to your conure. What they’re doing isn’t helping matters any. It teaches your bird that if he yells, at least someone will come running to his cage. Some reaction is better than no attention (I realize you do spend time with him when you’re there).

My family is from a very backwoods area and they’ve done dumb things to my birds. Mostly I prevent access to my birds. I can’t trust my sister not to give my Quaker a sip of wine or my uncle not to smack her on the beak if he gets in her face and she nips him. Of course, I explained to my uncle “a bird isn’t like a dog. A dog could hurt you regardless of its size. A bird is a prey animal. She thinks you’re going to eat her. You can’t just expect her to obey—she doesn’t want to end up as lunch!”

So I would figure out how to limit access to your bird until you’re able to move out. Like, keep him in your bedroom. Get a timer if you need, to keep the lights on appropriately. Likely if he’s in your room with the door shut he will be less noisy. And maybe a radio would drown out background noise? Or a bird jukebox with recorded message in your voice?
 

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