Si429

Member
Jun 16, 2022
13
40
Parrots
Red-Lored Amazon
Hi everyone! My name is Stephanie and I joined this group because a red-lored parrot came into my life. Prepare for a bit of a story as I am 100% new to everything bird and have scoured the internet for answers, tips, articles and more.
Apparently this bird has been with my father's family (with my grandma before she passed, my uncle and my dad's house) for 20 years. It lives alone in this huge cage with two large tree branches and its bowl of water and pellets (plus sunflower seeds). That's it :( It snaps at ANY male in the house and is gentle with my aunt but not to the point of being able to grab it or even pet it. The parrot, as for as I know, has never had a companion aside from my grandma and even with that, I don't know how close they were. It has had a very solo life.
Well, guess who it has seemingly fallen in like with? ME! I've been slowly gaining its trust and now this parrot comes to whichever side of the cage I'm around and if I'm moving the cage from outside to inside (its on wheels) it rubs its beak and nibbles my nails while I'm doing so. It loves to have me rub its head, back and around it eyes- where it has some crusty eye gunk that is as tough as glue and I need advice on how to remove because it scratches it often. He/she whistles, sings "la la la laaaaaa" and dang, can really blow out your eardrums when excited. It also gets vocal when I get home. It started to really like me after I placed newspaper down on the bottom of the cage (I do this cleaning every 3 days or so), bought it some tree stump thing filled with with coconut, seeds, peanuts inside as well as some some hanging wooden climbing toy (still not interacting with it). I also got it a mirror which it was not fond of at first. Now, he/she doesn't really care much about it. He/she loves to nibble on my rings and bite my bracelets (not hard) and it seems to lick my nails and feel my fingers with its tongue which is new to me and kind of funny. Guys, I even managed to slowly wipe its feathers with a wet towel (it was so dirty and had never bathed) and it even let me sprinkle some water on it while doing so. It fluffed its back feathers and did not snap at me (after a few attempts with positive treat behavior after each non-snap).
But...here is my dilemma... I'd like this bird to have some exercise and eventually will get it a bird play pen, however, I cannot even get it to step onto my finger or hand. It places its claw out, and I shake it (like I do a human hand, cause IDK what to do with a bird's claw) and then it places it back down. It only does one claw at a time and like I said, just extends it out toward my finger or hand but doesn't step onto it. I know it's early in our human-bird relationship but can someone give me some advice on how to gain this bird's confidence and get it to step onto my hand or finger and eventually allow it to get out of its cage (of course the room will be closed with no kids, dogs, men or toxic products around).
Any and all advice on how to win this parrot's confidence and train them to get onto your finger/hand/arm would be greatly appreciated. I am not sure which route to take as this parrot, again, has had ZERO parrot training and really much of an "ideal" mentally stimulating life. Just a big solo bird. Thank you all in advance. ****BELOW IS A FRESH OUT OF THE BIRD SHOWER PICTURE. on 7/22*
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Last edited:

PippTheBananaBirb

Supporting Member
Jan 7, 2022
3,213
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South Africa
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Wow, this is a tough situation! Thought I wasn't going to post on the forum today but you need urgent help with this bird.
Prepare for a bit of a story as I am 100% new to everything bird and have scoured the internet for answers, tips, articles and more.
You've come to the right place!
Apparently this bird has been with my father's family (with my grandma before she passed, my uncle and my dad's house) for 20 years. It lives alone in this huge cage with two large tree branches and its bowl of water and pellets (plus sunflower seeds).
You need to change his diet urgently. Pellets and seeds are not enough. You can try by getting him onto a healthier seed mix for a start, one that doesn't have mainly sunflower. Sunflower is ok but very fatty and not good for the main diet. You can feed other seeds/grains like safflower, millet, oat groats, barley etc. Make sure he eats them, and don't force him to eat it. Take it at his pace.

You also need to feed veggies

I highly recommend you read these threads:

What are the ingredients in his pellets?
That's it :( It snaps at ANY male in the house and is gentle with my aunt but not to the point of being able to grab it or even pet it. The parrot, as for as I know, has never had a companion aside from my grandma and even with that, I don't know how close they were. It has had a very solo life.
Well, guess who it has seemingly fallen in like with? ME! I've been slowly gaining its trust and now this parrot comes to whichever side of the cage I'm around and if I'm moving the cage from outside to inside (its on wheels) it rubs its beak and nibbles my nails while I'm doing so. It loves to have me rub its head, back and around it eyes- where it has some crusty eye gunk that is as tough as glue and I need advice on how to remove because it scratches it often.
You need to have the bird seen by an avian vet, preferably a certified avian vet to help him with the eye crust. It is too risky to remove it on your own.
He/she whistles, sings "la la la laaaaaa" and dang, can really blow out your eardrums when excited. It also gets vocal when I get home. It started to really like me after I placed newspaper down on the bottom of the cage (I do this cleaning every 3 days or so), bought it some tree stump thing filled with with coconut, seeds, peanuts inside as well as some some hanging wooden climbing toy (still not interacting with it)

I also got it a mirror which it was not fond of at first. Now, he/she doesn't really care much about it.
Mirrors can be psychologically damaging, so I highly recommend not getting it used to one.
He/she loves to nibble on my rings and bite my bracelets (not hard) and it seems to lick my nails and feel my fingers with its tongue which is new to me and kind of funny. Guys, I even managed to slowly wipe its feathers with a wet towel (it was so dirty and had never bathed) and it even let me sprinkle some water on it while doing so. It fluffed its back feathers and did not snap at me (after a few attempts with positive treat behavior after each non-snap).
That is great! It seems like he'll enjoy bathing soon.
But...here is my dilemma... I'd like this bird to have some exercise and eventually will get it a bird play pen, however, I cannot even get it to step onto my finger or hand. It places its claw out, and I shake it (like I do a human hand, cause IDK what to do with a bird's claw) and then it places it back down. It only does one claw at a time and like I said, just extends it out toward my finger or hand but doesn't step onto it.
I do not think the bird likes the shaking. I suggest not doing it. I think he's trying to interact with you or step up.
I know it's early in our human-bird relationship but can someone give me some advice on how to gain this bird's confidence and get it to step onto my hand or finger and eventually allow it to get out of its cage (of course the room will be closed with no kids, dogs, men or toxic products around).
Any and all advice on how to win this parrot's confidence and train them to get onto your finger/hand/arm would be greatly appreciated. I am not sure which route to take as this parrot, again, has had ZERO parrot training and really much of an "ideal" mentally stimulating life. Just a big solo bird. Thank you all in advance.
hope you find these useful!
 
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HeatherG

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2020
2,389
4,550
I would start out by feeding your parrot small treats from your hand. I would also offer him a bathing bowl (like a cake pan or other low dish) or try misting him with water in a spray bottle. Or both. Bathing might help soften up the eye gunk you refer to. If the parrot allowed you to wipe him with a towel perhaps it would allow you to gently scratch its head or neck. But I always start with treats and talking kindly to the bird.

Pipp is correct to say that if you can get your parrot checked out by a vet, that would be very good. For example, if the parrot has any issues making it not feel well that could make it grouchy or not interested. Yes, he needs to be eating some fruits and vegetables and you can encourage that by handing him a piece of something you’re having for dinner or snacking on. Like cut off a piece of apple or give him some carrot or broccoli if you’re snacking on it. If you are eating the food it will be more desirable and less scary to the parrot.

It’s a good sign that he explores your fingertips and nails with his beak and tongue. My bird does that after I’ve scratched his head. It seems very affectionate; he’s clearly grooming me in return.

Maybe if you allowed your finger to remain in his single foot, he will feel more comfortable and step up completely.

I haven’t had an Amazon parrot, though I hear they often like to sing and that would be fun. My Quaker liked to sing but she was tone deaf and sounded hysterically funny. A bird that sounded good would be a lot of fun.

I’m sure others will weigh in. It’s late so my brain isn’t working that smoothly.
 

wrench13

Supporting Member
Parrot of the Month 🏆
Nov 22, 2015
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Isle of Long, NY
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Yellow Shoulder Amazon, Salty
Welcome and be welcomed. You have received very sound and wise advice from our 2 members here. Remember - parrots are STUBORN!! Their rate of acceptance of change is GLACIAL when compared to our quick monkey brains. Be patient and consistent when doing anything with your parrot - like the turtle and the hare, it is a marathon not a sprint. Example, my Amazon Salty was presented with pellets every day for almost 2 years, and then one day he decided to try them and now they are a part of his daily diet. Hopefully your Grandma's parrot will be with you for many decades.
 

ravvlet

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Staff member
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Jun 25, 2019
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Seattle WA
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RIP Cricket - Cockatiel (2019-2022)
Welcome to the forums (and the Amazon club!!) Thanks for taking a chance on your new feathered friend! Does he/she have a name?! We’d love photos!

I think everyone else covered it as far as tips for what you’re dealing with go - I strongly second seeing a vet, and would also suggest that if you plan on implementing a diet change of any kind that you train him/her to step up onto a scale, so you can be certain she/he is eating whatever new food you’re feeding him/her.

Eye discharge is not normal and could indicate an infection or other issue. I’d definitely want to get that seen by a certified avian vet ASAP.

We have a handy list of avian vets listed by country here:

If he/she isn’t certain about stepping up onto your hand, there’s nothing wrong with training them to step up onto a dowel! I did this with both our Amazons. They step up for us now pretty well on hand or dowel, but the dowel is nice to have if they’re feeling “spicy”, haha.

As for bathing, a cheap plastic mister bottle does the trick for most birds! Some can even be acclimated to enjoy a people-sized shower - in fact, our yellow nape prefers to have the shower all to herself! Some birds though don’t enjoy that level of water pressure.
 

Briburd

Supporting Member
Parrot of the Month 🏆
May 25, 2021
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Mojito the green cheek conure
Wow, welcome to the forum and welcome to the incredible feeling that is and will continue to come with gaining a birds trust because it is truly like no other. You are already doing so well and that much is clear. Time and patience are on your side. Don’t do to much all at once. Obviously the quicker you can get her/him to the vet the better but in the mean time just continue to spend some time each day with him/her, offer foods that are safe for birds, really try and get that cage clean because the eye gunk is most likely from bacteria in the nails or on perches that got in the eyes. So make sure you wash your hands really well after any interaction too. I second the idea of maybe using a thick perch to see if it is willing to step up on it. You might have to get creative but don’t push it. Essentially you will be communicating with each other as if you were communicating with a person that could not speak or sign to you what they are feeling. So if he/she doesn’t like something try something else. You could open the cage door and distance yourself from the cage. In the meantime research all you can about caring for parrots, play some bird YouTube, speak softly and slowly to him/her and see if it is willing to climb out of the cage on its own. It may be more willing to step up once out of the cage. You gotta think that is their space so take in consideration to not appear to invade it in anyway. Change out the water multiple times a day. More than the normal person would since there is signs of possible bacteria present somewhere. Ok, I think that’s my best advice for now without information overload. There is some urgency to get them to the vet and implement proper diet but be sure not to do it all at once. This could have potentially been all he/she has known for 20years so you don’t want to shock him/her with so much change at once. Thank you, truly, for caring so much.
 
OP
Si429

Si429

Member
Jun 16, 2022
13
40
Parrots
Red-Lored Amazon
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #8
Welcome to the forums (and the Amazon club!!) Thanks for taking a chance on your new feathered friend! Does he/she have a name?! We’d love photos!

I think everyone else covered it as far as tips for what you’re dealing with go - I strongly second seeing a vet, and would also suggest that if you plan on implementing a diet change of any kind that you train him/her to step up onto a scale, so you can be certain she/he is eating whatever new food you’re feeding him/her.

Eye discharge is not normal and could indicate an infection or other issue. I’d definitely want to get that seen by a certified avian vet ASAP.

We have a handy list of avian vets listed by country here:

If he/she isn’t certain about stepping up onto your hand, there’s nothing wrong with training them to step up onto a dowel! I did this with both our Amazons. They step up for us now pretty well on hand or dowel, but the dowel is nice to have if they’re feeling “spicy”, haha.

As for bathing, a cheap plastic mister bottle does the trick for most birds! Some can even be acclimated to enjoy a people-sized shower - in fact, our yellow nape prefers to have the shower all to herself! Some birds though don’t enjoy that level of water pressure.
Thank you so very much for your response. It's been a while since I've posted anything but I have been slowly getting the parrot used to me and to interactions with me. I managed to towel him down with a wet paper towel one more time and he/she was totally okay with it. Misters get him/her SO angry, I have not used them again. Just seeing the bottle, FROM AFAR, and he/she goes into loud squak mode with his head raised high and wanting to bite. I'm still working on how to wash him/her. I think he's a he so I'll refer to him as he..lol, it's just my instinct but I could very well be wrong.
He loved to have me rub his face and he himself will lay his head down in my hands so that I circle his cheeks and around his eyes. I do this and he has allowed me to remove some of the gunk and wipe them down. They're clean now but I am paying attention to when and if it develops again. He tears up at times and has a drop run down his cheek out of the blue when we're playing. I don't know if this is a sign of him being emotional or just teary eyes.
Anyway, thank you so much for the vet list. I am working on handling him daily and still learning what to feed him but have definitely stepped up his food game since I've been in his life. Sunflower seeds are ONLY a treat when he does something well (like stepping onto my finger) and limited now. I am so happy to have this bird around :)
 
OP
Si429

Si429

Member
Jun 16, 2022
13
40
Parrots
Red-Lored Amazon
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #9
Welcome to you both! Yes, the eye gunk is a serious situation that mustn’t be ignored!
Thank you-- I managed to wipe some of it off but am paying close attention if it builds up again.
 
OP
Si429

Si429

Member
Jun 16, 2022
13
40
Parrots
Red-Lored Amazon
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #10
Wow, this is a tough situation! Thought I wasn't going to post on the forum today but you need urgent help with this bird.

You've come to the right place!

You need to change his diet urgently. Pellets and seeds are not enough. You can try by getting him onto a healthier seed mix for a start, one that doesn't have mainly sunflower. Sunflower is ok but very fatty and not good for the main diet. You can feed other seeds/grains like safflower, millet, oat groats, barley etc. Make sure he eats them, and don't force him to eat it. Take it at his pace.

You also need to feed veggies

I highly recommend you read these threads:

What are the ingredients in his pellets?

You need to have the bird seen by an avian vet, preferably a certified avian vet to help him with the eye crust. It is too risky to remove it on your own.



Mirrors can be psychologically damaging, so I highly recommend not getting it used to one.

That is great! It seems like he'll enjoy bathing soon.

I do not think the bird likes the shaking. I suggest not doing it. I think he's trying to interact with you or step up.

hope you find these useful!
Thank you for all of this information- I greatly appreciate it! I aam still working on building our bird/human relaationship and it's going very well so far. I will do an update because I haave noticed some things that are odd and I'd like some help with what to do. Overall, progress is going great!
 

jameslejass

New member
Jul 25, 2022
7
9
Parrots
budgie
Of course, I heard similar stories about cats, but for it to be a parrot this is the first time, you definitely endeared him to you. I hope you make the right decision in the future.
 

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