New Conure does not trust me

snicker

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May 24, 2022
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Turquoise GCC
Hi,

I received my cute little green cheek from his breeder three weeks ago on Friday. I had received great communication from the breeder, including videos of Tolkien (my little guy) stepping up and interacting with people. Tolkien was shipped from Texas, and was an absolute mess when I got him out of his shipment container and into his new cage, justifiably so. The experience of shipment and being separated from his flock is quite traumatic. I've let him be for the few weeks since, trying to respect his space and make him comfortable. I work from home, so I will often sit and talk with him, play conure noises, or read to him. I've been working to make him comfortable with my presence and voice. The problem is, It's been almost three weeks and the poor little guy is still terrified of me and everyone that comes into the house (I live with two roommates). Whenever I walk by the cage he scurries to the back, is absolutely beside himself if he sees a hand anywhere near him, and will not stand for me trying to get close enough to offer millet or a treat. He does, however, love to listen, and will bob his head and crawl closer bravely when I talk to him.

Yesterday, I discovered that not once, but twice my two roommates took it upon themselves to play with him, opening his cage door and disrespecting the only space he feels safe by trying to get him to step up and interact. I wasn't home for both incidents, and just found out the other day. He escaped from them both times, and was running around the house scared out if his mind as they more or less chased him. While I let them both know how unbelievably pissed I am (because what they did has literally made me speechless with anger, messing with someone else's pet), I am also near tears. I lost my cockatiel a few months ago and we had a great bond. I don't want my new baby to be terrified or mistrustful, but it seems like everything I've been doing has gone down the drain with this news.

This is my first conure, and I'm willing to be patient even if it takes months. I am reading as much as I can to help Tolkien build back that trust for me (and people in general, honestly), but I thought I would also post here. Any advice would be seriously appreciated! I love my little guy and want to make sure he's happy and comfortable.
 

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).
WHAT WRENCH13 SAID! Who are these A-hole roomates?
 

Vampiric_Conure

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May 16, 2022
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Good lord! Poor bird! POOR YOU! If you're afraid of your roomies opening up the cage again, you can always get one of those tiny luggage locks and lock the cage door closed. It's sad you have to even consider stuff like that! **HUgs**
 

Cottonoid

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I'm so sorry you and your birdie are having a hard time.

I think as far as gaining Tolkien's trust, it will happen, it might just take a little more time. It's not that unusual for a new bird in your home to be scared of being handled even if they stepped up in a previous home - new place, new rules, and they are kinda hardwired to be nervous of anything new - and then of course now he's had a couple scary experiences too.

If I were you I'd start over as if he were brand new to you and you knew he wasn't tame. Lots of gentle talking to him describing what you're doing and where you're going, lots of sitting nearby without looking at him when you're watching TV or reading.

I don't know if it would help, but maybe even consider moving his cage to a different spot in the room, so it's a fresh perspective - is there a location in the room he's in where he could see people coming and going but maybe out of the action a little more? So that your roommates wouldn't be walking past him regularly?

I think it's GREAT news that he's still very interested in you! I'd take your hands totally out of the equation right now and just focus on letting him come to you -like eating meals with him where you sit near his cage with the door open and talk to him about what you're eating, etc. and then offer him safe treats from a clean spoon (I usually have a little separate portion and separate side plate for what I'm offering my bird).

Good luck, you'll get there! Tolkein sounds really adorable and he's lucky to have you.
 
May 2, 2021
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Wow, those are some rotten A-holes you have for roommates. I suggest you sit them down for a VERY serious talk. If they don't listen.... well, you may have to move or rehome your bird (even better, rehome your roommates ;)).

I wish you the best of luck!
 

ZoeyBear

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I think you need to tell your roommates the rules when it comes to the bird, because if that keeps happening it will take a lot longer for the bird to trust and maybe put a lock on the cage if this continues. I would also maybe try putting the cage more out of the way like in a corner or something so he feels safer, but mainly just spend time with him (that doesn't mean he has to come out that just means talking to him sitting by his cage ect) I would also cover his cage at night so he can sleep and be less stressed.
 
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snicker

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May 24, 2022
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Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for your kind responses. It makes me feel better knowing other people are just as angry as I am about my roommate's actions. Especially since I've been planning and waiting for Tolky for months. I spoke to both roommates regarding what they did. Turns out it was just the one with her boyfriend. I'm going to look into buying a lock, though I made it very, very clear to not touch the bird or open his cage ever. At least not while I do damage control. I also moved his cage to a less trafficked part of the house, as per the suggestion above! He seems way less stressed now.

Since I work from home and no one else is around all day, we've developed a little routine. At 10 I come downstairs and open his cage door. I move his cage (it's on rollers) into the living room where I work and play conure sounds on youtube for a few hours. The past two days he's flown out of the cage and run around. I don't chase him and allow him to move around freely. He actually got pretty close to me a few times, but is still pretty wary of my movements. At 11 AM, it's food time! I also add nice fresh fruits and veggies to his food dish. Usually, he finds his own way back into his cage, he's very smart! Once he's back in the cage after a couple hours, I close out our time together by reading to him (usually a chapter a day).

Today, he is chirping at me a lot, it's so cute! Very curious of me. I love the one suggestion of feeding him treats with a spoon, as he's very scared of hands still. I'll be going to the pet store to look for treats (though if anyone has suggestions let me know!) as right now I only have millet.
 

Cottonoid

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It sounds like you're making really good progress! That's a great routine I think.

You can even use food he likes best as treats. Otherwise small pieces of unsalted nuts like walnuts almonds or pine nuts. Or pieces of cooked sweet potato. Pretty much anything you see him grabbing first when you feed him :)
 

Briburd

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Safflower seeds and sunflower seeds are the main treats that I use to teach Mojito tricks. It’s the only treats he’s willing to work for. I know they are meant to be fed in moderation but I think for the purpose of gaining trust they could be a good option. Maybe pinch a nutriberry and see if he’ll nibble it from your fingers?
 

HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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I’m having a lot of success with little tiny bits of dried mango. I got these flat dried mangos from Trader Joe’s and I cut them into strips. Then I cut the strips into little squares and use the little square of mango leather as treat. I’m thinking of trying dried cherries but they are a bit big. I only want to give a tiny sweet treat.

Another way this works well is if you have another bird who can do the requested trick. Give him a piece of treat and bird #1 will be hopping to β€œstep up” or what have you.
 
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snicker

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May 24, 2022
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Thank you everyone for the treat suggestions! I bought him both sunflower seeds and a dried fruit pack! So far he likes the sunflower seeds but we'll see. I think the next step is getting him comfortable enough to take. treat from me, or at least eat it while I sit close by.
 

Rc4mx

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Jun 11, 2022
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Turquoise Green Cheek Conure
How are you and this little one doing? I am anxiously waiting for my Turquoise GCC to be ready to come home. I was also considering having him shipped but I was nervous it would be too traumatic. Now this really makes me nervous. Which breeder did you get your little one from if you don't mind me asking? I am using Something Cheeky Aviary in NC.

Also it sounds like you're doing a great job at earning his trust. Keep at it and you'll be best buddies in no time.
 

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