Update on Miss Rosetta Stone

Betrisher

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Dominic: Galah(RIP: 1981-2018); The Lovies: Four Blue Masked Lovebirds; Barney and Madge (The Beaks): Alexandrines; Miss Rosetta Stone: Little Corella
Well! Hasn't it been a rollercoaster of a few weeks?

When Rosetta arrived, she was completely undisciplined and mad, flying round in circles, squealing and generally lacerating everyone she landed on. It was truly awful! After the first week, I had to resort to leaving her in her cage until my arms healed enough to try again. That took three days and during that time, 'setta nearly went bonkers, bouncing madly on her boing and shrieking almost non-stop through night and day. The poor thing! I had no clue what to do for her beyond covering half her cage so she had somewhere to retreat and discouraging the family from going near her.

OK. So the day arrived when I knew this bird needed to be allowed out for exercise. She was fine at first, tossing her balls around the floor and swinging off an old piece of sash cord like a big white bat. Eventually, though, she would lose it and start flying round and round the room, landing periodically on me and not taking the slightest bit of care where or how she landed. That's how she ended up hanging from the skin of my cheek with both claws embedded in my flesh and her beak hanging on for dear life to my earlobe. That was the worst moment.

It took quite a while to get 'setta off my face and the blood seemed to be pouring down my neck. You'll be proud of me, though! I didn't yell or lose my cool. I eventually got hold of 'setta's rope and offered it to her. Thankfully, she climbed off of my face and onto that, from where I could safely put her back in her cage. I nearly had a meltdown as I sat and just looked at her, screeching away in her cage and carrying on like a mad thing. I thought 'What have I brought on myself here?'

Next day, I tried for ten minutes, but now 'setta had decided that my hands are a great substitute for her wooden rattle (which she likes to bite while lying on her back and rolling around the floor). Owch! Not fun! What I've been doing is saying 'No!' clearly and decisively and sort of 'wiping her off' my hand with a small pillow. My hands are a mess from her scalpel-claws and hoboy, does it hurt!

BUT!

Slowly, slowly, she's getting better. For example, she had begun going for my earrings (I wear a gold stud and a very small hoop in each ear). I knew how to handle that, since I'd already learned from teaching the Beaks. It cost me a really nice pair of gold studs, but hey! I know how to de-earringify a bird now, so it was worth it! All you do is cup your hand over your ear saying 'No!' and use your clenched other fist to 'wipe' the bird down past your elbow onto your forearm. No probs! This is why 'do not touch Mum's earrings' was the first thing 'setta has learned.

I took heart from that and realised I can get her to stop lacerating my hands in a similar way. So, today, she didn't hurt me even once! By the end of our play session (half-an-hour, which is lots better than the ten minutes we'd been reduced to), she was getting a bit over-excited and latched onto my hand. I just swooped her straight into the cage and no harm was done to anyone.

This is Progress, right?

During today's session, a few things became apparent as I watched Rosetta. Firstly, she's extremely nervous and jumpy. We have a tin roof and the sound of branches (large gum tree right next to house) gently tapping on the roof frightens her. Very occasionally, a small piece of branch will fall, and when it does, 'setta has a coronary.

Also, if anyone else is abroad in the house, she's highly aware of it and cocks her head to listen. My son dropped something on the floor and again, 'setta startled markedly. The poor dog (seductively beautiful Bull Terrier called Roxanne) barked to be let in and 'setta lost it. She went flapping and squealing round the room like a big white electron. Unfortunately, she chose to alight on the head of my American Girl doll, Harriet, who plummetted to the floor and proved a highly unreliable place for perching. Poor 'setta has so many lessons to learn!

The thing I've finally come to realise is that this bird isn't mental or deranged or damaged in the slightest. She's just disoriented and petrified. Slo-oo-owly, she's getting used to her new surroundings and to me. A few times, she's crawled up my chest and buried her head (I'm sorry, I can't think of a better way to describe this) in my cleavage, clearly shutting out all the scaries around her. I feel so sorry for her and have decided to pull out all stops in finding the way to make her feel safe and loved.

Behind all this, though, is the nagging thought that the people who sold her to us were a bit dishonest. Can anyone help with this? Do you think it's likely that a perfectly well-behaved and tamed bird could become the demon-from-heck (!) that Rosetta seems to be? Or do you think that perhaps the people were getting rid of a bird that they couldn't cope with? The story they told me was that they had 'too many other birds' to care for, yet when I asked about them I got very vague responses and only one bird mentioned by name.

It doesn't make a difference either way. Rosetta is mine now and we'll find a way to make things work for both of us. If she continues to have the occasional good day like today, I'll be happy. I've got patience and time. But it would have helped to know exactly what her personality was before she arrived, y'know?

Awww... she's sleeping now. I have a mirror placed strategically at my desk so I can watch her without her knowing. She's got her little head under her wing and is muttering in her sleep. So cute!

(Adding: it's a few hours later now and she's bellowing to the wild corellas outside as they go home to roost. Anyone who has heard wild corellas will know how VERY BLOODY LOUD Rosetta's voice is. My eardrums are jiggling. Only another half-hour or so and she'll settle in for the night. :22_yikes: )
 
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Scott

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Progress, Trish, because you are motivated and tougher than Rosetta!

My guess is the prior owners did a dump-job with a problematic bird. Thankfully for Rosetta you were the recipient!
 

ChristaNL

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Oh dear- yup, it sounds they have used you to 'dump a bird' they could or would not cope with.

(People are terrible sometimes -- I am still trying to wring simple answers out of Sunny's previous owners... I do not care what had happened- because sometimes it all stemss from being overwhelmed etc., I will not go after them in any way, but sometimes it just helps to know why a bird ended up the semi-screwed up way it is.)


Wow, despite all the newness, chaos and inner turmoil (al hers btw ;) ) you manage to make you little white tornado learn some basic niceties-- you are making *huge* progress :)
 
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Betrisher

Betrisher

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Dominic: Galah(RIP: 1981-2018); The Lovies: Four Blue Masked Lovebirds; Barney and Madge (The Beaks): Alexandrines; Miss Rosetta Stone: Little Corella
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Thanks! It means a lot to have good moral support.

The other loss our family has suffered this year was my son's little Petrucchia, a peachfaced lovebird. I bought her as a 'hand-raised and tame' pet for Matt's birthday, since he wanted a friend for his Pineapple.

The vendor delivered the bird in an old cage, which he left with her. I should've known when he shot through after accepting the fifty dollars he was asking. As soon as Matt opened the cage, Petrucchia went for his face, doing everything in her power to bite him. He had her for three years and in that time she never lost the smallest bit of her enthusiasm for biting and fighting. She would fly across the room to land on your nose and start chomping!

Poor Matt tried everything (he is an extremely gentle and patient soul) and always blamed himself for the poor little bird's damaged personality. He would spend hours with his hand near the cage, crooning to Petrucchia and trying to calm her down, but it never worked. When she began nesting by tearing her cage papers in strips and making a nest under her food dish, things escalated to a ridiculous level. She would fly at the cage bars and bite those if anyone came near, so we all began staying away just so that poor Pineapple could have some peace.

Finally, Petrucchia started attacking Pineapple and barbered all the feathers off his (or her?) head and back. Matt divided their cage, but Petrucchia did it through the bars anyway. And then she began laying eggs, even without Pineapple present to - ah - contribute. We would leave the eggs for as long as we could because if we removed them, she would just lay more. She sat on them, but none ever hatched, obviously.

Finally, on Tuesday just past, she laid an egg in the morning and then died at some point in the afternoon. I could feel another egg inside, so I guess that's what caused her death. The poor little thing had an awful life, but dear Matt always said 'Well, at least I'm glad we've got her because anyone else wouldn't be nice to her if she bit them the way she does us'.

So now, Pineapple is alone again. I have a funny feeling that Pineapple is a girl as well, but s/he has never laid an egg. I feel a bit odd about getting another friend for Pineapple, as it would be *awful* if the same thing happened!

The thing is, what's a person supposed to do if he finds himself with an unmanageable bird? The only thing you can do is to sell it on, but it's truly dreadful to sell the bird as a 'tame', 'hand-raised' 'affectionate' 'family pet' when it's clearly not. Our family has agreed that selling on the problem is not the answer, so we won't do that. We have high hopes for Rosetta! :)
 

noodles123

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She probably was always hard to manage, BUT when separated from the people they know, tame birds often change significantly during that adjustment period...So they may not have been entirely dishonest...hard to judge based on current behavior alone. Cockatoos get re-homed a lot because behaviors like this, so while they can probably be curtailed, they are partly due to the bird's natural tendency to be a handful in a domestic environment. That having been said, they likely got rid of her because she was overwhelming (even if her behavior was not as extreme due to familiarity).



I am glad you are committed to her! Sounds like you are doing a great job!
 
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Laurasea

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I am sorry to hear the love bird died from such a horrible painful death..I feel I must point out there are some more things that could have been done to knock her out of laying eggs continuingly until she died. Removing all materials that could be used for nesting, change in light dark schedule, moving the other love bird to a different cage across the room, a visit to the vet, sometimes even changing the diet. As far as the behavior and taming , that must have been difficult to deal with. Rossetta temperament sounds on par with this species , so it sounds like her previous owners did want to dump the problem, I hope you continue to make progress with her.
 

chris-md

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I told you you knew what you were doing:60:

I’m with everyone else, always been a handful. He’s a cockatoo after all, and they prove time and again that it’s a real tragedy that cockatoos were brought into the pet trade. They REALLY aren’t suited for it...except maybe the galahs.

Throw this insanity in with people who don’t know how to handle it and it spirals out of control.

Keep up the phenomenal work and you’ll have a reasonably behaved bird on your hands in no time.
 
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Betrisher

Betrisher

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Dominic: Galah(RIP: 1981-2018); The Lovies: Four Blue Masked Lovebirds; Barney and Madge (The Beaks): Alexandrines; Miss Rosetta Stone: Little Corella
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Hey Laurasea, I guess I should have added that, after consulting our vet, we did all the things you suggested for Petrucchia, except for putting her in a different cage away from the other lovie. Space just didn't permit it because the house is so tiny. The vet was stumped and couldn't offer any more suggestions. Believe me, we did everything we possibly could to try and help this poor little bird. :(
 

ChristaNL

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All are rescues- had to leave their previous homes for 'reasons', are still in contact with them :)
Wow.... I have so much respect for Matt-- to stay patient with such a frustrated, angry bird. That man has got character!!

(I had a semihomocidal/budgycidal -and it turned out later: canary-killing- female budgy as a child and it is NO fun at all. I think her being so bad is what partly inspired my dad to build me my aviary -> so she would be out of the house and away from our skin)

Some birds may be beyond help, but I think you will not give up on this one either ;)
and since you already have some results...
 
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Laurasea

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Hey Laurasea, I guess I should have added that, after consulting our vet, we did all the things you suggested for Petrucchia, except for putting her in a different cage away from the other lovie. Space just didn't permit it because the house is so tiny. The vet was stumped and couldn't offer any more suggestions. Believe me, we did everything we possibly could to try and help this poor little bird. :(

I'm glad you did point that out. It was hard to read , seemed like she laid eggs till she died with no intervention, that's why text is harder than speech sometimes.Were did you put the cockatoo cage then?
 
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Betrisher

Betrisher

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Dominic: Galah(RIP: 1981-2018); The Lovies: Four Blue Masked Lovebirds; Barney and Madge (The Beaks): Alexandrines; Miss Rosetta Stone: Little Corella
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The cocky cage is just outside the back door, next to the Beaks. It's too small and I'm saving for a much larger one as Rosetta needs all the space she can get. (The people who owned her had her in a cage *half* the size of the one she's in!!!)

Matt has the lovies in his room, but it's a squeeze, what with himself, his piano, his harps and other musical instruments. It's not an option to put the peachies outside because Pineapple is so badly barbered and poor little Petrucchia was also a feather plucker. I'm hoping Pineapple might grow some feathers back, but only time will tell. S/he used to be tame until Petrucchia came along and upset the applecart.
 

Laurasea

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You might take the money for a new cage and build a DIY outside Avairy for Rossetta to spend time in every day, if at all possible. I think the benefits for both of you are worth considering. Such an active species..
 
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Betrisher

Betrisher

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Dominic: Galah(RIP: 1981-2018); The Lovies: Four Blue Masked Lovebirds; Barney and Madge (The Beaks): Alexandrines; Miss Rosetta Stone: Little Corella
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Oh Lord, please don't say 'aviary' in my vicinity! LOL!

We bought a massive, massive aviary a few years ago. 4m x 4m x 4m. Plenty big enough to let the Beaks fly free and (at the time) allow Dominic some free flying as well.

Hm. Life happened. We've had three successive nightmare years in which there have been sudden deaths in the family, parents going into care, sorting out intestate estates (two of 'em) and then dealing with other health and financial matters that you don't want to know about. The aviary didn't get built.

Then, my Mum died and I inherited my childhood home. We moved house. It wasn't pretty. In this area, the building code won't permit me to erect a building the size of the aviary without neighbours' agreement. Two of the three have said 'No'. So, no aviary. It's too big.

BUT...

The outdoor deck of which I speak is about to be doubled in size. Just yesterday, I was cogitating and put it to my long-suffering spouse that perhaps the deck could be enclosed in bird-safe mesh. That would allow me to have the Beaks and Rosetta out-of-cage either separately or together, depending. It would give me a safe training area which I could fit out with playgyms and perches AND I could have purpose-made plumbing installed so the area can be pressure-cleaned when necessary.

It's on the table. Let's hope it's affordable and possible. :)

PS. In our old (weatherboard) house, we had an ideal set-up for the Beaks whereby Hubby cut a hole in the kitchen and a matching hole in the (outdoor) cage. He joined the two by inserting a coffee can with the bottom cut out (big enough for the Beaks to crawl through). Next, he added an acrylic sluice gate which could be raised and lowered by a string leading into the kitchen. The Beaks were able to come and go between the kitchen and their cage quite easily (after an initial learning period, of course). Sadly, the new house has aluminium siding, which doesn't lend itself to artful little holes being cut in it (or it would have been done by now). (Please see attached pic of Madge sitting in the doorway).

Rosetta and the Beaks are relegated to the outdoors until a better arrangement can be made for them. Since Rosetta's cage is small enough to be movable (the Beaks' cage is 2m x 1m x 2m and on very clunky casters), she can be rolled indoors for play. I'm still undecided what kind of cage I'll get for 'setta (same as the Beaks' or one half the size that can be moved more easily). It all depends on how the deck extension works and whether it can be enclosed. I'm *beside* myself, waiting for things to get moving! (And I've got study committments as well, with exams looming in January).
 
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AmyMyBlueFront

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Just like a doggie door...except for Beaks! lol..now that is what I'd call clever! Bravo to hubby Trish :D



Jim
 

EllenD

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Betrisher!!! I don't know if you happened to see this new member's introduction post yet in the "New Members" forum, but I think they are right up your alley...They live in New Zealand, have a huge aviary with many, many parrots including a Galah, 5 Cockatiels, 2 Red Rump Parakeets, Doves, Quail, Finches....AND A NEW BABY CORELLA THAT THEY ARE HAND-FEEDING!!! She doesn't even have her down yet, and is the most adorable thing I've ever seen! (don't tell my flock I said that...) I don't know how much prior Corella experience they have or knowledge about them they possess, but they obviously have tons of parrot experience in-general...

I figured since you've been the only Corella owner we've ever had here (at least in the last few years since I've been a member), that it might be nice for you to have someone to compare notes with and maybe have someone who might understand the, uh, "energy" that they have....Just think, their Corella is a sweet little baby that is absolutely adorable, doesn't even have any down feathers yet, and they have to go through CORELLA PUBERTY!!!!!...may God have mercy on their souls...

Here's the link to their "Introduction" thread...http://www.parrotforums.com/new-members-welcome/78274-my-parrots-i.html
 

Rozalka

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Ellen: I noticed that name "corella" isn't often used by Americans. Corella is a subgenus of cockatoos, which are lesser than others, like Goffin's, bare eyed, solomons etc
 
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Betrisher

Betrisher

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Dominic: Galah(RIP: 1981-2018); The Lovies: Four Blue Masked Lovebirds; Barney and Madge (The Beaks): Alexandrines; Miss Rosetta Stone: Little Corella
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Yeah, I don't know why that is. Lemme tell ya, it really gets up the noses of Australians to hear their precious wildlife being referred to by made-up overseas names, like 'Rose-breasted Cockatoo' instead of 'Galah' or 'Cockatiel' for 'Quarrion' or 'Parakeet' for 'Budgerigar'.

Corellas have recently been removed from the genus 'Cacatua' and given their own: 'Licmetis'. This also gives me a pain inna face, since a large part of my Zoology degree was taxonomy (the naming of living things). Now we have such a good handle on DNA, it has meant billions of renamings of all sorts of plants and animals. Which people like me need to learn. Hnnnnnhh!

I was amazed to hear there are actually so few Corella owners here. Corellas really are the clowns of the cockatoo family! Their antics are famous here in Oz, where they hang upside-down from power lines and do tumbling runs on fresh-cut lawns in public parks. They're also very LOUD. (NB. I can't magnify the look of the word 'loud' to adequately describe the actual extent of the LOUDNESS that emanates from a corella's bill). When 'setta's in full throat, our household can do nothing but tense itself and wait. She is deafening. She causes all the little hearing-hairs to fall out of your ear canals and wither on the ground. She causes your eustachian canals to suck themselves shut out of sheer self-preservation. She causes your eardrums to slacken and sag in utter defeat and she does it merrily and at top volume.

Just yesterday, I heard my son say 'Oh no!' direly, just prior to an eruption of sound from Rosetta's cage. When I asked what he had meant, he told me 'I heard a wild corella and I just knew 'setta was going to answer it'. That's what she does: she bellows in her 'outside voice' so that the blokes eating grass seeds on the park in the next suburb can hear her clearly!

O my poor eardrums!

BUT...

... today, we had a good day. She played nicely for an hour and has continued playing quietly in her cage with a couple of new toys instead of bellowing to that other baby Corella in New Zealand. Thank heaven for small mercies! I only got 10 out of 20 for my last online Maths assessment, purely because 'setta's bellowing stopped me from thinking in terms of quadratic equations and forced me to imagine earplugs, gags and the Cone of Silence.

(You'll be glad to know I got to retake the test and got 18/20).

But yeah. Corellas are good fun when they're behaving nicely. :)

PS. As I typed this, Rosetta had a bath. Her water dish is a round glass casserole about 12" in diameter and 4" deep with 3" of water in it. Not big enough, clearly, as Miss Rosetta had to fold herself in half in order to sink down and wet herself sufficiently to her liking. Then, she rolled over in order to completely wet her back! Now, she's sitting on her top perch yelling at the wild corellas that she's 'CLEAN! CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN! Thankyouverymuch!'
 
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Scott

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Rosetta seems to be settling in nicely, your perpetual circus act at home!
 

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