Willow refuses to come out today

HeatherG

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I’ve been having some success with Willow (in the last few days) being willing to step up onto a stick that I sawed to about 9” to be a comfortable step up stick. But this afternoon (Monday ) he would not step up at all. I even offered treats once one foot got on the perch but he wouldn’t be distracted from his one footed grip on his cage or seagrass mat, to step up with the other foot.

Actually Willow did come out early in the morning, stepped up with one foot so I told him what a good boy!! He was and he stepped onto the stick with the other foot. I thought everything was fixed. We had some time out and I put him back as I had a meeting and things to do. Then, this afternoon and evening, he ack acked and scolded because he was bored in his cage but would not step up when I came to get him. In fact he bit the stick even though I just held it still, and shoved it away with his beak. I tried a few times and it seemed like he just got madder.

So all day I have been feeding Willow treats—he’s ok with me giving treats inside his cage—but not stepping up. I think I just upset him by trying to step him up on the stick. I’m afraid I’ve ruined our relationship.

I thought things were getting easier but it seems like they are not. Willow just gets so wound up when I’m close to his cage and hunkers down on the top perch. If he will come to the middle perch he will usually step up but not today. Sigh.

I am hoping things are better on Tuesday but I don’t know. I’m afraid he’s so mad at me he won’t come out at all. I’m not sure what to try next. I’m going to pick the sunflower seeds out of some fresh birdseed and see if that will suffice for a bribe as he’s not wild about anything else I’m giving him now. ☹️
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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I just read this article that Laurasea linked to in another thread and got some ideas :

Teaching a Fearful Parrot to Step Up.​


I need to find a food that Willow really likes, and maybe he’s a bit too well-fed since he’s not really food motivated. He is eating the Harrison’s high potency—refused to switch to regular Harrison’s— so maybe some calories should be cut back. Like measuring how much pellet he gets and trying to replace more of that bulk with vegetables?

I thought he was ok with stepping up onto the stick but I guess not, we will have to work on it outside the cage until he’s more ok?

I JUST REALIZED… I returned the ladder to the exterior of his cage. He was stepping up when it wasn’t there. Maybe that’s part of the problem?
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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So I took the ladder down and Willow is still not coming out. He was scolding so I went to check on him. No out. Jasper wanted out so I picked him up and scratched his head and sweet talked him. Maybe this was happy for Willow because he busily consummated his relationship with his favorite hanging toy.

But once I returned Jasper to his cage, W did not want to come out. I don’t get it. I can’t think of anything bad that happened this weekend, or upset Willow. What’s going on?
 

LoveOfallAnimals

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I use a little treat cup with bite size pieces of nuts and dried apple. I don't give Tequila nuts other than for treats. Dried apples seem to be a favorite of hers too.
 

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HeatherG

HeatherG

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I have dried mango and pineapple but Willow doesn’t care. Just sits in his cage. I almost wonder if he never learned how to come out? Previous owner let him fly around the house but didn’t handle him.

Anyhow Willow wouldn’t step up this morning or at 1:20 pm so I gently picked him up with my hand inside a dark towel. Once I had my hand around him he let go with both feet.?? And I took him out and he’s crunching his beak happily 4” from my nose, wagging his tail, seems totally happy. I am so confused. Yells to come out but won’t step up, bites finger, pushes stick perch away, pretty ok with being toweled.

Wtf??
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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Again after I returned home I put the dark towel over my hand and asked Willow to step up. He stepped up onto the towel with little fuss. Then was perfectly happy to stand on the towel on my shoulder, hop on and off my hand covered with the towel, etc.

He immediately fluffed out his tail like “you finally came and got me. What took you so long?” He’s cuddling with my left hand as I type and if I stop he presses against my hand.

I think Willow is just lazy and doesn’t “feel like” climbing out onto the door.

If he’s cool with stepping up onto my hand covered with a dark towel, and won’t come out onto the door, I’m going to go with it. He sure doesn’t act like he’s upset about it and it takes a long time to tempt him out onto the door. I am not GRABBING HIM AGGRESSIVELY, he steps up onto my hand under the towel.

The other way just isn’t working, and the stick perch upsets him.
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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I have had a couple of days with easy step ups/exits from cage using the towel over my hand.

It’s been much less stressful than bribing and waiting or offering the stick perch.

Willow comes out and is relaxed, not all wound up about the interaction.
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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Willow is sitting on his basket, right in front of my nose. He’s so busy chomping his beak that his little face never stops moving. And Jasper is chirp-whining from his cage because I have Willow out and not him.

I swear I feel like I have children sometimes. Give out the same toys, the same pets, same out time as well as I can and still they complain.

And then the confusion about stepping Willow up from inside his cage. I never had any personal space so I was very bothered when I heard I shouldn’t make Willow step up from inside his cage. I tried for four months to bribe Willow to come out onto his door and he just doesn’t GET IT. Then I realized Willow was not getting enough time out of his cage because of this. That didn’t seem right. So now I am back to stepping him up on a towel from inside his cage.

I see if he’s on his back perch, that’s his sleeping and private spot and he won’t likely step up. If he’s on the middle or low front perch then he will probably step right up.

But somehow in Willow’s little bird brain my approaching his cage to get him out crosses the wires that say “must guard nest from intruders”! Yet, he’s not a child but a parrot, and I have to choose what’s best for him overall.
 

cnyguy

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Have you tried putting a hanging perch on the outside of Willow's cage, just below the door? With such a perch in place, you can just open the door and let Willow step out onto it by his own choice, when he is ready. It might even be easier to get him to step up from the outside perch too.
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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Have you tried putting a hanging perch on the outside of Willow's cage, just below the door? With such a perch in place, you can just open the door and let Willow step out onto it by his own choice, when he is ready. It might even be easier to get him to step up from the outside perch too.
He’s got one on the side of his cage (Not right next to the door) but if he’s out on that and squawking for me he runs back in the cage to protect his rope perch when I come to pick him up. But I can put one right next to the door. I have a small stick perch with a bolt somewhere.

He has just been coming out so easy by me stepping him up on the towel, it seems like that is what he wants. And that’s what my last two Quakers were like (over 25 yrs)They wanted me to pick them up from inside their cages. But they were girls so they would cluck and puff up like chickens.
 

cnyguy

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I guess everybirdie is a little different. I'm used to Ralph, who usually climbs out and sits on top of the open door when he comes out, and waits there to climb up my arm and onto my shoulder. Once in a while he does wait for me to offer my hand inside his cage. And every now and then, he'll go around the side of his cage, climb to the top and look at me with a "well, what are you waiting for?" look on his face. :)
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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I usually leave the cages closed because I don’t want Willow and Jasper tangling. So I think when I open the door it takes Willow a moment to adjust. Jasper is right out; in fact I have to clip his door shut or he will have an adventure.
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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Hmm. My eyes are irritated from wearing contact lenses too much so I had to wear my (expensive) glasses today. Well! Jasper did not get to come out because he was bristling and ready to take on the body-snatcher who had stolen me as I stood near his cage and sweet-talked him.

Willow stepped up right away but once he got near my face also realized that I was an imposter and gave me some good pinches. So I took off the glasses while Willow was out but he was still a bit miffed.
Luckily I don’t have to be able to see to scratch Willow’s head.

My eyes are still irritated tonight so I don’t know if I will use glasses or contacts tomorrow. Jasper needs some pets but he is one bird I must be able to observe while I’m petting so he may have to wait a bit. I just lost the scabs from his last biting issue two weeks ago.
 

cnyguy

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I understand your closed door policy mentioned above. My two parrots are never out at the same time and the cage doors are closed until it's time for one or the other to have out-of-cage time. The doors are clipped shut too. I don't think Scooter the CAG would try to escape but Ralph definitely would, and could easily figure out how to get the door open. Quakers are good at that.
You probably will have to take your glasses off when interacting with Willow if they bother him so much. When I first had to switch from contact lenses to glasses, Ralph would pull my glasses off and fling them to the floor. Fortunately he quit doing that once he got used to me having the glasses on most of the time.
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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I think W would definitely get used to the glasses but I don’t know about Jasper. I much prefer to wear contact lenses; my script is very very strong and the distance between eye and glasses lens introduces a lot of error. So likely I will go back to contact lenses in a few days when I feel my eyes have had a rest.

I am mostly concerned about the size difference between the two birds. Jasper is so much bigger than Willow that he could kill Willow easily. My first Quaker got hurt when boarding for a day at a pet store; and African grey took a chunk out of her beak, she was never well. But Oscar (gcc) used to get out of his cage and pick on Lucy (Quaker) who would just run away and wail until I put the little devil back on his cage. Lucy was a third bigger than Oscar but she had a bad leg so wasn’t a threat to him.

My eyes are feeling better and less red today, so hopefully the irritation will calm down more and I can wear contacts soon. I really don’t need to see to pet Willow but Jasper is easy to irritate accidentally; I must watch him. Willow did yank on the frames but couldn’t dislodge them. I think he’s disturbed by the different appearance of the glasses but he ‘gets’ that it is still me.

Funny that I have a flock of boy birds after so many years with just girls!
 

cnyguy

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I understand. I would rather wear contact lenses too, but for me, it's a matter of economics; it's just too expensive to keep buying fresh lenses when I have to pay out of my own pocket.
QP Ralph and Scooter the CAG get along fine when they're in their cages, but I wouldn't trust them to be out together. Ralph, being "first parrot," can get a touch jealous. And the one time when Ralph flew from the kitchen and landed on Scooter's cage instead of his own, she was ready to go for him, beak open and growling. So they get out separately and they're fine with that. Otherwise they like to watch each other and chatter back and forth.
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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I wear my lenses longer than I’m supposed to because my glasses are thick and were very expensive. So I don’t like wearing them and lose them when I can’t see to find them.

Luckily, I can get 5” from my phone to see it and type!

———still haven’t found the glasses.

———got ‘em!
 
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cnyguy

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Well, at least you were able to find your glasses without your glasses. Not sure I could do that. :D Without glasses or contact lenses, I can't see much beyond the tip of my nose, though I usually read without them. I can't say that I enjoy wearing glasses. They're more like a necessary evil. :( I suspect that's how Ralph thinks of them too.
 
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HeatherG

HeatherG

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I got a flashlight out and shined it around until it reflected off the glasses. That’s the only way to find them, if patting down all surfaces doesn’t work.

I can’t see beyond the tip of my nose either. But strangely my eyes feel better with the contact lenses on them than no contacts. I should probably be worried.

Willow stepped right up today and was out for two + hours. But it seems he mostly wants to stand on one foot and crunch his beak, as long as he’s right up near my face. The shoulder is still too far away. Weird bird! And if I’m not careful I end up with birdseed in my bed because i have only there or my sofa to sit and study with the bird.
 

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