Yelling conure

Absolem

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Nov 6, 2013
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I need help.
A friend of mine purchased a young green cheek conure. It is a different color morph, "pineapple" I think? I do not know exactly how old it is or if it is a male or female. After several notices from his apartment complex regarding the birds noise, my friend asked me to take it. I agreed, on the basis that he would take it back. (I live alone in a house so no one is around to complain.) He is not taking it back. I have had the bird for a little over a month and I understand why he got so many complaints. It never shuts up. It screams. EE-EE!! Over and Over and over. The bird was in its own room. I recently moved it to the living room to see if that would alleviate the yelling but that didn't help. It has a reasonably large cage with toys and perches and a cloth hideout. It yells whenever it can't see me. Whenever it hears me or my dogs in the house. Basically all the time, except at night (thank god). I tried ignoring it and only going in the room and taking it out of its cage when it had been quiet for a few minutes. But the yelling hasn't been reduced. I don't know how much it yells when I'm not home. It is stressing me out and stressing my dogs out. They really hate the noise as much as I do. I try to take it out as much as possible but I don't want to reward the yelling by giving it attention. I'd also spend more time with it if it didn't constantly poop on me. I don't want to give up on this bird but I'm on my last nerves. I need advice
 
There is a product yopu can buy from a company called Avitech called AviCalm & that is supposed to help. I am waiting for mine to arrive in the mail but it hasn't come yet so I can not speak to its effectiveness. Do you have a play gym for your bird so he can be out of the cage but not necessarily with you so he can keep himself busy? Do you have your bird forage as well for it's food?
 
Is he tame and do you let him out? If not, you should. I have had a GCC for 14+ years in a small apartment. She is very quiet, and I think one of the reasons is that she spends a lot of time out of the cage and is free to fly to me whenever she is out. Your bird has flocking instincts, and it is probably in distress if it is just stuck in a cage all day long.
 
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In my post I wrote that I take the bird out as often as possible. At least an hour a day and often it comes out 3 times a day, morning noon and night. The problem is that if it's yelling I do not want to reward that behavior. I try to take it out every time it stops yelling. It is quite tame, doesn't bite, loves to ride on my shoulder or sit on the couch near me. My problem is that if it's not with me it's screaming.
 
Absolem

I have a Pineapple and let me just say congrats on a free friend. Its going to take some work but I believe we can get this taken care of.

First: It needs at least two hours a day with you. This bird is a companion bird, not a throw it in a cage too look at bird. The Conure wants to be with you, be apart of your family. To him your its family, its flock. Put yourself in the birds shoes. His first family gave him to a new family (You), and now it wants to spend every minute with you. You don't need to spend every minute with it, but I suggest you give him more time than just an hour a day.

Second: Toys, and lots of them! Birds are not dumb animals, they are smart and they get board! So toys are a great way to release their energy. Its not as simple as it sounds! They need to be shown how to play with the toys! So take the bird out with a new toy and play with the bird and the toy. Show the bird how to play on it's own! Add new toys Weekly! Your going to want a lot of toys, so you can start to rotate the toys. That way he does not get board with them quickly. Remember to buy toys only suited to his size.

Third: Forging! Get some toys that allow for forging! Unfortunately I have not found any good forging toys at any retail stores, so online and amazon is your best bet. What they do is, you can hide the birds favorite food inside the toy, and the bird will have to figure out how to open it to get to the toy! Same as the toys, rotate them and do it every week with a different toy.

Fourth: Cage! Just like the toys, clean the cage weekly and rearrange the cage! Rope perches are great for this! They allow for quick changing of the layout of the cage. A bird will mostly only use the top layer of the cage, so remember that when rearranging the cage. It will give him something to explore every week, and he won't get use to the layout which will help with cage aggression.

Fifth: Cage Cover! This is important! Get a cage cover! When he is acting up and screaming cover the cage completely until he stops. This will help with the good behavior as he will not want the cage to be covered. So in a few weeks he should start to figure out that every time he screams the cage gets covered. Also like you have been doing, don't get him out until he stops screaming. No rewarding bad behavior.

Sixth: Location. I think you took care of that by putting him in the most used portion of the home. Like I said the conure wants to be apart of the family, you are his family.

Seventh: Your call! You want the bird to call to you in the way you want him too. So make up your call. Whistle or chirp too him at the volume you want him to respond to you. Do this every so often while your in the home to call to your pet. Let the conure know your there!

Lastly: Be patient! Sounds to me you got a sweet bird on your hands that loves to be with you. It sucks that your friend didn't take the time to learn how to handle the bird and dumping the bird off to you is not fair at all to you. You basically had to become a bird lover overnight and that is not cool. A pet bird is not for everyone as it requires more work than a dog or a cat, and sometimes even fish. I am glad you reached out for help! Take the advice given out freely by the members on this thread and use what works for you. If I were you, after all the work and money you put into this bird, I wouldn't let my friend have the bird back. Just tell your friend you want to keep the bird and you will adopt it from now on. I promise you that things can get better if you put the effort into it.

A bird will annoy you at times, it's not like any other pet. Unlike a Cat or Dog, a pet bird does not care how bad your day was at work, how how tired you are when you get home. It does not care if you want to sleep in, they only want to be with you as much as they can and that can get annoying fast. Take it with a grain of salt and welcome this wonderful mate you have going forward in life. I can't tell you how many times I have been woken up when I want to sleep by my bird tweeting it's head off. I am now so use to it, I get worried if I don't hear him trying to wake me up. :p

Good luck and I hope some of the things I said helps! OH, and if you don't have one already a good thing to have for your bird is a pet tent for when they sleep. Here is a good place to buy your tent from. This place is proven to be bird safe and friendly!

Just Bird Tents.com

One last thing! Take your bird out of the house sometimes! If you can get a bird harness do so. This is the best harness on the market!

The Aviator Bird Harness | The Parrot University, llc

A Pineapple is a petite size! Do what the DVD says, and within a few months you can take your bird outside and give it more activities to take it's mind off screaming!

The LAST thing, I PROMISE. :p

If you are brave you can always try to introducing a friend to your conure. This is tricky for a few reasons.

1. It might not like the friend conure (Which is rare in my experience)!
2. Your conure might teach the other conure it's bad habits and now your stuck with two screaming birds.
3. The birds might not want nothing to do with you know, and just want to be with one another. Which is fine if your willing for that to happen, but as long as you keep taking them out each a few hours a day, your relationship with your pet birds should be fine.
4. It's expensive! Your buying a new bird, which is expensive! Also your going to need another cage for the new bird in case they don't get along. Now your stuck with two birds that don't like one another. At least they will still keep one another company but you can't keep them ever in the same cage if they don't like one another.

Again, from my experience at seeing conures together it's rare that they don't get along. I want to get my guy a friend, but I just can't afford it anytime soon. So I know how that can go. If you want! You can buy a parakeet, BUT that will just be a bird mate and can never go in the same cage as the Conure, and that might not help at all. With the other Conure you can supervise play time for awhile until you think they love being with one another, than switch each into the others cage for about two weeks, than put them together in the same cage and see how they go. If they like one another Congrats!

The other downside with this is that they could be twice the noise! But it could cut down on the screaming and them wanting your attention so much! If you can handle twice the tweeting in the morning and evening. :p

Good luck and sorry for the LONG winded post.
 
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Thank you for the advice and for not judging me. You're right that I had to become a bird lover over night. I've never had a bird before. I'm a quiet person and I just want to relax when I get home from work, but the nearly constant screaming is driving me crazy. I committed to this animal, and I want to do what's right for the bird. I don't think rehoming it is the right thing to do. I also really enjoy it when its quiet, it's cute and likes to cuddle with me and share my meals. It's definitely a social little guy (or girl?). I'm working on doing my research. I'll order it a variety of toys very soon. Getting another bird is not a financial option, nor a risk I want to take. So, this bird is going to be my friend. Thank you again.
 
Glad to see you are trying to do the right thing by the little guy. He is lucky to have you :)

Baron has already given you some fantastic advice. A lot of it is just good birdkeeping practice that you will pick up as you go along. The fact you are here and willing to learn means that you will do that a lot quicker :) I will add that the cage cover response/punishment is frowned upon by some but I too have found it useful. Just make sure you don't accidentally give him any attention while you quickly put it on when he is screaming. You can also just ignore him but it will definitely test you and will take some time.

At some point this little guy has got what he wants (attention) out of his screaming and so he is doing it in the hope it will still work. When he learns that it won't, there is a good chance the screaming will slow. Birds will always make some noise, but hopefully you can eliminate what is quite obviously a learned bad behavior :)
 
Congrats on your new friend. Just wanted to give a plug for mysafebirdstore.com It's a great place to buy toys or toy parts.
 
It's a tough transition going from peace and quiet to a screaming conure ^.^ Just in hang in there, eventually you'll get used to it and you'll be delighted to hear your little one calling for you to come hang out!
 
If some people don't like the cage cover response, than get another cage for him with a cage cover. You put him in the one cage when he is screaming and cover that cage. That way he won't think his main cage is a cage for punishment.
 
First, I agree with the others that he needs more time out of his cage. I would urge you to set up some way for him to be out but not necessarily on you when he's out. I have one of those bendable perches on top of my bird's cage for her to hang out, and I spread newspapers under it (on top of the cage).

Second, don't stress about the pooping, as it's inevitable.

Third, I think the word "punishment" is inappropriate when you're talking about animals as opposed to children. I don't believe that covering a bird's cage sends a message of "punishment" that it then thinks through ... instead, covering the cage reduces light and stimulation, which are triggers for making noise ... so it doesn't stop the screaming because the bird has "learned a lesson" by being punished. Instead, you're simply moderating natural behaviors (all birds make noise, as you know).

Fourth, because covering the cage is not "punishment," he's not going to be psychologically scarred by it, and you don't need another cage.

Fifth, accept that there is always going to be some noise.
 
Hmmm think maybe my last comment got taken the wrong way? I never inferred there was psychological scarring caused by covering the cage. I just said that some frown upon and discourage it (most notably B. Heidenreich). The reasoning is first that you are coming back to the room/cage, rewarding the screaming. Then you are giving the bird an unpleasent experience that is now associated with you.

I did use the cage covering technique to some affect and just have the advice that if you do it, do it quickly and give your bird no contact at all while you put the cover on.
 
Hmmm think maybe my last comment got taken the wrong way? I never inferred there was psychological scarring caused by covering the cage. I just said that some frown upon and discourage it (most notably B. Heidenreich). The reasoning is first that you are coming back to the room/cage, rewarding the screaming. Then you are giving the bird an unpleasent experience that is now associated with you.

I did use the cage covering technique to some affect and just have the advice that if you do it, do it quickly and give your bird no contact at all while you put the cover on.

I think many of the "experts" are fooling themselves by thinking they have more control than they actually do. A parrot is going to exhibit natural/wild behaviors from time to time. You cannot and should not "punish" that out of them. In my opinion the better approach is to work on changing the circumstances in which the behavior is occurring, such as temporarily quieting a bird by covering it, or by spending more time with a bird to satisfy its flocking instinct. So, I don't think there's any risk of making a bird paranoid of its own cage by covering it from time to time. I think that's the owner projecting onto their bird a human's understanding of things, which is a mistake (and why I also think using terms like "fid" undermines our true appreciation of the singular nature of parrots).
 
I think many of the "experts" are fooling themselves by thinking they have more control than they actually do. A parrot is going to exhibit natural/wild behaviors from time to time. You cannot and should not "punish" that out of them. In my opinion the better approach is to work on changing the circumstances in which the behavior is occurring, such as temporarily quieting a bird by covering it, or by spending more time with a bird to satisfy its flocking instinct. So, I don't think there's any risk of making a bird paranoid of its own cage by covering it from time to time. I think that's the owner projecting onto their bird a human's understanding of things, which is a mistake (and why I also think using terms like "fid" undermines our true appreciation of the singular nature of parrots).

I am confused. However you want to dress it up, covering a birds cage is a negative consequence for an action. it is a punishment. I'll it say again, im not against it and I think it can work. I just stated that some with a lot more experience than me (maybe not you?) advise against it. While one never has to agree with everything they say, I think it is folly to completely ignore those who have proven track records and expertise.
 
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I think many of the "experts" are fooling themselves by thinking they have more control than they actually do. A parrot is going to exhibit natural/wild behaviors from time to time. You cannot and should not "punish" that out of them. In my opinion the better approach is to work on changing the circumstances in which the behavior is occurring, such as temporarily quieting a bird by covering it, or by spending more time with a bird to satisfy its flocking instinct. So, I don't think there's any risk of making a bird paranoid of its own cage by covering it from time to time. I think that's the owner projecting onto their bird a human's understanding of things, which is a mistake (and why I also think using terms like "fid" undermines our true appreciation of the singular nature of parrots).

I am confused. However you want to dress it up, covering a birds cage is a negative consequence for an action. it is a punishment. I'll it say again, im not against it and I think it can work. I just stated that some with a lot more experience than me (maybe not you?) advise against it. While one never has to agree with everything they say, I think it is folly to completely ignore those who have proven track records and expertise.

A lot of people on here seem to be quite frustrated because they are being told that they can control or eliminate natural behaviors by punishing their bird like they would a child. I don't think that birds generally "learn" they will experience a negative consequence, so they should stop doing whatever it is that brings that consequence. It if was that simple, there would not be nearly the level of frustration you see on this board. From my own experience, I think the key is to spend a lot of time interacting with the bird out of the cage, and that we have to adapt to their natural behaviors when they come up without immediately thinking we need to squelch them. I reject the idea that you have to become an adversary of your parrot.
 
Thank you for the advice and for not judging me. You're right that I had to become a bird lover over night. I've never had a bird before. I'm a quiet person and I just want to relax when I get home from work, but the nearly constant screaming is driving me crazy. I committed to this animal, and I want to do what's right for the bird. I don't think rehoming it is the right thing to do. I also really enjoy it when its quiet, it's cute and likes to cuddle with me and share my meals. It's definitely a social little guy (or girl?). I'm working on doing my research. I'll order it a variety of toys very soon. Getting another bird is not a financial option, nor a risk I want to take. So, this bird is going to be my friend. Thank you again.

I definitely wouldn't get another bird. Bird x 2 = more noise. I definitely would get him out as much as possible. If you have a stand he can hang out on next to you, you can begin bonding with him by clicker training, teaching him tricks. Remember he is in a new situation, and if his past owner left him in a cage all the time, he is frustrated. If you were frustrated all the time, how would you react. Is he clipped? If not don't clip him. If he is you may want to allow his feathers to grow in so he can fly around and get some exercise. He will be a happier bird for it.

You can, with a lot of patience and willpower turn this lil guy in to a wonderful companion. You can also teach him where to do his business, and when with some practice. Being able to fly can facilitate this. But you have to be committed and determined to work with him.

I used to train dogs. Dog training is my passion. But something I always told my students "you get out of it, what you put in to it." Your situation is no different. If you want to succeed in this relationship with this lil bird, you will. :)
 
I am not saying covering the cage is the end all solution to the problem, I am just saying that it worked for me. It only took me a few times for the bird to understand screaming it's head off was not an option.

Does my bird still scream? Yes, from time to time, but not as often anymore. I ignore the behavior when he screams and that has worked out well. Covering the cage was because no matter what I did or how often I ignored it he kept on screaming for hours on end. Not tweeting, screaming. A few days is all it took and my bird no longer screams for hours on end when I am not with him.

When he starts to scream it's only because he wants out of the cage, that's understandable. So I just wait until he clams down and stops for a good 15 to 20 minutes before I take him out. I would say he screams for maybe 5 minutes now a day. The rest of the time he just tweets for me and they can be loud. I enjoy the sound sometimes! Other times I want to make him into a parrot nugget because it gets on my nerves and makes me question why I was dumb enough to buy a bird! Than he does something so cute and funny that I remember why I love him.

I got asked the question from a bird person once "Why do you cage your bird and give your dogs and cats free roam of the home"? Well, its simple! My Dog and Cat is the very reason I cage the him when I am not around to supervise. Plus I don't want him to fly into something he can't get out of when I am not around to make sure he is safe when flying. Another BIG factor for him being a caged bird is because he is freaking tiny compared to my cats and dog. If I don't know he is out or where he is at all times, I could step on him, sit on him, or whatever. The cage is for his own protection. I love having my guy out with me, so I do as much as I can. When I watch TV he is on my shoulder, when I am on the computer he is annoying me because I don't think he likes it when I type. He bites my ear when I type (Not hard), in fact he is doing it now. :p He wants all my attention when he is out and for the most part I give it too him. When he is out I know what he is doing at ALL TIMES, so I don't make the mistake of stepping or sitting on him.
 
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Ok so I went out and bought some new toys which the bird has no interest in. I find this strange since when I have it out the bird plays with everything, my papers, my cell phone, my hair, etc. I got it a foraging box which I hid some treats in. It also contains paper, wood blocks, ropes. I thought it would love to pull at it like it does my hair. Nothing. It took the treats out but now ignores it. I bought a stack of thin cardboard pieces since the bird has taken great enjoyment out of destroying business cards on my desk. Doesn't touch it. I even tried showing it how to rip the pieces but the bird ignores it. It has a cuttlebone and a mineral block that it never touches. This bird wants only one thing. To be on me. If I put it on a ledge or shelf while I try to do something, it flies to me. Today I spent 4 hours with it when I got up this morning (after it screamed for over 30 min). Then I left the house for a while. When I got back the first thing I did was greet the bird and pet it, which it loves, but then I put it back. I was doing some rearranging in the house and the bird screamed for over an hour, until I covered the cage. I took the bird out again for another hour. I put it back because I wanted to eat my dinner in peace, but again, it screamed the whole time until
I covered the cage, even a several minutes after that. I feel bad keeping the cage covered but I can't handle it shaking its head at me screaming so loud you can hear it outside of my house. I tried uncovering the cage after it had been quiet a few minutes but it just started screaming again. Even with the cover on, if it hears me or my dogs walk around the house, it screams. I don't know what to do about the advice to get it a perch to be on, because I'm sure the bird will just fly to me. It's wings were clipped at the time the bird was purchased but its getting better at flying since I've had it. I don't want to clip it because I think it should be allowed/able to fly. The stress this animal is causing me is astronomical. It doesn't tweet. It doesn't chirp. It only yells. Loudly. Incessantly. I WANT to like this bird. It is so cute when it cuddles with me or when it plays with things. I don't even mind when it eats my food. I just want it to stop screaming whenever it isn't with me. I do try to spend time with it as much as I can. I have large dogs, although they mostly ignore the bird, I can't risk injury to the bird by allowing it be out when I can't be closely watching it. I truly want to make this work and be able to enjoy my pet bird. It is a lovely and cuddly friendly little thing and I do enjoy having it out with me. But the screaming makes it difficult since I don't want to reinforce that behavior. My friend only had the bird for a few weeks before giving it to me. So I don't know how or why this screaming has become so bad. I think since I have had the bird the screaming has gotten worse. It's definitely worse since I brought the cage into the living room. I wanted it to be able to see me more and have more stimulation from the TV and dogs and such. But that seems to make it yell more. I'm so torn about what to do. This post is more me venting than asking for more advice. I know it will take time and I'm willing to give this pet more time to learn.
 
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Cuddling my little dog and me
 

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