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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-19-2015, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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Separation anxiety?

Hi all,

Sorry for the wall of text that's about to happen.

You might remember Kuzco and I flying across Canada for work (sorry for the hiatus, SO MUCH WORK). The whole trip went really well. He was super well-behaved and slept like a champion the whole fifteen hours of flights home. We got back over a week ago and since then, I've noticed some worrying behaviour. He seems to be having some major separation anxiety concerning me. It's bad enough that even if he's in his cage in the same room as me, he will pace, cry, chew the bars, etc. The only time I can get him to relax is if I take him out and let him sit on me. He'll snuggle up under my chin and go to sleep whispering to me. The last two days, he's started showing an alarming behaviour, chewing and ripping the cotton rope that has been his comfort toy his whole life. He normally sleeps on it and it's his go-to place when he's stressed, but now he's chewing it up and ripping the threads out in a way that mimics birds who pluck themselves. It's really worrying me. His trigger for this seems to be whenever he thinks I'm leaving him, or if I talk to him while he's in his cage.

Does anyone know what might be causing this? He was really good while we were away, in fact, I think he enjoyed it. He showed no anxiety until a few days after we got back. We're currently staying at my mom's, but it's a familiar place for him and a cage he's used to. He's not getting as much out of cage time as he would at home because she doesn't like him and also has cats, but he's still getting at least two hours a day out with me playing, snuggling, and flying around. When we were away, he got about an hour a day out of cage, which isn't enough, but my work got really intense for a few weeks. The last week I was there, I worked 80 hours and basically only saw him in the morning and at night, so I'd get up early to give him some attention. Could that be causing some of this anxiety? What can I do to help him out? Are there warning signs before birds start plucking? I think that's my biggest fear. I'm so sad for him, he had such a good trip and now seems so unhappy.

Nala , Chip , and Kuzco
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-20-2015, 01:07 PM

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I'm sorry for you and Kuzco's, its horrible when your bird shows signs of stress and anxiety and you can't come up with an answer. I hope you get some good advice in here from others who may have seen or experienced this.

I hope Kuzco settles down soon and relaxes.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-20-2015, 03:42 PM

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Hi Ariel.
Wish I had an easy answer for you.

Before I say any more watch that rope. If he is ingesting the threads it can cause impaction.
Not that I would remove it right now, I think.
I cannot think of any think that may help. I take it he is strongly bonded to you.
And that is not an easy thing to change. And it does not sound like you can change the living arrangements either.

Sorry not much help.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-23-2015, 04:23 AM
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Sorry your bird is worrying you. Is it possible the cats are bothering him when you are not around? That is the only thing I can come up with right now.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-26-2015, 04:51 AM

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This is going to sound awful and you probably won't want to hear it but you're actually encouraging him to be needy and have separation anxiety. You said that he only stops when you get him out and cuddle him, that's exactly what he wants. It's the same with screaming. If a bird is screaming and you give them something to shut them up you're then re-enforcing the behaviour. They soon learn that "oh if I do THIS thing then they're going to get me out/give me a treat/give me a toy etc." and they'll just do it more and more. Personally, as terrible as it's going to sound, I would ignore the behaviour when he's doing it. What I would do is remove the toy and replace it with something that is safe to shred. He can then take his frustrations out on it without the risk of impaction or being caught on a thread. It's really awful and hurtful to even consider ignoring them but sometimes it has to be done for their own good. My lesser sulphur crested cockatoo's cage was behind the sofa and if we were eating or watching TV he would scream blue murder because he wanted some himself. If we left the house he did the same, he would completely freak out. Eventually he got the idea that it wasn't getting him anywhere and he started to entertain himself. It's made me cry before. I hand raised a cockatiel that wouldn't leave our side if given the chance but when he upgraded to a cage all he would do was pace along the bottom or try and walk up the bars to get to us, had me in tears!

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 09:42 PM

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I agree completely with catalinadee

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