Help with a hyperactive GCC! - Talk Parrots Forums

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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
 
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Help with a hyperactive GCC!

I feel like I have a caique, not a GCC

I got my GCC, Sammy, at 6.5 weeks old from a bird show. My partner syringed fed him till about 9-10 weeks of age when he fully weaned. He is fully flighted (never clipped), is very hand tame, and has been socialized with other birds and a cat. I don't know his sex but the vet had a feeling he was male.

Once he weaned he turned into a different bird, like a version of himself on steriods. I've been around a couple of other GCC, and he is so different. He is extremely active and nippy, constantly on the move climbing, wanting to wrestle and bite hands, flying after the other birds, hanging off things, getting into things, try to bite feet, etc. Seriously, he does not just sit still and hang out, ever, unless in his cage.

The problem is I'm getting very overwhelmed by his energy level. He is very high maintenance and nippy. I'd like for him to just sit on my shoulder or hand, calmly, once in a while but he won't sit still unless it's bed time. I try and teach him "no bite" by gently holding the sides of his beak with my fingers, but I think he's too hyper to "get it". I like that he likes to wrestle and play with my hands but the nipping that goes along with it now is just too painful. I also notice he is very hyper vigilant of his surroundings, eyes always darting to things or sounds. He's simply not mellow in the least.

I don't know what to do. I had no idea a GCC could be this demanding. I don't if it's because he's never been clipped or what. He is in his cage while I work full time, but then let out for at least a couple hours to fly free at night. Maybe that's not enough?

I have a parrotlet so I have dealt with moody, bitey birds. But the activity level of my GCC is FAR beyond that of my parrotlet.

Any advice would be helpful. Is there anyone else who has experienced a bird like this? Do they mellow out as they get older? I thought the real nippy stage happens at 6 months. He's so nippy now I'm scared it will get worse!


Thanks for the support
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 02:17 PM
 
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Odds are he's just very hyperactive because of his age. He's at his 'teenage' hormonal phase where he's becoming sexually mature so, like a teenager, he's full of energy and wants to test his boundaries and limits. If you find he's getting too out of control, you may want to try a partial clip. Try clipping just the first one or two flight feathers so he can still glide around and fly but won't be able to get so much lift and get into everything



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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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Odds are he's just very hyperactive because of his age. He's at his 'teenage' hormonal phase where he's becoming sexually mature so, like a teenager, he's full of energy and wants to test his boundaries and limits. If you find he's getting too out of control, you may want to try a partial clip. Try clipping just the first one or two flight feathers so he can still glide around and fly but won't be able to get so much lift and get into everything
Thanks Jenny. I should add that he's currently 4 months old, which I thought was well before their 'teenage' months?

I have read many times that clipping a bird's wings makes for a better behaved bird. Personally I don't like wing clipping, although I certainly acknowledge the benefits on many levels.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 02:41 PM


 
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Wow! You have a power-house on your hands! My Libby turned one year old this past February, and she was never like that. She was clipped when I brought her home, but she is fully flighted now. She only seems to fly when something startles her, like one of my dogs barking.

She does play a lot in her cage and really seems to enjoy herself, but she will do this for a while and then settle down and eat, look out the window or nap in her tent. It's definitely not constant. I can hold her and she loves to have her head and neck rubbed, plus she'll lay on her back in my hand. She'll also go through times during the day where she talks, chirps, whistles, mumbles, etc., but also has lots of times where she's really quiet. I wouldn't say she's a loud or hyperactive bird at all, just a fun-loving bird.

I also have a Parrotlet, Angelina. She is 3-1/2 years old. She is VERY quiet and doesn't play much at all, compared to Libby. She does play, but not as much.

I've got several online friends who have GCC's and I don't think any of them have described their bird as you have. I also have a friend who has a Caique and a Hahn's Macaw. Her Caique IS just the way you describe your GCC! If she doesn't get her way, LOOK OUT! Plus she gets into EVERYTHING! The Hahn's is pretty mellow, but this Caique is really something!

Maybe you have a Caique in Green Cheek clothing!!! Have you talked to the breeder or your avian vet about this? Is he getting at least twelve full hours of sleep time in a dark, quiet room, away from all the action in the house? I know that can make a big difference in their attitudes.

One other thing: clipping wings can help. My P'let gets real cocky when she can fly, so her wings are always clipped.

Good luck, I hope you get this resolved! Keep us posted!

JoAnne, Libby (2/10),Angelina (12/07), and Charley (11/10)
Also owned by Essie,Minnie & Oscar

Last edited by jodeg; 06-10-2011 at 02:44 PM.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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Hi Jo Anne! I recognize you from talkparrotlets. Your Libby is the poster child of well behaved GCC!

I have not seen another GCC like mine. As far as the breeder.... he was kind of sketchy. Said the birds were from Puerto Rico (it's on the band) from a friend. I haven't had contact with him since. But Sammy is healthy which is most important.

He loves to lay on his back in my hand or just be handled and wrestled with. But he doesn't sit still. He squirms and wrestles and nips, like a hyper puppy. So it can be overwhelming to deal with him since he is so physically interactive. BUT, when he was still on formula he loved nothing more than to have his crop filled and then lay for hours in our hands, complacent and satiated. I miss those days

Occasionally I can give him scritches for a few seconds, but his attention span is low so it doesn't last long till he's flying off or climbing to the next thing of interest.

I think he feels his cage is a prison until we get home to set him free, which probably isn't too unusual for GCCs.

The sleep could be an issue. Problem is with working so late I only have so much time to let him out. He tends to get about 10 hours of sleep per night. Last night I bumped it up to 11. The room he's in gets some traffic noise in the morning, but I'd hate to shut all the windows and have it be hot and stuffy. Overall though he seems to want less sleep than my p'let.

Oh my p'let has been a terror at times with his flighted freedom. Funny thing is he has become a much more sweet, mellow bird since Sammy has been so wild.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 03:36 PM
 
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Yeah, I would prefer to keep my birds full flight as well; all my birds who don't really come out of the cage (their personal choice, they are paired up and not over tame so they don't really want to visit) are flighted but my macaw isn't because she hates my mom and other women so I don't trust her to not bite them if she can fly about.

It doesn't have to be a permanent clip either; many people find that just with a few weeks of being clipped the bird will mellow out and many give them back full flight once they've calmed back down.



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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 04:18 PM


 
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When doing clicker training, I've noticed that Libby has a shorter attention span than my P'let. She'll do the behaviors for about 5 minutes and then she wants to do something else. So maybe short attention spans are part of their nature!

What size cage do you have your GCC in? I always say to get the biggest cage you have room for and can afford! Libby does not beg to be let out of her cage. She's happy to come out, but just as happy in, my P'let is the same way. Even when Libby's cage door is open (only when we're sitting right there), she'll go in and out, play inside with her toys, then come out again, so I know she loves her cage!

Don't know if you've seen my setup, but my P'let is in an HQ flight cage and Libby is in an A&E Conure Castle. Libby has a sleep cage (HQ flight cage) in my P'let's room. I think that, generally, the bigger the cage, the happier the bird -- with LOTS of toys and stuff to do of course!

I've also taught Libby to play with foraging toys, which really keeps her busy. I started with a small, easy one and showed her how to do it. Now I'm to the point where I'm searching for foraging toys that are more difficult! I usually switch them around, and give her a different one every few days. Really occupies her time!

Your GCC is still very young, so maybe he'll grow out of it and "mellow". I sure hope things get resolved and you can enjoy your bird as much as I enjoy Libby!

JoAnne, Libby (2/10),Angelina (12/07), and Charley (11/10)
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 04:18 PM
 
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Ive also heard that people who hand feed the birds themselves can be like this, this is because at the breeders they hand feed but the chick has its other clutch mates 6 and a half weeks is quite young and he missed out on a couple of valuable weeks where he would have learned what was biting too hard from his clutch mates and such. i think 8 weeks is the youngest Id take a GCC its the same with kitten and puppies if there not raised with their littermates they can be little snots because they werent taught boundries.

This being said all birds are different my black capped conure was very calm and sweet and chill, but Russ while still very sweet needs constent stimulations he needs new toys often and I switch his toys every few days because hes a very active parrot almost like how some labs will just lay at your feet while others are crazed with energy, I think clipping your GCC's wings just once would help alot

H
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 04:21 PM


 
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You're right, Jessie! Libby was just over 8 weeks when I brought her home. The bird shop where I buy my birds, toys, food, supplies, etc., won't let a bird go home until it is completely weaned. Sometimes they regress a little when they go home, so it's best that they're completely weaned before that.

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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It sounds to me like he came home with you too early. From what I have read, birds can have behavioral problems (and other eating problems) if they come home before they are weaned. Here is a link to the article Weaning Article
Hopefully he will settle down for you!

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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 02:17 AM


 
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I got my young GCC when he was about 9 weeks old. He just about abled to eat for himself and when he was walking he wasn't even steady on his feet, flying he did not do well in at that either, now that he is 12 weeks old or there about, I can't stop his hyper, he is fully flighted like all my Conures. I think that's just the way it is, they're young and have discovered they can fly and have beak. They are just excited to try and learn everything.

You have to train him not to nip by giving him a gentle hand quake now otherwise it's going to be a problem later on in life.

I have a Maroon Bellied Conure, very similar to a GCC, he is just over 1 year old and is also always on the go (still super hyper). I really love Conures, if they wasn't a hand full I would have about 10 of them .

Like you I prefer to not clip my birds. What I do now is when i'm busy I would put them in the cage and get on with what ever i'm doing, They are just too hyper to have around when you're busy.

I do have another GCC and strangely enough she just likes to sit there and chill, so I think it depends on each individual the bird, not all are super hyper. You must have picked up a super hyper GCC.

I wish I could help you more but i'm too still on the learning curb like you. Aren't these Conures just GREAT!!! we never stop learning from them


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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 06:30 AM



 
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when it comes to birds being hyper, boy don't I have fun! I have 4 red-fronted kakarikis and they are the ultimate go go go bird!

I would have to agree with everything I read above, I don't have much to say now 'cause those guys did a great job hehe!

I hope you get the problem sorted out

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all your thoughtful replies.

I do think 6.5 weeks was far too early to take him home, and I was very hesitant to do so. However the breeder showed my partner how to syringe feed and he felt it wouldn't be a problem for us to do it, and I think we felt we could provide a better living situation and also have a very hand tame pet. But I would never acquire a bird so young again, as I found trying to syringe feed stressful, and I do agree there are probably some behavioural problems as a result. He also tends to eat only seeds and fruits and veggies. I'm having a hard time getting him to eat pellets.

He's been out all today and loves his play net. Climbing, flying, chewing. I have a forage bucket on the net and he loves to pull everything out onto the floor, which I then fill back up again. It's been almost 3 hours of non-stop activity and he's still going! My dove and p'let are definitely ready for a break, so I'm going to give him some cage time.

One thing that mellows him out is baths. He loves to bath in the sink, fully soaking himself under the faucet for several minutes. Afterwards he just sits still on the shoulder trying to get warm. Those are peaceful times - ha ha!
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 11:46 AM



 
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he sounds like a real sweetheart

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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 05:04 PM


 
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He'll get there in time! Just keep giving him lots to do, should tire him out!

My bird shop weans their birds to Roudybush pellets, fruit, veggies, etc., so Libby came home already used to pellets -- thankfully! She's a pellet piggy, and eats fruit and veggies very well. I'm so glad the shop starts their birds out right! Makes it a lot less stressful and way more successful once they're home.

Good luck, keep working with him, and I know you'll suceed. GCC's want to please their person!

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post #16 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-13-2011, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
 
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He has potential to be a very intelligent, sweetheart of a bird, but the nipping has to get under control if he is too remain a hyperactive bird, and I'm not sure how to do it.

I've tried the earthquake method when he bites but that just made him hold on and bite harder. Usually I squeeze the side of his beak together when he bites and say "no bite" and that seems to stop him for the moment. But just last night he knew we were taking him back upstairs to his cage and he started biting hard. I'm worried this behaviour won't stop on it's own, and honestly I didn't think I would have to engage in rigorous, formal training with him, so it's rather discouraging. Again, most GCC I have been exposed to have been on the mellower side.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks for the suggestions and please feel free to share more.
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post #17 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-13-2011, 12:54 PM
 
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My Russ has a similar personality hes always doing something hell fly from the basement to the second level , he likes to get into trouble but I love him, really conures are a active, enthusuastic playful bird so its not that unusal that hes acting this way your friends birds may be older or just have a quieter personality.

i would try to keep him distracted when hes out make an activity center for him with little treat bags fresh veggies, wood all sorts of fun stuff, and make sure you carry toys with you so if hes getting too rough you can redirect his attention onto the toy instead of your finger.


When he does bite have a smaller cage downstair that isnt the one he usually stays in dont put any toys in it immediately when he bites say no bite and take him to the cage and cover part of it so he cant see you after a few moments take it off.

Try different hand quakes up and down or left to right.

Another techniques is to say no bite, glare at them and then get them to step up quite a few times till it seems like there listening

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post #18 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-13-2011, 02:25 PM


 
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This might sound strange but when my female GCC bites my Maroon Bellied, he would squawk out very loud and she stops biting straight away.

My new GCC initially did nip alot, I thought what if I mimic my Maroon Bellied and squawk out loud combine with earthquake when he nip, well it works for me, my baby GCC recognised I'm in pain and ceased biting.

I am not kidding about this but try and squawk out very loud combine with earthquake when he bite , see if it'll work for you.

I really hope you'll succeed in stopping him nipping whiles he's still young.

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post #19 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-13-2011, 06:18 PM
 
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^ What Tippa said. There's nothing strange about it. I do it on a regular basis with all kinds of birds. Making an unhappy "squak" mimicking them helps them understand you're not just saying no, you're being hurt. Often times, they're not nipping to hurt you. Especially a young bird, they're learning their beak strength and he's at a point where he needs to learn how hard he can nibble before it's too hard.

If you find he's being hyper and nippy, keep some foot toys handy and try to distract or redirect that nibbling and beakyness to a toy instead of your hand



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post #20 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-14-2011, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
 
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I think the squawk is great advice! I'm going to try it tonight. I'll do it with and without the earthquake and see how it goes. When I got home last night he was already out and flew to my shoulder and gave my cheek a nip, so I've got to start doing something fast to curb this biting. I'm just surprised it's happening so young. My p'let didn't start getting really bitey until around 7-8 months. But they are different species. I'll let you know how it goes!
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