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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Question Separation Anxiety?

Hi all, so back in February last year I got a Green-cheek Conure named Jessie who was already 10 years old. I made this post listing a few of the negative behaviours I had noticed within the first week:

I am glad to say that we have come a very long way since then. The biting has majorly decreased, she'll play with her toys a bit now, I've made her foraging toys which she absolutely loves, and the clicker training is going great. While I've been a little slack due to school, since she's such a fast learner with a great memory she has mastered target training, spin, is toilet-trained and is getting pretty good at flight recall. When I first got her she was too afraid to fly. She would stand up on her tippy toes and lean forward while making clicky noises, but she just couldn't take off. I originally thought her previous owners must have clipped her wings, but when my sister said that they had never clipped her wings, I thought it was odd. We assume it's because she was stuck outside in a cage for so long (poor bird!). She still does this 'I'm too afraid to fly' thing fairly often, but if I'm walking away for her for a second (e.g., if she's on the top of her cage eating food and I quickly leave the room to do something with the intention of coming straight back) she'll be brave enough to fly straight to me without hesitation. Which brings me to the issue.

I believe she has separation anxiety. Her cage is located in my room, which means she spends at least 60% of her time clinging to the side of it watching me if I'm in there. This isn't that weird, but yeah. The second I leave my room and she's in her cage, she'll start crying and talking lots, which, yet again, isn't too weird. It's when she's out though that makes me believe she has this anxiety. She'll spend almost the whole time out on me (yet again, not too weird), but sometimes she'll be too scared to leave my arm and go on the table, WHILE I'm sitting at the table, even if there's food there. The most she can be away from me is a few metres (usually just one metre though), without freaking out, talking lots, pacing a bit, and looking like I'm about to run away and never see her again. If I start walking away (only to be gone for a few seconds) she'll immediately get over her slight fear of flying to fly straight to me. If I'm going outside and she can't follow me, she'll fly onto whatever is closest to the window and will just keep calling again and again until I return. I've had hand-raised birds in the past and know what 'I want to come with you' looks like. This is definitely a 'If I don't follow I'll be left behind forever' thing. She's a really great bird and I'm very happy for her to stay on me the whole time she's out, but this is an unhealthy fear for her and I want to help her to get over it. She comes out for at least 30 minutes, sometimes for 4+ hours each day, I never give her attention when she's calling for me (I will only let her out if she's quiet), she gets lots of cuddles and scritches, etc.. I understand that conures are very emotional flock birds, but this is a very definite fear that has most probably developed from her being stuck in a cage for ages in the past. How can I help her get over it?

Proud owner of:

lots of chooks - KFC, Sooty, Squiggle, Speedy... etc...
1 Budgie - Schwepp
2 Yellow-crowned Kakariki - Kiko and (in memory of)Calypso
2 Splendid Grass Parakeets (In memory of Hera)
2 Diamond Doves
And 4 Cockatiels
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