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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-01-2018, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Help with Quaker Parrot

I wanted to ask for advice on a parrot that is owned by a family who hasnít done their research on the matter. Itís rather long so I apologize for that, but I really need help with this

My girlfriend owns a four and a half year old Quaker Parrot, with a bit of a messy history before her family got it. The parrot was kind to everyone at first, but for almost two years heís become aggressive towards her and her mother, and lost most of the qualities he had when they got him such as talking or playing, and I happen to believe itís due to stress or boredom caused by lack of stimulation.

Iíve noticed and commented to my girlfriend that the parrot is taken out of the cage very little, only once per day and for about an hour, not more than that. It appears that at first they always had him around, but then they began changing their ways, forgetting, or just not wanting to take him out and the parrot spends most of his time inside.
What Iíve seen as a result of this is that the parrot shows many signs of stress such as aggressiveness at any time, but mostly while inside his cage. He would lunge at her or me even when we walk by the closed cage, not just when we get close to talk to him. Then, whenever they took him out and I tried to approach him with a treat he tried to bite me (his young brother was there so that couldíve helped), and according to my girlfriend, for a long time whenever she got in the same room as the parrot, he would either run away from her or bite whoeverís shoulder he was on when he saw her.

Also, the parrot constantly screams for attention, and sometimes, especially when Iím in the room where the cage is he seems to scream in fear, quaking or shaking his head in an eight pattern and trying to bite me while biting the cage bars, even if Iím standing far from him, like it just wants me out. I was always careful to talk soft, move slow, make little eye contact and try not to scare him, but nothing works.

In addition to this, Iíve seen the parrot standing on one leg a lot and biting his nails, rubbing his beak hard against his perches, walking for a long time in an eight pattern as if bored, sleeping a lot, and Iím worried his next step is feather plucking. He is also overweight in my opinion as they leave the food for him in his cage every day, three full dishes with seeds of all kinds (except sunflower), rice, and carrots, and they even leave it there at night.
So they have a one person parrot that has over bonded with a twelve year old kid who doesnít really know how to take care of a parrot and cares more about videogames than the bird. The only ones who can handle him are the father who doesnít much care for it because of his work and the twelve year old brother who in my opinion is not capable yet of taking good care of it.

The difficult part is that since the parrot is not trained and no one is willing to do it, thereís no easy solution. My girlfriend is afraid of taking the bird out of the cage because she fears her familyís reaction if something bad were to happen, and also she would get bitten by him. Her mother doesnít really understand about birds so she is constantly reinforcing bad behavior, and so did her young brother by giving him all he wanted whenever he started screaming (just to stop him they would send the brother to quiet the bird, or feed him more).

The only moments the parrot seems happy is when he hears the young brotherís voice, when he is with him (though aside from a few head scratches those moments consist of the parrot trying to get the boy out of his phone), when the parrot thinks he is gonna eat, or whenever he is left alone for a long time in his cage in a room and starts singing happy tunes.

I've told my girlfriend that the parrot should spend more time out of the cage, at least be taken out one more time a day, that the time he spends out should be better, that he needs toys which he has none, that he needs to be stick trained, that he needs a training perch and a play stand, that he needs to be on a training diet having three meals a day tops given his age, that they need the training so they can reinforce good behavior and discourage bad ones, but she canít do it, and canít seem to convince her family either.

Iím worried because this was a bird that used to talk, play, that was nice to everyone in the family, and now he is aggressive, wonít answer to any stimulation other than the young boy, and seems unhappy, fat and scared. Am I being too paranoid and is the bird better than I think, or are they putting his mental health in danger? What do you think they should do?

Thanks in advance for your help
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 10:22 AM

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It's really hard when it is somebody else's bird. Best suggestions you could make would be;

1) change his diet - quakers are incredibly prone to obesity. He needs plenty of fresh foods, cooked foods etc. and a small amount of seeds and whatever else he has (ditch the sunflower and try hemp instead). They can just freeze and defrost it if they don't have the time for him. Pop it in a food processor and freeze it into ice cube trays, that way he's getting a nice little portion and not eating the junk food

2) provide him with plenty of enrichment - quakers being natural nest builders it would be awesome if he could have a bunch of shredding toys and things to do to prevent the pacing and boredom

3) his aggression may be a matter of being sexually mature and/or territorial, which I have found many of them to be. Ask them if they're scared of putting their hands in to just leave the cage open and do any training out of the cage. That way he gets to keep his safe space but also enjoy more interaction

I'm surprised at this point he hasn't started to pluck. Quakers can suffer with something called quaker mutilation disease or syndrome, whatever you want to call it. It is painful for them and painful for us to see. I once bought a breeding pair online and when the 'feather perfect' birds arrived they had literal holes in them. Absolutely terrible!

Tell them to look into clicker and target training him too, loads of positive reinforcement for him
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-06-2018, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for your help.

I'll let them know that if they don't act it could get serious. I'm quite surprised too because the bird seems very nervous. Thankfully they can take care of it before anything worse happens
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-08-2018, 05:42 AM

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No problem, fingers crossed you can get through to them!

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
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