"Mutual Agreement" Taming, A Helpful Guide to Skittish and Aggressive Birds - Talk Parrots Forums

Parrot Behavior, Bonding and Training Discuss parrot behavior, parrot training, parrot bonding, and other psychological aspects of parrot care.

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 09:16 PM Thread Starter


 
MeanneyFids's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Somewhere in Canada
Posts: 2,644
Thanks: 51
Thanked 104 Times in 64 Posts
Rep Power: 39
                     
"Mutual Agreement" Taming, A Helpful Guide to Skittish and Aggressive Birds

Birds are a lot like people in the way that they have different personalities. Some are bold and playful, others are shy and timid, while even some others are aggressive and finicky. Most taming guides are directed at the "average" bird. The taming guides are really good for the most part, but there are certain birds who need to be approached differently.




Positive reinforcement is noted to be one of the best ways to tame birds and many other animals. It uses good and positive rewards to show the animal what you want and like. Birds respond very well to this, and this has made it one of the most popular ways to tame a bird.




However taming is not always one size fits all. There are different ways to deal with a shy or aggressive bird. This guide focuses on those types of birds.
The main message of this guide is "mutual agreement" where you look at your bird's likes and dislikes and know where their limits are and you set a neutral ground with them.




First I will discuss aggressive birds.

First you must look at what your bird is aggressive about. Many are cage aggressive. Working with a cage aggressive bird when trying to tame it can be very difficult, and a lot more work than an average bird. Many owners get frustrated and either give up on taming or they get rid of the bird. Very few stick it out and keep trying.





The main idea with a cage aggressive bird is that their cage is their home, they do not usually want you dealing with anything in their cage. In or near it. They may bite or lunge at you or even chase you if you do not respect their space. This can make feeding and watering and cleaning a hazardous task.





How do you deal with these birds? First, look at the cage, is there something particular in the cage that they are protecting? If so if it possible to remove it, then do so. If not, then it is up to you to avoid this situation. The bird has a good chance of becoming more and more aggressive each time you invade its space, which can create worse future problems.





So, how do you get the bird out of the cage if it will not step up or will not stop attacking your hand? Easy! You let the bird come out of the cage on its own. Just leave the cage door open and do not reach into the cage for the bird. Respect the birds cage as ITS space, not YOURS. If the bird is clipped, you might have to escort the bird to its playgym if the playgym is not within climbing or jump reach of the bird's cage. To do this, simply towel the bird gently and carry it over to the playgym, and then leave it alone for a bit. Let the bird enjoy its time out. After the bird has had time to calm down, you may try step up training. If the bird is not aggressive on the playgym, this is an easier job and regular training can take place on the playgym.





However, if the bird is not willing to come near you with your hand nearby or attacks you still, simply sit where the bird can reach you, but simply read a book or do something that does NOT involve the bird. Place a sprig of spray millet, or another favourite treat where the bird can easily climb to reach, but placed close to you. So if you are sitting on a desk with the bird's playgym on top, sit a few feet away with the treat a few inches from your arm. Let the bird come to you, do not look at the bird right away if the bird comes to you for the spray millet. This will teach the bird that they can trust you and can go to you and you are not a threat. Let them come to you on their terms. Over time, eventually work on holding the treat so that the bird will step up onto your hand.





What is different about this method from regular taming of holding a treat in the hand for the bird? You are not forcing the millet upon the bird, you are letting them set the pace and go to you on their own terms. You have learned to respect the bird's cage space and its own personal boundaries, the bird will feel more comfortable around you and in time will learn to accept you. The cage aggression likely will not stop, but with the mutual respect of space (owner stays out of cage and owner does not get bit, thats the "mutual agreement here") will help with the bird staying more calm when you DO need to go into the cage to feed, water, clean, and service toys. They learn to trust you as they see that you do respect their space and they will relax more around you and not feel as threatened.





Skittish birds are often timid, flighty, nervous, and scared. These birds tend to adapt much slowly compared to other birds and tend to like familiarity, so frequent cage set up changes may spook them. These birds may take months to fully settle in to a new home, or even into a new cage. These differ from untame birds in the way that they tend to be even slower at adapting and are slow to trust and seem to be scared of nearly everything.




For skittish birds, the method is VERY much the same, only some things are done differently for different reasons. Never towel a skittish bird to bring it out of the cage, this will only frighten them more. Toweling should only be used for medical reasons or with an aggressive clipped bird who needs to be transported from point A to B. A bird can be trained to associate the towel with playtime (positive reinforcement) but this can prove too stressful on a skittish bird.




Never invade a skittish bird's cage. This is their safe haven, the place they should feel comfortable and relaxed. Placing your hands in the cage will frighten the bird and feed their insecurity. For these birds, if they seem really nervous at first, you can cover a corner of the cage, blocking your view of them and their view of you. This is somewhere they can retreat to when they feel scared or overwhelmed.




Allow them to come out of their cage on their own. Quietly sit by and read a book or something similar and just leave the cage door open. Never reach for a timid bird unless absolutely necessary (emergencies, medicating, etc) as they may feel threatened by a "predator" and it may cause them to be even more fearful.




Forcing treats on them as well may not work because they are scared of the hands that hold them. These birds need to be left to come to you on their own as well, just like the aggressive birds. The method is the same, only you want the treat placed farther away from you at the start than you would with an aggressive bird. Over a slow period of time as the bird gets more comfortable, you may move the treat an inch closer to you, until you can hold the treat with your hand open flat on the table. The "mutual agreement" here is that you respect the bird's need for security and space and you will gain a more confident bird in time.




Let me state something with this taming guide. These birds can be worked with FLIGHTED. I have actually found these birds tend to benefit more from being flighted and I have had better results with them being flighted than I have had clipped. However, the aggressive bird might be better attitude wise clipped after taming should the bird attack you, but if the bird does not attack you it is fine to leave the bird flighted if you wish.




I highly recommend the skittish birds to be flighted rather than clipped. Clipping may help a bird rely on you to get around, but it can downright scare a timid bird and cause regression in their trust in you rather than progression. Flighted timid birds also tend to have a confidence boost and will be more willing to approach you as they can get away easier if they feel the need to. Never force a skittish bird to do something it does not want to. This damages their trust in their owners. If the bird wants to fly off and get away from you, let it do so freely. It will see you will not stop it if it wants to get away.


The treat does not have to be food. It can be a favourite toy or some other thing that they really like. I have used this method for my lovebirds. My male is super shy and timid and has been the hardest to work with in terms of earning his trust, but our female is aggressive and it has been a long but well-worth-it road to having her trust.




Written by Casey Meanney, Copyright 2012



Those Meanney Fids FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Those-...284656?fref=ts
Bird Information Photo Gallery: http://s1282.photobucket.com/user/Me...?sort=3&page=1
All posts and photos of mine posted here are copyrighted by Casey Meanney. They are not to be reposted elsewhere without my permission.
MeanneyFids is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to MeanneyFids For This Useful Post:
Hanna&Tilly (06-09-2013), pjfbhb (07-22-2015), RioNAriel (06-02-2013)
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 09:16 PM Thread Starter


 
MeanneyFids's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Somewhere in Canada
Posts: 2,644
Thanks: 51
Thanked 104 Times in 64 Posts
Rep Power: 39
                     
I have tried the average typical methods that most people have success with in taming. But it did not work. I often wondered why and ended up frustrated with a bloody hand after trying to get my female lovebird to accept millet or sunflower seeds by hand in her cage. She ended up getting more and more aggressive.



I then let them become flighted and had given up on taming them, I had gotten them as babies and thought I could tame them easier, especially since the female was handfed from hatching. However, they were not socialized, and therefore were wild, and the handfeeding only made my female bold and not afraid to bite the hands that feed her.


I had realized that once flighted, they were more confident. I would leave the cage doors open for them and they would come out on their own. I would hold out paper (their "treat") or millet and they would fly to me for it. Eventually the female would fly over to me just to see what I was doing and to preen my hair.



It was then I had realized I had been going the wrong way about taming them, I needed a different tactic. So, I let them come to me. In time, they've had to be clipped again for safety reasons (female being so aggressive she was also attacking the other birds, in or out of the cage, and clipping restricted her reach of them) and the male lovebird was clipped as well to prevent him from getting bit through the cage bars should he land on her cage. Things regressed far with the male lovebird being clipped. I had since moved the other birds out of the room, so the room only has the two lovebirds in their own separate cages.



The female lovebird remains clipped to protect the male, but the male has recently become flighted again and I have noticed his confidence growing and after five months, he is finally exploring his whole new cage, instead of staying up top all the time. The female lovebird I no longer reach in her cage unless to give her food, water, or clean the cage or to add a new toy. To rearrange the cage, I make sure she is not in her cage and I am safe to change things inside for her.




This mutual agreement with her has really brought out her trust in me and now she is fully tame, she steps up, she runs over and interacts with us, shes not super cuddly but she does accept some scritches (headscratches) and she is not as aggressive in the cage. We let her come out of her cage and then we towel her to bring her to her playgym. The towel protects her and me. If she bites my hand untowelled there is always that chance she could be dropped, the towel prevents this from happening.



All it took was not forcing the taming upon them. The male still is not fully tame, he will let us hold him on his own terms, he likes laying in our hands, but he will not step up. Currently as of writing this sticky, it has taken me one year and seven months to build up the trust I have earned with them. So please, if your bird does not give you results even in a few weeks, never give up on them, as they may take years to fully trust you. However, the trust earned was based on respect and space and I find a stronger bond can be forged this way.



I just wished to share my experiences using these methods and maybe give hope and help to others with birds in this situation.




Here are some photos that may be of interest for people wanting to see the results:


For the female lovebird, this was her as a baby when we clipped her wings and worked on her stepping up, you can see by her reactions that this is not a method for her





having her fly to me for the treats rather than me approaching her





even the shy male would fly to me for a cup filled with toys and paper!




this show's their progress using this method







and a video of the female enjoying some scritches!

Munch Scritches!!! - YouTube


This method can be used for ANY bird, just my experience with untame skittish and aggressive birds are limited to my lovebirds, but this same method can help all of you with your birds of any species come to trust you more





Written by Casey Meanney, Copyright 2012



Those Meanney Fids FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Those-...284656?fref=ts
Bird Information Photo Gallery: http://s1282.photobucket.com/user/Me...?sort=3&page=1
All posts and photos of mine posted here are copyrighted by Casey Meanney. They are not to be reposted elsewhere without my permission.
MeanneyFids is offline  
post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 09:49 AM



 
catalinadee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 17,637
Thanks: 1,593
Thanked 2,007 Times in 1,575 Posts
Rep Power: 99
                     
Casey that post is fantastic and very very true. I have found that clipping skittish birds does not work myself. I have found that letting them keep their wings allows them to understand that they still have a way to get away from you. When you deny them their wings, they panic. Do you have a blog or something? Because if not, then you should! Training and taming blogs are fantastic but you having birds of both kinds can really help others see the birds potential

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
catalinadee is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to catalinadee For This Useful Post:
Faydra (11-06-2017)
 
post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 01:27 PM Thread Starter


 
MeanneyFids's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Somewhere in Canada
Posts: 2,644
Thanks: 51
Thanked 104 Times in 64 Posts
Rep Power: 39
                     
nah the blog i have in a way is my FB page. this is one of my own stickies that i shared with TC and now am sharing here. you can make it a sticky if you want, as it would be good info for members with skittish or aggressive birds.


to be honest, training and taming just isnt my expertise, but this is the one method that i found worked for me. however, only 3 birds of mine came to me untame, and tsuka was a people bird and had no issues at all. mango still is not fully tame, nor do i think he ever will be, but he sometimes doesnt mind being handled, he interacts on his own terms and he is happy with that. munch is happy with the interaction though hands on is on her terms. but she is less aggressive than before using this method. they are both more content, but it took over a year and a half to tame munch!



Those Meanney Fids FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Those-...284656?fref=ts
Bird Information Photo Gallery: http://s1282.photobucket.com/user/Me...?sort=3&page=1
All posts and photos of mine posted here are copyrighted by Casey Meanney. They are not to be reposted elsewhere without my permission.
MeanneyFids is offline  
post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-09-2013, 11:39 PM
 
Hanna&Tilly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Sunshine Coast
Posts: 91
Thanks: 82
Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts
Rep Power: 7
 
Hi Casey, nice to see you on here too, as from yesterday we got another flock member, her name is Tilly and she's an Indian Ringneck. She was rehomed by a sweet old lady who cannot care for her anymore and she was looking for a loving and understanding home. Your thread is very helpful and so true.
According to Tillys behavoiur it seems to be the case that she shall chose to come to us. I still like to go near her, not toooooo close and talk softly to her. She is a princess, so beautiful and in very good condition. Unfortunately the cage was not and I HAD to clean it and change / replace some things in there as they were YUCK... so you can imagine the poor thing now is confused: new environment, new cage set up, new mommy and daddy, another birdie ( Joe ) arround her, new sounds...
And before reading your post I already done it to your advice, just leaving the cage door open....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tilly011 on her first morning out.JPG (234.6 KB, 3 views)
Hanna&Tilly is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Hanna&Tilly For This Useful Post:
MeanneyFids (09-06-2013)
post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-02-2015, 05:23 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 2
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
Hi I was just wondering if anyone would be able to give me abit of advice I've just bought my first bird a parrotlet I'm not sure wether it's male or female so I just say it's a boy he's called Ozzy and I've had him for about 2 months at first I put my hands inside of his cage to get him out after a while he started standing on my hand when I had millet he finally came out of his cage and he flies around often he's very nervous of me and he doesn't like coming near me especially as I have stopped putting my hands in his cage now he just leaves the cage himself I'm really struggling to bond with him and I can't find any treats he likes he's hard to get back in his cage sometimes as he won't let me go near him he's very bity and I'd love to be able to stroke him and him stand up into my hand without him being scared but I'm really not sure where to start please help I just want my parrotlet to know I won't hurt him and for him to trust me !!
DarcyB is offline  
post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-02-2015, 05:27 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 2
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
Oh also he hasn't had his wings clipped so everyone I try and bond with him out of the cage he just flies away
DarcyB is offline  
post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-02-2015, 06:16 PM



 
Mr Peepers's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 5,081
Thanks: 1,410
Thanked 656 Times in 569 Posts
Rep Power: 16
   
Hi Darcy, I always find taking the bird into a small room like the bathroom and do some hand training for 10-15 mins a couple of times a day (if you have the time try and do this a few times a day) as it always works well.

The bird can't get far when he/she's in the bathroom so they will have to sit on your hand while you quietly talk to them and interact. I wouldn't try stroking the bird when you are working on hand taming.. that comes in time. Right now you need to get the bird to get use to stepping up and you being in control of him.

Give him treats of small size bites of millet if that's his preferred treat and praise him while he eats and stays put on your hand. Don't stare at him when training as birds get nervous of anything/one staring at them, blink your eyes when looking at him and speaking then look away so he gets that you are not a big predator.

This all takes time... he won't be trained over night over a week maybe not over a months time. It all depends on you and you being persistent when training.

If you put in the time he will soon understand and be a hand tame bird but like I said it all depends on you putting in the time daily to make it work.

Good luck.





Mr Peepers is offline  
post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-03-2015, 02:26 AM



 
catalinadee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 17,637
Thanks: 1,593
Thanked 2,007 Times in 1,575 Posts
Rep Power: 99
                     
You should be able to sex him/her easily. Do they have a blue rump? Blue under the wings? Blue around the eyes?

Personally I'm a fan of target and clicker training

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
catalinadee is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to catalinadee For This Useful Post:
Mr Peepers (06-03-2015)
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Talk Parrots Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome