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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Need Quaker help

Hi, I am not new to birds, but I am new to Quakers. I rescued Matilda, an 11 year old, talking Quaker, from our Humane Society about 2 weeks ago. She came with a fair amount of information from her previous family, but without any of her things. The poor girl seems just lost. She was with her first family for 4 years, her second family for the next 7 years, and now she's here in her forever home with us. Within the span of 1 week, she was in what she thought was her forever home, then at the HS for about 3 days where she "met" several potential owners who all turned her down, and now she's here. She was in 3 environments, 3 different cages with 3 sets of toys with 3 different groups of people within a week. I can see where she'd be disrupted, even depressed. She has a nice vocabulary of about 8 phrases and several "house sounds" she makes. We were told, and shown, that she's very territorial about her cage, but that once out, she's quite a nice girl. She was trained to get up on a perch presented to her in her cage, in order to be removed from her cage. She did that at the HS and her first day here, but now won't get on it. Luckily, they clipped her wings at the HS. She's not used to this, but I'm grateful for it. I keep her door open most of the day (when my cockatiel isn't out, of course) and she will come down and sit on it or even climb up to the top of her cage, but she quickly climbs back inside if I approach. She tries to fly, and now can't, so I use that opportunity to offer her a perch. Then, she gladly gets on. I talk to her a bit, offer her my shoulder, which she accepts, we chat a bit more and then I offer her the cage again. She runs right in now, but I'm trying to build trust. Any advice you may have that helps me make friends with her, would be great. Keep in mind, I admit, I'm used to cockatiels. I just had a 20 cockatiel pass away last month and that's how I came to find Matilda. I think in time, we'll be great together. She lost her family and needed a home, I lost my pet of 20 years and had room in my heart and home for her, but I need help. She's a tough cookie! Thank you!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 05:21 PM
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Re: Need Quaker help

Aww that's an adorable story with a happy ending

I don't keep them myself but others here probably do x

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 06:07 PM

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Hello and welcome! I think you will find that you will have a much better relationship with your quaker if you do things on her own terms. If you're going into the cage with a perch I can't imagine how scary that must be for her! Open the door and walk away, she will soon come out. Work on getting her to come to you, rather than you going to her

- Alexandrine parakeets Kona, Peaches, George (missing), Holly (RIP), & Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 06:46 PM
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Thank you for taking her in - poor dear, glad to hear she's got a new forever home! I think Daisy has the right of it, go slow and build trust with her. Since she's been in so many different places, I would say go very slow with her, let her explore her cage on her own, but mostly leave her to herself if that makes sense. In my experience, a bird won't really feel comfortable in their environment, with their people, etc if they don't first feel safe in their cage. I think a lot can be said for them having a safe space all to themselves to retreat to in a moment of stress or fear. Give her time, go slow, and try your best to make sure every interaction you have with her is a positive one - it's nearly impossible to do for every experience, but avoiding situations where you have to catch or stress her will help.

I know a lot of people who have had a lot of success letting their shy bird come to them, just sitting near the cage and reading a book aloud so the bird can get used to your voice, sharing your meals from a distance and moving closer, always letting the bird have the choice of interacting with you or going back to the cage. I had a lot of success doing the latter two with my very shy linnie, I always kept her cage open and would offer her a chance to come over but if she ran back inside I would step back and away and let her come to me on her own terms. It took several months, but going slowly and being respectful of making her feel safe really helped - after those first few months, she rarely ran away anymore and started screaming if I didn't come fetch her

Hope all that helps! As far as earning their trust, it's very similar to tiels. The biggest difference I would say with quakers vs tiels is the cage aggression and their intelligence - not that quakers are smarter, but they seem to have a quicker wit, if that makes sense. More prone to puzzle solving, like opening their own cage, unhooking cage clips, flipping food dishes, etc. Little trouble makers! They're also very flock driven, making lots of flock contact calls and wanting to be included in everything to feel safe and comfortable. In the wild, they live in big community nests and are rarely alone and always calling to one another so some of that behavior carries over to home life as well.

We'd love to see photos or videos of her, once she's settled in! I love quaker voices, they really are one of the cutest species out there in my book Sounds like you are off to a good start and I think, given some time, you and her will form a great relationship! So far your instinct in how to handle her is spot on

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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We're getting along better

Thank you for the pointers on how to win Matilda over. We're doing much better. We make progress every day. She comes down to greet me now, and she doesn't "run away" from me anymore. She still won't get on my shoulder, but we're taking baby steps. I'm currently looking for a bigger cage for her. If any of you know of the "perfect" cage, I'm eager for links! Thanks so much.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 03:43 AM

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Look up the HQ flight cages. Many people have them for smaller parrot species and I think your quaker would love them haha

- Alexandrine parakeets Kona, Peaches, George (missing), Holly (RIP), & Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
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