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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone- looking forward to bringing home my Meyer's in about a week or two and went for a visit at the breeders this last weekend and was holding her for a while then she started to climb up my arm and then went to my shoulder. The breeder rushed over to me and took the bird off my shoulder and said he discouraged any shouldering and if I understood him correctly, he mentioned that shouldering would teach them a greater independence or equality something like that and that not shouldering it would keep more manageable, what do you think?
 

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neh i dont really believe that shouldering stuff, I think the important thing is that when you tell them to get off your shoulder they do, also i do daily tasks like cleaning and doing dishes with my parrot so its easiest when he's on my shoulder. I haven't had an aggression problem with any of my birds that Ive raised. l really dont think that the birds think there higher up then you because your heads still above them but thats just me I also think most dogs should get to enjoy the comforts of a couch lol
 

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It's all situational - Goober rides on my shoulder all the time, but she's never nippy or bratty about it. If your meyers starts getting bossy, nippy, running away so you can't grab him, refusing to step up, etc? Then limit shoulder time
 

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Sitting on my shoulder is a privilege, not a right. If my bird is good, rides along nicely, no biting, my shoulder is fine. One nip and it's off my shoulder for now. They get the idea that they can be the boss, which is not good. Also, remember your tender ear is easily within reach!
 

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I do allow my senegal on my shoulder, but only on my terms. This means, for example, that from the very first moment I started handling her when she was a baby, I never allowed her to climb to my shoulder. I would simply put my hand up and stop her. If I want her on my shoulder, I have her step up onto my hand and I move my hand to my shoulder and tell her "shoulder". I did not put her on my shoulder at all until she was very reliable with stepping up when asked. She never refused to get off of my shoulder when I put my hand up and said step up until she was well over 18 months. Then, one day, she started to run away from my hand when I asked her to step up, and she also started to nip. I actually ended up having to take off my shirt to get her off of me that day. She went, in one day, from having always stepped onto my hand on command to that! :eek: I can't say for certain what caused this, but I did not allow her on my shoulder again for several weeks. Ever since, she has stepped up whenever I ask.

You must consider these things when deciding whether or not you want to allow your meyers to sit on your shoulder. 1) You may at some point have a bird that runs away from your hands and won't get off. 2) You cannot read the bird's body language from there, so you won't know if it is preparing to bite. 3) A meyers is the perfect size to reach over without warning and bite your eye. It may never do that, but it is the size to do it. 4) Any bird is likely to learn to nip your ears or other parts simply to get your attention. 5) A bird can become frightened anywhere, but if it becomes frightened on your shoulder it may bite your face severely.

I personally do not believe in the "dominance" theory with birds. I do not believe they have dominant flock members. I believe they get up high because they live in trees, which are high, and it is safer up higher. I don't consider dominance the issue, but I do consider that your bird will sometimes become scared, bored, over-stimulated, and/or just want to do whatever it has decided it wants to do.

I know these risks are real, but I have allowed Roni onto my shoulders on many occasions. I allow Shira, my green cheek, and Daisy, my daughter's maximillion pionus, on my shoulder, too, with the same rules Roni has. I allow Elisa the linnie and Stanley the bourkes to climb onto my shoulder at their own whim, because they are so little I really don't worry that they will ever hurt anyone. Ashlynn, my grey, has never been allowed on my shoulder, nor have I allowed anyone else to put her on a shoulder. I cannot imagine that I ever will. In my way of thinking, a grey is just too big and too easily frightened to take the chance.

Basically, it is up to you what you want to allow. I would recommend that you know the bird very well and have it trained to step up easily before you allow it to sit on your shoulder at all, and, for a bird that size, I personally would not allow it to choose when it was going to climb up there, but that is just me. I know many people with various poicephalus species, and, honestly, I don't know anyone personally who has one who does not allow it on the shoulder. However, I have read many horror stories of poicephalus who bite savagely without warning, so you take a chance, but you are starting from scratch, so you can probably raise a trustworthy shoulder bird if that is your desire. However, if you choose to allow your meyers on your shoulder, don't be mad at the bird if you get bit on the face, ears, shoulder, or hands.

I would say that as long as the bird is still at the breeders, it would be easier just to follow the breeders rules, though. You have plenty of time to teach the bird proper shoulder ettiquette (sp?) if you so desire once you take it home. Additionally, if you allow a baby bird to climb up to your shoulder of its own accord, you will likely end up with a bird who does not want to sit anyplace other than your shoulder, and you probably want to be able to enjoy the bird on your hands, lap, etc. Even with the linnie and the bourkes, I did not allow them to climb onto my shoulders at their own will until they were a few months old.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for the information, I think I'll stick with holding her in my hands at this time and see how she gets on with us and take it from there. Birds- they are so interesting and beautiful, I cant wait!
 

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solo is always on my shoulder where ever i go and at first she would run away from my hand and i was a mission to get her off but with a bit of training she got loads better, but i still have problems every now and then. i can usally tell when she is going to give me a prolem because its normally when shes in a bad mood or when she thinks she can get away with anything ( like right now :giggle:) good luck
 

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Nanay wrote an excellent post!

I agree with everything she said :)

I allow my parrotlet and greencheek on my shoulder but not my sennie.

My husband requested that Scooter not be allowed on my shoulder, so it could be a special thing between them. I dont mind, as Im afraid that big beak might do some serious damage
 

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Start with the hands.
When you're comfortable with your birds level of tameness, and he's comfortable with you and each of you can read the others body language then go for it.
Only reason I've heard bad stories about shouldering had to do with un-tame, unpredictable birds nipping at ears etc, not so much to do with them becoming 'equals'.

Enjoy your lovely bird!
 

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My birds always ride around on me, I don't see the problem with it, but as some have said, it is a privilege
 

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nanay, that was an excellent discourse on allowing your bird to go on your shoulder. At one point allowed Divet (Quaker) on my shoulder and she ran under my hair and bit the back of my neck. I no longer allow her up there. I do handle her a lot and we are quite bonded but I feel out of control when she is where I can't see her.
A couple of days ago I was holding her near my face cooing to her when she decided to nip my cheek. I was upset and put her back in her cage and locked her in. I than sat at my desk, her cage is right next to my desk, and ignored her. After about 15 minutes of no sounds from her, I suddenly heard "no Bites" I told her "that's right Divet, No Bites! Now learn to say I am sorry." It was very funny as it she seemed to know exactly what she did wrong. I no longer hold her that close to my face.
 

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I really have to watch my senegal around my face, too. I don't know why some birds like to nip faces, but many do. Usually Roni will laugh before she nips, so that is a good warning and I can get her away, but I don't keep her near my face, either. It seems my grey may be starting to develop that same habit, because she bit at my chin the other day.
 

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My birds go on my shoulder all the time - but they are both little. I find that I can have them with me more of the time if they are on my shoulder.
 

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awwh Jess, Axel (Indian eagle owl) once bit my eyelid! Now THAT hurt!
 
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