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Ringneck from Pet store = bad behaviour? Help please!!!!

Posted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:47 pm
by Technobird
Hello Everyone :)

I have been crawling the internet for a parrot forum of some kind because we need some help with our Indian Ringneck - Techno.

The story....we went to the pet store to get some finches and canaries and came home with Mr.T our Cockatiel. We loved having a parrot so much we went and got another Cockatiel. Our Cockatiels arent hand tame or trained and will go outside into an avairy with out two love birds when we buy our home. Currently they are inside. After going on holidays and seeing heaps of Ringnecks at a place we stayed we came home and read up about them. We really wanted a parrot we could play with and take out of its cage and fell in lvoe with Ringnecks. I originally wanted a lilac coloured one but after searching for ages we settled on one i seen in a pet store. Our pet store we go to got a grey Ringneck in but the person the got him (sorry we call it a him even though we dont know what the sex is yet) in for never came to take him. He was crammed in a small cage with four Cockatiels and was getting picked on. He sat in this cage for a few weeks, with constant Reserved signs on him but he was never taken home. So after a month and a half i couldnt stand seeing him in that condition anymore so we bought him. Like a good pet owner i researched how big these birds grow and went out and got him a big parrot cage. He sits in our lounge room where our cockatiels and love birds also are. (It gets quite noisey in there sometimes!!)

Its been a couple of months now, he is in great health. His matted and wrecked feathers are regrowing and he is putting on weight. He has a daily diet of sprouts etc, Tropimix, apples, carrots, broccolli and seeds and loves having a bath. His seeds are from the store we get him from as they sell breeders seeds etc. We are how ever having problems with his behaviour. We have tried to train him to come out of the cage on our arm but he wont have a bar of it. He loves to wonder out of his own accord when we leave the door open and flap down to the ground which doesnt bother us. He steps up onto the towel when i put it infront of him and i carry him round on it. He does however sometimes refuse to step onto it. He snuck out his food bowl door one day like a smart boy. His wings are clipped. He doesnt mind being taken round the house on our blue towel but we would love for him to be able to be handled. (I think he might of suffered a bit of rough handling at the pet shop?) He started letting us pat him :?: through the bars about a month ago but he still snaps at us. He constantly chews EVERYTHING when he is out of his cage. If he climbs up us, he chews us to and bites us. When he bites he doesnt let go either. We sat him on our shoulder the other day and he bit our ear :( :O Do pet shop birds grow out of this? He will take food from our hands when we offer it to him but if we arent, then he will snap at us.

He also screeches like a laser gun gone going off. He does this funky dance back and forward really fast and then he screeches when we walk down the stairs outside or if he sees us coming home. We leave the radio on but that doesnt seem to help. He makes noises like hes content when we pat him but he isnt talking yet. Granted we dont spend as much time with him as we would love to as i work nights and my other half works days. My fiancee' is going to start taking him into his room when he is on the computer but we are worried he is going to chew through a cord or something and the fact that he wont stop biting. he has toys in his cage to play with so he isnt bored. He is a bit of an acrobat in his cage to. We cover his cage at night an leave a nightlight on so there isnt total darkness as this seems to be what the birds like. He gets a good 8-12hrs of sleep a night and wakes up when we do.

Is this behaviour going to subside by spending more time with him? The biting is really putting us off as he leaves bruises. He has only drawn blood once. I thought he may be of gotten off to a bad start at the pet store or something. We have a couple of friends who have birds they take out of their cage and they trained them really easily. We just cant seem to do it....or maybe we are doing it wrong? We would really love him to talk to. Im also wondering if the addition of a mirror might encourage him to talk? He is pretty stimulated by the other birds with the natural calling but im not sure how to get him to talk.

So this is our handsome fella...or girl lol...


Doing the laundry...

The towel he prefers more than our skin..

Re: Ringneck from Pet store = bad behaviour? Help please!!!!

Posted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:21 am
by pinkdevil
Firstly welcome. :D

Ohhhh....I want him/her!! Beautiful colour is Techno.

Do you have a rough idea how old Techno is? I am guessing a fairly youngish bird. If so, then could be going through the 'bluffing' stage or trying to be top dog.

If you go back a few months to when Techno was in the pet shop, he would have been quite stressed being crammed in a small cage with tiels that ganged up on him and people prodding the cages as they walk by. I am also guessing that he would not have been handled much, if at all, in the shop.

Even though it is hard not to, reacting to bad behaviour actually incourages it.
Try to learn his body language so as to avoid nips and crankiness. Eyes pinning, stance, etc. They have their 'I wanna be left alone' moments just like we do. :)

Having had his wings clipped will help gain a bit of control over him so that is a start.
It is good that he is willing to accept food from your hand, another bonus in your favour.
You could try to find his fav food and use that as a training reward tool. Only use that particular food treat when he is good. Will help encourage him to do what you are asking if he really wants that special treat. :)

Have you heard of 'clicker training'? You could use anything that has a 'click' noise from a pen to the clickers that are sold to train dogs etc.
Start by clicking then offering the special treat immediately. Don't wait too long between clicking and reward. Do this quite a few times, he will soon learn that the click means something yummy is coming his way. I found it best to do a session in the morning before 'breakfast' that way they are more inclined to want to eat. Just don't hold back food to make them train though. :)
After a session or 2, (I did 3 x 5-8 min sessions a day) he will actually start looking for his treat after the click.
Now when he is behaving himself, (not biting, stepping up etc), click and offer the treat and praise, (good boy etc).

Have you tried getting him to step up on a stick? If he will do that then ask him to 'step up' onto the stick then 'click' and reward + praise.
Once he has the hang of it, you can gradually shorten the stick until eventually he is stepping on your hand.

Is he easily distracted? Maybe when biting try distracing him with a noisy toy or something to stop the biting. When he stops biting, wait aprox 15 seconds or so then reward and praise.

I would not be allowing Techno onto my shoulder while in biting mode. He is at your level or higher rank in his mind. Plus they can do quite a bit of damage to the face very quickly. When the biting is under control and you still want him on your shoulder, maybe then allow.

Another thing I tried with one of my birds was blowing fairly hard in their face every time it latched on. It looked quite stunned at the sudden wind tunnel, or maybe it was the smelly breath :shock: :lol: :lol: and let go. But it only worked on the one bird. :roll: Just don't get too close or you might cope a beak.

Another option to try was suggested by a member of this forum and worked for one of my 'impossible' birds was to set up a stand and create a very boring area with no toys, treats, food, window or anything interesting to look at near to where you are trainng. When they do something unacceptable, say firmly 'NO' and place the bird on the stand, move away and ignore the bird for a minute or so. Return and try again. Continue with the 'norty corner' until the bird realises that bad behaviour = boring and no attention. This method will take a bit of time but it did work for my 'Feral' bird. :) BTW, 'Feral' is now a sweetie and demands pats, attention and has become a 'velcro' bird every time I go into the aviary. lol.

As for the chewing....yep ALL my birds do that. Need to watch them constantly around cords etc. It is like they purposly seek out all the 'no no' items to play with. Could give techno scrunched up paper to shred, tie knots using bird safe leather and let him spend time undoing them, buy a couple of foraging toys and hide treats in there, cuttle bone is great for munching up and making a mess for us to clean up. Birds seem to find this VERY amusing!! :evil: :lol: :lol:
A few people have posted photos of their home made play gyms for their birds. Filled with toys, ropes and lots of branches to climb on. This could be one way of keeping Techno entertained while being out of his cage and still being near you.

So here is a couple of ideas you could try out. I am sure there are plenty more options that other members have tried successfully to.

Over all, try not to rush him, let him work at his own pace. Slow and steady wins the race so the saying goes. :D :D

Let us know how you go with him....good luck. :)

Re: Ringneck from Pet store = bad behaviour? Help please!!!!

Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:15 am
by Technobird
He is a lovely colour i will admit aswell :) Thanks for complimenting it.

Im guessing Techno is about five months old. We have had him for nearlly two months now. He was quite young when we got him.We dont interact with our other birds like we do with him. The cockatiels and love birds are purely avairy birds so we talk to them but we dont handle them. I think Techno was very badly handled at the pet store which doesnt help with his temprement. His screeching i think was part of the habitat at the pet shop he was kepy in. He seems to like my partner more than me which makes me wonder if he is actually a girl as he has bonded with my partner quite well yet im the one who always feeds him and spends time with him lol. We have started ignoring his screeches and have also closed off the door to the kitchen. It got to the point where every time we went into the kitchen he would screech..either for thinking we would get food for him or something. Birds that screech arent fun. We let him out for ages last night while rob was on his computer and he wondered around his desk and like a bad bird...chewed through everything lol. Its the rapid mood swings that have us confused. I think in time he will get better but he bit me today and wouldnt let go. I dont want to always use a towel to hold him and carry him round the house. I would like to be able to hold him!

Note...we gave him a scrunched up peice of paper last night and he was thoroughly amused with it for hours.

Re: Ringneck from Pet store = bad behaviour? Help please!!!!

Posted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:13 pm
by coreyb8508
Oh my goodness, Techno is SO GORGEOUS!!!!! You are so lucky to have him/her! I actually posted a link on this very same site. Something along the lines of SCARY!!! haha. Izzy, my IRN, is my first IRN. I've had more experience with conures, personally. As you know, all 'fids' have their own, unique personality. Izzy is a tad older (about a year and a half), and I've had her about four months. I was very discouraged when I first rescued Izzy. She did the EXACT SAME THING Techno seems to be doing! She would make that almost pitiful whimpering noise like a little puppy when you pet her. And like Techno, I could only pet her through the cage bars. She would take food from my hand, and climb all around the place. As far as being handled, that was a definite NO! After a couple of months of this, I, too, was becoming discouraged. I thought I had gotten in way over my head. However, I have to say, with much persistence, Izzy is my pride and joy and we get along WONDERFULLY!!!
What worked for me was getting Izzy in a neutral room (I used my bathroom....came with a seat and everything lol). I would wait til Izzy would fly to the floor. I would get her and take her to the bathroom. I also used a clicker (they are SO CHEAP). It was away from her safe zone, in an unfamiliar place. I was the only thing she had to rely on. If she tried to fly away, she was not going far. We would do a few "step ups", and she would get a reward. During the training, I did get a few bites. At one point, I thought of changing her name from Izzy to Lucy (a.k.a. Lucy-fer). Then something just clicked, I guess. She saw I was not going away, and when she did good, she got treats. These lil babies go through the "terrible two's". The bluffing stage is very trying. You will learn some of the time, they are not bluffing.
As far as eye pinning, you pretty much need to associate that will the body language being displayed. My Izzy pins her eyes when she is getting her daily rub down. Just look at Techno, see what his stance is when he's being standoff-ish. Persistence is the key. Talk when you are changing out his home, giving him treats, and all that fun stuff. I would recommend at this point to restrict the treat intake for training only. Eventually, something will give. I PROMISE!!! Now, just try not to overstep your bounds. Still, I cannot put my hand into Izzy's home and expect her to willingly step up. It is her home and I am a visitor. And we all know the saying about guests and fish, don't we? LOL. Don't get too discouraged. Just think of Techno as an orphan child who was cooped up in unreasonable conditions with virtually no intimate contact. It would take us all a decent amount of time to recover from something like that. Just let him know you are there to love him, take care of him, and be his friend. He'll come around sooner than you think.
As for the shoulder, NO NO NO!! The shoulder is a place that puts him at the same level as you. i.e. he is your equal. At this point, he needs to realize who's who. He's the fid, your the parent. Don't forget that! :D

Re: Ringneck from Pet store = bad behaviour? Help please!!!!

Posted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:33 pm
by Technobird
coreyb8508 wrote: What worked for me was getting Izzy in a neutral room (I used my bathroom....came with a seat and everything lol). I would wait til Izzy would fly to the floor. I would get her and take her to the bathroom. I also used a clicker (they are SO CHEAP). It was away from her safe zone, in an unfamiliar place. I was the only thing she had to rely on. If she tried to fly away, she was not going far. We would do a few "step ups", and she would get a reward.
Its interesting that you say that about a neutral zone. We wheeled Techno into Robs office the other night and let him flap around and wonder round the desk. Apart from chewing through Robs speaker cover he was pretty well behaved and was happy to sit on the cage and play with his paper ball and he would let us play with him. We played him some birds talking videos and youtube lol and he sat on the desk and watched them hahahaha! He was pretty keen to sit on his shoulder though and pick at his hair. I told Rob this was a No No but he let him do it. Techno wasnt to happy when i tried to take him away from Robs head and started getting angry. Rob was convinced he stepped up onto his finger but he wouldnt do it out in the lounge where he normally sits when he tried again later on. He has no problem stepping up onto the blue towel when he is on the floor or in another area and in the lounge if there is lots going on round him.

Thanks for complimenting him on his colouring. He is indeed a nice looking bird. His behaviour sounds exectly like what yours went through. He likes to eat when we eat aswell so we have to give him bits of apple or spinach or something so he doesnt screech and feel left out. i wouldnt know the first thing about clicker training to be honest. I might have to read up about it and see what it does. He comes out of his cage by himself but we would like him to be able be trained when it comes to the term NO when he goes to bite or something and be well behaved.

Re: Ringneck from Pet store = bad behaviour? Help please!!!!

Posted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:40 pm
by pinkdevil
If you are interested in cllicker training, do a google search or check out videos on youtube.

I taught my bird to spin around, wave and give a kiss using the clicker method. :)

I have a video of him doing the spin trick in the video section.

Re: Ringneck from Pet store = bad behaviour? Help please!!!!

Posted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:16 pm
by Technobird
Yeah i have been researching clicker training. Im convinced Techno is a girl still, even though we call it a HE. We are just struggling to get him to behave outside his cage. His biting is non stop. He bites everything from our feet, or if we have shoes on....our shoes to our table coasters.....

His mood swings are still rapid. He las learnt that when he screeches and we ignore it, he stops.

Are there any thoughts on mirrors? I added a mirror to the side of hsi cage. Its a free standing one from our bedroom and he seems to be trying to talk to it. Ive read mirrors will help a bird to talk? Im just worried it will cause him a bit of stress if the bird doesnt talk back? We tried a mirror with our cockatiel and he got obssessed with it, to the point of guarding it like he was in love with it! The mirror is outside Technos cage.

Re: Ringneck from Pet store = bad behaviour? Help please!!!!

Posted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:47 pm
by coreyb8508
:o Get that mirror away! LOL As you know, whenever these lil fids see a mirror, they can't identify oneself (a.k.a. they think it's another bird they are looking at). That bond will had the potential to QUICKLY overtake what progress you may be making with Techno. Birds are more likely to bond with other birds rather than us, their parronts. For Izzy, her "mirror time" is restricted. The only time she gets to see her "friend" is on my finger or on her playstand; even then, the time is limited. Just try to rotate toys (lots of wooden ones! These suckers are almost like conures in they like to chew) on a regular basis so he/she does not get bored. One think I noticed recently I think is worth mentioning...My partner and I rescued a sun conure from a pretty unfit environment. He is about 2 1/2 years old and was in an environment of pure stress! Unfit living conditions, TONS of dogs running around barking, children screaming...the works! And, of course, no human interaction. He was even on a diet of sunflower seeds only. Tsk tsk tsk. Needless to say, at any approach of something new, Draco (our conure) would start screaming, banging his toys, and trying to attack. Of course, we wanted to hand tame. So Kurt, my partner, got a perch guard (Bird Talk Magazine has them). It's a perch that has a plastic guard for the hand. He started using that and the clicker to do step up training. This has been about three months ago. Now, I am pleased to say, whenever we come around Draco, he still bangs at those toys and gives a holler or two, but he is now saying "Let me out and give me lots of attention!" Haha! Try one of those perches for the time being. Keep those wings clipped, and involve him/her in everything you can possibly (and safely) involve him in. But again, seriously limit that mirror time!