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Abused & neglected, any advice please?

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wildheart
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:37 am

Abused & neglected, any advice please?

Post by wildheart » Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:41 am

My name is Linky, I am Afrikaans and from South Africa. Let me first start by saying I do own a new reptile and parrot forum. I am not here to advertise or to try and gain members, I am sincerely here for advice from fellow IRN owners.

Sterretjie (meaning little star) came to me last year March she is approximately 5 to 6 years old. Her one leg was broken on 4 different places and the people left it to grow back on bending the wrong way. All her muscles were stiff from absolutely no exercise, she has a damaged wing and her tail feathers were burned. When I took her to the vet we discovered that she also had metal poisoning and had to stay in hospital for a week, it took over a month before she was back to health.

My girl:
Image
The x-ray that shows the metal and the leg:
Image
The leg:
Image

She was afraid of absolutely everything. Nobody could pick something up without sending her into a screaming and crashing frenzy. Any fast movement also made her quiver in the corner. When anybody entered the lounge she flew to them and bit them in the face, we had to clip her wings for our own safety. I worked with her daily receiving severe bites but I never backed down. I slowly got her muscles working, got her to eat pellets, fresh fruit and veggies. I introduced toys to her and with a lot of patients taught her how to play with it. I worked on all her fears and December I finally got her over her second last fear which was brooms, her human fear however was/is an impossible task. If any strangers walk into the house she screams, quivers and crash into everything. She turned into a hyperactive girl that does not sit still for a moment, always playing, begging for scratches from me and if she cant see me she would clime down her cage and go look for me. She sings all the time and if anybody looks at her now she seems like a very healthy and happy girl.

However, her biting never stopped. It is as if she gets flash backs of the past or something, I would scratch her head for up to minute while she is begging and in a flash she turns around and bite. She does not bite like normal, she rips out flesh and cause bleeding every single time. She takes treats from my hand and 1 out of 5 times she will bite past the treat and latches onto my finger. She hates everybody else in the household and if she cant fly to them then she drops to the floor, walk to them and clime up and bite. This is not provoked biting, it is her seeking out somebody to bite. She is also very clever or should I say devilish, she would beg my husband for a scratch and when he falls for her cuteness and bring his hand closer she jumps and latches onto his hand. My 17 year old daughter went to live with my mother because she fears Sterretjie so much (there are other reasons as well). Sterretjie is also very hormonal and seeks out dark places all the time. I have been everywhere for advice, bought the books, dvds tried clicker training ... and the top vets said that she is a lost case.

From forum advice I bought her a friend, a baby called Sunny. He was such a loving parrot, trusting everybody and everything, I was in awe watching how a parrot should behave. Sadly I had to let Sunny go because he was diagnosed with PBFD. It broke me, making the decision to let him go was the hardest thing I have ever done.

Beginning May I bought another boy called Rocky. Sterretjie has not stopped chasing him around, biting him with so much force that he bleeds. I dont know what to do any more, everybody calls her the biting demon and the people including my husband despise her. Just as much laughter that she brings she also brings tears. Some mornings I dread waking her up, something that I use to look forward to. I do not have a finger without flesh gone, my husband avoids me until Sterretjie goes to bed and Rocky is terrified of her. I could handle her biting while she was still afraid of everything but it is different now, she acts normal, plays normal but clearly she is mentally damaged. It breaks my heart.

Rocky was an aviary bird, never been handled and he is already stepping up for us and until today he has not even nipped at me or my husband. We got fond of him but it is not right that he is always scared of Sterretjie. I suppose she will never accept him and this means that I will have to let him go?

Does anybody have advice and if she is a lost case what does it mean? Does it mean I will just have to handle her biting until she dies, her always causing problems in our house? I cant let her go, where would she go, she is terrified of humans?

Here is a short video that I took last night showing her biting.

http://www.youtube.com/v/Fqg2tyf8K7Q

Azure
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:12 am

Re: Abused & neglected, any advice please?

Post by Azure » Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:33 pm

hello and welcome! :D
it seems Sterretjie has found a good home! it takes patience for you to raise a bird like her! do you react in anyway when she bites? if you do DONT! NO SHOUTING, NO JERKING! THAT ENCOURAGES HER AS ANY REACTION IS SEEN AS POSITIVE IN AN IRN'S POINT OF VIEW!
if you dont react, she will soon come to understand that no reaction comes and realises that you dont like it! for dealing with your two birds have you ever tried placing two cages with the seperate birds in it and see how they do for a while?
and if she is chasing him around excessively clip her wings but not him as this will allow him to fly away while she cannot gain the same amount of height... someone else probably can give more advise than that as truthfully i have never even touched an IRN :(
Azure
Just a "bookworm" (or rather an internetworm?) who has no ringneck(s) but REALLY wants a cobalt or violet

wildheart
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:37 am

Re: Abused & neglected, any advice please?

Post by wildheart » Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:06 am

This is not bluffing, it is a learned and conditioned behaviour, she is 5 or 6 years old. Did you watch the video? You will see that she begged for attention in order for the person to come closer so she can bite. Ignoring the bluffing stage is not the same, she is attacking, seek and attack and then bite with enough force to rip flesh continuously. :cry: I am going to follow the vet's advice and try the water gun method. Thanks for trying to help. :wink:

Azure
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:12 am

Re: Abused & neglected, any advice please?

Post by Azure » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:04 am

im sorry! the video did not work before when i posted as my internet was over limit! im sorry to see all the blood lost in your attempts to tame her!
Azure
Just a "bookworm" (or rather an internetworm?) who has no ringneck(s) but REALLY wants a cobalt or violet

PeterHoward
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:32 pm
Location: NSW Australia

Re: Abused & neglected, any advice please?

Post by PeterHoward » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:40 pm

wildheart wrote:This is not bluffing, it is a learned and conditioned behaviour, she is 5 or 6 years old. Did you watch the video? You will see that she begged for attention in order for the person to come closer so she can bite. Ignoring the bluffing stage is not the same, she is attacking, seek and attack and then bite with enough force to rip flesh continuously. :cry: I am going to follow the vet's advice and try the water gun method. Thanks for trying to help. :wink:
Just to let you know, this isn't just Sterretjie. As I type I have a female IRN sitting on my leg happily drifting off to sleep How we got her is described in the following thread. viewtopic.php?f=7&t=10321. Over time we've come to the conclusion her former owner(s?) did not treat her that well. She has most of the behavioural symptoms you describe, though to a much lesser degree. I can be scratching her on the back of the neck and have her spontaneously turn her head and bite. She will occasionally lure me in for a tickle and bite instead. Blood gets drawn periodically. I'm the only family member who can handle her. Approaching her with gloves on sends her hysterical. She absolutely hates strangers. She finally stopped screeching at my daughter after much bribery through the cage. She still screeches at my son.

The main thing we have worked out is that most of this is fear-based. She gets what can only be described as "panic attacks" where she trembles, fluffs up and down, eyes pinning and opening rapidly, which are followed by lunges and anyone and everyone (including me) who come into range. 2 minutes later I can be cuddling her and she's friendly and passive.

Treating that as aggro on her part, and responding accordingly, has set things back some way.

I think the only long term solution is time and patience. We've had a breakthrough in the last week where my Wife can now interact with her without tears on either side; she will sit on the desk and chat, or jump up onto her arm and off again, share food without trying to take over all of it. Treating her behaviour as fear-based and not aggro is helping, as is giving her space to withdraw. We can usually turn the "ground assaults" into a game. The time factor for us is extended because, due to the fact that we never planned to have a parrot and have 2 newfoundlands, we need to keep her somewhat separate from a lot of our daily life, and the resultant isolation doesn't help.

So, I don't think I managed to provide any answers there; but I think your bird's behaviour, while at the extreme end, isn't unique.

wildheart
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:37 am

Re: Abused & neglected, any advice please?

Post by wildheart » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:54 am

Azure wrote:im sorry! the video did not work before when i posted as my internet was over limit! im sorry to see all the blood lost in your attempts to tame her!
No problem. :wink: Luckily she is tame and I can do almost anything with her. She got over all her fears and while we worked on it our bond got very strong. It is just her attacking sprees that we cant get rid of and it causes allot of tension in our home. At least I can say in the 16 months it got much better but it is still at a point of blood drawn daily and all household members including me are on the receiving end. :cry:

It is good to hear I am not the only one with this issue Peter. :wink:

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