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Toweling an untamed parrot?

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Toweling an untamed parrot?

Post by andreeabx » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:26 am


I'm asking your help because I found a lot of articles about toweling, but all of them with already tamed birds, or used to toweling.

I have an untamed Indian Ringneck. I need to catch him to make him go back into his cage.
It's morning, and there is no chance I could make him go into a smaller room.
He is currently in a room with a lot of plants, and a few glass collections. I need to catch him before he gets hurt and before I need to leave home.
Food is not working. Toys, neither.

I guess toweling is the last chance. But how to properly do it?
He flies very well, and I need to be quick. And I'm also a very sensitive person, and I'm somewhat afraid of not hurting him, so I'm afraid to catch him too hard.

Any suggestions?
Thank you!

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Re: Toweling an untamed parrot?

Post by zivie17 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:41 am

I had to do this with my IRN as she is impossible to catch. I had to do it to put her in a small cage to move house. I guess my only advice is don't over think it . I did the first time freaked out because I thought I was going to hurt her & burst into tears. The next week I just went straight in acted confident and had her caught and in the small cage within 1-2mins. Just be quick and confident & I think you and the bird will be ok :)

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Re: Toweling an untamed parrot?

Post by julie » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:39 am

NO NO NO . let the bird come out of the room by itself.If you go in after it with the towel its going to freak and flap around and break stuff and possibly get injured.

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Re: Toweling an untamed parrot?

Post by ShirleyBird » Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:40 pm

I couldn't help myself and had to respond...firstly I'm having trouble understanding why your untamed bird is flying free around your home..I just think that in itself is dangerous. Especially if it is startled by something, not to mention its possibility of getting into trouble( being naughty). Then there is the subject of toweling. I don't think that's the way to gain respect or trust from your bird. By all means if things turn into a dangerous situation, towel away, whatever it takes...but I would try not to put yourself in a position where that's needed. If you do find it to be needed make the room as dark as possible and without sound towel the bird. Quickly and confidently. Have you tried teaching your bird to step up? I know its untamed, both of mine were terrified of hands and a perch was a life saver... Just suggesting. :D

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Re: Toweling an untamed parrot?

Post by Sixty Fiver » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:22 am

Have his wings clipped... the ability to fly around does not give him any reason to depend on you and offers him the ability to escape and possibly injure himself.

Did this for my 9 year old female who is tame but was getting increasingly harder and harder to catch and the towel stresses her out and stresses out her mate.

She has become a different bird in a very short span of time and runs to me to be picked up when she comes down (her flight range is limited), her disposition has improved, and tonight she let my youngest daughter pick her up when she was calling for a ride so she could join her mate who does fly but has no problems with recall or behaviour.

I work with a good number of birds now and they are all young... once they have developed that flight coordination they have their wings clipped as it keeps them safer, makes them recoverable, and really helps when you are teaching them we can be trusted.

And then, if the environment allows you can let those flight feathers grow back and will have a much happier and social bird and can work on recall training.

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Re: Toweling an untamed parrot?

Post by mariofenech » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:27 am

I have the same problem with a 3 year old male ringneck.He was clipped when we got him as a 2 month baby from the petshop.he was handfed from us and is quite tame.He spend time out of the cage on his playstand but he got toys in his cage too..the problem is when it s time for him to go in the cage for bed..he is not clipped anymore..been like this for 2 years..and he s a good flyer.Usually i used to go near him on his stand...give him my finger..say UP and I just walk with him on my finger to the cage..and in he goes.
But that s not working the beginning of the problem I used to get him his favourite ball..he ll start chatting to the ball while walking him to the cage and he won t even know i ll put him inside..but now nothing is soon as he knows i m near him to put him inside he ll start flying around the room...from the cage to the stand and to my head..when I give him my finger he bites it instead of getting up on it...which is only when he knows he s going in the cage...he don t usually bites...he s tought to kiss my finger instead of biting when we r playing...but cant get anywhere near the cage with him...

Lately i m trying to let him on my finger from the stand...then grab him around my hand lightly and turn him on the back while I walk quick to the cage to put him in with lots of screaming..

Ant help how to make him go to the cage as he once did...thanks

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Re: Toweling an untamed parrot?

Post by ellieelectrons » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:47 pm

Hi Mario

This article is worth a read: ... ck-in.html

I think it's worthwile working on those behaviours by rewarding calmness like she mentioned in the article but it's going to be a little harder for you to do that because you've already got a pattern of bad behaviour. It's not impossible, just a bit harder.

I regularly have problems getting my birds to go back in the cage too. I have two birds and my female is generally more difficult to get in the cage than my male. During training time, I trained the "go to bed" behaviour: ... ature=plcp

In the video, it looks like they're really obedient and are easy to get to bed... and that's not quite true... Sometimes they are and sometimes they aren't.

What is most likely to work with Janey is using treats that I never/rarely give her for doing anything else. For Janey, these uber treats are banana and potato chips (I just give her the smallest corner of one). Somedays, she just sees me preparing a bit of banana for her and she'll run straight to the cage and put herself to bed, I don't even have to ask.... other days it's harder :o)

Neither of the solutions I've offered here are short term fixes... but all short term fixes involve force and if you use those, your bird will become harder and harder to put in the cage.

Another way to make the cage more attractive for your bird is having lots of foraging options (making it so that 90% of your birds food is obtained through foraging). Some days (not always), just putting the bird's foraging toys in their cage will cause them to go to bed on their own. Here are some foraging links:
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=13466 - this site has some free ebooks to download

I hope something in there helps!


Sixty Fiver
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Re: Toweling an untamed parrot?

Post by Sixty Fiver » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:55 pm

Another note on towelling...

For my birds this has become a positive experience as after they have their showers and baths I have been wrapping them up gently and never hold them so tightly that they think they are being restrained, and from there have been able to pet and scratch both my Ringnecks who are otherwise averse to this kind of contact.

My Sennie hates her baths / showers but loves the towel and use this at the pet shop with the younger birds who all seem to like being wrapped up gently and this has let some birds get much more comfortable with scritches and more touching.

I can pick both my Ringnecks up bodily and with my bare hands without fear of being bitten by either one of them now... they came to me as older birds and had never been handled like this until they came here.

Prior to this the towel was used to catch them when they did not want to be caught and now they do not fear it... when my female got her wings clipped she was towelled but was quiet and did not try and bite anyone

sanjays mummi
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Re: Toweling an untamed parrot?

Post by sanjays mummi » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:38 pm

I had this problem when sanjay had his nursery cage, he loathed going back in, i would hang his fruit skewers inside to tempt him and he just tried to get at them from outside the cage. Towelling is not an option in an edwardian house with 12 ft high ceilings and a cheeky bird perched on the chandelier!. Anyway, the problem ceased once he had a bigger cage and a taste for big juicy red chilli peppers, now he has to be prised out!, not literally, but he needs encouragement!.)

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