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Another screaming question

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Niffarious
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Another screaming question

Post by Niffarious » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:42 am

Hi all,

If you do not remember me or my posts, here is a brief rundown -

I adopted a lutino IRN from a breeder. This breeder was a friend of a friend, and thought I might be a good home for this bird. She had badly splayed legs (hatched by first time parents) and while the vet did the best she could, she is quite disabled.
Inexplicably, the breeder clipped her wings before sending her off with me, and she needed some taming.
Likely due to her extreme handicap and exacerbated by lack of her only method to get around properly (flight), her bluffing stage (if that's even what it was) was truly awful. She didn't just bite, she bit to mangle. I have scars.
There was discussion about grafting feathers to her wings, but at this point she started moulting. She has been regaining her flight. However, before she could even fly a few feet her behavior changed 180 degrees. I now have an IRN who thinks she is a conure. She cuddles, she loves scratches on every part of her body (even under her wings). She will force herself under my hand for more. She greets me sometimes by pushing her beak into my cheek as hard as she can. She will sit upside down, cupped in my hand.

Here is the new problem - regardless of how much space she has (her cage, play stands), how much she has to do, how many foraging toys she has...she wants to be out, and with me. If she is not she screams. Even if she is out, if I so much as go out of eyesight...she screams. On the rare occasion she is being quiet but hears water running...this triggers screaming!

I do NOT reinforce this. I will stay out of eyesight until she stops. I ignore the screaming, and if she is in her cage doing so I wait until she calms down before I let her out. Is there anything else I can do to help her gain a bit of independence and understand that screaming does not = getting what she wants?

I've read through many of the threads here, but most seem to pertain to parrots who were accidentally taught to scream, had a very sudden environmental change, and things like this.
I suspect she is about 8 months old now, but I am not 100% sure.

AJPeter
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Re: Another screaming question

Post by AJPeter » Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:59 pm

I will probably get it in the neck for saying this but my Alex was screaming so l screamed with her but thought the neighbours would object so blew a referee's whistle when she started to scream this stopped her. I think she was looking for a "Mate".

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Niffarious
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Re: Another screaming question

Post by Niffarious » Sat Apr 12, 2014 1:04 pm

Well, for one I think I am wrong and she may in fact be closer to 10 months now. Do they start breeding behaviour this early?
As well, after watching some videos I've realized that I may very well have been responding to body language that was breeding behavior - body down, head arched, etc. Although she does let me pet her anywhere, I try to keep it to the head and neck...but I think I've inadvertently been responding to her 'advances'.

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InTheAir
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Re: Another screaming question

Post by InTheAir » Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:55 pm

Hey nif,
My girl is about 8 months old (I think) and she practises courting with our male, but she's not seeking nest boxes in earnest or anything like that. I think you're right to avoid patting all over her body. I have noticed that Sapphire gets into that crouch position when Nila preens her head.
Have you tried replacing her contact call with a quieter call? My bf mimics Nilas contact call by whistling really quietly and Nila has toned it down. He will still shout his contact call sometimes, but answers himself with the whistle Dave does and then talks and talks and talks! We have found it easier to teach him to make noises we can stand than to be silent.

I don't know if it's right or not, but we have always answered Nilas first contact call when we are in another room, because we didn't want him to feel insecure. If he keeps calling we answer less frequently and we always try to answer when he talks.

Does your baby play independently when you are nearby?

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Niffarious
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Re: Another screaming question

Post by Niffarious » Sat Apr 12, 2014 3:34 pm

She does play independently if I'm around AND her cage is open. If the door is closed she will scream, even if the cage is where she wants to be.
I was recently away for a week and my house sitter said she rarely screamed and seemed to entertain herself, so it has to be related to me.

I have a parrotlet who talks up a storm and has gentle calls, she could care less! I try to answer my IRN only when she's making quieter noises, as I didn't want to encourage the screaming. I don't care if she is always making noises, but the ear shattering (it literally hurts) screaming is draining at best.

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Re: Another screaming question

Post by MissK » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:35 pm

I SO don't know about what I'm going to say, but here I am saying it anyway: I think she is overly attached to you in that "special" way. wink, wink; nudge, nudge; say no more! I think you should gradually accustom her to less of you - less touch, less one-on-one right up close, etc. Let her learn more independence, but don't make her go "cold turkey" because that will just frustrate. Teach her coping skills. Teach her non-touching games and tricks. I would return a contact call, but not a scream.

I will now return you to people who actually know what they're talking about.
-MissK

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InTheAir
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Re: Another screaming question

Post by InTheAir » Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:30 pm

Hmm if we are leaving it to people that know what they are talking about I'll bow out now too, after agreeing with missks post!

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Re: Another screaming question

Post by SkyeBerry » Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:41 am

Well, If there is someone out there who has all the answers and knows what he/she is talking about I really wish he/she would write a book about IRNs. So until then, here goes my two cents...my ringneck does not scream but occasionally my sun conure was - or maybe it is their natural noise - I am not sure, but everyone warned me about them and said I would regret the purchase. I read a lot about how to deal with this issue and there is some variance in the opinions. I think you sometimes need to do a little trial and error and figure out what works for you and your bird. For me, when I come home it is best to go say 'Hi' to the birds. They seem to like the re-assurance I am back and okay. Same if I have just been outside for a while or at the other end of the house. Sunny is not screaming at this point, it is just a contact call. If I ignore it however, it will tend to what I would consider screaming. I notice the same thing as bed time approaches. I do not believe it is to get the cage covered, I believe Sunny wants to know I am near-by and safe. Skye - IRN - was beginning to take cues from Sunny. Skye really seems to enjoy learning new words. I respond to the words and ignore the screams. He now generally starts talking when he wants more attention.

Whispering to the birds, is supposed to sometimes work. It did nothing in my case. I know Barbara Heidenrich has written a fair bit about screaming. I think she recommends teaching the parrot a sound you are willing to respond to. I believe this info is freely available on her site. GoodBird,inc. I cannot remember if she has a video on youtube.

I have read that scratching under the wings is a no-no. It is definitely mating related behaviour. I agree with MissK that you need to slowly switch back to friendly buddy vs potential mate. It is interesting that the bird accepted you being gone and managed to soothe herself and play without obvious signs of stress. It does suggest you may be unwittingly reinforcing the behaviour.

That said, pat yourself on the back for gaining her trust and being able to handle her. Good job! I realize the screaming is horrible and hard to live with - maybe get some earplugs or use earphones to listen to music while you are working on this - but I am sure you will get through this. It will just take some patience.
Mary

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Niffarious
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Re: Another screaming question

Post by Niffarious » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:48 am

Thank you for the advice and opinions everyone.

I'm sure you guys are a better wealth of information that most books!

I think she has definitely decided I am...mate material. :shock: So, pets will be restricted to the head only. A friend of mine is going to help me make her a huge playstand, with lots to do. My flat has a very open plan, so I can place this so where she can see most things when she is out. I am hoping if she can see me while she is entertained, she will be less inclined to fly to me.
I have to cage her, for example when I am cooking...safety concerns. Of course, she will scream her head off!

This morning when she started up, I tried talking quietly to her. She responded to my voice with some very happy noises and it actually sounded like she was excitedly saying 'hi'. (she has just started to try and mimic english.) For all I know, she is screaming "HEY! HI! GOODMORNING!" to me in parrotese and I've been ignoring it because "screaming". :lol:

I think the most confusing thing for me was how her behavior changed on a dime. She went from trying to remove my fingers from my person, to seemingly over-bonded almost overnight. She is bright...I am sure she will catch on if I reward her use of quieter noises.

Slightly off topic - because of her handicap she uses her tail like a 3rd leg. It's quite successful, but this leaves her tails in tatters. Is there anything I can do, or should I just be happy she's found a way to walk more successfully?

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Re: Another screaming question

Post by MissK » Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:16 pm

I'm leaning towards be happy she has found a way to cope, although the thought occurs that if she needs to use it to balance, maybe she is not preening it well? Like, you can't tie your shoe if you need to stand on that foot and you can't bend over. Why don't you watch and see, and maybe have a try at preening it for her? On second thought, someone *ELSE* should do that. Review how the bits of the feather should "zip" together when the bird preens and see how it goes. ***Let us know!
-MissK

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Re: Another screaming question

Post by AJPeter » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:12 pm

I have an Alexandrine hen and tickled her under the wing, but then she started to rub herself on me and Skye in Hawaii gave me a lot of advice as well as InTheAir and Missk about hormonal behaviour, you can read about it in A thread for AJ and Billie about Hornonal behaviour, She became absoutely horrible biting me and screaming, and tried to find way she could rub herself on me, and then she laid 10 eggs. The first 6, one every two days the they were very light and she quickly destroyed these herself. But then after a gap of 10 days she laid 4 more these were very heavy but two she smashed and ate the yolk, one l accidentallty broke and the last broke when she laid standing on top of the cage it landed on the carpet but was broken.
After the eggs laying she still got hormonal urges and squealed with pain then dived to the bottom of the cage and sat there shivering. I gently stroked her head talking softly and eventually she came out of these these attacks. They do not happen very often nowadays. Thank God l was spared the regurgitation. These attacks have alterred her personality before she would chat and even talk, she loved to sit on my shoulder while l played the organ she used to chew my shirt collar and loved pearl buttons. Now she refuses point blankt to sit one my shoulder. But other things have changed she used to hate being sprayed with water but now she loves it. She has become very fussy about her food. She has three bowls seeds, veg, and fruit. Her tastes alter by the minute. She does not scream much. I think she is settling down. She still holds her head up and bleats wanting a head scratch and purrs when l oblige.

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Re: Another screaming question

Post by SkyeBerry » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:51 pm

I was thinking about your birds screaming and had a few thoughts. My mom's senegal did not like to go into her cage. She would anticipate what was going to happen and then would bite your hand. I suggested Mom ignore the bite (I know not always easy), put the bird in the cage, immediately give her a food treat, close the door a couple minutes and then let her out again without making any fuss. This was done several times day. The time the doorwas shut gradually lengthened. "Cubbie" learned good things happen in the cage and that being put in the cage did not mean she would have to stay in all day. Mom also made sure she would talk to "Cubbie" and give "Cubbie" treats while she was in the cage; therefore, "Cubbie" learned being in the cage did not mean she would be ignored. "Cubbie" did not take long to stop the biting....Although occasionally she does maintain a good grip on Mom's finger with her toes and refuses to let go. Mom then has to literally pry her off. :lol:

The same process might help with your bird. Possibly, while you were gaining her trust you allowed her out of the cage most of the time. Regardless, you earned her trust and she now sees you as her 'flock,' if not her mate, and she wants to be near you instead of in the cage. Perhaps by trying the above method you can slowly remind her that she is capable of being in her cage with you present and that within a short time you will let her out and spend time with her. You do not want her to think that she is only going in the cage when you will be gone for hours - ie) to work, to bed, out shopping, out with friends etc. I hope this gives you some ideas. Good luck!
Mary

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Niffarious
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Re: Another screaming question

Post by Niffarious » Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:24 pm

MissK: The feathers are pretty ratty, and some have even fallen out. Preening for her (or having someone else do this) will not help much. I'd love to get a video so you guys could see how she uses her tail, but my camera and phone are satan himself as far as she is concerned and she either freezes or goes into attack mode and I can't record the behavior I wish to!

AJPeter: I will have to go through your thread later. Thankfully mine has not become quite so bad, and hopefully I can fix this before it gets anywhere near that point! It sounds awful to go through.

Skye: This is a very good idea. I will give her favourite treats and play things only when she is in her cage, to reinforce that awesome things come to those who are in their cage. ;) She has started to swing upside down and mumble at me to get my attention as well. When she does this, she does not scream...so I am encouraging this as well.

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Re: Another screaming question

Post by AJPeter » Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:56 pm

Billie allows me to clean her cage with out biting me but as soon that chore is done if l go near hear cage she will bite me. The other day she got onto the dining room table and l tried to shoo her off and she gave me a nasty bite, l tell her how much that hurts and friends do not bite each other, l show her the blood, and tell her again about how it hurts and she nods her head and promises not to bite me again until the next time. Which l think is a good compromise.

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Re: Another screaming question

Post by SkyeBerry » Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:35 pm

:lol: Peter you do make me laugh! Billie is very lucky to have you and visa versa. You will keep each other on your toes!
Mary

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Re: Another screaming question

Post by SkyeBerry » Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:48 pm

Niffarious - I have seen quite a few birds hang and swing but none of my birds have thought of this trick. Try and 'capture' the behaviour. Each time she hangs upside down use a 'cue' word - ie)"hang" or "swing" - tell her she is a good bird and give her a treat. I did this with a rescue green cheek conure I worked with for about a year and he taught me about 5 or 6 tricks that I named. I can't take credit for teaching him because they were things he did on his own. He would often perform the tricks in sequence to get my attention. He rarely required a food reward - actually, I just gave them to him. But he happily performed for a 'good bird'. Unfortunately, he turned out to be much more ill than anyone realized. A lot of money was spent trying to get him well but in the end he became too weak and was euthanize. At least his last year was happy. :|
Mary

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Niffarious
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Re: Another screaming question

Post by Niffarious » Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:02 pm

Sorry to hear about your conure...but it does sound like you offered a fun, safe final home.

To update - Ankaa is getting better about screaming. She still screams when I run water, but will sometimes stop if I let her play with it first. IE, take her to the sink to play in the water, and then wash the dishes.
May get a shower perch.
Her bouts of random screaming are getting to be fewer and fewer, but are still present and a bit difficult.

She rarely bites at all any more, and is now getting better at giving cues. She has a whole range of growls and behaviours for this and some are pretty cute. She hates my hair, and will growl at it.

At the same time, her flying is much better. Several times she has come across the room and landed on my arm, or the top of my laptop. I can see that she is starting to learn to hover, and she practices this by flying to the couch, which is a big target.

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Re: Another screaming question

Post by AJPeter » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:12 pm

We are a right pair, and to stop her screaming l blew a referees whistle everytime she screamed it was a sort of duet but l won, she gave up screaming after that. I think she was looking for a mate but had to settle for me.

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Niffarious
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Re: Another screaming question

Post by Niffarious » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:44 am

Hahaha! Mine is certainly a bit hormonal, though this is slowing down.

However, she remains so affectionate that I am starting to think I have a conure in an IRN body. She literally begs for pets, forcefully pushing her head against my hand until she gets them. She rubs her beak or head along my face when she wants attention or happy as well.

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Re: Another screaming question

Post by AJPeter » Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:04 pm

eggs yet?

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