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Training and wing clipping

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KathleenF
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Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:44 am

Training and wing clipping

Post by KathleenF » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:36 am

Hi everyone

First off let me just say I really love this forum! It has been really interesting reading about everybody's experiences & ideas.

I have 12 week old IRN, his/her name is Echo and I am absolutely inlove! Echo is free to fly around my house whenever I am home and enjoys a good cuddle and loves a Sunday afternoon nap with me chattering away while fast asleep. Echo almost never hesitates to climb onto my finger if it is offered, unless its close to bed time which means cage time. Sadly I suspect Echo is going through "bluffing" ,lets call Echo "he" for now, he will come out of his cage and do few laps around the lounge and then come and land on my head or shoulder, which is great but then I'll get a good bite on my ear, when I remove him from my shoulder or head he bites my fingers also quite hard I may add. He has also started biting my dogs paws should my dog be on the couch. Sorry I'm going off topic..

My question is this. Do I attempt to start target training or clicker training while Echo is in this frame of mind or do I wait? Should I clip his wings when I start training? I really don't want to as he REALLY loves to fly and I am scared I make him worse.

I know there are ALOT of articles on the site and I have read a lot of them but I am not finding my answer.

ANY advice would be greatly appreciated. :D

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InTheAir
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Re: Training and wing clipping

Post by InTheAir » Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:04 pm

Hi,

Congrats on your new friend. He sounds lovely.

I do not subscribe to the "bluffing" theory at all. I've asked quite a few professionals for their opinions too. Here's one:
http://goodbirdinc.blogspot.com.au/2015 ... f.html?m=1

Whenever any type of parrot bites there is a reason.
I'd say that Echo is not keen to go to his cage wants to avoid it, from what you have written. The way to deal with it is to make the reinforcement he gets for going to the cage greater than the reinforcement of staying out of the cage. For example, My bird steps up, I give him/her a treat, bird steps from finger to cage, I give a treat.
When I want my birds to be in the cage I give them a freshly loaded foraging toy or fresh browse to play with in their cage, as well as a treat for going there. Having something exciting to do while they are in the cage makes being in the cage more attractive.
I want my guys to think "last time I went to my cage and got locked in I found a treasure box with nummies an a paper straw in my foraging wheel and when I finished them I found some bottlebrush seeds an then it was bed time an I had some treatz and waz really tyred anyway so I sleeped. I bet there's something good in there today because my pet hooman just said to go to cage!"

Biting your fingers when you want him to step off your shoulder is much the same. It is hard to do when they are on your shoulder, but watch his body language before he bites. He will pin his eyes, fluff some head feathers etc. That is when you should back your hand off. And then you are back at question 1, how do I make stepping off my shoulders more attractive to the bird so he wants to do that instead of staying on my shoulder? Hold out a treat and lure him off your shoulder is an easy start.

You have not provided enough details on the ear biting for me to be able to make suggestions on that. My birds will grab my ear if they are having trouble balancing on my shoulders. There can be heaps of other reasons...

personally I'd keep dog away from bird at this stage.

Both my birds are flighted, always have been. They recall and do heaps of tricks. Every part of the bird is built to fly. If you are using the right methods to train you should never have to clip a bird to train it. One of my birds was raised in an aviary and I still didn't need to clip her wings to train her.
It is very important to make your house safe for a parrot though, teach him about windows and keep doors to the outside closed at all times. Check the top of internal doors for parrots before closing them, check shoulders for parrots before leaving the house etc. (The last one sounds obvious but you would be surprised at how many people have lost birds due to walking outside with one on their shoulder)..

For fun and useful training games, you can try "target training" :) this post is long enough so try a search for info on it. Youtube user "feathered antics" has my favourite video explanation on the subject

I encourage you to start thinking deeply about why an undomesticated creature (ie parrot) should do what it is told by you without biting. A parrot does not have any innate sense of right or wrong, it repeats behaviour that resulted in outcomes it finds reinforcing ... This is the basis of how to become a very effective parrot trainer. Read over http://www.behaviorworks.org (parrot articles are in the learning and behaviour section of written works) and goodbirdinc. This will help you understand how to have a great relationship with your little buddy. Don't blindly follow advice anyone on a forum. Research the credentials of the links they provide. There is some seriously bad advice out there, especially relating to ringnecks. If you find an article which "bluffing" that is written by a qualified, accredited bird trainer or behaviourist please share it with me as I have not found one yet!

I hope this post helps get you started on the right foot.

Regards,
Claire

KathleenF
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Training and wing clipping

Post by KathleenF » Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:11 am

Hi Claire

Thank you so much for the reply, I will definitely go check out the links

I must say I have been doing ALOT of reading on bluffing and it does not make sense to me that one species of bird would bite for "nothing" Also Echo is no where near as bad as some of the birds I have read about.
I am super interested in animal behaviour and body language. I have had many different animals including a baby bat that I rescued from my cat long ago, baby owls, I raised baby mice and one of my favourites was an injured Eurasian Hobby Falcon I found, I also had a hand reared a sparrow, my other favourite, that fell from her nest and I never had aggression issues with any of them. (I know parrots are different but animal behaviour is animal behaviour)

My Falcon was over a year old when I found him and as wild as they come and NEVER once was I bitten. It took him 2 days to realise where his food came from and by the third was happily allowing me to tether him to his perch under the tree (I might add that he was not releasable and I had a professional Falconer fit his jesses) My sparrow only ever bit other people and would make serious effort to get to them. Even my husband was not off limits to her biting.

I also can't think that a hand reared IRN should all of a sudden decide to bite. I have had Echo since he was 6 weeks and I could be completely wrong in my opinion but I feel that what he is doing is testing his boundaries or experimenting with his beak to try figure things out. At the moment these things are my extremities. Fingers, toes and ears. He doesn't lunge at me just walks to where the chosen experiment will occur and grabs a hold. This is mostly when I'm lying on the couch giving him freedom to walk from head to toe.

I have been trying to study his body language and there are times when he is doing his thing in the windowsill that he tells me he is not in the mood for me and I give him his space. But then at the same time he goes through clingy stages where he just wants to cuddle and cuddle and cuddle. He has a trigger spot behind his neck that if I rub lightly he will fall straight to sleep, no matter what time of day.

The biting my ear thing I don't know how to elaborate on, he mainly does it if he is on my head. he will peer down to look at me and then what do you know grabs hold of my hear and wont let go. I have to use my finger to gently remove his beak from my ear and then he "growls" at me. maybe I should stand in front of the mirror and watch to see what he does. Although I don't really like him up there, cant tell if he poops in my hair LOL.

Thank you again for the advice.

MissK
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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

Re: Training and wing clipping

Post by MissK » Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:02 am

Hi.
Welcome.
Don't clip.
Carry on.
-MissK

KathleenF
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Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Training and wing clipping

Post by KathleenF » Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:16 am

Thank you Missk

I am really enjoying having a feathered companion we are cuddling in front of the tv at the moment.
I have never liked the idea of clipping. Birds were made to fly just like horses were made to run.

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InTheAir
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Re: Training and wing clipping

Post by InTheAir » Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:01 am

Wow, baby bat must have been adorable! You will enjoy Echo, parrots are really interesting behaviour wise. Here is some more reading material I like, for when you have spare time:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=21956&hilit=recommended+reading
http://www.iaate.org/companion-parrots/ ... -view.html


Sapphire was a very "beaky" little thing. She would chew any new inanimate object she came into contact with. The carpet was the funniest! She didn't ever have much inclination to chew skin but hairties were fair game. When chewing objects she was not displaying any aggression. She went through a sock chewing phase, it was very difficult to teach her an alternative behaviour as once she starts chewing she goes into "Sapphireland". I can even grab and pick her up as long as her beak stays in contact with the chew toy she remains oblivious.

I'm not really sure about the meaning of "testing boundaries". Dominance is not shown to be a feature of parrot-human relationships. It is completely achievable to have a well trained irn without any kind of dominance, they just do whatever they like, so one can just make training something they really like and they do it...

It will be interesting to know what body language your guy is displaying while on your head. Btw it is probably best to try to avoid the situation from the outset though. Biting itself can be reinforcing. Does he step to your hand okay from your head?

KathleenF
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Training and wing clipping

Post by KathleenF » Fri Jan 15, 2016 6:12 am

Honestly baby bats are not so cute, they have faces only mothers could love and I did love mine.

Oh my gosh my husband would do his nut if Echo started to chew the carpet LOL. Your Sapphire sounds like quite the little character <3

I may need to chose my wording better with my explanations. I didn't mean "pushing boundaries" in the dominant sense but more that Echo is testing everything with his beak. NOTHING is off bounds. Not the remotes, not even my tea light candles in the windowsill, which were very quickly removed and put away in the cupboard.

I have been trying my best to "Echo Proof" my house. A never ending task :roll:

To answer your question: Yes if Echo is on my head he will step up, but should I take too long to react to him being there he will chomp on my ear and then growls at me while stepping up. I don't ever force him to step up I merely ask and he almost always responds. If we are chilling on the couch he will walk around to my fingers and bite them. He does not lunge at me, just grabs a hold of my pink flesh. He is especially fond of toes, the feeling is not mutual, so I have resorted to quickly hiding them under the couch cushion if he makes his way southward towards my feet.

I am not afraid of him and still spend all my free time with him, whether on my shoulder or playing on the counter while I prepare his meals or if he wants his space ill just watch him chatter away on his special curtain or in the windowsill.

I have attached some bat pics for you to see. Not my baby though. I had him before cell phones and digital cameras. They are a common insect eating species we find in South Africa
Attachments
bat 2.jpg
bat 2.jpg (15.17 KiB) Viewed 1132 times

KathleenF
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Re: Training and wing clipping

Post by KathleenF » Fri Jan 15, 2016 6:14 am

Here is another one of an adult
Attachments
bat.jpg
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MissK
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Re: Training and wing clipping

Post by MissK » Fri Jan 15, 2016 4:53 pm

That baby is a tiny gargoyle!!
-MissK

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InTheAir
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Re: Training and wing clipping

Post by InTheAir » Sat Jan 16, 2016 12:08 am

Sorry, I completely disagree, that bat is so cute and tiny!

Bird proofing is an ever present challenge! Along with enrichment. My boyfriend and I have been joking about making a meme of 8 hours enrichment for our neighbours cat (give it a new cardboard box) vs 8 hours for parrots (a few hundred dollars worth of foraging toys all wrapped in paper, half a tree worth of fresh browse, a few new perches and some plain toys or new perches)...

Sapph did try to eat everything in sight for the first 6 months or so... upto and including a cactus and one of my boyfriends special edition cd boxes., She tried to eat the marble bench top too, but then she discovered it was more fun dropping things off it and watching them bounce. Glasses don't bounce. She had to try that twice to be sure... ;)

I found distracting, rewarding and offering alternative chew toys helped. Sapph quite liked ones like this and star shaped bits of wood...
https://www.parrotrescuecentre.com/shop ... l-foot-toy
To get over the sock thing, we always had treats ready and would reward her from the moment she landed on our feet, before she could start chewing and target her or ask for other simple tricks while she was there. Eventually she leafnt to be on socks and not eat them. I tried taking off the sock and showing her it was on my foot to no avail! :lol: having your toe preened is horrible enough, but chewed is unbearable!

sanjays mummi
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Location: Bedfordshire UK

Re: Training and wing clipping

Post by sanjays mummi » Sat Jan 16, 2016 4:22 am

I am in the habit of wearing my reading glasses on my head, and Sanjay loves taking them off and dropping them even if they don't bounce ditto his jingly cat balls, and especially loves dropping one from the chandelier, usually when I am passing by underneath!, sometimes he looks as though he is going to fly down for them, but wusses out!.

MissK
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Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:46 pm
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

Re: Training and wing clipping

Post by MissK » Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:24 pm

But, is he aiming at your head......?
-MissK

sanjays mummi
Posts: 2055
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:07 pm
Location: Bedfordshire UK

Re: Training and wing clipping

Post by sanjays mummi » Sun Jan 17, 2016 3:56 pm

Well, he's pretty accurate!,

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