Mental Genetic Disorder?

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Faaria
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Joined:Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:29 pm
Mental Genetic Disorder?

Post by Faaria » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:14 pm

Hi there

I've had my female IRN for almost nine years now. I got her when she was under a month, couldn't even move around on her own back then, and I raised her myself. We have a very close bond, but with me being a female, I think she may be a bit confused. I've always thought of her as a very misunderstood bird, and my family believes that she is just psychotic. But I obviously don't want to believe that so readily.

She has these moments of extreme aggression out of nowhere, and holds something similar to a grudge against me if someone scares her or I give my attention to anyone or anything but her. She also absolutely hates my brother, and I am very close to him. As soon as she sees him and she is out of her cage, she goes mad and charges at him and goes into one of her vicious attacking moments and it lasts sometimes even up to a full day. She also has these sudden mood changes when anyone, even me, tries to pick her up or pet her. She will only tolerate my mother or myself petting her only on her head for a couple seconds at a time if she is in a good mood. And if she claims anything; a cellphone, laptop or even a set of keys, no one can touch it or she has one of those vicious moments where she goes so far as to attack that person out of that room.

I take her out for most of the day and handle her everyday, give her lots of toys and space, she even has a budgie as a partner in her cage with her as they grew up as babies together. I also gave an attempt at getting her a bigger cage and getting her a partner. And when she bites, I just blow on her beak and don't get over-emmotional about it. Ignoring, extra attention, punishment or rewarding hasn't fixed the problem, or even lessened it slightly.

This has been going on for so many years and I don't know what the problem is. I have become desperate to find the problem and fix it so that she can be happy...

Does anyone have any ideas to what it could be?
Have I done something terribly wrong that I may not know about??
Or could it really be a genetic mental issue??

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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ellieelectrons
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Joined:Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:17 am
Location:Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Re: Mental Genetic Disorder?

Post by ellieelectrons » Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:39 pm

Hi Faaria

I've seen elements (although not quite so extreme) of the types of behaviour you've described in our female Janey. The biggest thing that made the difference to Janey's behaviour has been increasing foraging. I would say 90% of her food now comes from foraging. Check out these links below for some more information on foraging
http://www.indianringneck.com/forum/vie ... 01&p=69400
http://www.indianringneck.com/forum/vie ... =4&t=13466
http://www.parrotenrichment.com/ - this site has some free ebooks to download

This isn't going to be your complete solution but I think it is a good place to start. I suggest you read the whole of the first link.

The next thing you can look at is using food rewards. Do you use them currently? How do you use them? Who gives the rewards to her?

I would also say that it's most likely not a mental genetic disorder. It's happened as a result of her circumstances. IRNs haven't been domesticated for too many generations. When they are raised by humans they pick up some of our traits but this is mixed with other wild bird traits... and it can result in a bird that doesn't quite behave like a bird and doesn't quite behave like a human... and this can be very frustrating for the bird and for you. The bird has it's birdie instincts that its trying to satisfy through using behaviours that it has picked up by being handraised by humans.

Also, you probably already know this but it really is not advised to keep a budgie in the same cage as a ringie. Even if the ringie doesn't attack the budgie, surely the budgie must be scared??? But maybe I'm wrong... and I guess there are probably exceptions to every rule.

I would also strongly recommend that you get the Parrot Behaviour and Training #1 DVD from good bird inc.http://www.goodbirdinc.com/parrot-store-dvds.html

The whole DVD is great but there is a case study at the end dealing with an aggressive bird that I think you would get a lot out of.

The behaviours that you describe show that she is excessively attached to you. You can work with her to get her behaving better with other members of your family but it is going to mean doing things differently than before. What I've written above are my first recommendations. Can you keep us updated and we can make further suggestions in the future?

Good luck with your little girl.

Ellie.

Faaria
Posts:13
Joined:Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:29 pm

Re: Mental Genetic Disorder?

Post by Faaria » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:12 am

Thank you so much for your reply!

I have never actually heard of foraging as a method before, but I will definitely check it out and put it to practice. I think the closest I've come to it without knowing are with those seed bells or sticks.

And yes I do use food rewards with her. She usually throws something similar to a tantrum when i put her back in her cage, so whenever I ask her to go in and she does, I say "good girl" and give her a treat. I do the same whenever she steps up onto my hand willingly, or when i ask her to come out of her cage, or when I tell her to sit on her perch so that I can feed her, or whenever she meows, and even when she allows me to pet her. As a result, she has become alot easier to handle, and she even lets me pet for longer periods of time each time. And I am the only one who gives her treats. No one else in my family, besides my mother, really bothers with her because they think she is crazy.

Regarding the budgie being in the same cage as her, I was totally against the idea at first. But my mother told me to adjust them to it gradually, as they grew up as babies together, and were always playing and talking together. And it worked! They don't leave each other's side now, and call to one another when they are kept apart. The budgie also mimics all her sounds and even her meowing, so he communicate with me and her that way. And its quite funny because the budgie actually attacks her and doesn't let her get her way if she isn't being fair or sharing food and treats.

Other than that, I've tried getting my family members and even close friends to play with her so that she can not be so attached to me. It just doesn't work. At the moment though, my fiance is trying to consistently work with her, so I am hopeful with that!

Thank you again for all the feedback and information...
I will definitely be trying those methods :)

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ellieelectrons
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Location:Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Re: Mental Genetic Disorder?

Post by ellieelectrons » Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:30 pm

Hi Faaria

Thanks for the extra information.

When a bird becomes really strongly bonded with one person (you), the only way I've ever seen that bond broken down is by the favoured person stopping the treats and having others in the family be the ones to offer her treats and to interact with her. You would have to really scale back your interactions with her and have others do it. Perhaps it should be your fiance if he is the only one interested? Is he around your bird much?

I've never done this myself but can imagine it would be really hard when you are the primary caregiver of the bird. My Janey has a tendency to be over-bonded to my husband. As he spends less time with her than I do any way, that seems to work for us.

The idea with the technique is that you take a big step back for a time until your bird starts to warm to other members of the family and then you can slowly re-enter the equation again.

Maybe someone else will have some better ideas for you?

Good luck.

Ellie.

Faaria
Posts:13
Joined:Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:29 pm

Re: Mental Genetic Disorder?

Post by Faaria » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:24 pm

Yes it may be an idea to ask my fiance to take over. And yes he is with her everyday, and even though he tries so hard to be friends with her, she is terrified of him. So I am thinking of taking that idea to let him give her a treat everytime he comes into the house, and as many times as is possible with him taking over my role.

Although for now, I think I am going to concentrate more on providing her with on foraging opportunities which would unfortunately require me to work with her for now. In fact, I went to buy her a lot of things that were suggested so that I can implement foraging into her daily routine. Also, I got her a couple more toys, and a baby shape sorter. She is very good at that, and loves it. And my fiance got her a massive cage last week, with a cage full of toys. So hopefully the foraging and enrichment aspects together should work.

And yes I can see how your situation concerning Janey and your roles in the house would work.
That is quite a fortunate setup.

And thank you again for the replies. It has been really helpful.

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