Tailfeathers
Contact | Tour
where bird lovers gather
Bird InformationMessage BoardNetwork Home

 

Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Advice on caring for an older, cage-bound green cheek.

  1. #1
    Brand New Egg Pandora Sphinx's Avatar
    Name
    Ariel
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Boone, NC
    Posts
    8
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Advice on caring for an older, cage-bound green cheek.

    Hey everyone!

    In the last year, I've taken my parents' green cheek to live with me in my apartment. I am trying to give her a better home because she is around eleven years old and has had very little personal interaction with people for many years. She came to my family as a stray when she was about a year old (we found her perched on our laundry line while vacationing in Florida) and we could not find her owners -- though she was clearly hand-trained -- so we took her in. The problem is that a bunch of stray animals have come to us in this way, and Grace (the green cheek) ended up being stuck in her cage all the time to protect her from the dogs and cats.

    Anyway, I'm trying to fix that. I recently took her to the vet, and she appears to be in great health, but the more I read on how to care for these birds, the more overwhelmed I feel with how woefully behind I am. I know they are supposed to get several hours out of the cage per day, but Grace doesn't seem to want to come out at all most of the time.

    I think she is cage-bound. Over the last few months, I have taught her to be at least semi-comfortable with me, but she likes things on her own terms. Whenever I put my hand in her cage, she will dart into her happy hut. She does not mind me petting her (in the happy hut) and will even step up (from the happy hut) and let me take her out. But she will rarely leave the hut even for food if a hand is in her cage.

    For a long time, she would stay on my hand as little as possible when outside the cage, and would only spend time with me if she could be on my shoulder or under my sweater. Recently, just before the trip to the vet, she went on a biting frenzy on my neck, which was very troubling. She is very bitey to other people who stick their hands in her cage, but not to me. After a great struggle to get her off my neck -- she kept running from my hand and biting more to show her distress -- I realized that I could not allow her on my shoulder anymore, and if she wouldn't be on my hand, she couldn't be out at all.

    Luckily, it was a one-time thing. Since her wing clip at the vet's office, she has become suddenly willing to stay on my hand for long periods of time (the first time she's been willing to stay on anyone's hand in years) and the only times she's bitten me have been to show she's nervous when other people get too close when she's out. But I can't tell whether she likes being out of the cage with me or simply tolerates it. She seems reserved for a green cheek, based on what I've read, and I can't always tell if she's happy. Even when I leave her cage door open for hours, she rarely comes out without my approaching her to make her step up.

    I hate the idea that since her wing clip, she is only behaving well because she feels helpless to do otherwise. I want her to be happy. But it seemed that she needed her wings clipped both for protection (she wasn't very good at flying, since she came out so little, and often ran into things) and for training.

    So, general behavior: Grace is quiet -- much more so than when she lived with my parents -- and usually just chirps and clucks softly to herself. She plays with toys, but not as much as she did when she was younger. She spends time every day preening in front of her mirror. She often trembles when I first take her out of the cage (even after stepping up willingly) but she becomes calm when I rub her neck and preen her pins or let her hop inside my shirt (where she will stay for ages). She is on a late night/late morning schedule with me, and I am reluctant to change this, as she often becomes active late at night when I am. And even if she has dozed off in her happy hut, she insists on darting out and pacing up and down the cage when I bring out her cover, sometimes squawking once or twice as I put it over the cage. Oh, and she spends A LOT of time in that happy hut.

    Does anyone have any advice on how I can help her trust me/enjoy time out of the cage? I want to give her a more interesting, fulfilling life, but I don't want to push her. Should I go to her or wait for her to come out (which many days does not happen)? How long should I keep her out at a time, to begin with? How can I be sure that I'm moving at a pace she's comfortable with?

    I'm sorry this post is so long. I'm just not quite sure where to begin, and I find that most advice is aimed at people who have new, young birds. Thanks a bunch for any help.

  2. #2
    Maturing... ♥Brittany's Avatar
    Name
    Brittany
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    1,836
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Re: Advice on caring for an older, cage-bound green cheek.

    First of all, welcome to Tailfeathers.
    And I apologize for the wall of text I am about to give you, I tend to do this a lot.


    Perhaps if you bought (or made) a playstand and put her happy hut on it (or if she is uncomfortable with you moving her happy hut, maybe buy a new one), it might encourage her to come out more.

    The thing is, you need to form a bond with her. If she is bonded with you, she will want to be out of the cage more. But if she is too bonded, she might become a velcro bird and become too attached. Since she seems to be very attached to her happy hut, this could become a problem (bonding).

    Try doing other activities with her other than just getting her to come out of her cage or hiding in your shirt.
    Does she like baths or showers? You could buy a shower perch for her and have her take showers with you every once in a while.
    Buy her a travel cage (with another happy hut) and bring her outside (in the cage) for a few minutes on a nice day and let her enjoy being out of the house with you.
    Try letting her be a part of breakfast/lunch/dinner. Buy a small portable chair and table and set it next to her cage, or bring her cage to the table and bring out a few of her and your favorite foods. Let her come to the table herself and eat with you. It may take a while for her to venture out, but if you have enough yummy bribe foods, she will most likely at least go over to the table to steal a few pieces and run away. Eventually she will become comfortable enough to eat right along with you.
    The biggest thing is you have to get her away from the cage, as she seems to be very attached to it. By getting unattached to the cage, she will become more attached to you, you must become a part of her flock. But you must do this very slowly and gradually. If she starts to get stressed out by being away from the cage, bring her back to it. Don't make her do something she doesn't want to do, make her want to be away from the cage. All of my fids loved being out of their cages, because they all had something they enjoyed doing outside of it. My one GCC, and my Gold Capped Conure were bonded to me, so that was their motive to come out, to be with me. But they weren't velcro birds and were completely comfortable exploring and playing away from me. The rest of the birds either wanted to come out to fly, because all but one of my birds were unclipped or to play on their Java tree, which they all enjoyed very much, or the other play stations I had set up. But they also enjoyed being in their cages, since they had lots of toys and plenty to do, they just enjoyed being out of cage a bit more.

    Does she have a playstand or any sort of toys on the outside of her cage? If she has all of her entertainment, food, and comfort on the inside of her cage, then she will stay there. If her cage has a flat surface, put a few toys on top, a snack bowl, other things she might enjoy. Get her a playstand and do the same thing. Make being outside of the cage more entertaining for her. If she has no reason to come out, then she won't.

    Right now, the cage is her comfort zone. It is where she feels safe. You have to expand her comfort zone to the whole house. You must show her that you are her friend, you are a part of her flock and are there to help and be with her.

    I'm sure there's more to add, but I just woke up so I'll probably add more later.

    Good luck with Grace.
    ♥I Miss My Fids♥

    Previously Tikigurl

  3. #3
    Brand New Egg Pandora Sphinx's Avatar
    Name
    Ariel
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Boone, NC
    Posts
    8
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Advice on caring for an older, cage-bound green cheek.

    Thank you so much for responding. And I appreciate walls of text. As you can see, I tend to speak in "walls" myself.

    I've been thinking of setting up a play stand with toys and treats, so that, like you said, Grace will have something to give her incentive to come out. Her cage has a dome top, but it can be changed out for a play station, though I was thinking of just setting up the play station nearby instead because she likes all that space at the top of the cage.

    She likes baths sometimes, but she doesn't like me to put her in a bath unless she goes to it herself, so I'm not sure how she would feel about showers, though I might give it a try at some point. Grace is like that about a lot of things. She likes them, but only when she's calling the shots. Sometimes she'll even refuse favorite foods if I try to give them to her after taking her out of her cage (when she apparently isn't in the mood). I've let her eat with me a few times, and that's seemed to go pretty well, so I might start with that.

    I'm on the fence about taking her happy hut out since I know how much she likes it, and I want her to have it for the parts of the day when I'm at work. But I need to get her a new one anyway, so maybe I'll try moving the old one outside the cage. That's a thought.

    Anyway, she seems to be getting slowly better about being out. She's flying around to explore more (much as she can with clipped wings) and today she chirped at me when I got home from work and came willingly onto my hand right away. She wasn't trembling or anything this time, so I think she's getting more comfortable. She's also hanging out on top her cage more when I leave the door open.

    How can you tell if a bird is "bonded" to you? And can older birds bond with new owners the same way young birds can?

    Thanks again for all your advice.

  4. #4
    Maturing... ♥Brittany's Avatar
    Name
    Brittany
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    1,836
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Re: Advice on caring for an older, cage-bound green cheek.

    I would definitely recommend a playstand. It would encourage her to have more fun outside of her cage and get her used to being out and around you. But also to stay independent and be able to play by herself and not be a velcro bird.

    If eating with you has gone well in the past, then stick with that. It is a fantastic bonding method. It shows trust, her eating with you.

    If she would be uncomfortable with you taking out her happy hut, then I would just get her another one for the outside of her cage. I had a few happy huts hanging around my fids' playstands and trees, and they loved playing in them.

    As for baths. My GCC sometimes enjoyed bathing in my hand. I would take her into the bathroom and cup my hands under the running water and she would take a bath in my hands, then run around in my hair drying off. Yet another great bonding exercise.

    Yes older birds can bond with new owners. It's pretty easy to tell if a bird is bonded to you. If they trust you completely and want to be with you all the time. Like my GCC would fly to me constantly when she was out and I was the only one allowed to touch her. If someone came near me while she was on me, she would flip a lid and try to bite the other person (and sometimes me, to get me away from that person). I could hold her upside down in my hand and clip her toe nails with little to no problem because she trusted me.

    My African Grey, who was 17, had bonded with multiple people. When we got her, it took her a few months but she eventually bonded with my sister and loved her to death. She loved my sister so much she thought she was her mate and would making cooing sounds and display and regurgitate for her. She even laid a few eggs. Of course it is not good when they think of you as their mate as it can confuse them and possibly create other problems such as becoming egg bound.


    Also, when she is out and being good while on you, reward her with treats and lots of praise. Make her see it is a good thing to be with you.
    ♥I Miss My Fids♥

    Previously Tikigurl

  5. #5
    Brand New Egg Pandora Sphinx's Avatar
    Name
    Ariel
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Boone, NC
    Posts
    8
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Advice on caring for an older, cage-bound green cheek.

    I actually just set up her playstand last night. (I had to do a bit of rearranging, as I'm in a small space.) She is skeptical, but yesterday she was willing to hang around it long enough to chow down on the bowl of fruit I left there. But today I set her down on the stand and she became irked with me and fluttered back towards her cage. Sigh. We're working on it.

    I feel like she's at least beginning to bond with me, though. I've noticed she seems more willing to come to my hand from the hut lately, and today she even paused when I approached as though considering - gasp! - not going in the hut. Of course then she thought better of it. At least I know she trusts me more than she trusts anyone else. For now, when she's out of the cage, she prefers to be on me, and if other people approach she often nips me in consternation. (She was very displeased when I deigned to hug a guy friend when she was on my shoulder.) She'll let me hold her upside down if she's been out for a while. But she hasn't reached the point that she'll fly to me unless she's in a "threatening" situation (such as another person coming towards her or at the vet's office).

    I look forward to a day when she loves to be with me as much as she loves to be with that confounded hut. Now I know how my mom must have felt trying to wean me off my blankies and pacifiers.

    Speaking of birds acting like toddlers, Grace has learned a new method of getting her way. When she is willing to be taken out of her cage, she will sit in her hut facing the door so that she can step up from the hut to my hand. If I come over and she is not in the mood to come out, she will sit backwards in the hut so I can't easily place my hand in front of her. Should I take her cue and leave her alone when she does this or does that encourage bad behavior?

    Thanks again for all your help with this stuff. Also, it's lovely that you had (have?) an African Grey. I love those guys. I've always thought how much I'd like to have one if I ever become adept in at the care and keeping of parrots.

Similar Threads

  1. best cage size for my green cheek conure
    By connors mum in forum Conures
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 01-06-2014, 08:57 PM
  2. Cage? Saw a cinnamon green cheek yesterday
    By mkandolf in forum Conures
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 09-22-2009, 11:33 AM
  3. advice on green cheek conures
    By Ian.g in forum Conures
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-17-2007, 05:26 AM
  4. New Green Cheek...Need Advice
    By jrh_67 in forum Conures
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 12-02-2006, 08:40 AM
  5. Sun and Green Cheek Conures- Same cage?
    By FairyMom2Two in forum Conures
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 05-20-2006, 09:07 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Message BoardNetwork Home