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Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by plumsmum, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. plumsmum

    plumsmum Regular Member


    Lou iseems to be doing this with toys, food, you name it,
    constantly. Anyone got any tip or tricks to lessen it? She will attack her feathers/wings/legs after doing it so very detrimental to her appearance.

    Any help gratefully accepted folks. :)
  2. Michael Reynolds

    Michael Reynolds Regular Member

    so it looks a little like anting but I think she may be crouching with her wings spread and wanting to be satisfied and then getting frustrated as the objects she is using are not reacting. Not knowing her past I can only guess she got too close to a human friend whom would sit there and rub her under the wings and down her back. the thing that may of started the plucking and one of the main reasons that I have come across especially with females is the want to be a mother and of course Humans or toys cannot achieve this. Are you willing to do a little experiment? Buy some Dummy eggs and one each day place them in a corner of the cage or get a nest box. (this is something I tried with a persons plucking Grey) see how she reacts will she just lay on them or completely reject them. Most birds that end up plucking is owing to stress and a young lady like what you have in Lou I believed was loved and when she started plucking it also broke the humans heart whom only wanted the best for Lou and tried to find a home that can help her. Too's get too attached to quickly and a loss of a partner in there eyes is a sign of rejection and one reason I always say you have to be a parent or friend and not a lover to a Too.
  3. DizzyBlue

    DizzyBlue Administrator Staff Member Admin

    Depends on the exact posture an specifically what's going on around the bird and what the bird is actually doing.

    Anting is a specific act that is usually learned behaviour and specifically is in the hunting down of ant nests and smearing them on feathers or allowing them to run through their feathers to encourage parasitic removal which would not be seen in captivity without the presence of the ants to encourage to run through their feathers. Little point if the ones you want to remove your parasites are not present so unless your bird has access to ants very very unlikely.

    MrP take up anting posture when he particularly wants a shower which is triggered by the sound of me using the Dyson vacuum - BUT his is slightly different to anting as its upright posture with wings arched forwards

    Alfie does like to take up status in the sunshine on the laminate flooring and sunbath like a blackbird does - wings arched forwards resting on stomach can be confused with anting but is sunbathing enjoying the warmth you sometimes see birds that have had a bath take up the pose.

    Henni gets sexually aroused at her time for egg laying (just prior to easter) gets a bit "clucky" she places one foot on top of the toy using usually her left but that is a quirk of Henni rather endemic. She anchors the toy and arches her wings but the shoulder point is more drooped down and only 75% locked forwards covering her desired toy. When she is sat on eggs and doesn't want me to have access to see she doesn't sit like a chicken as such probably due to her elderly body aches and pains and she will hide the vast majority of the nesting area protecting them to ensure that if she feels my hand go to any specific part of the nest she can "sense" exactly where it is using the wings as a large umbrella sensor for want of a better description. This posture also usually involves my blood being spilt and a lot of pain for me she is a very very protective nester and heaven help me!! Her nests have included two of her own eggs plus a ping pong ball, three of those acrylic dummies and one was also inclusive of her plastic cement mixer toy. She's officially a weirdo!

    Denarii will at times clench her fist and gently rub it against her face and gently tickle her own neck sometimes she will have a particularly favourite piece of food in her fist when she does it. That is her "comforting" herself. If I make myself instantly available to her and arch my hand into a cup above her she will gently pop her head beneath it and use my hand to gently rub her head as she wants contact.

    Try giving us a more descriptive instance of what is going on around at the time. Like is the vacuum on? Is it raining outside? Is the sun coming through the window? Are the wings locked forwards in front of normal flight pattern ie arched or indeed at full spread with head bowed? Is the keel bone on the ground or raised off the ground? Upright or laid down (that involves noting where the legs are)? Is the toy under her or is it in the beak and being rubbed on her body? Does she make any sounds whilst doing it?

    Who would have thought a heron would decide to sunbath like this?!
    JessCheekyMia and Rain like this.
  4. plumsmum

    plumsmum Regular Member

    Thanks @DizzyBlue - Lou will pick up toys, pieces of cardboard, pieces of wood she has chewed off and tries balancing them on her back or wing by tossing onto her back/wing. (Have not heard any noises, but any noise she makes usually is very quiet and low unless it is my dinner she is demanding!#foghorn!)

    Of course they do not stay there. Everything goes this way, takes a piece off a toy and then tries to stuff into her feathers, back, wings etc. When the item drops she then attacks herself; the wing edges, her keel bone and legs in particular. I am not seeing squatting. No particular time of day, ie anytime.

    She asks me for a head rub, is learning that anything else is not gonna happen on my watch! When I vacuum she goes to her water bowl to try and bathe, which I take as a cue and give her a spray. I feel that some of this behaviour was thought amusing and probably encouraged as she came with her lamb bone that she 'likes to juggle'. :nut: How the heck do I try and lessen this, this is the first and only thing that she wants to do with toys, oh there is one more if she can manoevre a toy to rest on her back and then she brings her bottom/tail up, head up and has what looks like an orgasm, she shudders :) Naturally I have removed any opportunity for this and will continue to do so if/when she finds new opportunities. She shows no inclination to sit on anything, build a nest etc. My li'l floozy bird LOL. :)

    @Michael Reynolds there is no way I am giving her dummy eggs hun. She has plucked/picked since she fledged. She was loved by her large family and probably grew up with several younger members which might have seen her as a 'doll' to be played with, inappropriate stroking etc. Yes I do think there has been some stress on Lou, she has been taken away from her original home of 20 years, put into a safe house and then came to me. It all takes it's toll. She is settling with me though, it's only been three months. She also grew up with some largish dogs and it looks like she isn't keen on them, adding more stress. Her cage was small and not very high up.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
  5. DizzyBlue

    DizzyBlue Administrator Staff Member Admin

    So it's a comfort thing she is doing and as you said its probably been exaggerated by human encouragement.
    Henni is a snuggler ….. yup a human thing she learned prior to here and every night she has to have 10 minutes me and her time … her wrapped in her favourite blankie or a soft snuggle towel before she goes to be. If she doesn't get this she goes ballistic and will scream the house down and it doesn't stop and she gets more and more agitated with herself since she is already badly psychologically damaged I discussed it with the vet and we agreed that as really its not a hardship for me and its a huge comfort to her because right after those few minutes she happily goes off to roost I would just go with the flow and she gets what she needs. On a par balance as she self mutilates and also feather plucks it for her and me isn't really worth the stress to her.

    This is her under her blankie which she will pull over herself and reverse under it until in what she deems is a comfy position. She settles herself down on her tummy with her legs back rather than under her and her wings just kind of flop forwards and zones out in to a relaxed state and will lay like that for ages totally floppy.


    This is the last time that little Henni had to have a collar on after ripping part of her chest muscle out. She was so stressed all the time and this is what it took for her to settle me her favourite jumper I wear and the duvet!! The things you have to do for your feathered bundles some days does seem to get extreme. But as she is diagnosed as having mental health issues that she does act out to extremes at times I know where she's coming from and if that's what it takes then that's ok with me. I took her on knowing that the damage she has suffered prior to being here would not be cured and at best all I could do would perhaps be to lessen the effects she suffers and cater to her needs. She's a madam and a little sweetie all wrapped into one :) 021s.JPG
    JessCheekyMia, Rain and TomsMum like this.
  6. JessCheekyMia

    JessCheekyMia Regular Member

    Awww little Hennie is sooo cute. It is a real blessing she has you @DizzyBlue, it did bring a tear to my eye reading and seeing your post. You can clearly see she really loves you and she has that total trust in you too. I am now going to wipe those tears xxxx
    DizzyBlue likes this.
  7. plumsmum

    plumsmum Regular Member

    OK @DizzyBlue so there may be hope then if it is comfort related if, I can give her what she needs in the right way? A glimmer will do hun, thanks x

    Love Henni btw.
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  8. DizzyBlue

    DizzyBlue Administrator Staff Member Admin

    @plumsmum we do not always get our own way and nor should we.
    When Henni decides she is clucky and wans to nest I do not dissuade her she is after doing what is natural for her as a bird. I don't discourage her anymore nut neither do I encourage her. She has since she came to live her decided she is happy and what time of year she wishes to nest which is easter time. Her previous home she was thought to be male and had never laid an egg. and for the numerous years she lived there never been happy and settled nor healthy enough to wish too. It is one of the natural things that she is supposed to do that she displays so I let her that way she isn't trying to destroy herself all the time.
    Over the years I have noticed that pet homes try to stop the behaviour of nesting with some right strange ideas at the root of their desire to stop it ooo can't have that happening what if this that or the other, whilst breeders know that a happy healthy hen bird will only do it at set times of the year and gauge it to be a sign of the well being of a bird and if they have provided the correct environment for a bird to feel safe to do it.
    We try to encourage a bird to be natural in behaviour but then we try to stop the drive of mother nature when we do get it right we are such strange creatures.
    So little Henni gets clucky just prior to easter she gets on with it builds her nest lays her eggs and sits them and as not fertile then abandons them when she is ready and gets on with the rest of the year and her life unit that time comes around again. Her mutilation times have gotten further and further apart and when nesting and sitting don't happen at all.
    She's as happy as she can be, healthy, settled, safe and secure and exhibiting a natural behaviour nesting and laying should that not be enough for me as a human and for me its the gaol I aim for, her happiness as a bird not my own as a human and what I think is convenient to me.
  9. plumsmum

    plumsmum Regular Member

    Yes hun @DizzyBlue I agree but because she does things like snipping off her growing tail feathers as well, her balance is not brilliant and she appears to have two left feet at the best of times anyway. So the crux of it is if I can get this to lessen, I will be happy. Not after all shiny and new but an improvement of what we currently have. Humans have IMO hugely contributed to this, to do this so excessively is not normal or natural. To be used to and crave such a high level of stimulation all the time surely is doing her no good? I do not want to curb natural cycles/behaviour just do not believe what is currently displayed is natural. I have clearly given you a very different meaning to what is/was intended. :confused: Appreciate your replies.
    DizzyBlue likes this.
  10. DizzyBlue

    DizzyBlue Administrator Staff Member Admin

    When Henni came she was uber demanding and scared of her own shadow and fell all the time :(
    Back in 2011 her tail was just bare quills
    She nested in 2012 and moulted shortly afterwards and got some tail feathers see tatty sticks below! (Both photo's taken from underneath)
    2012 tail underside.JPG
    But that was a big improvement on what she had the previous year.
    She doesn't get her demands met every time she wants just at set times of the day to sooth her down somewhat.
    I just got a picture of her tails feathers just now …. although not perfech and they don't lay properly flat like a proper greys tail …. she actually does have a tail!
    She's not even half as clingy as she was nor half as screaming meltdown loonie as she was. She doesn't get her demands met for attention 24/7 but she does get her me and her time snuggles where by she has my undivided attention the cuddles she craves and then happily when it's over tootles off to do the Henni weirdo things that she wants to do. Perhaps it is more like training but to a different degree … usually when we see unwanted behaviour we try to make positive reinforcements to change it gradually. Henni doesn't know what she really is so as I can't explain to her what she is and discuss it with her so her behaviour has just been tweaked and manipulated perhaps moulded slightly. These days we see the logic in having birds grow up as birds and then work hard to gain their trust to become our friends and companions. Henni doesn't know what she is …. neither bird nor human ….something in between and I surmise she gets confused as to what is expected. One person wanted her cuddly the next was thrilled with her for a while then got bored and forgot about her needs, then she was sold down a pub in London, then she was bought and treasured again and then as the humans changed she was forgotten about again. The she arrived in a Walkers beef flavoured crisp box never was a crisp box filled with such a special item. I had met her a long time before and told the previous owners if you ever decide to part with her she has a home here she will be more than welcome... and here she is and here she will remain but will never again be not treasured nor forgotten.
    She's 38 will never be perfect she is what she is and what humans made her into, the blame for what she is is not her's. I admire her resilience to get this far, the fiery little temper tantrums she can throw and the ever loving heart that she has, her wish to fit in and be excepted as being stuck in between two species if you like.
    It doesn't work for all birds, don't get me wrong, thankfully things are changing where by birds are being left with their parents more and reared with siblings or indeed better still reared by their natural parents. But for those already born in what was thought years ago to be the better way to get a "cuddly loving bird" what about them … where do their needs fit in since they are what humans moulded them into?
    I did a feather diary on the advice of a member on a forum way back in 2011 on her … one for myself on my laptop as they reminded me what I forgot I see her everyday and don't see the small changes that happen. Somethings take time. … Time and patience :)
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  11. Rain

    Rain Parrot Sniffer Regular Member

    Aren't they funny with all their little ways, bless them. Reading about Henni has made me smile, because of her demanding her cuddles.
    Ri's night time routine takes about an hour, and god help me if I miss out a stage, or cut it short. He just will not settle if I don't get it right. He goes from being a dictator in the day, to baby at night. No matter how ill or tired I am - I have to get it right, or he will scream the place down and not go to sleep.

    First he has to have his warm mash/mush of the day - about an hour before bed. He will only eat it if I tip it from a bowl into his mouth. He puts his head back and I have to drip it in. Then we have a snuggle. Then he has to eat all the rest of his pellets and veggies that he didn't want from dinner. But he will only eat these on the kitchen table, with me sitting with him. If I try to move away, he will stop until I'm back on the chair watching him. So he stuffs his crop and then it's time for bed.

    He then has a foot massage and a few songs (lullabies), while being rocked like a baby. Then I have to kiss (with dry mouth but make the noises) all over his face and head and tell him how much I love him. Then he does the same to my face. We both say "night night" a few times and then he will go to his night time cage, in my bedroom, for me to cover him. If I haven't given enough kisses, he won't go in - and I have to kiss him again until he's satisfied that he's the most important bird in the world.

    Unfortunately I can't blame any previous owner, as I've had him since he was 3 months old (he's 15 in a couple of months). So I've made a rod for my own back really, by babying him. Ah well, it keeps him happy. It does worry me though, if he ever had to need a new home - that they wouldn't do all that for him.

    Sorry this was no help whatsoever @plumsmum. Just me rambling on about nothing.
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