Desperate - may need to give Gerry away

Wendy Cooper-Wolfe

Regular Member
I find my sennie doesn't play or forage much but if I slide some broken up pieces of uncooked spaghetti into the holes / channels of a piece of corrugated cardboard with a little showing she plays with that. She will also play with an almond or hazelnut wrapped up like a sweet in greaseproof paper.
 

Roz

Elected Forum Trainer
Regular Member
Hi and thanks for your words.
Yes, what I noticed about this forum is that everyone is so kind and I don't feel judged for how I feel at the moment. It is a very welcoming place and even just getting things off my chest helped me a bit.
Ideally, yes, someone coming to mine would have been amazing, maybe post-COVID
I do love Gerry very much and the thought of giving him away is heartbreaking. I am trying very hard to find a plan that works at making him less loud. I have started a new routine yesterday, after reading so many links etc: basically before I used to go see him at some point mid morning (it is my husband who feeds him and spends breakfast with him), so he could hear me around the house and see me in the garden from early morning (I get up very early), but he could not get me there with him. I thought maybe if I spend half an hour with him first thing in the morning, as soon as I am up, he may feel happy that he saw me and had me to himself for a bit and maybe don't miss me so much.
I also stuffed a few of his toys with monkey nuts, to see if he will feel curious to find to get them and the chewing through the shell may keep him busy.
I also rented a webinar from a Barbara Heidenreich and I will watch it with my husband in the next few days.
Let's see how I get on...
Love this! Such a good idea to give him some one on one time first thing to satisfy some of his need to see/be with you. And provide things for him to do. I have everything crossed for you both.

I was thinking earlier today... would he be trustworthy if you left the cage door open whilst you were in the other room working? My Red-lored Amazon tends to shout a lot until I let her out and then she is quiet. I had a wonderful Orange-winged Amazon, Ollie, who sadly died just before Christmas. He wasn't tame when he first came to live with me. Eventually he lived permanently outside his cage (only going back in to sleep) as he proved himself absolutely trustworthy. This happened in gradual stages as he was cage bound to start with. I have large spring swings and other play areas hanging from the ceilings in different rooms and he would hang out on those. He was great at amusing himself, which I think is easier if a bird is parent reared.
 

GerryFero

Regular Member
Registered
Love this! Such a good idea to give him some one on one time first thing to satisfy some of his need to see/be with you. And provide things for him to do. I have everything crossed for you both.

I was thinking earlier today... would he be trustworthy if you left the cage door open whilst you were in the other room working? My Red-lored Amazon tends to shout a lot until I let her out and then she is quiet. I had a wonderful Orange-winged Amazon, Ollie, who sadly died just before Christmas. He wasn't tame when he first came to live with me. Eventually he lived permanently outside his cage (only going back in to sleep) as he proved himself absolutely trustworthy. This happened in gradual stages as he was cage bound to start with. I have large spring swings and other play areas hanging from the ceilings in different rooms and he would hang out on those. He was great at amusing himself, which I think is easier if a bird is parent reared.
It would be great if he could be out by himself, unfortunately, when he is out he goes to chew things (chairs, sofa, books) so needs to be supervised. I also wouldn't want him to poop on our furniture or the floor. When he is out with us we make sure every so often we call him to a perch with a tray, so he can have a poop there.
It would an amazing thing though if this was possible.
 

GerryFero

Regular Member
Registered
Do you have the ability to have an aviary for the little one attached to your house? Then when the weather is good you could let him out into it during the day and see if that helps? You would be able to do your work and he'd get to enjoy watching whats going on around him.
I put his big cage out when the weather is good, problem is: is so loud I can hear him clearly (and annoyingly) from the inside. I worry one day my neighbors will snap, they are already so tolerant of him :(
 

CaptainHowdy

Regular Member
I put his big cage out when the weather is good, problem is: is so loud I can hear him clearly (and annoyingly) from the inside. I worry one day my neighbors will snap, they are already so tolerant of him :(
If he's making noise during day time hours, normally around 8am till 10pm then there's nothing your neighbours can complain about as acceptable day time noise.

Making noise is perfectly normal behaviour for them, are you able to have plants around the cage outside to help buffer the noise a bit - make sure they are bird safe in case he manages to get access to them! Or even build an aviary a bit further away so the noise isn't as close? With an aviary you can put even more fun things in there for him to do and cover part of the sides to buffer the noise more.
 

Wakizashi21

Regular Member
If he's making noise during day time hours, normally around 8am till 10pm then there's nothing your neighbours can complain about as acceptable day time noise.

Making noise is perfectly normal behaviour for them, are you able to have plants around the cage outside to help buffer the noise a bit - make sure they are bird safe in case he manages to get access to them! Or even build an aviary a bit further away so the noise isn't as close? With an aviary you can put even more fun things in there for him to do and cover part of the sides to buffer the noise more.
The aviary is absolutely every parrot owners dream....just....yay!

I think neighbours that are friendly tend to tolerate the noise....and who knows...they might actually enjoy the chit chat! Birds do make noise and thats something that will happen...some slightly more than others...

I have a large Aviary in my garden....and the birds tend to make noise early morning....i know the girls next door usually have the window open so to avoid disturbing their sleep (because im a nice neighbour lol) i let my birds out alot later...we just have to make adjustments....and that is part n parcel for keeping a parrot.
 

GerryFero

Regular Member
Registered
If he's making noise during day time hours, normally around 8am till 10pm then there's nothing your neighbours can complain about as acceptable day time noise.

Making noise is perfectly normal behaviour for them, are you able to have plants around the cage outside to help buffer the noise a bit - make sure they are bird safe in case he manages to get access to them! Or even build an aviary a bit further away so the noise isn't as close? With an aviary you can put even more fun things in there for him to do and cover part of the sides to buffer the noise more.
Hmm, I still think is not really being considerate when your pet is so loud. I personally would be fuming if there was a dog barking all day. And myself, even though I am the owner, I hate when my parrot screams, so I don't think is really a nice thing for me to place him outside much.
Garden is not big enough for me to have him so far away I would not hear him :) Believe me, I am not sure I make it clear enough how loud he screams, it is not the cute screaming they sometimes do it's the loudest most high pitched sound you can think of.
 

GerryFero

Regular Member
Registered
Hi all, Thank you so much for your support and kind words so far. I was going to open a new thread, but since the topic is still the same I think it makes more sense for me to write here. In the last two days Gerry had been better. Today I took him upstairs as I was going to iron. He started to scream non-stop (obviously), I must have walked out of the room 20 times, waited for him to stop, then walk back in. Nothing, he never got the slightest hint of why I was walking out.
After an hour of solid screaming and me starting losing it and thinking I wanted to kill him, I started to use a spray bottle to his face every time he started. It seemed to have worked although obviously tomorrow he will start screaming again. I know this is punishing and I don't think it's a nice solution, but God it worked, for once one thing made him stop for a minute.
One thing I noticed is that he seemed aggravated by me ironing, the clothe movement or something seemed to make him stressed out. A couple of times he jumped on my head, but it was not the nice "I want to perch on you or preen on you" that he does at times, he bit my head, which made me honestly hate him so much. Note: the jumping on my head was before I started using the spray bottle, so it was not caused by me using it.
Do you know why the ironing may have aggravated him and do you know if using a spray bottle consistently could be a good option? I never used it before but today I decided enough was enough.
 

Tonifrax

Guest
Hi,

I wouldnt take him when you go to do ironing as many irons are coated with teflon which can give off fumes that are toxic to birds. You also should avoid using a spray bottle to punish him for screaming. He should enjoy being sprayed with water not fear it. My african grey came to me after being sprayed frequently to make his loud scream stop and although it apparently worked i stopped it completely and have had success without doing this. He would freak out every time i tried to mist him because he was terrified of the bottle. I live in a flat and have had days where hes constantly made this noise but there was a reason behind it and when you figure out the reason that can go a long way in resolving the issue
 

GerryFero

Regular Member
Registered
The aviary is absolutely every parrot owners dream....just....yay!

I think neighbours that are friendly tend to tolerate the noise....and who knows...they might actually enjoy the chit chat! Birds do make noise and thats something that will happen...some slightly more than others...

I have a large Aviary in my garden....and the birds tend to make noise early morning....i know the girls next door usually have the window open so to avoid disturbing their sleep (because im a nice neighbour lol) i let my birds out alot later...we just have to make adjustments....and that is part n parcel for keeping a parrot.
I wish mine was chit chatting ;) I must say if a neighbor of mine had a bird screaming as loud as mine does and for as long as mine does, I would be complaining. That's why I do not put him out as often as I would like to. Honestly he does not do cute chit chatting, he screams as if someone was killing him :p
 

GerryFero

Regular Member
Registered
Hi,

I wouldnt take him when you go to do ironing as many irons are coated with teflon which can give off fumes that are toxic to birds. You also should avoid using a spray bottle to punish him for screaming. He should enjoy being sprayed with water not fear it. My african grey came to me after being sprayed frequently to make his loud scream stop and although it apparently worked i stopped it completely and have had success without doing this. He would freak out every time i tried to mist him because he was terrified of the bottle. I live in a flat and have had days where hes constantly made this noise but there was a reason behind it and when you figure out the reason that can go a long way in resolving the issue
My parrot is terrified of the spraying bottle anyway. Honestly he is scared of everything. When I need to mist him, I have to put him in his travel cage and do it this way as otherwise he would scream in terror and fly away. Honestly, i tried for years to have him like the misting bottle and yet he is scared of it, so I doubt me using it as a punishment will do much damage to what he feels for it.
I have to admit, I hear all sort of stories from you guys and it seems like your parrots are intelligent, but mine is not intelligent at all, at all: you would get the hint to stop screaming when someone walks out of the room for 20 times in a row, but no nothing zero. I feel totally crushed.
As for the reason why he kept screaming, honestly, I have no idea, he just seemed so tense and as I said he bit the top of my head which made me dislike him further today.
the spraying bottle worked and I will be honest for a minute my ears stopped bleeding and I felt some sense of control over my life.
 
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GerryFero

Regular Member
Registered
You shouldn't have punished him
Yes, so please, give me an alternative to what could have made him stop, because to be totally honest with you after 10 hours working and one solid hour of him going totally crazy (not cute small screams, full blast window shattering screams) and wasting time going in and out of a room where I should have done chores in, I was at loss for solutions.
I am not being mean, just so so tired and frustrated of watching videos that work miracles, while my bird is totally unintelligent and gets no hint, as in 20 times walking out did not have any effect, as soon as I was in he would start again, as loud as before as much as before. Even though he can say Hello and I was saying Hello to him and he was saying it back, so it was obvious I was very happy with him saying the word rather than going crazy.
I hope you can see how broken I am and don't take this the wrong way, but I do think people don't get how hard I have tried for years and how much I am trying (the amount of books, videos, you name it, I consulted) without results.
 

Tonifrax

Guest
In all honesty, parrots are loud, destructive, they bite... It comes with the territory. They're not easy pets to own. They can drive you mad some days. All of that is natural behaviour to them but to us it can be a nightmare. It can take time and a lot of patience but you get out of it what you're willing to put into it. There can be obstacles along the way but if you want to work through them then im sure you will have every success but it can take its toll sometimes especially with issues like this.

Whether they like you or not, parrots bite. Its a form of communication for them. Sometimes this can be because we've missed other subtle hints in their body language that usually come before the bite which would've provided warning. They are very intelligent animals and i do not doubt that yours is either.

You can slowly desensitise a parrot to something it is scared of but it has to be slowly. If hes scared of a toy, dont just leave it in the cage. Leave it in the room, where he can see it but so that its not threatening. You can move it closer a little at a time but it can take days or even weeks to desensitise to an object. I made a toy for my grey and he was terrified of it. Took him 2 weeks to become desensitised to it. Same with the spray bottle. He is now fine with it. I didnt start by spraying him though. I started by leaving the bottle in the room. Moving it closer day by day at a pace he was comfortable with. Then maybe when i could get close and he was calm id spray it but not at him. You have to build up gradually.

They are not domesticated like dogs and cats and so still retain many of their natural instincts. Your parrot is scared of things because it sees them as a potential threat just like it would see anything new and unusual in the wild as a potential threat. You have to show him slowly that it is safe. Spraying him with the bottle as a punishment isnt right. He should never be forced to endure something that terrifies him. You will not build trust with him by doing that either. You need to make him feel safe and show him he can trust you.

When he is doing something bad like chewing the sofa and you wave a cushion at him, its more likely to encourage him further. He will see it as a game and is more likely to start chasing the cushion. Some birds are destructive and furniture gets ruined. Id be lucky if i found a cushion in my living room that didnt have a little hole in it. Finding something for him that he likes that is ok for him to destroy will go a long way. Focus his destruction onto something thats ok to destroy. There will be something hes not scared of. I have a phobic african grey thats scared of A LOT of things but we still have found something. Plenty of enrichment opportunities and mental stimulation are a good way to go. You're bored of the 2 tricks he knows? So teach him something else? I train my bird most days and it keeps his braim active. We do repeat a lot of his tricks but we add new things in too. At the moment we are doing colour recognition toys.
 

Tonifrax

Guest
If I was you i wouldnt have gone in and out of the room. That sounds like a fun game of peekaboo to me if youre doing it that often. You need to make sure he has plenty of enrichment, plenty of mental stimulation and time out of his cage. Setting up a routine would probably benefit him. If you have chores to do, then do your chores. Ignore him. If he makes a noise thats acceptable or a whistle then give him a whistle back. Do not respond to the screaming. Just you do your thing but make sure he still gets time and attention which is where having a good routine with time set aside for him can help. My grey screams if i leave him in his cage and i go and do my own thing. I just carry on doing it. I will only respond if he makes a more acceptable noise or ill just give him a little contact call every now and then for reassurance. I never respond or acknowledge screaming in any way and it has became marginally less than when i first got him.
 

CaptainHowdy

Regular Member
I have 4 amazons, trust me I know what screaming is.

Spraying the bird in the face is absolutely not the thing to be doing and is not going to help you in the long run, it's going to have the opposite effect as the bird will become fearful of you and potentially aggressive.

You have had this bird for 7 years, so that's 7 years worth of behaviour you need to reshape. It's not an overnight thing to do. It is going to take a long time and right now you need to have patience, a lot of it! You need to be willing to put in the time and effort it takes, you will have bad days - we all have bad days, but you will also have good days and overtime those good days will outweigh the bad.

Your bird is not unintelligent, you just haven't learnt each others language yet. Instead of punishing them for screaming have you tried rewarding them for the behaviour you do want? It doesn't have to be a treat or a toy, it can be a verbal praise, maybe a noise they really like to hear. You need to learn what it is that motives him and use that to help shape his behaviour.

Even if you get someone in to help you train him, a big chunk of that is actually training you and your partner on how to read him, how to interact with him and how to help him understand what it is you want from him. There is no quick fix to this, training is something you need to do everyday and is constant. You need to be putting the effort in daily and be consistent with what you're doing. You don't need to totally leave the room, just turn your back on him and ignore him that way till he is quiet or gives a noise you prefer and then reward him. It will take time but he will get there.
 

GerryFero

Regular Member
Registered
In all honesty, parrots are loud, destructive, they bite... It comes with the territory. They're not easy pets to own. They can drive you mad some days. All of that is natural behaviour to them but to us it can be a nightmare. It can take time and a lot of patience but you get out of it what you're willing to put into it. There can be obstacles along the way but if you want to work through them then im sure you will have every success but it can take its toll sometimes especially with issues like this.

Whether they like you or not, parrots bite. Its a form of communication for them. Sometimes this can be because we've missed other subtle hints in their body language that usually come before the bite which would've provided warning. They are very intelligent animals and i do not doubt that yours is either.

You can slowly desensitise a parrot to something it is scared of but it has to be slowly. If hes scared of a toy, dont just leave it in the cage. Leave it in the room, where he can see it but so that its not threatening. You can move it closer a little at a time but it can take days or even weeks to desensitise to an object. I made a toy for my grey and he was terrified of it. Took him 2 weeks to become desensitised to it. Same with the spray bottle. He is now fine with it. I didnt start by spraying him though. I started by leaving the bottle in the room. Moving it closer day by day at a pace he was comfortable with. Then maybe when i could get close and he was calm id spray it but not at him. You have to build up gradually.

They are not domesticated like dogs and cats and so still retain many of their natural instincts. Your parrot is scared of things because it sees them as a potential threat just like it would see anything new and unusual in the wild as a potential threat. You have to show him slowly that it is safe. Spraying him with the bottle as a punishment isnt right. He should never be forced to endure something that terrifies him. You will not build trust with him by doing that either. You need to make him feel safe and show him he can trust you.

When he is doing something bad like chewing the sofa and you wave a cushion at him, its more likely to encourage him further. He will see it as a game and is more likely to start chasing the cushion. Some birds are destructive and furniture gets ruined. Id be lucky if i found a cushion in my living room that didnt have a little hole in it. Finding something for him that he likes that is ok for him to destroy will go a long way. Focus his destruction onto something thats ok to destroy. There will be something hes not scared of. I have a phobic african grey thats scared of A LOT of things but we still have found something. Plenty of enrichment opportunities and mental stimulation are a good way to go. You're bored of the 2 tricks he knows? So teach him something else? I train my bird most days and it keeps his braim active. We do repeat a lot of his tricks but we add new things in too. At the moment we are doing colour recognition toys.
Thank you a lot. May I please ask you a couple of questions:
1. If he is chewing the sofa, of example, what would be the correct method to make his stop? I tried saying a stern no and he doesn't care, as in he stops for a millisecond that starts again; I tried giving him something else, but he is stubborn on what he decided to do; I tried ignoring him which did not end well for my sofa. Please share with me the correct way to stop him. Regarding distracting him, he will only want something I am using (e.g a crocheting hook), but if I give it to him he no longer wants it and wants the next thing I am using. I can't win this way.
2. what tricks could I teach him? I taught him to give me his paws and to spin. I have a book of tricks, but considering that I cannot touch him and obviously he would not step upon my hand, I feel there is nothing else that comes to my mind I could try training him to do. I agree that if we were learning something together it could help, but I have no idea what it could be. Would you be so kind to share a few easy to teach tricks, ones that you can teach semi-feral parrots?
 

GerryFero

Regular Member
Registered
If I was you i wouldnt have gone in and out of the room. That sounds like a fun game of peekaboo to me if youre doing it that often. You need to make sure he has plenty of enrichment, plenty of mental stimulation and time out of his cage. Setting up a routine would probably benefit him. If you have chores to do, then do your chores. Ignore him. If he makes a noise thats acceptable or a whistle then give him a whistle back. Do not respond to the screaming. Just you do your thing but make sure he still gets time and attention which is where having a good routine with time set aside for him can help. My grey screams if i leave him in his cage and i go and do my own thing. I just carry on doing it. I will only respond if he makes a more acceptable noise or ill just give him a little contact call every now and then for reassurance. I never respond or acknowledge screaming in any way and it has became marginally less than when i first got him.
I doubt he thought it was a game, as he does not like when I leave him, so I know he wanted me back in the room. This technique is from a parrot expert and one that someone in this forum suggested. see, messages are always conflicting, someone will say XY is the thing to do and someone will say XY is the devil.
He has time out of his cage and he was out f his cage when he went crazy.
All the things you say, to reward acceptable noises and to give him attention, I tried before and today too, I was doing these things, they just did not work at all. He would make the accptable noise, "chat" to me 5 second than back to full blast screaming :(
Thanks for your words anyway.
 
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