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Help With Indian Ringneck Need.

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Samin Alakozay, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. Samin Alakozay

    Samin Alakozay Regular Member Registered

    Hi all,
    I hope this email finds you all well.

    3 days ago I came across a Indian Ringneck parrot in a corner shop for sale
    The parrot looks healthy however its was in a very old rusty and dirty cage, the cage is a decent size however its very old and hazardous.
    It was clear the owner just had a parrot for the sake of having one and not much training went into this bird.
    The owner said the parrot is 3 years old and sometimes the parrot can be tame. (the parrot can be older or younger I have no idea)
    I asked the owner why he was selling the bird and his response was “there was 2 and one escaped I don’t want just one”
    My love for parrots and other animals have always run deep, I made a decision to take the parrot from the shop keeper and take it home.

    I have had the parrot for 3 days now and its far from tame, when I go near the bird it just runs to the other side of the cage and seems really scared of hands.
    When I try to change his water or food bowl, the bird goes crazy, it goes into panic mode and I’m scared its going to hurt itself.
    I don’t think this parrot has ever been hand held or come out of its cage.

    I’m lucky enough to have a “green house” where the cage is currently located, the place looks good for the parrot to fly around and have some fun, I tried to do this last night and after 1 hour of the cage being open the parrot not wanting to come out I closed the cage again.

    I have several issues here, which I need help and support with.

    1. How to tame this bird, this question Is a very vague question but I need to start some where, we have been spending a lot of time with the bird talking to the bird softly and giving it fruits as treats

    2. I have spent over 300£ on a few cage, toys, calcium block ect, (the current cage had NO TOYS AND ONE OLD STICK) how do I transfer such a scared bird from one cage to another,
    Do I just use a towel and force the bird out?, do I leave the cage open and when the bird leaves quickly take the old cage out and replace with the new one?

    I want to give this bird a very long , healthy, happy life, but I also want the bird to be able to interact with my family as I have some kids and teenagers that want to be able to ultimately play and pet the bird
    Any advice here at all would be really appreciated.

    I have spent hours and hours watching youtube video however the parrots used for on the clips are already very tame so I thought getting some help here would be a good start.

    p.s. if your wondering we named the bird (jack sparrow)

    Kind regards Sam
  2. dianaT

    dianaT Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    :welcome: Sam, good for you giving the IRN a nice home and wanting to offer the best care. I cannot but wonder whether this was and aviary bird therefore not used to human contact.
    I am sure those with IRNs will be along with advice including our lovely @Roz @Michael Reynolds also newer members who also needed advice regarding their IRNs. @Laura Rowsell .
    Laura Rowsell likes this.
  3. Michael Reynolds

    Michael Reynolds Regular Member

    Hello and Welcome first of all can you post a photo of Jack Sparrow?
    Thank you Diana for tagging me.

    Ringnecks are wonderful birds and extremely intelligent but also they can be tamed at any age and I know as I have worked with quite a few from wild, Ferrell, Aviary, Parent reared, Neglected, well loved and hand reared,

    the more wild they are the longer it may take but building trust can take time at first and believe me it is so worth it.

    you may wonder why I ask for a photo first, the colouring can help me establish its generation that the birds family has been in captivity and I will advice you on the best way of proceeding. one thing I must say from the start is do not try to approach him yet as he will be very scared of you so even when you are going near him talk calm and not loud and do every thing slowly. Have his cage near to where you sit and you can carry on as if he is not there but if you are reading then read out loud if you are relaxing then relax and be your normal self and just remember he is near and gie him the occasional glance and a bit of small talk, then carry on relaxing and that is even if you are watching TV. if you are like me I rather eat and relax on a chair but if you do always try to offer a bit of your food (he will most likely fly to the other part of the cage) but he will also see you are not selfish and in the ringnecks wild groups I have often seen them sharing bits of food to there friends. the challenge of a new cage, many tamer ringnecks will jump to the chance of investigating a new cage especially if fresh food and water is in it as they are as curious as a cat as the old saying goes. but one that is frightened needs to be coaxed but not driven in to the new cage. try to set the cage up so the doors meet and remove the food and water from his old cage and place it in his new one. you want to have any toys and perches all ready set up as he will need to fill safe in his new home and not want to have to go in the cage that can cause stress but also loose trust. Can I ask dose your bird have a ring on one of its legs?
  4. Roz

    Roz Regular Member

    :welcome: Sam and Jack Sparrow! Thanks for the tag, Di!

    Sounds like a lovely thing you did to get Jack Sparrow out of there!

    Move slowly and smoothly around him. Be predictable. Feed, water, clean him out at roughly the same time every day so he knows what and when to expect it.

    Use negative reinforcement to approach him whenever possible. In short it is rewarding his relaxed body language by moving away since right now you are an aversive. I have written the exact specifics in this thread:


    A friend once taught me to get down on the floor when approaching a bird who is terrified of humans. The principle being a bird feels safer higher up where he can more easily spot predators. It worked a treat when I got my Orange-winged Amazon, Ollie. At the same time, move slowly and predictably. I used this method (yes, I crawled on the floor! :biggrin:) any time I wasn’t using negative reinforcement.

    You are the predator here because you have eyes on the front of your head. A bird is prey animal with its eyes on the sides of its head. A steady stare by a predator means 'I am stalking you to eat you'. So avoid direct eye contact to begin with. Even try closing one eye or snatching glances with your face turned so he can only see one eye.

    I did this for many days if not weeks with Ollie. When he was calmer with my eye contact, I would then blink at him from afar. Blinking means that you are relaxed. It felt like a breakthrough when one day Ollie began to blink back.

    I wouldn’t change cages now. Reason being he has lost everything so far in his previous life – his flock (nice or not, the last owner was still his flock), his normal surroundings, maybe even the food he was used to. Try to stick to the same food for now if you still have it. The cage and contents are the only familiar thing. Try leaving him inside for a few days. Meanwhile gradually move the new cage (set it up with everything he needs) beside her existing cage to get him used to it.

    If you don’t want to wait, is it possible to put the two cages door to door and then because he is afraid of you (and moves in the opposite direction) stand behind his old cage so that he moves into the new one? Or… his old cage doesn’t sound very big since I am assuming you transported him inside it in your car or however you got him back. Can you take the bottom off, and gradually tip it horizontal so that the bottom opening overlaps the new cage door. This is going to be very frightening for Jack. You need to assess the situation as you are doing it. If he is going to flap and hurt himself more so than already, then maybe give him time in his old cage first.

    That’s really great that you aren’t forcing Jack to do anything. Opening the cage door so that he can come out if he wants to and respecting his choice. With Ollie it was exactly the same. He actually chose not to come out for 1.5 years!! But as soon as I could get near him, I used to teach him to step up on a hand held perch whilst he was in his cage, using positive reinforcement and then gradually bring him out of the cage on the perch and put him straight back again. You can’t do this with Jack until he is calmer around you. So for now give him ambient attention... from a distance. I just wanted to say that it is possible to work with Jack inside his cage.

    Is he taking the offered fruit from you? That is the way to go. Pairing yourself with awesome stuff like food. Food is a great reinforcer to start with because it is unlearned – all parrots have to eat.

    Later when you can get near him with him showing relaxed body language, then you can sit near his cage and read out loud to him. No use doing that now if he’s frightened of you as you will continue to be an aversive.
  5. Samin Alakozay

    Samin Alakozay Regular Member Registered

    Hi guys,

    Firstly I wish to thank you both for such a detailed and helpful reply. @Michael Reynolds @Roz
    As requested please see attached photo of jack. I can confirm there are no rings on his legs.

    He isn’t as scared as he was before, when he was new on first and second day he used to run to the other side of the cage, how he just sits there or at most takes one step the opposite direction.

    His main way to avoid me/my family is for him to simply look away!
    His cage is by the Livingroom next to the kitchen and by the green house and dining room, he will have loads of attention just unable to move him into the Livingroom.
    I will try the technique of lining up both cages and hopefully it goes into that one, however I’m slightly concerned, if the bird decided to leave the cage and fly around the greenhouse/conservatory what guarantee is there that it will return to his cage? Isit the fact that he will get hungry and that’s the only place to get food?

    Some of the tips you guys have mentioned I already try my best to implement, such has being low as possible and not making sudden movement, or making eye contract.
    His current age isn’t exactly small, its just that its in very bad condition and the new cage I got is bigger than his current one.
    I’m not sure jack has ever had any toys, the cage only came with feeding bowls and 1 stick for it to sick on, the next morning I went and got jack a new perch (one that isn’t smooth and straight) and 2 toys, hes not really using one of the toys but hes rather obsessed with the little mirror.

    When offering him food/fruit I speak very calmly and give him compliments however he keeps his distance so I keep the treat on his breach or food bowl and as soon as I back off he goes for the treat and eats it with enjoyment (so far apple is his to go fruit I think)
    Also is there such a thing as over feeding a parrot, how much food/fruit do I leave for the guy, should I leave the bowls full so he can eat as he likes or am I meant to maintain the diet? (currently has a mixed nuts diet) and myself and the kids are giving him fruits, such as apples, banana, ect.

    Is fruits enough for a “treat” or is there a much more desired treat out there?
    Can you guys please also take a moment to look at the products I have purchased and let me know if its enough or any more adjustments need to be made.

    The cage:
    the toys:
    (has 2 toys currently)

    (also has 1 more currently)

    kind regards

    Attached Files:

    dianaT likes this.
  6. dianaT

    dianaT Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Well Jack Sparrow is a lovely looking bird.
  7. Michael Reynolds

    Michael Reynolds Regular Member

    Ok my first thoughts are He is a She or is younger than what you have been told but I can only see one photo that shows me the neck and the second photo the area where a ring can develop is covered by the bars. the reason I wanted to look at the covering is so I can determine if the bird was from the feral flock, well it is not so its defiantly captive bred I am quite busy now but will answer the other questions later
  8. Michael Reynolds

    Michael Reynolds Regular Member

    you have made some good choices in your orders, ok ringneck are driven by wanting to survive so it will go into the cage to get its food when it is hungry, my one concern is having a bird in an area that can get very hot in the sunshine. many birds have passed away through heat through being in conservatries,
  9. Roz

    Roz Regular Member

    Sounds like she/he is making good progress already! She/he is gorgeous. Love that he only feels he has to turn his head now and not so much physically walk away. Says a lot about how you are going about gaining his trust. You are doing well leaving the treat/fruit out for him so that he can come to get it when you have backed off. Gradually you can get slower and slower at moving away, so that eventually he will be eating it whilst you are still by his cage and then in the future taking it from your hand. Go at his pace.

    A parrot will take the food he wants. If you have three bowls in the cage, one could be for fruit and veggies, one for seed/pellets and the 3rd for water. Fruit and vegetables should make up a good proportion of his diet. Especially beta carotene rich foods like carrot, sweet potato (raw or cooked), squash/pumpkin (they can also eat the seeds), broccoli, kale, chillies (parrots have no taste receptors for chilli heat), sweet peppers, mango, papaya, orange melon, etc. Other fruit and veg are good too. A seed only diet will be seriously lacking in vitamins, minerals and enzymes. You could also try sprouting if you felt so inclined:

    Seed mix should be fine for now. Is it a seed mix you are feeding or purely nuts? Then change to a better quality seed mix, maybe something like AS30:

    You could even add some pellets later.

    Nuts are great for good fats – essential fatty acids. Tree nuts (not peanuts/monkey nuts that have saturated fat and can harbour aflatoxins) like walnuts (good omega 3 and 6 mix), almonds (high in calcium), cashews, pistachio, pecans, brazil etc. Nuts should be fed in moderation because of the high fat. Too much fat – even good fat – is not good for the body. You could use nut pieces as treats.

    Looks like you got a nice selection of toys and perches to start with. Watch that Jack doesn’t get caught up in the long chains. Good idea to start with small toys so as not to frighten him. You might also like to have a look at the toys on this website:

    Karen from the Natural Bird Co. makes the most amazing toys. They are expensive so another option is to look at her toys to get some ideas and buy the toy parts (also from her website) and make your own. The great thing about these toys are that some are easily destructible which is fun for the bird. It gets them playing. Most toys are made of hard wood, therefore are difficult if not impossible to destroy by many birds so they get bored of them. That’s when people say, my parrot doesn’t play. It’s all about finding toys/materials that your individual parrot is interested in. You can also buy all sort of natural perches from them too. Or if you have access to good wood like apple, willow or birch, make your own. Not all wood is good - some like cherry and plum are toxic for our parrots.

    Be careful if he escapes into the conservatory. He may keep flying into the glass which could knock him out or even kill him.
    dianaT likes this.
  10. Samin Alakozay

    Samin Alakozay Regular Member Registered

    @Michael Reynolds
    after doing some research i think that he is actually a she! no biggie we will go with Jacki sparrow, good improvisation there in my opinion.
    the cage doesn’t get direct sunlight which is good, light comes in but its not located in a position to get direct sunlight so i guess thats good news so far
    thanks for your time once again looking forward to whoever information you throw my way.

    dianaT likes this.
  11. Samin Alakozay

    Samin Alakozay Regular Member Registered

    hi @Roz
    thank you for your reply.

    Sounds like she/he is making good progress already! She/he is gorgeous. Love that he only feels he has to turn his head now and not so much physically walk away. Says a lot about how you are going about gaining his trust. You are doing well leaving the treat/fruit out for him so that he can come to get it when you have backed off. Gradually you can get slower and slower at moving away, so that eventually he will be eating it whilst you are still by his cage and then in the future taking it from your hand. Go at his pace.

    thats good to hear that we are heading in the right direction, hopefully she will be less scared as time goes on.
    currently her diet contains all kinds of seeds including peanut (monkey nuts) which i think i have to change.
    her diet will be:
    bowl 1 will consist of:

    bowl 2:
    banana, apple, chilli, pomegranate, carrots, broccoli. these are the fruits i have access to in my house easy.

    how much of these fruits do i chop up? do i make half a bowl and leave it?
    how often does the fruit bowl need changing with fresh fruit/veg?

    bowl 3: water

    is this a good balanced diet or am i missing something here?
    no nuts will be in the diet only used for treats (please correct me if im work)
    only nut i can think of would be almonds is there a better option or is this good enough?
    if the above is correct and i have the right idea then how many almonds should i be giving the parrot per day/week etc?

    ill will try and set up the new toy i have and see if Jacki likes it, if its not going well ill remove most of them and slowly put them in one by one.

    hopefully jacki likes one or two of the new toys, currently he in love with the mirror.Be careful if he escapes into the conservatory. He may keep flying into the glass which could knock him out or even kill him.
    im rather confused about the above statement, do i leave the bird in the cage and not let it out at all? ever?
    the place where the bird is currently located does have a big glass wall, which over see’s the garden.

    can you please shed some light on this
    Thanks for the detailed reply by the way

    kind regards
  12. Roz

    Roz Regular Member

    We all have different ways of feeding - hopefully some others will give you some ideas too. Or have a look at some of the threads in the Food and Diet section here. Some of us like to chop fruit and veg up small so that it becomes what is known as "chop" or "mash", others like me prefer to leave the fruit and veg in bigger pieces like this:


    You'll find that you will start to judge for yourself how much to make for her. Maybe the bowl should be quarter to a half full? I like putting things roughly in one layer so the birds can see what's in the bowl. The trick is getting her to eat the fresh stuff! You may have to experiment in different ways of chopping it up.

    I give them a fresh bowl morning and night. I'll slot in the fresh bowl first in the morning so that these guys are likely to be hungry enough to eat it. Then I will slot in the dry bowl (that stays in all day). I leave raw fruit, veggies and sprouts in all day - they just slowly dry out. But cooked food should be removed after an hour or so as it is likely to go off (some say just half an hour). So I tend to add some cooked food to their evening bowl so that I can then remove it. Cooked may be a little mashed sweet potato and peas, or scrambled egg, or cooked grains and legumes (combined grains and legumes makes a complete protein). Tonight I made a small omelet with chopped beans, broccoli, red pepper, chilli pepper and courgette. Have to say it went down well with all of them! I remove all food during the night. Not many parrots eat in the dark, plus I want them to be hungry for their fruit and veggies in the morning.

    Re nuts for treats. They will only be treats if she likes them. Here only Kobe (Pionus) loves almonds. Ollie only likes cashews and palm nuts as treats. Bobbie likes cashews, goji berries and pieces of corncake spread with almond butter. Chico likes cashews and pistachios. So you see the bird chooses the treat. If you put a selection of nuts in her food bowl, watch what she picks out first - those will be her favourite. She may not even like nuts! She may prefer another item like raisins. You will get to know what she likes and when you find out, you can try handing one to her... or just putting one or two in her bowl with her watching you. That way you become paired with the delicious treat, be it a nut or something else.

    Water should be changed more than once a day if she turns out to be a dunker! Some parrots love to put food in their water.... or if you aren't careful, poop! It becomes a bacteria soup. Luckily my parrots are fairly clean - I sometimes change Kobe's water twice a day as he might drop a grape or almond pieces in there. I know others here change water twice a day.

    I completely misunderstood your conservatory question. I thought you were concerned about what to do if she should escape the cage when transferring her to the new one. I understand what you are getting at now.

    I would let her get to know the food routine (no opening the cage door for a few days). That way she is getting to know when the food is present. When she shows a healthy interest about going down to her food bowls soon after they have been slotted in, then I would just open the door and let her come out if she wants to maybe an hour or so before her breakfast or dinner. That way she will hopefully take herself back in when you slot in the food bowl (because she is hungry). You may want to put a short perch on the inside of the cage door so that it becomes an "outdoor" perch when the door is open. It can be a helpful transition. Just be aware that she will not initially understand any large windows or mirrors. If she flies in a panic she is likely to crash into them. You could put stickers/decals on them to show her they are solid and then remove them one by one at a later date. Likewise if she should panic when she first comes out, she could also crash into walls. So best let her come out on her own when she is ready.
    dianaT and Michael Reynolds like this.
  13. Michael Reynolds

    Michael Reynolds Regular Member

    Hello Jackie Sparrow I just love her name
  14. Laura Rowsell

    Laura Rowsell Regular Member Registered

    Hello! Hope you don’t mind me jumping on your post, I’m a new IRN owner too, got my girl last week..we are currently on day 10. I won’t lie, I’m finding it so much harder than I anticipated!!
    Reading your post I feel that I’m quite lucky that mine will take food out of my hand, but it is hit and miss, sometimes she will, other times she will snatch it, drop it and go for my fingers instead.
    I felt a couple of days ago we were making progress, albeit SLOW!! However, yesterday, she was almost like a different bird, she sat on her perch, every time I tried to talk to her she’d squawk at me, she flew at the bars to me to try and bite me, she growled at me! I made the mistake of letting her out, and she point blank refused to go back in, she went for me, she flew across the living room, i managed to get her to step up onto my (gloved) hand, she sat on it, but biting me the whole time, as soon as I approached the cage she flew off again!! Repeat this 3 times, whilst talking softly to her, finally got her back in. This morning again, she’s just grumpy with me again. I don’t know if yesterday has scared her and put us a few steps back, but today she really doesn’t seem to like me at all :(
    I messaged my mum who has 3 African greys and I was really upset, just saying I don’t think I can do it, I don’t see how this angry little bird can turn around.
  15. Michael Reynolds

    Michael Reynolds Regular Member

    Laura you are expecting to much too soon apart from having to deal with her cage and food let her come to you. do not feed her out from the cage if the cage is the only place she can get food she will have to go in by her self. Never chase or force her to go in as you then loose trust. if you have to leave her out until she is ready to go in you can make the room darker but it must have a little light so she can find her way to the cage or she will just sit where she is
    Roz and Laura Rowsell like this.
  16. Samin Alakozay

    Samin Alakozay Regular Member Registered

    Hi all!!!
    I have some exciting news along with some concerning news.
    most of jacki’s stuff arrived his cage and toys still waiting for 1-2 Perch but it will come eventually

    So we decided to build the new cage next to his current cage and jacki was glued to the side of the cage right next to me just watching. It’s almost like she knew what was happening. I have never seen her be that comfortable around 4-5 people before.

    After putting the cage together I decided to fill one bowl with water
    One bowl with mixed nuts (removed monkey nuts)
    One bowl with fruits (banana, orange, apple, grapes,)

    To try and bribe her

    Then I slowly removed her current toys from her cage and started putting it in his new cage and I have to say she didn’t move or flinch once I was in shock. Little panic but nothing at all like before.

    After removing all her belongings I opened both cages and with a tinyyyyyy bit of encouragement she jumped ship and sat on the door of the new cage... spent about 5min between her old and new cage and eventually she jumped in. ( see picture of her new cage and jacki)

    The concerning part is that I noticed when we got jacki she had a little hole in her chest. I wasn’t sure what this is and still not sure. she looks like she is picking on, as if she’s eating her self which worried and confused me.
    She was kind enough to let me take a close up photo ( see photo)

    Any comments / advice would be greatly appreciated

    Kind regards

    Attached Files:

  17. Michael Reynolds

    Michael Reynolds Regular Member

    Typical ring neck. it what I said would happen. I love the photo, don't worry about the feather on her chest its just out of place
  18. Roz

    Roz Regular Member

    Wow - well done, Sam!!! Love the green environment you have set up for her!
  19. Roz

    Roz Regular Member

    Hi Laura! I would do all you can to avoid this sort of reaction from her. Easier said than done I know. It might mean keeping away from her at certain times of the day. It might mean avoiding eye contact. Kobe my Pionus can get very aggressive when hormones are up. I find eye contact sets him off, so around those times I am careful not to make prolonged eye contact and certainly no eye contact when I approach him directly. I also found that walking straight towards Kobe would often set him off too. So I used to zigzag in his general direction, pretending I was going somewhere else. I find Kobe is at his worst in the mornings. So what I did is work on our relationship in the evenings and gradually the good times increased. Kobe too will sometimes take a treat nicely, but most times snatch and throw! I've found that he'll take it nicely at night just before bed and if he really wants it in the morning. The rest of the time forget it. So I work with it and the rest of the time use other reinforcers.

    Some birds are cage aggressive and even more so around hormonal times... which might be another reason why she doesn't want you too close to her cage. Notice if it is all the time, or just certain times. The last owner did her (and you!) no favours at all by encouraging this hormonal behaviour. I would also keep a diary or journal about her behaviour so that you can see the progress you make.

    Also think about how a cat seeks out the person who is allergic/tries to avoid them! Maybe you are trying too hard to be friends with her. Try backing off a little and see what the reaction is. Changing behaviour is all about trial and error. If something doesn't work, try something else.
  20. Samin Alakozay

    Samin Alakozay Regular Member Registered

    @Roz @Michael Reynolds,
    im glad that the cage set up looks good, I was worried that I did it wrong, or might of made a mistake.
    still waiting on a calcium brick and 2 more perches so she should have a decent amount of toys to play with.

    my plan is to take food away from the bird at night past 10pm... then put it back on there around 9am but let the bird out the cage around 8am for his daily flight.
    take the food and fruits away around 2pm and let the bird out around 7pm, introduce food back in the cage around 8pm, bird is hungry and has a hour of flight so hopefully she comes back to the cage,
    then very slowly I can increase his flight time and leave the food in the cage long and longer... hopefully he will learn to just go in and not play hard ball...

    im still rather concerned about the hole in the chest of the bird.

    when I got her there was red stain which would indicate there might of been blood. she has cleaned her self up but it looks like shes picking scab from her chest
    I have uploaded 3 photo's hopefully its nothing but wanted to have it tripled checked.

    thanks in advance guys

    Attached Files: