How to tame my Rosella?

Roz

Regular Member
Hi @Gianos! This was your question from the Profile Posts. There wasn't enough room to write my answer there, so I have moved it here:

Hey roz could you give me some tips or suggestions about how to tame or pet my rosella? She is biting a bit (not hard) and is really scared

This is a great question! If she is very scared, try working with her from a distance first. Don’t try to touch her as you will only make her more scared. Notice her body language all the time (without staring) and do all you can to keep her body language as relaxed as possible.

If walking towards her cage freaks her out, then think about how you could approach differently. Slower? Lower? Birds feel safer higher up where they can more easily spot predators. In a cage, she can’t get any higher, but you can get lower. With Ollie who arrived terrified of humans, I would crawl to his cage and crouch down so that he felt more comfortable. I would move slowly and smoothly. Eye contact would terrify him so I avoided eye contact for months especially when nearer him. When cleaning out his cage I would get really low.

When your Rosella is more comfortable with you around, then you can work on pairing yourself with something good. With a bird that is not tame, food is a good way to go. Food is a primary reinforcer – all birds have to eat! Notice which food items she picks out of her bowl first – these will be her favourites. Work towards her taking a favourite piece of food from your fingers through the cage bars. Make it a big piece of food so that she doesn’t have to get too close to your fingers at first. Then you can break it into smaller and smaller pieces. So, for example, you might start with a slice of apple (if she likes apple) that you can wedge through the cage bars. Then get slower and slower at wedging it so that she eventually starts eating it before you’ve even finish wedging it into place. Then hand her smaller pieces of apple through the bars… then try handing her a piece through the open door.

See how slow you need to go to gain her trust?

When she is happy taking treats from you, then the world of training is an exciting one! You can use treats as reinforcers (rewards) to teach her to do anything you like from targeting, or stepping up, or recall, or tricks etc.
 

Gianos

Regular Member
Registered
Hi @Gianos! This was your question from the Profile Posts. There wasn't enough room to write my answer there, so I have moved it here:

Hey roz could you give me some tips or suggestions about how to tame or pet my rosella? She is biting a bit (not hard) and is really scared

This is a great question! If she is very scared, try working with her from a distance first. Don’t try to touch her as you will only make her more scared. Notice her body language all the time (without staring) and do all you can to keep her body language as relaxed as possible.

If walking towards her cage freaks her out, then think about how you could approach differently. Slower? Lower? Birds feel safer higher up where they can more easily spot predators. In a cage, she can’t get any higher, but you can get lower. With Ollie who arrived terrified of humans, I would crawl to his cage and crouch down so that he felt more comfortable. I would move slowly and smoothly. Eye contact would terrify him so I avoided eye contact for months especially when nearer him. When cleaning out his cage I would get really low.

When your Rosella is more comfortable with you around, then you can work on pairing yourself with something good. With a bird that is not tame, food is a good way to go. Food is a primary reinforcer – all birds have to eat! Notice which food items she picks out of her bowl first – these will be her favourites. Work towards her taking a favourite piece of food from your fingers through the cage bars. Make it a big piece of food so that she doesn’t have to get too close to your fingers at first. Then you can break it into smaller and smaller pieces. So, for example, you might start with a slice of apple (if she likes apple) that you can wedge through the cage bars. Then get slower and slower at wedging it so that she eventually starts eating it before you’ve even finish wedging it into place. Then hand her smaller pieces of apple through the bars… then try handing her a piece through the open door.

See how slow you need to go to gain her trust?

When she is happy taking treats from you, then the world of training is an exciting one! You can use treats as reinforcers (rewards) to teach her to do anything you like from targeting, or stepping up, or recall, or tricks etc.
Well she is not afraid of me even when my hand is near to her and she takes treats really relaxed from my hand. When I open the door though without even putting my hand in she goes at the top of the cage and she is panicking. What should I do?
 

Eddie

Regular Member
I think she is probably a little bit like my Eddie at the moment, scared of being caught! Perhaps keep building your rapport from outside the cage with treats and scratches on her head. With our budgie my daughter used millet as a treat... once that was accepted, the next few days she would open the cage door and offer it from her fingers and then eventually Indy was confident enough to walk into her open hand to collect it, then once that was ok, Emily slowly took her hand out with Indy on her hand. This was done over a couple of weeks. Worth a go?
 

Gianos

Regular Member
Registered
I think she is probably a little bit like my Eddie at the moment, scared of being caught! Perhaps keep building your rapport from outside the cage with treats and scratches on her head. With our budgie my daughter used millet as a treat... once that was accepted, the next few days she would open the cage door and offer it from her fingers and then eventually Indy was confident enough to walk into her open hand to collect it, then once that was ok, Emily slowly took her hand out with Indy on her hand. This was done over a couple of weeks. Worth a go?
When I touch her head she pushes my fingers away with her beak. She doesn't like getting touched. When I bathe her though I can do EVERYTHING 😂. It's a weird bird... I can only feed her from the outside though
 

Roz

Regular Member
Maybe she has had bad experiences when someone opens the door and tries to touch her or grab her? Open door is paired with something bad (for her). So you need to work on pairing the opening door with good things only:

I'd break down opening the door into tiny steps. If she is fine taking treats from you through the bars, then feed her treats through the bars. Then bring your other hand up slightly towards the door. Keep reinforcing her relaxed body language with the treats. Then bring your hand slightly closer to the door. Treat! Then slightly closer. Treat! Then touch the door. Treat! Then touch the door catch. Treat! Then open the catch. Treat! Then open the door a centimeter and shut it again. Treat! Then open it 2 centimeters. Treat! All the time you are reinforcing her relaxed body language. Keep sessions very short (a few seconds here and there throughout the day). So the first session you might end on bringing your hand closer to the door and reinforcing her relaxed body language with the treat. Next session you might be able to get a little closer to putting your hand on the door. If she at any time looks a little uncomfortable/scared, you have progressed too fast too soon. Take a few steps back and go even slower. Always end on a successful step. At other times when you just want to let her out, just open the door, walk away and let her come out herself. She'll begin to learn there is nothing to fear when the door is opened whether you stay there or not.

I wouldn't try to touch her head if she doesn't like it. Some birds don't like to be touched or even scratched on the head. My budgie didn't. You are lucky she just pushes your hand away. If you continue to ignore her body language and persevere with trying to touch her you may well end up teaching her to bite harder and harder. You have all the time in the world to gain her trust. Maybe one day you will be able to scratch her head. :)
 

Gianos

Regular Member
Registered
Maybe she has had bad experiences when someone opens the door and tries to touch her or grab her? Open door is paired with something bad (for her). So you need to work on pairing the opening door with good things only:

I'd break down opening the door into tiny steps. If she is fine taking treats from you through the bars, then feed her treats through the bars. Then bring your other hand up slightly towards the door. Keep reinforcing her relaxed body language with the treats. Then bring your hand slightly closer to the door. Treat! Then slightly closer. Treat! Then touch the door. Treat! Then touch the door catch. Treat! Then open the catch. Treat! Then open the door a centimeter and shut it again. Treat! Then open it 2 centimeters. Treat! All the time you are reinforcing her relaxed body language. Keep sessions very short (a few seconds here and there throughout the day). So the first session you might end on bringing your hand closer to the door and reinforcing her relaxed body language with the treat. Next session you might be able to get a little closer to putting your hand on the door. If she at any time looks a little uncomfortable/scared, you have progressed too fast too soon. Take a few steps back and go even slower. Always end on a successful step. At other times when you just want to let her out, just open the door, walk away and let her come out herself. She'll begin to learn there is nothing to fear when the door is opened whether you stay there or not.

I wouldn't try to touch her head if she doesn't like it. Some birds don't like to be touched or even scratched on the head. My budgie didn't. You are lucky she just pushes your hand away. If you continue to ignore her body language and persevere with trying to touch her you may well end up teaching her to bite harder and harder. You have all the time in the world to gain her trust. Maybe one day you will be able to scratch her head. :)
Thanks Roz!
 
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Martin Dean

Regular Member
Im wondering (as I already have a hand tame Kakariki that takes treats through the bar and jumps on my hand when its close). If by putting my not hand tame kakariki in with my already hand tame Kakariki, my NOT hand tame kakariki will see the hand tame kakariki grabbing the millet from outside the cage it might start to slowly trust me? Is this a good or bad idea?
 

Roz

Regular Member
Hi Martin, that is some good thinking in that birds/animals do copy others. The only problem is, parrots are usually pretty territorial so the one whose cage it originally was may well attack the newcomer. If you had a large aviary it would be a different story as there would be plenty of space for them to get away if they didn't like each other. Could you put their cages side by side so that the non hand tame kak can see the tame kak grabbing the millet?

Does the non tame kakariki like millet spray? If you clip it to the side of his cage how long before he'll come and nibble it? Does he like apple too? That's something else you could wedge through the bars. Try clipping or wedging something delicious to his bars daily so that he gets used to you and your hands. He'll gradually get faster at coming to eat, and in turn you can get slower at the clipping or wedging. Eventually he will be nibbling whilst you are still holding the food.
 
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