Rocky U2 / Biting

Posted By: pineview01

Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/07/10 03:06 AM

I have been prompted to post here. Very strongly by Janny. I need to know if there would be any use starting this process at this time.

The following is from this post---

February 15th I went and looked at a U2 than called Roxy. The teen was told the bird was a female based on the eye color. He told me he was also told the bird was just molting and would be fine when the feathers came back in. The only whole feathers on him were on his head.

The bird was in a cage with only a small plastic toy and two perches. The boy said he just tore up toys and the plastic one is the only one he didnít tear up. His cage was in the boys room with a very large snake that was out when the boy was there. The cage had bent and broken bars. Most of the coating was gone. The cage was left there. I donít have history so donít know how many homes or such.

I took Rocky to a AV when I first got him and asked for a total check up. She did a fecal and said everything looked good. She declared the problem behavior without any other testing and put him on Hydroxyzine syrup and Revia. I had to ask for test for "everything" as I have other birds. (CBC, Chlamydia, PBFD, Poloma & had her sexed too.) All the test did come back negitive. Also found out Roxy was a male

Than after reading many articles for many hours, I went back to her and asked for heavy metal testing. (Zinc, Lead) This bird had bent bars and missing coating on the cage he came from. Which I had mentioned to her at the first visit.

As advised by many I took now Rocky to a second vet. This vet reviewed all the test results, did another Gram and Fecal. He recommended the removal of all the broken feathers on the wings and tail. He thought it could be possible, as we have no history, the whole barbering/plucking thing started with a broken feather digging in. So he put him under and removed all the broken shafts. He has me giving him a Haldol shot once a week. He also did a Aspergillus Panel on him which was negative to.

While Rocky continued to pluck his chest, he had started to mutilate it too, and legs, he has allowed the tail and flights to grow. He still has balance issues and seems really weak muscled. Tonight he used his new flights to glided down from his cage to the ground instead of falling like a rock as he did in the past.

I have had great help from several from here since Feb. What I need to know is: Is there any since trying ABA while Rocky is on Haldol. The drug is affecting his behavior which is why I haven't thought it would do any good to try ABA.If you need any other info let me know
Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/07/10 03:37 AM

What behaviour are you looking to change?

Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/08/10 06:10 AM

Well Bev that is a great question! I read it an went hummmm! Than I walked away to think about it. At this point Iím not sure.

At one time it would have been easy. I could have promptly replied biting, screaming or aggression.

I responded to a bite thread and was encouraged by many to start a thread here on Rocky. Beeps wrote a great reply on not getting bite and suggested I stick train. This was also suggested by other Too owners.

I had been asked to keep Rockyís progress updated so I made a post to that affect. I was again urged to post here.

I havenít been bitten since May. I stopped trying to step him up. I would like to teach him to step-up on a stick without wanting to bite or fear of the stick/perch. The vet wants me to fledge him as the flights are now grown out. I have to be able to handle him and we need to be able to trust each other to do it. So would it be biting or trust?
Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/08/10 02:12 PM

Trust is a construct or label. It is not a behaviour, biting is. Biting was an issue with all of my birds at one time. I never thought about stick training them, I wanted them to "want" to step up for me. In each case, I had to figure out why they were biting and work on that. In Sally's and Nikki's case, it was more about I don't want you to put me down so it wasn't really the step up so much as it was you aren't spending enough time with me. Zazu bit me because I tried to make her step up. That was before I knew about ABA. Gypsy had been taught to bite in her first home and I had to teach her that I would not make her do anything she did not want to do so over time I made myself a conditioned reinforcer to all my birds and now they all step up readily. Occasionally, if they refuse, I allow them that choice because they always step up when I really need them to such as in the morning when I'm going to work.

That was a good move to stop trying to step him up. Are you afraid of him now? You need to go back to square one and earn his trust. Do you want to do that? The behaviour we would be working on is "biting".


Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/08/10 05:58 PM

So "biting" would be the behavior!

I know I need to work on gaining his trust. Some road blocks are I have to give a Haldol shot once a week to him. I have my DH towel him I try to have him leave a little towel over his face. Sometimes he doesn't get it covered though.

He isn't food motivated at all. I have all I can do to get him to eat at all.

I try to be the giver of all good but, he doesn't WANT anything from me.

I don't know how much is the Haldol. He did love sunflower seed and cracked walnuts before and I was using them.

Any thoughts on how to proceed gaining his trust would be great.
Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/08/10 06:16 PM

He is getting the Haldol for mutilating? How long will this be going on for? Can this medication be given in food?

What do you feed him every day? How long have you had him? Do you know anything about his past? I'm just curious about this.


OK, I've read a little on what has gone on so far. This poor bird, so many changes in a short period of time. I'm sure life with that teen-ager was a barrel of fun. Can you keep a log of your interactions with him for a few days? I need to know exactly what his day is like from the time he gets up until he goes to bed and how you fit or don't fit into it. Can you post pictures of his cage so I can see the set up? The biting will stop when his trust has been earned. That takes time and work. Starting out your new relationship by having to give injections is negative so we need to find as many positive things as we can and give him lots and lots of them.

But I really need to understand his world so you have to be my eyes and ears so we can help him and you. Sound like a plan?


Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/08/10 06:33 PM

Also, can you change the topic to Rocky/Biting?

Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/08/10 10:01 PM

Originally Posted By: ZazuSally
Also, can you change the topic to Rocky/Biting?


Sorry Bev I don't know how to change the subject from Rocky U2/ Biting to just Rocky/biting.
Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/08/10 11:37 PM

Rocky U2/Biting is fine.

Must be having one of those senior moments. LOL

Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/09/10 08:35 AM

I didn't have very good luck getting a photo today. This is the best I could do!

Here is a photo taken a little while back.

This is the cage I bought for my B&G way back. I now use it for a quarantine cage. Iím waiting for his custom Freedom cage. It is taken twice as long as promised.

Now on to the log!
Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/09/10 01:59 PM

Before you start the log, can you answer the questions I asked above.

Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/12/10 05:35 AM

The vet had him on the drug for 11/12 weeks, just to get him thru the major feather regrowth. This week I was to let him go 10 days between shots. I went away Friday night to Saturday night. He now is missing flights and it looked like he got blue berries on his feather but didn't have anything like it. I already had an apointment for him for Wendsday as a couple flights looked like they were blackist at the base. These are now gone. I didn't give his shot today. I will call in the am to see if I need to go back sooner. This was suppose to be his last or second to the last shot. I had asked about the med in food back in May and the Vet says they have gone back and forth and that injuction is best (his opinion.) He wouldn't give me oral.

I've had him since Feb and they didn't have any history and "lost" contact info from previous owner.

If I get lost here, My lap top died a few months back the youngest daughter loaned me hers which died this weekend. This made since as, I bought them about the same time four years ago. My oldest has loaned me her old one now, the mouse pad doesn't work. So, I'm hoping this one doesn't die. I spend all my money on vets and cages so laptops have to wait.

Hope I got all th e ?? answered and didn't miss something.
Now on to the log?

Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/12/10 06:32 PM

Can you let us know what happens at the vet visit? I would not let him keep pulling those feathers. This must be so stressful for you too.

Anyway, please do keep a log and hopefully those shots will soon be behind you and Rocky and we can focus on building a relationship between you based on trust and respect.

Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/14/10 06:57 AM

I couldn't get the vet appointment moved up so will be going tomorrow. When I look close, it looks like the blue berry stains might be blood? Really a funny color though.

Rough log;
All foods are offered but not necessarily consumed.

Bill (dh) gets up early and about sun-up 8ish he makes toast for all the birds. He usually warms birdie bread but when I'm out like the last two days he used whole wheat-flax. He adds a little peanut butter with .5cc red oil (sunshine factor prescribed by vet) on Rocky's.

I sleep late (30 years working nights.) When I get up I open Rocky's cage. He has let me scratch him on the head every morning for over a week. I change his water in the cage and put some out on top to the cage. He has Zupree natural pellets free choice in a dish in his cage. I don't think he eats 20 pellets a week.

At lunch I feed all the birds at the same time even though Rocky usually doesn't eat. Lunch has been mash (rice, beans, mixed veggies.) Yesterday added watermelon and chicken bone, today was blueberries and a rib bone. Both days I gave a couple pistachio nuts.

If he climbs on top of his cage, I put his food up on top. If he is sitting on the door perch I put it inside the cage.

Mid afternoon I used the mist bottle to shower him. Yesterday he ran away before I was done. Today he waited until I was done and than went up top to shake his backside.

Late afternoon I give all the birds pellets. I take out some of the old ones and put in new ones for Rocky. Yesterday and tonight he got off his cage and walked down the hall to the kids play room. He hasnít done this since before the shots. Today I heard him playing with the legos. I put on my coat and offered my arm and he stepped up both days. He didnít want to get back on the cage but he did it. He is very slow and unsure of his footing.

I was so very excited that I got him to step up both days and back to the cage with out getting bit.

Now for the bad part of the day, my DH puts him in the cage at night about 8ish. He has been picking up one of the perches and ďherdingĒ him into the cage. I know this is something we need to figure out what to do different. Iím not sure of history here so to me it seems like this is what he is used to or someone tried to stick train him. Iím not sure if the stick is a ďsignĒ to do something or he is scared and has been punished with them.

Tomorrow we are off to the Vets.
Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/15/10 04:47 PM

We got gack from the Vet's late last night. Poor Rocky wasn't happy The vet pulled two flighs he had chewed to bloody nubs. The blood is dark purple as he chewed "pinched" them off at the based. The vet wants him let on the med for 24 more weeks. He did agree to try to let me switch him to oral.

He gave him a dose in the office to show me how not realizing he had just had a shot two days before. So poor Rocky is relly bad today. I don't think I should even let him out today. Not looking forward to twice a day medicating either.
Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/15/10 05:54 PM

You have to give him injections twice a day? Did he sedate him before he pulled them? If blood feathers are not actively bleeding, I would not let anyone pull them out. I have dealt with more broken blood feathers than I can count and I have never had to pull one. Twice I had to towel a bird just to cut the feather because it was hanging off and needed to be cut. The thing is that if this feather destructive thing is an on-going problem, you can't be letting the vet pull those feathers all the time. First of all, it is painful.

How did he give him the meds? In a syringe?

Are you happy with this vet?


Pineview, I have been dealing with stuff like this since 2004:

Between Sally, Sugar (died 2000) and Gypsy, I have lost count of the number of broken blood feathers I've had to deal with and I never pulled one of them. They will molt out naturally after a while. Pulling those feathers is painful and my vet refused to pull even one the first time I asked her before I knew better. A well known avian vet wanted to put Sally (in the link) on an anti-anxiety but I refused. What Sally does has something to do with breeding so if I had agreed, I would have been putting her on that drug for 6 years now. Just not acceptable because they do not know the long term effects of these drugs. Mutilation of flesh is different. Rocky has not had a chance to just settle in and be a bird. He's been having all kinds of negative things done to him. If I had been subjected to all those things, I might be pulling my hair out too. Just something to consider.
Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/17/10 04:22 AM

He agreed to let me try ORAL twice a day. The injections are only once a week. I pushed for oral as you suggested. He gave it orally from a syring.

As far as the feathers, yes they where bleeding and had been since Saturday. A dark purple looking ozzing I thought it was blueberries but, didn't have any in the house at the time. He didn't sedate for these two. He felt the stress of putting him under for the two would be worse. I feel much better about him than the other Vet.

He seems to be doing better since I don't make him do anything for me. Twice in the last month he got off his cage and went down the hall into the bedrooms. Both times I put on my "step-up" jacket and he stepped-up for me and snuggled into the coat. Tonight it was time for bed and my dh wasn't home. I put on the "step-up" coat and he slowly made his way down to the door and put out his foot to step-up. He did that touchy touchy thing and I was getting ready to walk anway and he stepped up. He got his snuggle and I tried to step him down. He didn't want to so I gave hem another snuggle. He than slowly stepped onto the night time perch. This was better than before the big bite.

This Vet seens to care about the bird and I just felt the last vet was just doing a job. Get them in and get them out. He listen and talks to me.

When I took the 25 year old YNA to him, he just told the bird to step up and he did. No body has been able to touch that bird for 15 year.
Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/17/10 05:58 AM

Just remember, YOU are the one paying the bills for Rocky so YOU decide what is best for him. I have no problem telling my vet I don't want her doing something to one of my birds if I don't believe it is in my bird's best interest.

Last year, Sally laid a couple of deformed eggs in August probably because her calcium was low. She is showing breeding behaviours again so I decided I would give her an oral calcium just in case. Every night my birds get warm organic grape juice. They all love it. So I give Sally's in a syringe. Sometimes it's just juice and sometimes it has the calcium in it. She takes this readily. And you could practice by doing this a few times a day without medication in it. There are other foods you can put meds in. I've also used the warm mash I make my birds to give Zazu meds when her zinc levels were high when I first got her. I know people that have injected meds into a grape because the bird loved the grape and ate it readily.

Also, I would try to wean Rocky off that Haldol as soon as I possibly could. Positive reinforcement will go a long way to mending your relationship with him.

Have you been able to figure out what his favourite foods are? What does he eat first? Does he eat the pistacios. Have you tried other nuts? Sunflower or safflower seeds? Toast, yogurt, etc?

Can you put a little treat bowl in his cage so that he goes in his cage willingly. Herding him in there with a stick is not good. Maybe a little dance session about an hour before bedtime to burn off some energy. Where does he sleep? Do you have a bird room? Is it completely dark and quiet?


Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/19/10 05:27 AM

Rocky doesn't have any favorite foods. It is all I can do to get him to eat at all. If I offer him any food his crest goes up he grabs it and violently throws it. We have moved the bowl in his cage closest to the other U2ís cage hoping it will help to see him eating. If he is on top of his cage we put it up there. Anything just to keep him eating. He would do without rather than go into the cage to eat or drink.

He used to like sunflower seeds and pistachio nuts. He doesnít care about these any more. He doesn't go to the bowl when I put any kind of food in it.

The B&G-Sky, U2-Cody and OWA-Newton are housed in the Great Room with Rocky. I have danced with them to the oldiest most nights for years. Cody is the main dancer/singer, sometimes Sky chimes in, Newton watches with interest but, Rocky never takes part.

I have a bird room that all three Too's are suppose to be in. I haven't moved Rocky and Cody in as the Freedom SS cage hasn't made it here yet. It was suppose to be here first of June. I didn't want to move them and all the cages in and out twice. So hopefully he keeps his word this time and the cage shows up next week. For now we cover the cages at night. Yes, they do hear some noises at night as I go to bed late and the DH gets up early. So they may hear me getting a drink at night They also hear the DH make coffee in the am. But, he has changed his routine for Rocky and takes his coffee and toast to the basement instead of using the table in the great room.
Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/20/10 08:00 PM

PV, if Rocky is pooping then Rocky is eating. From what I have read that drug may be affecting his appetite. You said he did eat pistachios and something else at one time but now won't take them so it is most likely that drug. It is a VERY serious drug and one I would not consider for feather destructive behaviour. Mutilation of course is another story.

Now can someone keep a log for 3 days of exactly what he is eating starting from when he gets up to when he goes to bed. What does he take out of the bowl first? Is there anything he enjoys?


I am moving this weekend so won't be on the computer much in the next week or so. Will try to do my best to respond as soon as possible.
Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/22/10 08:21 AM

Have fun moving. Not something I would want to do. I have been cleaning out the bird room as there cage was suppose to be here yesterday but, that is another story. I will be gone for a long weekend I hope. I'll keep a better log starting Monday.
Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 07/29/10 06:53 PM

Did you start the log?

Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 08/03/10 09:20 AM

Sorry! I started but, it has been nuts. I tore the bird room apart because the guy was coming with the cages and than he didn't come. Tried to get everybody back and settled. He was suppose to come again and then the whole deal feel through. Many things going on. I was able to have a Cockatoo & Macaw Rescue-Rehaber that was traveling thru come for the afternoon to see how we interact. She was very helpful.

I have to find where I put it now. Every morning has been birdie bread with penut butter mixed with .5cc sun factor. He has the Zupreem natural large pellets all day but, doesn't eat many. His noon feeding is what I have to find.

Yesterday was oatmeal(with the birdie bread mixed in as he hadn't eaten it), rasins peas and corn. He hadn't eaten anything so I feed him some mix from a fork and he did really good.
Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 08/05/10 03:59 AM

Yesterday birdie bread with PB & sun factor. Carrots & pasta, strawberry, a green & concord grape plus pelets

Today birdie bread with PB & sun factor-didn't eat. Pasta mixed with corn & peas which he ate from fork pluse pellets.
Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 08/05/10 04:01 AM

So which does he "like" more? What do you think his favourite foods are out of the stuff you give him. He must be eating something because he's pooping and he's alive.

People tell me all the time that their bird is not food motivated and that's because they give them all kinds of food without expecting them to work for it and trust me birds prefer to work for favourite foods.

Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 08/11/10 06:31 PM

He will pick at the PB on his birdie bread. He also likes the mash/birdie bread feed from a fork. He will not eat the same thing out of his dish.

(I've lost another conputor. I really need to get a new one after the mess with Freedom cages is cleared up.)

On a positive note. Rocky is letting me pick him up again. I only do this with a flannel shirt on.)
Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 08/11/10 06:59 PM

So PV can you tell me 3 things that you believe are reinforcing to Rocky. Remember it does not have to be food, it can be praise, scratches, singing/dancing session, etc.

So is that birdie bread/mash his favourite?

Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 08/12/10 05:02 AM

praise, scratche and warm food feed by fork(at least right now)

Some days he hits the birdie bread days and some days could care less. Mash is hit or miss too. Some days moist fruits are a hit.
Posted By: ZazuSally

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 08/19/10 09:12 PM

PV, how have things been going? How is the oral medication going?

Posted By: pineview01

Re: Rocky U2 / Biting - 08/21/10 08:24 AM

The oral medication didn't woek out. He hated the meds and would hold it and spit it out. So, I guess the vet was right and the injections work better. Giving them doesn't seem to stress him as much either. I just use the the towel kinda to protect his wings from flaping around. After the injuection he even lets me give screteches. He is only picking at the one wing and chest. As long as he isn't picking at himself on the chest and just the feathers I find it is going better. He even took a couple sunflower seeds from me the other day.

The help the rehaber gave me sure has helped the two of us. I was taking things he did as signs her was upset with me. When in fact he was showing content. So I would get uptight and expect a bite and react accordenly. So far things are really going better. I also realize I can't do anything with him when DH is around. The time he bite me a took the chunck out of my arm was when I was stepping him up and he heard DH outside. He steps up for DH MOST times if I'm not around. If he tries when I'm in the room the crest goes up.

We are just making sure only one of us at a time is in the room when we work with him. I'm pretty sure I'm not the chosen one! But, with time I think he will tolerate me. I hope!
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