I'm just trying to get on this bird's level

Posted By: AntiHeroRoary

I'm just trying to get on this bird's level - 02/09/17 06:52 PM

Hey, Roary here... (even though none of you know me)

I'm sure you've all probably heard this sort of thing before. My family recently got a cockatoo without any prior research, she was free to a good home because the lady who had her just REALLY wanted to get rid of her I guess. That probably should've stopped us there, but it didn't. I was just a tag along anyhow, don't go pointing fingers at me - this decision was not MINE at all, but nevertheless I would like to do as much as I can to give this bird a good home. Now we're all experiencing our own difficulties with her, even though from a lot of stories I've read she is actually pretty well-behaved in most regards. Not as extreme as other cases I guess. However I feel that I am having the most difficult time of us all lol..

Her name is Molly, and frankly she is downright sexist - with a preference towards men. She only comes out of her shell when one of the guys is near (even if in another room, if she can hear him she will go nuts for him), but the men of the house are ALL way too busy to give her the attention she should be getting - so in my opinion she's a pretty unhappy avian right now. The only time she will accept my arm or any food from me is when I'm transporting her somewhere she wants to go, i.e. to a perch, to one of the guys, to her cage. (feeling so used lol) The thing about the guys is that they've been doing things like cuddling her and petting her on her no-no spots, even after telling them what it can cause. Though it seems they are giving her less of that kind of attention, she will actually still INSIST that they do it - she will crawl up their shirts stubbornly, or start trying to regurgitate food, and turn her butt up to them when they're just petting her on the head. Like... get a clue, Molly, they can't give you what you want ya weirdo! ><

Something I've been wondering about is her routine and setup. I feel like it may not be the best for her. Everyday at about 7-8ish she is usually let out of her cage unless I have to go somewhere that day or I need to give the dog some time about the house (she hates dogs, goes nuts... in a bad way). When she's let out of her cage, she's placed on a sort of rope perch that hangs from the ceiling and is really long, almost going down to the ground now that she's torn up the ends. Underneath it is a chair... which she has managed to almost completely tear apart over the span of her time her. Which, is fine by us - it's her chair now.

But the thing is... that's ALL she does until the guys get home at around 4-6ish and even then they're usually tuckered out from school/work, or have things they need to do. smirk I feel like if I was her I'd be pretty unhappy and frustrated, and trust me I have TRIED to get her to come over to me so I can play with her and give her that much-needed 4-5 hours of attention per day. But she just won't. She acts like I'm scary or something, she'll go all the way to the top of the rope so I can't even reach her to offer my hand to step up. And because I'm not usually the one who lets her out of her cage, I can't really control whether or not she's on the perch. But I don't think it's the rope, which was my previous theory, because she displays this behavior elsewhere unless she thinks I'm going to take her where she wants to go. But I can't let her use me like that, or else all I'll ever be to her is a stinking bus.

I'm also kind of hesitant to handle her anymore, because literally every time I HAVE managed to get her to spend some time with me (whether by manipulating her through the guys or by coaxing) she has bitten me - and very hard might I add. My shoulder is still sore and it's been a week. I know that there are supposed to be warning signs for biting, but... honestly, Molly doesn't give much warning to ME. In all the instances of her biting, it has been very quick, very sudden, and because it catches me so off guard and because I'm small and can't handle the amount of pain it causes, I can't help but to react. So I haven't handled her a lot since the last instance, because I think she just plain likes to bite me just to get that little 'ow!' out of me, and that's probably why there's not much warning.

I would like to give this bird what she needs, but seriously at this point I'm pretty fed up with her crap. She is the PERFECT "pretty girl" for the guys, but for girls she is an unpredictable b**** frankly.

I wish the lady who gave her to us had told us more about her rather than just trying to haul her off to the next family. Molly has "changed hands" a few times, according to this lady, and her original owner was an elderly man who passed away (explains the sexism). Other than that, I don't know anything about how she was treated, handled, etc. except that the lady who gave her to us would use a squirt bottle to punish her?? I have never heard of that method after all this research I've been doing, and trust me we aren't continuing with that. She has been getting nothing but love from us, but her behavior just keeps deteriorating over time smirk

Now, I might have just registered, but I've seen the threads on this site. Please don't attack me about how everything we're doing is wrong, I've gathered that much by now. And please don't say 'poor Molly, she's just going to get passed around to the next home' or 'you should give her back' or something, because it's not up to me. I'm just the one who is home most of the time and I want to be able to have some form of a positive relationship with this bird.

Sorry, I know that's long, I just didn't want to leave anything out - but I still probably did, so if you need to know something or other just ask I guess. And I'm not sure how old she is. The band on her leg says she's 21, the lady who gave her to us said she's 8. \v.v/
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: I'm just trying to get on this bird's level - 02/09/17 10:05 PM

Some important things to first look at is
Health - bring her to an avian vet for a well bird exam
Dog - keep it away from her, she a prey animal terrified of a predator
Diet - what is she eating and when, you say she is on a rope perch (boing) all day over a chair. Does she have food and water available?
Activities available - what is she given to do during the day, toys, music, tv
Reinforcement for behavior - tell her when she's being good offer her favored treats
Biting - stop letting her get on your shoulder only carry her on your arm or see if she will use a hand held perch
Hormonal behavior in a hen can lead to egg laying which can lead to egg binding and an increase in aggression. Right now is the end of hormone season for cockatoos. She should be getting 10-12 hours of undisturbed sleep per night in a dark quiet area. No voices or tv to interrupt her sleep
Posted By: AntiHeroRoary

Re: I'm just trying to get on this bird's level - 02/09/17 10:53 PM

Thanks for the reply, Nancy(?).

I agree she should see a vet and I'll see to it that she does hopefully sometime soon. I'm not sure if there is an avian vet near me though, I'll have to do some researching.

The dog is usually kept away and out of sight. my boyfriend insists on trying to introduce them but he does it in an extremely reckless way (holding the puppy and the bird at the same time) that makes me scared for him and the pup because Molly bites. She doesn't show fear towards it, rather aggression.

As for food, she has walnuts and pellets that she eats regularly, there's no real timeframe we all usually just feed her randomly throughout the day. When she's on her perch I will move the food and water bowl onto the chair and she accesses it fine. I try to get her to eat other things like fruit and veggies, but most of the time she won't take it - idk if that's because she's getting too much of the other stuff or just being picky. It's hard to tell. In relation, Treats are hard to give since she eats throughout the day and doesn't seem to want any treats when they're offered, and unless they are walnut or pellet she doesn't want it.

About being on the shoulder, why is that bad? I realize the danger of it but is it bad behaviorally? Because she refuses to sit anywhere but our shoulders or legs, to the point where if we try we literally have to bar her with the other hand, but she'll keep trying anyway. it's very difficult to get her to stay down on the arm... How are we supposed to keep her there if she just won't?

Edit: recreationally, she has a toy that hangs from the perch, she chews on the chair, there's a smart TV so I sometimes turn Netflix or YouTube music on during the day for her to keep her entertained and relatively quiet. Other than that, not a whole lot.
Posted By: AntiHeroRoary

Re: I'm just trying to get on this bird's level - 02/09/17 11:28 PM

Btw she is an umbrella cockatoo, I don't think I mentioned that.
Posted By: Chucki's Dad

Re: I'm just trying to get on this bird's level - 02/10/17 12:33 AM

Bird on shoulder equals possible chunk out of lip or ear, or lost eyesight. For a bird to be allowed on ones shoulder the bird needs to earn that privilege. I could let our M2 sit on anyone's shoulder because I know she isn't going to bite anyone but I wouldn't do that.
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: I'm just trying to get on this bird's level - 02/10/17 04:15 AM

A toy dose not cut it with a too. They are very intelligent birds that need constant mental stimulation. Sound overwhelming well it is sometimes. Even after 12 years Cassie will still drive me crazy. I'm a bit of an anxious person to begin with so trying to be sure that Cassie gets what she needs can be a bit nerve wracking.
Mark is so right about the bird on shoulder. It has to be earned and you need to know your bird and it's body language. Cassie is allowed on my shoulder "sometimes" but not always. It all depends on her behavior and her mood.
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: I'm just trying to get on this bird's level - 02/10/17 03:25 PM

Every time she tries to get on your shoulder block her with your other arm and then station her somewhere else. Try again. If she heads for the shoulder again, repeat. She's intelligent...if you do that EVERY SINGLE TIME she heads for the shoulder, she'll catch on. I'm not saying she still won't try but if you are consistent the attempts will become fewer and farther between. Alllow her to do it once and she will backslide. Here my shoulder is by invitation only and honestly my birds are not comfortable there any longer because they have been taught that it's not a hang out spot.
© 2018 Real Cockatoo Facts!