38 year old M2 - Adoption

Posted By: Nickraph

38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/24/18 06:01 AM

Hey all -

I have decided to adopt a beautiful 38 yo male M2. That has a pretty unknown background. The only information supplied with him is that he is 38 years old and has now been through 6 different homes and now two shelters. Most recently he was sent up here to Minneapolis from a dog shelter in Kansas City, KS who had him for 7 months, once he arrived here he was adopted relatively quickly and has since been returned to them after 6 months as the guy who adopted got a girlfriend he found more interesting. So all the information I have is pretty much like a giant game of password having been passed on from home to home and shelter to shelter. Who knows what this old man has seen in his years around people. I have been visiting him a couple times a week at the shelter to interact with him and make sure we “click” and while I have been bit no less that once per visit, I can tell why he is biting and believe I’ll be able to work that behavior out of him with proper socialization and stimulation. Well, I have decided he is going to come to his final home on February 10th and I couldn’t be happier. I know it will be a long road ahead of my husband and I but I am extremely humbled that we can provide such a megestic creature a loving home. Currently the shelter he is at is doing an amazing job with him but I can’t wait to get him home. Anyways, I’d love to hear some advice and tips from those of you hear, expecially Cassie’s mom as I really enjoy you depth of knowledge and experience you share in regards to these birds. Fell free to ask me anything you want and I’ll try to answer it with the best of my ability, since I have only know the bird a short time.
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/24/18 01:30 PM

Wow thank you for the compliment but seriously I do not have anywhere near the amount of experience and education compared to a good number of our members here. What is this handsome fellows name? At 38 years old he was probably a wild caught chick. Does he have a band on his ankle? Closed bands are flat with no openings while open bands are almost a ring with a gap. Some of the imported birds that came in do have a flatter band but still have that open gap.
Right off the bat some things to have at the ready when bringing him home, vet appointment if you can schedule it on the day you pick him up even better. Study his cage at the shelter, perches, toys etc. What do you see him using, how is it set up, can you duplicate this at home? It will make the transition a little easier if the cage is familiar. Be sure to place his cage in a corner if possible. If not possible you may want to place a blanket on the top and at least 2 sides to give him a safe spot. Movement around his cage may unsettle him a little bit. What type of perch does he sleep on at the shelter? Again will give him something familiar. Bring pen and paper with you on your visit to the shelter. Write down everything they are able to tell you on his preferences for activities, food, people, lighting at night, cage covering at night, any fears they have seen. Has he been to a vet since coming into the shelter or when he was in the other home? If so ask for his medical records so that they can go with you on his first vet appointment.
When he comes home lots of patience is going to be needed for weeks if not months while he tries to get used to another home. Poor guy wish there was a way to tell them that this is his forever home. Try to minimize quick movements near him and take the time to tell him everything. If you need to vacuum stand on the other side of the room with it. Tell him I am going to vacuum and it's going to be loud. Turn it on for a second and shut it off to show him how loud it is. Watch his reaction for fear. Some birds it bothers and others could care less. Even with a vacuum at the shelter that doesn't bother him, yours at home may. Same thing goes with a broom, wastebaskets and garbage cans, laundry hampers and baskets, towels, stuffed animals, pictures on the wall, mirrors, ha ha just finish this line with every item in your home! Importantly find out just what he is eating now so you can have it ready at home.
Best of luck and please update us on how he does.
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/24/18 08:07 PM

Thanks for the reply! I can’t believe I forgot to mention his name. It’s Kokomo and it seems like he may say “Kokie” quite a bit so maybe that’s what they called him. He does have a aluminum lookin band but I haven’t paid it much attention. I’ll have to look and see if it’s a closed band or if it has an opening. The soonest I was able to get a vet appointment for with the Avian vet of my choosing is a week after Kokie will be coming home. As far as studying his cage, I’ll be honest, the one he is in is far to small and has very few toys in it. He is extremely quiet right now and gets quite excited when I get him out of the cage, so much so that he nearly took a chunk out of my arm when I placed him back in there the first time I visited him. I have them moving him to a much larger cage and have purchased some toys for him to have with him in there until he is able to come home. I was planning to adopt a too in late spring when it warmed up but as lots of ya know it doesn’t always work that way so I am scrambling to get his stuff all ready here. I’ll bring a notebook when I go to visit later today and jot down everything I notice. In regard to his diet, it isn’t looking great. Every time I visit he has a bowl of cashews and pellets. Sounds like it may be a journey to get him onto a proper diet with fresh fruits and veggies. Thanks again for the reply I really appreciate it. I’ll try to get a photo of him tonight to share with everyone and I’ll keep this thread updated with our progress.
Posted By: RB2sMom

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/24/18 08:58 PM

Actually pellets are a very important part of his diet as they contain vitamins and a lot of the nutrients that they need. Fruits and veggies will be good supplements.
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/25/18 12:59 AM

I agree, I’m just not sure of the brand they are feeding. It is a big brown unlabeled bag that they mix with a bunch of different nuts and a few carrots. I’m sure his diet could use quite a bit more variety.

Well, I went back to visit today and was bitten twice. The first time I did not allow him to see a reaction from me but it almost seems that he would have preferred one because he made sure the second bite immediately after the first solicited a reaction from me. He pierced the palm of my hand and that one hurt so bad I couldn’t hold it in. Once this happened he went to the floor and immediately found a white towel and went under it while chattering his beak almost as though that comforted him. After the incident I carefully lifted him in the towel and placed him back in the cage. I am almost wondering if all the people and birds in this place are just to overwhelming for him. Not to mention the only room you can go into alone is the bathroom with a huge mirror, it was in front of this mirror where he decided to bite me for no apparent reason to me. I found this a bit disheartening but won’t take it personally. I know this guy has a lot of baggage to unpack and am willing to work with him. I’ll be back to see him again Saturday. Any thoughts or tips anyone that has been in this situation would be greatly appreciated. Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment of Kokie and his work of art he has been doing to my arm.
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/25/18 01:01 AM

Sorry all, I cannot figure out how to upload photos. As I am on my phone and not working from a computer.
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/25/18 01:33 AM

You will need to load to a site like photobucket. Then post a link here.
It's a tough time to be adopting as he is just coming out of hormone season. Many people see an increase of aggression in toos or biting. I'm not so sure it is true aggressive behavior.
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/25/18 06:42 AM

Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/25/18 12:39 PM

Ouch that looks sore. Kokie is beautiful! If you post a picture of the pellet I'm sure one of us here can identify it. We have all tried them all, lol!
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/26/18 07:02 AM

Question: Does anyone have a recommended book on the subject of correcting unwanted bad behavior?
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/26/18 12:36 PM

I don't know of any good books on behavior modification. As far as authors you may want to check Lara Josephs and Barbara Heidenreich. Both ladies have face book pages and both work with positive reinforcement. Cockatoos/parrots don't react well to punishment, it causes fear of the person causing the negative response. Best way to extinguish an unwanted behavior is to ignore it completely. Obviously if the bird bites that is a difficult one to ignore but can be done. Don't look at or speak to the bird just move it back to it's cage and close the door. Let it calm down for just a couple of minutes then return and let it back out. When the bird steps up, doesn't lunge or allows touch tell him how good he is and give reinforcement. Screaming is different in that you don't react at all just walk away and act like he is not in the room. If he's in his cage just walk out of the room. Again only wait for a couple of minutes and when he's quiet for even 10 seconds initially run back to reinforce while quiet or vocalizing in an indoor voice.
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/27/18 07:58 PM

Thanks for the information Nancy. I went back for another visit today although I did not bring him out of his cage this time. The shelter is very small and I think he gets a bit over stimulated with all of the volunteers and perspective adopters walking around. I brought my own fresh treats this time in an attempt to add value to myself. This visit went very well.
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/28/18 12:40 PM

When you go to visit think about what you are wearing. If I have a large bird here that could potentially give me a bite I wear a heavy weight material such as a suede jacket or heavy sweatshirt or polar fleece. Something I can pull my hand into and have the bird step up on my arm. The bite will still hurt but it's not going to break the skin. It also gives me confidence when I get a little gun shy.
Another thing I just thought of that I have done is tape a small towel around my arm and then put on a sweatshirt.
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/28/18 09:55 PM

Great advice Nancy. I think he’s a pretty good boy. He obviously finds value in biting for some reason. A volunteer there said he likes to bite if she stops cuddling him when she is holding him. Well I’ve not attempted to cuddle for obvious reasons so maybe it’s been his way of trying to get me to cuddle. Another note, he has a very odd relationship with towels. It seems he is both terrified of them yet it calms him down. When i first visited him the woman who runs the shelter told me “he can be naughty but if you show him a towel he calms right down.” Well I went into the room that you can spend one on one time with him and she made sure there was a towel in the room with me that I could use if needed. Well after an hour of him bouncing around the room and me needing to be on my way I went to ask him to step up and he refused, so I waitied a bit longer and he still refused. Well the woman knocked and asked if I was doing okay and when I responded yes but he’s is taking his sweet time going to his cage she said show him the towel, so I reach over and as soon as I touched it he started shaking and hid under a cabinet. It’s very clear he dislikes towels so I didn’t utilize it and asked that she didn’t Either. Well fastforward to my third visit, there was a towel in the room on the floor already and when he bit me for reasons still not determined he jumped onto the floor and ran to the towel and hid under it while shaking. So it seems while he is terrified of towels they also may have been used as a form of punishment and now self punishment. Do you think he went under the towel because a previous person would have covered him with it and grabbed him to get him back in the cage. Either way I can see his anxiety in regards to towels and will not be utilizing them at home. Thoughts? Also, sorry, I am trying this on a phone so please forgive any errors in spelling.
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/28/18 11:28 PM

Hard to say about the towel. Cassie doesn't like large bath towels. I have some maroon hand towels that I use with her for showering and she's fine with those. Once you get him home try working on making the towel a more positive item. You can do this by placing it on your lap with an almond, playing peke a boo, giving him a ride on the floor etc. How soon do you bring him home?
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/29/18 12:41 AM

He comes home on the 10th. So still a good amount of time left, I may be able to bring him home earlier but it is depending on when some paining in the house and construction is done on a portion of the house. Question: Do you think I should be leaving him in his cage when I go visit and just talk with him and give him treats through the cage, my reason for feeling this might be good is due to the fact of how crowded this shelter is with other birds and people. He gets very excited when he is out with me, however these sessions have ended in bites either when I place him back in the cage or when he is just sitting on my arm. I found out during my visit yesterday that a woman came to visit a week or so ago and took it upon herself to remove him from his cage and play with him like he was familiar with her by flipping him around, placing him on his back, and otherwise being "wild" with him and he attacked her face leaving a hole on the right side of her nose you could see through. My sessions with him are as calm as I can make them, with him just sitting on my arm or on a stand with me talking with him offering treats and occasional head scratching.

I am a bit concerned with the biting he has been doing but I think we can break him of it. The volunteers at the shelter say this behavior is new to him in the last couple months. They said when he first arrived he was adopted pretty quickly and spent 2 months with his new home before being returned again due to the guys macaw not liking the new addition. I really feel for this little guy. Thanks again for all the help Nancy, I really do appreciate it.
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/29/18 12:52 AM

Also, here is another photo of him.

Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/29/18 01:26 AM

That's a good question. The only way to know is to try and see how he reacts to staying in the cage while you visit. One trip in to see him leaving him in the cage may change his behavior with you or it may not. Toos are so difficult to predict behavior. Try leaving him in the cage next trip with just talking with him and giving him treats. Then on your next trip in try him out again. I honestly think that once he comes home with you will be able to better judge what works with him.
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/29/18 10:28 PM

I agree with Nancy, it’s going to be a brand new ball game when you get him home!! Once he’s home you will be controlling the environment and will be able to get a better pulse on his behaviors and what triggers them!

The towel situation sounds like a classic case of “learned helplessness”. Give it a Google.

Best of luck and welcome to Mytoos!
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/31/18 12:15 AM

Thanks ladies. I really appreciate all the Input. I’ll post more once Kokomo comes home.
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/31/18 11:40 AM

I will be looking forward to hearing all about him on the 10th or maybe the 11th. You're going to be very busy on the 10th.
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 01/31/18 01:09 PM

Exciting!!!! Good Bird and Parrot Problem Solver books are worth the read and behavior books are good, even if not specifically geared to parrots. Google articles by Susan Friedman too. She is a PhD and works specifically with children I believe but she is a parrot lover and has written multiple articles that are about parrots. She also has an online course, Living and Learning with Parrots but the wait time is typically 12+ months. The good news is the mechanics of behavior is not species specific.
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 02/01/18 10:33 PM

Went to visit again yesterday and ended up with another pretty bad bite. I’m really hoping this is something positive reinforcement can work out of him. While I know biting is a behavior that is used as communication, I’m really starting to wonder what he is trying to say to me that is so intense. What led to the bite was me allowing him out of his cage, I did not allow him in I ally to step up on me. Rather he stood on the door of his cage and seemed very content. He had his lower mandible covered with his feathers while I was scratching his head and imitating feather preening. He just sits there and almost whispers and chatters while I do this. His feathers then went smooth and close to his body and he began to hold his foot out for me to pick him up. I did not but rather opted to keep speaking to him calmly, he then began a few steps at a time to decend the side of his cage and every few steps would stop and hold his foot out for me to allow him to step up. I still did not allow him to do this, however he got almost to the floor and i did not want him to get down and run up the macaw cages all around him so when he held his foot out again I allowed it and he immediately placed his beak on my arm but did not bite. I could however tell one was coming as he was very still and had his beak touching my arm very oddly. I stood up from my crouched position with him on my arm and then boom he nailed me within centimeters from the terrible bite he gave me last time. I’m not sure what he is looking for or wanting, it seems like he wants to be held but as soon as I do, he nails me. It alarmist seems like he is trying to lure me in for a bite pourposly.

I keep getting told by the volunteers at the residue that he did not act like this when he was there the first time and that this behavior began when he was brought back to the rescue after a month or so.
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 02/01/18 11:45 PM

Is he biting your arm? What I have done in the past with birds that have a tendency to get nervous and bite is to either wear a faux suede jacket or wrap a dish towel around my arm under a sweatshirt. Because this decreases the damage inflicted it gives me increased confidence that the bird picks up on. I also try to be sure that I can pull my hand inside what ever I am wearing. The birds really do pick up on the confidence level reacting in a more positive manner when the handler is confident. I have found this to be more the case with just about all wild animals that I have worked with. And we all know that toos are wild animals.
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 02/02/18 02:30 AM

He was initially biting my arm but I think he realized that does not give him the reaction he's looking for. Initially my thought was "Do NOT allow him to see any reaction if he bites you and if he does, place him calmly back in his cage." Well, he bit me a couple times on my forearm and I did not react, well the second time he bit me there he was chomping down to the point that he broke skin and I did not react again and I think he noticed this and decided he would try another spot and pierced the palm of my hand closed to the thumb and unfortunately I could not help but react to that pretty badly due to the sever pain. The next couple of times I did not allow him out of his cage during my visit but rather gave him treats and scratches through the cage and he seemed sweet as can be. Well fast forward to yesterday, when he bit me yesterday it seemed he knew exactly which location to bite to get a reaction and bit me mere centimeters from the spot on my palm and again pierced it pretty badly.

Something that I do notice that gives me hope is that when he is in his cage and I walk away to see other birds or people he watches me closely everywhere I go and if I get near the door of the place to leave, he begins to yell/scream. The volunteers there say he never yells like that. So I am wondering if he is upset that I keep leaving or hollering out a celebratory scream that I am finally leaving. Any ideas? I understand that I wont really know anything until I get him home, but I also know that if this guy comes home with me that he will be with me for life, so I want to be sure before I make the final commitment. It's been a tough couple of weeks for me in deciding what to do with this guy.
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 02/02/18 07:29 AM

Hello all -

I have come to the conclusion that I will not be adopting Kokie. I have read and reread this site on and off for years in anticipation of the time in my life when I would have the time to dedicate to a cockatoo. However tonight I came across a thread (see below) that for some reason felt very eye opening, even though I have read hundreds of similar threads. I am honestly not sure why this thread hit home, maybe it was the talk of the "Lightening Strike", maybe it was my innate fear of having my nose removed from my face at even the simplest set back, maybe a combination of both, or none of it. Either way, it doesn't feel "right" to me and I am feeling like it does not feel right to Kokomo based on my 4 wounds. I want to thank both Nancy and Echo's Mom for their valuable advice in both this thread and the thread listed below. I appreciate you both.


Don't fret, I will still be adopting a parrot that needs their forever home when it feels right for both myself and the bird, just maybe not a male Moluccan and if it is okay, I'd like to update this thread when I do finally adopt to keep you ladies updated. Thanks again. -Nick
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 02/02/18 11:27 AM

I think you are being very smart with your decision. Thank you so much for trying and understanding that the bird needs to pick. I'm sure that you will find that perfect bird quickly in your future. I look forward to hearing about your visits and finding the right parrot for you.
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 02/02/18 07:22 PM

Thank you Nancy. As luck would have it, one of my husbands long time clients reached out to him to let him know she is needing to rehome her 20 year old CAG. He told her we were looking to adopt a year ago or so and she remembered! Sounds like she is rehoming due to increasing health issues. I’ll be meeting her sometime next week to see if it’s a fit. Thanks again ladies.
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 02/03/18 01:02 PM

Wow everything happens for a reason! Good luck next week, CAGs are great birds.
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 02/07/18 02:08 AM

If more people took the time to think things through as you have, I firmly believe that more birds would be in the right home and by that I mean right for the parrot and the human family.

Thanks for linking that old thread...reading through it was a walk down memory lane...seems like yesterday in some ways.

Good luck to you and yours in the future and I’m sure that you will make a wonderful home for the right bird. Take care!!
Posted By: Nickraph

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 02/13/18 06:22 PM

Thanks for the kind words! I did end up bringing Maxi the CAG home. She has been home 3 days now and is so far a great addition. We are taking it very very slow as she is not use to human interaction. From what I was told by the owner she has only been out of her cage 2-3 times in almost 20 years. I find this very sad but I’m sure she will come around in her own time. Any advise from you lovely ladies would be appreciated even though I know this site is devoted to too’s.
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: 38 year old M2 - Adoption - 02/14/18 12:40 AM

If you look at the topics in the forums we have a section for all other parrots so in fact we are an equal opportunity parrot assistance group, lol!
I'm so happy that you have brought Maxi home. Greys are a different sort all together. Many don't like human interaction or touch at all while others tolerate and others still seek it out. My only advise for you would be to do exactly as you are, go slow. Does Maxi talk at all? If so try using the words that she says in context with her. Also share food with her, parrot safe of course. Greys love to eat, lol! Offer all of the same activities that we suggest for toos but initially offer it at a distance. Example of singing and dancing do it quietly on the other side of the room and watch her reaction. You just may be surprised on how quickly she picks up on what is going on. Greys are incredibly intelligent, much more so than toos in my opinion. Sorry everyone
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