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#260868 - 12/17/17 02:55 AM Asuna's first month with us  
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Malida&Matt Offline
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Hi all,

I just want to say I am so happy to be apart of this site. We have read and continue to read many articles and it has definitely been a huge help. Unfortunately, we are one of those people who should have done more research before getting our U2 Asuna sad to say but I hope to get some advice on how to be better birdie parents and hope you don't judge us too harshly. I have to say I think that I was slightly more prepared for a Too then my fiancé Matt, even though he was the one that really really wanted and had an interest in Toos to begin with. Don't get me wrong, I love Toos and think they're gorgeous an wonderful, I am just slightly scared of larger birds so I never reallly thought about having one. So let me give a summary of us and our little family for starters.

We have 3 birds. Pina, our MALE green cheek conure (we just found out this week so I am super excited to finally know what my little baby is! ) Trico, a sun conure (we believe Trico is a girl from behavior but we will be taking Trico in for testing and an exam soon) , and now our newest addition Asuna, a female U2 that is (supposedly) 2 years old so we have been told.

Pina is a momma's boy and Trico is a daddy's girl. They really spoiled us when it came to caring for them. They rarely misbehave, all they want is to be in our presence, and they are both very affectionate. Pina gets nippy sometimes but always just thought it was because he was mad at me if I don't take him out of his cage right away when I come into the room. Anyways, having them turned us into bird people. We really enjoy birds over any other animal. We have a variety of animals (3 dogs, 3 guinea pigs, 1 hamster to be exact). We've had pina about a year now and Trico for about 6 months or so. Asuna came to us 3 weeks ago.

We have been thinking about getting a Too for awhile. I had done breif searches for shelters near us and the criteria's and whatnot but hadn't decided on anything. Matt had looked around at even pet stores (which I know, bad bad) and when we did find one it usually wasn't for sell. At this one place we go for our bird supplies and where we had gotten Trico, they had a Too that I believe was in her 30-40s but had changed owners too many times that they weren't reselling her. Only thing about that is we never see her out and her feathers don't seem in th best shape but not much we can do except lecture the pet shop at this point after finding out so much about Toos now. The owner of the shop is sweet and the employees too but I just think they don't really know too much about caring for the birds. Our Tricos feathers were in bad shape when we got her, they didnt have toys, and I'm pretty sure Trico has never had a bath until we got her. The lady couldn't even handle Trico, which is ridiculous because Trico doesn't even bite hard AT ALL and is very sweet. Glad to report tho that Trico's feathers are in perfect condition now and gets baths. She actually has beautiful blue and green tail feathers (her tail feathers were stripped and ratty and looked black--turns out she was just super dirty frown ).

We happen to go to a swap meet (indoor) not really expecting to see a Too but well.. we did. When we asked about her and if she was for sell we were surprised to find out she was. It was still a struggle for us to make this decision. We really wanted a Too, planned on eventually having one, have the means for one, but hadn't expected to find one at that time. We almost left without her but she stole our hearts by being so friendly and lovey, especially with Matt, which should have been our first warning sign. She started wanting to bite me about 20 mins into interacting with her, which should have been the 2nd warning sign. We were probably there for about 1-2 hours, is how long we were struggling with the decision and interacting with her. Eventually we came to the decision of taking her home. Well... once we got home I decided to give her an apple (the owners said she likes apples).I remember it so clearly, I went to give her the apple slice, she dropped it. Went to give it to her again, she dropped it again. Third time, she grabbed my fingers, bite me pretty hard, and LAUGHED at me. I am not exggerating I swear. She drew blood, luckily it wasn't bad enough to go to the hospital but that was the beginning of as Matt says "Hell". We couldn't understand why she hated me so much. After reading a little more, Matt believes she is hormonal or starting to head that route? EchosMom told me in a previous post if she's hormonal shes 7-8 years old but when we took her to the vet, she couldn't confirm the age only that she is "really young".
She definitely shakes when petted, screams when Matt leaves, she puts her vent up and pants at the bottom of the cage. She tries to attack me especially if Matt is around. So, being that we believe she is experiencing the breeding season, we have limited her contact with Matt since we believe Matt is being seen as her mate/favorite person. So far she's been better and isn't as crazy as the first week

I have been interacting with her everyday after work and put her to bed. She's bitten me a few times but she hasn't bitten me in about a week and a half! Yay! We are also having to change her food which is a struggle. They only had her on sunflower seeds and peanuts. So we've cut out the sunflower seeds and peanuts (she gets peanuts as a special treat now and not too many times since Matt read somewhere about limiting the protein intake when she's hormonal). So far she's actually being pretty good with the change. She likes grapes so thats another "treat" and she eats a little of her pellets and nutriberries. She doesn't like veggies at all. Any suggestions for food items to try?

We took her to the vet last week and she is within the proper weight range and seems fine. Only thing the doctor pointed out was her feathers. She doesn't seem like she's plucking but we do see feathers coming out, possibly molting??? Our other two are molting right now so I'm leaning more towards molting because she doesn't seem like theh nice feathers are being pulled out if that makes sense? The vet said to try to give her a bath but we haven't gotten to that level yet especially since Matt is the only one that can full on handle her and he cannot interact with her right now. We give her spray bottle misting in the meantime.

I guess our biggest hurttle right now is the screaming (surprise surprise) I honestly don't mind it as much but Matt didn't realize how bad it can get and is pretty upset about the situation. When we leave the room and she screams we don't go back in until she stops.
she's gotten better (to me) about the times she screams, I can leave the room, she may or may not scream, if she screams she does it for like 2 mins then stops. If Matt leaves the room she will scream, and scream, and scream for hours. One time Matt clocked it to about 6 hours. I told him she needs time. We know she needs time. I just hope we are doing everything we can to keep her happy. I REFUSE to give up on her.

I see she's making progess at least with her behavior towards me. Today, for the FIRST TIME EVER, she STEPPED UP on me!! I am pretty excited she did this because we were trying to teach her step up for a bit before realizing Matt can not really interact with her and I am only willing to push her limits so much so I haven't been successful until now.

Sorry if this is long! it's my first time in a forum setting and I wanted to put everything out there. I guess the point of my post is, Are we doing everything we can to keep her healthy and happy and what more should we do or try?
Besides time, (it's only been 3 weeks afterall) is there anything else we should be doing?

Thanks for your time!
-Malida

#260870 - 12/17/17 11:52 PM Re: Asuna's first month with us [Re: Malida&Matt]  
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BE2Cassie Offline
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Screaming can take months to get past. Although it never goes away totally. I just put Cassie to bed early because she is calling for my husband. He has gone out for the evening. So instead of getting angry at her I tried to fill some of her time eating dinner and helping me clean up to keep her mind off my husband not being there. When we first started having issues with Cassie screaming it took all of us in the household being consistent with her to begin to limit the amount of screaming she was doing. Ignoring the screaming does work if it's paired with rewarding her quiet or soft spoken times. Initially this means running, yes running to the cage or stand and reinforcing her. Find a contact call you can use with her, something that both of you can say or something that she can respond to. Even if when you leave the room you say I have to go to the kitchen Ill be back in 10 minutes. If she stays quiet call to her saying Im in the kitchen or a simple Hi. When you first start this you will see an increase in the screaming, it's tough but you must ignore it. As soon as it stops run into her and tell her what a good bird she is. As time goes on increase the time you wait from a second to maybe 10 seconds. Eventually you will be just yelling hi to her to let her know you are still there. Toos are flock animals that call to their fellow flock mates all day. She needs to learn that she can make simple noises to call her flock without the yelling. If you can get her saying hi that a great time to reinforce her.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260875 - 12/19/17 04:20 AM Re: Asuna's first month with us [Re: BE2Cassie]  
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Thanks Be2Cassie!
Tried a little with her last night and working well. We had her in the same room today with the both of us and she is alot more calm and hasn't screamed once. Although still slightly wanting to bite me but will be doing more of contact calls this week.

#260876 - 12/19/17 12:27 PM Re: Asuna's first month with us [Re: Malida&Matt]  
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The two most important things to success with this is patience and consistency. Good luck


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260885 - 12/30/17 06:43 AM Re: Asuna's first month with us [Re: Malida&Matt]  
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Everyone has given you great advice and I will just add a little from my own experience. I adopted a screaming feather picker and after the first year, which was draining, she has improved greatly. To get her used to the shower, I would move her play stand into the bathroom and let her watch the other birds get a shower with me and I acted like the water was the most fun ever and eventually she wanted to try it out. She gets a shower now weekly and loves it but I let her think it was her idea. She still screams but not nearly as much, I make sure she has plenty of things to play with and a window to look out. I have a drawer that I cleaned out and is filled with bird safe items and all the birds love to rummage through the stuff. She gets lots of toys and home-made toys and I also use the contact call method, letting her know im close and she is not forgotten. Its hard not to run to her when she screams but it does pay off in the long run. good luck!


#260886 - 12/30/17 01:49 PM Re: Asuna's first month with us [Re: bellesmom]  
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I also use the contact call method, calling to my RB2s during the day when I go out of site. They call back. It seems to help to know their flock is around.


Susanne
Our flock: 2 RB2s
Our herd & rescue: turtles, tortoises, other reptiles
#260912 - 01/17/18 11:47 PM Re: Asuna's first month with us [Re: Malida&Matt]  
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Congrats on your new baby. She will warm up to you. When I got my male Too last year I was told to ignore his screams for attention. Even bad attention was welcomed in his book. I ignored him wouldn't even look in his direction and he soon found out that he could not get what he wanted by screaming. It was hard especially when I was on the phone. You just have to be firm and consistent.

#260938 - 01/20/18 02:29 AM Re: Asuna's first month with us [Re: Malida&Matt]  
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Hi everybody!
I know it's been awhile, time had flowen by on me! Thank you all for your feedback, it's been my guide the past few weeks.

Here's an update !

We're still working on contact calls , she still screams if we leave the room but she has from time to time just talked instead and I will talk back or she will stop screaming if I talk from another room coming into the room she is in. Still screams but not as much now. Well, except if she knows Matt is home. That is just a different story. Lol

She lets me pet her and play with her now! She doesn't try attacking me as much with the exception of last week for some reason she went into attack mode and got me about 3 times on my arm. I am still trying to figure that one out. She was on my arm playing , she likes being perched on our arms and going up and down she gets really into it.... then I went to put my arm down on our bed and out of no where she just starting biting me really hard. Enough to cause bleeding and bruising.. I'm fine tho and luckily didn't need to get stitches! She wasn't very high off the bed and I don't think I put her down too fast or she was slipping off of me .. we've done this before and she never bit me in result so I don't know what triggered the attack. Only thing we can think of is because Matt had been off all day and she doesn't get to interact with him as much (she is still very bonded to him) maybe she was being possessive of him or didn't like that I had brought her into another room when he was in the other room....

Aside from that event, we've gotten along alot better ! Still alot of work to be done but I can't even express how much I adore her.

We are still having issues with her feathers. She has alot of new ones coming in and molting alot. We try to bathe her once a week since her vet was concerned as well about the feathers and suggested to try to givr her around 2 bathes a week. She's got alot missing at the top of her wings, I notice she preens at them alot. I don't think she is plucking but I am not completely sure that I can tell a difference. She has toys and when she is out she loves chewing up cardboard but most of the time she is just interested in cuddling.
Anyone have any advice in that regard? I try to help her eith her feathers but I feel like the pin feathers coming in in that particular area just irritate her alot.

Thank you all again for your advice!
-Malida

#260939 - 01/20/18 01:08 PM Re: Asuna's first month with us [Re: Malida&Matt]  
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That's actually a very good update after a short amount of time. I'm sorry you were bitten, my guess hormones and Matt being home were the key factors causing it. Good news is hormone season will be ending soon. I know she wants to but the cuddling needs to stop. Cuddling and any petting below the neck promotes hormonal behaviors which down the road can lead to egg laying. It is also one of the biggest causes of bad bites and aggression this time of the year. In the wild only the mate helps preen body feathers.
The contact call you will see changes slowly. It took Cassie probably close to a year before we saw major changes in her screaming. Once all three of the humans in the home became consistent and didn't give in to her we say her changes. She still hollers daily, sometimes a small amount and other days are other days. You may see her remain with Matt as the chosen one but she also may switch to you. Cassie goes back and forth between me and my husband.
Over preening you say she does well outside of the cage with shredding and toys, have you tried increasing her activities in the cage? Getting her foraging toys and boxes and make her work for her food with them. Also skewers are wonderful to have with either toys or food chunks on them for her during cage time. The key is keeping her busy and not bored.
Keep up the good work and I look forward to hearing about her future progress, keep us updated please.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260940 - 01/21/18 06:28 PM Re: Asuna's first month with us [Re: Malida&Matt]  
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Thanks BE2Cassie, Matt feels likes there hasn't been progress yet I feel there had been so I really appreciate the comment. smile

We do try to discourage cuddling (we don't let her anywhere near matt at all and don't let her under blankets or wedging herself into spaces, which she has tried multiple times) and only pet her on the head and neck. She likes to sit next to me on the bed and sometines i won't even be petting her and she will get all riled up at which point I tell her no and if I get up off the bed for a second or she goes running around the bed. We will try to be for mindful tho of the interactions. Yes, we are excited for hormone season to be ending soon since this is our first time dealing with hormones as crazy as a U2, even our other little birds have been hormonal but not as intense as Asuna. Lol I think it's been particularly hard on us since we got Asuna pretty much at the start of hormones, I think, so we hadn't had a chance to train her or to even know her personality.

We do have a few foraging toys in her cage, which one of them she uses alot. She chews up any shreddable things pretty fast too. We did have a larger toy for her to shred and chew up but she was using it to I guess accomadate her urges? So we had to take that and another toy out.
I will definitely try the skewers! Do you have any particular toys that work well?

Also, I know it is a bird to bird preference but how do you get your birds to eat more "table foods"? We have tried to introduce her to veggies and she will not eat them. We have tried broccoli, rice, pasta, beans and no interest. Our other two pretty much eat any of it but still having trouble with Asuna lol fruits are easier, she loves grapes but we try to give those as a training treat and she tried an orange slice the other day but I don't think she favors it as much as a grape. We were told she likes apples but since we have had her and tried she never eats them so I almost feel like that may have been a made up fact about her.

#260941 - 01/21/18 10:46 PM Re: Asuna's first month with us [Re: Malida&Matt]  
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Food, they want to eat what you're eating. Cassie comes to the table with us nightly for dinner. She is in a small cage that pulls right up to the table, high chair style. She gets a little of everything we are eating that's acceptable for her to eat. Cassie is a very picky eater so when ever I introduce something new I have to entice her or tease her with it. I eat it making a big deal over it and refuse at first to share with her. This will drive her crazy because she wants what I have. I eventually give in and let her try a bite before I give her any in her dish. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260942 - 01/22/18 12:58 PM Re: Asuna's first month with us [Re: Malida&Matt]  
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We also have family flock time at the dinner table (with each of them in their own cage). Our RB2s get really excited when they know the flock is going to eat together. They see it and they want it....spaghetti being the number one item. Of course they cannot have everything and they seem to understand that. We substitute "their" treat items when we have chocolate, etc. Family flock time is really a big deal here.


Susanne
Our flock: 2 RB2s
Our herd & rescue: turtles, tortoises, other reptiles

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