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#46471 - 11/18/04 12:01 AM Searched & Stuck *sighs*  

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I have a couple of ?s, which actually fit in a couple of different categories ... after careful consideration, I thought this might be the best place to ask for assistance/opinions. Also, I have searched the archives for everything I could find ...

First, on the lighter side ... I was just given a female U2, 6 yrs old ... her name is Zoe. CALL ME CRAZY! :rolleyes: (I know) So, I guess we aren't "Nelson" & Gang anymore. Can I change my name w/out re-registering? Anyways ...

Second, Long story (short version) neighbor (15 yr old kid) found out we have U2, mentions he has friend trying to get rid of 1 ... I call & the mom tells me that her son has a female, he's gone off to college & doesn't have time for her, etc. & she is very sweet. I proceed to go see her, in toe w/ my 11 yr old daughter, hour drive 1 way. When we get there we are told that she is out most of the time, that she has/was/is never bathed, they are a mostly "bird" oriented family (according to them), but she eats mostly a seed diet and her favorite treat is red licorice (sp), but it isn't given it to her often. They say she doesn't chew anything (hard to believe) and she is quiet & NEVER bites. They were her 4th home in 6 yrs. & they got her b/c some friends of theirs had a baby & didn't want her anymore. mad

She immediately climbed up on both my daughter and I ... wanted scritches ... talked to us (good vocabulary) ... etc. After 2 hours my daughter said "can we have her?" :rolleyes: So, she's ours. I paid her $200 for her cage, which wasn't all that gr8, but we needed another one ... off to home we go. Monday night was gr8 ... she actually ate some pellets, drank some water, we were good. Covered her she said "good night" and "I love you" several times, sat on the bottom peeking out the very bottom until we were down the hall, climbed upon her perch and went to sleep. smile

Tuesday ... she got up w/ an attitude ... she apparently seems to be cage territorial. After she calmed down she came over to us and was cuddly, loving, etc. Then ... we had to put her back in the cage 2 hrs later to go to work ... OMG DID SHE SCREAM! eek

We got home ... let her out (again major attitude) ... she calmed down after about 30 mins ... again all loving, etc. We took her w/ us when we went out a little while later ... it was kids nite @ Chick-fil-A so we went through the drive through. We get home & sit down to eat, I give her fresh vegetables & some fresh fruit so she can eat w/ us. (mind you the mom said she doesn't eat ANY) ... she throws everything @ us and screams for what we are eating *sighs* ... after 30 mins, my husband finally gave her an unsalted waffle fri, which she quickly and quietly devoured. confused I cleaned up very quickly and hurried the kids from the table. She went back to screaming, but she didn't get any more. This lasted 30 mins or so.

Awhile later she climbed down, walked around on the floor doing the broken neck walk (as we call it) <img border="0" alt="[laughing]" title="" src="graemlins/laugh[1].gif" /> then climbed up on my lap ... loving and sweet. She let 2 of my younger kids pet her while she was in my lap, again sweet. My 8 yr old daughter came in to kiss me goodnight b4 bed, sat beside me on the couch and Zoe went right for her. She bit me, didn't break the skin, but I've got a pretty good bruise and a sore wrist. He put her in her cage ... gave her a time out for 15 mins ... and ignored her (mind you, her cage is in the living room where we are/were). She proceeded to throw everything around in her cage & all of her food out. She calmed down, we let her out ... again attitude until she was out & on the floor. She was then fine for the rest of the night.

This morning we started the same thing.

I am not afraid of being bit (although the same hand/same spot might be a little rough right now) and I can handle the screaming ... I guess I am concerned w/ the screaming everytime she thinks she is gonna eat what we eat ... and I don't have a clue what to make of the territorial attitude she has w/ the cage. Or my 8 yr. old which she now lunges toward, or tries to, everytime she walks in the living room.

I am thinking now this might should have been in behavior ... so sorry if its in the wrong spot. *sighs* confused

Anybody have any suggestions? Oh, they also said she prefers women? (i thought was strange since she is a female) & of course, the previous owner's mother cannot be reached. Go figure.

#46472 - 11/18/04 12:36 AM Re: Searched & Stuck *sighs*  
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I would suggest that you don't allow physical contact between Zoe and your children. There is to great a chance of serious injury.

I would also suggest that you just ignore the screaming at dinnertime. After some period of time she will realize you wont give in. Don't give in unless you plan to have her eat dinner with you every night.

I would suggest that no one approach you while you are holding Zoe.

#46473 - 11/18/04 01:20 AM Re: Searched & Stuck *sighs*  
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Wow, what a story. You have come to the right place. First let me say, congratulations on the new member of your family. This is of course a bad time of year so to speak when it comes to the behaviour of our feathered friends, being the start of breeding season. It is hard for them to know what they want let alone for us to know how to please them.

Michael is so absolutely correct about contact with your children. It is great that your daughter had a positive experience upon meeting her but that can change very quickly with just one (even a little one) bite. Please be very careful for everyone's sake. No one would like to see your child injured or the bird to lose another home because of it.

Your new bird definitely has some bad eating habits. Again, remember that whatever routine you establish with her now will quickly become a habit. So, as stated, don't have her eating with you unless you intend to keep it up. Our birds do eat with us. We like it and so do they. They have their own foods and sometimes we share ours if it is OK for them. Frankly, I have never met a bird that would not eat a french fry <img border="0" alt="[laughing]" title="" src="graemlins/laugh[1].gif" /> Just take a look around any McDonald's. By the way, I understand that the bad habits were not created by you and that you will not doubt be working on it. Personally, every bird, without exception, that I have adopted has had horrible eating habits. It has been the most frustrating and the most rewarding habit to change. Just work at it, that is all you can do. But, most importantly, don't give up. I know it can be messy and wasteful but it is so worth it in the end.

The screaming thing..... well, like I said in my opening, this is a difficult time of the year. Use the search engine for lots of suggestions on screaming. It can be hard to deal with, but try not to reward the screaming by giving in to her demands.

Above all, remember that she has been through a lot, obviously, in 6 short years. Imagine your own feelings (or that of a child) who had been shifted pillar to post. She needs your patience, understanding and time to settle down and settle in. Good luck and please let us know how you are doing....

#46474 - 11/18/04 01:31 AM Re: Searched & Stuck *sighs*  
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Agree with the above. I would like to add - decide what your routine with Zoe will be and adhere to it unflinchingly for several months (breakfast times/foods given/playtimes/bedtimes etc) so she gets to understand there IS a routine - then later when she is feeling settled in and comfortable you can begin to vary it a little. Definitely keep the small fry away from her. Oh and make sure she gets enough quiet sleep time - living room may not work for this if people are watching TV late as that will keep her up. She will be cranky if tired. db

#46475 - 11/18/04 05:31 AM Re: Searched & Stuck *sighs*  

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NASTY BITE!

I am at a loss ... hubby says she had been out all day w/ no trouble ... she pitched a tantrum when we ate dinner (even though she had corn on the cob like we did) ... but then she calmed down ... no displaying ... no tantrums ... Zoe crawled up on my lap (about an hour later) & put her head on my arm to scratch her ... i did so for about 10 mins when all of a sudden she nailed me on the left hand/finger and then on the right forearm. Needless to say i had to get my wedding rings off before my finger was too swollen & my arm is still throbbing and very swollen and bruised. I told her she was bad, put her in her cage and she tried to bite me again *sighs* ... confused At that point she went to bed an hour early tonight.

#46476 - 11/18/04 06:35 PM Re: Searched & Stuck *sighs*  
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You have a real angel (from hell) on your hands.

I am noticing that the biting seems to be occuring during/after cuddling. Recently a behaviorist recommended that I give more physical activity and less cuddling (admittedly for a different problem), but it sounds like something that might work in your situation. Try "flight-training" and "step-up" and "hanging situps". It's worth a try.

#46477 - 11/18/04 08:10 PM Re: Searched & Stuck *sighs*  
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Cuddling and stroking = sexual frustration in many birds. Especially at this time of year. I know it is hard to resist but try some other activities with her to distract her or really keep the sessions short. Avoid her back, tail and under her wings. Be patient wink and "be smart" to avoid the bites. It does get better. :p

#46478 - 11/18/04 09:50 PM Re: Searched & Stuck *sighs*  
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I'll bet you're right on, Lrex!

#46479 - 11/18/04 11:24 PM Re: Searched & Stuck *sighs*  
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In order to keep my toos from screaming while we eat dinner, I make them each a dinner plate. Sometimes it's what we have, minus the salt and butter and sometimes it's scrabled eggs or noodles. They are both quiet eating thier own dinner while we eat ours. Our vet said poeple food was good for birds, without all the fatty sugary, salty extras we put on it ofcourse.

#46480 - 11/20/04 04:38 AM Re: Searched & Stuck *sighs*  

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Recently a behaviorist recommended that I give more physical activity and less cuddling (admittedly for a different problem), but it sounds like something that might work in your situation

What kind of physical activity? I did those searches ... I didn't come up w/ much ???

Also, she is after me no matter what. She even trys to get off her cage and run after me on the floor :rolleyes:

#46481 - 11/21/04 11:52 PM Re: Searched & Stuck *sighs*  
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Aloha,

I'm definitely not even close to being an expert on U2s but it sounds like the bites are due to sexual stimulation/frustration. When scratching/petting only do so to the head. Do not stroke the body or wings as that is a sexual invitation. Always keep your eyes on the bird!

Cub

#46482 - 11/26/04 04:10 AM Re: Searched & Stuck *sighs*  
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It takes time to get to know your too's body language. Sometimes when I'm not careful, my M2 will get me still after having her for 3 years. Don't give up! hang in there!


Some days it's chaos around here!
and I would not have it any other way.
#46483 - 11/26/04 04:36 AM Re: Searched & Stuck *sighs*  
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I'm going to direct you to a section available at the very top of the main message board screen. It says "Before You Ask A Question, See If It's Already Been Answered HERE" It answers very common questions like: HELP! My Cockatoo Won't Stop Screaming and Why does my Cockatoo bite me (My Husband, My Wife) and can I make him stop?? click here There are a just a few threads on this topic there. Here's a link to a specific discussion on unpredicatble biting unpredictable biting
Try searching aggression, attacking spouse, biting, and screaming you'll find alot more info there too but you'll have to dig through your results.
I am also going to give an answer you probably won't like. The bird may never like you and may always attempt to attack unfavored people. Alot depends on how you handle this but alot also depends on the bird itself. Large parrots and children should NEVER EVER mix the potential for danger is too high. Search "bite picture" and you'll get to see some of the damage. Jerry also shared an account of a child that was attacked by a cockatoo in his home. These birds are incredibly unpredictable and not at all the ever sweet cuddle bunnies they're represented as.
Your situation is extremely common and many people find that their cockatoo prefers ONE family member and attacks others. Every type of cockatoo has been posted about with this problem here - from bare-eyeds to rosebreasteds to mollucans. This is a major reason cockatoos are surrendered to rescues. The noise is another reason and screaming at meal times is also not uncommon. Please learn a bit about their natural habits and the bonding process in pair bonded cockatoos. A book called "My Parrot, My Friend" goes into some detail about this and while I don't agree with all philosophies in the book I find it a good reference. Honestly, I have known several people who have "worked" through this sort of situation and generally the bird just tolerates the less favored person - sometimes they learn to love the other person and sometimes the unloved person just learns to stay out of the way.


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