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#10887 - 12/26/03 07:22 PM PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  

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the sores under the wings have healed, finally! he's plucked under there, & on the legs.

thing is, he is about phobic! i don't know what else to call it. remember,he's the husband bonded bird? well, huz, still is not very involved with him. i did all the nasty medicine and treatments. i sort of think that he knows i helped him, he never offered to bite me through all that.

heres where we are now---if i open his cage,he goes to the bottom, and sort of freaks/flops around. i catch him and hold him in my arms. he breathes heavy for a bit, then settles down.
THEN he snuggles against my chest like he is scared of the world, and wants me to protect him. its wierd. i've held him like this for an hour, petting and talking to him. he seems to enjoy it, but if i get up or anything, i have to hang on, or he'll freak, and flap off to hide from me. yet he's ok at the moment. its weird,i almost feel like if i could spend an entire day in a small room with him, giving him the chance to come to me or not, he may get over this.

what do you all think of where we are now?
thanx for any advice, linda2 & Pea-ce

#10888 - 12/26/03 09:40 PM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  
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Linda,
Just wanted to lend a little moral support. Our too Charlie came to us in exactly the condition you describe. One year later she is a little better, but continues to regress alot. She seems to WANT attention and touch but FEARS what might happen. Her very short life has been full of change (your recent problems along with medical issues have no doubt stressed pea-ce to the max and taxed his trust in humans) from her cage she calls us and begs with her wings open to come out... she does donuts in her cage untill we approach. BUT if we open the cage and insert a hand she PANICS. Once out she calms only if she's held close to your chest or face (not a place one ordinarily wants a frightened cockatoo!) if you keep her there and pet her she's fine... move your hand and she pancis again and thrashes violently to get away. (Our bites come when she thrashes so violently that we're afraid for her safety and we towel her. She bites very hard in self defense.) She's been here for a year and she's improved a bit. Some days she is almost "normal" others she's back to square one. We've found two things that seem to help.
#1 respect the cage. Charlie is happy to interact through the bars. In her short life the presence of bars has been the only constant and the only thing to keep sometimes violent humans away from her. We talk and play through bars. She sings (well, sqwaks) and dances for us. She takes toys, treats and scratches. Work with pea-ce from his cage. IF he's already calm around you in his cage... enjoy it. If he's nervous around you work through the bars to show you're not a threat. Once he knows you won't hurt him inside the cage it's time for #2 (we also institute #2 when we need to change out toys or clean grates, perches etc.)

#2 Let the bird come out on it's own and gently COAX it over. I sit on the floor and let charlie climb out onto the seat of a chair that has loads of toys and treats on it. She comes out and plays... sometimes she'll come to me. I snuggle her to my chest where she feels safe and pet her for a few moments and then return her to her chair (the first few weeks she would instantly scrabble into the cage) She will normally also leave her cage for her leash and harness. Some days we go to another room and we practice flying. She enjoys the exercise of fluttering from my hand to a perch and back. We only do this on days when she seems stable. We suspect that her condition is caused by CONSTANT stress and LOTS of changes. (3 different owners over her first 18 months, being force weaned, her first 2 owners traveled alot and left her with strangers for extended periods etc...)Pea-ce may improve much more rapidly than Charlie then again he may not.
Hope some of this helps... others probably have experienced similar situations. Just wanted to let you know you're not alone and there's hope for improvement even though it maybe slow.

#10889 - 12/27/03 12:25 AM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  

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I wish I had some good advice but I don't, so I can only offer some positive thinking and prayers which are heading your way. Good luck!

#10890 - 12/27/03 01:48 AM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  
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Aw, I wish you strength and patience, and maybe a little peace of your own. I can only imagine. Good luck Linda.

#10891 - 12/27/03 02:57 AM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  

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Thanx to everybody!....linda2

#10892 - 12/27/03 03:15 AM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  
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This is exactly what Jasmine started doing in June when she went hormonal/phobic.

I can get her to run into a towel. Once I have her on my lap she scrambles up to my chest, stuffs herself under my chin & presses very tight against me as tho she's terrified something may get her. If I move my hand to rub her she tries to hide her head in it. She also does the fear, jump, run back to her cage thing. I am able to carry her around, once I get her out of the towel & on my hand, but I must clamp a foot with my thumb or she'll jump & run. I try to avoid the jump & run at all cost as she often breaks a feather in the process.

She cowers in her cage if I get close & acts like she's afraid of me touching her, but really wants me too. It's sort of like her mind is confused, or receiving mixed signals. She allows me to take her to the tub to shower her, gives me kisses, lets me rub her feet with aloe gel (she loves that), preen her, etc. She has never shown any sign of aggression the whole time she's been this way, even tho she is scared out of her feathers. She ever so gently holds my finger in her beak while I rub her feet.

I have been able to get her to set on the top of my chair as long as I ignore her & don't reach up for her. She will still dance on cue, but has mostly stopped vocalizing. She loves the parrot tower, which is close to her cage, for now. After the holidays I have to move it back to the dining room again.

If I want to hold her, take her to the tub for a shower, etc, I approach her cage with towel in hand. She knows I want her to come to me & often jumps down off her swing & runs into the towel. I scoop her up & head for my cahir, where I set down & gently stroke her before removing the towel. If she's on top of her cage I approach her with towel in hand & say "Jasmine come see Momma". She climbs down the back of her cage, jumps off onto the floor & runs like a bull thru a china store into the towel, that I hold down for her.

Now I know she understands what I say to her because she can be on the parrot tower & I'll say..."Jasmine Momma needs you to go back to your cage" & off she goes. If she's on her cage I say..."Jasmine it's time for night night" & in she goes. After her shower I tell her to shake her feathers out & she does. I tell her to lift her wings, while she's standing on her towel to be dried, up they go. She hasn't changed in her understanding of those things, but she has of being handled, approached & touched. It's like something snapped in her mind when she went hormonal & it's stuck that way. Sort of like she no longer sees those types of things the same way. I have felt that hormones has played a big role in this phobia. Once she is in her cage & covered for the night she will come hang on the side, where she has a nice window chewed smile & beg me to rub her. She only seems to feel completely safe, comfortable & be her old normal self when covered/hidden. If her cage is un-covered she freaks if I get close, or she goes into defense mode when I walk into the room.

It's good to know others have this problem too, because there's next to no info out there on this type of phobia. I've tried everything, at a very slow pace to get her to accept me again, to no avail. She is just plain terrified of me getting close to her without her towel.

Now I am wondering if the hormone phase, for those who may need a mate & don't have one, has caused some sort of chemical break down, since they can not mate? She did show some mild signs of panting at times, but I never encouraged it & would redirect her attention to something else when she did do it.

Jasmine came to me at 7 months of age. I got her from a pet store, where she had only been for a week. She is now 4.5 years old. She has always been super gentle & rather quiet for a U2. The only thing we can come up with that sent her into this phobia was pain/fear from falling (she's an over preener & chews her wings & tail way back, always has from before I got her), & pain from broken blood feathers that had to be pulled. Add the hormone stage & it was too much for her to bear.

Now what's weird is she will allow my Huz to approach her, but not me. She is only terrified of me & she's bonded to me. I have read that the ones they are bonded to, they become terrified of, when this phobia hits them. The thing is there is no info on how to deal with it or get them thru it. I am so thankful the Jasmine loves towels or we wouldn't have gotten as far as we have with her at this point.

Toy

#10893 - 12/28/03 08:00 AM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  

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Hi, Toy! sounds like Jas is coming along, slowly, but better than last i heard about her.

now, about the bond thing. Pea-ce is bonded to my huz, who is not all that involved with the bird anymore. that was the beginning of Pea-ce's stress. I've had him 3 years (bird), (huz-8). He had never plucked, till all this started. pea-ce always chased me away from huz, vocalized, laughed, etc. seemed real happy.

i really never messed with him, other than his feeding, cleaning, vetting, stuff huz didn't do. so, i guess i went from being "that other person in the house", to "that person who stuffs nasty meds in my beak, does stuff to my sore wings, etc." and this at a time when his favorite human more or less abandoned him. sometimes spelling stuff out makes it more clear. when i put it like that, its no wonder he went phobic. just thought i'd tell you that the bonding issue was different. i think its encouraging that he will let me hold him for a good while. the close to chest thing is just the same. i guess he is actually starved for attention, while at the same time scared of it. Pea-ce doesn't like towels, tho. i'm currently just catching him in my arms when he jumps out of the cage in a panic, and going from there. i'll try treats with that issue. BTW, he will still go to huz, but mainly to hide from me. he doesn't behave the same with him either, but why would he> he is the one who destroyed the birds trust in people. now, the question is---can i rebuild it?
i see it will take a lot of work and time, but he's worth it. i would give anything to hear Pea-ce laugh!

linda2

#10894 - 12/28/03 04:05 PM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  
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Linda I have found that playing the M2 screams/calling sounds Jerry has on this site are making a difference in Jasmine daily behavour. Also allowing her more out of cage time is helping too. She has to share the parrot tower with JaJaBinks (B&G Macaw). So when it's JaJaBinks turn on the tower Jasmine plays on her cage. Since she is afraid to get off it she won't go anywhere & I can let her out most of the day. I'm home all the time now (lost my job frown ). I do not push her to come to me or let me hold her. I do talk to her allot & she will grab treats from my hand. I feel she needs to work things out at her own pace, even if it takes years.

I just got the "Pet Sitter" DVD. As soon as it started to play Jasmine sat up & took notice to it & then started to dance over & over. Later she vocalized!!! She's been pratically mute for months now. I'm trying everything I can think of to make life less stressful & better for her. What ever works. I am however avoid drugs at all cost. I don't feel drugging them up will be the answer.

Yesterday she let me shower her, then take her to my grooming room (have one set up for my dogs). I set her on a table perch on top of the grooming table, clipped her nails & filed them. She sat there very calmly, not on bit stressed, holding up her foot for me. I also explain everything in detail to her so she knows what to expect.

Since I first started posting abut Jasmine going phobic others have come forward too. There's more phobic 'Toos out there than many assume there are. I'm hoping by coming forward we can find a way to help them thru it or even in time prevent it from happening to others.

Keep trying Linda. Peace needs to know you love him. It may take months/years, but it's worth it in the long run. Try to find ways to work with him that doesn't cause stress. If you have to push him around on a gym, then do so. I had to do that wiht Jasmine just to get her off & back to her cage for awhile.

Toy

#10895 - 12/29/03 06:44 AM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  
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Linda,
Be very careful when he "flops" out. This is the time when Charlie breaks all her blood feathers. At that point, we normally have to towel her and stop the bleeding. THIS is the MOST DANGEROUS time. A frightened/hurting bird will defend itself and most will BITE HARD! Also a bird that's freaking out in a towel can harm itself - 'course you already know how to towel a bird correctly. (Charlie stuck her beak in my pinkie knuckle Christmas Day when she freaked out and got her foot stuck behind her wing - don't ask how that happend)
We try to avoid flopping at all costs. (This includes moving like a sloth on our knees or letting her out only when she will do so on her own if that's what it takes.) Our philosophy is you can't reinforce a behavior that doesn't happen. Of course, that's not always possible and if she flops and freaks... we try to just let her go until she calms as long as she's not hurting herself. (She'll run into walls and slam against cabinets so sometimes we have to towel her for her own safety.) We tried everything we could for the first 5 months or so... nothing has shown constant results - NOTHING not even the 7 months of what I've suggested so far.
I feel so badly for you. I know (and so does TOY) how heartbreaking it is. All you want is for them to understand that you won't hurt them. The worst thing for us though has been knowing that she is under constant stress just from being alive. I'd even try chemical therapy (and I include herbal stuff in that group) if I thought it would end her suffering faster. However, in my opinion the risks far outweigh the probability of gain right now.

Now, on the subject of general phobia... I'm curious if any guardians of phobics have had liver function tested recently? This is supposed to be one of the MAJOR problems with constant stress... right now Charlie is very healthy but I'm wondering how long that will last. Does anyone have any reputable articles on that subject?

#10896 - 12/29/03 08:01 AM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  

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Hello! Toy, i have my own screams here for him to hear! Even an M2! Oliver, the big pink chicken. he's great!, but another story. you are making wonderful progress, but then i always knew
you had the love and the will to help Jasmine. think back a year, thats what i was told about Kuko, remember him?

Ok, Charlietoo--about the "flip-flops". now that the medical issues are over, i can get back to letting Pea-ce come out on his own, working with treats, patience, etc. this is what i would always prefer, but you can't really do it when they need meds.
its interesting how you said we cannot reinforce something that doesn't happen. its such a simple idea, it can almost be overlooked.
here's a perfect example.---------------------------------------------------------------------

Kuko, U2, when i rescued him 13 mos. ago, was very fearful, also, very sick. first thing was to get him healthy. 2xday meds, weekly vet visits for 6 mo, then still freq. i had to towel him out of the cage, each time. then, somebody suggested putting a smaller carrier into the big cage and guiding him into it. well, it wouldn't fit, but i found i could put it at the door to the big one, just reach the towel into the cage, he'd run into the cage and there i had him. off to the vet, etc. to this day, that is how he is moved around, put the sm. carrier anywhere and he will run into it willingly! i unknowingly trained him to do it! i really had no choice, he was sick a long time. he didn't step up then, and doesn't now. he's terrified of his feet being touched, although i work with him on my bed daily, and can now massage his feet,but thats all. its progress tho.

sorry to ramble. but i see where Pea-ce could have gotten in the same mess, becoming a "flip-flop" bird. thank god he healed (physically) before that happened. now, we can all slow down.

i've posted many times about Kuko, i feel bad that he doesn't get as much out of cage time, but, i guess he needs to move at his own pace.
both my Umbie boys with troubles, but we will be OK.

thanx, all of you for your support, it means alot. especially, when it hurts cause love is not always enough. but, love plus patience may be......linda2 & the flock

#10897 - 12/29/03 02:35 PM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  
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Linda & Littlecharlietoo:

I've done my best to "think outside the box" on this issue. I have found that periodically making subtle changes does help. We have taken steps forward & backwards in the last several months, but I have yet to find that magic thing, if there is one.

Jasmine only shows stress if I get close to her. My Huz can approach her & she remains her normal calm self. If company comes she'll dance for them & act all excited. She peeks around my Huz or company to see where I am, as tho she's afraid I'll sneak up on her or something. This is why I feel that it is a bonding/hormonal related thing. I have read that they only act phobic towards the person they are the most bonded to. Do you find this the same with your birds to?

Dr. Mike suggested that some of the phobia is brought on by pain they've harbored over time from broken blood feathers, pulled feathers, falls, etc. Being the person who runs to check them out & make sure they are Ok they relate that pain to you. Anything that causes them pain or stress they for some reason relate it to you.

Like the rest I've also tried all the suggestions, with no positive results. Many actually made things worse. So I decided to go back to doing things the way I had always done them, except at a much slower pace & as less stressful to Jasmine as possible. Like getting on my knees to push the parrot tower to her cage so she could get off it. That way she wouldn't jump & run & get hurt again. I am now showering her a couple times each week, holding her at least once a day, rubbing her feet, etc, but at the same time spending less time with her than I did before all this took place. She seems to be accepting this routine. Before she would freak, jump & run if she even walked into the room. So I feel we've made some progress.

>>I'm curious if any guardians of phobics have had liver function tested recently? This is supposed to be one of the MAJOR problems with constant stress... right now Charlie is very healthy but I'm wondering how long that will last. Does anyone have any reputable articles on that subject? <<

Sorry I don't. There's next to no info on phobia that I have been able to find. If you know of any please post it.

Toy

#10898 - 12/29/03 05:44 PM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  

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Toy, in Pea-ce's case, its huz he is bonded to, and me he is afraid of, but learning to tolerate. so its the opposite of your bonding situation. BTW, glad to see you here, and let us know if you learn anything new about our beloved phobic Too's.

LilCharlieToo---i have heard that chronic stress can cause a fatty liver, but i believe its severe stress over years and years. i wouldn't worry about it right now, just work on what you have been. sounds like you are heading in the right direction........linda2

#10899 - 12/29/03 06:06 PM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  
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Do a search on articles by Sam Foster.
She has a couple of good articles on phobic cockatoos. Could be something there to help ???
Sorry, I can't post the link....

#10900 - 12/29/03 06:42 PM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  
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My situation is a little different than both of yours. Yes, I'm the one she's bonded to (sort of)... but... she came to us a phobic. Long story short... she had 3 homes (not including the breeder) in her first 18 months and 2 of those homes left her with strangers for prolonged periods of time. She was hand raised and force weaned, oh, and she's probably a hybrid to boot. Her first home had probable domestic violence towards the wife - with whom she was bonded and possibly towards her - she has a major problem with hands. (all info about her first home is gleaned from her second owner) Her second owner bought her at EIGHT months old was a single man who wasn't home very much - he says that she would jump down and freak out even at her first home so the behavior is very deeply ingrained. She never "tamed" for him and would always freak out. At 18 months he sold her to us "just to get back his investment." She is more secure with me when she is out, but is fascinated by Danny - she only speak in words that I say and I'm normally the one she begs for attention - 'course that means that I'm also normally the one that she "flops" on. She doesn't trust ANY humans very much. I agree with Dr. Mike, but in our case the fear is at a very general level - pain is associated with all people. She's comming up on 3 now but has done this behavior since she was very young so hormones probably don't figure much in (that means that she'll get even more stress in her life once the hormones kick in frown )
My own personal thought is that the thing our birds have in common is STRESS (be it hormonal, from life's changes or betrayal - stress can take many forms) add into that the stress of having to constantly watch to make sure they're not "snuck up on", the stress of not flying, the lack of control over what happens to itself and the stress in our case of WANTING/NEEDING touch and being absolutely terrified of it and that's alot of stress for a single bird. From what I've read they seem to just *snap*. From that point on the bird is super sensitive to even very low levels of stress. For this reason I'm begining to view Charlie's phobia as something to be managed instead of cured.
What can we do? The answer to me seems simple... eliminate stress so the bird can function normally. (Also realize that you may NEVER be able to eliminate ENOUGH stress for your bird to be "normal".) Maybe that's why there's no real "answers" for phobics... for example... with Jasmine, out time seems to help - with Charlie more than 30 minutes away from her cage begins to stress her... We've spoken with alot of different people and gathered some helpful (in our case) tips... most of them have already been mentioned... for example start a BASIC routine. (Times to be fed, interacted with and put to bed)
We're trying to get Charlie to fledge - the ability to fly to get away from danger is a programmed instinct... even a clipped bird will jump and flap furiously if frightened - Charlie will actually permit us to put a harness and leash on her (a miracle since it involves touching her all over) since she will then get to go outside. Which leads me to something interesting. When she is outside... she is a different bird. She will readily come to both of us and let us touch, stroke and pet her. I would suspect that we were the "lesser of two evils" so to speak BUT she seems totally relaxed outside. It's almost like she feels like she could get away if we tried to hurt her so she's not so worried about what we might do. I don't know if outside is really feasible with either of you... but perhaps a BIG, OPEN room would work the same? Of course, this might just stress your birds to no end...
Some other things I don't think have been mentioned so far (sorry if they're too common sense - but you never know what's worth mentioning if not for us... maybe others who are lurking)
*soft, calm music
*use soft, happy voices - no matter what, no fighting in front of the birds
*use bright lighting in the room so that everything outside the cage is visible but leave the bird a dark corner inside the cage so that it doesn't feel that it's out in the open
*keep a very high quality diet to reduce any dietary stress that might be adding to the problem
*if you let them watch TV, try (young) children's programming since it tends to be colorful without being loud and violent
*use cue words for actions that you perform often (so the bird learns what to expect before it happens)
*if your bird can talk or you understand it's body language and it asks for something respond immediately by giving it what it wants (gives a sense of control over environment)
This last one is the one I question most... I don't want to create a monster BUT I do want to foster a sense of control and security. I think that as long as you set reasonable boundaries for things like biting and screaming that requests within those bounds should be honored. For example... Charlie is a normally quiet bird... but when she garbles out "Charl Burd" I know she wants my direct attention... I ALWAYS look at her (or enter the room if I'm not already in it)when she does this... however if she screams I ignore her.
Once again... hope this helps and sorry I tend to ramble... I'll go look for some good articles and if I find the ones I'm thinking of I'll try to post them... since I don't know what sources I can post from though I may need to PM you guys.

#10901 - 12/29/03 11:47 PM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  
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Here are four of the easiest articles to find about phobia...

http://www.parrothouse.com/jh4.html -it's about greys, but the premise is still the same

http://www.parrothouse.com/sf11.html - about cockatoos, by sam foster *very* good behaviorist who specializes in cockatoos goes into depth about the cause, but very little concrete suggestons to help the already phobic.

http://www.companionparrot.com/phobic.html - too short article by Sally Blanchard... gives you some back issues of CPQ that you can buy (if you've got the money) that might help.

http://www.parrottalk.com/phobic.html Good article contains step-by-step method that is completely unworkable in our house... but of course might help others

There are a couple of others that I've read that are particularly good if I can find those I'll post them too.

#10902 - 12/31/03 02:21 AM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  
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Linda - you provided the best answer yourself in your original post. Yes, by all means spend a day in a closed room with you and the bird. Be at his disposal all day.

Quote:
feel like if i could spend an entire day in a small room with him, giving him the chance to come to me or not, he may get over this

#10903 - 01/01/04 11:21 PM Re: PLEASE READ! Pea-ce is healed, BUT????  
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Hi Everyone,

I haven't posted in a while, and I see that there are so many phobic birds on the list (including mine). I had written awhile back about Molly (M2). She has come a long way and it has been almost a year of working with her. She still will not step up out of terror. She does comes down off her cage and comes to me and my husband to be petted if we are sitting on the couch or the computer. She has to come to us though, and has to touch our hand with her beak to let us know she is ok with the petting. She seems like she yearns for that feeling but it still not sure that no one is going to hurt her.

She is back to doing all her cute stuff like singing and hopping around and chattering away. She has even let me pick her up (with both hands around her) and sat in my lap for a few minutes. This is such a major change. She is still plucking under her wings, but it is not as severe as in the past.

Soft words and slow movements, singing to her, reading to her, showing her picture books with lots of colors...all part of her slow recovery. She may never be totally trusting of anyone, and that's ok. I have alot of patience. Believe me, I know of the frustrations you feel when you bird "freaks out". Try not to let the bird know it upsets you. Try to always have positive thoughts any time you are around them. They can sense your feelings.

Keep up with the great work you are all doing with these phobic birdies. Don't give up. I never will smile

Happy New Year to All,

Lisa

Molly, Sinbad & Pallo


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