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#257171 - 11/06/14 08:01 AM New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's  
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SariStar85 Offline
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First, I would like to say I wish I had found this website BEFORE I brought home my bird. There are a lot of things I would do differently, questions I would have asked, and after reading through the agenda and other discussions, I would have never gone to a "breeder". I thought I had done enough research before making the decision to purchase a bird...but I clearly hadn't.

When I brought Emma home ("she" has not been sexed, so I don't know for sure), she displayed some unexpected feeding behaviors. She would crouch down, rock, and make a very throaty sound, like a whine or cry. It reminded me of the posture you might see from a baby bird when the parent comes back with food to regurgitate and feed. Initially, I would just scratch her head, stay there, and talk to her, believing this behavior was ONLY because she was nervous to be in a new and strange environment. She is 6 months old

After reading through the forums here, I now believe this is a sign she was improperly weaned by the "breeder", and I use that term loosely. It makes me so upset, now knowing what I have read on here, that you would force a young bird to eat in a manner it is not yet secure with or able to. I can only imagine how confusing that must be for them.

I read more on abundance weaning and I am trying to embrace that concept. I'm not sure if there has been too much damage done already by the breeder improperly weaning her, but I just want to give her the best chance of developing confidence and security. I automatically offer her food in the mornings, when I get up, and then when I get home from work and at night, before bed. I don't wait for her to start with the crying or rocking, I just prepare a warm mash with Harrison's pellets, and come over to her and offer it. I am happy to say she readily accepts it every time. She is out of her cage and on a play stand several hours every evening, if not longer, and any time I see her start that behavior, I immediately offer her some food. I have been using a spoon which she is comfortable with. I put fresh pellets, nuts, fruits, and veggies in her cage every day, then I have some bird bread and hard boiled eggs I also periodically offer. She adores sweet potatoes, so I also offer this too. She eats well on her own, though sometimes plays with the food more than she is actually eating it I think, but I keep giving her more, because I want her to have something there. For example, she loves peanuts...she tears apart the shell, picks the nuts out and throws them around, then moves on to destroy another shell, without actually eating much peanut itself, I think. I keep filling up her cup because she seems very happy doing this and, again, I want her to have food there. She has seemed, well, more joyous since I have started this regimen. She is exploring her surroundings more, has ventured to take baths in water when offered, and has been much more gregarious with her toys. She still displays the behavior, I am just trying to be very attentive to it.

After reading through the posts here, I am not willing to return her to the breeder, get a refund, etc. I am unwilling to put her back into an unhealthy situation. I want to do better by her, here forward, and help her to become as independent, confident, and happy as possible. My question is, am I on the right track or do I have this figured out all wrong? Am I doing anything wrong, from what I have described, that I should do differently? We have a checkup scheduled with an avian vet this Saturday, and I plan to talk to him, but that also makes me nervous...reading some of the posts about bad advice vets have given other owners who don't know any better. I really would relish some feedback from this community on what I need to be doing to help her become as well adjusted as she can.

#257172 - 11/06/14 01:00 PM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: SariStar85]  
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Welcome to Mytoos. A good number of us were in your shoes in the beginning as well. There has never been too much damage done that you can't undo at this point or any point with these guys. It sounds like you have her diet off to a very good start. A heads up on the peanuts, the shell can be a host for Aspergillis fungus. This can cause a very bad respiratory infection in birds that is very difficult to treat and treatment is long term. You also want to limit the number of nuts you give her per day. They are high in fat and can cause fatty liver disease. Talk to the vet about her diet and amounts to offer her. Do you leave her with dry pellets available? You should pick up a gram scale. Daily weights in the beginning help you keep track of how she is doing. As she stabilizes you can drop down to weekly. Look at your schedule of out of cage time with her. If you are home it's a good idea to have her out and about. A small cage that can be moved around the house or playstand is a useful investment. I use the small cage in the kitchen so that Cassie can be with me while cooking. She also eats dinner in it with us at the table. She refused to stay on a play stand or to eat from her own plate at the table. The small cage works great when you don't want foot prints in your potatoes.
Start writing down questions for your vet now and bring the list with you. It gets a little over whelming during a vet trip especially the first one and you will forget some things.
Trusting your vet is very important. Be sure that he is an avian vet. This is a good place to look
http://www.aav.org/search/
Looks for reviews online about the vet.
Continue reading here as often and as much as you can. I'm not going to tell you it gets easier, it doesn't. I was in the same boat almost 10 years ago when I brought Cassie home. Hang in there and remember that there are always folks around here that are willing to help you.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#257175 - 11/06/14 06:37 PM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: SariStar85]  
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One thing you might try is to bend a spoon so the tip is folded on it's sides. Try to imagine making the tip of the spoon more beak-shaped.

Research has shown that even when the bird is physically capable of feeding itself 100% (from human provided foods), the act of being fed is essential to a parrots emotional well being. In the wild with long lived parrots, it has been observed that the parents will continue to feed and the offspring even after they are capable of foraging for themselves. Often, it is the offspring that will continually turn-down beak-to-beak feeding when the parents are offering it.

I would suggest that even as she matures and is eating completely on her own, that you still occasionally offer her warm mash, at least until she refuses it or she reaches sexual maturity.

Sometimes giving warm mash to a sexually mature parrot during hormonal times can can cause problems, but you have a number years before having to that.

#257176 - 11/06/14 07:13 PM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: BE2Cassie]  
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Nancy, Thank you so much for your quick and thoughtful response. I was unaware of the concern with peanuts, so I have removed these from the cabinet where I keep her food. She seems just as content to tear up walnut and pecan shells, and from what I have read, these do not carry the same risk of Aspergillis infection as long as they are properly stored. I usually give 3-5 nuts a day, and remove any leftovers and replace with new every morning. I do leave the pellets in her cage as well, but I switch them out every day if she hasnít eaten them, because I was reading how the Harrisonís pellets can spoil if left out. I store the unused pellets in the bag in the refrigerator.
I am going today to pick up a kitchen scale which can be read in grams. I am planning on monitoring her weight daily, and then weekly, as you suggested, or unless the vet suggests something different. We have her out of the cage, on a mobile play stand, from about 5:30 pm till 9:30 pm every Monday-Thursday, then she goes to bed, we all do actually just so the house is quiet. Friday-Sunday, she is out for several hours every morning, and then several hours every evening. We typically place her back in her cage during the middle of the day some, which she has been okay with, and sheíll play with whatever new toys Iíve put in there. The play stand was a great investment. It is made of safe, natural wood, and she loves tearing the bark off of the branches, and shredding the paper towels I keep beneath it. We roll it around from room to room depending on if I am cooking or we are just sitting, and she enjoys just being in our company it seems.
The vet we are seeing was recommended due to his work with a wild bird sanctuary near Birmingham, AL and we live not too far from there. He seems very knowledgeable about both captive bred and wild birds and does work with the state concerning bird rehabilitation and care as well. I am definitely going to make the most of my time with him!
Thank you again for your advice, feedback, and support.

#257177 - 11/06/14 07:16 PM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: Specialist Elbru]  
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Specialist Elbru, thank you as well for your response. I am going to do as you suggested, and bend the spoon to resemble more of a bird's beak. I offer the food to her regularly every morning, late afternoon, and bedtime, and then if I notice her displaying the behavior where she crouches down, opens her mouth, and cries. Does this sound appropriate? She is eating well on her own, and I am going to do as was previously suggested and monitor weights daily. I continue to leave pellets and fresh vegetables and fruits in her cage, and on her play stand, along with the mash feedings

#257195 - 11/08/14 07:59 AM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: SariStar85]  
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I need to preface this response with the fact, that I do not have hands-on experience in this aspect of parrot care-taking. What I do know, is from reading Mytoos along with other reputable sources. Therefore, I expect if something I say is wrong, someone here will correct me.

In the Late 90s when I thought about getting a cockatoo, I used the term "fully weaned" and it is still used quite often today. I no longer like that term, I prefer the term "fully capable of self-feeding". Because, once the bird can self-feed for nutritional needs, does not mean that feeding the bird should stop. The term "fully weaned" seams to imply that the bird does not need to be fed anymore.

For a young parrot, being fed is somewhat like the human equivalent to getting a nice warm hug. The way I see it, if someone says that you should stop feeding a bird that is "fully capable of self-feeding", it is like saving that a human child that is mature enough to eat with a spoon and fork is old enough to not need a hug from his/her parents.

Seven months is young for a goffins cockatoo, the earliest breeding occurs at 4 or 5 years or later in some birds. At this stage, I would spoon-feed the youngster as often as the bird request it. If she stops eating on her own and only wants you to feed her, I would defiantly ask someone here, because I have no idea. When she is 12 months old, I would expect she would still enjoy the occasional spoon feeding, but I would think that she would get the spoon feeding much less often. As far as how often you should spoon-feed and how many times would lead to an over-dependency, I have no practical experience, you would need to ask someone else here. I might suggest you keep us up-to-date on how many times per day/week she wants a spoon feeding or accepts a spoon feeding.

#257204 - 11/09/14 02:54 AM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: Specialist Elbru]  
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We had a very positive experience at the vet office today and were also given a clean bill of health. I had to laugh because she decided she really liked a paper towel that had been left on the exam table and had shredded most of it by the time he came in. He suggested that I also continue to offer her the spoon feelings, especially during this time period that can be especially stressful in moving from the environment of the other situation to our home. He suggested using some whole, steamed veggies in the mash if she didn't want to eat anything else, but this hasn't been a problem. I'd say we are averaging about 3 spoon feedings a day, and then she eats some fruits, veggies, and greens daily as well. She doesn't seem to be displaying the "feed me" behavior as often now. Given that she is still eating well on her own, I will likely just continue doing as I am. I think she is feeling better and gaining confidence, because now, instead of displaying the "feed me" behavior as often, she has really gotten into climbing and doing acrobatics on her play stand. I did some research on safe plants for her, and brought in some cuttings from my wandering jew and some corn stalks, cleaned them, and set them up on her play stand and she had a ball. Being able to interest herself with such activities seems to have helped as well.

Her weight was 230 grams, which the vet also said was fine, and at this point to continue to monitor with weekly weights, or more frequently if I feel she isn't eating as well and/or if I notice less waste matter being produced.

#257205 - 11/09/14 05:57 AM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: SariStar85]  
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Sounds like you are doing good with the diet and sounds like she is beginning to feel a little more comfortable with you and your family. I too purchased a bird before I knew better, alot of us have made that mistake here. Baby birds are adorable and people have a tendency to want to cuddle them and shower them with too much attention. teach her how to play on her own and develop a contact call, when she calls for you call back to her with something like hi or I love you, letting her know you are close by. Its hard but in the end you will have a bird that is not so dependent and has self confidence. These birds are so smart and will quickly have you trained. That was a good piece of advice someone gave me years ago. I also live near Birmingham, did you go to alford ave vet hospital? they are great there!
kim


#257209 - 11/09/14 05:39 PM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: SariStar85]  
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Originally Posted By: SariStar85
...I also continue to offer her the spoon feelings, especially during this time period that can be especially stressful in moving from the environment of the other situation to our home. He suggested using some whole, steamed veggies in the mash if she didn't want to eat anything else, but this hasn't been a problem. I'd say we are averaging about 3 spoon feedings a day, and then she eats some fruits, veggies, and greens daily as well. She doesn't seem to be displaying the "feed me" behavior as often now. Given that she is still eating well on her own, I will likely just continue doing as I am. I think she is feeling better and gaining confidence, because now, instead of displaying the "feed me" behavior as often ...


It sounds like you are getting a good start. Because spoon feeding is a stress relief for young birds in times of difficult situations, I liken it to hugs in human children. As she settles into her new home, she won't feel that she "needs a hug" all the time, the occasional "hug" will help her grow as a self-aware being.

Even though you are starting out on the right foot, you must not become complacent. As I stated in an earlier post, cockatoos are not domesticated creatures. Their genes dictate many hardwired behaviors that are geared for survival in the wild, there genes are not geared towards making them companion animals. Each bird has a different set of genes, so you will not know ahead-of-time how tough of the road you have ahead of you is. As been said in the past, "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.".

Here is my older host

Originally Posted By: me
In 1997, I was considering getting a hand-fed goffin's cockatoo from a breeder (fortunately I did not). I was educated enough to wait until it was "fully weened" (although now-a-days I would not consider than an accurate term). You see back in the 90's, I read forums on breeder supported websites. Those sites even had a number of forums dedicated to parrot breeding.

One of the ideas that were freely propagated was that "new" birds are always easier than re-home birds. I believed that if I just started with a new bird, I would start with a "known quantity". As long as I did not make mistakes, my bird would develop into a loving companion with no major "behavioral problems". I would not have to navigated a hidden minefield of problems laid-down by a previous owner.

However, it turns out, the birds own genetics had laid down a sort of hidden minefield of behaviors that makes it difficult for a bird to live in captivity. As the bird matures, hormones and innate behaviors come to light and the birds personality will change over time. The amount of which is impossible to know ahead of time.

The posts by cecileg HERE. demonstrates my point. Cecileg got Ole as a young bird, then raised him as best he could. However, seasonal hormonal behavior make life difficult. The take-away lesson demonstrated by cecileg and many others on mytoos is, problems with adult birds can not be eliminated by raising a young bird "right". It is true that if you raise a bird "wrong" problems as an adult can be even worse. But nurture will never eliminate the problems of trying to keep a non-domesticated bird in your house.

#257214 - 11/09/14 11:26 PM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: bellesmom]  
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Kim, I went to Riverview Animal Clinic and saw Dr. Atlas and Dr. Campbell. I had also heard good things about Dr. Friddle at Aldord Ave Vet Hospital. They seemed very knowledgable at Riverview, and took the time to answer all my questions (of which there were a considerable amount) and basically told me a lot of the information I have already read about on the forum such as lighting, feeding, appropriate touching, etc. I did read about the contact call,and I have been saying back "Hello Emma", which she seems to be responding positively to. I am considering moving her into another room with a sleeping cage for bedtime. I'm concerned that she might not be getting enough interrupted sleep with the amount of time my husband likes to stay up and play video games. We have a second cage that's a bit smaller than the one she has now, and I am looking at setting it up in a back bedroom so she gets the 10-12 hours a day for sleep.

#257224 - 11/10/14 03:14 AM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: SariStar85]  
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Riverview is my backup if Dr. Friddle is not available and I have an emergency, they are very good there. I know one of the vet techs and everyone is so nice. I have sleep cages for my birds and it really makes a difference. I stay up alot later so mine go upstairs and we have a night time ritual where they all get a chance to preen and settle down and get some sweet talk and scritches from mom. I also have a baby monitor so I can listen out for any trouble during the night. Nothing worse than a grouchy too that hasnt had enough sleep.


#257232 - 11/10/14 04:16 AM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: SariStar85]  
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I need to outfit our 2nd cage with an adequate perch or two. From what I have read, as the cage is meant to sleep in, you can keep it fairly basic so I was only going to put two perches in this one. I make my perches from several sweet gum trees we have in our yard, and I am in the process of preparing the wood to ensure it is safe. Do you think it is okay to roll her primary cage into the sleep room until I get the cage outfitted?

#257246 - 11/11/14 02:13 AM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: SariStar85]  
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yes, I think that would be fine. Uninterrupted sleep is extremely important. My sleep cages are alot smaller with two different size perches, which is important for foot health, and one toy incase they wake up early and want to play with something. I also give them water and just a little food. I cover my birds, some people dont but i feel like they rest better covered, its entirely up to you and your bird.


#257577 - 12/22/14 04:23 AM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: SariStar85]  
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How is she doing regarding self feeding vs wanting to be feed?

#257578 - 12/22/14 04:38 AM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: SariStar85]  
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Make sure you read this article!

Abundance Weaning and Fledging - Kiesselbach

#257712 - 01/05/15 09:48 PM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: SariStar85]  
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Specialist Elbru, she is doing quite well. She will still demonstrate some of the "feed me" behaviors, primarily in the mornings (squatting, fluffing out her feathers and making the throaty sound), but she is now eating out of a bowl that is hooked onto her jungle gym. I let her roam about between her cage and gym in the morning, which are hooked together with some ropes she climbs on, and I started one morning with offering her the food from the spoon and then gradually transitioning to her going to the bowl to eat it. Now, I come over, place the food in the bowl, and she immediately goes over and eats her fill, and doesn't display any of the "feed me" behaviors afterwards. I still feed her the mash twice a day (from Harrison's) which she greatly prefers over the pellets. She tends to just throw the pellets about and onto the floor, but she will eat a good bit of the warm mash, so I have just continued preparing it for her that way. She has fruits and veggies, as well as some berry balls, to eat t/o the day. Hope I'm doing this correctly, but as she has responded favorably to eating out of the bowl, this is how I have continued to present the food. I've been weighing her and she has actually gained a bit of weight and is up to 250 grams. Charlie, thank you for the link to the article. I think I actually followed the link from a separate post and it taught me a lot about how to proceed with this feeding/weaning process. I've given her a few spoon feedings here and there, primarily when the behavior seemed "out of routine" for her (i.e. she usually acts like this in the mornings, but then would exhibit the "feed me" behavior randomly, for example in the middle of the day), thinking that, as stated before, it is more of a stress reliever and reassurance to her to know that food will be provided...so I provide it!

#257714 - 01/06/15 02:14 AM Re: New owner of 7 month old baby Goffin's [Re: SariStar85]  
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Thanks for the update. Nice to hear that her self-feeding development is going well, and that you are there for her to provide the assurance she needs to developed emotionally.


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