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#260598 - 06/28/17 12:38 PM Adopting a 47 yr old SC2  
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critibug Offline
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Edmond. Oklahoma USA
Hello, we are about to adopt Archie, a 47 yo SC2 who has been bounced around during his life and lived for years at a time with different family members. He is a plucker, but only recently started that behavior. We will be strangers to him. He comes home this Saturday.

Any suggestions on getting him to accept all 6 of us (me, husband, 4 teens) as members of his flock and none of us as his mate?

Suggestions on how much we should try to interact with him the first few days/weeks? Quiet encouragement, such as just talking to him though the cage? Offer or don't offer treats? Open the cage and allow him to come out? (not sure how to get him back in if we haven't built a relationship but I want to give him freedom when the time is right).

Need advice on cats. We have 2 that haven't ever been around birds. I know they are dangerous to him. The plan now is to keep him in a room where all the humans can go and not let the cats in that room. Ultimately, of course, we would like to all live in harmonyhttp://www.mytoos.com/forum/images/icons/default/smile.gif. Any advice on acclimating them to each other?

His diet now is mostly sunflower seeds. But..he does eat fruit and veggies. Keep him on mostly the seeds now and slowly (few weeks) wean him off until they are just a treat, or wean him off fast such as a week? Introduce a high quality pellet?

How to introduce baths/water? Spray bottle to the back or feet? Wait until we can get him out of the cage (he is fairly friendly to his current owners) and see if he's interested in the running sink water?

We are trying to read everything we can on the body language of Toos, and have even made a chart to refer to, so that we can build a relationship with him...but I'm sure I will have behavior questions in the weeks to come..
Thank you all for any guidance and advice! Cristi

#260599 - 06/29/17 11:36 AM Re: Adopting a 47 yr old SC2 [Re: critibug]  
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You have a great list started. Think about the most important things and begin there. Make an appointment with an avian veterinarian and get him in to be seen. Do you know if he's been seen recently? Let him acclimate to his new home. Give him time, lots of time to settle in. Let him set the pace. Is he coming with his cage or is he moving into a new one? His old one will help the transition a little bit. Approach him slowly, talk quietly and offer treats. Sit in the room with him and read to him, listen to music or watch tv. Initially on the first day I would not open the cage door once he's in. You may find that he will choose someone to trust and step up for that person. When you do let him out for the first time he will probably go back in on his own, just give him time. Be sure that you have the time needed to get him in. Late afternoon early evening is often a good time. As it gets dark he may go in on his own for the night. Cockatoos love to dance and listen to music. I haven't met one yet that doesn't. Try different styles of music with him to see his preference. I've learned to enjoy pop and hip hop music, but can't get into most country. LOL
Introduce the new foods while continuing to give him the seeds. If he's already eating veggies and fruit that is a jump start on a healthier diet. I would give him the produce in the morning, pull the seeds and place a bowl of pellets in with him. I would even put a few pellets in with his veggies. Later in the afternoon put the seeds back in. Just about all of us have taught our birds to eat good foods by including them in meal times and eating the foods we want the bird to eat. Yes we have all eaten our share of pellets.
Has he been sleeping with a cover on his cage or just shades/curtains closed at night? Does he use a night light? These are questions that you are going to need to know the answers for. You don't want a screaming, terrified too on his first night home.
Save the bathing for later. Find out how the current owner bathes him. If not then offer several different things. Large bowl on the floor of his cage, mister, kitchen sink, bathtub or shower. What ever you try keep it fun and show him what it's for. If you use a mister, spray it over his head so that it "rains" down softly on him.
I have no suggestions on the cats other than to say keep them away from him. I know we have a number of members that have cats and dogs that are able to live quietly together.
Best of luck and I'll be watching for updates this weekend. I have a feeling that everything is going to work out perfectly for all of you. All of you doing your study before he gets there is a huge step in the right direction.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260600 - 06/29/17 04:13 PM Re: Adopting a 47 yr old SC2 [Re: critibug]  
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Thank you again for your encouragement and all of the advice! Archie has never been to a vet . We have an appointment next Thursday the 6th to get him checked out. That was the earliest they could get us in and we figured the sooner the better since it may traumatize him a bit. His current cage is an old iron cage with only vertical bars and we do plan to take it with us and refurbish it and use it for outside, IF we can get it into our truck. He will travel the 1.5 hours back to our house in the backseat in a smaller cage, and then be put into a brand new cage. He currently sleeps with just blinds closed but "used to sleep with a cover over his cage" according to his current owner. So I guess we may try both. I'll keep you updated on his progress and vet visit. Thanks again!

#260604 - 07/02/17 12:45 AM Re: Adopting a 47 yr old SC2 [Re: critibug]  
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Help Cassie's mom. We brought Archie home today. The 1.5 hour ride home he did scream a bit but mostly just talked. He allowed me to pet his neck. We have been home 3 hours. We have been outside the entire time and he has been out of his cage. he has stepped to my husband's arm, he has danced with us, he has taken food from us. But..he will demand over and over "Archie scratchy scratch" and wants his neck scratched. He will even raise his wings so we can scratch under them. We are careful to stay on his upper body. He has been a plucker and his feathers are growing back and I'm sure they itch. He has never been introduced to water and we will do that eventually. So the problem is he continues to demand Archie scratchy scratch every time we stop. He is getting more attention than he ever has. What do we do? I don't want to create a monster but I want to respond to his request positively

#260605 - 07/02/17 07:31 PM Re: Adopting a 47 yr old SC2 [Re: critibug]  
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It's a positive sign that he's asking for interaction and touch from you, an excellent place to start. Avoid touching him below the neck, this touch can lead to hormonal behaviors. When you say he has been outside do you mean in the house out of his cage or in the yard out of his cage? Even a clipped bird can fly when startled or catches a gust of wing. The only birds that can not fly are those with a disabled or missing wing. I'm sorry I didn't see this last night. I would love to know how you did getting him back in the cage.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260606 - 07/02/17 11:32 PM Re: Adopting a 47 yr old SC2 [Re: critibug]  
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critibug Offline
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His previous owners have been bringing him outside every weekend to a perch for years and he's never tried to fly. His wings are not clipped. We have brought him outside in a carry cage 2 days in a row and allowed him out of it. He crawls to the top and stays there for hours. He has not made any attempts at going anywhere except my husbands lap. He's heard fire crackers and dogs. I admit it does make me nervous, I've never heard of a bird doing this. We must be in the honeymoon phase because he is being an exceptionally good boy. He screamed last night about a minute then went to sleep without a peep all night. Tomorrow reality hits because we will go to work and he will be alone for a few hours. Getting him back in his cage: it takes several attempts but he eventually steps to a branch and in he goes. His previous owner would just pick him up around the body. We haven't had to do that yet. Right now he seems almost too good to be true. I keep waiting for the psycho to come out.... but we have plenty of years ahead for that!

#260607 - 07/03/17 11:45 AM Re: Adopting a 47 yr old SC2 [Re: critibug]  
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His psycho may never come out. He may just be a sedate older gentleman that had a wild ride during his younger years.
Does he open his wings to flap them at all or to fully extend them in a stretch? Being outside unharnessed or in a carrier is very scary. Do you have hawks or any predator animals in the area? This can include pet dogs and cats that run loose.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260608 - 07/03/17 02:37 PM Re: Adopting a 47 yr old SC2 [Re: critibug]  
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critibug Offline
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The only time he has opened his wings are to wrap them around our arms when we are scratching his neck, as if he is hugging us. There are hawks around and we keep him under an umbrella at all times. In just 2 days we have discovered that we cannot put him in his cage unless it is time for bed and lights out, cage covered. Otherwise he screams. We are trying to find that one special treat that we give him if he steps to a branch and goes into his cage. But so far, no luck. He seems to like most foods but there is nothing he goes wild for... suggestions? We have left him home alone for the first time today so I am anxious to see how he responds to us upon our return.

#260609 - 07/03/17 09:56 PM Re: Adopting a 47 yr old SC2 [Re: critibug]  
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Have you tried pine nuts, almond slivers or popcorn? They are small so good for reinforcers. Does he have things he likes in the cage? This is a new cage for him isn't it? Did you find out what some of his favorite activities are in and out of the cage? He may feel vulnerable in the cage. At night you're covering him aren't you? Maybe during the day if you cover 2 or 3 sides of the cage or place the cage in a corner of the room. You don't have to spend a lot of money on toys. There are many things you can make for him around the house. Coffee filters make great paper flowers tied inside the cage to shred. Cupcake papers do too!. Empty boxes of cereal are great to load up with paper and a treat or two tied to the inside of the cage bars to shred. Paper bags, dixie cups, gift tissue paper, paper doilies, paper towels and the tube. Plain popcorn can be hidden inside of any of these.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260610 - 07/03/17 10:48 PM Re: Adopting a 47 yr old SC2 [Re: critibug]  
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critibug Offline
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Great ideas, all of them! Thank you!

#260623 - 07/09/17 07:57 PM Re: Adopting a 47 yr old SC2 [Re: critibug]  
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Hi Cassie's mom, Just wanted to update you on Archie. It has been a week and a day since he came home. He continues to be a joy. We have had 3 people in our 12 person immediately family with bloody fingers or bruise. But we have looked at each bite in retrospect and can see each reason and what we did wrong/should have recognized, to not have had the bite occur at all. He is already weaning off of the sunflower seeds that were his primary diet and eating mostly fresh veggies and some fruit. No luck on the roudybush pellets, he refuses them but we will keep trying. We have tried to find his birdy "drug", for lack of a better word--meaning the one thing that he just has to have--to get him to step up on command. Any suggestions on what to try would be appreciated--because, now, he steps up when he's darn well ready and not a moment before. One problem is that he does not seem to like being inside his new big cage. He loves being on top of it and playing with blocks, balls, and toys, but doesn't like being inside of it. He has screamed the 2 nights that we have tried to put him to bed in it (BTW it is in our bedroom right now just a few feet from our bed), but he wants to sleep in the small dog crate we brought him home in. If we put him in that, which in reality is WAY to small for him, we do not hear a peep all night (it is also a few feet from our bed). We would like to get him adjusted to sleeping in his big cage, so any advice is welcome. But the most amazing thing is that we take him outside everyday and he sits on the perch my husband built him and he just stays there for hours! He has not been spooked by anything he has heard: fireworks, loud dogs, tornado sirens (we live in Oklahoma), my husbands chainsaw, hawks (we keep him near us and under an umbrella at all times), other birds, lawn mowers, and just every outside noise that that we can imagine. We are in awe that this fully flighted beautiful bird is just content being with us and interacting with us OUTSIDE (and inside). This is incredible, amazing, and almost unheard of. But rest assured that should he show ANY signs of flying, we will harness train him to take him outside. But for the time being, we will enjoy this incredible gift. We are definitely falling in love with Archie, and whether or not he continues his pleasant, loving behavior, we will continue to love him. I think you may have been right, Cassie's mom, when you said he may now just be an older gentleman who's wild ride was in his younger years.

#260624 - 07/09/17 09:18 PM Re: Adopting a 47 yr old SC2 [Re: critibug]  
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Lots of folks use sleep cages just like that. He's secure I would let him sleep in it. He's not being hurt by sleeping in it. Sounds like you are doing very well with him and things should continue to settle nicely for all of you. Reading him is the best thing you will learn.
"But rest assured that should he show ANY signs of flying, we will harness train him to take him outside." If he shows signs of flying outside it may be too late to harness train. For security you really shouldn't have him outside with out being secure. Does he fly in the house? Have you seen him open and flap his wings? He may be unable to fly.
It seems like Archie has landed in wonderful hands. Keep up the good work!


Nancy & Cassie BE2

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