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#261209 - 07/28/18 11:16 AM Help with my new cockatoo!  
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 5
Shelly Belly Offline
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Shelly Belly  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 5
Hi guys! So I’ve had Shelly for about 3 weeks now, he’s a four year old sulphur crested cockatoo that i got as gift. He is not tamed, and would not let anyone come too close; he’d either slightly open his beak (to bite) or he’d go to the corner of the cage (away from us). He plays on his own and loves his toys, and up until this week, he came out of the cage only to sit on top of it. He would never leave his cage or go too far. The biggest he’s done is walk on the floor 2-3 feet away from his cage. And the only interaction between Shelly and I is when he just takes food from my hand and then walks away to eat it.
He would not perch on my hand at all, despite everything I tried. I tried to get two long wooden sticks (one for him to perch on, and on for him to bite) but that didn’t work. He’s just not friendly.
What can I do? The local vet told me that he hasn’t been tamed and it’s nearly impossible for him to be tamed again. Is that true? I even took him to that particular vet myself, he perched on his hand for two seconds but seemed like he didn’t like it, so he immediately flew back to his cage. He got super aggressive when the vet attempted to pet his head too.
Help!

https://image.ibb.co/hwMv18/85_B57915_FDAF_4059_A272_043_BA6034179.jpg

Last edited by BE2Cassie; 07/28/18 12:19 PM. Reason: Links only please for posting pictures
#261211 - 07/28/18 12:18 PM Re: Help with my new cockatoo! [Re: Shelly Belly]  
Joined: Dec 2004
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BE2Cassie Offline
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BE2Cassie  Offline

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3 Weeks is no time at all for a cockatoo to settle in to a new home. He could take months to years to settle in and be comfortable with you. Go very slow with him, sit quietly and read to him, sing softly and offer him a favorite treat. Don't force him to come out or to step up on you at this point. You will end up being bitten and causing him to fear you more. Let Shelly decide when he's going to trust you. Once he's trusting you enough to stay close to you when taking food from your hand you can begin training him to step up. Good luck and keep up the good work. His picture is beautiful and he looks very calm with his feather face going on.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#261212 - 07/28/18 03:55 PM Re: Help with my new cockatoo! [Re: BE2Cassie]  
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 5
Shelly Belly Offline
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Shelly Belly  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 5
Thank you for your helpful reply! You’re right, three weeks is too early, but I guess the local vet kind of scared me when he said that he’s too old to be tamed. I’ll give him all the time he needs as long as he’s comfortable and happy!
Thanks again smile!

#261219 - 08/06/18 04:50 PM Re: Help with my new cockatoo! [Re: Shelly Belly]  
Joined: Aug 2018
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noodles123 Offline
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noodles123  Offline
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Well, time is your friend here...Do not rush things. My uncle had a wild-caught TAG which he acquired through some rather ignorant circumstances in the 80s. The bird was WILD. With time and patience, he did come around. I do not advocate wild-caught bird ownership!!! I am just saying that if that bird came around, yours can to.
Parrots take a LONG time to adjust to new people and routines (a human week is like 2 hours to them). Right away, it is clear that, at the moment, "attention" is not a reinforcer to this bird. If you look at the 4 reasons for behavior: 1)tangibles, 2) sensory, 3) attention and 4) escape, it appears that he is operating in the escape and tangibles realm (just face value...and no, I cannot be certain).
A reinforcer is anything that increases a behavior. Negative reinforcement isn't bad---it simply means that you are removing something and the removal of that item/task increases the likelihood that a behavior will be repeated. Positive reinforcement means that you are presenting something that meets one of the 4 functions of behavior as a reinforcer (attention, tangibles, escape, or sensory). Just because you think of something as rewarding, does not mean your parrot will do the same. In order for a reinforcer to be a reinforcer, it must INCREASE some sort of behavior (good or bad). Once you figure out what is reinforcing a particular behavior, you can use that to come up with a more socially acceptable replacement behavior that meets the same function as the less-desired behaviors OR trumps them entirely.
When the bird takes food from you, it is having to go outside of its comfort zone to get that treat, and it wouldn't do this unless it really wanted it (as it is clearly scared and trying to escape in other scenarios where that reinforcer is absent).
You should keep this in mind as you work with the bird, because it sounds like food motivates your "Too" and that isn't true of all of them. This is a good thing.
If I were you, I would get your bird comfortable by doing activities (quietly) within the bird's general vicinity. He doesn't sound aggressive in terms of his cage, so you need to show that you are not a threat and just let him get comfortable..Read a book, work on a laptop etc.

Random thought: your bird may be hitting puberty soon and that can cause some serious changes in behavior.

Do not shove sticks in to get him to step up right away. Wait wait wait. Slowly, work on target training your bird. If he bites, do not react by leaving, as this will make him believe that biting solves his problem. At the same time, read his body cues to prevent him from getting into a behavioral loop of biting (you don't want him getting daily biting practice). Basically, present a preferred item/food and see how eagerly he approaches. If he comes closer then you have found a good start. Slowly increase the distance between the bird and the item until his comfort zone is stretched. Then see if you can change your hand positions until he steps up there (I am talking WEEKS of training...months are more likely).

If you introduce stick training, you want to be sure that your bird wasn't traumatized by abuse with sticks in the past. If that checks out, then you will still need to wait before you bring them into play, but the goal would be to make the bird associate the presence of the stick with the tangible reward.He has to still trust you before he will trust a stick in your hand.

Also, BEWARE of satiation! Birds and people get sick of favorite foods (or food in general) if they are presented in excess or if the bird isn't hungry. For this reason, I would try starting training sessions in the morning when the bird is most hungry and only use the best treats in small doses. DO NOT GIVE THE TREAT UNLESS HE MAKES SOME VISIBLE PROGRESS TOWARD YOUR GOAL. Depending on your bird, this could be as small as a step towards your hand, or coming all the way out onto the door (I don't know his comfort zone, so it is hard to say).

I hope that helps some....I also hope I didn't ramble too much and confuse things further.

#261224 - 08/07/18 01:37 AM Re: Help with my new cockatoo! [Re: Shelly Belly]  
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 19
U2x2 Offline
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U2x2  Offline
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Agreed with everything stated above. Time, PATIENCE and love. took me a year to my first U2 to stop biting me and to sit with me. Now I am Tiki's mate and dealing with mating behavior. Thank god for ABA! As Yoda would say,
the urge is strong in this one!

#261225 - 08/07/18 01:47 AM Re: Help with my new cockatoo! [Re: Shelly Belly]  
Joined: Jan 2018
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U2x2 Offline
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U2x2  Offline
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BTW...I took have adopted a sulfur crested cockatoo, a Triton they told me. And we are also in the honeymoon period, had Guido for 4 months now.


Moderated by  BE2Cassie, Beeps, EchosMom, Janny 

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