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#7237 - 04/04/02 12:17 AM Biting female SC  
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 52
Amy Taveras Offline
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Amy Taveras  Offline
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Dominican Republic
First, just for curiosity's sake, what is the difference between the greater and lesser SCs? I am working with two SCs (male and female) and I'm not sure which they are. The male is bigger than the female (she's thinner than him, but it's hard to tell since she has plucked many of her chest and back feathers), but he is about the same size as the U2s I'm working with. Would you say that they are lessers or greaters?

Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty...one of these SCs is a doll (the male, he's blind), but the other - YIKERS - she's a little bugger. I did have a bit of a break-through yesterday. I let the two of them roam freely around the outdoor clinic for about 1.5 hours every day, competely supervised, to give them some exercise and, because they have no toys in their cage, to forage and explore.

Well, the first day I was chasing the little girl all over the clinic to try to get her back in the cage. She would not have anything to do with my arm (she's a killer!) or the stick. With a little time, I got her to step onto the stick for very brief moments. Sometimes I actually had to grab onto her tail feathers to keep her on the stick and scoot her back into the cage - the wings flapping, squaking the whole bit. We then moved to the "ok, I'll get on the stick to jump into my cage only" stage. This was a monumental moment. She's so smart!!! When she saw the stick near the cage she would use it as a step to get into the cage. She knew why the stick was there!! Amazing! Well, it was a big deal for me. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Embarrassed]" src="redface.gif" />

Anyways, normally she is trying to get away from me and when I try to approach with my hands, fingers or arms, she bites...HARD, usually draws blood. But lately, she seems to be quite curious about me. While I'm holding Siego (the blind one), she will approach, but not too closely as she is afraid of Siego, and chews on my tennies.

Ok, I have to deviate here for a moment. Question: Should they be separated? She is constantly trying to get away from him when I watch them in their cage. She likes to follow him around while she's out of the cage, but still I never see them really close. However, one day when I arrived in the clinic the workers told me that she had laid (layed? sorry I'm an engineer) an egg. Hmph. confused What do you all think?

Back to my earlier ramblings...ah yes, Princess has found great fun in chasing my tennis shoes and biting pieces of the sole off.

Now, what happened yesterday - in my opinion - was a big step. I approached her and Siego while he was foraging on the ground and she was perched on top of one of the cages. I was talking to her gently and I noticed that she was taking a stance like she wanted to jump onto my chest or shoulder. So, because I'm afraid she'll take a shot at my nose, I turned around, bent over and stuck my rear-end out. Well, I was right! She grabbed onto my shirt and climbed right up to my shoulder, bit my neck (no blood - it's a miracle) and proceeded to sit on top of my head and preen my hair, roughly (I think rather than preening it was really more like my hair was a new toy to yank and pull like the new novelty of the tennis shoes).

Now, I know this wasn't the best behavior on the planet, but shouldn't I look at this like, "Yippy, she's not afraid to approach and be close to me" even if that means I get bitten in the process? OR does this mean she really hates me and I'm doing something wrong that makes her want to bite me in places other than what I offer her? Lol! Should I see this act as an attack?

Ok. Bottom line. Am I doing ok here? Are these good or bad signs and will she ever sit on my arm without drawing blood?? What should I do with her to help her gain trust in me and stop the malicious biting?

Help frown ?

#7238 - 04/04/02 10:16 AM Re: Biting female SC  
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Jeanne Harney Offline
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Jeanne Harney  Offline
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Toledo OH USA
Ok, first, the difference between the SC cockatoos. They're generally divided into 3 categories, the lessers, the mediums, and the greaters. In the Lesser category there is the "generic" lesser, the Timor (which is REALLY tiny) and the Citron. In the Medium category, there are the Eleanoras and the Fitzroy's. As far as Greaters go, there are the Tritons and the "true greaters". They're all part of the galerita species, with the galerita galerita (like my Luna, the "true" greater") at about 21" long and 1550 grams or more. MUCH bigger than the Umbie, and larger than many Moluccans. One roughly the size of an Umbie (500-750g) would probably be an Eleanora. (They're commonly called Mediums, though that's technically incorrect.) There are differences as to the color washes on the cheeks and wing coverts, among other things. The tritons (cacatua galerita tritoni) are 1100-ish grams, and are the most familiar to many people. The "Baretta bird" on the TV show of the same name was a Triton (actually 4 birds, and I know one of the birds. He's the one who did the physical stunts. There was also one who did closeups, one who did the talking, and a 4th that did something vaguely important, though I can't remember what that was at the moment <G>.)

There are also a couple much lesser known subspecies, but I"m doing this from memory, and they're not the ones found in the pet trade. I'm pretty good at ID'ing SC's, so if you can get me some good clear pics, especially a closeup of the head/cheeks/crest, as well as a weight, I'd be glad to help you out.

I'll address behaviour in another post, following this.

Jeanne

#7239 - 04/04/02 10:32 AM Re: Biting female SC  
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Jeanne Harney Offline
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Jeanne Harney  Offline
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Toledo OH USA
We then moved to the "ok, I'll get on the stick to jump into my cage only" stage. This was a monumental moment. She's so smart!!! When she saw the stick near the cage she would use it as a step to get into the cage. She knew why the stick was there!! Amazing! Well, it was a big deal for me.

It's a big deal any way you look at it! She's learning some socially acceptable behaviours. You're going about this right (with the exception of holding the tail but then you probably figured that out!) I stick train EVERYONE in case of a hormone attack/emergency/whatever, so that they CAN be gotten in/out of cages, etc even if they're frightened.

Anyways, normally she is trying to get away from me and when I try to approach with my hands, fingers or arms, she bites...HARD, usually draws blood. But lately, she seems to be quite curious about me. While I'm holding Siego (the blind one), she will approach, but not too closely as she is afraid of Siego, and chews on my tennies.

I tell you, SC's just snap sometimes. Some little connection in their brain just disconnects and they go ALL wierd. But it sounds like you're making progress. One thing I want to know...why is she afraid of the male? Is he aggressive toward her? Is he running her away from food or water? Is he trying to force her to mate? If they have a nestbox, does it have 2 exit holes so he can't trap her in it? Male cockatoo mate aggression is a very real problem for breeders today. If he's terrorizing her in any way, they need to be separated before she's dead.

Ok, I have to deviate here for a moment. Question: Should they be separated? She is constantly trying to get away from him when I watch them in their cage. She likes to follow him around while she's out of the cage, but still I never see them really close. However, one day when I arrived in the clinic the workers told me that she had laid (layed? sorry I'm an engineer) an egg. Hmph. What do you all think?

Separate them NOW. (My opinion only, but I can't stress that enough. This will lead to her being killed.)

Back to my earlier ramblings...ah yes, Princess has found great fun in chasing my tennis shoes and biting pieces of the sole off.

What IS it with toos and feet? I don't know any who don't chase 'em if they get a chance, and they tend to get aggressive toward them too. Hurts when you're only in socks.

Now, what happened yesterday - in my opinion - was a big step. I approached her and Siego while he was foraging on the ground and she was perched on top of one of the cages. I was talking to her gently and I noticed that she was taking a stance like she wanted to jump onto my chest or shoulder. So, because I'm afraid she'll take a shot at my nose, I turned around, bent over and stuck my rear-end out. Well, I was right! She grabbed onto my shirt and climbed right up to my shoulder, bit my neck (no blood - it's a miracle) and proceeded to sit on top of my head and preen my hair, roughly (I think rather than preening it was really more like my hair was a new toy to yank and pull like the new novelty of the tennis shoes).

Yes, that's progress. I applaud your caution about letting the bird close to your face. That's the reason I dont' recommend anyone shoulder any bird. I had 7 stitches in my cheek from a sweet, perfect, angelic little Umbie. I tell people all the time that they shouldn't shoulder ANY bird, though I do let my sun conure and my Umbie (if nobody else is home and there isn't likely to be anything to scare him, so he grabs face/ear/eyes) so I don't practice what I preach. Don't let your hen on your shoulder, especially at this point in time. The top of your head isn't really a good idea either. But she's reaching out to you and that's wonderful. If you separate them, and work with them one on one, I think you may be able to make much more progress with her.

Now, I know this wasn't the best behavior on the planet, but shouldn't I look at this like, "Yippy, she's not afraid to approach and be close to me" even if that means I get bitten in the process? OR does this mean she really hates me and I'm doing something wrong that makes her want to bite me in places other than what I offer her? Lol! Should I see this act as an attack?

I'd say it's the beginnings of trust. What is her favorite food? Can you have a supply of it to coax her when you spend time with them? Or some sticks? I'm going to send you a few bags of these magic sticks we have in our house. They come in a zillion bright colors, and they're tongue depressor size, and every bird in the house loves to shatter them. Good bribes. And I get 'em at the dollar store for about 50, which makes it even better!

Ok. Bottom line. Am I doing ok here? Are these good or bad signs and will she ever sit on my arm without drawing blood?? What should I do with her to help her gain trust in me and stop the malicious biting?

You're doing ok. With patience and bribery, I think you can probably get her to sit on your arm, and separating them will help. I hope some of the suggestions I posted above will help. If there's anything else I can do to help, let me know!

Jeanne

#7240 - 04/04/02 03:13 PM Re: Biting female SC  
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Jerry Offline
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Quote:
I tell you, SC's just snap sometimes. Some little connection in their brain just disconnects and they go ALL wierd.
You know, I have found this to be one of the most
fascinating (really the wrong word to use) things about some SC's. I have had a couple that I've known personally just love me to death and then in one split second... in the flash of an eye, they became completely terrified of me. Almost as though my physical features had gone from human to menacing sharp fanged animal! I have even made a point of completly changing clothes (different colors) and removed jewelry. No help.

I've always wondered what they saw in their little brains to react that way. Of course, I've had little experience with SC's... but the 2 out of 4 I dealt with did this. Interesting.

#7241 - 04/24/02 10:47 PM Re: Biting female SC  
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Amy Taveras Offline
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Dominican Republic
Just wanted to give everyone an update on my little devil, Princess. Sorry I haven't written much lately, but I've been absolutely swamped here.

Two days ago when I was putting Princess back in her cage, she hopped on her stick as usual, but this time instead of jumping immediately into her cage; she approached my hand! She started, of course, to grab onto my finger and bite, but I started to pet the top of her head and she stopped. This has been the biggest break-through I've had with her. Yee-haw!!

Today I pet her several times (she seems to go into a trance - it's very strange) and at the end of our 'play time', she fought me at first, but finally I got her up on the stick and she stayed!!!!!!! Can you believe it?

BTW Jeanne, I did separate the birds last week. I've heard they call to each other in the afternoon when I'm not there and the head 'Zoologist' wanted to put them together again. I convinced her to wait a little longer. Isn't the calling normal? I think instead of putting them together again, they should consider taking them out in the afternoon and giving them some toys to play with in their cages!! Aaaargh! I'm surrounded by stupidity.

Also, I keep forgetting to buy film to take some pictures for you all, but GOOD NEWS, my husband just got a new lap-top and it has a port for our digital camera. Now I don't need any film, but I have to depend on my husband to remember to bring come the camera from work! I hope to get some pics out very soon.

#7242 - 04/25/02 08:43 AM Re: Biting female SC  
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Jeanne Harney Offline
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Jeanne Harney  Offline
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Toledo OH USA
Just wanted to give everyone an update on my little devil, Princess. Sorry I haven't written much lately, but I've been absolutely swamped here.

I've wondered what's going on. Good to hear from you!

Two days ago when I was putting Princess back in her cage, she hopped on her stick as usual, but this time instead of jumping immediately into her cage; she approached my hand! She started, of course, to grab onto my finger and bite, but I started to pet the top of her head and she stopped. This has been the biggest break-through I've had with her. Yee-haw!!

Yay! Distraction is a good thing. And she's found you can do something nice for her. Keep it up!

Today I pet her several times (she seems to go into a trance - it's very strange) and at the end of our 'play time', she fought me at first, but finally I got her up on the stick and she stayed!!!!!!! Can you believe it?

That's wonderful. Just to check, you aren't petting base of tail/lower back, are you? That can definitely cause the "trance" behaviour, but not for reasons you probably want to get into <G>

BTW Jeanne, I did separate the birds last week. I've heard they call to each other in the afternoon when I'm not there and the head 'Zoologist' wanted to put them together again. I convinced her to wait a little longer. Isn't the calling normal? I think instead of putting them together again, they should consider taking them out in the afternoon and giving them some toys to play with in their cages!! Aaaargh! I'm surrounded by stupidity.

In my old house, my Greater developed a long distance relationship with the macaw on the next block! They called to each other whenever they could hear each other. They'll continue to do so. Are they in emotional distress? Plucking? Not eating? Any other signs? Then they're fine.

Also, I keep forgetting to buy film to take some pictures for you all, but GOOD NEWS, my husband just got a new lap-top and it has a port for our digital camera. Now I don't need any film, but I have to depend on my husband to remember to bring come the camera from work! I hope to get some pics out very soon.

We're waiting...

Jeanne

#7243 - 05/03/02 02:17 PM Re: Biting female SC  
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Amy Taveras Offline
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Dominican Republic
BIG NEWS!!!!! Princess finally got up on my hand!! I feel like a proud mother. I still can't believe it. I'm in shock. And get this, Jeanne...she also is mounting my arm. That makes three cockatoos now that are really 'bonding' with me! Well, I will take this as the highest honor a cockatoo can give to a human (that's what I keep telling myself to endure the creepiness of the situation). How long did you say it would take before they stop doing this, Jeanne?!?

Now I just have to get her to stop plucking...I think she's getting better, but she really needs more stimulus throughout the day.

Really, Jeanne, I have to attribute most of my success with princess to your suggestion to separate Princess and Ciego. She has improved so greatly since the separation that it has become blatantly obvious she was very stressed out because of him. And you know the head 'zoologist' wanted to put them back together again because she heard them calling to each other and thought they 'missed each other'. AAAAARRRRGH!!! Somehow I talked her out of it. It was only a few days after the separation! It's funny, this woman never paid attention to the 'toos before I started making decisions about their well-being. It's amazing how jealousy can motivate. I'm definately stepping on some toes at the zoo. Oopsy! Sometimes you just gotta shake things up a bit, right?

#7244 - 05/03/02 03:28 PM Re: Biting female SC  
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Michael Offline
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Amy that is great news. Keep up the great work and keep the faith.

#7245 - 05/04/02 01:42 AM Re: Biting female SC  
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Zoe LSC2 Offline
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Hi Everyone,

I admit it ... (LOL) I have been lurking! :rolleyes: You know me anything especially about a SULFER CRESTED "TOO and I have to LOOK . LOL.

Zoe is doing fine and we are really enjoying each others company.

-- for those of you who don't know she is a Lesser sulfer crested too who turned 1 yr last week (25th). I am her 6th home. I got her at 4 months....

Sara and Zoe

#7246 - 05/05/02 08:35 PM Re: Biting female SC  
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Jeanne Harney Offline
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Jeanne Harney  Offline
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Toledo OH USA
BIG NEWS!!!!! Princess finally got up on my hand!! I feel like a proud mother. I still can't believe it. I'm in shock. And get this, Jeanne...she also is mounting my arm. That makes three cockatoos now that are really 'bonding' with me!

Isn't it great to be loved? <G>

Well, I will take this as the highest honor a cockatoo can give to a human (that's what I keep telling myself to endure the creepiness of the situation). How long did you say it would take before they stop doing this, Jeanne?!?

Fred still does it occasionally. It'll slow down, typically, after a few months. May never go away.

Now I just have to get her to stop plucking...I think she's getting better, but she really needs more stimulus throughout the day.

Really, Jeanne, I have to attribute most of my success with princess to your suggestion to separate Princess and Ciego. She has improved so greatly since the separation that it has become blatantly obvious she was very stressed out because of him. And you know the head 'zoologist' wanted to put them back together again because she heard them calling to each other and thought they 'missed each other'. AAAAARRRRGH!!! Somehow I talked her out of it. It was only a few days after the separation! It's funny, this woman never paid attention to the 'toos before I started making decisions about their well-being. It's amazing how jealousy can motivate. I'm definately stepping on some toes at the zoo. Oopsy! Sometimes you just gotta shake things up a bit, right?

Does this woman have a degree? What is her area of specialization? Just curious...
I'm glad she (Princess) is calming down, though. Just remember, the plucking isn't going to heal itself immediately. It's probably an ingrained personality trait now. I'd give her lots of things to destroy, and of course, remember not to react in ANY way when she does pluck.

I'm so glad you're making progress there...

Jeanne


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