Pionus Parrot's Forum

The Wonderful World of the Pionus Parrot Species => Pionus Parrot Chatter => Topic started by: brelice on May 17, 2013, 12:27:08 AM

Title: Newbies and a little overwhelmed
Post by: brelice on May 17, 2013, 12:27:08 AM
Hi all,

We made our way to this forum thanks to a current member, thanks Cynthia! We have had a roller-coaster of a week and are looking for some input and support:) We bought "Cuby" from a local bird store a week ago and he/she is our first parrot.  We currently have a lovebird, two dogs, two cats and two kids, so our house is pretty active:)

At the store Cuby was calm, sweet and completely docile. We had multiple visits with the bird and each time, he was wonderful so we decided to take the plunge.  The first day home was great and all was looking up and then out of the blue, Cuby started biting my husband and threatening him.  It was so sudden and alarming because he seemed completely different.  I love animals, but I love my family more and when he started biting my husband harder and harder I panicked and worried he might do the same to my children.  I listed the parrot for sale.

I feel silly for being so cliche.  I have been around parrots since childhood and have wanted one my whole life, but have never owned one and I guess it never registered how moody they are.  He seems to be settling down a bit but little things seem to set him off and he is rather unpredictable.

Are there any members out there that have children and can share their stories?  I just want to make sure that I am not being an irresponsible parent and at the same time a good home for Cuby.  My daughters are very gentle and calm with the bird and Cuby lets them scratch his head and neck.

Thank you for your time,
Title: Re: Newbies and a little overwhelmed
Post by: momazon on May 17, 2013, 03:57:11 PM
Glad to see you here! We all have such different experiences, but there are some commonalities.  I learn the most by reading others' stories and thinking about them in terms of our own household.  I'm sure you are a responsible bird owner, and your heart is certainly in the right place. Cuby is probably just feeling the effects of losing its previous life.  Having survived a divorce, I can really, really relate!!!!! When every single thing the bird had is gone, there has to be some turmoil inside.

It will help if your husband feeds the bird and you all share in the care. It s also recommended  that the non-favorite person carry the bird to the Love Object (that, I think, is you :icon_mrgreen:) so he is needed by the bird.  If Cuby nips, no go, and I would pick some commands and make it very clear.  I believe very strongly that we underestimate how much language our birds assimilate. Along these lines, anyone who sings to our birds is much more accepted.  Singing and giving treats is how we get toenails filed.

We have had rescues, rehomes, and three birds from young ages, and they almost all picked a favorite person and persecuted (that's the term some bird handlers used) everyone else.  It seems that most socialized macaws can be family birds and even play with dogs.  Tiels are very affectionate but dusty, and they tend to pluck if you cannot hold them enough.

The pi's are all very individual, but my opinion is that they are just mini amazons.  Our pi's do everything my zon does except roll on their backs and wrestle. They fly, fight, tease, bathe like champs, and eat everything well. Their tempers flare and they bite like the zon, but they give a good warning by ruffling up, lowering their heads, and leaning in as if to challenge.  It's different than keeping the head up and approaching to step up, for ours.
Biting is a very hard thing to deal with, and my line is that all birds bite, just not all the time.
It really is like having a pet tiger.

They do love to ride around on our shoulders and to go in the car.  Once a year I take the Maxi and the zon to school to sit on their perches and ride around on my shoulder.  The Maxi has to be caged or he tries to dive bomb the kids once he gets to feeling secure. They all love it but I have to think about safety, so he goes in his travel cage.

The zon loves the overhead projector, and sits on my shoulder watching the screen like a t.v. We have had the zon since age 5 months and she is 10 yrs now. My students never go near the perch or cage, and never touch the birds.  Dobby, the Maxi, was my daughter's handfed baby that she worked and saved up for, and he is mostly bonded to her. Still, he likes to stay with me sometimes.

It is because they are very bonded to us that we can do so many activities with them. With a rehome at age 5, like Cuby, I think it would take me years to feel that I know the bird well enough to trust his behavior completely.  If there is too much commotion, Cuby may need a quiet time with a human every day, if that is possible, or maybe a quiet room from which to watch the commotion.

With our rehomes, I take it very slowly and talk to them as much as possible. Our BW bit me on the ears and neck for a solid year, and then just stopped last July.  It was as if she realized she was really part of the flock.  She began sharing a perch with the zon and rubbing her head on my jaw, much like a cat rubs against a human to pet it.

From the sounds of things, Cuby is doing very well for being so new in a busy house.

Hope some of this can be helpful. Others here have great ideas, and will no doubt be along to share them.

Best Wishes! :hello1:
Title: Re: Newbies and a little overwhelmed
Post by: Dartman on May 17, 2013, 08:55:56 PM
Lurch bit me bad the first night he came home and continued to be touchy for a while. He was a rehome and as far as I could tell was scared to death here at first so I had to step back and start working with him to gain his trust. He at first gave no waning at all that I could tell and I had Nerd, another Maxie, for 31 years so I know what these birds are like and their body language. I'm pretty sure his last owners never respected his warnings so he had given up and would immediately and very quickly bite when upset or hurt. He has been here over 3 years now and he has become a loving and caring member of the family but it's taken some work and letting him go at his own pace. He still has his grumpy/pissy moments but now he tends to be slower about biting and gives obvious warning/body language when he does.
They also tend to pick one person as their mate/favorite and maybe for now your hubby isn't it and he'll have to work it out with him and gain his trust back. It will take time for him to get comfy with his new life and I would be prepared for the long haul because once they decide they trust and love you they are your friend for life. Nerd was here for 31 years and at first he just tolerated me, but after a while he decided I was his best bud and we had a long happy time together, and even he would bite when scared or hurt so like said all bird bite, just not very often once you are the chosen one.
Lurch seems to like the family, Nerd liked me, tolerated my sister except for a few special things they always did together, and didn't trust anyone else. Every bird is different even when they are the same kind, just like people.
Nerd was timid and skinny, Lurch is twice as big and pretty fearless, same type of bird. I would also give him time to get comfy and work slowly with him, he's hardly had a chance to settle in yet and they are long term birds.
Title: Re: Newbies and a little overwhelmed
Post by: maxsmom on May 18, 2013, 02:08:44 PM
Sorry for your experience. The pi is in shock with its new home. Check out Good Bird Inc.  Your family most likely needs to give it time and space and to learn how to read its body language. It most likely tried to tell your husband to back off but your husband didnt understand.
Title: Re: Newbies and a little overwhelmed
Post by: brelice on May 18, 2013, 03:52:23 PM
Thank you all so much for your insight.  It is such a relief to have someone to talk to about this all. I am starting to think that we really have lucked out with Cuby.  Even though he doesn't care for my husband much, he will still let him scratch his head and feathers and we haven't had another biting incident now that we are paying more attention to his body language. 

There are so many things in our house for him to adjust to and I feel like he is doing very well.  He lets me know when he wants to step up and one time when he wanted to be left alone, he just pushed my hand away with his beak gently.  So I am starting to feel more secure as is he.  Initially we had let him on our shoulders and now I am realizing that was a mistake.  He still tries to scootch up there but I just gentle tell him no and he gets the idea.

Once I figure out how to compress my files, I will post some pictures.


Title: Re: Newbies and a little overwhelmed
Post by: maxsmom on May 18, 2013, 05:24:17 PM
All good signs. Just give him time.

Good Bird Inc!!!!@@@  great info for you
Title: Re: Newbies and a little overwhelmed
Post by: Dartman on May 18, 2013, 05:27:46 PM
Well you probably better pull the add if you think you can work it out with him given time. Lurch will also nip my neck when he rides around as sometimes I'm not doing what he wants, probably scritches or just paying attention to him rather then whatever I'm up to, other times he'll just happily ride around and preen so be very careful about shoulder rides till you have a understanding worked out between you. He also sometimes will bite/knock the unwanted food offering out of my fingers if it isn't what he wanted, but he now also fluffs up and looks pissy before doing it so another thing to watch for. He gets frustrated that whatever he wants is not happening then we get it.
But like I said he's more loving  in his own way and gives plenty of warning now that he's grown fond of us so your guy should get there with time too. :)