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Taming An Older Quaker (I Hope)


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#1 easttex

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 01:12 PM

As I mentioned in my earlier post to Introductions, Peppy is 21 and not hand tame.  As far as I know, he never has been.  He is friendly and loves company, but does not want my hand or any extensions thereof anywhere in his vicinity.  At his age and with his history, I want to be realistic.  My goal is primarily to give him a good quality of life, and not necessarily to try to turn him into a cuddler.

 

One of the first things I want to do is to transfer him out of his rat trap of a cage and into a sturdier, not to mention cleaner one.  Three people have attempted to clean the grate and it is still caked.  The whole thing is also rusty and chipped, and some of the bars are broken.  This is not something I feel I can wait to do after he is thoroughly comfortable in his new environment. 

 

I've had him completely out of his cage twice.  To get him back, one time I toweled him and the other I just took the bites.  Don't really want to repeat that.  While his beak doesn't pack the PSI of my CAG, he has quite a bite.  He is not perch trained.  Treats are not a distraction when they come from my hand.

 

Any suggestions on how I might make the transfer to a new cage without traumatizing Peppy?  And, ideally, without getting bit?



#2 Fig

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 03:58 PM

One thing to try is to have the door of each cage open touching the other open door. This way he can walk right into the new cage from the old one.


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#3 easttex

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 04:31 PM

Thanks, Fig.  I do that for a part of the day each day, and while it has twice enticed him to climb to the top of his old cage, so far he hasn't gone near the new one.  I'm wondering if he would be more inclined to explore if I left the room for a bit.  Though shyness doesn't appear to be a Quaker's problem... 



#4 cnyguy

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 07:31 PM

You might try leaving the room for a while and maybe Peppy will climb into his new cage. It may be less a matter of shyness than of a QP thinking "What can I get away with when nobody's here to tell  me not to do it." biggrin.png



#5 Allee

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 07:43 PM

You could try putting his familiar food dish and a perch he uses from his old cage into the new one, sometimes they will follow the food bowl.

#6 easttex

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 08:08 AM

I will try putting some bird bread in one of the bowls.  Good idea; he loves that.  Poor guy came with just two wooden dowel perches, far too small for his feet.  My rehabber friend did put in a natural branch much better sized for him, but since he was sharing a home with lots of wild birds for a while I'm a little concerned about the possibility of mites.  I am hoping to not move over anything that might be harboring them, so will hold off on the perch for now.  Maybe I'm a little paranoid.

 

As I write, he is hanging on the door of his old cage, positioned between the two, eyeing the bird bread. I can practically hear the wheels turning in his head.  Here's hoping!


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#7 LindeeV

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 05:24 PM

Make the new cage so appealing he can't resist....his favorite foods, a lovely bowl of water, and whatever else he seems to enjoy. And then take the foods out of his old cage so he HAS to go to the new cage to eat or drink....within a day or two he will be *visiting* the new cage, hopefully.

 

And bless you for taking in this old bird and giving him a happy environment!



#8 easttex

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 05:41 AM

He did not fall for the old bird-bread-in-the-bowl ruse, so I think I will escalate things a bit. He has one toy he seems to like, plastic chain links, but I dare not let my hand linger long enough to take that. I'll move all food and water over a little later today. If that doesn't work, I'll move it over first thing in the morning tomorrow, before he has a chance to eat anything. Thanks for the suggestions, and I'll let you all know how we progress.

#9 easttex

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 09:19 AM

Not quite there yet, but there is progress.  The new cage has a drop-down door, so it works well as a drawbridge.  Yesterday , I moved his seed and cooked food to the new cage and put some veggies in a dish on the bridge.  He's getting comfortable on the bridge, but hasn't ventured into the new space yet, so I eventually put his food back.  This morning, all his food is in the new cage.  Funny how different birds are.  I have no doubt my CAG would starve before she would voluntarily set foot in a new cage, but I think the food will eventually do it with Peppy.


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#10 Bene_Gesserit

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 06:07 AM

Hi, eastflex.  I joined this forum about 4 years ago when we got our (untamed) Quaker. I think her previous owners kept her in a back bedroom and never interacted with her, because she was essentially feral. 

We placed her cage next to our computer desk, and left the door open all day.  We also bought some unsalted sunflower seeds to offer her, so she'd realize that hands bring good things. She has never become accustomed to fingers (I suspect she was 'flicked' on the beak by her previous owner,) but we can now pet her using our palms and she sits on our wrists/arms/shoulders. Being next to the computer desk meant she could approach us when she pleased, and she has just slowly progressed from there.  Everything has been on her terms.  FWIW, we've never been allowed to put our hands in her cage to get her to step up...she will still lunge at us.  We just open the door and she flies to us now that the cage is in a different spot.



#11 easttex

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 03:38 PM

Interesting.  I really don't know how far I can expect to get with Peppy.  I'd really like to just let him do no more than he is comfortable with, but that cage is potentially hazardous, so I think I need to force that a little, fairly soon.  I'd also like to get him perch trained, in case I need to take him to a vet, but otherwise want to let him decide what he wants in the way of interaction.  With lots of positive encounters and reinforcement from me, of course.  I know he loves company, and I'm anxious for the quarantine period to be over so he can share rooms with my CAG.  As far as she is concerned, it's probably better that he isn't a real hands-on bird, at least for now. smile.png


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#12 Bene_Gesserit

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 05:12 PM

I don't know if Peppy will react the same as my fid, but we bought her a new cage as well.  We put all her toys, familiar/duplicate perches, dishes and such in it....and she moved in a half an hour.  Of course, she's SUPER attached to her 'stuff,' so it might be a personal choice on her part. She seemed to care less about the cage and more about her familiar things.



#13 easttex

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 08:19 AM

I am abandoning his old perches, for different reasons, and the little guy only had two toys.  He seems attached to one of them, a chain of plastic links, so I moved that over today.  Wow, it has probably been in the cage forever, as the metal link was practically soldered closed.  Husband to the rescue.  Anyway, he has one toy, a water dish, and his perches in the old cage.  I felt like such a meanie taking his favorite toy away, and I hope it does the trick.  The new cage has new and old toys, a variety of perches, a sleep buddy, food, treats, a dish for bathing, and much more space.  What more could a bird want?  I know change is hard, though, especially after 21 years.



#14 Quakerlvr

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:01 PM

Don't feel bad, he will adjust in time. He sounds like a great bird! Do you have any pictures yet?

#15 easttex

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:41 PM

We did it!  I don't know if moving the toy was the last straw for him or what, but he finally ventured into the new place on his own.  Thanks for the advice and encouragement.  I do have a shot of him hanging out on his veranda.  I'm hoping that eventually this will be a night cage, and he will have a nicer day cage out in the living room.  That is dependent on perch training him so I can transport him safely.  In the meantime, I can cart this one around and keep him where the action is, once he gets out of quarantine.  This is definitely progress!

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#16 Quakerlvr

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:54 PM

He is adorable! Congratulations on getting him to move over to his new cage, I am sure he will like it better. :)

#17 Oteyspeople

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 02:35 PM

Otey was around 17 when we got him & similarly cage aggressive. We took a similar approach as Bene--put him in the middle of the action & let him take the lead. Otey still won't step up or let us directly handle him, but he will fly to us when he feels like it. Usually if one of the People has a treat he might like to try.

 

As for toweling, that's the only we we've been able to successfully handle him directly. But we've turned it into a Good Thing. We use an old tshirt to swaddle him, & then give him neck scritches and lots of attention. He really likes the special time with the People, & there's no grudges when we release him from the swaddle. Sometimes he evens hangs around a few minutes before going back to his cage.


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