Reading The Body Language And Earning Trust Of A Young Quaker
Posted 04 June 2014 - 04:55 PM
My family recently purchased a young (about a month old) Quaker parrot five days ago. Now, I've tried to let it chill out a bit before trying to get it to bond with me (unfortunately the rest of my folks haven't been so thoughtful) by just sitting next to its cage and singing or talking to it. I've been doing this for about three days now.
Now, starting yesterday, I tried to see how well it took to my presence while inside the cage. I put some millet spray on my hand and placed it inside the cage, waiting for the parrot to make its own decision. It seemed uninterested at first, but took a few tentative bites before going back to indifference.
Today I try the same stunt in the morning. I was met with the same level of indifference at first, but a few minutes later, the parrot started to flick its wings at me. A few minutes after that, the parrot walked up to the spray and took a few bites, but then it started moving around like if it was deliberately looking for my fingers to bite, which it did. I let it do it's business and then decided I'd try again in a few hours.
When I did, I was met with the same first signs: indifference and wing flapping, but then the parrot walked up to the cage door where my fingers. I lifted up the spray to act as a barrier or potential distraction, but the parrot kept walking over it to get to me. Feeling a bit worried, I closed the cage door with the parrot bobbing its head at me.
Since I'm a new parrot owner, my only understanding of their behavior comes from the various blogs and YouTube videos I've seen, but I've had little luck deciphering what the parrot is trying to tell me with its body language. Do any of you perhaps have a clue? I certainly want to make sure our relationship starts off on the right foot.
Thanks for giving that essay a gander, heh.
Posted 04 June 2014 - 09:38 PM
Bobbing the head and flapping the wings together is a baby behavior and the reason Quakers got their names -- they quake for food and attention. So that's good. Biting your fingers may be that he doesn't yet know the difference between food and fingers. He's just a baby. Can he eat on his own? Because one month old is awfully young to be weaned. Usually they're closer to 6 or 8 weeks before they can eat on their own, and he may be expecting you to hand feed him. In fact, he may be very, very hungry if no one is hand feeding him.
Putting your hands in the cage can be seen as aggressive, though with a young baby, he might not see it that way. He may only be confused and scared and sitting by the cage and talking and singing are all good ways to get him used to you.
Posted 05 June 2014 - 03:53 PM
Pepe (what I'll call the bird for now since I don't know his gender) is still being handfed formula twice a day. We just keep a trough of seeds (and water) in his cage for him to try if he's curious enough, which he is! He's had his fair share of seeds, so I guess it's safe to say he likes them (much more than that old millet spray anyway).
Asking for attention definitely seems like a plausible explanation for his wing flapping since he only seems to do it in my presence. Still, he has backed away from my hand and tried to lunge at me a couple of times, so I'm still a little worried. As for the singing and talking, Pepe seems indifferent to it by now, haha.
Do you happen to know at what age he could eat something like fresh fruit without it being potentially damaging to him? I want to try feeding him some through the cage bar to start to show him my hands mean good things (eventually leading up to him allowing my hand in his space insofar as to give him a treat, etc).
Posted 05 June 2014 - 05:05 PM
Azi, you probably don't want to leave seed in the cage (millet is not seed, so that's ok) because once a bird starts to eat seeds, it's SUPER hard to get them to eat pellets. This is very important with Quakers as they are prone to fatty liver disease (seeds are very high in fat.)
In regard to fruit and veg, (but not avocados as they are poisonous to birds,) I would think anything is fine for the baby once they are eating solid foods. I don't feed my Quaker anything acidic (oranges and tomatoes) because she doesn't like them and I've read that it can negatively affect the pH of the crop.
Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:22 PM
- Jan Cullen and easttex like this
Posted 10 June 2014 - 05:36 PM
I really don't want to clip its wings, but how do I go about giving Pepe some boundaries so he isn't flying (and pooping !) high up where it's hard to reach? Even when he comes down he doesn't want to step up (he knows what a hand making its way in his direction means), so that's another problem I need advice in working out.
Thanks for all the tips so far, everyone.
Posted 10 June 2014 - 07:35 PM
Posted 11 June 2014 - 01:25 PM
I'm not around when Pepe's given his formula (early in the mornings and in the afternoons), but I hear tell he eats it readily enough. Even if he doesn't like being picked up and wants to fly all the time. As far as actual hand feeding, he takes treats and pellets off the side of the cage pretty easily. I don't think he likes to do it from my palm because he thinks I'm going to have him step up, haha. I'm trying to clicker train him (and have for the past few days now), but I don't believe Pepe recognizes the sound yet.