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AfricanGreys.com • View topic - stepping up problems

stepping up problems

Welcome to the Grey Play Round Table African grey Question and Answer Board. Maggie Wright, author of the Barron's Grey pet manual and creator of the Grey Play Round Table African grey newsletter/magazine, and Lisa Bono, African grey behavior expert, will be the two moderators to answer your questions. Please check out the areas that have already been dealt with... and submit your new questions.


Due to the incredibly high volume of SPAM, the board has been set up so that you cannot submit a question. Instead, please send me your question at merlin@AfricanGreys.com and I will post it for you. Then, both Lisa and I will post responses. Sorry for the inconvenience.

PLEASE send me your questions... we REALLY want to help you!!! merlin@AfricanGreys.com.


Wishing you GREY'T Blessings!
Maggie Wright

Moderator: merlin

stepping up problems

Postby merlin » Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:44 am

My husband and I bought a hand fed baby which we have had since he was 6 weeks old and we have him now for about 10 months. We were hand feeding him which he still takes from time to time. But the problem we are having is that he no longer wants to step up to my husband or myself. My husband is his preferred human. I spend all day with him and he won’t step up unless he wants to, if he doesn’t want to he steps away from me or climbs out of his cage and won’t come down until he is ready to get a peanut. He also has started to pluck his feather. We went away for 2 nights and left him with my father in law, which he knows and he discovered plucking. We were able to stop the plucking using Pluck No more for a while and the feathers grew back. This was in September. Now its January and he has started to pluck again. I know that this is behaviorial, he eats well, still takes the formula every now and then. Any suggestions on how to get him back on track to stepping and up and stop the feather plucking?
merlin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Re: stepping up problems

Postby merlin » Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:48 am

Hi,

It sounds like your grey's feather picking problem was triggered by insecurity when he was left with your father-in-law. He's still a chick at 10 months old (adulthood starts around 3 years old) and he felt abandoned by you while you were on the trip. Abandonment to a baby chick means death and starvation... therefore, you can see why he became so insecure. Since you had been with this baby since he was 6 weeks old, you are seen as the "mommy."

Had your father-in-law taken care of him before you left? A way to minimize this abandonment insecurity would have been to leave him with your father-in-law for a few afternoons, and then for a few evenings, and then one overnight or so, so that he would have been very comfortable with this man before you were gone. It also would have helped if you had been able to call home and talk to your bird over the phone to assure him that he's okay and you'll be back. These types of strategies are usually recommended to help greys get through these insecurities.

Did you have him vet checked? It always is a good idea to have him checked over, even though he eats very well. Most feather picking problems start from something physical, instead of behavioral, and then they can tend to become habit.

Can you think back to an incident that happened recently to make him start picking again? Think back to the very time and try to remember what was going on around him. If he started picking due to an insecurity the first time, there may have been something to happen to make him a little insecure the second time.

In order to get him to start stepping up, you will need to take him to a room where he does not go so often... one that he does not consider to be his territory. Then sit down and set him on a t-frame perch and practice him getting onto and off your hand. You can also practice with him climbing up from one hand to another, which we call laddering. Give him a favorite treat as his reward when he behaves. If he loves peanuts, break them into bits and reward him with a bit when he succeeds. Only serve the peanut bits (any peanuts) as a reward when he's behaving well. Do this exercise with him every day and for no longer than about 10-15 minutes. This will help him get back into the practice of getting onto your hand.

If you can, I suggest that you work with an avian behavior consultant to talk about your specific situation and to work with you to assure that you are handling him correctly. If interested, I can help you with a telephone consultation. The link is here: http://www.africangreys.com/greyplace/telephone.htm To find a local consultant, I suggest that you contact a bird store, your vet, or a bird club and get their recommendations for a good behavior consultant that can come into your home and work with you. If you don't correct the problems now, they can and will get worse.

Hoping this helps. He sounds SO precious. What's his name?
Blessings,
Maggie-
www.AfricanGreys.com
merlin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am


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