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nickraph

Re-homed female CAG.

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Hello all - just posted a little introduction thread in the new members section and wanted to hop over here to give the full details on what Maxi has been through in the 18/20 years she’s been around.  I am not new to parrots and have worked with them over the years, however I’m very new to AG’s, especially having one in my home so any feedback, tips, etc. would be greatly appreciated.  

So from what I’ve been told by the woman who owned Maxi, she started out as a hand fed chick purchased from Petco back in the day. She was playful for about a year or so until she started testing her limits.  This led to the owner being bitten and created a fear of the bird beak.  She has been in the same cage ever since literally only being let out twice in that 17 time frame, one of those times being an accident and led to Maxi living under a couch for several days.  As soon as she came here, her cage door was open and only being closed when we left the house.  She slowly started coming out and climbing on the door, this further led to her exploring the unused play stand on top of the cage, however she had no clue how to get back in the cage once up there and was stuck for two days on top because she does not allow handleing and is terrified of towels.  She had her food and water up there with her, but she eventually figured out how to menuver on the outside of her cage.  She now spends a considerable time on top of her cage and in her cage, it’s her choice.  

Her diet has been completely hanged from a seed/nut diet to veggies, fruits, nuts, pellets, and other random foods she may get from us.  She seems very happy now and making progress.  However, the only time she will tolerate touch is when she starts doing her little mating dance and begins panting and squeezing, if she is doing this she will let you scratch the back of her neck for what seems like forever but  His doesn’t feel right because the more you scratch her neck the more worked up she gets and it doesn’t feel fair for her to get all worked up, but it’s the only way she allows you to touch her, she will even hold your finger and at one point stepped onto my hand but moved as soon as I moved my hand. 

So that’s where we are right now, any tips or other information you guys might seem useful?

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Poor Maxi has been cage bound for a long time and it will take lots of time and much patience on your part. I'm glad to hear you have changed her diet to a more healthy one but pay attention to what she really likes and use that as treats to get her to do what you want her to do.

She has to learn to trust you and that trust must be earned and it may not come easily but give her time and space to go at her pace, greys are notorious for being slow to change but if you are willing to wait the rewards can be great.  The mating dance with panting and drooping wings needs to be ignored, you are right to not encourage this as it will only frustrate her more and may lead to bites when she can't get any satisfaction so direct her attention elsewhere to get her mind off that train of thought. Please keep in mind that many greys do not like to be touched very much and if they do its only on their terms, respect her wishes and try again later but more likely she will let you know when she is ready. Move slowly when you are around her as they do not like sudden movements and talk softly to her from time to time, tell her what you are doing and such.

Greys are lovely  creatures but they are still wild animals, not domesticated like our cats and dogs so they are always in predator mode and on guard. Watch her intently and observe her actions because learning her body language will serve you well in the future. We have a thread on reading body language that will help you be able to tell when to go ahead or stay back so please read thru the many threads here for lots of useful advice.

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She will teach you Grey time (patience).  You can sing, read books or poetry to her just stop and have a little talk whenever you pass her cage.

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:DWelcome Nick and Maxi! If I may suggest, with your rescue, you have accepted a long and winding road with Maxi.:o Since Rome was not built in a day, let's hope it doesn't take as long to rebuilt it...:P  A possible starting point...sit by her, read to her, sing to her, and talk to her. When you are by her cage, have her cage door open. At this point, don't try to have her step up. Since she is playing with a plastic fork, place a similar toy (a straw, a small strip of wood, a piece of safe leather) and go about your day as if she is an old member of the family. After a while (days, weeks, months), you can offer her a finger. (don't try daily, maybe every three or four days....) ¬¬ Remember the Beatles song, "The Long and Winding Road" or the phrase, "I'm in it for the long haul"? Talk about a woman who is set in her ways..xD Your patience will be well rewarded...Pick out one special treat and use only that treat once or twice a day only from you. Please keep us informed...

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Well done you for taking in a rescue bird. Others have already given lots of suggestions and far more advice than I could provide.

Grey's are fascinating birds and I'm sure Maxi will bring you lots of happiness for many years. The main thing to remember is that everything right now is new to Maxi and it will take her some time to learn about her new home and her new flock. As others have said it's all about patience and "Grey time". She will let you know when she is ready to advance to the next stage of the relationship... Whether it's a head scratch, responding to you vocally or willingly stepping up for then first time.

There is a massive amount of information on these forums so feel free to look around and dig into some older threads. And never be afraid to ask questions!

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Wow, she's already coming out of her cage on her own!  That's not nothing.  It took my Dorian over a year to stick his head outside his cage, and he was only cage-bound for 3 1/2 years.  Sounds like you have a very brave girl.  Check out the body language thread in the Training room, there's a lot of good info there.  Spend lots of time by her cage just talking to her, reading to her (children's books are great).  Where in the home have you got her cage?  Is it where she can observe her new flock?  Is she used to being covered and getting 10-12 hours of sleep a night?  Greys really are slow to change, but as long as you're in it for the long haul, it can be very rewarding.  Sometimes we recommend new owners keep a journal so that they can look back on it and see how far they've come later on.  Thank you for taking on a rescue.  She's gorgeous.

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Hello all - so sorry for the delay in replying.  I’ve been pretty busy with work and Maxi.  She is quite the character.  She is making progress daily, she has her moody days just like any of us do and on those days she gets a little more “alone/me time” but most days she’s a real gem.  She loves to be out and about on her cage, she will even come off her cage if it is close enough to the countertop she is next to and she will walk all around on it and play with her toys, eat, etc.  something I’d really like to work on with her because she has not yet done it nor show interest in it, is stepping up.  She will not allow me to hold her, she does not even attempt to step up and while I know nothing with African greys goes quickly and patients is key, I do worry about the safety aspect of not being able to move her from place to place of needed.  I’m not sure she’s ever been held to be honest.  I’d just like to be able to get her on my hand to move her if needed and introduce her to different areas of the house down the line.  Any thought or tips on how to start this training, she is terrified of anything new like perches so I can’t use those to pick her up.  I can walk up to her and put my hand to her chest and she will either walk away from it or give a warning nip. In my personal opinion the step up command is really going to open doors for her development and growth, but I bow to the experience here and will gladly take any advise i can get. Thank you everyone and sorry if there are typos, this is typed on a phone.  Thanks again.  

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This is what I would try:

Since she likes walking about on the counter, put  a few sunflower seeds in a little pile for her to find and eat (I'm assuming she loves sunflower seeds - use something she really likes).   Several days in a row I'd do this to get her looking forward to the treat.   Then I'd start offering them to her one-by-one from your hand and eventually I'd start putting my arm in the way and giving her the choice of stepping up to get the treat.

 

Someone else might have a better method.

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Hi, I have a feeling you are quite knowledgeable about parrots; and you have already been given oodles of advise.  So, I look forward to hearing more about your grey and your other parrots/birds.  So please post more about your flock.

Pictures are always appreciated.  (hint, hint)

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11 hours ago, SRSeedBurners said:

This is what I would try:

Since she likes walking about on the counter, put  a few sunflower seeds in a little pile for her to find and eat (I'm assuming she loves sunflower seeds - use something she really likes).   Several days in a row I'd do this to get her looking forward to the treat.   Then I'd start offering them to her one-by-one from your hand and eventually I'd start putting my arm in the way and giving her the choice of stepping up to get the treat.

 

Someone else might have a better method.

Thanks for the advice!  Unfortunately I’ve not found anything that she goes absolutely nuts for.  Her favorite foods are pistachios and peanuts, in that order.  I do use those as treats BUT something I’ve noticed is that she will not go out of her way to get them, especially if it means doing something she is not comfortable with.  She will definitely wait me out on that front.  She may have that one treat that she goes crazy for that I haven’t found yet.  She was never given a varied diet and only ever ate a nut and seed mix from a jug.  So we’re experimenting with new foods.  Thanks for the input.  I really appreciate it.  

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20 minutes ago, Luvparrots said:

Hi, I have a feeling you are quite knowledgeable about parrots; and you have already been given oodles of advise.  So, I look forward to hearing more about your grey and your other parrots/birds.  So please post more about your flock.

Pictures are always appreciated.  (hint, hint)

Thank you!  I appreciate you saying that.  This is my first parrot that I personally have adopted and she is my only.  I’ve worked for years with parrots in captivity though, which is where my knowledge comes from.  As for photos, I’ll find a few and post them up for you guys!  I am guessing that she will just take her time in stepping up, which worries me but we will hopefully get through it sooner rather than later. 

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So, I brought this up in my initial post.  The only time she will put a foot on me is when she is being “inappropriate” and I am trying to discourage the mating behavior as much as possible but here is a picture of her holding my finger during one of these times she’s shown mating bahavior.  

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Posted (edited)

We have progress!!!  20 years locked up in a cage in a room by herself. After 3 months she sure has come a long way  

E28C2238-B2B1-48C1-A8E4-1A2F643E3484.jpeg

Edited by nickraph
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We’ve also brought another CAG into our lives who lost her previous owner due to illness.  This is JoJo.  She is 17 and a total chatterbox sweet heart.  

685EC0C2-0CFE-41ED-B919-E88B56329D68.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Timbersmom said:

That is fantastic progress! I can't play the video immediately above.

Awesome. The video is just JoJo rambling on about things.  

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