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CTGull

New Member with 4-5 year old RESCUE CAG

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I apologize in advance for my lengthy post.  I just like to write!  :?)

First, an explanation of my forum name – CTGull.  I am from Connecticut.  Simple so far.  Gull – I do not have a Seagull, nor am I obsessed with them.  I use this name in many guitar forums, in reference to Seagull acoustic guitars.  So, yes, I am actually obsessed with seagulls, but the wooden variety with strings on them.  And vintage Yamaha FG acoustic guitars, but that’s another story.

We’ve had a few birds in the past 10+ years, including a crazy Amazon and a large Cockatoo.  They were total opposites!  We currently have a Love bird (it LOVES human flesh!!!), and Alexadrine and a mostly naked male Eclectus.  The Alexandrine and Eclectus love to step up and come out.  We’ve had a couple birds who did not, including the Amazon.  I’ve always wanted a Grey.

On 5/21/18 I saw an ad in the Free Stuff section of the local CraigsList for an African Grey parrot.  I’ve seen ads for parrots before but they have been scams, stealing someone’s name and phone number.  Why I have no idea.  Both times I contacted the people and they didn’t have a parrot.  So I figured this was the same, but I sent an email anyway.  As usual, the ad was flagged and disappeared shortly after I saw it. 

Just before lunch the next day I got a reply to call him if I was interested in the bird.  I replied I didn’t feel comfortable talking about the bird at work and I would call when I got out at 3:30pm. So I called and asked a few questions, with the main one being “Why do you want to get rid of the bird?”.  His response was, “We just want it gone.”  I attempted to process that for a few seconds before responding.  And I arranged to meet at 5:30pm. 

It had been raining all afternoon and was expected to continue until about 7pm.  After a 40 minute ride we found their condo, after driving past the street twice.  They have a few animals.  Who doesn’t??  The bird has chewed off its wing feathers and has down all over its body.  What does the bird eat??  A seed/nut mixture!!  They say she won’t eat anything else.  The worst thing she said was their ferret runs around and sometimes goes on the cage.   OMG?????!!!!!!!  I didn’t want another basket case but it’s obvious she isn’t wanted there, so we had to take her.  A couple of stubby chewed wing feathers were bleeding after a long struggle to get it out of its cage and into an open wire carrier.  We load out in the rain and drive home in the rain.

When we get home the rain has stopped, but there are a few droplets of blood on my wife’s clothes and her van’s dashboard and door panel.  We bring the carrier in and find the blood stop powder.  It’s a struggle to get the bird out and restrained enough to apply the powder.  But there are at least 3 blood feathers bleeding, however infrequently.  My wife is concerned and calls the local 24 hour vet, which also has an avian vet.  We ask our 6’3” 18 year old son to bring in and set up the 30” x 30” x 60something” cage by himself.  And we’re off.

They take the bird as soon as we get there.  And we wait 1.5 hours for them to bring her back.  (We’re assuming her.)  Then we have to wait for the vet to come out to talk to us.  Another half hour.  Then we BS with the nurse for another half hour.  It’s now 10:30pm.  They did the same thing we did, but a bit more thorough.  They found 5 feathers bleeding.  They gave us (I use that term loosely) some meds, including one for pain, that have to be given every 8 hours.  They also suggest dropping her off in the morning and leaving her there for a full exam with the avian vet.

So the next morning I get up at 4:50am (my usual time), take a shower, and get my wife up, 1.5 hours before she normally gets up.  While we would rather have had the bird set up in our bedroom to isolate her, there just isn’t room at the moment so we have her in the Livingroom next to our Alexandrine.  I attempted to take out the Alexandrine to show that I’m not a threat.  He’s usually more than willing to step up, but it’s 5:20am and all he wants is head scratches.  More scratches.  And more scratches.  I finally come up from behind and get him to step up and show the Grey.  I kiss his nose and put him back.  I opened the Greys cage and slowly advance my finger towards her.  She growls, as usual.  Then she drops her head!!!!!!  SCRATCHES???  So I gave her scratches.  And tried to get her to step up.  Lunges, growls, and wants more scratches.  Well, I guess that’s progress.  A little chasing around the cage ensues before I got her on my hand (with the other hand) and started to pull her out.  She’s looking for anywhere to go.  Her first choice is my chest.  She latches on my shirt, fortunately only getting shirt.  I pull her off and the struggle continues to gently restrain her for my wife to give her the meds.  My wrist was very scratched up from her needle sharp nails, but no blood was shed.  Progress.  I put her in the carrier and load it into my wife’s van.  She goes to the vet, I go to work.

We picked her up that evening.  They said she had a good day.  She was tough getting out but was bopping around and making noises otherwise, and watching everything that was going on.  She even ate a little of the colored ZuPreme pellets, which is what we use.  Excellent!!  I’ve noticed, and the nurse at the vet mentions, that the bird seems to like me, she watches me a lot and blushes.  Hopefully I can use that to my advantage to get her to step up eventually.  My wife pays (we must be $600 into this bird!!) and we go home.   So far in the less than 24 hours we’ve had her, she’s spent more time at the vet than with us!

It was a little struggle to get her out and into her cage.  Since it was 6:00pm, we left to get some food.  Later I attempted to take her out for her meds.  Nope.  Not happening.  She put up quite a fight.  And we had to give up after a few minutes.     I   AM   NOT   HAPPY  ……    I thought we had made some progress, but she was probably tired after a long day of excitement.

This morning we prepared for battle.  5:20am again.  Again I took out the Alexandrine (didn’t want scratches) and showed him to her.  Again she fought to not come out.  She ended up falling off the perch and I corralled her on the bottom.  She’s not pinning like she wants to kill, she just doesn’t want anything with us taking her out.  She got her meds and we went to work.  We can’t continue like this.  She’s going to get hurt.  And never trust us.

I had really hoped I’d be able to take her out to put her on a stand to get to know us better.  But I can see it’s going to be a struggle.  We want to reduce her stress so her feathers will grow back, but if we have to fight to get her out, I don’t see how we’re helping.

Obviously, our biggest problem is not being able to handle, or even take out, a growling, feather destructing, and stressed bird.  The change of homes can’t help.  I don’t think they ever took the bird out.  They just opened the cage and let her walk around, and she would go back in eventually.  I’m not like that, I’m hands on with our pets.  We also have reptiles (lizards & snakes), along with 2 cats and 2 dogs.  I can’t see having a pet that can’t be taken out, even if it’s only for a few minutes here and there.  Of course, for my enjoyment, not theirs.  Obviously, this bird is not enjoying it!!

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And unrelated to this topic, it seems I can't update my profile because I don't know the proper colour of the sun.  Can someone tell me what colour it is looking for???

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Welcome, we really enjoyed your post, (we also enjoy photos.) When a grey is involved, ROME WASN'T BUILT IN A DAY....This is a typical grey occurrence. Before replying, I'm going to wait and let other members reply...Thanks Rev Jayd

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Welcome.  Thank you for rescuing this Grey.  I'm not an authority but I know it is necessary to wait for the Grey to make the first move, that is move at Grey Time.

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Hello and welcome to the forum! Bless you for taking this poor, distressed grey and for taking such good care of her. The meds won't go on forever, and she WILL get over it with time.  It will probably take lots of time.  Hang in there and I believe it will be well worth you time. Greys are slow to trust and slow to adjust, but they get there.  God bless :)

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Thank you everyone, so far!!

I should be able to get some pictures this weekend.

A little update from last night:

I made some progress last night.  I've noticed she spends a lot of time looking up.  There is a large tray on the top of the cage, about 1" from her head.  When I got home last night I removed that tray.  Now she can see all around her, and it's easier to see her.  I did my usual of picking up the Alexandrine a few times to show he's OK with it.  I said step up to him.  I tried step up on her and got the usual growling, warning open mouth lunges (no bite) and moving away.  Then she changed to putting her head down for scratches.  

I'm thinking this bird is more intelligent than me.  By putting her head down she blocks access to her feet!!!  All I can do is try to push her head out of the way, which isn't appreciated.  
 
My son and I and I spent 45 minutes talk each other, my daughter, the other birds, and her.  I would occasionally pick up one of the other birds, using step up.  
 
The other progress, major progress, is she is eating the colored ZuPreme pellets without a problem.  She ate for at least 10 minutes of the time the cage was open and we were talking to her.  Picking up individual pieces, biting, chewing, rotating, biting, chewing, etc.
 
After the 45 minutes by back was sore from bending over so many times.  She never stepped up, but she's allowing scratches.  Any attempt to touch her feet gets a small growl and she will move away, even up the side of the cage, and put her head down for more scratches, blocking any other attempts to touch her feet.
 
I think she will come around quickly.  She sees and hears the 2 other birds in the room.  She sees them getting picked up willingly.  She is very curious about what is going one.  Her eyes were open very wide just about the whole time last night.  I may be pushing it, but I'll bet I get her to step up this weekend.
 
We'll be moving her into our room this weekend, where my wife usually is, the TV and the lovebird.  But I'm wondering if maybe she should stay in the "flock" with the 2 larger birds for a while.  Not sure what to do.
 
Once I get her out of the cage willingly, or she ventures on top, I'd like to move her primary high bar down slightly, maybe only 1-2 inches, but to get her head a little farther away from the bars, but still have access to the food bowls at that level.  And she needs some new toys, the existing ones are tired.
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Greys are often more timid in new situations than many other parrots, they like to sit back and observe. It is very difficult to build trust (very important to Greys) when her condition requires restraint and medication. Do offer her some fresh veggies and a little fruit. maybe a little pasta or scrambled eggs. Once you are done with the meds you can tale it will give you some insight into Grey time.

Gilbert is home

katana600 posted a topic in Rescue Bird Haven

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SERIOUSLY, how do I answer this question at the end of the EDIT PROFILE page??  I can't add to my profile!

 

Random Question – this is to verify that you are human and help keep spam off our forum.: REQUIRED

 
What is the colour of the sun?" 
That value is not allowed.
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A little update:

Our son told us today he could hear her talking and making sounds during the night.  His room is closest to the livingroom.  So it's probably not a good idea to move her into our room, if we'd like to get any sleep.

A little progress today.  She still wants lots of scratches, probably to block access to her legs.  I continue to pick up the other 2 birds, say Step Up, and bring them to the front of her cage.  I was able to touch her foot a few times without much of a growl, but she would still move away.  I didn't push it much.  It's still a big improvement from 3 days ago.

She's gotten much more vocal today.  Our Eclectus has also gotten a little more vocal.  Probably because he wants to be the center of attention.

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I am going to repeat what you will see many times on this forum.  Greys are unique and very special.  They each move at their own pace.  This is known as "Grey Time."  It is much  better to allow the bird to make the first move.  Please give her more time and space!  You will be rewarded with a much happier and friendly bird.

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I'm sorry, I can't help you with your profile problem, I haven't changed my profile picture for a decade lol.  Thank you for taking in this partially naked little bird.  Glad to hear her diet is already improving.  I'm afraid you won't be able to start to build trust until after the medication is over.  As long as you have to towel her to give meds it's going to be traumatic for her.  You've got the right idea in showing her how you are with your other birds and letting her observe her new environment.  Trust me, she's processing all this new information at light speed.  Don't push the hands on stuff at the start.  It'll come in its own time.  Sit by the cage and talk to her, read to her, just spend time by her letting her get used to your presence.  Make sure the other members of the family spend time around her cage as well.  You don't want a bird only you can handle, especially as she's already showing signs of being partial to you.  Just let her observe her new home for now.  Relationship/trust building takes time.  Again, thank you for rescuing this little soul.

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More progress today.  When I opened the feed door to change her water she came over and poked her head out for scratches.  When I had one of the other birds in front over her she came to the front top for scratches.  Three times so far.  She had previously never left the rear upper bar, other than to get away in the first couple of days..

I hope it's not getting sexual for her.  When there were 3 of us talking to her she only looks at me.

I can touch her anywhere on her head, as long as I stop on top to give her scratches.  She does have a few pin feathers there.  She even sometime puts her left foot above her head and opens and closes it to ask for scratches.  Any movement towards her feet causes her to shimmy sideways. 

I'm not pushing it.  I bring the other birds over once in a while with them on my finger and say Step Up.  She'll get it eventually.

Every member of the family have given her scratches too.  So it's not just me, but she focuses on me.

I'll be honest, we're not giving her the medicine, only the first 2 days.  It was for pain and possible infection due to the bleeding blood feathers.  I couldn't see upsetting her.  She's eating and drinking great. And getting more vocal and moving around her cage more.

I'm quite amazed at how easy going she is.  I know that could change.  But I'm hoping to continue to improve on that.  Slowly.

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Another story from the category "You can't make this stuff up", my wife was just woken up from a nap by a guy our oldest works with at the local pet store.  He wanted to negotiate terms to buy our new African Grey.  "How would your husband like to make $300??  AND I'll throw in a Nile monitor!"  I asked her if she mentioned how many hundred dollars we're into this bird in vet bills. 

NOPE!!  Don't think so!!!   Ain't happenin!!!  

 

In bird news, she continues to get more vocal.  "Hello."   "Good morning."  Various odd sounds.

I removed a shredded rope toy that was probably dead a year ago, and a nasty tangle hazard.  And moved one toy from the toy farm in one corner to another corner.

And I moved a 10" long pearch that was covered with the bird equivalent of plastic barbed wire!!  I removed the nasty stuff and put it on the door near the hinge so she could perch on it and it would pivot out when the door opens.  We're done that with our Alexandrine and he likes it.  Then again, he's dumber than a box of rocks.  He greets me by grabbing a toy and the side of the cage and violently bobbing his whole body up and down.  When I talk to him he stares at me with his puppy dog eyes.  But, getting back to the Grey, she came over to check out the perch, hanging upside down and looking at it closely.

Hopefully she doesn't get too upset at all the changes.

We still need to put some new toys in there, but I figured I'd spread then out a little first.

OH!!!  I FORGOT TO MENTION!!!  SHE'S A BATHER!!!  We came home this afternoon to find her standing in her water bowl taking a bath.  Our naked Eclectus is also a bather, while the Alexandrine would stand forever if the spray kept coming.  Oddly, the vet had mentioned the white crust on her feet and said she needs to bath more.  So she must not of always had water available.  She's still in the cage she's been living in her whole life!

My wife was thinking of putting a large ceramic bowl in the bottom, but there's no easy way for her to get out of it.  We used to have some larger bolt-on-holder bowls that would giver her more room to bath.  I have to look to see if we have one left.

We got the some of the blood results Friday.  We'll get an explanation from the vet on Tuesday.  I remember there being many values that were normal, and a few way out of wack, probably due to her feather destruction..

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The perch I put on the door came out the next time I opened the door.  She freaked when it moved and walked back and forth on the far wall.  I opened and closed the door a few times so she could see they were connected.  Nope.  It's gone.  Maybe in a few months.

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Ha to the "make a profit!" I shudder to think how much money I've spent on Timber since he came to us 6 years ago, but don't regret a penny of it. When he has an inclination to bath, I put a 8x8 glass baking dish (heavy one) on the cage floor. With the encouragement of a few ice cubes he will usually dive in. The dish has "lips" on either end that he can perch on easily.

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And I got her to step up after she came out onto the top.  Although I don't know at what cost.  She was kind of lightly huffing or crying, with her wings slightly open and slightly drooped and a slight shake.  I'm thinking I got too touchy and she got "excited".  Al she wants is scratches.  Out of the cage she went easily from one hand to another, unlike our other 2 birds that are right hand only.  She kept looking up at the ceiling.  Maybe she's not used to the popcorn ceiling texture.  I didn't take her more than a foot from her cage.  And put her back after a couple of minutes.  Once inside she was back to not wanting to step up.  Although she's getting less resistant.  A little while later we did it again.  Same result.

 

20180528_110634 (Medium).jpg

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I'm gonna burn for this one...  I put a new toy on the outside of her cage not far from her water bowl.  As long as she doesn't avoid that corner, it'll go inside in a day or 2.

And I put a shallow ceramic baking pan on the bottom if she wants to bath.  I splashed in it a bit so she's know what it was.

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Hello CTGull and welcome to our family. I am so glad you could give this girl a new forever home and she is making great progress. Poor dear has been thru a lot but with your love and attention she will flourish and make a great addition to your already large flock of animals. Everything in a greys world moves slowly so what may look like slow progress is actually a big deal in grey time, lots of time and patience is needed right now and she will let you know when she is ready for closer or more intimate interaction. She is lovely though she looks a little ratty but I imagine in a years time there could be quite the difference but only time will tell.

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I know, I'm going to fast.  But when a walk by she moves towards me, and if I open the cage and don't put my hand in she will climb onto the top and walk to the front and stick her head out.  If I put my hand near she nibbles on it.  All friendly and curious behavior.  Or sexual...   I've never had a bird this "interested" in me.  Well, my male Alexandrine has always been interested in me, but he's a guy. 

Of course, we're assuming she is a she.  We should get the DNA results in a week or 2.  She's small, she interested in me.  She's gotta be a female.

I'm amazed she isn't freaked out by our loud barking 85 lb pit bull.  He's friendly and curious and wonders what this thing is.  And he wants my attention.  Barking is his way of saying lets play.  If he comes over barking she doesn't move away.  This has to be the most fearless bird I've ever seen!  Or she will do anything to get my attention. 

It should be interesting when I'm gone for the whole day tomorrow back to work after 3 days home.

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Posted (edited)

I've done some research, and as I suspected, the whimpering, slightly drooping of the wings and regurgitation motion is a sign of affection towards me.  Pretty amazing since we've only had her 6 days.  But not surprising due to her behavior since we got her.

Should this be encouraged or ignored?  Or just let it slide?  Nothing I've read so far has said to ignore it.

She's been the best bird ever, so far.  Other than wanting me for her own, she's eaten anything we've given her, out of our hands (blueberry, pepper, broccoli), even on day 2.  Amazing!  She's easily converted from the crap sean/nut mixture she's been eating her whole life, to colored ZuPreme pellets.  And she's coming around on stepping up.

She's certainly not the fussing, sometimes bitey Grey I've read about.  I know that could change.

Edited by CTGull
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Everything I've read here and other places says it is best to ignore the behavior. Also, don't touch her on the back or tail, which I don't think you are doing anyway if I've read your posts correctly.  Timber tends to get a bit too "affectionate." When that happens, I just put him back on his cage.

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Thanks.  Will do.  I was at work all day, getting home at 5pm.  I split an hour between all 3 birds.  Again she came out onto the cage front when I left the door open.  I gave her some scratches and went to the next bird.  She went back in.  She came out the water door this morning and went back in when I put the bowl back in.  No mating behavior today.  She continues to look calm and curious.

I heard she had a whistling contest with our oldest son today.  Not sure who won but I heard it was close!!

She continues to get more vocal.  Hmmm....  Maybe that's why they wanted her gone!!  :?)  She continues to add more whistles, noises and words that she must already know. 

I finally found something that scares her.  An empty paper towel roll.  BAD PAPER TOWEL ROLL!!!!

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She's DNA tested confirmed female.  No surprise there.

This morning she came out of the water bowl door while I got her water.  This time she was completely on the side of the cage and didn't volunteer to go back in.  I tried to lead her back in but she wanted to hang out.  I unfortunately had to force her to step up to get get her back in.  Voicing her displeasure set off the Eclectus, not something I wanted to do at 5:30am.

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Funny about the paper towel roll, that's one of Timbers favorite things to play with/chew on. On the other hand, anything orange in color will set off his alarms and cause a scene. I love to hear the vocalize, so hope that is OK in your situation. That's one of the things that sets them apart from the other non-human occupants of the house, their ability to communicate.

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