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Howdy! 

So my husband and I rescued a 6y/o Timneh African Grey, who we have named Schooner, about two weeks ago. He apparently was hand raised and fed by his breeder, then adopted by a woman who suddenly died from cancer a few months later and then ended up with this one family for several years. This family meant well but I think were rather rough with him and didn’t give him the stimulation or kind treatment he needed as a young bird. 

I’m a marine mammal and dog trainer and I’ve been around birds (although ones who are highly trained/lap birds that have lots of husbandry skills) but this bird is proving difficult. He is only eating a few seeds from his food and seems to ignore the pellets (his old family used to feed him fries and flaming hot Cheetos 🙄), he doesn’t seem to know how to eat fruit or veggies and mostly just flings them if he doesn’t run away from them. He’s started to chew on the wood trim of a door near his cage but won’t touch his toys (but he’ll shred a paper towel with gusto). I let him out for several hours a day and let him walk around on his own (with supervision of course!) so that he can get used to us and our house but if we ask him to “step up” he’ll posture or lunge if we’re close enough. Usually he’ll walk back to his cage and either go in himself or we have to lure him with a green bottle he’s enamored  with. He’ll rarely actually step up on our hand and we’ve had a few instances of we’ve asked for it too much that he grabs our hand with one foot to hold us still then gives us a pretty nasty bite/chew. Which makes me laugh later for how clever he is but not in the moment 😂  

I’ve been just sitting by his cage while I drink coffee and read and am trying anything at this point to let him know he’s safe, but I’ve also heard that these are the first birds who will walk all over you and run the house. 

Any help or advice would be extremely appreciated! We just want to give him the best home possible! I realize that at his age he might not turn into a cuddly bird (but it would be so nice!) and that it definitely won’t happen overnight. I just would like to be able to trust him enough to bite us constantly. 

Thanks in advance!

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It's going to take time and lots of it.  Possibly months or even years.  And it's very likely Schooner will never turn into a cuddle muffin.  They end up carrying their baggage around just like we do and sometimes it's irreparable.  Doesn't mean they won't be a bird that's super fun to be around and play with.  Your best bet right now is to just give Schooner lots of time to get to know you.  They will change after a few months.  Since you're well versed in animal training, research on some methods of training Greys (parrots in general) and you'll find lots of information on engaging their lil brains.  They are very receptive to this.  

I put up wood strips in places that our guys like to go and do their craftsmanship.  Of course they'll find places that are off-limits and that requires a lot of removing birdy from the crime-scene over and over again.  We finally stopped Huey from chewing our kitchen cabinets after about 3 months.  

HueyShaming.thumb.jpg.e35a7a6bf8c993872304cfb531c737f5.jpg

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@SRSeedBurners

Thank you so much for your reply! 

Did you use wood strips that you can get at like Home Depot or do you prefer natural tree branches? 

Huey looks like quite the character! Glad to hear he’s not helping y’all redecorate as much!

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I buy the raw 'furring strip' boards from HD/Lowes.   They're super cheap, super chewable and keeps a beak busy.

GreycieMae modeling her furring strips.   As you can see, she has decided to go after the door now 😕.    That's ok though because this is in her bird room and she can do whatever she wants in her room or aviary.

 

I also forgot to mention that Huey in the photo above is a similar case as your bird.   He is formerly abused, we think by a male.  He is very untrusting of me, but thinks my wife is the moon and stars.  I get lots of bites and evil stares out of him and will never be able to love on him like my wife can but I'm ok with that.  I still love him.

 

FirStrips01.jpg.18e41c5ba56bc8e1b0651fc35fa6abc3.jpgFirStrips02.jpg.9370e0675d6cd42c4c21e383c4d48e2f.jpg

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Hello AbbietheAggie and welcome to our family. As Steve has already said it could take some time, getting the trust of an African grey has to be earned and grey time is slow so take it slow and easy and the reward will be well worth it.

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Hello and welcome to the forums! Congrats on your new addition!

2 weeks is a very short time. Schooner is probably still adjusting to the changes that have taken place in his life and is probably still adapting to your home, your presence, your routines etc etc. Grey's can take days, weeks or even months to adjust to changes- even small ones like new toys- so please don't be disheartened if Schooner is still wary of you or new foods/toys etc.

There is lots of useful information on these forums so feel free to take a look around. If you have any questions, do go ahead and ask. Whilst we're a little quieter these days there is still usually someone who can answer and help.

Oh... and we love pictures! (hint hint!) 😁

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Update on Schoon the Goon! 

So today was exciting! I’ve been using this box to get Schooner to step up from wherever he’s at because he seemed much calmer and 100% more willing than to step up on my hand. I’ve been putting the box with some of his seed, pellets and a fun veggie or fruit in it on my coffee table while I drink coffee and have breakfast. I think just having him be there where he can watch and see that I’m not a scary monster really helped. He was walking around the coffee table, came over to me and offered his foot (I tried to contain my excitement) so I asked him to step up (success!) and once he was up there he very gently just mouthed my thumb (first time he’s ever done anything gently) and then he started making these super weird gurgling sounds and trying to climb up my arm. I of course *freaked* out because I thought he was choking/throwing up 😂 but a bird friend of mine reassured me that he was regurging! So now we’re doing quite a bit better! 😅

 

Thank you all for the advice and encouragement! Schooner thanks y’all too! 👍

 

E3B3D9BB-DDF5-4B47-825A-78EA80BB19F3.jpeg

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Good job to Schooner for training his new hoomans right.    

That video you posted is mating behavior and many will tell you not to encourage that.  Our Huey gets hot and horny with my wife the same way.  He will eventually up-chuck and try to feed her but when he starts to get low and try to mate, we find something else to do like go sit on his perch or maybe a couple laps around the living room (we've found this stops it immediately).  

After seeing that video, I don't think you're going to have any problems with Schooner, he's definitely in love with whomever is in that video.

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