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Desructive Behavior, Part II


joea
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Earlier I had posted about a 14 year old female Congo I had adopted, that was exhibiting destructive behavior, leaving cage area and tearing up woodwork trim.  At this point, I was never closing the cage doors,  ever.

Her roaming destructiveness was alleviated completely by placing brown corrugated boxes on her cage playtop, which she immediately took to in joyous fashion.  Initially I used whatever medium size boxes I had, but this seemed to trigger, to my astonishment, a hormonal or breeding response and she ended up laying a couple of "soft shell" eggs.  

I'd been reassured this would pass, and it did seem to, to the point I ordered some small 4x4 boxes from a supply house and would assemble one or two a week, replacing them as they became destroyed.  She seemed overjoyed when I put a fresh one in play.

She had previously and even now, almost completely ignores any commercial "toys" I hang in her cage, only occasionally attacking some wooden dowel rods i put in there, despite her great willingness to attack pencils she may encounter.

Now, however, she has lessened interest in her playtop boxes and has take to leaving her cage area and attacking any storage box or the like that may happen to be around.  I tried many times to catch her in the act, admonish her and return her to her cage.  When that failed, I began putting her in the cage and latching the door, at first for brief periods and latter for longer.  But, that has only seemed to reinforce her tendency to leave the cage and begin tearing up.   I see now, this may have developed into a game as she never displays aggression when I return her to the cage, but does show reluctance to leave my hand.  She does "beak" my fingers or hand at those times, but does not "bite".  So far.

She seems to desire more attention as well lately and more often now tugs at my fingers with her head up and body lowered, which I gather is a "food sharing" or requesting behavior.   I'm beginning to doubt I am the right person or home for her, despite the apparent bond.

The only thing that has really changed is that I introduced Harrison Bird Bread (original mix) a few weeks back,  She loves it, and would eat it to the exclusion of anything else.  I am almost out of the first batch and reordered.  I can hold off for a week or so, to see it seems to be related.

Once again, unsure how to proceed to keep her happy and healthy and me sane.  ish. She really is a sweet bird otherwise.

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They can live pretty rough lives outside of the right care.   Think hard before re-homing her.   Have you thought about creating an aviary for her?   Inside or outside.   I had to do this with mine because I wasn't willing to rebuild all the parts of my house they could get to.   They tore up drawers, cabinets, door trim and lots of other stuff in our old home.  I ended up building aviaries to put them in during the day and had a bird room with rough cut wood all around the the trim for them to go after.   You can even get those really big huge walk-in cages for them.

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34 minutes ago, SRSeedBurners said:

They can live pretty rough lives outside of the right care.   Think hard before re-homing her.   Have you thought about creating an aviary for her?   Inside or outside.   I had to do this with mine because I wasn't willing to rebuild all the parts of my house they could get to.   They tore up drawers, cabinets, door trim and lots of other stuff in our old home.  I ended up building aviaries to put them in during the day and had a bird room with rough cut wood all around the the trim for them to go after.   You can even get those really big huge walk-in cages for them.

I certainly do not want to re-home her, for lots of reasons. 

Basically how I feel right now.  I cannot allow the house to be destroyed.  I continue to be astounded at her bratty stubborness in immediately returning to the activity I most recently interrupted.

I am considering adding a 4 season "sun room" to my  home to ease the winter season.  Thought about moving her in there, if I ever get it built.

Is there any accounting for this change in behavior?  Keeping her caged most of the day will probably depress her eventually.

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They are busy beavers.   Our male has to have stuff to get into.  He and our female are in a birdroom and I have an old dresser drawer setup with a wooden cutlery tray filled with wooden spoons, spatulas and other toys.   He ends up in that drawer making toothpicks, throwing things on the floor, just doing his daily constructionings business.  He's a very busy bird but I've got him tearing up stuff he can tear up.   My female is fine to sit around and pamper herself all day.   

 

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Does she have anywhere else to play, other than the top of her cage?

Are you able to create her a separate play area away from her cage? You'll need to make it as fun as possible so she wants to be there instead of getting into trouble.

I have two shelves above my sofa in my living room. They used to have my ornaments and bits and pieces on them. Alfie discovered them and kept flying over there and flinging everything off. So when I let him out I'd remove all my junk and put some of his toys up there. He loved it and it is his favourite place to play. So I decided that can be his area and removed all my junk. He permanently has toys and boxes to chew/throw- plus a rope boing and a foraging toy. He has stripped the shelves bare (they were some rubbish cheap ones that came with the house) so I'm now planning to change up the area for him to include some rope perches and new natural wood shelves.
I didn't have enough space for a large parrot play stand or tree, so I've hung toys from the ceiling and walls and tried to create a few areas for Alfie to hang out. His favourite place is always his selves though- so that's where most of the fun stuff is. He can happily spend hours up there, throwing his foot toys around, shredding boxes, chilling out on his boing and raiding his foraging toy for treats.

 

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2 hours ago, neoow said:

Does she have anywhere else to play, other than the top of her cage?

Are you able to create her a separate play area away from her cage? You'll need to make it as fun as possible so she wants to be there instead of getting into trouble.

I have two shelves above my sofa in my living room. They used to have my ornaments and bits and pieces on them. Alfie discovered them and kept flying over there and flinging everything off. So when I let him out I'd remove all my junk and put some of his toys up there. He loved it and it is his favourite place to play. So I decided that can be his area and removed all my junk. He permanently has toys and boxes to chew/throw- plus a rope boing and a foraging toy. He has stripped the shelves bare (they were some rubbish cheap ones that came with the house) so I'm now planning to change up the area for him to include some rope perches and new natural wood shelves.
I didn't have enough space for a large parrot play stand or tree, so I've hung toys from the ceiling and walls and tried to create a few areas for Alfie to hang out. His favourite place is always his selves though- so that's where most of the fun stuff is. He can happily spend hours up there, throwing his foot toys around, shredding boxes, chilling out on his boing and raiding his foraging toy for treats.

 

 

No, there is not a specific area dedicated to her.  Crossed my mind, but, so far, nothing I have provided for her amusement, except the corrugated boxes, has held her interest for more than a moment or two.  Some of them are quite complex, with varied shapes, colors, textures.  A pleasant sounding bell, a rubbery chew thing, with nooks for treats, all ignored.  Even the treats nestled in them.  

It seemed she would just make a "bird line" for her latest chosen destruction area and go at it.  Per the advice of the person I adopted from, I am keeping her in her cage, except when I specifically make play time, or cage clean time.  Sometimes just to hang out.   While she has adjusted to this, I don't like it and do not think it is a good long term solution.

So, I hesitate to spend any effort to create such a spot as her history indicated she will ignore it.  Short of dedicating a room, or area, or building an addition that could double as an aviary, and essentially preventing access to the rest of the house, I don't  see a good solution.

 

 

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