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Old 09-03-2010, 12:04 PM
 
68 posts, read 175,857 times
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Hi, All.

Until a few weeks ago, I had been at home on a full time basis since my 3 year-old cockatiel was a baby. He is a non-flier (I keep his wings trimmed) and spends all day hanging out with me or roaming and climbing around. He sleeps in a roomy cage, where I've previously locked him up on the occasional days when I go out for more than two or three hours at a time.

I have now gone back to school and am out of the house for about 8 hours straight, four days per week. My bird has been absolutely miserable being stuck in his cage all day. He is furious when I come home, screeching and refusing to let me pet him right up to his bed time. He also appears to be eating less and his droppings are softer/runnier than usual. At first I thought he'd adapt, but now I'm not so sure. I've tried new toys, fun foods...everything...to no avail.

The bedroom where his cage is located is more or less bird-proofed: he can't get caught under or behind anything and can't reach any electrical cords. I am considering leaving him loose in there all day when I'm not home, with a climb-proof barrier in the doorway (I'd rather not shut the door). The logic is that he's never got into trouble when I've been home, and he could injure himself by accident in his cage as easily as out of it, particularly if he startles for some reason.

What do you think? Am I crazy? Should I let him stay loose?
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:00 PM
 
848 posts, read 1,674,898 times
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NO,NO,NO You should NEVER leave him loose alone. NEVER.

He's bored to death with you gone. Do you leave on a radio?

You can buy a DVD titled Bird Sitter by Go Bird (Pet Sitter Videos) and let it run all day while you're gone. It's self looping. There's a choice of natural bird sounds or different types of music.

There are two beautiful DVD's available from The World Parrot Trust that show all types of wild parrots in their natural habitat. (World Parrot Trust - Saving Parrots Worldwide)

1. Strictly for Parrots PollyVision
2. Parrots of the Americas PollyVision II

Walmart always has $5 DVD's in their electronic section. There's always lots of great children's movies and most DVD's have anywhere from 3-5 movies per DVD.

Vary what you use to entertain him during the day, and other than the Bird Sitter, most of the others will run for 60-90 minutes. Some down time during the day isn't a bad either as he'll probably nap a bit.

Where is the cage located in the room. If there's a window place it close enough where he can see out, yet still retreat to a portion of his cage where he feels protected.

He's only having temper tantrums because you're gone and he'll get over it.
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:28 PM
 
68 posts, read 175,857 times
Reputation: 114
(Duplicate of below)

Last edited by sautille42; 09-03-2010 at 02:42 PM..
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:41 PM
 
68 posts, read 175,857 times
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Creek Hollow,

I appreciate the advice, and your emphatic feelings on the matter. If you don't mind: given the description in my post, can you be more specific about why leaving him loose is such a bad idea? The only injury my bird has ever sustained happened in his cage (he startled when a big hornet hit the window and injured his wing slamming into the bars). I'm not arguing, per se - I'm just curious to hear more about your strong opinion.

I've been using the Bird Sitter DVD (I should have mentioned that), and I put his cage near the same window that he prefers when he's loose. He's always had an enclosed "dark house" in his cage that resembles a favorite hangout elsewhere in the room. He's never liked the sound of movies or TV - they stress him out. A vet tech suggested buying a small fountain to put in the room because some birds are calmed by the sound of trickling water. Not mine! After a week he still screamed whenever I turned it on.

I'll definitely check out the DVDs from the World Parrot Trust, though. Thanks for that.

How long should it take him to get over this behavior? He gets ornery with sitters when I go on vacation, so I anticipated this trouble and started leaving him for gradually longer periods before school started. He did all right at first, but once it was consistently over the 6 hour mark he turned into the little monster I'm dealing with now.
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Old 09-03-2010, 03:43 PM
 
848 posts, read 1,674,898 times
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All birds are like little kids, nosey as heck, and always exploring. He could pull out and eat carpet fibers and ANYTHING else in the room he could get his little beak on. Despite wing trimming, these clever birds are excellent climbers so bedspreads/quilts, drapes, etc. would allow him access to many places.

Despite the fact he sustained a wing injury in the cage it could have been worse had he been loose, such as slamming into a wall, window, mirror, or door. Even wing trimmed they can fly a distance as wing trimming only prevents LIFT.

You could also come home, open the door and hit him if he's on the ground. Or worse.

Perhaps your bird is uncomfortable by the window and would rather be away from it? Each one has different preferences. Perhaps he would rest more during the day if the room were darkened a bit?

He's smart and determined. Don't think he doesn't know that screaming his head off brings humans eventually. He expects you to entertain him with your presence and it spitting mad when you're not around to occupy his time.

One other suggestion would be to get him a buddy, not in the same cage, just same room. Putting two birds together in a single cage is not a good idea they've settled and decided on the arrangement for themselves. But, it might occupy the little shrieker.

Does he have several toys that are regularly rotated? Different types?

What types of food do you feed? Trying hanging some leafy greens or carrots for him to taste. There are skewers made especially for hanging fresh food. The idea is more complicated food that will require some effort and imagination to eat. Mimic foraging. Hide treats inside corn husks or little suspended boxes. There's no limit to creating a foraging environment.

Behavioral changes usually don't happen quickly. I know that's not what you wanted to hear, but it's true.

Hope this has helped a bit.
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Old 09-04-2010, 04:34 PM
 
68 posts, read 175,857 times
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Thanks, CH. You've helped a lot. I've done a lot of the things you've recommended already, but you did give me some new ideas - and more importantly, the benefit of your experienced point of view.

Much obliged.
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:05 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
9,352 posts, read 16,768,849 times
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I have sort of the same.... but different dilemna.....

my business partner's wife got him a quaker parrot about 3-1/2 years ago..... these are people who really have no business having ANY sort of pet.... he is solely focused on work .... great for the business.... not so great for anything else having to do with life.... she has a VERY short attention span and now has a 3 y/o and newborn daughters....

bottom line is the bird does NOT get the attention he (or she) deserves.... it has been relegated to the basement office area with me..... i i knew NOTHING about birds before she got this little fella and had no idea they had so much personality.... .... i am the only one who pays any real attention to him and feel AWFUL for him when i leave on friday (or saturday) evenings....

i have suggested in several ways that they rehome him to a more suitable home where he can get the attention he needs and deserves..... he has a tree next to my desk, but i am there to work and can't give him the attention that i think he needs..... but for reasons that i can NOT fathom, they refuse......

she got a cage for their own home and he went over there on the weekends for a few weeks.... but she came to realize that she was allergic to the bird, in addition to cats and dogs.....

**sigh**

if i thought he would be ok here in my house, i would bring him home with me in the evenings and on the weekends.... but i have 2 cats and 2 dogs.... and my heeler girl bailey is absolutely FASCINATED with the birds at petsmart when we go there..... i just think it would be too much stress on the bird (and me) were i to try to bring him home on the weekends......

i bring him treats and pay as much attention to him as i can and still get my work done....

should i suggest that my b.p. get a TV for him or something??

outside of kidnapping him and rehoming him myself, i don't know what else to do......
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Old 09-07-2010, 06:14 AM
 
848 posts, read 1,674,898 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latetotheparty View Post
I have sort of the same.... but different dilemna.....

my business partner's wife got him a quaker parrot about 3-1/2 years ago..... these are people who really have no business having ANY sort of pet.... he is solely focused on work .... great for the business.... not so great for anything else having to do with life.... she has a VERY short attention span and now has a 3 y/o and newborn daughters....

bottom line is the bird does NOT get the attention he (or she) deserves.... it has been relegated to the basement office area with me..... i i knew NOTHING about birds before she got this little fella and had no idea they had so much personality.... .... i am the only one who pays any real attention to him and feel AWFUL for him when i leave on friday (or saturday) evenings....

i have suggested in several ways that they rehome him to a more suitable home where he can get the attention he needs and deserves..... he has a tree next to my desk, but i am there to work and can't give him the attention that i think he needs..... but for reasons that i can NOT fathom, they refuse......

she got a cage for their own home and he went over there on the weekends for a few weeks.... but she came to realize that she was allergic to the bird, in addition to cats and dogs.....

**sigh**

if i thought he would be ok here in my house, i would bring him home with me in the evenings and on the weekends.... but i have 2 cats and 2 dogs.... and my heeler girl bailey is absolutely FASCINATED with the birds at petsmart when we go there..... i just think it would be too much stress on the bird (and me) were i to try to bring him home on the weekends......

i bring him treats and pay as much attention to him as i can and still get my work done....

should i suggest that my b.p. get a TV for him or something??

outside of kidnapping him and rehoming him myself, i don't know what else to do......

I don't understand why she won't give the bird up for a better home either, but I wouldn't recommend kidnapping him due to the potentially negative consequences for you.

The only lights I might suggest would be full spectrum on a TIMER ONLY. Since he's in a basement office I imagine his lighting situation is less than optimal to say the least.

The natural light from a full spectrum bulb (available at Home Depot or Lowes) would be of benefit; however I would start with the timer at 5-6 hours per day and be cognizant of seasonal light changes and adjust accordingly. There is much conflicting information about placement of these lights. Some sources say they must be 2 feet from the cage (overhead) to do any good. Others say the lights have the potential to damage eyes. My lights are installed on the ceiling approximately 4 feet above cages. They're also on a rheostsat so if I'm home, which I am most of the time, I can dim them slowly to mimic nature.

Also you might supply natural (untreated) branches you can get from an organic nursery. I get mine free from cuttings they're going to throw away anyway. Try to get them large enough so they span the cage. Natural branches make for excellent climbing and chewing activities.

The good thing is that this is one of the few birds who actually gets enough sleep! It's difficult to provide a truly quiet environment at home for birds to get enough sleep and sleep, or lack thereof, has a profound influence on mood. They need more sleep than most creatures and the generally (loosely)recommended dark/quiet time is 12 hours per night.

Even if you play birdie appropriate DVD's for him during the day with low or no sound it will provide some diversion.

It's really a shame and the little guy is very lucky you care about him.
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:12 AM
 
8,680 posts, read 13,255,525 times
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Sautille, I wouldn't leave the bird out alone unattended all day. Aside from the fact that there is no such thing as "bird-proofing," do you really want to come home and find holes chewed through your sheets?

Getting the bird a friend might be an idea, but you would still have to keep the new bird quarantined in another room for a month until he or she passes health clearance, vet tests come back, etc.

Also--and this is the voice of experience here--another bird may change your dynamic with your current bird and it's no guarantee they will like each other. My Nanday was home alone during the day for about a year. I felt bad and wondered if he was lonely, so I got a Green Cheek to keep him company.

First, my Nanday pitched jealousy fits for three months. I've got the scars on my hands to show for it. Second, these two birds hate each other. Having them both out on the couch with me requires constant refereeing because if they get too close to each other, they will fight full-on, feets-locked, birdie battles. Beak-batting and squabbling is one thing. Rolling around like two brothers fighting in the dirt is something else entirely. Best part is that if I take one out of the room, the other calls to him. It's like, "I hate you, DON'T LEAVE."

You can try the pet-sitting CDs, leaving the radio on, or letting your bird watch TV. I used to have an Alexandrine parakeet (she lives with my ex-husband now), and she loved to watch ice-skating, hockey, and skiing. Anything with little people on a white background fascinated her. However, nature shows or anything with predators are out: One night I was watching Stuart Little, and one scene had a close-up of a big white cat, and the Alexandrine went to the back of her cage and started whimpering!

You might also try putting your bird's cage in another room. Sometimes I wheel mine into the kitchenette. I have big sliding glass doors and there's a lot of sun there. They bask in the light and pass judgment on all they survey. (Indeed, sometimes that's the only way I get any work done, because when they hear my keyboard, they call.)

Latetotheparty, the situation you describe makes my blood boil. That is the kind of situation my Green Cheek was in, in his second home. (I'm his third and forever home.) Once the people had a kid, they put him in the laundry room with only occasional visits from the dog so he could "entertain" the dog. They never took him out, and he lived in a tiny, one-foot wide travel cage better suited to a finch.

For years.

The people eventually relinquished him to a bird organization called Phoenix Landing. Phoenix Landing rehabilitated him--he was cage-bound and didn't want to come out--and then I adopted him. I suspect he was abused at some point before he came to Phoenix Landing, too, because he has seizures (controlled with meds). The vet says they could come from epilepsy or "previous head trauma."

It probably wouldn't be too much stress on the bird for you to bring him home on the weekends, provided you have nice amenities for him there (regular cage, all the usual toys, food, etc.). The change in environment might give him such much-needed mental stimulation. If I stay at my guy's house overnight, I pack my birds up and bring them over. He has four birds, himself, so it's a birdie bash, and my birds are always happier for it.
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:29 AM
 
8,680 posts, read 13,255,525 times
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Of course, Late, you could always have him build you a new office...

[youtube]B3NGeghqxzY[/youtube]
[URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3NGeghqxzY"]YouTube - Sparky Builds His Dream House[/URL]

Watch it until the end.
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