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He's breaking my heart

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  • December 13, 2017, 10:35:42 PM
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Angel Feathers

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He's breaking my heart
« on: October 11, 2015, 04:04:57 PM »

Really struggling today, for the past few weeks I have been putting Ozzy in his cage in the afternoons and putting it in the conservatory, radio on, he seems to be relatively happy out there as long as Im no where to be seen which is fine for the moment.  However, today my partner has been doing some work in the garden and Ozzy has obviously stressed himself out because he can see activity but hates being confined.  As a result he has practically stipped his neck and most of it is now bald.  Ive put him on his stand and all I can hear is him ripping out more feathers.  The carpet was just grey feathers.  I filled up his food bowl with the bad stuff (seed mix from tidymix) but he's not touching it.  No toys are attracting him either, he just seems interested in pulling feathers and its breaking my heart to hear each one come out.  He had a fine mist with warm water and aloe vera this morning.
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FeatherMonkey

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Re: He's breaking my heart
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2015, 05:17:36 PM »

Not sure what to say my initial thought is heah!

Looking at this purely from a problem point of view. Initially this was he plucks when I'm out of sight alluding to separation plucking. Yet now it's he doesn't pluck when I'm out of sight. So I'm plainly confused.

My initial thought is the trigger was wrong. So what is the trigger, you say it's the confinement and seeing activity, that would imply your OH not yourself. Also you may have inadvertently rewarded the behaviour by moving him(rewards aren't just seed). Your other option is general anxiety on seeing someone. You've defo got a habit to break but the cause could do with identifying. Do you force him? I completely stopped forcing anything I don't even spray now, I get offered tickles.

As a lot know I'm a great believer in the trust account, I find this the biggest thing.

I'm drawn to anxiety I also suspect it's the babying. They are prey flock animals everything is a threat. They also read from the flock I've seen both my 2 do it. Now I'm lucky I've immersed mine in change and a wild variety of experiences. Hell I jumped off a barge with Willow on me, I won't be trying that again in hurry. I got it, a step too far, I could though my trust account is so black. Wouldn't even dream of trying it with Hickory though. My real point is I've seen both refuse to get on someone because they're scared. They include the extended flocks threat detector too. More than happy to go what we scared off. No thought they presume a threat.

The trust account works in there favour too. Got Willow staring out the window did try to get him down with recall he refused. Now I could go get him but he's safe there so I'll leave it(he's preening I've got no hope).

So if it's not being reinforced by drama/behaviour rewarding I'd be drawn to externalising anxiety.

I'm not sure the reason/cause is relevant though. For me your spending too much time/attention/drama/behaviour/emotion on the behaviour you don't want to reward. It's about making the behaviour you want to reward have the most time/attention/drama/behaviour/emotion. Ideally completely ignoring the one you don't want.
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Mandi

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Re: He's breaking my heart
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2015, 07:30:23 PM »

Awe Mandie I don't know what to say bar I'm sorry
I know how you feel
And yes it's heartbreaking
Is there anyway you could leave him on a stand or would he not stay there if he saw you ?
It worked for peach but I know they ain't all the same x
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Angel Feathers

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Re: He's breaking my heart
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2015, 12:17:42 PM »

Aww thanks again Steph & Mandi, I really appreciate your replies  :flowers:

Its been hard to identify for me too, but I'll try to explain how "we" work... Both myself and my partner work from home so we are here all day, whilst Ozzy has chosen me, he likes to listen to OH.  He will only come to me although he will give kisses to OH, he wont take food off him in general but will take a treat from his lips!

We have a small bungalow so space is an issue, Ozzy is on his perch for the majority of the day (except the last week or so when I have been trying to spend more time away from him) His Java perch is in the hallway where he can see me working, or he will come find me, OH is constanting whistling to him throughout the day too, he sits on my shoulder and generally abuses my ears and every 20 mins or so I send him back to his perch for a "do it" (pooh).  The only thing he gets forced with is a shower, he grumbles from the time he goes into the bathroom till the time he comes out.  If I spray him on his perch he grumbles, flies and crashes so I dont do that now.  Every now and again he actually enjoys it but thats rare now.  He literally has the run of the house but if we have to go out, he has to go in his cage as we have a cat. 

He really hasn't been too bad in his cage in the afternoons, except for the day when OH was working in the garden.  there would still be plenty of downy feathers that had been stripped but not the greys, until yesterday  :cry2:    He plucks when he's out on his stand too, I was talking to him yesterday and he started plucking so I think now its just something he wants to do.  I'm now completely ignoring him when he does it and we are having good  chats etc when he's not doing it.

Just had to go out for an hour so put him in his cage, pile of greys on the floor when I came back so I took him out straight away and put him on his stand, he started chatting instantly then started to pluck between words and Im in the lounge now and can still hear him pulling them out. 

However..... for a while he was doing his "stressy eddy" bit where he would bite his nails and look like he was going to take off, this pattern was completed with a downy pluck, I reacted at first to this, then started to ignore it completely and he stopped doing it, infact I haven't seen him do it for a few weeks, the plucking seems to have phased that out so Im wondering if this is attention/habbit?  Although early days for a habbit I know.

I wish I could leave him out longer but its also a bit tricky working from home with a toddler on your shoulder.

Sorry for rambling.. again!
xx
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FeatherMonkey

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Re: He's breaking my heart
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2015, 01:00:35 PM »

I think it is being reinforced accidentally. I'd tried everything I'm quite good at blanking but even I struggled. Yeah I can see how difficult it can be. Then my mum was a nightmare I got to the clicker mainly for her. Every time I'd get he's doing it again.

It can be managed it does tend to be us more than them. Between me and my brother we train the laptop, they get rewarded and more drama when sitting nicely next to it. The problem is when they're doing nice stuff we forget them and don't reward. I randomly do it to my 2 when I leave them for a sec if I find them still sat there. As I sit here Hickory is 2 inches from the phone only showing minor interest so I rewarded. It's rewarding the behaviour we want making a bigger deal out of the good stuff. I still reinforce loads even if they've known it for years, I still reward for step up occasionally.

I suspect you're correct, he's learnt plucking gets attention. As for difficulty whilst working. Just try to reward what you want Hickory is a nightmare with pens, we have my turn meaning she'll get a go(or an empty one). Well to be honest as flock members they just know what's got our attention must be worth being involved in.

Whilst I'm and many are against negative. It can be mildly used. It depends on the drive, Hickory doesn't like cages she tolerates them but wants out. I have used time outs as it works, but it's all about timing, it has to be perfect. If he starts try to teach him it makes you go away not give him attention. Try and think of it as screaming to get your attention.

Edit: Guessing he'd forgotten you 2 where around saw OH had a crack at getting attention.
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Angel Feathers

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Re: He's breaking my heart
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2015, 11:24:54 AM »

Thanks Steph, makes perfect sense - I'm having to alter the way I do it, because of my work I literally can't get up and walk away from him each time he does it, I send him back to his perch, sometimes it works and he starts the chatting again, sometimes he clearly isn't happy and being returned to his perch and will yank a few out, this I completely ignore now.  It seems he will do it if Im there and if I'm not, I think beating myself up about it all the time is setting the atmosphere and stressing the whole household out!  Poor OH, its literally all I talk about at the moment :)

The clicker is difficult as Ive been a bit slow rewarding sometimes, I have to put my work down and fumble for the clicker but I'll get there.
xx
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FeatherMonkey

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Re: He's breaking my heart
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2015, 02:48:35 PM »

Wouldn't worry too much about clicker. You can do verbal if that's quicker, mine shout good girl/boy, clever Willow/Hickory all the time. I do see a reward though, on the sometimes it works go get him occasionally. Sounds like you can use you want to be with me as a reward.

Just be consistent with your reward word/cue if you use it reward even if in error. Better to make a mistake than leaving them thinking that word doesn't mean a thing(Mine are well watered down, yet I can use them of sorts).

As for picking up yeah that's a big thing they definitely look to the flock for cues. That flock doesn't even have to be known, mine have extended to include a whole beer garden. We were quite stressed when Willow started.

To be honest training is practically backwards goes against everything we've used. You have dog's that just want to please, these buggers it's self gain. Then it's not like a toddler we castigate and expect a stop.

As for altering sometimes you do have think laterally. I split my 2 at night time due to Hickory slamming herself to the bottom of the cage. Having had a squabble once before I was stuck with do you go in(training her/me we went in) or not. Risk was too great to ignore so had to split them at night time.

You'll get there you'll find yourself focusing more and more on the good stuff.
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Angel Feathers

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Re: He's breaking my heart
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2015, 06:40:24 AM »

Thanks FM, after a really good morning yesterday, plenty of chatting, interacting, free flying around the house, I felt confident to put him in his cage for a couple of hours, I had a new foraging toy arrive so I stuffed that full of treats and paper, showed it too him and he was instantly intersted.  I returned 2 hours later to find that he has now run out of feathers on his neck and started his way down his chest, the new toy was untouched as was his food bowl. I had heard him whistling and shouting away at the radio and presumed all was good, but not the case. 
Now Im back worrying that this will escalate to his whole body.
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FeatherMonkey

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Re: He's breaking my heart
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2015, 07:57:26 AM »

It's not going to happen over night he'll test you. Like a kid he's going to scream louder and for longer. Be question of whose got the strongest will.

Try not to stress, he'll know you're worried won't have a clue why. He'll just presume you're worrying about something that can eat you both.
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