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Separation Anxiety?

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Angel Feathers

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Separation Anxiety?
« on: December 08, 2015, 12:30:10 PM »

Any pluker mums and dads that have a birdie with this?
Ozzy had to go to the vet again yesterday, we are still on the look out for an Avian vet down here and we've now taken him to another vet with "an interest" in Birds/parrots.  Anyway, long story short, Ozzy started plucking about 6 months ago and thanks to some help from others here, we were I think getting better  :biggrin:  until the weekend!  He had some lovely big grey feathers coming back and most of his downies around his neck, then all of a sudden he started flicking his head and plucking, this has started a routine... scratch, pluck from neck, lift wing and pluck from there, all his downies are now gone again and he has started on his lovely greys. His skin is red where he is scratching and pulling.  Typically the vet was in surgery and we had to see another who took some basic details to relay to the vet in surgery.  Basically he had some anti biotics and Ive been told to leave him in the bathroom after showering to he can get the steam.  Which Ive done.  Ive been told that I should take him back next week if no different and they will take bloods etc. 

Thing is, he is much worse today.  I had thought they would give him something to take away the soreness which is clearly making him scratch more, its a vicious circle but they didn't. 

He has separation axiety of some sort as he is very stressed when Im not about, pulling at his toenails and plucking etc - Im wondering how you deal with your birds to make him feel better.  He is not playing with toys at all at the moment, not interested in foraging and is off his P15 - he's only chomping his way through his Tidymix.
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Mandi

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Re: Separation Anxiety?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2015, 01:31:10 PM »

I so feel for you as Iv been trough this with peach
Each night when I walk past her for bed I can see her biting away at her nails
If she is sat with me and I type on my phone she will pull feathers from Under the wings :(
And yes we've had sore skin too,
You can use savlon for any soreness
Iv also used aloe Vera gel from Holland and barrat and the f10 cream from SCARLETTS
Iv also used f10 diluted spray which did work for when I went to bed
Peaxh does live out as you know
But she can't fly so her wandering off isn't a problem unless you count climbing the stairs to come find me :rofl:

We movin house soon and I'm sure this could set her off again but there's not much I can do :(
She will also maybe have to go in the same room as the other birds as livin in the hallway just don't seem right :(
Hugs to you Hun I know how it feels X x
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Angel Feathers

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Re: Separation Anxiety?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2015, 05:27:39 PM »

Thanks Mand, I'll look out for the f10 cream.  Do you say anything to Peach when you see her do it, Ive tried and tried to ignore it but he's doing it all the time so its really hard to ignore.  :cry2:
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Mandi

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Re: Separation Anxiety?
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2015, 06:10:17 PM »

Iv tried everything
Putting her back on her tree
Ignoring her etc but nothing worked so now I tell her off
She knows exactly what she is doin x
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greenfield10@karoo

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Re: Separation Anxiety?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2015, 08:49:04 PM »

 Mandie you have my deepest sympathy with this one  I wish I had the answers for you.
As you know like Mandi with Peach, weve been to hell and back with Tim .
Even though shes now got Fester and they bonded ( we were lucky, many aren't) she still plucks .Shes never been able to fly properly for years but Fester as eased the plucking problem a lot .Coz she always has her eye on him .
We also seem to have also done a bit better this year since I retired as im now not up as early to disturb em in the living room. Having said that shes now getting a bit scruffy on the chest ,but we put that down to the time of year / hormones. Weve often  had eggs around Boxing Day. We still spray ours fairly heavy every day & once a week with water& Aloe from Holland &  Barrett.
Re this avian vet search in the West Country. Matter of interest Mandie who looks after the birds at the World Parrot Trust in Cornwall.Its got to be someone with good avian vet knowledge
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Angel Feathers

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Re: Separation Anxiety?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2015, 10:40:33 AM »

I'm pretty sure that there is some problem as the headshaking can be quite aggressive at times.  I have been telling him off and feel bad for doing it.  He just won't leave me alone and she he can't see me he plucks.  Im trying to give him time away from me with the door shut but still talking to him but that's not working yet.

That's my new vet, they do paradise park etc.  Not an avian but has "an interest" in parrots.  I'm just hoping that we can actually see him when we go back
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greenfield10@karoo

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Re: Separation Anxiety?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2015, 05:04:10 PM »

 Just as a matter of interest Mandie ,is he regurgitating to you?
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FeatherMonkey

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Re: Separation Anxiety?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2015, 01:15:30 AM »

Do feel for you Mandie...

This might give some insight really think just some training with someone else would assist. Won't be as needy.

Here's an article about "how parrots learn behaviour".
http://www.behaviorworks.org/htm/articles_behavior_change.html (can't link)think it's all related. By learning what the reinforcer is you'll be able to modify it.

I've just had one, Willow chews the bottom of the sofa. Teaching everyone to ignore him is the hard part. Sometimes just a glance is enough of a reinforcer. The above article talks about something similar in step up.

Tackling similar it was moving past the behaviour I didn't won't which was the hardest. Like yourself reinforced it by rewarding. It changed when I rewarded the behaviour I wanted.

Though you say separation, think you might of missed something. You implied it was lessening and now it's flared up. Xmas decs maybe, something moved, change outside a window... Just a thought.

If it's separation anxiety...

Then aim to be content when no one there.

Baby steps teach to be content on his own. You have an easy reward, your appearance and attention is enough. If you have to start with just 30 secs so be it. Plenty of attention praise, for playing, eating, calling you back etc.. Use a consistent audible reward primer.

We focus and reward the behaviour we don't want a lot more, then forget to reward the behaviour we want because they're just behaving.
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Re: Separation Anxiety?
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2015, 12:43:13 PM »

He's been regurgitating for me for about a year now, as soon as he starts with the head movement he gets ignored put back on his perch.  He turned 2 last week so I know he's "at that stage"

As always FM thank you I shall have a read of that when I have more time later.
Nothing has changed, Im very careful about introducing new things, we "meet" evertything new together so he can see its nothing to be scared off. On the whole he's a very confident bird.  I've felt that the head twitch followed by the pluck might be something medical rather than mental, but coupled with that, this anxiety with me away from him had got worse. 

Now, having said all that, we have had a brilliant day today.  I have started to put the tidymix that I put in his cage at night, on his playstand so he has spent so much of the morning tucking and sorting through that, every now and again as he's eating he will stick flick the head and yank a feather, but it has really helped I think.  He still wont forage or play with his toys but Im hoping that maybe the antibiotics have kicked in and he's perhaps feeling better. 

Also Ive been putting him in the bathroom when its steamed up, he does like the sound of his own voice in a bathroom LOL - but not being misted is not stressing him out so much.
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FeatherMonkey

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Re: Separation Anxiety?
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2015, 03:33:45 PM »

The biggest problem is they will take any kind of reinforcement. Why I've managed to get to just working with the behaviour I want.

There's another good article same page called "empowering parrots". Goes step by step and highlights just how small a step you may need to take. They will only learn at there pace you can only shape what they give you.

Can't say I'm too surprised about the mister I found it a really really big factor for Willow. I've got to the point where I feel it must be like someone walking up and chucking a bucket over us. All fine when it's summer and we're having a giggle but just out of the blue!

Slightly alluding to the head shaking from my brief look it could be ear or nose infection. But it is seen in Greys and classed as normal. Yet you seem to imply the frequency is up always a concern. Also seen them react to some noises this way. Now Hickory I could get doing this for as long as possible. She's so ticklish around her eyes just breathing on her and she will flick, God help her getting a little fluffy there. The other thing is it could be an extension of the plucking you almost seem to describe a similar motion when plucking. Think generally the flicking of the head is to stop feather movement tickling and to realign neck and ear feathers just an IMO.

Just remember you even said it we're having a good day use it at any opportunity. So he's eating on his perch nicely reward him pick him up and give him a few moments shoulder surfing. Another thing I still have it from Willows days but millet seems to keep my 2 tied up for a little while. He got a bit at night time as this was a problem area for him. Handy thing was I could verbally reward him as I heard millet hitting paper.

Actual bonding not sure if trying to tackle it on your own. You'll either be spurning or rewarding. I get my brother to collect him when he's getting jiggy I don't reward verbally or physically then. He also played and trick trained with him a lot more.

I'll have to think more if you can't get someone to replace your attention. I've got where he's just as happy on my brother only last night he had the pair of them. Whilst joking if they don't love me don't love them, it makes me happy he's just as happy over there.
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Re: Separation Anxiety?
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2015, 12:17:02 PM »

Thanks FM. 
The head shaking is very frequent, like something is annoying him, he normally isn't much of a head shaker, and the pattern.. shake, scratch pluck was what was telling me it seemed more medical.

I love the shoulder surfing idea, I have been returning him to his perch as soon as he gets on me, to try and break our bond a little, that coupled with the food is really making a difference I feel.  He seems a little more independent.  Still shake, scratch and pluck but not as much.  He loves his millet, I cut mine into 2" pieces and he gets one of those when I have to leave him completely alone.
As far as others goes, there is only my partner who likes Ozzy but doesn't want to have his ears chewed off, which seems to be his past time at the moment.  He is scared of his hands but will happily take a treat from his lips - he will do tricks for his but wont get on him (only to nip an ear or 2 then gets straight off), If I go anywhere near him with Ozzy on me, he growls.. Ive tried putting Ozzy in the same room as him and leaving them alone, but apparently he just plucks  :crazy:

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FeatherMonkey

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Re: Separation Anxiety?
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2015, 04:27:47 PM »

Ideally need to tackle the hand problem. From my experience it could be a multitude of factors. Most common one I encounter is trepidation they don't distinguish between fear of being bitten or predator threat fear is fear. Can be a multitude of other things too, seen rings, watches, tattoo's, bracelets, fast hands etc.. any of these things I've seen become possible threats. Just go slowly maybe let him give the millet, he'll learn(it's only by trying it will change though). Growling is normally real fear go away or I'm fighting. Interesting Willow is my growler. Whilst I could call him confident he actually is less so than his sister who is supposedly skittish (well the sentinel). Watching them outside I'm not so sure it's confidence but front, with flock reassurance any way IMO. Just found it interesting 2 growlers plucked, seen an article about temperament dictating possible plucking. Can't remember whether it was birds that externalised or internalised stress though or where the article is.

Also found sometimes the open hand works better than fingertips.

Finally try to move past the plucking I'm a great believer by eating ourselves up we're giving of anxiety that they pick up on. I've seen this with so many random strangers, neither will get on anyone that is anxious, got trepidation, fearful etc..

Just remember your not stopping the behaviour you're modifying it. You're training the behaviour you want to replace it with, you're replacing/lessening/stopping the triggers. Move past blaming yourself and accept it and work on it.
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Re: Separation Anxiety?
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2015, 12:22:05 PM »

Thanks FM a comforting post for me to read, as you can tell I do beat myself up about it. We had a terribl day on Wednesday, we had to go out for the morning, I stupidly thought if I packed his cage full of things to do, he would entertain himself in the conservatory, surrounded by things to look at and the radio on, (he hates being in his cage unless its bed time) When we returned (after 4 hours) his back had been plucked bare which has defiantely supported the separation anxiety theory for me.  Very upsetting as Im sure you know.  Now, Im trying to work a little on him not seeing me all the time, so Ive wheeled his playstand out of sight of me, but as always, Im constantly talking to him. 
As far as my other halfs' hands go, major result last night, he let him stroke his head! He has always taken grapes of him, or sunflower seeds but anything else is a no no.  We'll always work on that as Ozzy has no choice to but accept us both, there's no avoiding him in our small home.
xx
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Re: Separation Anxiety?
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2015, 01:08:47 AM »

If I'm honest I actually find this subject quite hard. I do remember the feelings of guilt. Moving past is certainly one step IMO.

So with quite a unique relationship with my 2. Who have always been emmersed in change and heavily socialised. It's just part of me finds having watched and got used to a pair of parrots in a beer garden. Then also keeping an eye out, second guessing what might be their next threat. A little like my way contrasts quite differently with the more traditional way of bird keeping.

I do remember not so much resignation but acceptance of they are who they are.  Certainly believed it helped me move on. I realised it was about telling 'him' what behaviour was good not, what 'I' wanted to stop.

I make and have made many mistakes and suspect we will do in the future. I'm a great believer you do what's best for you and the bird that's all that counts. They are all different you work with what they give you. We all reach the same goal just differently, a happy healthy bird feathered/featherless, it makes no difference how.
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