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Thread: Rescue bird afraid of hands?

 
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    ProudPastry's Avatar


    Parrots

    2 Conures

    Question Rescue bird afraid of hands?

    Hello! I've been having a difficult time with my bird, Willow. He's a rescue conure and I've had him for about 2-3 years now. I also have another rescue conure named Pina who I've had for about 4 years.

    Here's a bit of background on Willow
    Both of my birds came from very bad situations, but I'm going to mainly focus on Willow for this post. Willow was found in a box on the doorstep of someones house and was brought to the rescue I adopted him from. He's a beautiful bird and does not bite. He's however, VERY scared of hands... He'll let me pet his beak, and he'll take treats from me, but the moment I try to pet him or get him to step up, he runs away. I also wonder if he was ever hit out of the air by his original owners, because every time I take the broom out to sweep the floor, he panics and screams. I don't know anything about his past or how old he is. He WILL sit on the back of my chair and play with my hair, and he seems okay with sitting on my shoulder, he also learned how to give kisses and make a kissy noise... He's okay with me being close to him, just not my hands.

    The problem:
    I've been very patient with him, trying really slowly with target training, which he seems good at... but trying to teach him to step up has been extremely difficult... It's been a couple years now and I feel like I've gotten no-where.
    I use a clicker and treats and have been trying to get him to step up onto my forearm instead of my hand because I know he doesn't like hands, and I'll make a little progress, but then he goes back to being afraid. It's like I'll take a step forward then a step back. I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever get him to step up... Should I just keep trying? Maybe use different treats every now and then? I'm at a loss.. If anyone has any help or advice, I'd love to hear it!
    Side note: My vet told me that when you teach a bird to step up, it's easier if you clip their wings and practice with them on a flat surface. Should I clip his wings and keep trying?

    Thank you so much for reading!

  2. The following user likes this post:

    Dragonlady2 (06-08-2018)

  3. #2
    Super Moderator
    Dragonlady2's Avatar


    Parrots

    Willy-Eclectus, Oliver-alexandrine,Mookie-Senegal,Bella- Australian King,Joey and Peewee- Barrabands, Peachiegirl-Peachfront conure,Pepper- crimson belly conure, Peanut-plum head, Babyblue-parrotlette, Harry and Louie-canaries.
    Hi and welcome to the forum! My birds freak out at the sight of anything new...especially the tape measure. Your conure may just need to see you using the broom regularly so it becomes desensitized to it.
    As for the stepping up on your hand....why is it so important to you that this happen? I only ask because I have a couple of birds that don't like my hands either, but they are so affectionate in other ways, like allowing me to touch their beaks, kiss their beaks, sitting on my shoulder etc. I am quite happy to have a relationship with them that they want.
    Clipping wings is a very controversial topic. This is just my opinion...clipping wings takes the freedom of the bird away, forcing them to be dependent on you. In the short term, it may work in training it to step up because it has no other option. Long term, I am not so sure that the relationship will be based on respect/trust. My non-steppers have the choice to be with me or not.
    It's a hard choice to make and I appreciate that you are taking the time to sort this out.
    Just to note, conures already have a reputation of being nippy, sometimes clipping makes them more nippy. It becomes their only defense because they can't fly away.
    Last edited by Dragonlady2; 06-08-2018 at 08:14 PM.

  4. The following 2 users like this post:

    Casper's 2nd best friend (06-09-2018), Lady (06-09-2018)

  5. #3
    Senior Member
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    Parrots

    Casper, a blue fronted Amazon. Loves banana. Hates plastic bags and red coats.
    I'm not a fan of wing clipping and the poor bird has been through a lot of tough times it seems. Can't you just adapt to what he wants rather than trying to make him do what you want?
    Will he step up onto a pencil or short perch rather than your hand?
    "A busy beak is a happy beak" - David Strom

  6. The following 2 users like this post:

    Dragonlady2 (06-08-2018), Lady (06-09-2018)

  7. #4
    Junior Member
    ProudPastry's Avatar


    Parrots

    2 Conures
    Thanks for the replies! I've never clipped his wings before because I just didn't want to put him through anymore trauma. I was always against the idea, was just something my vet suggested so I thought I would ask others what they thought.
    I hope I didn't come off as if I NEEDED this to happen. I would never make him do something he doesn't want to do! I suppose I guess it would just make me feel safer knowing that he would be comfortable coming to me just in case anything happened to him or he got loose *knock on wood*. I'm sort of an anxious person haha
    I guess I also got it in my head from other people that no matter what, you should be able to train them to step up. My vet kept telling me that "It'll happen", so I suppose maybe I felt like I was doing something wrong. I don't have any friends with birds, so I don't exactly have anyone I can talk to about these things... Hence me joining the forum. I wasn't sure if there were other people out there who also had birds that just didn't step up (although I know there must be lol). I'm perfectly happy with the relationship I have with my beautiful boy! I just thought I might have been doing something wrong, based on the information others gave me lol

  8. The following 3 users like this post:

    Casper's 2nd best friend (06-09-2018), Dragonlady2 (06-09-2018), Lady (06-09-2018)

  9. #5
    Super Moderator
    Dragonlady2's Avatar


    Parrots

    Willy-Eclectus, Oliver-alexandrine,Mookie-Senegal,Bella- Australian King,Joey and Peewee- Barrabands, Peachiegirl-Peachfront conure,Pepper- crimson belly conure, Peanut-plum head, Babyblue-parrotlette, Harry and Louie-canaries.
    I am a little anxious myself. I keep a towel handy and a net just in case.The birds have always seen them around so they are not stressed about it. My Sennie loves to be towelled and having his head scratched.

  10. The following user likes this post:

    Casper's 2nd best friend (06-09-2018)

  11. #6
    Senior Member
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    Casper, a blue fronted Amazon. Loves banana. Hates plastic bags and red coats.
    I'm glad we got that sorted
    I hope you stick around and join in with helping other people and showing your birds' antics, we would love to see some pictures.
    "A busy beak is a happy beak" - David Strom

  12. The following 2 users like this post:

    Dragonlady2 (06-09-2018), Lady (06-09-2018)

  13. #7
    Super Moderator
    Lady's Avatar


    Parrots

    Illiger Macaw (Primolius maracana)
    Hi There and Welcome from me and my non stepper!

    Great thread. Lady is my mini macaw and she refuses to step up unless she is on the floor. I believe she would step up onto my hubby if given the chance but he isn't interested. I have tried and tried with no luck so now I just hang out with her and give her all the room to come out onto her play top or on the seating area when she feels like it. She comes out and will hang out, let me pet her head and neck, play with toys and take a taste of everything I have on my plate. I wanted a her to step up so I could walk around with her into any room of the house but instead I end up moving her cage from time to time into other rooms. When she's really wanting to come into another room because she likes to be near me and will call out if she can't see me my hubby made a T perch she can get on.

    I think it is just their personal preference and maybe one day they will want to. As long as we can spend time playing and eating together I'm good till she changes if ever.

  14. The following 2 users like this post:

    Casper's 2nd best friend (06-10-2018), Dragonlady2 (06-10-2018)

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