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I’ve been target training Willie I don’t train him every day. I use a chopstick as the target but I lost his usual one and decided to get another one when I went to a Chinese buffet on Christmas Day. The new one is much longer but I didn’t think it mattered. I began to target train him last night with the new chopstick. As I slowly showed it to him it scared him! He jumped straight up in the air and came back down on his cage but he became catatonic! For around ten minutes his body was thin and his eyes were closed for a long while. At first he struggled to keep them open then they stayed shut! I could see that his eyes underneath his lids were bolging! All this was happening while I was crying and calling his name with no response! It just seemed like he totally shut down! I managed to pick him up and place him on my shoulder as I sat in my chair and still no reaction and I kept crying and speaking softly to him. After about five more minutes he started coming out of it and back to his old self again. He is now the same perky little guy with no problems what so ever! I was afraid the bout he had would happen again during the night but he was perfectly fine! So, does anyone know what happened to him??
 

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I can't say exactly what happened to Willie but I have dealt with many instances of my birds getting spooked by something and then "shutting down" for several minutes afterwards. I've never encountered them closing their eyes while scared - that seems unusual. It's possible that in addition to being scared he either hit his head on something when he flew up or maybe got shaken up by the impact when landing.

I've found that these scenarios are influenced by the level of tameness and how exposed they are to the object or situation. Also, I think that diet plays a huge role. The better the diet, the more our birds will be able to cope with these situations and the more quickly they'll recover. I've had my birds on Harrison's and I think it helps with their being resilient but it's not perfect - I wish there was a perfect pellet out there. One thing to note is that Harrison's recently recommended supplementing with a source of omega-3 fatty acids because the pellets don't provide it. I've begun giving them a supplement that has omega-3 and I'm finding that all my birds are calmer and "getting over" their little anxiety triggers faster than in the past. I think the message that fats are bad for birds has been drilled into us because of cheap seed mixes, however I think they do need a little bit of healthy fats daily to help boost their brain function. Just some thoughts on the matter if that helps!
 

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I am by no means an expert. But it sounded like he may have gotten so scared, he "fainted". My first thought is maybe minor heart attack, but I have no idea and I don't want to say something that may scare you and may be untrue. The important thing is he came back from it. I would definitely take him to a well established Avian Vet as soon as you can and tell them the story. I just lost my little parrotlet a month ago due to a sudden and unexpected drop in temperature. It really doesn't take much to harm these little guys. I am trying with one more parrotlet to help ease the pain, and if something happens to this one I am only going to get bigger birds like a conure..but I digress. I don't know if I would trust the crappy wooden chopsticks from a chinese place, they seem to splinter easy and always have wooden particles falling off them that could maybe get into Willie's crop. Just order some basic reusable ones off amazon. Show it to him little at a time, and maybe put it on top of his cage, or somewhere where he can see it and become used to its presence. Then you should be good. I believe in "exposure therapy" strongly with these birds. They are really more "Flight" than "Fight", even if they put up a big show with all their aggressive posturing.
 
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