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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Hi Lisa! I've ordered the bath and it should arrive today. Will report back with results!

Thanks Jackie for the lovely response!

I've been intermittently doing the step up thing - but after reading your post have started doing it all the time. He pretty reliably steps up from his cage if I'm holding millet - much more difficult from his window perch. He did it once and I got so excited that I shouted 'good boy!' a little too loud and spooked him 😅. I wish I could say that's the first time that has happened....
I've been persevering though. He keeps 'trying' my finger with his beak. A little too thoroughly, to be honest. I now have 3 fresh puncture wounds where he has drawn blood. I hope he doesn't get a taste for it. Reading all the advice here, I was careful not to respond when it happens, just moved by hand back a little. I don't think he means me any harm - just a combination of him not knowing his own strength, his razor sharp beak and my delicate little fingers. Most of the time after trying the finger with his beak he would fly off, but come back a few seconds later. I'm interpreting that as him wanting to engage but not quite having the courage for it yet. Wishful thinking perhaps! 🙂.

I haven't put my hand in his cage for a while. I think trying to follow him around with it inside the cage was making him fearful of it. Now that he is better with it, I'll give it another go. To be honest though, the moment I open the door he is clambering to get out. He really is an outdoors guy.

I've tried mixing up his toys. This issue is that he always seems afraid of them. A few weeks ago I put two of those little balls with a bells inside them on his cage and he was not very impressed. Kept coming in to land and then aborting and flying off when he saw them. They're still there now and he definitely keeps his distance. We have a few budgie 'gyms' that birdie used to love. I put one on his cage today with similar results...

I think I'll start small - I've rolled up some kitchen tissue and put it in the bars like you suggested - lets see how that works. Birdie used to loooove foraging boxes. I remember once we got a new alarm system installed and the engineer left all the empty boxes in one big box. Best toy Birdie ever had. Lasted her months! Hopefully we can get Jeffry onto one soon.

Thanks again for all the advice!
 

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I laughed out loud when you said you yelled Good Boy a little too enthusiastically and he flew off! Brilliant!

I had almost forgotten the fear of the evil new things that have entered the inner sanctum of their kingdom - a classic! Kiwi was exactly the same - acting as if I had put a ticking time bomb in her cage when it was nothing more than a new toy or a skewer with veggies on it! Horrors!! But every now and then I could hit on the right thing. She instantly fell in love with a toy called a “shooting gallery” (Amazon) of all things and while she doesn’t play with it now, it is a beloved head scritcher when I am not available to do it.

The biting is for sure just him not realizing the power of his little beak. Shocking that such a small beak can do so much damage! Have you tried the gentle beak technique yet? In situations like the one you describe, you can always resort to the “earthquake” technique to redirect his attention a bit. I probably already told you about both but let me know if you have questions.
 
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Wonderful! He is eating on your hand! I love success stories! Jackie is right– be sure to give Jeffrey verbal commands like “step up” because you want him to learn the behavior and not to just follow a treat. At first, he is on your hand just because of the millet – give him a reason to want to be on you for other reasons, as well. He will eventually learn that being on you means wonderful things like cuddles and scritches and nice naps. Most of them love being pampered! Remember, this is a journey that you are on – not a race. You won’t get discouraged if you see things from Jeffrey’s viewpoint. As Jackie mentioned, they are prey animals – I don’t think we really understand the amount of courage it takes for these birds that have had little contact with humans, to reach out to us, when their natural instinct is to flee from anything that is bigger than they are. Jeffrey gaining the courage to be on your hand is fantastic. Let him saver his victory. Go slowly. Let him enjoy being on you. Surprise him with a sunflower seed or nut hidden in the millet. Make it enjoyable for him. Keep on giving him praises, whistle softly, talk softly, and sing to him while he is munching away. I mentioned before that trust needs to be earned with these guys and trust comes with work and time. One way to gain trust is to never force them to do anything they do not want to do/or are not ready for. Birds like choices and to be given options. Learn to read their body language. A frightened bird or a bird that wants you to back away, or leave them alone, will move away from you, while one that is feeling more comfortable, will move towards you. If a bird moves away, do not continue reaching out for them. So, when you are millet training and trying to get Jeffrey used to your hands being in this cage, always move slowly. As soon as he starts moving away, stop and back up to where he is no longer moving away and keep it there until he calms down. Then take your hand out and close the cage door. Try again later. It takes time to close the space that they feel comfortable with, especially when they are in a cage and may feel trapped. Find Jefferies comfort space and start with that. Over time, move closer and closer. This can take weeks to do. Rome was not built in a day! ;)

Besides learning your birds body language - learn their whistles too. Birds want to communicate with us. We make them learn our language. Why not take the time to learn theirs? I could ask Cleopatra a question like, “Do you want some porridge for breakfast?” (She learned what porridge was) and if I heard a quick excited double whistle, that was a big yes! Different whistles mean different things. Learn Jeffreys happy whistles so you can talk parrotletnease to him. When Jeffery is happily chattering away. Answer him by imitating him. Learn his happy and contented chirps and use them every time that he is on your hand eating millet. Or any time your are near him. I made happy whistles when I uncovered Cleopatra’s cage in the morning or whenever she would fly over to me. (double whistles) The more time you spend with these birds and learn their ways, the more you will get out of them.

It may take more time for him to step up without a treat. Or not. It is up to Jeffrey. Is he stepping onto a finger or just part of your hand? If just your hand, you can try getting him to step directly on your finger which may be a better way to have him step up at times. If Jeffrey is on a perch, or even from the top of his cage, try holding the end tip of the millet above the finger you are trying him to step on to. So, you are offering the millet with one hand and getting him to step onto your other. One thing that I have learned from being on this forum is that there is not just one way of doing things with these birds. You may have to change it some so that works for Jeffrey. And when he is completely comfortable doing that, the next step is to teach him to “step off” your finger. When he steps up, let him have some millet as a reward, then try putting him down onto a perch. To do this, try to place your hand close to the perch but have your hand slightly lower so he will be more inclined to step on to it. Be sure to say, “step off” and give him a reward when he does. You can even try to have him step off on to a table if he is okay with that. You can practice stepping up and stepping off a few times. Always letting him have a treat every time he steps up or down. Do not do it too much or else Jeffrey may not like it and fly off. Trying to get them to do anything too many times is unfair. Remember make it fun for him. Don’t forget the praises!

If he bites you, no more millet. Put him down and try again. You do not want him thinking that he is still going to be rewarded for biting! Be sure never to train after they have eaten. They won’t want to cooperate as much if they are not hungry. You are doing great and should be a inspiration for others that are going through this too. Keep us updated on how it is going! We love hearing about Jeffrey! You got a good bird there! :) I really enjoyed the last pics! Keep them coming!
 

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Ooh yes! Making sounds! Jeffrey will talk because he’s a boy (as I think I mentioned) but I imitate (sort of) Kiwi’s beak grinding sounds by making a “tut” or “tsk” sound in rapid succession. As soon as I start doing it, she starts beak grinding or making soft little “cheep” sounds. It’s so cute!

We also have “The Pretty Girl Song” that we sing together and she makes distinct sounds for certain words. Must be her American Idol (or I guess Canadian Idol for us) aspirations!I found my old post from 2015 with us singing so I copied the YouTube link it you would like a listen! You may have to cut and paste it in YouTube if it doesn’t work.

 

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Awwww! I love the video. Kiwi is the sweetest little thing! I love how she sings along with you! I would definitely give you guys a thumbs up or whatever they do on those shows! :)
 

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Awwww! I love the video. Kiwi is the sweetest little thing! I love how she sings along with you! I would definitely give you guys a thumbs up or whatever they do on those shows! :)
Thanks Anya! She really does sing that song with me - LOL! She was chirping when I played the video. It was her moment in the spotlight - I think she got 124 views and 3 likes! It’s almost like she vent viral - hahaha!!
 
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