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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-04-2009, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Bird Behavior Modification Help!!!

Hi, my husband and I recently acquired a green cheek conure, a newly weaned hand-fed baby in fact. In general we're doing pretty well with training. He hated and fought his flight suit at first, but is doing better about it everyday (still doesn't love it). He was quite nippy at first, but we have consistently responded by grasping him behind his cheaks gently but firmly, rubbing his beak, and saying no biting! This has really worked! He hardly ever nips anymore after just a very short time. The only thing we're making no progress on is clothes eating! Anytime he's on us he picks holes in our clothes, and he can be quite destructive. We've tried the firm head grasp, rub beak, say no approach like we do for biting, but it has no effect. He will just keep going back to eating your shirt no matter how many times you say no. We've tried distracting him with food or toys too and it just doesn't work. When he decides he's in the mood to eat a shirt, he eats a shirt! Can anyone suggest anything?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-04-2009, 01:57 PM
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Have you tried a squirt bottle? The only other thing I can think of is every time you have him out, until he learns its bad, spray something sour on your shirt, I dont know how safe that is for birds though
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-04-2009, 06:03 PM
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Good choice on a pet bird, Green Cheeks are great. However, I strongly disagree with trying to use negative reinforcement. It's inappropriate for birds.

Your problem is the the flight suit. If you want a flighted bird, train it to fly and come back. If you aren't that good a trainer (and few people are), or if you want a bird that's safe from the hazards of flight, clip it's wings. It's safe and humane. Flight suits are silly attempts to have it both ways. You're risking health with that kind of human-centered compromise.

As far as the chewing, ..it's like the pooping. It's a bird, it's what some birds do. If you want to be a bird owner, this is one of those things you get to brag about. Deal.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 11:45 PM
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wear old clothes and stuff, i guess you stop dogs and rats from chewing by spraying bitter apple stuff on the things they chew. i dont know if that is safe for birds, maybe you should ask a vet about that. i have never had a bird that was a huge problem with biting holes in clothes. another suggestion is to use an old towel and drape it over your sholders then fassen it in the front some way. a button or something, i use a large safety pin when i do this while holding my rats they have sharp toesie nails. but i wouldnt recommend it for birds. there beaks may be strong enough to open it which means a jab for you or the bird. a baggy old sweat shirt would work to.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 09:09 PM
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Once you get past the basics, you might want to start trying to teach some bird tricks. Conures are smart critters and the need some challenge. It can be very entertaining to you as well as the bird.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2011, 03:36 PM
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Having shared my home with many birds, including many conures, I can say that we always kept some older towels on our shoulders and a box of tissues on the table for "accident poo" clean ups. No big deal, and the cost is next to nothing.
Giving teenage birds lots of acceptable chewing items is a big help, like carrot sticks, a leaf of Romaine lettuce, apple wedges, etc.
Some birds love to shred paper towels, or toilet paper rolls that have been cut open to that they don't become a trap for a bird's head.

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