1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Have Conure, Need help

Discussion in 'Caged Birds - Finches, Canaries, Cockatiels, Parro' started by Frosty, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,921
    24
    213
    Mar 30, 2008
    ND
    Hi folks, hopefully there is a conure person who can offer some tips... Last summer we got a Sun Conure from Petco named Khaos and he is a real delight. Then early December while at Petco the assistant manager saw us and offered us another Conure for a reduced price. This one is a Jenday, every time they put him (or her) in a cage there it would get stressed and quit eating to the point of losing weight. Then the assistant mgr would take it home to put weight back on it, bring it back and it would quit eating again. In the back they had it in an 18' x 24" cage. We brought it home (named him Riot) and while I have a cage that size I put him in a cage that's about 20" x 32" hoping he wouldn't feel as trapped. Don't know if that was a good idea? The manager thinks he was too young when they got him and I don't know if he was hand raised or parent raised.

    Riot is eating fine, but I think he is scared of us. At first I put his treats in a dish for him, then started offering them in my hand. He would snatch the treat and back off to eat it. This went on for about a month. About 2 weeks ago I decided to push things a little so started holding my hand under his face while he ate. At first he would drop the treat and climb up the bars of the cage, then eventually give up trying to get away and slide down to eat the treat out of my hand while clinging to the side of the cage. Now I am breaking the treat into smaller pieces. He'll eat them out of my hand but goes out of his way to not step on my fingers. A few times he did move over so his foot was touching my hand but after a minute he would move away again. I talk quietly to both birds while I am there.

    Am I doing something wrong? Or will this just take more time? Or is Riot always going to want to avoid contact (which would mean he'll be stuck in his cage since I have cats and even Khaos has to stay in if the cats aren't locked up). I would also like to put him on a scale but don't want to scare him in the process. My small kitchen scale turns off after a few seconds, maybe I need one that stays on longer and put treats on it? Any suggestions are appreciated!
     
  2. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,399
    375
    226
    Apr 22, 2015
    Just a guess, but from your description of Riot I think he may be a hand fed bird. It sounds as though he was in too many fearful situations and is now scared of people. I have been raising conures for years. Below are pictures of my Kermit. His father is a Jenday and the mother is a sun conure. Kermit is also a hand fed bird; very shy and fearful of anything different.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    He hatched from a pair that I own. That is why I know his heritage. My wife and I hand fed him and his siblings.

    In the past I have tamed or retamed a number of conures; hand fed and normal raised. When I first got a new conure I handled them immediately while they were still afraid of their new surroundings. I clipped the wings, took them into a room that was new to them and was free of dangers, and released the conure from its cage onto the floor. Most of the time I had to remove the conure from the cage, usually by taking the cage top off from the bottom. Once the conure was free from the cage I would slowly corral the bird with my hands urging it to get on. No gloves were used. No grasping the bird around the wings and body. After a few tries the conure would climb on my hand/finger after which I would sit with the bird on the floor talking quietly. Once the conure realized it was not going to be hurt taming became faster. In time I sat and had coffee or beer and just let the bird sit on my hand-arm-lap. Often the bird ended up on my shoulder and fell asleep.Taming takes time. If I am right that Riot is hand fed taming will be quicker. It is important to remember not to grab the bird over the wings and body. That is very frightening to birds in general. If there is a situation where you have to grab, use gloves and a towel. By doing so the conure will fear the gloves rather than your hands.

    If you have more questions, ask and I will try to answer as quickly as I can.
     
  3. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,921
    24
    213
    Mar 30, 2008
    ND
    Thank you! I think when we transferred him to the bigger cage he was in his hut and we just moved the hut to the bigger cage. He doesn't strike me as aggressive, just scared. Unfortunately, now that he has room he doesn't hide in his hut any more. Should I use a towel and take him to a small room or continue to work with him in the cage? I saw one method on line where you use a stick and get the bird to climb up on it (without jabbing the stick at the bird) and gradually shorten the distance between your hand and the bird. Do you think this would work?
     
  4. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,399
    375
    226
    Apr 22, 2015
    There are different methods for taming birds. Pick one that you are comfortable with. Personally, I do not like using sticks or anything else other than my hands-gloves for emergencies or really wild birds. They can bite extremely hard. Has Riot tied to bite you? Can you work with him and not show fear of being bit or being hesitant? Riot will pick up on your emotions and act accordingly.
     
  5. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,921
    24
    213
    Mar 30, 2008
    ND
    First I want to say that Kermit is gorgeous! How old is he? When I wrote earlier I was on my 10 minute break from work and it was hard to see the screen on my phone with the sun shining in. Now I'm home and can see him!

    Second... happy tears! I came home and decided to put both hands in Riots cage. One facing sideways to be a perch, the other palm up with broken pieces of Nutriberry (he loves them). I break it up so he can't do a grab and dash. He was getting creative trying to get to the treat without stepping on my hand but I didn't let him get away with it. After mouthing my finger for a bit, he put one foot on my hand while stretching to get the treat. I moved the treat hand a little further away so he put the other foot on my finger! I moved the treat hand closer so he stepped over to that hand and was standing on my hand to eat!!! After a few minutes of that, Khaos flew out of the room (might have to clip his wings, just not sure that'a a good idea in a house with cats). I had to put Riot on his perch and go find Khaos. After putting Khaos back in his cage, I got a piece of dried banana (another favorite treat) and Riot was a bit quicker to get on my hand and he stayed to munch the banana then was picking up the pieces that dropped on my hand.

    So what is the next step? And do I just keep getting him on my hand for a while before we go to the next step? Thank you so much for the encouragement!
     
  6. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,399
    375
    226
    Apr 22, 2015
    Ask if you have more questions.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
  7. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,921
    24
    213
    Mar 30, 2008
    ND
    Does he bite? I'm going to say that I don't think so... He was 'mouthing' my finger, I could see his tongue going so I think he was tasting. A little pressure but it didn't hurt. Still not something that I encourage (Khaos has done that before too). I wait for them to let go, then move that hand away for a minute and redirect their attention.

    I know that barn cats will leave baby chicks alone after they meet an angry hens beak, I just worry that the cat may do a quick grab before I can stop them. I think the new kitten may have met Riots beak, she used to get on top of the cage and Riot would run along his perch under her while stretching up with his beak open. She hasn't been up there lately so he may have nipped her. How do you introduce the cat to the beak? Not that I would leave ANY bird alone with the cats but it would be nice to not have to worry as much.

    Next question... Do you pet your birds? Khaos gets nippy when we try to pet him though he does like to cuddle up to my son's beard and rub his head on it. Is there a way to get him used to being stroked?
     
  8. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,399
    375
    226
    Apr 22, 2015
    Only the most trusting conures like having their body/wings stroked as birds hate having their wings confined in any way. Possibly in time they will allow this. Almost all conures love having their heads scratched. Conures will preen their owners in return; which is what Khaos may be doing with your son's beard.

    Since your conures are not biting they may well be hand fed birds. Certainly handled at a young age.
     
  9. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,921
    24
    213
    Mar 30, 2008
    ND
    Next question... how do you know if abnormal droppings are from stress or a sign of illness? This morning when I went towards Riots cage, he let loose with a watery squirt. I put down clean paper to better monitor it and found that he did this every time I approached his cage today. He wasn't doing any droppings at all in between visits. I have been trying to give him space today to see if that helps but last night we put a Black Capped Conure in my sons room and I think Khaos and Riot hear it squeaking and are answering it so they are noisier than normal today. When I go in to quiet them down, Riot squirts. It's clear liquid with dark green threads of solid in it. No blood or anything. Looking at poop picture here on BYC (this link http://chat.allotment-garden.org/?topic=17568.0) it resembles the picture where they said the chicken was too hot and drinking lots of water or isn't eating enough. He's eating normal but is possibly drinking more than normal. No avian vets around though the former state vet set up a practice about an hour away and indicated that while he isn't an avian vet he is willing to research to find answers. So how do I know if this is an illness that should be looked at or stress induced where a trip to the vet would do more harm than good?

    On another note, how do you keep them from climbing up on your head? I got him eating on my hand on Thursday and gently removed my hands from the cage. He seemed a bit unsure about being out of the safety of his cage. I went in to the bathroom and sat down, he climbed up my arm and went behind my head. From there he decided to climb up, short of reaching back to grab him I couldn't figure out how to stop him.

    Had to chuckle a little at the thoughts of holding the cats near him to let them meet the beak... which will hurt worse, getting bit by a conure or the claws of the cat when it tries to escape? Maybe I should wear a parka and heavy gloves to do that...
     
  10. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,399
    375
    226
    Apr 22, 2015
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by