Nanday Conure Forum

Message #2231. This is a followup to #2229.

Date:Monday October 25, 2004 9:03:26 pm MDT
Subject:Re: Rescued Nanday Conure
Message:Good for you, Snatcher1! I am a big believer is rescue and adoption of older animals that need homes. This doesn't mean the task ahead of you is going to be an easy one (or a quiet one <LOL!>).

In time your bird's hatred of women may subside - and I say "may". What tends to happen in these situations is the woman of the home will not handle this bird because of the way the bird reacts to her, and therefore will not develop any positive type of relationship with the bird. This reinforces the bird's initial behavior of not liking women in the first place. It is not fun being bitten by a parrot and Nandays can bite very hard. If you know the bird is going to bite, the woman should not give the bird that opportunity. What she can do is practise step-up exercises with a stick and she can spend time sitting by the bird and talking to the bird. She does't have to handle the bird directly. Forming a relationship will take time and if the bird has an aversion to women, she shouldn't push the bird into accepting her prematurely. If the bird has an especially favorite treat, let only the woman provide it to the bird. Let the bird take it from her hand (when she is feeling brave <grin> and when the bird's body language indicates that it is safe for her to do so). Birds usually have a certain body language which indicates that a bite will be forthcoming. I say usually because I have known African greys who act all sweet to get you to approach and as soon as a finger gets within biting distance, the bird strikes. Birds that are overly stimulated or excited may bite - flashing eyes, fanned tail feathers, all feathers on the head and neck are standing out while the bird's beak is slightly open, the bird takes a more horizontal posture with the beak open as opposed to perching upright with a closed beak. Sometimes a bird wants to guard a favorite toy (whether you are after that toy or not) or guard a food or water cup. Some birds are overly protective of their cages if they spend all their time in the cage. Some species (such as Quakers) are more protective of cages and food cups than others. Anyhow, never laugh when the bird attacks or bites your significant other. That also reinforces the negative behavior, especially if their favorite human is the one who appears to find the situation amusing.

Give the bird a few days to get used to his new cage and new surrounding. He needs to learn the routine in your home (make sure he gets 10-12 hours of sleep). He also wants to form a bond with you, but forming a relationship and trust will take time, especially considering your bird's unfortunate past circumstances. Take your time with the bird. He is going to spend the next few days observing you and your body language and your moods (as well as your wife's and anyone else in the home). Soon he will learn to read your moods like an expert.

If the bird has never flown, you may want to give the bird a chance to learn to fly some. I do suggest you keep the bird's flight feathers trimmed though, especially if he is aggressive towards your human mate. That can be a very dangerous situation indeed - a flighted aggressive bird. Anyhow, keeping the flight feathers trimmed will help "trim his mood" and encourage him to be more cooperative and much more capable of being handled sucessfully.

A bird that holds his footsie to his head (although I can't recall seeing my cockatiels or my barraband do this, I do see my conures and my pionus parrots doing this) is telling you that he is so pitiful that he has to pet himself. This is a very sweet loving way of letting you know that he is a baby that needs some loving. I like to scritch my birds all around the head when they do that little thing with their foot. My Nanday doesn't like me to scritch his chin and he doesn't like me going too far down his back as he grabs my finger in a gentle yet firm way that definitely lets me know that he doesn't want me doing that. <smile> So you will just have to find out where your bird likes his scritching done.

Just take things slowly with this bird. He needs to learn that he can trust you. Spend time talking to him and watching him. Hold a toy for him and see if he likes to chew on it. My guy loves to play with straws, especially the bendy kind, he rubs his tongue and beak all over the bendy part. If you get a straw at a restaurant with the paper still on it, leave the paper on it so your bird can "unwrap" the toy. Maybe you could hold onto the straw end and play with him with it as he chews on it. Hold a baby carrot and see if you can coax him into tasting it. Maybe hold a cooked whole wheat spaghetti noodle for your bird to nibble on. Just spend time with your bird. Open his cage (if his flight feathers are trimmed, and if not, you may want to have someone show you how to trim his flight feathers properly and as stress-free as possible) and let him come out to you. Sit by his cage and read him bird behavior articles (buy a book on parrot behavior or an issue of Bird Talk magazine), show him the pictures. Treat him like a little feathered person who doesn't quite speak your language. Smile at him and talk in a sweet tone. He will definitely get the message. <smile>

Keep your training sessions short (under 15 minutes) and work with the bird (to get him to step up onto your finger or onto a perch) when you are calm and relaxed and your home is quiet and not full of distractions. Evenings are good times for this as the bird is usually calm and relaxed by then too.

**EDIT - Sorry, I just read Linda's reply regarding mites and I think she is on the wrong track here with regards to putting their footsie up on their head. Let me show you a couple of my conures being sweet together with their footsies on their heads. They keep their footsie in this position and rub it around their head. It is so cute. Take a peek -

I hope some of this helps.

Snatcher1 wrote:
> Hello, everyone
> I have just rescued a Nanday Conure that was abused by someone other
> then the last owner. But I have a feeling it was also abused by them
> too. The problem I am having is the conure likes me, but it hasn't
> got up on my hand since I placed him in a new cage. The conure
> squawks really loud, and acts like its attacking its toys and cage.
> The last owner told me he never flew. Also he always puts its foot up
> to his head and holds it there? Is this something this breed does? It
> also attacks women. I am guessing that whoever abused him was a
> woman. The last owners Husband smacked the cage when the bird
> squawked. But the conure liked him too. How can I get the bird to
> overcome its fear of women and me?

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