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Old 01-31-2013, 12:39 AM
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Sweet72947 Sweet72947 is offline
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Default Bird people, help!

So one of the two owners of the veterinary practice I work for owns a cockatoo named Nikki. Typically Nikki comes to work with his owner in the morning and leaves by the time I come to work in the afternoon. But randomly his owner will decide to leave him with us in the kennel for days. Nikki stays in an old cage that is probably about four feet tall, from the legs to the top. It is big enough for him to climb around in, there are perches and toys, and his food and water are accessed through panels on the side. The door stays padlocked because he can open it (parrots are crafty).

Obviously being left in a cage for days on end with the only attention being when we pet him (through the bars) for a minute or two throughout the day is NOT enough for a parrot, especially not a cockatoo, and Nikki has taken to SCREAMING for attention most of the day. So far the only solution we have come up with is to cover his cage with a blanket all day, just so we can have some peace (it doesn't always work either). It really is maddening to listen to AWW! AWW! AWW! AWW! constantly. My hearing is taking a beating, and I feel that bird is going to drive me to a padded room. Is there anything I can do to make him less likely to scream? I am at my wits' end. Sometimes I feel like I want to cry. Nikki really is a cute bird when he's not screaming. It just sucks so much that both Nikki and the kennel staff have to suffer like this. Barking dogs don't bother me in the least. It's just, THAT BIRD.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:25 AM
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Sadly this is what happens with parrots if they aren't given enough attention. They're like toddlers. I'd bring it to the attention of the owner... If he doesn't have time for the bird, he shouldn't have it.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:53 AM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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1. Why the heck does she bring the bird to work every day? Isn't that alone stressful to the bird?

2. Sounds like she's trying to take a break from the bird when she leaves it behind...pawn it off on other people. We've had employees try to do this with dogs and cats from time to time at my clinic. It's rude and selfish and annoying and I HATE when people do it.

3. It's a shame this is one of the owners, because I doubt there's anyone to tell her not to leave the bird behind :/
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:51 AM
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Give it diffrent toys, and treats. Rotate it out. Talk to ya boss and let him know there is a problem and could you help fix it. Poor things just bored. Maybe a tv by it , or radio.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:57 PM
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Thanks for the input. What kind of toys are good for cockatoos? He already has some rope and wood toys, and there is a bell on the side of his cage and he seems to enjoy when I ring it. We can't really take him out, he's the owner's bird and the owner might get really mad at us if his bird got hurt. Plus I have a mild ornithophobia, I'm ok with Nikki in his cage or when his owner is holding him, but the few times he's gotten out I've run and hid. Birds scare me.

We have a radio in the kennel we listen to at times, but we really haven't been listening to it as much lately. Maybe it would help if we left it on more. I know that Nikki is just bored and miserable (he plucks himself too and has a big crater on his chest where he picks at himself all the time) but having the crud beaten out of my ears every day has a way of wearing on a person. It makes me want to do violent, unkind things.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:33 PM
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How heart breaking. The only thing that will really have any effect on this behavior is keeping the bird busy and mentally stimulated. Like, Barbara said, they have the mental capacity of toddlers so being left in a cage for days on end is very traumatic to them. The plucking and self mutilation are two very unfortunate consequences of that.

Rotating of toys, foraging opportunities, music, television, interaction with people are all examples of things that can help relieve the tedium. But you also have to keep in mind that he is a Cockatoo. Cockatoos scream just for the sake of being alive lol. This is a behavior he has become used to and it can be very hard to get them to stop.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:51 PM
JessLough JessLough is offline
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As much as I hate to say it, it's possible the bird is the same way at home, so the boss leaves him there to get a break from the screaming himself.

I'd rotate foraging toys from the cage, so he doesn't get as bored.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:21 AM
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Nikki went home today! No screaming, no squawking, just peace. It was beautiful. Thanks for the advice, I will do further research for the next time he's left with us. I hope it won't be soon!

I will never. EVER. own a parrot.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:35 PM
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Well, it's not always stressful for a bird to go different places. One of the vets at the clinic we take our birds to has a cockatoo that she brings to the office and it seems to do fine. I lurk in a Quaker board and a number of people there take their birds on outings. The plucking could also be a sexual thing. Cockatoos are very cuddly birds but too much touching from their owners can bring on inappropriate (sexual) bonding, and when the human doesn't behave like a bird mate would, the bird sometimes plucks itself out of frustration.

Of course the bird could also be under stimulated and bored, I'm just saying just be careful with assumptions.

Other than that, I would ask that the bird had a LOT of different toys. Puzzle toys, shreading toys, chewing toys, etc. You could even hang an unwanted yellow pages or paperback book in there, kabobs with fruits and veggies hanging on it, etc. I would also see if he could come out, even to just sit on top his cage for a while.

Honestly, he could just he screaming for his owner. Solo will sometimes scream when he is out of his cage because he wants me to constantly hold him when he is out. He is slowly learning that he can in fact do things and entertain himself while on his stand.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:12 PM
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Also, he could be yelling because the dogs are making noise. I just let the dogs out and Solo is in the living room on his stand and in response to the dog stampede he starting yelling "WEEEEEEEEEEE!!! WEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! WEEEEEEEEEEE!!! WEEEEEEEEEEE!!!"
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Sally--8 yr old pit bull mix
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Sadie & Runt--12 yr old calico DSHs
Pickles & Kiwi--3 yr old white winged parakeets
Yoda--1 yr old Quaker parrot
Solo--12 yr old Senegal parrot
Sheena--Quarter Horse--3/24/86-6/23/11--Rest Easy Sweet Girl~




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