Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman
Carol G relates
I acquired a red-pied Amazon as a rescue in July. I had a severe macaw previously who died from cancer at the age of 31.
I really didn’t want an Amazon but she/he has turned out to be a very sweet bird. We are still getting to know each other. I know nothing about her/his history but was told he/she was pretty old.
I was told it couldn’t fly or talk. It makes the sounds of a video game so he/she must have been around a gamer. I am waiting for her to surprise me by starting to talk. She seems to understand a lot and I think she is still figuring me and her new home out.
Apparently, she doesn’t like men. She attacked my husband on the first day. He still goes over and talks to her and she is acting much calmer around him. I told him to let her come to you.
She can also fly and does so when she wants to go back to her cage. She wants to go back to her cage to poop and will not do it anywhere else but on her cage.
She also has a strong odor. I also think they used some kind of air freshener around her. After 3 months her smell has gone down.
I was told when I got her that the person only fed her seeds and didn’t know what to do with the 3rd food cup.
She is now on a diet with half seeds and half Harrison pellets with 2 almonds to crack in the morning and a few small pieces of walnuts.
She is getting a good diet of veggies and some fruit. she seems to like cherries.
She also has a dish of 24 herb salad and alfalfa.
I have tried to give her a bath. she is petrified of water and even throwing a few droplets on her causes her to scream out in terror and fly away. I don’t want to force her by spraying her because it scares her so much.
When I am washing dishes I let her sit on my shoulder so she can see the running water and not be afraid. she turns her back on the whole thing.
She is much bigger than my severe macaw was and I bought her a deluxe King’s cage which I need to put together for her but my husband has been quite ill and it is really way too heavy for me to handle alone.
She seems happy in my severe’s cage but it is way too small.
I keep thinking “little steps” but want to know if I am doing things right.
I even tried putting a bird harness on her so I could take her outside and she fought me every step of the way.
Right now she is happiest chewing holes in my clothes when out in the evening. Unfortunately, she won’t chew holes in the crappy spandex clothes and only goes for the good 100 percent cotton. At least she isn’t ingesting any plastic from the spandex.
She has only bitten me lightly when I don’t run her back to her cage quick enough for her to poop. Have you ever heard of a parrot that will not poop unless it is sitting on its cage?
Should I just give her time to adjust?
I don’t know if I am doing the right thing or not. Any suggestions would be helpful.
Catherine Tobsing wrote:
Thank you for accepting a parrot out of your comfort zone. It isn’t an easy decision to make but it sounds like it is working out pretty well so far.
Like so many amazons, they often are resigned to living in a small cage and not given the best of diets or chances for flight or exercise.
However, Amazons are very resilient birds, naturally long-living and due to their short tails, being kept in a small cage doesn’t damage their feathers that much.
She most likely is used to a smaller cage and feels comfortable and safe in it. That she can get out and climb around, ride on you, and fly is wonderful.
You don’t mention how large it is, nor the size of the new unassembled cage. But a typical conure cage runs about 20”-22” wide so if it falls in that range it is fine for now.
When you assemble the larger cage, you may choose to continue using the small cage perhaps as a sleeping cage in a quiet room (great when you have a lot of company over, the repair man, etc, and need a safe place to put the bird)
The new larger cage, how big is it? A nice big cage is good, but one too big can make her feel exposed.
Especially some preening toys, fleece strips, fabric, and rope to also steer her to them and not your clothes. Make sure there are vision blocks so she has areas of privacy.
For example. A bird who is afraid or uncomfortable may face the wall or retreat to a corner of the cage, so if you have a nice big hanging toy or a chewable mat mounted inside the front of the cage the bird can sit behind or next to it and not feel so exposed.
Her smell. Some Amazon parrots have a strong musk gland and it is normal. Some Amazon lovers extoll the wonderful musky smell in the feathers.
Feathered factoid: Amazons don’t have a Uropygial gland so they can’t cover their feathers while preening with the oily goo the Uropygial gland excretes ergo the “musky” smell.
Bathing her. It is best if she does bathe at some point, somehow. You don’t know what her previous owners did to make her so fearful of it, but it doesn’t mean that over time she might not be open to bathing on her own.
You mentioned that you offer alfalfa for her to eat. One way to encourage fearful birds to bathe is by putting alfalfa or timothy hay into a shallow dish and almost covering it with water, it will float some.
Put it out for the bird and let nature take over as they pick at, poke at, walk on, and hopefully start lowering themselves a bit and splash some. Over time, you offer the dish with less grass.
Another option that sounds harsh, but the bird will get over it and no, not hate you forever. Is to find a smaller cage, a carrier perhaps. Put her in it and put her in the shower stall.
Talk to her sweetly all the time, it helps. A super fine mist spray shot upwards and allowed to fall down overhead is more accepted than a water spray that is aimed directly at the bird.
- If you have one of those pump-up spray bottles that you fill, pump up the pressure, then use a thin hose to spray silently, they are the best.
Otherwise, a handheld shower hose with a low-pressure spray, with warm water can be used to wet the bird.
The small cage will keep the bird in place and less likely to run around harming herself.
Keep the room warm until she is dried off, a towel will help. Talk to her the whole time, in soft and sweet tones.
Stop letting her chew your clothes. Cut up some now damaged ones and tie them up into her own toys. Keep them nearby and when you are holding her, make sure you have one of them to lay over your shoulder or lap or hold for her. Make special times together.
The harness. Not all birds like them. They work best started on baby birds. Older birds might severely balk at the handling required to put it on them. Going outside is great. But a small handled cockatiel cage with a big door reinforced with cable ties along any weak points (so it doesn’t fall apart if banged while outside) makes for a very nice simple carrier for a walk or a sit in the garden or on the porch.
That she is potty trained is both great for clean up but also requires that she has access to her cage all the time and she must stay flighted or be restricted to her cage.
You might want to look into this to better help you understand how to make it work best for you both.
Overall as you said, you need time to get to know each other. Don’t hold back though and wait, involve her as much as you can.
Set a schedule for everything. Breakfast, treat time, play time, outside time, dinner time, bedtime. She will start to look forward to these times and you.
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