Ask Lafeber

Question:

April 1, 2019

Bonding with bird


I’ve had a 3 year old green cheek conure for 14 months. I got him from a parrot rescue place, he was there for over a year. He does not like to be touched, at all! I did train him to “step up”, but he only tolerates me, then makes his great escape when I take my hands off him. He’s a fussy eater. I give him a variety of healthy food, and the only Lafeber food he’ll eat is the tropical fruit nutriberries. I’m quite disappointed in our relationship, feel like he doesn’t like me. I spend a lot of time with him, give him lots of attention. It doesn’t seem to make any difference. Do you have any suggestions?


Answer:

Hi Nancy,

It is very possible that what you are experiencing is the reason why so many parrots end up in rescues. Out of a clutch of handfed chicks, each will have its own personality and maybe only one will be a truly affectionate pet. It is amazing how different each chick can turn out when raised by the same person and the same means. Of course since your bird did come from rescue, you may not know much about his background and his behavior could be based on poor treatment in his first home. But when you say he is 3 and was in rescue for over a year, you have to wonder why he ended up in rescue at barely a year old. So I would guess his personality is naturally standoffish. It’s possible he was given up for another reason but spent too long in a rescue and didn’t get the type of daily handling he needed. Some birds take a long time to trust that their new home will be permanent and they don’t bond right away. However, it does sound like you have given this little guy a lot of attention and love and if he were going to be a personable bird, I feel like he would have shown some signs of bonding by now.

I will provide a link to a couple of our pages that have great articles on behavior, working with your bird and understanding him. If nothing works, you can either accept him for who he is or try to rehome him. But if you do choose to rehome him, or return him to rescue, please include detailed notes about him so that he does not end up in another home with someone who is looking for a more affectionate pet. Some people have multiple birds and might be looking for another to add to their flock. He might do well in a house with other birds as companions since he doesn’t seem to be a people bird. It’s OK to make this choice if you feel it is in his best interest. But go ahead and read the information – maybe it will give you some new things to try or help you understand why he acts the way he does.

Caring For Your Bird

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Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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