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Question:

July 29, 2020

SCREAMING


Clyde is our precious boy, Moluccan. We’ve had him 6 years. His first owner seriously neglected him, and his defense was to scream. I don’t blame him. He has breakfast with us, behaves pretty well for about 10 Minutes at the most, then starts posturing, and then starts Screaming.
There is nothing in my arsenal to stop him. I try to distract him, I take him for a walk outside, put him on my arm, entertain him. The is behavioral habit, how do I stop him, redirect his screaming


Answer:

Hi Robynne,

Screaming is definitely a hard behavior to change and it can take a very long time. Some birds just will not change, but most of the time, the owner is not consistent with training or sends the wrong signals. It does sound like you are trying the right things, but you are also rewarding him if you give him any attention while he is still screaming. Ignoring the screams is the first step. Anything else you do will encourage the screaming, especially yelling back at him. If you pick him up when he is screaming, you have reinforced the behavior by giving him attention. Any attention is a reward, whether positive or negative. Completely ignore him until he is quiet. At first this might just be a few seconds. But as soon as there is a definite break in the screaming, reward him for being quiet. If he screams while you are holding him or rewarding him for being quiet, set him down and walk away without saying anything. Don’t make eye contact or talk to him again until he is silent. Each time, try to wait a little longer. If you are going to him to reward him for being quiet, and he screams first, turn around and walk away. The best reward to start with is praising him and giving him attention from where you are without taking the time to approach him. As he is quiet for longer times, add treats or a pet on the head as a reward. You can’t stop him from screaming entirely as it is their nature, but you can try to reduce the nuisance screaming by ignoring the noise and rewarding the silence. I’ll give you the link to our bird care page with articles on behavior and training that should help you better understand what might trigger his screaming. You might also browse through our Avian Experts section for more tips.

Caring For Your Bird

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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