Ask Lafeber

Question:

December 17, 2020

Sleep trouble


My green cheek conure and I moved to a new apartment this week and he is loving the new, much larger space. I am running into issues at bedtime. In our old place, he had a sleep cage in the bedroom, and I’d tuck him in around 8pm and then go back out to the living room before heading to bed myself.
We have the same sleep cage, but for some reason he hates the bedroom. I thought he was uneasy because the living room is far from the bedroom but I’ve tried staying with him in the bedroom and he does his locating call over and over even when I respond. The last few days I have been sleeping on the living room couch with his sleep cage on the coffee table and he is quiet. I tried to leave him in the living room once he was asleep and go off to my bedroom and he started doing his locating call again.
I don’t want to make this a habit as I would like to sleep in my bed, how can I help my bird adjust to the bedroom?


Answer:

Hi Leah,

He probably just needs more time to settle in, however, in the meantime he is training you. J While he is doing a contact call, it is best for you to ignore him. When you respond, he is getting the reaction he wants. It won’t take long for this to go from concerning to annoying. Instead of going to him or calling back when he does this, you need to ignore him until he stops. Then you can go to him and reward him with praise or a treat.

Now to try to figure out what about the bedroom is alarming him. Sit in the room where his cage is and look around. Is there a window he can see out of? Could there be light showing through or above the window treatments? Maybe headlights when a car passes or drives through the parking lot? Is there a bright LED on the smoke alarm or light switches? Any other light or maybe a mirror that is reflecting something? Can he hear something from another apartment? Or maybe people walking up and down stairs or using an elevator? Maybe other doors opening and closing in the complex? Do you cover his sleep cage? That would be my first suggestion. Another thought is maybe he would feel more secure just staying in his regular cage. You could try covering that when it’s his bedtime, and even though you may stay up longer, he will likely go to sleep if he’s covered and can’t see you.

I think for the most part he probably just needs time to adjust. He may be anxious that you will leave him and go back to your old place without him. It’s a lot to expect that he understands this is a new place and both of you are there to stay for now. I’m still more concerned that he will become a nuisance caller and cause problems for you since it is an apartment and you have neighbors. And no matter how much you love a bird, when one starts to loudly call, all the time, it can be hard to deal with. It’s best to address that right now, and no matter how much you want to, do not give him any kind of reaction when he calls out. Just let him work through it, and make a big deal about it when he is quiet, even for a minute or two. He will soon figure out that he gets more by being quiet than by calling loudly.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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