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 Post subject: Anxiety in Cockatoo
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:46 pm 
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Baking In The Flavor
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I have a two-year-old umbrella cockatoo. She's an absolute love-bug, never bites or screams. We're trying to tone down on the cuddling, but she still gives kisses and loves to sing to herself, and is just a very happy bird.

The last few weeks, though, she is giving me a very hard time. She's not screaming, but she's much more talkative lately and at times it gets obnoxious. What really concerns me, though, is that she now cowers whenever I approach her and is sometimes downright aggressive.

She has PBFD, so she is also underweight and all new feathers are fragile and abnormal. I could understand if she were on the defense because of any pain she may be experiencing, but it's confusing. Although she's apparently terrified of me, she's still allowing my mother to handle her, and is affectionate with her.

This is especially hurtful not only because I'm the one who cares for her, and spoon feed her (now at arms length) when she isn't feeling well, but also because I'm moving out in a week. I am so afraid of losing my bond with my bird, as I cannot take her with me. I don't want to be hissed at like an intruder when I come home to see her.

The vet suggested Rescue Remedy, which I bought for her yesterday. I hope it'll help, but I'm still concerned as to how she's feeling and about our bond.


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 Post subject: Re: Anxiety in Cockatoo
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:40 pm 
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I feel for you. Parrots are just weird. It could be a sign of something, or it could be nothing. She might feel slighted by something you did (or didn't do), or it could be her way of acting out not feeling well.

Molly isn't having much of anything to do with me any longer. She is too busy mooning after my dad to give me any time. He doesn't like or trust her and doesn't pay her any attention, but she won't get the hint. If he comes in a room, she is all attention and flies away from me to chase him. He immediately puts her locked in the small cage. She just loves my dad. Until she has itchy feathers that need preened, then she needs me. I'm very sad about it. I feel like I've lost my only friend.

Rescue Remedy was a big help to our macaw when we first rescued him and he had horrible, horrible mood swings. I've heard great things about it for cockatoos.

Have you read the book My Parrot, My Friend? You might also look into clicker training.

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 Post subject: Re: Anxiety in Cockatoo
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:06 pm 
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Baking In The Flavor
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Wow, that's really depressing. I hope Molly comes around.

How often did you give your macaw Rescue Remedy? I've read the directions, four drops in her water dish, but am not sure whether to administer it daily, or when she starts acting up, or what.

Cecilia (my bird) has gone through moody periods for maybe a few days, but always comes back to me as sweet as ever. But this has been going on for weeks now, and she's never appeared to actually be afraid of me.


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 Post subject: Re: Anxiety in Cockatoo
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:07 pm 
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Baking In The Flavor
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TupeloHoney wrote:
I have a two-year-old umbrella cockatoo. She's an absolute love-bug, never bites or screams. We're trying to tone down on the cuddling, but she still gives kisses and loves to sing to herself, and is just a very happy bird.

The last few weeks, though, she is giving me a very hard time. She's not screaming, but she's much more talkative lately and at times it gets obnoxious. What really concerns me, though, is that she now cowers whenever I approach her and is sometimes downright aggressive.

She has PBFD, so she is also underweight and all new feathers are fragile and abnormal. I could understand if she were on the defense because of any pain she may be experiencing, but it's confusing. Although she's apparently terrified of me, she's still allowing my mother to handle her, and is affectionate with her.

This is especially hurtful not only because I'm the one who cares for her, and spoon feeds her (now at arms length) when she isn't feeling well, but also because I'm moving out in a week. I am so afraid of losing my bond with my bird, as I cannot take her with me. I don't want to be hissed at like an intruder when I come home to see her.

The vet suggested Rescue Remedy, which I bought for her yesterday. I hope it'll help, but I'm still concerned as to how she's feeling and about our bond.


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 Post subject: Re: Anxiety in Cockatoo
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:19 pm 
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It's been years, so I don't remember the dosages, but I'm pretty sure it was daily.

Can you think of anything that might have triggered the fear? He you changed your appearance at all? New shampoo, soap? Anything?

The macaw will do a lunging attack at me if I appear wearing glasses. He will then cower away from me. My mom wears glasses all the time a d my dad wears them sometimes, so he is hardly afraid of glasses. Yet, if I wear emm they are evil, scary things out to do him great harm.

He also had a total panic attack when we moved his cage a few feet. His little face turned red and he started hyperventilating.

Part of my issue with Molly is that she is still resentful that I am back at work after being off all summer. She has always loved my dad, but I think part of her total transfer of affection is to punish me. She still demands affection from me on her terms, like bedtime and morning snuggles. If I go to sleep early and don't say a proper goodnight to her, she is really mean to me the next morning, and usually bites me on the nose. Basically her attitude now is that if I'm not going to be home with her all day, I can go stuff myself when I'm home in the evenings and on weekends. In her mind, I've rejected/abandoned her.

Parrots are huge on "tit for tat" games. Parrots really are a pain in the butt.

(as I write this, Moll is snuggled on my neck under my chin. Dad went out shopping, so she is settling)

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 Post subject: Re: Anxiety in Cockatoo
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:07 pm 
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It doesn't matter whether or not my mother is around, and she will not step-up for me at all. And half the time when I try to pet her, she freaks. I can often (though not always) put my nose to her beak, but god forbid I try to touch her.

The only change that I can think of right now is that I've been trying a baking soda/vinegar shampooing alternative. But today and yesterday, I used conventional shampoo and she was AWFUL this morning.

I've been out of routine, prepping to move and looking for work, but she still comes out twice a day. Sometimes later, sometimes for a shorter period of time. But I've been spoon feeding her almost daily this last week because her appetite is iffy. So she's still getting attention from me, even when she's difficult.

I will continue to ponder any other changes that may be setting her off.

(And I'm glad your little companion is with you now.)


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 Post subject: Re: Anxiety in Cockatoo
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:18 pm 
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Also, I notice she still calls for me when I leave the room. Even when she doesn't want me to touch her, she still wants me there.


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 Post subject: Re: Anxiety in Cockatoo
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:47 pm 
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Could she know you are leaving and be upset about that?
My cats can always tell when we are moving before I pack a single box (they get super clingy), maybe my stress levels or something trigger them. I've never had a bird though, just cats and dogs so I'm not sure how similar they are.


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 Post subject: Re: Anxiety in Cockatoo
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:03 pm 
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Maybe. I'm not sure how I would determine this, though.

But on another note, this morning Cecilia wanted to step right up onto my hand when I unveiled her. Maybe it's the Rescue Remedy, or maybe not. But I was really happy to finally feel some love.

Let's hope she's still in a good mood tonight.


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 Post subject: Re: Anxiety in Cockatoo
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:50 pm 
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That's great.

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"This is the creepiest post ever if you don't know who Molly is." -Fee
"a vegan death match sounds like something where we all end up hugging." -LisaPunk


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 Post subject: Re: Anxiety in Cockatoo
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:31 pm 
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You'd be surprised how much animals react to changes that we would never think they'd notice. Stress from moving is a huge one. I used to regularly have dogs come to daycare and their patents would be telling me how so and so was doing this odd or something else weird and it was almost always stress from getting ready to move. I remember one in particular, the family wasn't even packing yet but just the tensions around them putting an offer on a house was enough to send the dog in a tizzy. I don't know much about birds but I'd bet that as long as she's been acting strangely with you, you've been worried about leaving

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