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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Despite twice-daily trust violations due to medication for the next few weeks, we're going to give this a shot. Our initial taming and training space is a small WC in this house that's not too large, no windows. I've read the best way to gain trust is to just let the bird find its way. Therefore, I brought a small step stool to sit on and opened the cage door. The goal was for the bird to explore, have some fun, then go back when hungry on his own.

Chiribiri was out in less than a couple minutes, and flew straight up, bonked around the ceiling a bit, then landed on the cabinet. Following some beak grinding and pitter-pattering, he proceeded to relax and preen for about 45 minutes while I made some work calls and responded to emails.
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Then he began chirping and flying around. I took some millet out, showed him, and placed it at the cage door. He attempted to fly down, discovered a shelf, but bailed and flew back up.
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He was clearly hungry at this point, so I slowly introduced some millet to him, on the branch. Couple minutes later, he dared to eat! A few repeated, shared millet nibbles, and it was clear he was pretty hungry - so much so, that he was following the treat - please note, I did not torment him with this, I did let him take a nibble each time he reached the apex as a reward, however, it's hard to do that while recording!

It's been an hour now, and he wasn't figuring out how to fly down. I presented him with a dowel perch with the millet next to it. He hopped on without second thought, and I took him back in. Immediately jumped to the food dish, and.. we're done for the day :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yah, I was really surprised how quickly he jumped our of the cage. I'm not looking forward to cleaning the top of that cabinet. Maybe I should tape some newsprint or paper towels along the top between training sessions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As expected, not much progress in last few days. He absolutely loves the freedom in the safe room, and despises the cage, spends all day chirp-calling and trying to get out between the bars. The antibiotic regimen isn't helping our bonding, he no longer accepts millet from me. On the plus side, I am going to have really buff shoulders, holding the treat up for 5-10 minutes at a time is quite the burn. Good news is that the other things like reading out loud, serenading him with nonsensical songs, placing hand on cage, etc, seems to be working as he doesn't freak out as much when I'm close. Today he also took a few bites of the roudybush pellets, then dug them all out. Still avoiding veges. Needs more time :)

I don't mind spending the time with him in safe room, but I'm worried he either can't figure out how to get back to his cage (i.e. he has to fly down if you look at the original photos), or just dislikes it that much. I dim the light* and get him to hop up on the perch and take him down. Once the lights are back up, he darts right for seeds, famished. The cage I'd like to purchase is currently out of stock, but then the thought of lugging that thing downstairs 3x daily (2x for antibiotics, 1x for training) is a little, mehhh.. I just want to wait until we're done with the medicine, couple more weeks. By then, the cage should be in stock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am checking here to see if a couple things I'm doing during "playtime" (eventually training) are helping, no big deal, or going to make things harder later on.
1. Last few days I have done the following: I put my hand palm-down inside the cage with millet very slowly, leave the door open, giving a little room around my hand for him to walk through. Although he's not flapping around or trying to dart away, he does go absolutely still for about a minute, then wakes up, grabs a few millet, and looks for a way out of the cage. He usually sneaks past but today he hopped over my fingers, landed on my wrist, looked around totally bewildered, and finally took off for this cabinet. Is this a "forced interaction" sort of like a variation of holding a bird until it is calm/quiet, does it not really do anything, or maybe help even a little trust?

2. Once on the cabinet I've got several small dishes of food prepared (one always has seed and one has pellets). Last couple days, he's learned to inspect and now tries a bit of everything! Today.. he even nibbled a little cooked quinoa which gave me hope! That said.. I've noticed he's not hopping to his food dishes in the morning after waking up, and concerned he's holding off eating until playtime. Because once out and inspection complete, he voraciously chows down on the seed dish for a couple minutes, then goes over to the pellet dish for a bite or two, hops to the the water, and then begins preening. The concerns here stem from me wanting him to gain some weight. Next official weighing will be on Wednesday. Should I stop giving him food outside the cage? Prior to this, I know he was eating no issues inside. I should begin weighing his food dishes to confirm.

Thank you for the input :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We're still on meds, and I'm getting way better with administering them to him, so much so that while he's still afraid of me, he now performs the wing raise hello around noon when it's time for out of cage. I added a rope ring swing but he's totally ignored it. Yesterday, I tied some millet to it to see if he'd be brave enough to try, he spent at least an hour trying to figure out to get to it, finally jumped on, but was rather surprised at the fact that it... swung. This resulted in about 20 minutes of anger squawking, before it was time to go back to his cage.

Today, he figured out how to land on it with minimal swing, munched some millet, I fumbled for the camera, and caught him pretty comfortable with it :)

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Chiribiri was moved from his small cage to a large MCage flight cage a few weeks ago. Progress since then includes morning and evening singing, and he will also join me signing if I whistle or play piano for him. I'm also now able to approach the cage without him freaking out. Sometimes he will jump away, but last few days I was able to be nearly face-to-face with him while he enjoyed some meals. He continues to be cautious when my hand is on the cage, but he's no longer in "prepare for takeoff" mode.

Today, I put my hand in with millet twig held out. He cautiously approached it for a few bites. I tried again an hour later and he didn't hesitate!

I'll keep repeating this throughout the day for next several days, and then either diverge to stick/clicker training or more comfort with my hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you both :)
I began clicker training today. It's a little tricky with him inside the cage, but I think I can make it work. I know there are pros/cons to doing it before there's a bond, and also maybe not best idea to do it with the entire spray millet, but right now, based on his body language, he's mostly afraid of my hands. He doesn't mind my face. If my hands are behind my back, I can easily approach the cage.

I'll give the basics a week or two, and if there's no progress, I'll work instead on the trust/bond.

Additionally, today he was nibbling on carrot all morning, which follows yesterday nibbles on bok choy Happy he is finally beginning to identify veges as food!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We need to question this parrot's taste in music: he seems to like David Hasselhof. While watching Knight Rider** reruns this weekend and there was an episode showcasing his music and the bird broke out in song and some cute little head bopping 🤨 I've also noticed he's a fan of the synth sounds from the 80s. Cool!

Slowly shortening the millet spray to just a few bunches... he's not quite responding to the clicker yet as we'd expect, but very positive so far! When I open the cage door, he's on high alert, and he "settles down" on the first click and seems to know a treat is incoming. After that, eyes dilate and he gets a very greedy look on his face hahaha. See picture, sorry it's out of focus, need to find a better way to take photos.

**don't judge me, it was a favorite show of mine when I was a kid, along with airwolf, riptide, transformers, he-man, etc 🤪
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks, I'll give that a try in the morning, the old man's already moved to his perch getting ready for bed. This guy gets ready to sleep soon as the sun begins its decent, right now around 4pm... 👴
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Today I offered only a single millet seed from my fingers, and he took it!! He's still quite uncertain and I'm not sure whether he's connected the dots between the clicker and the treat, but I've got much hope now he's going to gain more comfort over the next few weeks. Yesterday he would nibble away at the millet nubby and I could feel his beak between my fingers, so cute 😁

I'm going to repeat this for a few more days. After that, would it be better at to try target training, attempt different hand configurations for millet (e.g. open palm, top of hand) in an effort to get him to climb onto my hand, or, keep at single-seed until I'm certain he's connected clicker to treat?

By target training, I mean introduce the chopstick to him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I just wrapped up another 5 minute session with him, this time only single millet seeds, all successful. I snuck in some Harrison's pellets.. he just spits them out :( That's over two months of putting powder on or a wet mash with seeds.
🤷‍♂️
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Oh don't worry, I'm not giving up. Reading this forum I've come across how long this can take, some 6-8 months, and I'm certainly prepared for the long haul and am patient to a fault.

I've tried the zupreem fruity canary, roudybush nibbles, tops (they sent me regular sample instead of small so I cut them down), and harrison high potency super fine. Bird and I tried about 2 weeks each powdered and a week as a paste before trying the pellets on their own, no luck with any. When using powder, I've learned he will jump away from his bowl if the seeds are wet (i.e. sprayed to help powder stick). Since the harrison include a short expiration, I've kept trying to feed that over the last several weeks, paste covered offered first, then rest of the day powder covered (he'd only eat one or two seeds out of the paste before going on strike). To keep him motivated, every few mornings I start off with just seeds, otherwise, he picks up on my plotting shenanigans.

I just picked up some Caitec oven-fresh bites "small" for parakeets.. these things are too large but compared to all the other pellets have the most "flavor" and palatable aroma - very strong spice I think cardamom or clove? Yes, I've tasted them all.

This morning's training session was fun, on a totally empty crop - started with a small millet nubby, and it was apparent he was HANGRY by how he'd go for multiple chomps before I could get treat away. After he calmed down, we began the game. First, a few individual millet between my finger tips, then I'd switch to one of the pellets for a few tries, then back to millet. Here are the results:
- zupreem: he would attempt to bite only the yellow and orange ones, then spit them out. Wouldn't even try to bite for the red or green!
- harrison: bite, promptly drop or shake his head and toss it
- tops: one bite then he twisted his head with a total WTF look, eyes dilated.. every time.. I lost it snorting laughter and had to take a break because the snort spooked him into a fright flight
- roudybush: same as harrison (btw I want to like these but they look like dried budgie poop and it always catches me off gaurd and I can't tell whether to toss or keep)
- caitec: put his beak on the thing but then backed off, too big
- caitec, broken up into small pieces: he spit the first one out, but the second one he left in his beak and kind of played with it for maybe 2 seconds, then dropped it. I fumbled the next few so we stopped this for now

I also picked up some of the harrison birdie bread mix - I tried making my own a while back blending the harrison pellets, adding baking powder, but he wasn't ready. I think this time if I can get a little millet and seed mixed into the bread, and feed from my hand, he might take a few bites will try this today.

We're going to play this game all day, I'm crossing fingers he'll pick up one of them, maybe the caitec. Which is great news, except it's also the most expensive I think. Nice thing is it is easy to get, petsmart carries their rebranded version just in case I were to forget to order.

The daily change in his bravery has been amazing to watch :) Felt like almost not a big deal this morning, he even began reaching out when he noticed my hand moving towards him!
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
@JuneBird That's a fun idea. I'm trying to get him interested in both foraging and toys, and am planning on getting him accustomed to going to the bottom of the cage by teasing him with a little millet and seed. He gives up very easily if the food isn't immediately available (e.g. in pellet paste, or mixed with veggies, etc, he won't pick through it).

@Aozane I attempted home-made birdie bread with the Harrison's superfine pellets pulverized, added eggs, baking powder, and mixed in seeds/millet. Since you haven't done it before, it's actually a bit tricky to mix in the seeds/millet in declining quantities. Chiribiri had no interest in the resulting bread, not even to pick out the millet. I recently purchased some of their official birdie bread am going to make it this afternoon following some other projects.

The little booger he caught onto my game just now and turns around on his perch if it's not millet between my fingers 🤦‍♂️ The good news, at least he's eating just-sprouted seeds, about 30% of his current diet (it was either Cody or StarlingWings that pointed me in this direction, thank you!!). Getting him to pellets will take a lot of patience and time with this little guy :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
He's been moody, and not really wanting to train more than 4-5 clicks a couple times a day. So I'm just going at his pace for now. It might be because I installed one of those pumice safety perches in his cage a few days ago. He's been absolutely terrified of the purple.. uhm.. censored word thing, and expressing significant frustration now because I put some millet next to it in an effort to get him to overcome his fear. It's bittersweet watching him try a few times a day ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Hah, yah, I hope he gets over it. I also threw a large millet spray at the cage bottom this morning, it was entertaining watching him try to figure out how to get down there. It was not entertaining when he gave up and gave me an hour of alarm flock calling 🤦‍♂️
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Thank you! I am following that advice and have most of the new toys, hadn't thought about putting the perch up there. He's still afraid of it. He's also adamant about not going to the cage bottom so far, even though I've slightly rearranged perches to make it easier.

That said, he's been very cooperative with receiving millet treats all day, such that I changed the angle of my millet hand just slightly to make it a little harder for him to get to, putting my fingers slightly in the way. Following several training sessions today, he did the splits and put one foot on my finger! It was only a moment, because he scampered off after helping himself to three mouthfuls of millet, then squawked in anger and flew to the other side of the cage.

\o/
 
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