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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Sorry for the wall of text that's about to happen.

You might remember Kuzco and I flying across Canada for work (sorry for the hiatus, SO MUCH WORK). The whole trip went really well. He was super well-behaved and slept like a champion the whole fifteen hours of flights home. We got back over a week ago and since then, I've noticed some worrying behaviour. He seems to be having some major separation anxiety concerning me. It's bad enough that even if he's in his cage in the same room as me, he will pace, cry, chew the bars, etc. The only time I can get him to relax is if I take him out and let him sit on me. He'll snuggle up under my chin and go to sleep whispering to me. The last two days, he's started showing an alarming behaviour, chewing and ripping the cotton rope that has been his comfort toy his whole life. He normally sleeps on it and it's his go-to place when he's stressed, but now he's chewing it up and ripping the threads out in a way that mimics birds who pluck themselves. It's really worrying me. His trigger for this seems to be whenever he thinks I'm leaving him, or if I talk to him while he's in his cage.

Does anyone know what might be causing this? He was really good while we were away, in fact, I think he enjoyed it. He showed no anxiety until a few days after we got back. We're currently staying at my mom's, but it's a familiar place for him and a cage he's used to. He's not getting as much out of cage time as he would at home because she doesn't like him and also has cats, but he's still getting at least two hours a day out with me playing, snuggling, and flying around. When we were away, he got about an hour a day out of cage, which isn't enough, but my work got really intense for a few weeks. The last week I was there, I worked 80 hours and basically only saw him in the morning and at night, so I'd get up early to give him some attention. Could that be causing some of this anxiety? What can I do to help him out? Are there warning signs before birds start plucking? I think that's my biggest fear. I'm so sad for him, he had such a good trip and now seems so unhappy.
 

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Sorry to hear Kuzco is having some issues. I am no expert but it certainly sound's and makes sense that he is suffering some stress from all the change, and you are the only thing that alleviates the fear for him. I'm sure as he get's used to his enviroment he will settle down. In the meantime, spending as much time with him as you can will help. Make sure his cage is up as high as possible, and it wouldn't hurt to cover a couple sides to help him feel more secure right now. Some new toy's might be a good distraction, and you could start giving him a weak chamomile tea in his water which help's bird's under stress.

Hopefully some of our really experienced folk's will see this and add some advice for you on this situation...:)
 

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I agree with Randy, it really seems all the changes lately have affected your Kuzco and he is now having behavioural issues. I never had a bird to reach the point of self harming and plucking and hopefully your Kuzco won't follow that route.

Some time ago, I also had to deal with my blue masked lovebird Penguin's very challenging behaviour and will begin by sharing her story.
Penguin was a lost stray bird who happened to land on my lovebird's couple cage when I had them outside for some morning sun and fresh air.
After a couple of failed attempts, I managed to safely bring Penguin indoors and later she became part of my flock when no one claimed ownership over her.

During the first weeks all was well and as she started to feel more settled in, that's when I noticed just how frustrated she was.
She wasn't destructive upon herself nor has she ever displayed aggression towards me, but she was destructive to her cage and belongings, she would throw and trash away the food and water containers multiple times per day (the plastic containers would not last for one week), would chew the bars on the cage and even managed to destroy the base of her first cage and successfully detach a few cage bars.
Oddly enough the few toys she had in the cage, she had no use for them, it's like she didn't know what they were for.

I knew I had to work intensively with her in order to correct this obsessive behaviour. I started to dedicate some time daily into training her, I showed her how to use the toys too.
It took me about 3 months to see a good improvement in her behaviour.
By spending time with her, being positive, encouraging, patient and very loving to her, Penguin eventually let her guard down and her frame of mind began to change, she became much calmer, and happier too. Almost 3 years later and Penguin continues to be well adjusted, is no longer destructive towards her cage and will use her wooden chew toys when needed.

It seems to me your Kuzco is in need of reassurance from you, you need to show him you will always be there for him. You can spend some extra one-on-one quality time with him, play with him by using his toys and also give him some cuddles when he is on his cage and always acknowledge him when you are about to leave the room that he is in. I find this very important.
I always make sure to say goodbye or a short see you later to my super bonded lovebird Khaleesi whenever I'm about to leave our bedroom.
I will either give him a kiss through the cage bars or give him a quick beak rub with my finger or our special "beak to finger handshake" that both Khaleesi and I know so well and then I will say to him, "see you in a bit". To sum it all up, with a whole lot of love, understanding and patience things are bound to improve.

I apologise for my extremely long post..:eek:
I hope your Kuzco's anxiety will go down soon and that he is back to his happy old self.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
lol I am the king of long posts so don't even worry.

Yes, the whole reason I took him with me in the first place was so that he wouldn't have separation anxiety. That backfired. Though, I think it was the week of long days that did it, not the travelling because he genuinely seemed to enjoy the plane rides.

Like your bird, he is obsessing over his rope toy. I can't take it out because it's where he sleeps and the few times he's gone without it, he was up all night. He has several other toys in there, but aside from occasionally dinging his bell, they go ignored. He's never been much of a player with his toys, but even less so right now.

If I leave the room, should I answer his contact calls, or ignore them? I usually ignore them, but they've been sounding quite desperate lately. Would it give him any comfort knowing that I'm still there even if he can't see me?
 

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I call back to mine. We are very verbal bunch. I have gotten to know when they want their water change, mom where are you, and I am frightened. I call back to them what I am doing, if I hear urgency I will peek in say hey its OK I am here. Not sure how every bird would cope with this. I hope to see others thoughts.
 

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I never had to deal with actual separation anxiety with my birds, even with my Khaleesi. He rarely flock calls right after I leave the bedroom and when he does, he just does 2 or 3 short calls and then goes about his business, plays with a toy, eats something or goes for a short nap.

If I were in your shoes and noticed that the flock calls were really intense and as you say in a distress tone, then I couldn't have the heart to ignore them and I would go back and comfort my lovie by gently talking to him, but not take him out of the cage. After he is calm I would then say goodbye to him then leave the room again. Depending on how he went after that (say after 10 -20 minutes after leaving), I would either reward his good behaviour (if he didn't go back to intense flock calling) or not if the same pattern repeated.
I would give it a go as a trial and error, if after a few times I'm not seeing any progress then I would change the method and try to make the necessary adjustments into the training in order to be more effective for the case at hand.

EDIT: I forgot to add that responding to his intense flock calling while you are not in the room would only make your Kuzco respond even more and add more power to his flock calls. I have noticed this behaviour from both budgies and lovebirds while playing/interacting with them.
 
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