Less Stress for Re-Homed Birds

May 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

There are a lot of good people out there who open their hearts and their homes to pet birds in need of a new home. They do this with the best intentions but often find themselves facing a number of difficulties when the bird arrives. Birds sometimes pick up certain behavioral problems at their previous home and you will need to understand that trying to help an adult bird settle into a new environment is no easy task. This is especially evident with parrots.

Some people find that it helps to view their new pet bird as a foster child. The animal does not understand why its environment has changed or where its previous owners have gone. It will likely be confused and, considering the circumstances, that is completely understandable. It will also take her a while to learn that she is in a safe environment and so you might find that initially she will get nervous of the new owners or movement in her immediate vicinity. There are things you can do to try and help the situation. If for example, the bird panics whenever someone nears the cage, it might help to move the birdcage to an area that receives less traffic, such as away from doors, walkways and windows. If you need to place the bird near a window, ensure that the cage is only partially next to it so that it can hide away from the window if it feels threatened. Another thing that may help is to provide the bird with a hidey-hole to where it can retreat if it feels threatened. A sheet draped over part of the cage or providing a large toy are two ways to do this.

You can also try to minimize stress when it comes to cleaning the cage. When you approach, do so slowly and talk quietly so the bird knows you are there. Do no be sneaky about anything you do. It will also help to use the correct body language: keep your head slightly down and averted and don’t make direct eye contact for more than a second. Handling the bird may initially be out of the question. You will likely have to take the time to build up a relationship and may have to face from the beginning that your bird may never be ready to be handled. One way to get better acquainted is to take a chair and slowly move it closer to the cage over a series of days or even weeks. Allow the bird’s behavior to determine how fast you can approach. If it gets nervous, you are moving too quickly. You want to try keep that chair just within a comfortable range of its cage. Once you have moved it you can sit down on it, read aloud and chat to the bird to help it get more used to your presence. You want to do this for between five and ten minutes every day. While doing so you can try to watch the bird out the corner of your eye and see if it is getting more relaxed or more tense. Once you’ve finally gotten the chair right next to the cage for a few days, you can try bringing her favorite treat with you every time you visit to further help ease the transition.

At the end of the day patience will be the critical factor in determining how successful you are. If you give the bird time and allow it to choose to interact with you, you will likely soon find that it seeks out your company. You will need to move the process along at a speed that suits that particular bird and not rushing it will be the key to ultimately building a great relationship that you will both enjoy for years to come.

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