Clicker Training an Eclectus - What treat do you use??
Posted 16 July 2010 - 10:24 AM
Im new to this forum and have a 4.5 month old ekkie female, Lani.
She has a bit of a screaming problem and I really want to start clicker training her but I just cannot find a treat she likes enough to stop screaming for a second and eat.
I have tried peanuts, bread, fruit, vegies and still nothing, soooo I was hoping you could help!!!
What do all of you guys use?
Posted 17 July 2010 - 02:51 AM
Why don't you talk a bit more about the screaming itself here. Sometimes putting things down in writing will allow you to see a pattern and possibly a solution.
Posted 17 July 2010 - 10:32 AM
I picked Lani up at 8 weeks old, she was on 3 feeds a day. I continued the feeding as per the instructions from the breeder syringe feeding.
Lani learnt to fly a week later and then I had her wings clipped because she didnt know my house well enough and kept smashing into things a little. The clip has been done incorrectly. I also had difficulty feeding her at this age and moved from a syringe to a spoon which she likes much better now.
At the same time I began my exams for uni and her timetable changed a bit, it wasnt as rigid and she did miss out on some attention.
Her cage was kept in the study - a quiet room in which only I frequent.
She began screaming around this point, all day every day, whether I was with her holding her or not.
I then took her to an avian vet for a check up to see if she had an infection. Turns out she had a slight imbalance in her crop, but the vet believed it was not enough to cause the screaming. She was on antibiotics for 5 days. He believed she was fed well, and was a correct weight. He said the screaming is mostly just her calling to me, solicitation vocalisation he called it.
He suggested I ignore it, spend little time with her, just and hour in the morning and then feeding time.
I did this for around 10 days, the screaming ALL DAY thing ceased but the screaming whenever I was around or just left, holding her or stroking her continued.
- I then started worrying that she might be screaming because she wasnt getting enough attention so I visited a different avian vet for a 2nd opinion, he said it is baby crying and she will grow out of it so to just hold tight.
My partner and I have been on holiday so I have moved her cage into the main living area, the screaming got worse, but now it has gotten better, she still screams but only lets out a squark every 5 to 10 minutes and then the occasional fit which is in the morning when I get up, even if she is covered or not, and even if I have given her breakfast to her, it lasts for 10 minutes, then again when she hears the microwave open and close or beep and when the fridge is opened, also after she has been fed her nightly hand rearing mix. I have started showering her after a feed and blowdrying which she likes and this has shortened the screaming fits.
She also screams if I walk past the cage with food and she doesnt get any, any sometimes just because.
Her screaming is loud, and not pleasant sounds, more of a too screech. She is currently on 1 feed a day and I think will completely wean within the next 2 weeks as she took barely any spoonfuls tonight.
So any light on the subject would be great!! Peanuts dont get her attention for clicker training, nor does she like to do anything for almonds. when I click she screams and then I give her the treat and she takes ages breaking it even if it is a tiny piece im thinking I might try cooked egg haha.
Posted 17 July 2010 - 11:57 AM
I wish i could help you more but I don't know enough. I do think she needs more time out though... i think i mentioned in your other thread about foraging/shredding opportunities. You could also try music. Each morning i put my laptop in the bird room and play their favourite music. I unplug the laptop so it only plays for a couple hours before switching off. They all go crazy when i put the music in there and it gives them some specific time for being noisy. Other than that, they tend to be quiet for the most part (except for Lexi recently).
Posted 17 July 2010 - 11:09 PM
Gosh, sodacat, i can not get enough of looking at your bird room vids. Did you have that built on specific for the birds?
Hah! No!!! We put a 4-Seasons sunroom on the south side of the living room a number of years back when we remodeled. It turned out to be a not so great product, especially in the winter, so my husband built some glass/wood panels that we now install in November which divide the 10x18 foot sunroom from our living room. Afterwards I realized what a great space it would be for the birds except it was too cold that time of year. So, the next spring I bought some wooden screen doors and when we took down the dividing panels we lined up the screen doors and fastened them in, putting hinges on one so we could get in the room. It's been great. The birds get lots of light and a pretty good sized space to fly and hang out; and we are close to them and can interact easily because only screens divide us. And yes, they have screwed with the screens and the wood and the wood we put on the top to keep them from messing with the screens.... so it's a work in progress. But since wooden screen doors are only 20 bucks, it is not costly to repair/replace a section. Rosie pushes against the section that we enter/exit. She knows which one that is. We have a strong spring on it to keep it closed (a regular screen door spring) but she can still get it open an inch or so if she braces herself against a groove in the hardwood floor and leans in. It's crazy. I keep an antique iron on the living room side; otherwise she drives me nuts with the slap, slap, slap of the door. If the iron is there she realizes she cant bang the door, then goes back about her business.
Posted 18 July 2010 - 01:45 AM
Is the bird weaned??? and is it weaned fully??? ... this is a problem over and over again with people buying these birds unweaned and rearing themselves to be pets ...
Weaning birds of this species needs more then just watery fruit in their diet as it goes straight through them ...
You have to make sure the bird is eating enough .. and have it somewhere in your house so that when it sees you and calls out for food that you don't pay that attention other wise you will end up with issues ..
I do not believe young birds like this scream as an unwanted behaviour ... So at this point clicker training this bird isn't going to help ... nor is training it with treats if it isn't weaned enough in the first place ....
If this bird is weaned ... then you have to work out how to not reward that unwanted behaviour ... It could be as simple as not having that birds cage in a high traffic area of your house ... So your not walking past it with food ....
Clickers are used in training to TARGET or capture the behaviour faster then what words can come out of your mouth
There are some great websites out there and some helpful breeders of these parrots in Australia .... I guess an easy way to think about behaviour and how to work with it is from Susan Friedman and she uses A B C - Antecedent - Behavior - Consequence
And You start with
B - Behavior (What is the Behavior?)
A - Antecedent (What is the Predictor?)
C - Consequence (What happens straight after?)
Hopefully that helps somewhat .... and points you in the right direction !!!
Posted 18 July 2010 - 02:14 AM
From what you wrote I would guess she is calling out for food, but without hearing the sound I am not sure. That's why I posted the vid link. It does seem unlikely to me that she would call out for food all day long though. What exactly is she eating throughout the day and what quantity?
Posted 18 July 2010 - 02:25 AM
First of all, I would like to say that yes I got an unweaned bird but it wasnt what I was expecting and also I wouldnt do it again, weaning a bird was not my intention.
First of all, I wouldnt say she is weaned as she is getting formula of a night time, however she is eating alot during the day, chilli, capsicum, zucchini, apple, green beans, squash and canneloni beans are in her mix at the moment, and she has half a passionfruit and some strawberries in the bottom of her cage, also she has hulled outs and beans in a foraging tray in the bottom of the cage, with a peanut and almonds in a shell and millet spray occassionally and lavender flowers and daisies. She is now eating a fair amount, she eats her pellets and alot from her vegie bowl and her foraging pan. I feel like she is starting to get better. I also use organic pureed vegies in her rearing mix which has helped.
Id also like to mention that im not some random person with no experience or common sense rearing this girl. I am a vet student and volunteer regularly. I grew up with many animals and used to look after injured rainbow and scaly lorikeets and sometimes raise babies that had fallen when I was 15 years old with a 95% success rate.
Posted 18 July 2010 - 03:01 AM
Thanks for all the other information .. it's a shame that all my information got turned around to be focused just on the fact "I don't agree on buying unweaned parrots" ...
Hopefully all the other training tips/advice and information also helps you in some way ....
Posted 18 July 2010 - 02:37 PM
As the babies mature and begin to wean, they eat quite a bit at the food bowls with their parents, yet still want some regurgitated food a few times throughout the day. Often they will be satisfied with just a couple offerings from one of the parents. In other words, they aren't super hungry because they are eating on their own, but still derive comfort (and some nutrients) from the food given to them by their parent birds.
Another thing I have observed is that one parent becomes the primary feeder once they fledge. For the first two clutches it was the male, so I thought this was the norm (and it may be). However, with the last chick, the mother bird fed him through weaning with very little help from the male. I mention this because there is a correlation between their feeding and what you have going on: The babies vocally beg to whichever parent bird is most likely to regurg for them! With the first two clutches my male fed them to weaning so they vocally begged from him. But with their last one, the mom fed him to weaning so he begs from her. It is quite interesting to me to note the difference.
When they begin to eat a lot on their own they still beg a bit and the parent birds do offer them a couple regurgs when they beg, but will then move away from them and the babies find something to do.
Oh, I forgot to add this: I noticed that the parents stopped offering long before the babies stopped begging. What I mean is, when the chicks were younger the parent birds would approach them and start bobbing their necks to bring up food. But as the babies got older the parents waited until the babies vocally begged. One of the parents always DID provide food if a baby begged though. But usually just a couple bites. That is what is going on in the video I posted. Once they offer up a bit, they may move away.
I realize there are differences with hand-feeding from what I've described. But I thought you might like to know that the vocal begging will lessen as time goes on especially if she knows she is taken care of when she does call out. I do believe that being with their family flock all the time probably keeps my juveniles from vocally begging more often, since they are not alone, ever. So I may hear less comfort begging from them than you do with her since she is in a room by herself. Remember, unlike puppies and kittens who can attach themselves to a teat, the only way a bird can tell its parent it is hungry is to call out.
Edited by sodakat, 18 July 2010 - 02:50 PM.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 04:52 AM
Your information and advice was greatly appreciated, I do not reinforce the screaming MOST times, as you can acknowledge it is sometimes difficult, but Im working on it. I know the times I do reinforce it. At what age do you believe I can begin clicker training for tricks and the like (not behaviour).
Sodakat, very interesting info, I only feed one feed per night between 530 and 7ish however I was at the inlaws until 830pm and when I got home her crop was already very full and she didnt scream for food whilst I was in the kitchen so I left it, she just continued foraging and eating from her bowl.
I must say that I am enjoying setting up foraging for her to give her things to do and she is already really good at it.
Another query, now she is down to one feed a day how do I know when to drop the feed, I want to make sure I do it at the right time as I think that might have been part of my issue when dropping from the 2 feeds to one. I know that if you dont do it at exactly the right time it can cause behavioural issues.
Posted 06 September 2010 - 06:48 PM
Subsequently, you can momentarily cover her cage when she is screeching, then start rolling as she is quiet, roll it back down if she starts to scream. My Eclectus is extremely quiet so I haven't needed to do this, but I think it is really good advice (:
Posted 07 September 2010 - 08:02 AM
Posted 23 September 2010 - 03:35 AM
I just read the whole thread and I must admit, it brought tears to my eyes. Breeders who sell unweaned babies should IMO be tarred, flogged, hung up by their ears - whatever. What they do is unfair to the owners and dangerous to the baby. So many of them do not survive this! TO make it clear - I am not blaming you, but I AM blaming the breeder.
Also re the clipping. If you clip a bird that is just beginning to fledge it is a bit like preventing a child to learn walking, just because he falls in the process of learning. So you may reconsider and let him become flighted again. It is so much better for them. As a vet student, I am sure you know the importance of physical activity for the physical and mental well being of living beings from parrot to human.... Will you be specializing on birds? :-)
Anyhow, regarding the clicker training. You need to find the bird's favourite treat. For this you should start to observe which foods tend to get eaten first when you find him. If this way you have found a couple of foods you think your bird likes, arrange them on a plate for treat testing. Observe which he eats first. If you are unsure, you can repeat the test a couple of times. The treat you will find becomes the training treat which from now on is only given during training times.
Foods that are often favourites are pinenuts, sunflower seeds, millet. But I have also used formula. For many handraised birds this is at least initially the favourite treat.
Hope this helps.
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