White Cheeked Touraco Pet/Aviary Help please!
Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:18 PM
4 months ago I saw an advert for a Touraco with cage. He was described as a large colourful pigeon that made a great pet. I was looking for a bird and he looked interesting & different so I called them up and had a chat and he sounded ideal. We went and bought him and he settled in well. I paid about the same as a budgie and cage and it never occured to me that he was perhaps something a bit more specialised at first.
I thought it might be nice to see who else had this pretty species as a pet in the UK so a few weeks later I googled and found to my horror that almost all of the information I'd been given was basically incorrect.
I was sold him in a medium sized parrot cage and told this would be fine for life, and that defrosted fruit mix of blackberry and melon was the appropriate diet.
I take looking after animals quite seriously and regret not researching him in advance a lesson I will not repeat, but I am very attached to this bird and I decided well I'd follow the online guidelines and get something sorted and we'd do our best for him. I subscribed to the International Touraco Society and started reading a few websites.
The end result is my poor husband finished last week after 3 months of painstaking work our new aviary that is 12 x 8 x 8 outdoors with a 8 x 6 shed that's partitioned in two, one end heated for an indoor area in colder weather. We paved and concreted and drilled the panels and assembled the shed, planted the aviary, bought and attached the branches, sorted out his feeding areas and of course I have put him on the correct diet of a large variety of fruit and veg daily with his softbill seed. I am very lucky that we had the space, finances and time to achieve this even though it was never something we thought we'd be doing and I wouldn't have bought him had I realised this was what I'd end up with but if it works out then I have no regrets. Unfortunately it is not really working out!
Last week the day came to finally do what I'd been told to do - get him out of the cage, get him into an aviary and give him the life he deserves.
I put his cage in the indoor area so he would feel some security, and I open it, and leave. And wait, and wait, and wait, and wait... usually as soon as the cage is open he's off like a shot, traumatising my furniture and so on.
But now outside he won't leave the cage. When I shoo him out of the cage and into the flight, he is terrified and huddles in the corner. He won't fly unless paniced, he won't perch, he won't eat, he won't explore, he opens his mouth, pants, and looks distressed. Only when I picked him up and put him back in his cage does he relax again.
I have been sitting in the aviary every day for the last week for 3-4 hours a day with all his favourite fruits and talking to him and trying to tempt him, I cannot get him to leave the cage by himself and if I move him, then he will not respond to me once outside. I was told he was hand reared but I have no information about the breeder, I know he has lived in his parrot cage for at least a year.
I am really confused. He was happy indoors, he was confident, inquisitive, cocky, vocal and hand tame. This is a bird that has knocked down and pooped on every item in my entire house, explored every crevice, tried to ride my dog, tried to get into my snake tank and generally harrassed my guests for fruit for the last 4 months. Now he is distressed and paniced and I feel so cruel for trying to do what I thought was the best thing for him.
Should I perservere, how long will he take to adjust to the aviary, is there anything I can do to make this transition better for him, or was I wrong to think that the aviary was in his best interests, has being kept as a caged pet for so long made it necessary for me to keep him indoors - this was my original intention but everything I've read has said they really have a better quality of life in a planted aviary environment and I just want to figure out what's best for him.
Thanks for any advice
Posted 29 July 2010 - 10:17 PM
I don't have any experience with this group, but what I would do would be to go slowly. Let him stay in the cage for as long as he is comfortable. Leave the door open, and eventually I would guess that he would get curious. Let him see you moving around in the aviary outside of his cage. He's used to a house, and now he's in a completely new environment, and he's probably used to always seeing people coming and going - now whenever you go in the house, he's alone, right? Imagine how scary that is for him right now! If he's comfortable riding around inside the aviary on your arm, you could take him on a tour. In fact, you could make a daily routine of taking him on a tour, until he is more comfortable with the aviary.
Also, if he's got any treats that he particularly likes, you could put them in sight of the cage, but where he has to come out to get them.
Posted 02 August 2010 - 09:06 AM
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