Is The Honeymoon Over?
There are some common things that happen when a family brings a new baby bird home. First of all that baby has been placed in a new environment and they are going to need time to adjust especially depending on the species of birds. Some babies are ready to step into their new life and get at it!
But there are some crucial things that happen during this time, we call the Honeymoon Phase, that can drastically effect your long-term relationship. It can result in frustration for both you and your new friend.
When the new arrival enters the home, it is natural to shower him or her with enthusiastic attention. Every time you see the cage, you automatically want to take him out and coo over him. The problem with this is that you are conditioning the new pet to a certain behavior and you do not even realize it.
It is like a new born human baby that sleeps with his parents. It may be easier when you have just arrived home from the hospital, but when the baby is used to sleeping with mom, this eventually becomes a real problem.
He is being conditioned to having that lavish attention, and getting that attention will not always be feasible. There are days when things are hectic and you don't have as much time to spend with him. There will be times when you simply don't feel like getting him out and interacting. We all have to have our own down time.
After a couple of weeks when the newness wears off, and it will, you are ready to settle into a more practical routine. You aren't neglecting him and have no intention of doing so. You simply need to establish a routine that is a little less demanding, while giving him the attention he deserves to have.
But, the new baby doesn't understand that. He only knows that he is not getting the attention that he was conditioned to expect. This is when behavior problems begin. He may begin screaming and after awhile the new owner may find that covering him, or putting him in another room, will quiet him. But no bird can be content with this kind of life. He may even begin biting and even resort to self mutilation out of frustration, and the new owner simply doesn't know what to do. He is not really being "bad," he simply wants what he is used to getting, but the owner has been left not knowing what has gone wrong!
The best thing to do is not allow this course of action to begin because it is real hard to change, not impossible, but hard. When the new baby arrives, begin establishing a practical routine right away. For an example, when you arrive home at the end of the day, you are tempted to take him out of his cage right away, and why wouldn't you? He is looking at you with so much adoration and is just so darn cute. But do not make this a habit because it will put demands on you that you will come to regret. Say hello to him and give him a treat, then later on when things settle down you can get him out when you want to, not when he expects it. I'm not saying that you can never get him out of his cage when you arrive home, I'm just saying don't make it the habit because that is what he will learn to expect in very short time.
With hand fed babies going to a new home, they have a clean slate. The behavior that the learn will be what you teach him, knowingly and unknowingly.
The other thing that can happen with a new baby, or even an older bird, is that the new owner's expectations can be very high. With a new baby bird, you want to see him as such. He is not going to instantly talk or do the tricks you want him to do. Like any babies, it takes time and consistency. He will grow and learn new skills, and perfect them just as any baby will. You would not expect a 6 week old puppy to be house broken or leash trained and you allow for him to learn this as you teach him. You would also teach your puppy tricks and behaviors by working with him over time. Sometimes, because birds are so intelligent, we expect more from them that they may be capable of.
So, accept your new avian friend as he comes and remember that he learns from you......