Back in May of 2013 Mel adopted Paco, a 20 year old female Double Yellow Headed Amazon from an abusive household. Mel had a Sun Conure for 15 years, until it passed away and was looking for another bird to love and cuddle when Paco became available.
The hope was that Mel could pick up this new relationship right where the previous one left off. However, Paco was not about to make it that easy. Paco was aggressive and bit Mel severely numerous times. Mel contacted us the first time looking for advice on what to do with Paco to change her disposition. After an extensive telephone conversation we suggested several changes and a slightly different tactic while handling Paco. A few weeks passed and Mel contacted us again. The news was better, but Paco was still unpredictable and was still biting aggressively. We convinced Mel to allow us to come visit Paco and try some first hand techniques that have worked for us in the past. Our goal was to help both parties understand the rules of engagement and to establish acceptable behavior.
Sometimes parrot behavior training is really human training in disguise. In this case it was a little of both, as Paco was still fairly aggressive with her bite, and Mel didn’t understand why Paco bit. After about half an hour, Paco accepted my ungloved hand and was willing to allow short bouts of stroking and petting, but was clearly untrusting of human interaction. Mel, on the other hand, quickly picked up on some of the tactics I was using to get Paco to step up and accept my hand without lashing out in fear.
By the end of the visit, we had established a game plan which included a change in diet, adding toys to the cage and restricting Paco’s free roam of the home to just the room where her cage was. We also did a basic wing, nail and beak trim to help reduce the risk of injury.
Mel stated that Paco could be loving and cuddly when she wanted but was very unpredictable when it came to biting. With the changes we suggested and a little more work on the trust issues, we feel that Paco could be a great pet. Her uncertain past at an abusive home will make this transition a bit more challenging for Mel, but we think its off to a good start and all the pieces are now in place for Paco to be the bird Mel wants. We hope our follow up report will be of great news and a happy bird family. We wish Mel and Paco all the best.
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