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JenniRiverasMom JenniRiverasMom is offline
Posted 6th June 2019, 02:22 PM
Join Date: Jun 2019
Country: United States
Location: Los Angeles
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pigeon psychologist needed


Hi there, I recently rescued a young pigeon that was brought into my animal hospital about 2 months ago. She was fairly young when she first came in, but very healthy. I tube fed her for only a day in a half as she started eating on her own quickly and gaining weight. She became very social quickly as she was constantly around people and being handled or sitting on someones shoulder. Once i finished my outdoor aviary for her, I was finally able to bring her home. I can only guess, but i thinking shes only about 2 months now. Only has a few little yellow baby hairs poking out of her chest. Still peeps a lot and does the cute little shimmy with her wings whenever I come around. She never wing slaps me but more just walks away from when she doesn't want to be bothered. A few harmless pecks too. I recently bought a harness for her and put it on her, but it turned into a disaster. I seemed to fit just perfectly.. not too snug but she just HATED it. She wouldn't move and when she tried to climb the top of the couch she took a tumble back down to the seat of the couch. I decided to take it off of her because she seemed miserable. Well that was a catastrophe in itself. She fought me all the way. I was trying me best to be so careful so she wouldn't hurt herself. I finally got it off and put her back in her aviary and every since then (it's been 2 days), she HATES ME. I kinda don't blame her. She aggressively pecks me, wing slaps me, peeps really loud at me and runs. I feel absolutely terrible. I offer her treats to make amends, but I mostly just leave her alone. I have only been visiting her 3 times a day, morning and night for feeding and once in the day when i come home for lunch, just to say hi. No touching, just softly talking to her. I am not sure what else to do and am curious if our relationship can be repaired. I'm hoping its just time that we need. I need a pigeon psychologist. Do you have any thoughts or ideas on this matter? Thank you in advance.
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Garye2 Garye2 is offline
Posted 6th June 2019, 05:50 PM
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 67
That cute little shimmy with the wings is what my Aggie does too - usually before wanting to have eggs.

It's probably going to take some time before she feels trusting again. You might try petting her every once in awhile. Sometimes it brings them back again.
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JenniRiverasMom JenniRiverasMom is offline
Posted 6th June 2019, 07:24 PM
Join Date: Jun 2019
Country: United States
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garye2 View Post
That cute little shimmy with the wings is what my Aggie does too - usually before wanting to have eggs.

It's probably going to take some time before she feels trusting again. You might try petting her every once in awhile. Sometimes it brings them back again.
Thank you for replying! When I try to pet her she loses her mind and tries to bite the crap out of me. 😞 So far Im just spending time by just talking to her and living on a prayer.
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cwebster cwebster is offline
Posted 6th June 2019, 07:32 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Country: United States
Location: Central Coast, CA
Posts: 6,267
It is normal for a pigeon to go through a phase of being resistant with wing slapping and biting until they really get to know you and trust you. Ours did that. Just be patient. You might try putting a toy through the cage bars for her to bite. Phoebe became very tame once we started playing that way.
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Ladygrey Ladygrey is offline
Posted 7th June 2019, 10:31 AM
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What I would do is get another pigeon, a hen then You would have either two hens or a pair and introduce them slowly so they have each other, it is really hard to fill the place of having a companion esp because they are flock birds who pair up when mature.. this pigeon has time before it matures fully, at 6 months on it should be wanting to pair up.


This pigeon sounds like a fighter and spunky, some pigeons adapt better to the things humans want to do to them... this one.. not so much..lol.. instead of thinking of it as wanting a best pal, is just get another pigeon and keep them with their needs provided and don’t worry about getting to be buddies.. just my two cents.. lol..
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Garye2 Garye2 is offline
Posted 8th June 2019, 06:16 AM
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 67
One other thing you could try doing. When you come close to it, start bowing. I know it sounds ridiculous but one of the ways I was able to get close to Maggie and Aggie (pet pigeons) was to start bowing in the presence of them. Usually they'll bow back at you and if you keep it up they start to see you as one of them.

Of course this also may make them believe you are trying to mate with them.
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Wildlyfe Wildlyfe is offline
Posted 12th June 2019, 05:52 PM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: United States
Posts: 8
When my handfed baby (now 3yrs old) gets nippy or aggressive, I usually pick him up and hold him for awhile and talk to him softly. I recommend cuddling, same as I would a parrot or any other bird. The idea is to let them realize that they can still trust you. I know people are sometimes worried about handling stress, but all our birds have been "mauled" by my daughter (she is not hesitant whatsoever to pick up, cuddle, check wings-feet-beak... at any given time). As a result, all of them (we have 26) are good about being handled. Only my hand fed baby call when called though.
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NewPidge NewPidge is offline
Posted 14th June 2019, 03:45 PM
Join Date: May 2019
Country: United States
Location: Olympia, WA USA
Posts: 2
I think it is all about her learning to associate you with something other than the bad harness experience! The only way to do that is to teach her to associate you with good things, like treats or favorite toys or songs or whatever she loves??? Only good things should happen when you're around. I think with patience, time and a lot of good associations - she will replace that bad memory with all the good ones you are going to present her with.
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crowe crowe is offline
Posted 14th June 2019, 06:25 PM
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 2
Hi there! I'm not an expert by any means but I've worked with both wild and tame birds a lot, and I've seen this mistake before.

Assuming I've understood the situation correctly, you did not properly introduce this new enrichment tool to your bird. You spooked her and forced her into a situation that you provided no context for. I would be inclined to agree with NewPidge in that you've now taught her to associate the bad harness experience with being around you. Unfortunately for most birds, this means starting back at square one. Building trust with a bird can be done in a number of ways, but starting with existing gently and quietly around your bird can be an excellent start. Bribing her with food (peanuts are definitely a favorite!) and slowly reintroducing her to having contact with you is a good route to go with in mending her relationship with you. Especially if she's a rescue, this will take a considerable amount of time and it's your job as her caretaker to be patient and responsible.

Birds don't learn in the same way dogs and cats do, their curve is much slower and you must have the patience to be working with her for months to years in order to get to the point to be able to harness her safely. Once you feel like she is ready to begin training again (I'm talking literal months away, do not attempt this again until she has NO reasonable negative reactions to you), slowly introduce her to the harness by putting her near it, working all the way up to letting her investigate it, touching her with it, draping it over her, and eventually putting it on. Once she's confident that the harness is not a threat, then try brief exposure to walks/harnessed outdoor exploration. This will not take a few weeks, or even months. Trainers take years to get to that peak trust level with their animals. It's normal to take breaks of up to a few months. If she shows any sign of disinterest or discomfort, it's time to put the training away for a period of time so she doesn't get bored or reject the activity.

Just as a note, she's also way too young to be doing this kind of training. There's no way that the animal is able to put her full trust in you only a couple weeks after quarantine, provided you got her as a chick. Please continue to work *slowly* with her, she's not a puppy and will need consistent and patient training for her entire life.
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aggressive pigeon, juvenile pigeon, pet pigeon, pigeon behavior, pigeon harness


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