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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We adopted an adult female racing pigeon, Lucy, about three weeks ago. She is in quarantine from our other adult, Fiona, but except for coccidia has had no apparent problems. She is circovirus negative as is Fiona, which was really important to find out after we lost young Chloe to circo. But Lucy still is acting terrified. She flies around the flight cage and avoids me when I give her food and water and grit or change her newspapers. She looks terrified. I have spent lots of time just talking sweetly to her and have tried not to scare her, but she seems to miss her flock. I have tried to contact the racing person who raised her to try to get her a friend preferably one she knows but so far without success. Any suggestions? I want her to be happy. She even avoids the mirrors I put in her cage and eyes her food suspiciously when I fill her dish.
 

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Maybe you could try letting her out of her flight cage and you and her could sit in a room together for a while every night. After she expends some energy, she could watch you, get to know how you move, under stand you better, and learn to trust you. I imagine bonding with you is probably low on her priority list as of yet, since she is still adjusting to a new home, new people, new way of life. Perhaps you could learn what her favorite treat is, and when you two have quite time together you could have her treats with you, and set them in the middle between what ever distance there is between you and her. Then gradually as she learns to trust you, bring the treats a bit closer in your direction. Just an idea. I am sure that you and Lucy will bond soon enough. Have a nice weekend!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Will try to figure out her favorite treats. If I take her out am afraid I would have to net her to put her back in the cage. She is a powerful racing pigeon and there are bookcases high up,in the room. When I first let Chloe out I had to net her once to get her back in the flight cage and don't want to do that with Lucy. Will keep trying to show her I'm not going to hurt her.
 

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If you wait till it is dark out, then when you are ready to put her back in her cage, you simply turn out the lights and pick her up. They usually don't fly off in the dark. But on occasion, you have one that will. Often you can tame up a bird with patience, but on occasion you cannot. A lot depends on their personality, and how they may have been handled in the past. Or even never handled, they can be afraid of people. And if very high strung, they may never learn to trust you. I hope this one does. But they do tame up better if they are allowed to come to you, rather than you reaching into a cage for them. If frightened, that only frightens them more. So letting her out in order to accomplish this is necessary. Maybe in a room that would make it easier to get at her. No reason to net her though. That will scare her more.
 

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Before my Buster bonded with me I would put her in a cage next to me when I ate dinner and watched tv with a lot of commentary from me and over the top laughing. Her only treat that she actually will eat is lettuce but she loves it. We still eat meals together most of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Monkeesue, loved hearing about how you bonded with Buster. We had Phoebe in a small cage and gave her lots of attention. But Lucy is in a very large non mobile flight cage. Maybe we should put her in a smaller cage and have her spend more time with us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Update on Lucy. She still looks at me with suspicion but is starting to make eye contact with me when I feed her. Am so hoping she will get friendly the way Phoebe, Fiona, and Chloe did. She seems to enjoy being sung to. But I am not trying to rush her trust, just going at her speed.
 

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Have you tried hemp seed as a "taming" treat? My Ringneck doves love it and will fly to me as soon as I put some in my hand. Hemp seed is available on-line or on eBay. The hemp seed used for pet birds is sterilized and perfectly legal.

Hemp is a nutritious but fatty seed so it is best reserved as a treat food. If you give them a bowl of it, they will likely eat the whole bowl at once !! Not a disaster if it happens sometimes but hemp is a "rich" food that should not be a major part of their daily diet.

Start by offering a little in their cage. Then gradually toss a few in and they will associate you with it. Then try offering it from your hand. Then when you let them out, they will know that you are the source. Another thing with free flight - never put any food dishes outside their cage - this way they will know that the only source of food is in the their cage (except for you, if you hand-feed them treats).

Hemp is also fed to other birds as a treat / song food. I recently purchased a canary and he loves it. I let him fly around the room but, if I want him to go back in his cage, I just put a few hemp seeds in his bowl (in the cage) and he goes right back in and I can close the door. I had no idea that canaries were that observant or smart - but as soon as he hears the "ding-ding-ding" of hemp seeds hitting his porcelain food dish, he flies right back into his cage. I am also training him to eat them from my hand.

 
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