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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! So back in April there was a baby that was downed from its nest outside of my work. Because of the impending weather and its proximity to a high-volume parking lot, I chose to rescue it. I took it to a local rehaber to get information, but wanted to keep it as a pet. A trip to the vet and a cage later, I had a bird!

Marshmallow has been a happy bird for all these months until about two weeks ago. s/he always used to be happy to be out flying around the apartment while I was awake and in the cage when I was asleep. s/he didn't like me getting my hands in the cage for food/water changes, but never did much besides puff up and coo while walking in circles until I was done.

Then about two weeks ago, s/he started doing that defensive behavior on... everything. The perches. The cage. The back of the couch. My SHOULDER. Then a couple days ago s/he bit my nose. So I put Marshmallow back in the cage as a time out. Then today s/he bit my ear!

Am I doing something wrong? Is this normal? Is it environmental? What should I do? :confused: Thanks in advance!
 

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Hello Applebird, welcome to PT:)
Thanks for rescuing this fella...
Like us, every pigeon has a different personality. Some get cozy with their owners others dont. Some even mate with owners' hands, others wingslap them. And a lot of other things...
If he is your pet he isnt safe outside. Keep him in. He is defensive of his property(cage) so hes aggressive. If you keep him in the cage and talk to him in low sweet voice he will bond with you. Give him his favorite feed in palm of your hand and he will start to love you. He will ofcourse show his aggressive side at first. When he does that you dont react at all and move away. He will slowly calm down and gel with you. Dont let him out. Just let him roam/fly inside for few hours in morning and evening. Hope his cage is big enough he can relax in it. For daily sunlight and fresh air you can cage him outside where he is safe inside it, from predators.
 

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Agree strongly with what Jass has said. Would keep him in and he will get friendlier. Our former feral Phoebe got aggressive for a while as she was healing. It is a good sign, because the bird is feeling more comfortable and getting territorial. Just be patient and he will become your friend. Would offer toys and treats.
 

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I have one that I hand raised from about 3 days old. For the first couple of months, she was as sweet as can be and was always so excited to see me...cooing and wing ticking...most likely because she was hand fed and viewed my hands as a "parent bird" that was going to feed her. As she got older, she became a little aggressive, likely defending her space from my hand, i.e. another bird, in her mind. One thing I've learned about raising young birds is they don't make the connection that your hand is a part of you...they recognize your voice and face as a friend but your hand as another bird competing for their space, and real-estate is very important to a pigeon. Your bird is going through normal pigeon teenagerhood. My advise, from past experience, is to be calm and respectful when they complain like this. Don't grab at her...this is very scary and threatening. Be very patient...it could take a while. I have two pigeons and Lola, who I mentioned above, still has her sassy moments but is also very tame and doesn't mind being picked up and loved on. Merlot, my other hen, took a lot longer to warm up. I've had her since she was about 3 weeks and and she was much more of a challenge to tame (about a year and a half) but she's now very sweet and will bow down and let me love on her as long as it's on her terms...I approach her very slowly with my hand and touch her neck a few times, then she'll snuggle into my hand and let me pet her and scratch her head and neck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Don't worry, all, the pet does not get to go outside without a harness!

Thank you, PamperedPigeon, that's very helpful! I'm glad that I wasn't doing anything particularly wrong, and it's just teen-pigeon time. S/he's been so sweet up to this point it was just really worrying. S/he still likes to just sit with me and chill out on my shoulder, but will occasionally get aggressive, and though I know s/he can't to any real damage to me, it's still a little disconcerting when it's by your face! lol

Anyway, thank you all again, this helps so much and I really appreciate it!
 

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They are amazing little friends with very unique personalities. One more piece of advice is, if you can, get at least one more pigeon. They're flock birds and will be very lonely without another friend. If you wind up with a male and female but don't want babies, just switch out their eggs with fake ones and let them care for them until they decide they aren't going to hatch.
 

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Ha ha, I'm wondering if your girl is actually a boy because I have six pigeons that I hand reared from eggs - 3 boys 3 girls - and when the boys were around four months old they started being proper little bullies to me. They're over one year old now and still like to take a bite at me - always, lol. The girls only do this when I put my hand in their cages but I expect that's because it's their territory. The six are paired with each other and watching how the boys boss their girlies around at times I now realise it's just what boy pigeons do. Just don't let them near your face because a peck in the eye is extremely painful. I love my boys and I don't care about bites because I'm their mum and I just pick them up and fuss them whenever I want. They love it really but instinct tells them they have to be tough - 'tough love' I call it and they mean no harm really. You just have to be mindful of what they can bite, mind you even my girls like a nibble at my ears sometimes - I think they're jealous of my earrings, lol.
Giving time out works with dogs but I don't think it does with pigeons to be honest and you won't stop a boy being a boy, no more than you can with a human, ha ha. ;)
 
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