Older, untamed former breeding male

by Diana
(Long Island)

My boyfriend, Mike, has a Nanday Conure, Dale. Dale is a former breeder bird and is uber nasty, never hand tamed. I'm not sure how old he is.... at least 10 possibly (We've been together for 8 years and he had Dale for at least 2 years before we met). He was purchased as a friend for Mike's other Nanday, Reptar, who sadly died suddenly a few years ago. Dale is a very loud and nasty bird, so he had been sequestered in Mike's son's room due to his constant screaming gave me migraines.

Well during a 2 week break, Dale was moved into the den. I've taken advantage of it by going in there frequently to talk to him, give him treats, and play a CD I made for him (silly songs like TV themes or Disney songs. He really loves it) Now Dale hates the son (we are bonded in that area) and generally dislikes Mike. He likes me, as he quiets down when I talk to him and for the most part won't go after me if I put my hand on/in his cage.

Mike bought a separate perch with food hangers, toys, and such for him. While in the son's room, I would often open his cage and let him out. He would climb around the cage, sometimes he'd even go onto the bed to 'attack' the son to wake him up. But he never climbs on top and refuses to use the perch.

That is not so much a problem, but I really would love some tips on how to really bond with him, since he seems to be a 1 person bird. My ultimate goal would be to have him tame or trusting enough to let me touch him or even to come out and hang. If he could come to me and let me walk around the house with him, that'd be awesome, but I'm not sure that will ever happen. Is he too old? Or the fact that he was a untamed breeder ruin any real taming? I've researched this subject many times, but nothing I've tried seems to work. The only things I've done that seemed to make any headway are making him a CD, and going in and talking to him (which oddly was never given much as an option in my search). So I've just done away with most of the general, cookie cutter advice and want to ask real bird people their take.

I'm not a bird person by any means, but Dale seems to want attention from me, and it can't be good for him to be kept away from everyone but the son, who does nothing but yell at him, throw things at him, and bang the cage. Speaking of cages..... I asked Dale last night in front of Mike if he wanted a bigger cage. Mike said, "Hell no!" But Dale bobbed his head up and down and chirped that sounded like, "Uh huh." lol

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Jan 20, 2010
Update on Dale
by: Diana

Well, I have to say that Dale is a different bird in most ways. He steps up, talks, and even learned to play peek a boo. He still prefers me, but no one dares to do anything to any of my animals so he's calmer now. He just reminds the kid that he had a sharp beak and the kid has soft skin, lol. He's done so well at socializing that we were able to get another conure, a Sun named Spice. They get along very well, although there is still some question over who is the boss, haha. Dale has a new cage that is HUGE, and he shares it very peacefully with Spice. He's calmed down tons since she's been here (dunno if she a she but whatevs), like he steps up with no problem, he even requests to step up (he's NEVER done that), and he even will tolerate a few seconds of petting. He will probably never let me cuddle him, and I will always be aware of his moodiness, but at least now he's happy. Just thought you'd like an update on him. Thanks so much for the advice and this site. It's helped me alot!

May 05, 2009
Nanday, Dale
by: Linda

Hi Diane! I'm just a regular bird person, and shop out here for our two Amazons' food and such.

There is a link on the left side of the page here that says Parrot Training. I think you would be able to talk with the man/lady who does these programs and see what he says. I used to tame and train wild caught parrots in the 70's when they were still importing them into the US, and we were working with terrified birds right out of the jungles, so our methods may not work for you and Dale since he is already bonding with you. He also misses his mate, and you are female, so you are a natural choice for him.

The "son" needs to immediately stop throwing things at his cage as this will make any aggressiveness much worse. He is quite capable of hurting you or someone else, so stop the violence around him or start looking for him a new home with a breeder who has the Nandays. In general, they are noisy and one of the loudest of the Conure family, so your work is cut out for you. Sounds like he needs help, and hopefully the Parrot Training site people can help you.

As for the outside perch, keep trying to get him to sit on it as it sometimes takes a while for them to stay on the perch. Make sure his wings are clipped by a vet if you all don't know how so he can't fly all over the house. He has had to stay in cage for too long, and they get what is called "cage bound" to the point of never wanting to come out of cage, so keep working with him on this. Do contact the training people as they will be able to help more than me. If he is in a small cage, he needs a larger one. Sounds like your husband and his son have never liked him much, and this breaks my heart for him. Though the Nandays can be nasty little conures, they also respond to kindness and love, so keep working on this or start trying to find him a more suitable home. He needs to feel safe and secure wherever he is, and with someone beating on cage and throwing things at him, he is NOT in a safe environment. What you are describing is called abuse, and it has to stop today if not yesterday. Birds are prey animals, and they need to feel secure in their home. If this causes trouble on the home front, then start working toward finding him a new home where he will be safe.

Come back out and check out the Parrot Training page. One last thing, take him to vet and have a gram stain done to see if he has any bacterial infections. He should also be eating a pelleted diet like Harrison's Bird foods, which Tracie carries out here. If he is either sick or not being fed correctly, it will make his aggressiveness worse because he just does not feel good. Natural wood perches and toys will also help.

Bless you for loving Dale and wanting to help him. The world of parrot needs more like you!!!

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