Problems with my Moluccan Cockatoo
A year ago I got this Moluccan Cockatoo, his name is Vader and he was a rescue bird. He was taken from a meth lab and he was half dead when they found him. His mate wasn't so lucky, she was found at the bottom of the same cage, dead and rotting.
My vet determined that he had to be at least 50 years old and he was probably caught from the wild. I can only imagine the kind of abuse he went through. I just want to help give him something he never had, a safe, loving home. I have experience with rehabilitation, but primarily Amazons or smaller breeds, it did not prepare me for him. Understandably he is terrified of people and no one can blame him for it, and therein lies the problem. How do I make him like people again without hurting him physically and emotionally? He is terrified of everybody.
He ABSOLUTELY REFUSES to leave his cage. I have left it open all day and he never steps out not even to climb to the top of it. I've taken him to another room and let him walk around or sit on a perch we have and he will run back to his cage. If anybody even walks in the room he starts hissing (I've tried keeping him in both an open and closed area no difference). His hissing is like he's breathing really heavily (the vet has ruled out respiratory diseases, its a voluntary act) Then if I walk closer he gets defensive with his crest raised, wings expanded, and swaying from side to side. If I move closer he starts hyperventilating and scurries to the opposite end of the cage, keeping his defensive stance. If I or anything else reaches towards him he screams hysterically.
"Step up" has only worked a few times,but once I started to move out of his cage he would leap from my arm towards the cage usually ending with him hurting himself by landing horribly. That's only when I can get him out of his cage though. The majority of the time he will give a really nasty bite and has even hurt himself trying to get away. He got his beak stuck on a chain from his toy a couple times and both times he screamed so hysterically I was afraid he would have a heart attack and he bit me hard enough to draw blood in the process.
When I give him bathes (water very low and a luke warm gentle shower running)it is miserable. But when I stepped out to grab a towel, he started playing in it, until he saw me then he went right back into defensive mode. He does the same thing in his cage, he will climb around it and hang from the top but if he notices us peeking around the corner to watch he rushes back onto his perch and sits there staring at us. He does the same when he eats, when we walk in, he will drop the food. He will not eat around us. So the treat training cant work...
Today he fell off of his perch, which he's done before but just climbed up to his perch, this time he fell he was on his back and couldn't get back up this time. When he saw me he started freaking out and when I tried to help him I was bit again. He was covered in his poo though so I had to give him a bath, there was alot of screaming and I got bit again this time drawing blood. I know I shouldn't pull away when he tries to bite but there is only so many bites a person can take and his bites could take off a finger easy, he hasnt used that much force yet but I don't know when or if he will and that scares me when he lunges out.
I have been trying to gain his trust for a year now and have not seen any progress, nothing has changed in the slightest. He just sits there in his cage all day, silent, until someone walks into the room and he starts hissing again.(thats why we named him Vader, he sounds like Darth Vader when he does that hissing) lol Anyway I have been really thinking alot and I'm worried that I'm selfish wanting him to be here with me. He just seems so unhappy. There is a very nice sanctuary around me and they would be happy to take him. It seems like a wonderful place and I think he might be happy there but I am afraid to abandon him like everyone else in his past has.... Sorry to write so much. I am kind of at a loss here.
Anyway I am just looking for advice, maybe something else I should try to build trust or if it seems like a hopeless case. Where do we go from here? What can I do? What should I do?