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October of the following year I was prepared for the snow storm in the bottom of the cage but his behaviour was worse than before and this year the aggression has escalated again, to the point where most members of the family refuse to enter the room when George is out.


turned into a bird I didn’t recognise. Amazingly, by the end of Spring George’s feathers were almost normal again and he seemed much happier, back to his singing and dancing self, he was still neurotic and hyperactive at times but was happy to play on his cage or fly over and come and sit with us on the sofa. I knew he was back to his usual self when I noticed missing chunks of wood work in the bird room and he started to chew cardboard boxes again instead of himself.


October of the following year I was prepared for the snow storm in the bottom of the cage but his behaviour was worse than before and this year the aggression has escalated again, to the point where most members of the family refuse to enter the room when George is out. He has plucked himself so badly that he can’t fly which is good for us as it means he can’t fly and attack anyone but not so good for him as it’s pitiful to see him so frustrated. He is still a menace though, as he might not be able to fly but George can hop, he’s a master at hopping and is unbelievably quick when he wants to be. At the moment he refuses to step up and will bite me as soon as look at me so the only way I can get him back into his cage is to wrap him in a towel. I hate doing this as I feel it is breaking any trust that he has in me. Training him is impossible when he


18 BIRD SCENE


behaves like this; in fact any interaction is undertaken at your own peril. So what do we do about George? Believe me, I have been tempted to ‘move him on’ to another home, it isn’t pleasant to live with such an aggressive bird and it is distressing to know he is unhappy in our care but how do we know he would be happier elsewhere? Would we not be guilty of passing the problem to somebody else? We are his third home already and realistically there aren’t many people who want to take in an aggressive, psycho, feather plucking, swearing, hormonal cockatoo. Without knowing the reason he behaves the way he does it is virtually impossible to find a solution to his behaviour. We have tried many different toys to stimulate and keep George busy and active, we have tried training him, interacting with him, teaching him to play independently, bathing him regularly, bird safe alternative remedies, a varied and healthy diet, a new cage, foraging toys, time outside in the sun, trips out of the house and much love and affection. We are not without experience as we have kept parrots for twenty years and have a wide circle of parroty friends to ask for advice but having tried everything we can collectively think of we are at a loss to help him. We have recently thought about finding a mate for George and building an outdoor aviary but pairing


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