Always remain patient, and gradually increase the amount of time and frequency of lessons. Teaching a bird to trust is a slow process but one which will reap you great rewards. Respect your bird and try to understand its needs. Your Quakers wants to feel secure and be assured of companionship too. Watch your Quaker closely for tolerance as you work with him. What one bird will tolerate, may terrify another. If you respect a Quakers individuality, he will learn to trust you more quickly.
For those of you who have handled your bird from the time he was very young, hand training should begin as soon as your bird is coordinated enough to maintain his balance on a perch. It will become natural behavior for him and not something that you will have to spend any amount of time teaching him to do. The main thing to remember is to establish a routine, and stick to it. Your consistency will give your Quaker a feeling of security, although they don’t realize it!
Following these simple steps will lay a foundation for a peaceful life long relationship of trust with your Quaker, teaching him that you are dominant, safe and reliable.
Behavior Modification for Biting, Screaming, and Potty Training
There are 3 basic emotions that will cause a bird to bite:
Determining the reason for the biting will better help you to deal with it. Also, Quakers go through a nippy stage when they reach puberty, as they try to establish their dominance in the “flock”. This is only natural, and should not be a basis for punishment. Using the “Up” command in a firm voice to reiterate that you are in charge will teach him that biting is unacceptable behavior.
A Quaker that takes to a particular member of the family and is aggressive towards others is not uncommon; however, this behavior can be anyone without biting. If your Quaker favors one person, that person should take a back seat in handling the bird for a while to give him a chance to get used to others. With a little time, others will be able to handle the bird easily by using the “Step Up” command.
Teach the children to be very gentle and to move slowly when approaching the bird as many Quakers will be nervous around them. My children were handling Quakers at about age 5 and having no problems. Another reason could be that the bird is just plain mean, and enjoys biting people for the sake of biting tho it is very seldom seen in hand raised Quakers if they are raised by knowledgeable bird breeders. If this is the case one alternative would be to simply place him in a breeding situation where he does not have to interact with people on a constant basis.
All birds need an opportunity to “blow off steam” occasionally. This is only natural, as they are still wild like, and this is their way of expressing themselves. They should not be punished for occasional outbursts. However, when a Quaker insists on screaming frequently, it doesn’t take long for it to become quite irritating. They have exceptionally high pitched voices, and know how to use them to set your nerves on end.
If your Quaker is prone to screaming you should first take notes of when he is screaming. Is it in the morning? Afternoon? Evening? Heaven forbid, the middle of the night? When you establish a time frame, it will be easier to find out why he is screaming. Is he hungry? Thirsty? Did you forget to feed him? Is it past his dinnertime? Is the cage placed so that he cannot see any activity, yet he can hear it? Did you forget to give him his 15 minutes of attention when you came in the door from work?