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AIBU to be heartbroken over something many would see as trivial?

(11 Posts)
CallMeExhausted Thu 30-Apr-15 17:19:17

I have had many years' experience working with challenging "big" birds (parrots, cockatoos etc) but we haven't had one in the house since my DD was born almost 10 years ago.

A dear friend of mine runs an animal rescue and had an umbrella cockatoo in her care that needed more time and attention than she could provide. She asked me if I might be willing to bring him in and work with him. After extended discussion with DH, we agreed.

He has been with us for 5 weeks now, and all in all he is doing very well. He has stopped plucking his feathers, only vocalises with the typical cockatoo screams a couple times a day, has been very cuddly, talkative and generally a sweet bird since he settled in.

However, last week, he bit me. If you are familiar with bites from large hookbills, you know how bad they can be. Since then, he has bitten me two more times.

I am the only one he has bitten, but I am concerned for the safety of my daughter. In the interim, he is not being allowed out of his cage, but I am really upset as I feel like I have failed him. I know he'll be back in a less than ideal situation if he has to go back to the rescue, but with the severity of the bites I have received, I can't risk having DD hurt. If I were on my own, I would keep him and continue working with him.

Have I made the right decision in seriously considering sending him back?

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Thu 30-Apr-15 17:22:26

I think you have to send him back. Your DD is your first priority sad

BestZebbie Thu 30-Apr-15 17:26:43

If you keep him, is the idea that he would be loose in a room of the house which your DD also uses, when she is using the room?
Otherwise, I am not totally sure why you couldn't have both, provided your DD can be trusted not to stick her fingers into the cage or let the bird out herself?

FadedRed123 Thu 30-Apr-15 17:26:51

Was he biting before you got him?
I would think that if he had been you would not have accepted him into your home because of the risk, so you are not being unreasonable to have to take him back to the rescue.
Isn't this the same as if you had rescued a dog or cat that turned out to be a risk to children, you have to put the safety of your family first.
You tried, it's a pity it hasn't turned out as you hoped, but at least you tried.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 30-Apr-15 17:29:40

I would keep them separate for now, in his own room if possible. He's in an aviary yes? I think he needs you sad and you are skilled, and he might grow out of it fairly quickly.

Dogs are different, you can keep him in a cage - dogs not like that grin

somewheresomehow Thu 30-Apr-15 17:30:44

I also think it would be best if you send him back, if the bites are nasty/bad to you, just think the injury it would cause if he got hold of your DD even if it was only a mild bite

corgiology Thu 30-Apr-15 19:37:49

I know you said you are experienced with birds but these articles may help

www.mytoos.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=185882

www.problemparrots.co.uk/parrot-questions/biting

Obviously separate your daughter from him meanwhile.

Bodyinpyjamas10 Thu 30-Apr-15 19:43:36

Horrible for you op. You have to do what you feel best. I know nothing about birds but sure it's not personal violence to you.

crazylady12 Thu 30-Apr-15 20:03:36

We have a biter she bites everyone except for my mum, I have managed to keep her away from.my daughter for nearly 5 years ha. he really sounds like he needs stability can you keep him in a separate room a spare bedroom or us space limited.

Pumpkinpositive Thu 30-Apr-15 20:43:09

Can you keep them separate for a while indefinitely?

Is there a particular trigger which sets the biting off or does it come entirely out of the blue?

LidlMermaid Thu 30-Apr-15 21:44:52

We had a rescue African Grey once a long time ago who sounds very like this. He came to us with issues due to very bad treatment in his past. He bonded strongly to my Mum but was tolerant of everyone else in the house (me and my DB, both older teens at the time, and my Dad) and was generally happy and well behaved.

As time went on, he became less tolerant of everyone else and started biting. I still have the scars nearly 20 years on. The one where he tore my finger open from knuckle to nail right down to the bone is still particularly obvious. He would allow us to feed him etc but would attack at random. He would even entice the poor cats to the cage by mimicking their meow (he sat on a perch on top, was never actually closed in the cage) and then go for them. Because we were all adults - and my DB and I had moved out anyway by the time he was at his worst...we only looked after him when parents went on holiday - we could manage him but then my brother's kids came along and it was a different story. Can you imagine the damage a beak could do to a toddler? It wasn't fair to start shutting him in the cage when he never had been before. We rehomed him to a sanctuary who had many other large birds and lots of time and experience. He still lives there now. Again, he has bonded to a particular member of staff and others have to be wary of him. We visit occasionally at invitation of the owners and he's healthy, chatty and as happy as he'll ever be I reckon.

So, no, I don't think you're being at all unreasonable to send him back to rescue. We owned several large parrots over the years (I had a blue fronted Amazon myself) and the more I learned about them, the more I realised that they are not good pets. Despite still having a great love for them, I'd never have another.

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