Before you go on, trust me when I say that I know, understand, and completely agree with the three things you should NEVER do to your bird. Whatever the case may be:
- Hit your bird,
- Spray your bird with water (not a bath),
- Yell at your bird. This will emotionally harm a perfect bird, and he will never be the same again. It may take months for him to trust someone who did this to him only once.
Now, after four days of pampering this new chick, I’m having this issue…
Biting: If you have experienced this, a lot of information, however extensive, follows.
Indeed, this has occurred to me twice at this point. The power of his beak is proportional to his overall size and development. He is completely unaware of the fact that the force contained in his beak is sufficient to truly fracture my finger. But Rainbow is also a bird that picks up new things very quickly. Both times, he hit me right in the ear with his punch. The first time it happened, I was terrified since I had seen him become especially harsh with things like tugging my hair and other such activities. It was also possible that the difficulty he was experiencing was due to his molting. In any case, I had a bite on the ear, and it resulted in bleeding. I quickly and firmly gripped his beak, and then I yelled out loud, in a different voice, and in an authoritative tone, “NO!” That gave him chills. After that, I carefully placed him into the cage and shut the door behind him. After I had attended to my ear, he expressed interest in going back out. Rainbow remained contained inside the crate. I showed him my ear and said, “No, you bit me on the ear so it’s in the cage for now.” I was referring to the fact that he had bitten me on the ear. I got him out of there in under an hour, and he sat on my lap for the rest of the evening, all the way up until I went to bed. He attempted to re-assume his position on my shoulder, but I would not let it.
The next day, we get in the vehicle and go to the pet shop where we first purchased him. He travels about on a splash towel while perched on my shoulder. I was looking to buy a pedestal perch stand for my bird. When we go inside the shop, he starts screeching like a maniac. He was familiar with the shop’s birds and the birds’ familiarity with the store. The staff members of the shop were delighted to see Rainbow once again as well. He did not move from his position on my shoulder. He did not make any attempt to descend. I decided to get a perch stand because every time I attempted to encourage him to sit anywhere on my finger, he rapidly lowered his head and was scared to go off of my shoulder. The perch stand solved this problem. I think he was concerned that I may abandon him at that location. While I was having a conversation with one of the workers who are very skilled with exotic birds, he began the ritual of pulling the birds’ hair out. The situation repeated itself for the second time. While we were having this conversation, I received another ear bite. I reached out and grabbed Rainbow by the beak, and in that voice, I said “NO!” After that, I went and fetched a paper towel to clean my ear. We are on our way home.
Later on that evening, Rainbow, who was sitting on my shoulder, probed my ear, which had become twice as painful. He makes another attempt to get a good hold of my ear by pressing his beak on it. When I yell “NO!” he immediately releases go of me. No bite. It’s the same old pattern when he gets back in a few minutes. There have been no other bites as of yet. Never, ever underestimate the level of intelligence possessed by a conure. If she is educated correctly, Rainbow will be a bird that gets along well with everyone.
I gave Rainbow a friendly greeting this morning and then placed him on his brand-new pedestal. At first, everything works out well. I pick him up and start having a conversation with him. He begins to tug my hair while holding my hand. Because I’m accustomed to it, I don’t try to stop him anymore. Soon after that, he takes a bite off of the flesh on my thumb. I grip his beak and shout NO. He returns to the same location and grabs once again, only this time with more force. I tell him, NO, and then I have to pull his beak off. I swap hands and repeat the action on my other thumb, which results in a bite. When I placed him on his perch, I couldn’t believe what I saw. This has never happened to either my kid or my wife; it has only happened to me. Why? Is he supposed to be a terrorist now, after just four days? After putting him back in his cage, I search the internet for other incidents of biting parrots that are comparable to his. What I discovered was enlightening, to say the least. I was going about it completely incorrectly. I had the presumption that this gentle bird would just be my companion. Not so. Continue reading to learn more about the dominant and submissive behaviors of parrots. And the proper approach to treat a parrot that is attempting to take charge of the relationship.
Why do birds bite?
Many parrots begin their biting behavior as youngsters when they are trying to establish themselves and choose who in their family will be the alpha bird of the flock. Naturally, the parrot is holding out hope that it is indeed itself. When they disobey an order, such as “up,” parrots will start using their beaks to make their point. When the owner moves their hand or finger away from the parrot, the bird interprets this as an act of surrender from the owner.
It is a symptom of heightened hormone activity for some to bite during the mating season. Other species, such as cockatoos and African Grays, may also become hormonal biters during their mating seasons. While some Amazon species have the worst reputation for this, other species, such as cockatoos, have the worst reputation for this. When males are exhibiting for their human “partners,” they could become aroused and seize your finger in the process. Hens have a tendency to get too possessive of their cages, defending them as if they were their nests.
Then there are the birds that I refer to as “recreational biters.” These birds will bite you for fun. As a normal part of their activity when they play games, they bite for enjoyment. Some of the species of Poicephalus, such as the red bellies and the myers, are recreational biters. In most cases, caiques are the same. Biters who do it for fun often bite someone they like jokingly at first, and then move on to someone they believe they can control more effectively. They even consider the act of dominance biting to be enjoyable and may chase after and bite another individual as part of a game.
When their emotional needs are “overwhelmed,” some parrots resort to biting. To put it another way, when they are agitated, like during the mating display or game playing, they bite to express themselves, just as they would in the wild.
Do’s and Don’ts
The following is a list of behaviors that should and should not be performed by birds who have shown a predisposition to biting.
They shouldn’t be able to reach your face from your shoulder, chest, or arm in any way. If the bird is perched on your finger and attempts to attack you, be sure to keep it at chest level and keep a safe distance away from your face so that it cannot get to you. Only the most reliable birds should be let near the face, and even then, one should be on the lookout for seasonal or territorial mood shifts that might cause the birds to bite. For example, I have faith in Jing, but there was this one time when she caught a glimpse of herself in the hand mirror I was using to check the back of my hair. It gave her the impression that another bird was perched above my shoulder. Simply because she shifted into a territorial attack mode, she would have brutally bit me if she had access to me. The reason for this is that she turned into a territorial attack mode. Due to the fact that I knew this, I refrained from approaching her until she had gained her composure.
Teach children to respect boundaries. Teach them that you and any other main care provider are permitted to reach inside the bird’s cage without being disputed. Also, teach them that this permission extends to any other primary caregiver. In your role as leader of the flock, instruct them. To do this, a bothersome bird should be allowed to be no higher than breast level at any time. This includes the perches of a large cage with a playpen on top. It’s very uncommon for shorter individuals to be unaware of the fact that height alone plays a significant role in determining a parrot’s sense of authority. For instance, a short woman’s husband may be much taller than the bird, yet the bird may not bother the taller person at all for the simple reason that the bird believes the taller person to be a more dominating creature than the bird itself. The height of the perch in a large cage is another aspect to consider in this scenario for birds that bite. The highest that perches should go is to the chest level of the human caregiver who is the shortest.
You may teach birds limitations by training them to step up to a finger, hand, arm, or wooden dowel when you give them the order “up,” and then teaching them to step down when you give them the command “down.” Even while parrots may not always need these orders, it is important for them to understand that the command signifies “stop talking nonsense immediately.”
Don’t let people’s criticisms get to you. However, despite the fact that they are very personal to the bird that wants to control you, you should not be afraid of them in the same way that you would dread the end of the world. Please don’t get the wrong idea; I’m not trying to imply that a bite on the face isn’t a significant injury. It is, and you should steer clear of it at all costs. The bird, on the other hand, often begins with the fingers and hands. When this occurs, it is time to put an end to the biting behavior of a bird that is vying for the role of flock leader. If you are unfamiliar with the technique of ‘jiggling’ a bird while it is perched on your hand, which causes the bird to believe it is losing its balance and causes it to stop biting in order to regain its equilibrium, you can make the bird step up by pressing your finger against its chest while it is biting your finger. When it realizes that it has no choice but to comply with your demands, it will quickly cease biting.
Even if they have been trained not to bite, people who bite for fun may sometimes grasp a finger or explore with the web of their hand. This is normal behavior and you should be prepared for it. Prepare yourself for this behavior and respond appropriately to it by giving the bird a firm “no” while staring firmly into its eyes or giving it a tiny hand jiggle. Do not, however, make it a routine to withdraw your finger or hand away from a bird that is attempting to bite you or a recreational biter. This applies to any bird.
To encourage biting behavior, one of the most effective techniques is to quickly remove your finger or hand from the beak that is hitting it. The majority of birds begin their biting behavior with a weak challenge for dominance, striking without making an effort to grip firmly. When the owner pulls away from the bird and displays fear, the bird interprets this behavior as a submissive response to it and bites harder the next time. Eventually, you will have a bird that is out of control and will go for the most vulnerable area of your body, which is your face. Most of the time, birds start attacking because they haven’t been educated that humans are the ones in charge of the flock. When they are in groups, they like to test their dominance by biting the other birds. In the event that it is successful, they will be in charge of the other bird. If not, then they do not have the position of boss.
How do I stop my bird from biting? What’s the motivation?
The fact that their bird bites them is one of the most frequent issues and concerns voiced by owners of parrots that I come across. The vast majority of parrot owners and trainers will tell you that being bitten by a parrot is an unavoidable risk that comes with the territory of keeping a parrot as a pet. I have no visible wounds or scars on my body. In point of fact, I don’t recall the last time a parrot attacked me and bit me. My opinion is that there is something you are doing incorrectly if you are being bitten. You need to take responsibility and figure out why your bird bit you in the first place. When humans attempt to force a bird to do something that it doesn’t want to, parrots often bite. We have come to the conclusion that it is time for the bird to join us in watching television, so we proceed to release it from its cage. Perhaps it does not want to leave the cage, but we coerce it into doing so, and as a result, we get bitten. Parrots like perching on the shoulder and will frequently bite if they are removed from that position. The top of the cage is a favorite hangout spot for parrots, but we can’t usually let them spend the day there because of safety concerns. Did he bite you as a means of asserting his power over you because of your height? No, he is happier up there, and the fact that you are forcing him to do something he does not want to do is a simple fact. In situations when they are forced to return to their cages, parrots often bite out of fear, wrath, or frustration since they do not like doing it.
The act of connecting is yet another typical reason. Some species of parrots, particularly those that have been hand-raised from a young age, have the capacity to form attachments to specific people and even see them as potential mates. When this occurs, the bird could only have affection for that one person, and it might even despise the other humans. During this period, they are more likely to protect both their partner and their territory with a high level of aggression. When there is misdirected hostility, things take on an even more intriguing quality. That’s when the intruder comes into the territory when the mate figure is holding the parrot, and the parrot wants to bite the invader but can’t get to him. Because it has been so agitated, the bird will eventually bite the person who is holding it. This takes place on a regular basis. Not only is displaced aggression linked to the process of bonding, but it can also occur any time your bird becomes frightened, scared, or angry with a situation or person and ends up taking it out on you in the form of a bite instead of directing its negative emotions toward the original source of its stress. There is a good chance that you did nothing wrong, other than placing your bird in a precarious or maybe dangerous circumstance. If you were attuned to the mannerisms of your bird, you would have undoubtedly observed subtle changes in his posture, such as feathers drawing closer to the body, eyes becoming more dilated, tail feathers fanning out, and crest rising. These behaviors, which may be seen in a wide variety of bird species, are all indicators that he may feel uneasy about the circumstance. If you are not sensitive to this and you do not remove him, he may get more anxious until he eventually reaches down and gives you a nice bite. If you are sensitive to this, you will remove him. Is he trying to warn you about a potential threat? I don’t believe that to be the case since I can’t see a wild parrot reacting to the sight of an eagle by rushing over to his mate and biting her to death in order to warn her of the impending threat.
Did you possibly train your parrot to bite?
Many people unintentionally educate their parrots to bite in order to get the reaction they want from their pet. You are holding your new parrot, who is still getting used to you. He starts to grow anxious, reaches down, and bites you. You yell, “Bad bird!” as you go over and put him back in his cage. First of all, he doesn’t like you, and second, his cage is a secure and pleasant environment for him to be in. It won’t take him long to figure out that if he bites you, he gets to go back to his secure habitat, and it won’t be long until he does that. Another example of this would be if a parrot was chewing your clothing or fingers, and you decided to distract it by giving it food or a toy to chew on instead of you. You need to exercise extreme caution since it’s possible that you’re teaching your bird to bite in exchange for a tasty reward or their favorite toy.
How does this behavior relate to the species in the wild?
In the wild, parrots have two ways to defend themselves: they may either fight or flee. When clipping their birds’ wings, the majority of parrot owners remove the feathers from the bird’s preferred side. When there is no other way out of a perilous or frightening position, parrots are compelled to use their beaks as a means of self-defense and resort to fighting. In the wild, parrots seldom resort to using their beaks for self-defense; while they are known to argue and fight with one another in the branches of trees, they almost never bite. According to the findings of one researcher working in South America, he had never seen a parrot that had been injured as a result of being bitten by another parrot. I cannot stress enough how important it is to trim the wings of your bird. Birds that are allowed to fly freely need a significant amount of responsibility and instruction.
How do you cure the behavior?
Avoiding being bitten at all costs is the most effective strategy to handle situations involving biting. You should never force a parrot to do anything he doesn’t want to, and you should never place your parrot in a scenario that will make him feel uncomfortable. “How exactly can I get my bird to fly free from his enclosure?” Trying to coax a bird out of its hiding spot will only end in you getting its bite. Your parrot will learn to love his time with you and look forward to your arrival if you use positive reinforcement to train him in these behaviors. If you are bitten by your bird when he is out on your hand, the best course of action is the one that comes naturally for all of us, which is to drop him and get him off of your hand. Even having their wings cut, the majority of birds can still land safely on the ground after being dropped. This accomplishes two goals at once: first, it removes the bird from your person; second, it forces the bird to have a terrifying experience before it is forced to land on the ground, where it most likely does not like to be. It is only natural for most birds to avoid being on the ground since there are so many potential dangers there, such as other animals. After he has had some time to process what has just taken place, you should let him sit there for a bit before extending your hand to him and inviting him to step up onto it. You don’t need to fear getting bitten since at that very time, you are the most encouraging thing in his surroundings, and he will almost always get immediately up to get off the floor when he sees you. Make it a point to show appreciation to your bird by praising him, scratching his head, or giving him one of his favorite goodies whenever he steps onto your palm.
One of the philosophies that we always teach our students is that it is always the person’s own responsibility if they are bitten. There is never any blame to be placed on the parrot. No exclusions. Either you provoked the bird into biting you or you were not perceptive enough to perceive the posturing and other non-verbal warning signals that the bird was giving you. Either way, you are responsible for the bite. As soon as you acknowledge that you are responsible for being bitten, you will start to cultivate the sensitivity that is required to prevent more bites. Another thing that will happen to you at this time is that you will cease flaunting your wounds and scars because you will come to the realization that they are not badges of valor but rather indicators of a lack of sensitivity and compassion on your part.
Who is the boss?
Does your parrot have dominance over you to the point that he can bite you whenever he wants to remain on his perch?
Do you feel like you’re at the mercy of your parrot because he won’t come off on your shoulder when you try to put him down?
Do you rush to the enclosure of your parrot every time he lets out a scream, certain that he will never be quiet?
Do you shout at your parrot when he bites you or when he is acting in a way that you feel he shouldn’t be?
Do you ever get the impression that your pet parrot is in charge, and that you are only its subservient servant?
This is not the same as having a cute, lovable, and pampered feathered kid (a fid is a child with feathers).
We all hope that our cherished pets would be kind and caring companions for us. However, if they are in charge of the dominant ones in the relationship, it is less likely that they will be the most compassionate and wonderful friends for us. On the other hand, it is more probable that we will end up with a parrot that has the potential to be thought of as being hostile and uncontrolled, as well as the possibility of being ignored. Every day, our fids need a loving kind of authority as well as structure, together with an abundance of joy and attention. When this is taken care of, they will provide us more happiness than we could have ever dreamed possible.
I am asked very often for advice on how to deal with a parrot that is biting, screaming, or is otherwise out of control. When I first started taking an interest in birds many years ago, one of the first things I recognized was that the more I knew about the birds’ natural behaviors in the wild, the more I could learn about how to domesticate them in my own house.
After attending a lecture on the topic of family dynamics, I came away with the knowledge that if I wanted to have a deeper understanding of the human psyche, I should look at how other living creatures in nature behave. During that time, when I found out how accurate that statement was, I thought to myself that maybe the same could be said about the avian realm since I have always had a soft spot in my heart for animals. If I were to research the behaviors of parrots in their natural environments, I may be able to figure out how to domesticate them in my own house.
The fact that a parrot has a hierarchy based on dominance and submission was one of the most important things that I discovered. When a bird bites and refuses to cooperate, we often interpret its actions as malicious behavior on its own. However, if we were to look at its actual location in regard to us, we would observe that the bird is higher than we are. This is because the bird is physically situated above us. In the wild, the higher bird is often the dominant species. It will often bite the subordinate individual in order to either warn them or maintain control over them. Wow! When it comes to taming the parrot, this seemingly little detail may have a significant impact. What an interesting concept: we are supposed to be the dominant party, and the parrot is supposed to play the submissive role! How exactly does one put it to use?
There are certainly numerous methods, but the one that has worked for me is to keep my cool while maintaining a stern demeanor and to position myself such that my eye level is higher than theirs. The second thing that I discovered is that you should always use the word “up” when you want the parrot to be on your hand, and you should always use the phrase “down” when you want the parrot to be off of your hand. Even when I’m working with the budgie, I utilize these commands. When I first started teaching the parrot “up” and “down,” I make it a point to repeat the instructions numerous times throughout each outing that we have together. It usually only takes a few hours for a parrot to comprehend the instruction, and it doesn’t take very long at all for a parrot to learn that it should be subordinate to the human and that the human is the dominant species. In the wild, the parrot will not be confronted with another parrot telling him “up” or “down,” but every social parrot couple will have a dominant and a submissive member of the pair. One of the ways that this may be established in the human-parrot connection is by the use of human language in conjunction with an action that demonstrates dominance. This is not an example of meanness. I am not attempting to train the parrot to behave differently than its natural tendency. On the contrary, this is true. One of the things a bird possesses in the wild is the ability to both dominate and submit to its peers. Over the years, I’ve learned from observing birds that this is one of the fundamental requirements that they have to have in order to be content in my house.