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Re: Cockatiel biting

Posted by karen on 9/05/07
(4) Comments

    below is the link & info on biting that you may want to read

    Phobic aggression and your parrot

    Quite often I get calls saying that a parrot has started
    biting for no reason. A parrot never bites for no reason,
    most times the parrot was either over stimulated, afraid, or
    is showing displaced aggression. Parrots do not become
    aggressive for no reason and many times they are not
    displaying true aggression but fear.

    Living with a companion parrot may be very trying at times
    with the busy life styles we all lead. What we need to
    remember is that we chose to have them come into our lives;
    they did not choose to live their lives in a cage or on a play
    stand. Although many parrots live long happy lives within our
    households given the right environment, many lead very unhappy
    lives within our households. We need to learn to recognize
    that it is not the parrots’ fault about 90% of the time. We
    are to blame not the parrot. When a parrot suddenly becomes a
    biter we need to sit back and take a look at the whole picture.

    Is my parrot receiving enough exercise? Is my parrot on a
    good diet? Do I spend enough one on one time with my parrot
    on a daily basis? Do I have unrealistic expectations for this
    particular bird? Is his environment stimulating enough for
    him? Does he receive enough sleep? Do I send mixed signals
    when handling my parrot? Does my parrot trust me?

    Although we try and do what we think is best, often times we
    are not meeting the basic needs of our companions.

    More times than not I see owners who have lost the bond of
    trust with their parrots and they feel it is the parrots
    fault. It is never the parrots’ fault in this case. You may
    never know exactly what broke the bond of trust; the important
    thing is winning back the trust you once shared. In order to
    do this it takes patience, consistency, and love.

    If your parrot now fears you handling him or bites whenever
    you try to handle him, you need to take a step back and
    evaluate the situation.

    What is my body language saying to this bird? Am I stressed
    out more often than not? Am I sending aggressive signals to
    the bird? Often times owners tell me “I am doing everything
    right”, well obviously not if you are having difficulties.

    We tend to forget that these creatures are not domesticated
    and therefore need to be handled with respect. Dogs have been
    domesticated for over 14,000 generations; parrots are only
    three generations out of the wild making them still a wild
    animal. You would never expect a baby lion to grow and live
    within your household like your cat. So we should not expect
    parrots to love us unconditionally like a dog or a cat. Love
    and trust needs to be earned, it should not be expected.

    What can I do to repair the damage?

    First we need to evaluate cage placement, diet, health,
    exercise, stimuli, and whether or not your lifestyle is
    conducive to living with a companion parrot. Once these
    things are in order you may begin behavior modification.

    If your parrot is biting you out of fear, you will have to
    stop forcing yourself on the bird. Start sitting next to the
    cage and watching TV or reading without making any motions to
    disturb the bird. Simply allow your parrot to adjust to being
    near you without being handled. Once your feel your parrot is
    comfortable with you near his cage you may start to talk
    softly without making eye contact. Start feeding him favorite
    foods through the safety of the bars while talking to him.
    Always work with the bird when you are calm and not stressed.
    Parrots read our body language better than most animals or
    people. Continue over the course of several weeks making no
    attempts to handle the bird. Once you see the parrot
    responding to you, you may attempt to pet or scratch him
    through the bars of the cage. Never forcing yourself upon the
    bird at anytime.

    The next step will be to have the parrot step up onto your arm
    or a Booda Perch (only if they are comfortable with this type
    training). When they do step up praise, praise, praise and
    ask them to step back down, praise. Do this over the course
    of a week without attempting to pet or touch the bird. You
    are taking small steps to ensure your parrot feels safe being
    handled by you again. The following week you may have the
    parrot step up, praise, step down, praise, and step up again,
    praise. At this point if the parrot seems relaxed you may
    attempt to have them sit with you on a T stand or play gym in
    another room near you. Praising and talking softly the whole
    time you are working with the parrot. After a short period
    ask the bird to step up again and return him to his cage,
    praise. Continue these small baby steps until your parrot is
    asking for love and affection from you again. When he does
    allow you to pet him showing no fear or aggression, move
    slowly and stop the affection before he asks you to stop.
    Remember you can never praise a wanted behavior enough. We
    tend to be quick to discipline and slow to praise. Parrots do
    not understand discipline therefore you should always only
    praise wanted behavior and redirect unwanted behaviors. If
    while working with the bird you are bitten, remember not to
    give a response of any kind or you will have to start all over
    again with building the trust bond. Parrots also enjoy a
    strong reaction and will repeat a behavior if they receive

    Living with a companion parrot can be a wonderful experience
    only if there is a mutual respect between owner and bird. So
    the next time you are upset with your parrot stop and take a
    good look at the situation and yourself.


    Thank You
    Michelle Karras
    Avian Behavior
    Consultant The Polite Parrot