Macaw biting problems


9 Years
Oct 15, 2010
hi, so i've had my green wing macaw since he was about 3 months old and i love him to death
but he has a biting issue that sometimes gets out of hand.
i've been looking at training videos and what might be the cause of his biting but none of them really help that much
i'm away at college now so i cant see him
except for on breaks but have a large family who give him attention while i'm away though we're considering buying a smaller bird to keep him company or just to talk to him
and i'm thinking of getting a senegal or pionus. can anyone suggest anything to help with the biting?
I have a Blue Front Amazon.I got him at around a little over a year old he is about 4 now.I have only had him draw blood once from my ear since I have had him.Sometime's he get's a little nippy at ear's but I quickly trained him that the biting will not be tolerated and put him back on his perch.He is a very loving bird and likes to just hang out on the back of chair or the sofa.I can body hug him he give's me kisses everyday and I haven't had any problem's with him for a while.Introducing a new bird may cause even more problem's.I had lovebirds a year or so ago and all Ozzy did was scream everytime they chirped.It was a madhouse and I had to place the lovebird's.We have the dog cat ferrets and the outside bird's and grandson 2 here too but he is fairly adjusted but he doesn't want them anywhere his space.Bird's usualy seem to pick one or 2 people that they connect with.Maybe if only one or 2 people handle him he may do better.If younger loud children are allowed around him handling may be causing him some stress.I hate to say but some kid's and teen's can be aggravating to pet's at time's.That may not be true in your case.I spend the most time with Ozzy but he does shake the beak every morn with DH usualy.He doesnt like daughter or grandson lol.Hope you can find a solution.I know a guy who lost part of thumb due to a Cockatoo.I can't imagine what kind of damage a Macaw could do!
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How old is he now? Is the biting a problem that you are having, your family is having or all of you are having? Is it just certain people? Is it at certain times or during certain activities?

Particular times that parrots bite are when a person is trying to force them to step up when they don't want to or step down onto something when they don't want to. They may bite when they are protective of their cages. They may bite when someone they don't like, are jealous of or frightened of comes in the room, while they are being handled by their owner. Sometimes, they just get too over stimulated in particular situations and start having problems.

As birds mature, they start asserting themselves more and that can be a part of it. If he's old enough, it's possible he may be having more hormonal issues. I'd be more inclined to think it's just a change having to do with a normal development stage, though. Chicks, adolescents and adults can have different responses to the same situation and can need to be handled a little differently.

He could also be having a difficult time adjusting to you being gone. If you're the main person having problems, he may have an issue with you leaving him. Or, he may just be needing to adapt to different primary care providers and having to forge different types of relationships with other people. He may not trust them completely, he may be trying to bully them, maybe they're just having trouble reading his body language, facial expressions and eyes.

I know with a large confident bird, like a macaw, they do better with a confident handler. On the other hand, forcing a parrot rarely works well, either. Sometimes it's a combination of confidence, bribery and knowing when to leave them be. I like to stick train all my birds, too. That can be helpful when others need to handle them.

I would try to figure out what is going on before he bites. That will give more insight into why he's biting, plus you can think about different ways to handle him in those situations and any additional training you want to do with him.
Buying a smaller bird, unless you or your family WANTS a smaller bird, is a bad idea. Not to be rude, but you have one bird that has behavior problems and you are not home to fully address and work on those problems. Bring another bird into the house, one of 3 things could happen. You end up with 2 birds that bite you. Or the green wing tries to kill the smaller bird. The unlikely scenario is that the two birds bond and once again you have two biting birds because they are telling the humans to go away. That is so unlikely its hardly worth mentioning. Probably you will end up having double the mess, noise, cage cleaning and feeding to do and still have a biting green wing.

As WoodlandWoman pointed out, there are things that need to be considered to figure out the reasons and situations behind the biting. It isn't going to fix itself and will most likely continue to get worse.

Try looking at Barbara Heidenreich's books and videos, I've been to her seminars and she's easy to understand and extremely knowledgeable. Consider contacting an avian behaviorist, someone who can look at the situation objectively and work with the family on recognizing the warning signs and ways to defuse the potential bite.

Good luck.

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