My parakeet bites, What do I do?

Discussion in 'Caged Birds - Finches, Canaries, Cockatiels, Parro' started by alleycatt1560, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. alleycatt1560

    alleycatt1560 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have had my parakeet now for 5 months now. I got her at Petco. She was really young. Her name is Sapphire and she bites. How do I get her to stop biting me? She also has a cockatiel companion named Prince. He's a sweet boy and never bites except when he scolds me for leaving him in their cage to long!!! but he doesn't bite really hard, just a little peck. He also whistles at me ALL the Time!! Mama loves you Prince, even when your annoying!!!![​IMG] But what do I do about little Sapphire?
     
  2. gpop1

    gpop1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    easiest way to sex a parakeet is by how hard they bite. Males will nip females will hurt.

    Best advice is to learn how to handle a biting bird then handle the bird until it gets use to it. No bird likes to be grabbed from behind but as they tend to stick to the bars of the cage like super glue you have to learn to get the birds head between your index finger and middle finger where the knuckles go up the side of the head restricting the birds head from turning with out squeezing. Then support the body between the thumb and last two fingers and gently pull the bird from the wire. Take our time and wait for them to release there grip. Use your other hand to help if they refuse to let go.

    Once you have a the bird free place her against your chest while still holding her then walk around relaxing your grip (they freak less when there feet touch something). The more you do this the more relaxed she will become.
    After a while they will learn not to freak and hit the bars which means you can move on to having the bird step on to a finger.

    Some birds can read nervous and stressed owners and that will get you bitten. If its been hand tamed before you might be able to just put your finger near its chest and get it to step up (you will probably get bitten but if done with confidence the bird will respect it, of course if its not hand tame it will freak and fly into the bars or bite the crap out of you)
     
  3. curtislee

    curtislee Just Hatched

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    Check the whole situation before anything and see if you can figure out if there's something causing it to bite. If the cage is higher up than your head it may be that the bird feels superior to you and doesn't want to come out on its own terms. Put yourself in the bird's condition; I'd certainly bite the hand of a giant that grabbed me unexpectedly out of my home when I was sitting comfortably! If that giant creature (literally hundreds of times bigger) hit me, there would be very little chance of me ever trusting it. If your bird absolutely doesn't trust you anymore (especially if you followed the first bit of advice on this thread) you might have to start over completely and begin with getting your bird used to your hands. Personally, I'd begin by removing your bird's food at night and offering it in the morning from your hand. Sit still and if it starts eating out of your hand, let it do so for 5-10 min. A couple minutes in, wiggle your fingers a little and get the bird used to your hand movements. Afterward, put the rest of the food in the food dish and repeat the next day. Once your bird is used to your hand, introduce the step up command and target and clicker training. Limit training to a few minutes (5-10 at very most) in a room with little distractions. Use a favorite treat and only POSITIVE reinforcement. There's a chance that if you've training it to bite if been pulling away, yelling, or reacting in any way when you get bitten. When your bird bites, make it finish the command you have given it and give it a break, then come back. There's so much more to this topic than I actually want to write, so please do tons of research on avian behavior and positive reinforcement training! There are plenty of websites dedicated to training birds and just a little reading can do you a world of good!


    Edited by Staff
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2017
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  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    To the OP, this is my advice:

    I've never had to retrain a bird that I've owned from a baby out of a biting habit because I have never given them reason to develop one. Babies will nibble on fingers and I correct that, but that's not biting, it's beak exploration, which is completely natural. When they're doing that, you redirect their attention to something appropriate to chew on, or you put them down so they learn that doing it loses your attention, which generally they want (unless they are afraid of you, but if they're afraid of you, you wouldn't be at this stage of having them on your hands anyway if you're handling things correctly).

    I've never had to train any out of biting because I never gave them a reason to bite me. I have never caused a fear bite or an aggressive bite if the bird is giving warning because I read their body language, respect it, and don't force myself on them. And because I never cause a bite that way, I never have to train them out of realizing that biting humans causes humans to do fun things, so they bite for the reaction. That's the hardest biting habit to break, and you don't want to get your bird into that habit, so when you do get bit, don't react by yelling or shrieking or jerking your hand away. These are all fun things to the bird.

    To give one example, the 13 year old cockatiel I adopted never once bit me. He was described as "mean" and a biter by his former owners. This was because he was biting out of fear and his former keepers did not respect what he was telling them. I simply worked with him slowly, respected his body language, never forced him to do something he didn't want to, and he never bit me. 13 years of being mistreated and biting, and he never bit me, ever, because I respected what he was saying to me. One month of that and he was my best friend, no biting, I was able to switch him onto pellets after a lifetime of a poor diet on seeds which is not an easy thing to do, and he trusted me completely.

    This is not to say I've never been bitten, because I have, and they were all from birds who either learned to stop warning a human a bite was coming because their warnings were never heeded in the past so they go straight to biting, or because the bird was over stimulated and I didn't pay attention to the signs. The latter was entirely my fault.

    So pay attention to your bird's body language. Find out why it is biting and then from there you can figure out what you need to do to correct it. This advice comes from many years of working with many parrots, some previously abused.
     
  5. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    There is some good advise in this, now my Mothers bird rarely ever bit her---he just tries to attack any visitors if he is out of his cage----for no reason jump on some visitors head and pull their hair. reaches out and bites them as they walk by if he is on a chair-----he might do this to a new visitor he has never seen or might do this to a daily visitors like my sisters. What do they need to do to stop him from biting/attacking them every time they walk in? He might try to bite my mother if she tries to put him back in the cage--to stop the attacks on visitors---if he is not ready to get in it. Thanks for the help
     
  6. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    So, some of that sounds like territorial biting or fear/aggressive biting (biting from his cage, biting from the back of his chair, and also being territorial over your mother because he doesn't want to share her with visitors so he bites them in an attempt to drive them away) and some of that is biting because your mother is making him do something he doesn't want to do (go back into the cage).

    The territorial thing is an innate bird behavior. It's natural and they do this in the wild to protect their space and their mate. There's not really anything you can do about it aside from prevent the situations in which he is biting from arising. Don't have him out when guests are visiting, or if he is out, tell them to respect his space.

    Alternatively, he may be seeing the visitors as interlopers and a threat, causing fear or aggressive biting. Have visitors offer him a favored treat whenever they arrive. He will start to associate visitors with good things instead of as a threat. Of course if he is telling them he is going to bite with his body language, they need to back off.

    On the other front, making him do something when he doesn't want to do it, make going back into his cage a positive thing so that he does want to go back in there. Reserve a favorite treat for him that he only gets when he is put back. Show him the treat as you go to put him back so he knows he's going to get a reward for doing what you want him to do. With enough training and adding a command word for when you put him back, you can eventually teach him to return to his cage on command if you work at it.

    Also try not to be predictable about it at first. If he knows what you're doing, he's more likely to bite. For example if you always let him out to sit on his chair for a few hours and then go to pick him up and put him back, he knows when you pick him up he's going back and he doesn't want to, so he bites. Pick him up for other reasons too, don't make it predictable. Maybe use a perch to pick him up and put him back because that's new and he doesn't know what to expect. But don't let him start to associate the perch with just going back to the cage because the same thing will happen. You'll need to use it for fun things too.

    Also don't pick him up and immediately put him away. Pick him up, have some fun one on one time, then put him back. That also makes the experience positive for him.
     
  7. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Rarely does the staff edit out posts or lines in threads that may not be correct information, we strictly moderate by the BYC rules.

    However in this case, I edited out all posts that contained anything on hitting or popping a bird. NEVER is it ok to hit or pop an animal/bird for ANY reason. You are a human being. What animals do to each other is understood by a particular species. What you do to them only confuses and causes a lack of trust, which develops into fear. The right hit could cause internal organ damage, break bones and or even kill, especially a tiny bird. Other members here on BYC may read these lines and not understand what is being said here, so for these reasons I have edited these posts or lines out.

    Thank you for your understanding and cooperation,

    -BYC Staff
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  8. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    I have never and would never hurt&nbsp;a bird. These birds Love me Dearly. My Mothers Bird flies to my shoulder every time I walk in. He tries to snuggle me under my chin and neck and Loves to Kiss me. Some times if she has the main door open---he will hang on the storm door and if he see's me at my home next door he will start hollering. My mother sometimes calls me over to visit with him a few minutes--to calm him and make him&nbsp; happy. I am the only one other than my Mother that can handle/hold &nbsp;him---everyone else he bites or tries to bite just like he did me to start with. Everyone have a Great day!</p>
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
  9. shanlung

    shanlung Just Hatched

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    Honestly I wish I could have seen all that you wrote. But with what I seen is left, such as height placement and that bird feels superior, I really suggest that you drop all the research you claimed you have done on avian behaviour and start afresh. The advise you giving got to be un-learned . As to who I am, you will not known because if you do know me, you will not be writing what you written. By the way, You might have heard of Karen Pyror. She is the Guru Emeritus of animal and bird training. And this is what she thinks of me


    Karen Pryor//Jackie Mash 03//Sieben & Jackie // Nasty Nic


    Riamfada was a wild caught CAG as seen in her open leg ring. She was a rescue and given to my charge when she was about 5-6 years old. She came to me bitey and fearful.

    [​IMG]

    In a couple of days after she came to me, she flew to me on recall. And about a year, she was doing free flights to me in the open Yup she was very nippy and bity with me at the beginning.

    [​IMG]

    Yingshiong above is a white rumped shama. A shama is a songbird. He was caught from the wild at about 3 years old. He was given into my charge at about 5 years old. He flew to me on cue within a month of coming to me. Breeders of shamas with 30++ years of experience told me even their breed shamas , some they hand raised, never ever landed on them. They told me above was the first ever they seen of a male shama landing on a human.

    [​IMG]

    Libai is a Greater Greenleaf song bird. Caught from the wild and probably about 3 years old or so when he came to me.




    [​IMG]

    Above is Jackie. A wild caught Greater Indian Hill Mynah and about a year old, who decided I could be his friend and flew to me within a month of his being with me. Before I shown that, it was thought the only way to get that done will be to capture them with their eyes still closed and bring them up making them think they are humans and you their mom and dad to hoodwink them. Obviously not true.

    Even wild caught and old birds can be so easily trained and bonded if you know how.

    Who cares about you whispering to the birds, or any creatures, if you do not wish to listen to them in the first place.
    And forget about imposing yourself as the ALPHA and BOSS as that will never work on a flighted bird.


    How about being their friend? You cannot be both the BOSS/ALPHA and friend at the same time.

    Understanding them is the first and most important step that can be taken.
    That is the most fundamental truth in looking after birds.


    And treating them with respect and dignity and courtesy due to intelligent sentients.

    By preparing to meet them halfway, they will meet you the rest of the way.
    And you enjoy them a lot more and no need to fear further chomping of jaws.

    And your life will never be the same again.
     
  10. curtislee

    curtislee Just Hatched

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    The only thing you couldn't see was the part where I advised against physical violence to get the bird to not bite. Most of what remains is about building trust and using positive reinforcement to build a better relationship with the bird, and be on a level playing field. I advised on research in avian behavior and didn't claim to have done my own, mostly spoke from experience. I can assure you I haven't heard of you because, believe it or not, you're not the only one training and free flying birds. Training methods work differently for different people and birds, I simply offered a method of training that didn't involve violence.
     

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