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Old 07-12-2017, 11:38 AM
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(Huge) Mealy Amazon male and biting

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Hello! Under this is (slightly edited) copy paste from another forum but there seems to be more reptile than parrot people so i didn't get any (helpful) comments

--------------------------------------------


We adopted Mealy Amazon 2 months ago, he's 5,5 years old and he hasn't never been on family, he has been 5 years at "animal wholesale company" at Sweden and after that in a petshop at Finland. (So technically he wasn't adopted but i just felt so sorry for him when i heard that he's over 5 years old and hasn't been in a family ever... and that means anything he knew was sitting in his cage)

He's a really friendly giant but there is a one "small" problem... He bites.. a lot.

He likes me and follows me everywhere (and i mean everywhere), he sits on my shoulder/leg/arm/where ever depending if i'm standing/sitting/lying down. He makes "happy and calm" amazon purring noises and nibbles around. But then, out of nowhere he decides to bite me, he doesn't go all in and blood has been drawn only once (and i think that was accident he had cable tie lock in his mouth when he bit me)

He has bonded with me (at some level) and he screams and flies around if he doesn't find me, he doesn't step up (not on a hand/finger nor stick.. ..yes you guessed right, he bites if i try to "force" him to step up) so i cant use any "timeouts" in a cage or anything like that. He doesn't like to be touched either, he growls when i put my hand near him (and yes bites if i dont retreat).... Few times he has lowered hes head and asked for neck scratching, he allows touching only if he asks it first, so i dont think he is afraid of fingers or anything like that.

He's out of the cage all the time, he only sleeps in his cage. We work at home, first thing we do when we wake up is to let our birds out of their cages... So the biting isn't related to anything like "he is forced to be away from me" when i'm at work or anything like that.

I've had CAGs for 20 years so i'm not a beginner with birds... ...but this is my first amazon and my first male parrot.

---------------------------

^that was the copy paste from the other forum. I'll add to this that he can sit on my hand, nibble around and be happy bird then out of nowhere he starts to growl, usually after that he growls louder and peaks my skin... ...continue to growl more and start biting.

Some pics of him (in first pic he is with my 10 month old female cag, they get around pretty good, no fighting or biting)





Some videos of him:

I'm from Finland so sorry about the bad English

Last edited by PL84; 07-12-2017 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 07-12-2017, 11:55 AM
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Re: (Huge) Mealy Amazon male and biting

Welcome to one and all!

amazing job saving him!

Now I have one big question before I go into anything else. "(and i think that was accident he had cable tie lock in his mouth when he bit me)" I think I'm mis-reading a little. He had something in his mouth or he had a lock put on his mouth? If the first that strikes me possibly as playing.

for the most part to me it seems like it could be a couple things that aren't all biting. 1 is they're not used to hands are just wary. 5 months isn't that long after 5 years being in a cage so the fact he's already okay with you is incredible. This is just a case of grin and bear it and offer treats when he's being good. The other thing could be he gets over-excited, pretty much for the same reason as I just said, it's all new to him and very stimulating so could illicit that response. It could even just be he's not bite trained, but the growl makes me think it isn't.

As for the step-up training, definitely enforce it. Just find his favourite treat and make it so he has to step up to get to it, I vote to use one of the perches in his cage for it as it's a familiar object he already does the trick for without a treat so he should be more susceptible to do it. It's how I tamed my Green cheek and I will forever swear by it until proven wrong as the method to step-up train.

I would listen to anything that Kiwibird has to say, they're definitely the resident Amazon pro!
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:07 PM
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Re: (Huge) Mealy Amazon male and biting

Quote: Originally Posted by LordTriggs View Post
Welcome to one and all!

amazing job saving him!

Now I have one big question before I go into anything else. "(and i think that was accident he had cable tie lock in his mouth when he bit me)" I think I'm mis-reading a little. He had something in his mouth or he had a lock put on his mouth? If the first that strikes me possibly as playing.

for the most part to me it seems like it could be a couple things that aren't all biting. 1 is they're not used to hands are just wary. 5 months isn't that long after 5 years being in a cage so the fact he's already okay with you is incredible. This is just a case of grin and bear it and offer treats when he's being good. The other thing could be he gets over-excited, pretty much for the same reason as I just said, it's all new to him and very stimulating so could illicit that response. It could even just be he's not bite trained, but the growl makes me think it isn't.

As for the step-up training, definitely enforce it. Just find his favourite treat and make it so he has to step up to get to it, I vote to use one of the perches in his cage for it as it's a familiar object he already does the trick for without a treat so he should be more susceptible to do it. It's how I tamed my Green cheek and I will forever swear by it until proven wrong as the method to step-up train.

I would listen to anything that Kiwibird has to say, they're definitely the resident Amazon pro!
He loves cable ties, i'll lock them in loops, he breaks them and chews the "lock part" for 10mins... Then he asks for a new cable tie, dunno if the cable tie is the correct name for those things:
http://i.imgur.com/RPxCJmU.png

He had the "lock part" in his mouth, he was playing with it when he decided to bite me. Blood was drawn more because of that plastic "lock part" than the bite

My own opinion as "non amazon expert" was just that, he gets too excited and then he growls and bites.

Step up training isn't easy with this mister, i cant find any treat that he really loves, if he is calm and happy he takes whatever from my fingers but doesn't ever want them badly enough to step up. Sometimes he starts to growl in this situation (step up) too and bites my arm (the one i'm offering to step up)... Without treat its the same thing, he wont do anything or he growls and bites the hand... But that doesn't mean that he wont step up, if he flies to sofa or to our dining table and wants to climb on my shoulder, then if i offer my arm to him he accepts it, hops up and climbs to my shoulder.

He doesn't fear my arms or fingers, i'm pretty sure about that because he flies and lands to my arm/fingers many times every day... It's just that it's only when he decides to do it, not when i ask it

Btw, if i said he has been with us for 5 months its a typo, we have had him for 2 months now (i cant easily check when i'm typing this, i'm using tablet atm)

He in his "cable tie tree"



Edit: Lol, i just figured out, you must been horrified when you thought that i've cable tied hes beak shut to prevent biting .... Not funny at all of course but funny in this situation, my English just isn't perfect =)

Last edited by PL84; 07-12-2017 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 07-12-2017, 01:20 PM
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Re: (Huge) Mealy Amazon male and biting

I've pondered using lobster claw bands before on my birds beak, but cable ties could work too... J/K of course

What a very handsome mealy amazon you have! Shocked he couldn't find a home at all in 5 years Maybe he was just waiting for you. He seems friendly enough and not afraid of your family or being out of his cage, which is good. He has likely just never been taught how to step up to a stick or hand. Remember, it is NOT a natural behavior for any parrot to step onto the limb of a larger animal and ride around. It is a 100% learned behavior and against their instincts, so he must be taught first! Amazons also occasionally use their beak for balance when stepping up to the hand or stick, especially when new learners. This can be intimidating, and if you jerk or move your hand it can trigger a bite as the bird tries to steady itself or responds in surprise to the stable surface moving. I suspect with a little work, he should respond quickly to training giving how friendly he appears. Using your CAG to demonstrate can also be helpful, as he'd see another bird responding to the command of "step up" and getting a treat and praise. It helps them understand what you expect when you give the "step up" command if they see another bird doing it. I know there are different methods, but when newly adopted I taught my amazon to step up by holding a treat slightly outside of his reach so that if he wanted the treat, he had to step on my hand to get it. He was a older, stubborn bird quick to bite and even he eventually learned. No doubt your 'gentle giant' of a mealy will too

One other thing to keep in mind, all amazons hit puberty around age 4-6. The 'puberty years' can last several years and males do tend to be more prone to aggression during this time. Learning to read his body language is key to preventing hormone-related bites, as will be stick training for transporting during times he is feeling less than friendly. I suggest keeping the step up stick in rotation year round and using it at times the bird is in a good mood as well as a bad mood. That way they do not associate the stick with a punishment or negatively when they are in a foul mood, it's just another mode of transportation. As an amazon matures into a adult, they dramatically mellow out behaviorally and only experience hormonal behavior once a year for a few weeks. This "mellowing out" tends to start happening around age 12-15, and from there on out, it is pretty smooth sailing with amazons beside just a few weeks a year. Mealies are not known for having particularly bad puberty or hormones either, even males, so you lucked out species-wise. Good luck with your new friend!

Last edited by Kiwibird; 07-12-2017 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 07-12-2017, 01:37 PM
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Re: (Huge) Mealy Amazon male and biting

Quote: Originally Posted by Kiwibird View Post
I've pondered using lobster claw bands before on my birds beak, but cable ties could work too... J/K of course

What a very handsome mealy amazon you have! Shocked he couldn't find a home at all in 5 years Maybe he was just waiting for you. He seems friendly enough and not afraid of your family or being out of his cage, which is good. He has likely just never been taught how to step up to a stick or hand. Remember, it is NOT a natural behavior for any parrot to step onto the limb of a larger animal and ride around. It is a 100% learned behavior and against their instincts, so he must be taught first! Amazons also occasionally use their beak for balance when stepping up to the hand or stick, especially when new learners. This can be intimidating, and if you jerk or move your hand it can trigger a bite as the bird tries to steady itself or responds in surprise to the stable surface moving. I suspect with a little work, he should respond quickly to training giving how friendly he appears. Using your CAG to demonstrate can also be helpful, as he'd see another bird responding to the command of "step up" and getting a treat and praise. It helps them understand what you want. I know there are different methods, but when newly adopted I taught my amazon to step up by holding a treat slightly outside of his reach so that if he wanted the treat, he had to step on my hand to get it. He was a older, stubborn bird quick to bite and even he eventually learned. No doubt your 'gentle giant' of a mealy will too

One other thing to keep in mind, all amazons hit puberty around age 4-6. The 'puberty years' can last several years and males do tend to be more prone to aggression during this time. Learning to read his body language is key to preventing hormone-related bites, as will be stick training for transporting during times he is feeling less than friendly. I suggest keeping the stick in rotation year round and using it at times the bird is in a good mood as well as a bad mood. That way they do not associate the stick with a punishment or negatively when they are in a foul mood, it's just another mode of transportation. As an amazon matures into a adult, they dramatically mellow out behaviorally and only experience hormonal behavior once a year for a few weeks. This "mellowing out" tends to start happening around age 12-15, and from there on out, it is pretty smooth sailing with amazons beside just a few weeks a year. Mealies are not known for having particularly bad puberty or hormones either, even males, so you lucked out species-wise. Good luck with your new friend!
I really dont know why he was 5 years at the "whole saler" (place where pet shops order their animals)... So none even tried to sell him before the pet shop in Finland buyed him 5 months ago. Was he used for breeding or something like that, i really dont know :/... I cant imagine that any European pet shop just wouldn't want him for 5 years, he's a handsome boy.

I know about the stepping up, it's not natural and they use their beak (CAGs do this all the time) i dont mistake it for biting

I've been trying to use that treat method you explained, it only triggers growling and after that biting =)... but like with stepping up, i'm not giving up.

I'm pretty sure he's going through his puberty atm. Hormonal behavior should be over now in july right? I've had him just for 2 months so it COULD be that he's just having his hormones running all this time but i dont think so because this is earlier in spring right?

Im currently trying to get him to step up on my hand and on a stick. He reacts more aggressively to the stick (he chews big bites out of it when i offer it to him).. But like with CAGs before, i'm not stopping to offer it.

I know he's not afraid of my hand because when i hear he's searching for me (flying around the house and screaming) i offer my hand to him and he flies to it almost every time.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:32 PM
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Re: (Huge) Mealy Amazon male and biting

If you had not stated you had specific behavior problems with this Mealy, I would not have picked-up on tiny signals in the videos. At a couple of months, you are in fact far ahead of many people who have rescued a 5+ year old Parrot, let alone an Amazon!

With all you are able to do, defines a Parrot that has been worked with in the past and more than just in a shop or like location. This Mealy has been worked with and clearly loved. So, I do not totally believe what you have been told the fully story (very common). Double check his Papers regarding prior history. Since, ownership papers are required in Europe, you should have received them from the group that you got him from. As you know, that paperwork is very important and is needed to see a Avian Vet!.

The information provide above is excellent and highly recommended! In addition, please read the Threads at the top of the Amazon Forum (found in light blue) that will help you learn the basics regarding Amazon Body Language and living and Loving Amazons! I recommend that you read this Thread aloud to your Amazon. Amazons love to be read too and whether it is the Amazon Body Language Thread or any of your reading for your Work - they do not care. They just like to hear your voice. This is also a great tool for you to learn Amazon Body Language and your Amazon becoming even more comfortable with you and your family!

Amazons use very specific Body Language (the basics) and also some additional body communication tools that you will need to learn from your Amazon. They also use voice communication to also get their point across. That all means that: It is NEVER the fault of the Amazon! It is ALWAYS the fault of the Humans! When you work from this vantage point, you will more quickly see what 'you' are doing wrong and correct it! From their position, they have clearly told you and therefore, they have to take it to another level to get you're attention! The Bite!

Remembering that you are far ahead of most people. You are working on 'introduction' items and at the same time you can with easy work with this Amazon on items that are more common as part of Parrots that have been in a home for much longer times. The recommendation above with having the Amazon 'see' you working with your other Parrot is a great idea for introducing 'Step-Up!'

Watch more closely as to what signals are being provided by your Amazon and always remember that sometimes just slowing down a bit will help greatly. Once you cross this very small bridge, your Amazon is really going to open-up quickly! Work at building TRUST! Bad things never happen when Humans are around! Good things only happen and they commonly include treats and lots of praise!

Your Amazon wants to fully Trust you and is showing it with all the other things he is already doing! Learn Amazon! It is a wonderful language and your life will be fuller and richer.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:45 PM
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Re: (Huge) Mealy Amazon male and biting

Quote: Originally Posted by SailBoat View Post
If you had not stated you had specific behavior problems with this Mealy, I would not have picked-up on tiny signals in the videos. At a couple of months, you are in fact far ahead of many people who have rescued a 5+ year old Parrot, let alone an Amazon!

With all you are able to do, defines a Parrot that has been worked with in the past and more than just in a shop or like location. This Mealy has been worked with and clearly loved. So, I do not totally believe what you have been told the fully story (very common). Double check his Papers regarding prior history. Since, ownership papers are required in Europe, you should have received them from the group that you got him from. As you know, that paperwork is very important and is needed to see a Avian Vet!.

The information provide above is excellent and highly recommended! In addition, please read the Threads at the top of the Amazon Forum (found in light blue) that will help you learn the basics regarding Amazon Body Language and living and Loving Amazons! I recommend that you read this Thread aloud to your Amazon. Amazons love to be read too and whether it is the Amazon Body Language Thread or any of your reading for your Work - they do not care. They just like to hear your voice. This is also a great tool for you to learn Amazon Body Language and your Amazon becoming even more comfortable with you and your family!

Amazons use very specific Body Language (the basics) and also some additional body communication tools that you will need to learn from your Amazon. They also use voice communication to also get their point across. That all means that: It is NEVER the fault of the Amazon! It is ALWAYS the fault of the Humans! When you work from this vantage point, you will more quickly see what 'you' are doing wrong and correct it! From their position, they have clearly told you and therefore, they have to take it to another level to get you're attention! The Bite!

Remembering that you are far ahead of most people. You are working on 'introduction' items and at the same time you can with easy work with this Amazon on items that are more common as part of Parrots that have been in a home for much longer times. The recommendation above with having the Amazon 'see' you working with your other Parrot is a great idea for introducing 'Step-Up!'

Watch more closely as to what signals are being provided by your Amazon and always remember that sometimes just slowing down a bit will help greatly. Once you cross this very small bridge, your Amazon is really going to open-up quickly! Work at building TRUST! Bad things never happen when Humans are around! Good things only happen and they commonly include treats and lots of praise!

Your Amazon wants to fully Trust you and is showing it with all the other things he is already doing! Learn Amazon! It is a wonderful language and your life will be fuller and richer.
I will read those, thank you!

I have all the paperwork for him and everything checks up.

He's originally from Holland and from there he's been with "whole saler" in Sweden for about 5 years.

Swedish wholesaler is "Imazo Ab"

After that he has been in finnish pet shop "Okalintu"

I'll contact the Imazo Ab and verify everything by myself.
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Old 07-12-2017, 03:19 PM
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Re: (Huge) Mealy Amazon male and biting

I am very happy to hear that the paperwork is proper! It is very likely that someone in Sweden work very well and long with this Amazon!

I hope that you are receiving better advice then you found on other Forums.
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Old 07-12-2017, 03:24 PM
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Re: (Huge) Mealy Amazon male and biting

Amazons puberty can last extended periods of time before settling into an annual event as a mature adult bird. I adopted mine at 10 years old in the height of puberty and it took several years for him to settle down and it to become a once a year thing. This is something that has lead to the somewhat nasty reputation many amazons have- a misunderstanding of the fact hormones will be continuous during puberty rather than a yearly thing like they get as adults. Here in the US, most amazons experience their hormonal time of year during the early-late spring. I cannot speak to Europe. It's triggered by extending daylight hours. But a 5.5 y/o amazon? That is when those hormones are just kicking in and will continue kicking for some time. Not the end of the world, just a need for stick training alongside hand training and a good general knowledge of his body language.

If the old "treat out of reach" trick isn't working, you might want to try an alternative (though less direct/more time consuming) method of target training with a clicker, then eventually target to the hand or stick. Before you do that, to be clear the first step is to have him reach over your hand to get the treat, then to try to entice him to step on your hand for the treat. You may try a treat that is so large he cannot both keep hold of the treat and bite your hand. Something like a berry or grape.
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Old 07-12-2017, 03:29 PM
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Re: (Huge) Mealy Amazon male and biting

Quote: Originally Posted by SailBoat View Post
I am very happy to hear that the paperwork is proper! It is very likely that someone in Sweden work very well and long with this Amazon!

I hope that you are receiving better advice then you found on other Forums.
I'm receiving A LOT BETTER information from here, thank you guys

Maybe someone worked with him on the wholesaler, maybe some employee liked him that much or something like that... Anyhow, i'm contacting the wholesaler and verify all the info and make sure i have the papers for the correct bird etc.

Btw, is this just meaning that he is annoyed and he doesn't want me to touch him? I interpret this that he is not scared, he's just annoyed of my finger? (He doesn't trust me that much yet)

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